Social Nature Review: SunWarrior Plant-Based Protein Powder

Social Nature
This is the first product I got to try through Social Nature, a company dedicated to helping people try natural. It is a freebie site similar to my previous posts (Influenster, 08Liter, and Smiley360) except that Social Nature exclusively samples green products, which is perfect for someone on a wellness journey like myself! From their website:

As natural product enthusiasts we look for products that care for the planet, respect animal rights, benefit the community and promote wellness.

You can read more about their core values here.

Their website is pretty easy to use. You view different products listed and specify which ones you’d like to try. You answer a few questions about whether you’ve heard of the brand before or tried the product before. If you are selected, they will ship the product to you for free in exchange for your review. Sharing on social media is encouraged, but it is not required or spammy like similar sites. You become eligible for even more rewards (like a $50 Whole Foods gift card) should you choose to share. I really like how there is no pressure to promote the product and the high value placed on authentic reviews.

Personal Goals
Due to some health issues, I started to reflect on my eating habits and I wanted to be more mindful of what goes in my body. I want to be prepared for more procedures that I have to endure and to set up my body for success as best as I can.

I started a goal of eating or drinking vegan products at least once a week. I purposely set the bar low and am increasing it as I go. This protein powder, which is vegan, caught my eye when I was browsing through the website so imagine my ÷excitement when I found out that I was selected to try it!

SunWarrior
I’ve heard great things about this brand before. They believe in sourcing organic ingredients and utilizing recyclable packaging for their products. This was my first time personally trying SunWarrior and it definitely left a great first impression. I intend to use more of their products moving forward.

Warrior Blend
This protein powder is perfect for energizing me in the morning or right before my yoga sessions. It can even work as a meal replacement for those of us who are always busy and on-the-go.

Not only is it vegan, but gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and all natural as well. It is easy to digest and filled with nutrients. Here is the ingredient list for the different flavors:

Vanilla: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Vanilla Flavor, Organic Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Chocolate: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Cocoa, Organic Chocolate Flavor, Organic Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Natural: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Suggestions for Use
See my Instagram for the “Before” picture. I made a simple smoothie using a mix of fruits below:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla protein powder

I’ve also mixed it with yogurt, honey, and coconut milk to change up the flavor. I can be pretty picky when it comes to taste but I actually like the taste of this protein powder! Again, you can easily mix it in a smoothie and mask the taste if need be. The Vanilla flavor is very versatile but I’ve heard that the Chocolate flavor is tasty as well.

Special Offer
Here is a coupon link for $3 off any flavor of this protein powder. It is redeemable at the Vitamin Shoppe, so look for locations near you. The coupon is good until October 31, 2017.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think! Have you tried this product before or do you plan to? How will you use it? Let me know if the coupon helps!

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from Social Nature for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates! See my Instagram bio for social media links—currently subscribing back and following back on all!

Advertisements

Smiley360: Sharing Tools and Missions

I recently started as a product reviewer and want to share how others can do the same. Hopefully this blog post will be as helpful as my previous post about Influenster.  Smiley360 and Influenster are similar in that they are both free resources for trying out products before you buy and for giving feedback to the brands.

Missions = Campaigns
The product campaigns are called “Missions”, located on the right side of the Dashboard. Similar to Influenster, you can earn badges by completing these campaigns, making it more likely that you will get even more campaigns. Currently, I am on the “Lights, Camera, Action” mission, which is geared towards helping members learn how to use the Smiley360 website.

Sharing tools = Social media
“Sharing tools” allow you to earn points and unlock the badges. There are different types that are mostly self-explanatory: Facebook, Facebook Page, Photo to Facebook, Twitter, Photo to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blog Review, Face2Face, SmileyConnect, E-mail, etc. The sharing tool I am using for this post is called “Blog Review”.

Q&A 

What’s your favorite Sharing Tool on Smiley360 and why?

My favorite Sharing Tool usually depends on the mission as different missions can have different Sharing Tools. For example, I have a mission for probiotics coming up and I am just waiting for the product to arrive. When it does, I plan to share it with friends offline (called “Face2Face”) and with other consumers via the Smiley360 discussion threads (“Smiley Connect”). I also like to post on my Instagram feed, so follow me on Instagram for more updates!

How has connecting your social media accounts to the Sharing Tools helped you earn and complete more Smiley360 Missions?

Connecting my social media has helped me with missions because I am able to unlock more Sharing Tools and earn more points towards the badges. For example, I created new accounts for Facebook and Twitter during my “Smiley360 Introduction Mission” to earn all 55 points for the badge. Building a following takes time but don’t be discouraged! I am happy to have a community of like-minded followers that are very kind and supportive. Speaking of which, follow me on any social media platform and I will follow back!

How do you create and share great content on your Missions? Share your top tips for writing a detailed post, taking a quality photo, or recording an engaging video.

I share my honest, personal opinion in hopes that it will inspire others to do the same. For a detailed post, I think about what questions I might have and try to provide answers for those. I do my best to make my post relatable and informative.

