BuluBox Weight Loss – May 2014

Bulu Box was one of the subscription boxes I’ve been most excited about trying. Every month, they send a collection of sample sizes for various vitamins, supplements, and other health products. This is perfect for me, because in an attempt to live a healthier lifestyle, I have spent so much money at GNC on supplements and other health products. I get frustrated when I’ve committed to 20 servings of a shake or a 90 day supply of a vitamin that just isn’t what I was expecting it to be. I hate the idea of paying for samples, but in this case, I think it will save me some money in the long run. So I signed up for a 6 month subscription for BuluBox – Weight Loss.

 

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The box is immediately recognizable, full of fun and inspirational messages. I am eternally grateful that they didn’t print anything weight loss related on it. I’m very self conscious about this.

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The box came well packed, with a handful of cards, and all the goods wrapped up in tissue paper.

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Most of the cards are junk I will throw right away, but the overall explanation card of the products is always nice to have. On the flip side, it has a little journal where you can jot down your thoughts on each product. It’s a good reminder to make a review at the BuluBox website, where you can turn reviews into points and points into discounts on products.

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First up are Beauty Bursts. Not what I’d associate with a weight loss themed box, but my nails can use all the strengthening they can get. The single sample isn’t enough to determine if it actually works, but it’ll be enough for me to decide if the taste is something I can live with everyday. A full size package goes for $22.49.

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Simple Being Simple Diet. This is a weight loss pill that is caffeine free, which excites me. Other than an occasional cup of espresso after a nice meal out, I’m pretty much caffeine free. I find that so many weight loss pills have more caffeine than my body can handle, so they end up with really unpleasant side effects. The only problem with this is that 2 pills is enough to see if this gives me the shakes or not. It won’t be able to test if it is actually viable in assisting with weight loss. Hint: most of these weight loss pills that I have taken alongside a strict workout and a healthy diet have done precisely nothing. Full size 60 capsules goes for $19.99, which puts it on the lower end of the price range for these types of supplements.

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Rootology is an herbal supplement that is supposed to provide allergy relief. I have may 2-3 allergy days a year. It’s so infrequent that I wouldn’t say that I have allergies, but I do keep a bottle of Zyrtec on hand. I’ll toss these in the drawer and hopefully remember to try them next time I’m sneezy. Full size runs for $14.99.

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Smarty Pants Weight Management and Smarty Pants for Kids multivitamins. Hey, who doesn’t like gummies? Taking a multivitamin every morning is such a part of my routine that I never turned to the candy-ish alternatives, but I know people who don’t like swallowing giant pills who swear by them. Not familiar with this brand, so will give it a shot. I don’t have kids, but I’ll probably take these for myself, because why not… For the weight loss one, it’s 6 gummies = 1 serving. Woah. Not sure I will ever adjust to that, when popping a single pill while I’m scrambling up some egg whites is so much simpler. But we shall see if the taste is any good. Full size is $21.99 for the kids, $47.95 for the weight loss.

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Naturade Vegan Smart Protein is an all in one shake. The nutritionals on this have me pretty excited. I’m not vegan and couldn’t care less that it is, but it is good to get an all in one shake that contains a good amount of protein without any artifical sweetners. Trust me, it is extremely hard to find something that is artificial sweetner free and below 200 calories. This clocks in at 160 calories while containing 20g of protein. I’m going to try it out for breakfast after my next weight lifting day on Tuesday. Full size is $34.99.

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Mediterranean Snacks Tapaz 2 Go. If there was one thing that I wish wasn’t in my box, it is this. It says right on the front, good source of protein. I really wish health foods would stop taking something that has 3-4 grams of protein and start pumping it up as high in protein. I try to get in 150grams a day, in 1200-1300 calories. This just doesn’t fit my dietary goals. I love hummus, but I like to make it myself since it only takes 5 seconds and then I know it is fresh. I’ll probably toss this into T-Balls office snack pile.

Overall, my first BuluBox was a mixed bag. Got a couple of things that I’m pretty excited to try, and a few things that I’m not sure why they included. If you would like to try out BuluBox, my referral link will get you your first box for free!