For a quality photo, lighting and composition is key. I pick a focal point and a clean background. I think of an inspiring message I want to share and try to build on how I can convey that. Personally, I’m not a fan of overly filtering photos and prefer a more natural look. An example is this picture where I am hoping to inspire others to find ways to drink healthy even on a busy schedule (I receive the featured product for free through Smiley360). It was the first Instagram photo I shared with Smiley360 so I was ecstatic when they reposted it!

As far as an engaging video goes, I am a newbie myself. I just finished making my own DIY ring light today, but I’m still a bit self-conscious about my first video. Stay tuned on my YouTube and/or Instagram for that! My username for both is the same as my blog name–ExploreBeautyXO. Feel free to share any tips about filming videos, editing videos, or even your YouTube link so we can support each other!

Are you a member of Smiley360? Even if not, do you have any tips on sharing great content?

Disclaimer: This blog post is written as an entry for the “Lights, Camera, Action” contest on Smiley360.

BrandBacker Review: NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35

Firming? Check.
Moisturizing? Check.
Sun protection? Check.

Brand
NeoStrata is an innovative brand known for its breakthrough towards firming and retexturing skin. NeoStrata is sold in physician’s offices, but more conveniently, it can be purchased online: Neostrata Sheer Hydrator. This particular product costs $48 but I think it’s worth the splurge. Here’s why…

Product Information

– Broad spectrum sunscreen protects skin from burning and further sun damage
– Evens skin tone and improve skin firmness
– Formulated with patented NeoGlucosamine® which is clinically proven to help diminish the appearance of dark spots
– Phytotal®, a botanical blend, helps control and reduce oiliness without irritation
– Oil-free
– Fragrance-free
– Non-comedogenic/non-acnegenic

First Impression
I was curious to try NeoStrata and this is my first time doing so! I’m happy to get the opportunity to try it for free through BrandBacker. The packaging is simple and easy to open. It gives a breakdown of the ingredients used and is easy to understand.

What first caught my eye is its firming properties. I believe that we should celebrate beauty in all ages but I also believe in doing what I can now to minimize the effects of time in the long run. I think it’s good to be proactive and start your skincare routine sooner rather than later.

Personal Background
I started law school weeks after turning 21 years old, and that’s when I noticed that my metabolism decreased. “Freshman 15” easily doubled. I had to make more of an effort to be physically active while having enough time to manage my school (and work) load. Those few years through law school and passing the bar felt like an eternity, and it aged me both internally and externally. I transitioned to a full-time career afterwards, and it was even harder to feel youthful.

Fast forward years later, and I have taken a huge interest in finding amazing products that are anti-aging and alleviates my skin concerns. For reference, I have oily-combination skin which doesn’t make finding such products any easier. So let’s get on with it.

When to Wear
As with most products containing sunscreen, it’s recommended to use this during the day for UVA/UVB protection. This moisturizer has SPF 35 so it meets the recommended SPF amount, plus a little bit more.

It is perfect to use on a hot beach day or even an end-of-summer BBQ, now that back-to-school season is starting up again. It’s a lightweight formula so it’s good to be used daily if needed.

How to Use
Apply liberally to face and neck daily, 15 minutes before sun exposure. Use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Reapply at least every 2 hours.

Results
I have only used it for a few days so far but my skin tone does noticeably look better. I think it works with my skin type too. I love that it does not leave a white residue unlike alternatives. It is hydrating, the smell is not as strong, and the formula is not as heavy compared to other moisturizers with SPF protection. Best of all, it is lightweight enough for me to use under my makeup! I have yet to find a similar product that does the same.

Final Thoughts
I am definitely going to continue to use it. This product has exceeded my expectations of the NeoStrata brand and I would love to check out more of their products.

No matter what age you are and your skin concern (dark spots, oiliness, etc.), this product seems to offer a little something to accommodate everyone. Would recommend checking it out.

Disclaimer: I tried Neostrata Sheer Hydrator free through BrandBacker for testing purposes and for my honest review.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates! My Facebook page went live recently and my YouTube will be going live soon too. See Instagram bio or home page for social media links—currently following back on all!

09/06/17 UPDATE: The words “firming” and “retexturing” were substituted in to fight against stereotypical views of aging, especially within the skincare industry.

Essential oils and migraines: any tips?


I started getting chronic migraines a few years ago. I’ve tried several preventative and acute pharmaceutical medications, but most come with side effects. Because of this I have been looking into more natural ways of relieving the debilitating pain that inevitably happens.

Meditation, yoga stretches, vitamins, and essential oils. It’s not an instant cure but it does help A LOT. I am slowly but surely making lifestyle changes to be a better, healthier me.

I’ve tried some basic essential oils already–lavender, peppermint oil, eucalyptus–using them occasionally to ease aches and nausea. Which essential oils do you use?

Most recently, I purchased the necklace featured above at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KHOKFSK, making it convenient to wear essential oils all day. It’s basically a portable mini-diffuser. You just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) into it and you’re ready to go! What would you wear with it?

I’m so excited to wear this necklace as part of my wellness journey. I plan on accessorizing my yoga outfits with it, which is a lot, because I practically live in yoga pants. The necklace comes with 8 colorful refill pads so you can match it with different outfits.  It comes in a cute pouch too, making it easy to give as a present. It’s back-to-school season and you probably know someone who can use a little aromatherapy stress relief in their life. I know I can.

Do you have any advice about migraines or aromatherapy in general? Would love to hear your stories too!

Follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO to see other accessories I got from the same seller (owl earrings, leaf earrings, chakra necklace). I’m currently following back, and subbing back, on all social media—links are on my home page or in my Insta bio.

Disclaimer: I tried the items mentioned above through Tomoson and purchased these items at a discount in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Party!

Let’s support each other and grow together!

Do you want your blog to be viewed by thousands of people? Do you want to connect with other bloggers? Then welcome. This is a post dedicated to all of you in order to share and promote your work and find other likeminded individuals. If you are interested check the rules below:

  1. Follow my blog
  2. In a comment write a few things about your blog and a link to either your homepage or your favorite post.
  3. Be careful add only ONE link to your comments or they will go to spam. If you want to share more links create separate comments.
  4. For each link you share check another one out.

Have fun!

Influenster: VoxBoxes and VirtualVoxes

Good morning darlings! I’m posting back to back today because I got a ton to catch up on. For those who aren’t familiar, Influenster is a company that sends free samples in exchange for honest reviews. Click here if you’d like to sign up and sync your Facebook–don’t worry, they shouldn’t post without your permission.

I wanted to share tips for new users and my experience with it so far.

Impact Score: Again, Facebook!
Connecting social media is the first thing to do. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Four Square, Google Plus, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, maybe a different blogging site, email referrals. Connect it all! The bigger your following, the higher your score will be. And the higher your score, the more products you’re more likely to receive. I started from scratch because I wanted to give my existing feed an option to follow or not. You can always build your following though it does take time. Speaking of which, check out my social media links!

Badges: Be active!
Download the app. Scan the barcode, take a picture, and write a review. You can start with products you already own. Go through your makeup bags, your kitchen fridge, your medicine cabinet, etc. Reviewing and participating in the Q&A community will unlock more badges, which in turn qualify you for even more badges through campaigns! Sometimes the app can be glitchy so when this happens, I check out the website through my laptop instead.

Demographics: Who knows.
Each campaign has a target demographic which usually isn’t disclosed to members. It could be open to US residents only or Canada residents only. Perhaps a certain skin type. Perhaps consumers of a certain store. Compared to other sites, you don’t “apply” for campaigns on Influenster. Sometimes you may not get a campaign you really want. This past month I’ve heard of several high-end beauty launches that I’d really love to join and I’m hoping that there are more invitations to come.

Campaigns: Prizes!
Check your e-mail since this may be preceded by “snaps” which are basically surveys. Completing activities within a campaign will result in badges and a chance to win prizes. I have received six campaign invitations from Influenster so far:

  1. Beach Bash VirtualVox
  2. Olay at Walmart VirtualVox
  3. Maybelline NY VoxBox
  4. Origins GinZing VoxBox
  5. Hourglass Confessions VirtualVox
  6. Beauty Awards 2017 Virtual Vox (Post 1 and Post 2)

Unlike VoxBoxes where products are sent by mail, VirtualVoxes tend to focus on product displays and first impressions at the store. They are also campaigns, so you can win badges and prizes as well.

Final Thoughts: My experience on Influenster so far has been great. Getting a VoxBox in the mail always brightens up my day. It’s like a little present!

I am excited to see what campaigns I will get in the future and share them with you all. Hopefully it’ll be more makeup and skincare; maybe even some pet products for my little Yorkie Poo. Maybe some jeans or even a Keurig 😉

The “Beauty Awards” are coming up soon and they are taking nominations for 45 different categories. You can nominate your favorites too! Follow me on Instagram for updates on that. I follow back on other social media too.

08Liter Review: Skin’s Boni strawberry brightening pack (peel-off facial mask)

This is my first official adventure into Korean beauty though I’ve heard amazing things about it. When I first got the notification that I would receive this product, I was ecstatic! I eagerly awaited the mail and am happy to share my first product review with 08Liter.

First Impression:  I LOVE the packaging! It is absolutely adorable (see more pictures in my Instagram post) and looks like a yogurt pack. It is small and convenient to store.

 

Scent: There is a very faint, subtle strawberry smell which I like. Some peel-off masks have strong, overpowering chemical smells that usually don’t work well with sensitive skin. Luckily that’s not a problem here.

 

Consistency: The formula has a thick, creamy consistency that is very sticky. The yogurt pack comes with a plentiful amount of formula which is more than enough to cover the entire face.

 

PRO TIP: I would advise pulling your hair back to make sure you don’t accidentally pull out hairs. Make sure to avoid the eye and mouth area as well.

 

Peel-Off: The mask started drying around 20 minutes but I waited a little longer since I applied a very thick layer to use the entire pack. The peel-off process wasn’t as painful compared to other masks I’ve tried, and it was easy to do. My skin felt smoother and was visibly brighter after using it.

 

Final Impression: I absolutely adore and would recommend!

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from 08Liter for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.