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Graze box – Fruity Mango Chutney

I usually avoid food subscription boxes. I don’t like a lot of processed junk, and I live near a legendary shop that gets my hook up on for gourmet goodies. I find most food boxes are horribly overpriced for what you get. But I make an exception for Graze. I am in an office with free candy and chips. How awful. Except that it is. I have no willpower. I find that a biweekly Graze box helps me out. If I have options, I can avoid the candy/chip room. I subscribe to the Graze Calorie Counter Box. This delivers me only snacks that are below 150 calories. I eat a small meal of around 250-300 calories every 3 hours, so it’s rare when I need a substantial snack. This is a perfect option for me. $6 gives me 4 individual servings in my mailbox every other week. Plus Graze gives you the option to rate snacks and prevent anything you don’t like from ever shipping. I hate raisins more than I should, so I spent a good chunk of time deselecting every snack with the evil little things in them.

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Rather than review the entire box, I review the individual snacks. The box is so personalized that I rather just review snacks as I eat them. Last week in a desperation for something crunchy and savory, I grabbed for this:

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Fruity Mango Chutney is a pile of little crackers seasoned with black pepper and a chunky mango chutney dipping sauce. Like all the snacks in Graze’s CalorieCounter plan, it is very low in calories – 80. Unlike some of the other graze snacks that are dippers, the ratio here was good. The right amount of cracker dippy things to the dipping sauce. There was a little bit of a bite in this, nothing unpleasant. I’m assuming it is from the black pepper on the crackers, because on its own, the sauce was pretty sweet. I found it a tad bit sticky. I have had the same problem with stickiness in some of the other graze dipper snacks. However, this one added cloying sweetness to the mix and it was not a pleasant combination.

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Verdict: I’m not a fan. I don’t hate it, so I won’t move it to the trash, but I’m not in a hurry to try it again in a hurry. If I get it again, I’ll gladly give it another shot. So I’m leaving this set to TRY IT. I do enjoy mango chutney, if it isn’t made into a super thick and sticky texture. The crackers overall were satisfying for my immediate craving of “must eat something snacky right now”, so it wasn’t all bad. If you subscribe to Graze, you my invite code: KATES23RP. You get the 1st and 5th box for free, and I get a buck. Profit.

Fabletics Review – May 2014

My first order from Fabletics. I’m not sure this really fits the “subscription box” model, since you choose what you want, but it is cool enough so I figured, why not review it!

Fabletics is a sister site to JustFab.com, and is partially run by Kate Hudson. At the beginning of the month, a handful of gym outfits are chosen for you. You can choose one of your recommended outfits, choose a different outfit from the overall collection, or skip the month. I’ve belonged to JustFab since the beginning, so I’ve kept an eye on this site since its launch last year. I hadn’t joined before, because I haven’t found all the gym wear to be universally flattering.

Here is my rant. Everyone has heard Chip Wilson’s fat shaming comments and he has paid a pretty high price. As he should. He’s a jerk. However, lost in all of the politically incorrect statements was this fact: He. Is. Right. Most clothing at Lululemon is not meant for me. And that has nothing to do with my weight. If I am a size 0 or a size 14, there isn’t one bottom piece in Luluemon’s current line that would look good on my figure, which is pearish/appleish. If you have hips, Lululemon makes them look even more prominent. So I can wear something that is trendy and comfortable, with the knowledge that it isn’t flattering, and in the long run, feel bad about myself. Or I skip the brand altogether. Lululemon isn’t the only high end fitness wear company for women that isn’t interested in creating cute workout wear for women of different sizes, but they sure did get all the heat. End of rant.

As a result, I skip most cute workout wear. But I do keep an eye on Fabletics every month to see if there is something that is a little looser around the hips. In May, I saw this outfit:

This outfit is called “Courageous”. I can’t find it on their site anymore, so maybe it sold out. But all of Fabletics “outfits” seem to be nothing more than different combinations of bottoms, tops, and bras. I did like that the pants had a more relaxed fit. Also, they have pockets. I must have pockets when I work out. I keep track of what I’m doing on various phone apps, so I am constantly pulling out my phone and putting it back in my pockets. I got to choose from several different colors, but since I lack creativity and vision, I chose the defaults seen in the picture. I was in between 2 sizes, and I went up to the larger size. I rather my workout clothing be too loose and not restrict my motions than too tight. And I’m no longer buying into the BS that maybe I’ll drop 8-10 pounds and go down to the smaller size. I have a closet full of clothes waiting for me to lose weight.

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After paying $39.96 (a discount from $49.95 for my first month), this package arrived within a week. I will review each piece and how they performed while I wore them for a workout. My chosen workout for this outfit was some lower body weight training; about 35-40 minutes of moderate intensity weight lifting focusing on my quads, hams, calves, and a little bit of core work.

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Contents: 3 individually wrapped clothing items and a John Frieda shampoo/conditioner sample. These little samples are great when I travel on business. Into my travel sample bin they go!

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Let’s start with the pants, since it was the reason I bought the outfit.

Fit All the pictures showed the cuffs tight, but there is actually a drawstring to keep these loose. I absolutely love this. I don’t have any capris that are loose around my calves. It was appreciated while I was doing some calf raises. Elastic around my calves doesn’t restrict my movement, but I am aware that it is there. These were actually a little tighter in the crotch than I expected. Not uncomfortably so, but I was very glad I didn’t order the smaller size. The pocket was big enough to hold my phone, and the zipper was placed far enough to the front of my hip so not to add any additional wideness. The lack of lining put my panty-line on display for all. Thank goodness the shirt in this outfit was very long.

Performance These pants are very light. They have no lining. A very good spring/summer pant. The material is a little slick, however. I found it very slippery around the 20 minute mark of my workout, when I was sweating pretty freely. I don’t think I’d like to wear these while doing cardio. I also found that the pocket tightened up as the pants got a little wet, so pulling my phone in and out was a little more challenging. If I forgot to lock my screen, the pocket was tight enough to switch apps on the phone. All in all, I think these pants will be fine for a lower intensity workout. Anything more intense than what I did today, I’d like a more technical fabric.

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The bra

Fit When I first opened this, I was extremely skeptical. The pictures on the website showed a cute crisscross of the straps, but I must have not looked at the back view of the model, as I didn’t realize one of the straps was a halter style around the back of your neck. I always find halter bikini tops uncomfortable, so I was nervous. It actually fit so well and was so comfortable that I wasn’t even aware of the strap until I wiped some sweat off the back of my neck and felt it.

Performance Support was better than I expected. I didn’t do much bouncing around, so support was not fully tested. Like the pants, I wouldn’t wear this bra for a heavy cardio session. It’s a blend of synthetic materials, but only a single layer wouldn’t wick away sweat and it would get uncomfortable quick.

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The top

Fit This absolutely is a piece I should have gone down a size in. It’s enormous on me. The arm openings are so long on this that they dip way below the bottom of my bra (the pictures on the model made it look like perhaps an inch). The gym got a good view of 2-3″ below the bottom of my bra of my pasty white, untoned midsection. The length was great! I love longer tops, and I don’t feel like there are enough options for longer tops for the gym. And finally, the color was a little off. As you can see in the picture, it’s much more heather gray. I love the color, but it doesn’t work with the bra as well as the picture of the model. I would have gone with a different bra color.

Performance Super loose and did not restrict my movements at all. I think the shirt is the best piece of the outfit for the way I workout. It’s a shame that it didn’t fit me better. But I think this will be my go to shirt when I’m doing exercises such as shoulder presses. It’s hard for me to find a sleeveless shirt that doesn’t feel tight around my shoulders and doesn’t lift to show my awesomely non-six pack belly when I lift my arms over my head.

Overall verdict: I am pretty happy with my first outfit. It made me feel cute while working out, which is always a great inspiration. I’m very picky about the performance of my clothing while working out and find that I often just default to a technical running shirt and a really baggy pair of men’s basketball shorts. Super sexy. I’m glad I have options and hope that Fabletics offers additional designs for girls with curves.

Graze box – Garden of England

I usually avoid food subscription boxes. I don’t like a lot of processed junk, and I live near a legendary shop that gets my hook up on for gourmet goodies. I find most food boxes are horribly overpriced for what you get. But I make an exception for Graze. I am in an office with free candy and chips. How awful. Except that it is. I have no willpower. I find that a biweekly Graze box helps me out. If I have options, I can avoid the candy/chip room. I subscribe to the Graze Calorie Counter Box. This delivers me only snacks that are below 150 calories. I eat a small meal of around 250-300 calories every 3 hours, so it’s rare when I need a substantial snack. This is a perfect option for me. $6 gives me 4 individual servings in my mailbox every other week. Plus Graze gives you the option to rate snacks and prevent anything you don’t like from ever shipping. I hate raisins more than I should, so I spent a good chunk of time deselecting every snack with the evil little things in them.

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Rather than review the entire box, I review the individual snacks. The box is so personalized that I rather just review snacks as I eat them. The latest I tried from my stash of Graze snacks is The Garden of England:

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I was pretty excited for this one. Coming in at only 70 calories and containing only dried apples, strawberries, and black currants, it meets my desire for a low calorie, unprocessed snack. I have to be careful with dried fruit, especially apples, because they are like potato chips for me. I can’t eat just one. So I was very grateful for Graze’s portioning on this one.

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Verdict: I didn’t love it. That’s the problem with high expectations. Things rarely meet them. The apples were great. I’m not the biggest black currant fan, but these didn’t have a ton of flavor. And the strawberries were a little odd. I’m not sure if you can tell by the picture above, but they were really dark, the same color as the currants. The taste was what I expected, but the texture was different. It reminded me of a gumdrop.  I like dried fruit to be chewy, but not as bad as this. I’m willing to try it again, however, and because I think it has potential, I will be marking it as “Like”. We’ll see how often Graze goes to the “Like” pile. If you subscribe to Graze, you my invite code: KATES23RB. You get the 1st and 5th box for free, and I get a buck. Profit.

Graze box – My Thai

I usually avoid food subscription boxes. I don’t like a lot of processed junk, and I live near a legendary shop that gets my hook up on for gourmet goodies. I find most food boxes are horribly overpriced for what you get. But I make an exception for Graze. I am in an office with free candy and chips. How awful. Except that it is. I have no willpower. I find that a biweekly Graze box helps me out. If I have options, I can avoid the candy/chip room. I subscribe to the Graze Calorie Counter Box. This delivers me only snacks that are below 150 calories. I eat a small meal of around 250-300 calories every 3 hours, so it’s rare when I need a substantial snack. This is a perfect option for me. $6 gives me 4 individual servings in my mailbox every other week. Plus Graze gives you the option to rate snacks and prevent anything you don’t like from ever shipping. I hate raisins more than I should, so I spent a good chunk of time deselecting every snack with the evil little things in them. IDI1meX

Rather than review the entire box, I review the individual snacks. The box is so personalized that I rather just review snacks as I eat them. Today, I ate this gem: 8cB1cB2

The My Thai. It’s baked soy bites with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Clocks in at a whopping 80 calories. Came with 8 little soy bites (think tiny little rice cake like poppers) and a reservoir full of a thick sauce. The sauce is a nice mixture of sweet with a bit of heat. The ratio of sauce to soy bites was a little off, as I was left with a lot of sauce. I found it a tad bit sticky, which stopped me from putting a ton on a bite. Others may want to load these guys up.

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Verdict: I’ve switched this one to a LOVE. It gave the sweetness I will crave, with the crunch of a chip. And it was such a small, managable amount that won’t amount to extra time on the treadmill. Look forward to more of these. If you subscribe to Graze, you my invite code: KATES23RB. You get the 1st and 5th box for free, and I get a buck. Profit.