The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi

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Influenster Sugar ‘N Spice Voxbox Spring 2013 Recap



Disclaimer:  I received the products below free from Influenster to test, review, and enjoy.  Additionally, I personally always attempt to purchase and use all natural, chemical – free products but I am not evaluating any of the products from that angle.  I simply used the products and am giving my feedback on what I liked and disliked.


Item #1 – Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture, $7.99 for 6.5 oz. can

Influenster, “New Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture is a continuous spray lotion that moisturizes and absorbs in seconds, and leaves skin feeling instantly soft – not sticky or greasy.  Now you won’t have to wait for your lotion to absorb before pulling on those skinny jeans!”

Me: I received a can of the  Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisturizer with pure oat extract to use and sample.  The scent of the lotion was not pleasant to me, maybe others would be more pleasing.  Also, I didn’t think it saved any more time than my current moisturizing product and routine.  I think it could be great for photo shoots, weddings, the beach, or any special event where you need instant moisture in a fine mist.  For everyday use, the price at $7.99 is too steep for me.  If you used the can everyday it would probably last about two weeks.  I’ve been using the product for a month and it’s been far from daily and it’s just now running out.

Item #2 – Nectresse, $6.99 for 5.9 oz. container, or $3.99 for box of 40 packets.  


Influenster, “Nectresse sweetner tastes like sugar but has zero calories per serving! 100 % all natural, NECTRESSE is made primarliy from monk fruit combined with other natural sweeteners.”

Me: I received a box of 40 packets and sent some to my twitter friend, farmerdarrell and distributed some to another friend as well (who I keep forgetting to ask what they thought).  I’m hypoglycemic so I’m always interested in alternative sweeteners that don’t affect blood sugar levels.  I don’t really cook with sugar or use sugar in my daily routine so I just sweetened beverages to test it out.  I didn’t like the way the sweetener made my cup of coffee taste.  Granted, I do like my coffee black but the sweetener had an odd aftertaste with the coffee.  It would be great for malts, shakes, cereal, oatmeal, pudding, etc.

farmerdarrell: “Nectresse came at the best time for me, I am diabetic and was going through complications controlling my sugar numbers. While stabilizing my numbers I used Nectresse to sweeten rice and cold cereal, I usually don’t like/use sweeteners other than sugar but this tasted similar, no after-taste at all. I saved some packets til my diabetic numbers were in-line to see if it would raise them. I used them in place of sugar in some lemonade and it was delicious!! Good product!!”

Item #3 – Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes, $5.99 for a 20 count box.


Influenster, “Introducing Dickingson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes – The soothing blend of Witch Hazel and aloe on these facial wipes rejuvenates your skin by gently lifting dirt, oil and impurities from your pores while nourishing even the most sensitive skin.  The result is a clean, refreshed and blemish-free complexion even when you’re out and about.”

Me:  I loved this product.  I have sensitive, dry skin and these towelettes did not further dry or irritate my skin.  I loved the convenience of the packets as they were easy to take with me to modeling jobs or the gym.  I’ll definitely be purchasing these again and think they should be a staple in any travel kit.


Item #4 – Colgate Optic White Regimen

Toothpaste: $2.99 for 4 oz. tube
Mouthwash: $2.99 for 8 oz. bottle
Toothbrush: $2.99 per brush

Influenster, ” Your VoxBox not contains not one, but THREE Colgate Optic White products in a new high impact formula. Use the Optic White toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash together for whiter teeth in five days (vs. brushing with an ordinary toothpaste alone).”

Me:  I agree that the Colgate Optic White products whiten better than ordinary toothpaste alone.  However, I can’t say that I see a difference from the other whitening brand of toothpaste that I had been using.  I thought the toothpaste and mouthwash both had a clean and refreshing flavor.  I loved the head and bristles of the brush but couldn’t seem to get a good grip on the handle base on the shape and size.  I wouldn’t buy the brush because it kept slipping around in my hands but I have long, skinny fingers and hands.  If you don’t, then you may have better results.  I’d recommend the toothpaste and the mouthwash.

Item #5, belVita Breakfast Biscuits: $3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits


Influenster, “belVita Breakfast Biscuits are made with delicious ingredients and carefully baked to release steady energy that lasts all morning.  They are a good source of Fiber and B-vitamins, contain no high fructose corn syrup, have 18 – 20 grams of whole grain per 50 gram serving and taste great – perfect for on-the-go!”

Me:  I also loved these and will definitely purchase them.  I liked the texture of the biscuit and it did provide sustained energy.  It was sweet enough to be pleasant and it seemed to be a low glycemic food but that’s just based on how my own body digested it, I don’t know if it is or not.  They tasted good, it’s a great price for a nutritious, on-the-go snack and I always have a bag of food just like this on hand.  Try them, you’ll like them!



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LIVING NATURAL: Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh 100% Natural Walnut Based Cat Litter

(Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Blue Buffalo and no one asked me to write this review. )

I have three cats, and they are my little bundles of joy and angels in fur.  I can’t imagine my life without their furry little selves greeting me when I come home, laying by me when I’m sick, hanging out in the garden with me, or cuddling up to me cozily when I watch a movie.  Last year, I expanded my cat family from one cat to three cats, it was unplanned and not really wanted, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The problem with three cats  is that there is a lot of litter box usage happening.   I was struggling to keep my house from smelling like cats lived here and I absolutely abhor the smell of a dirty litter box.  There are few things worse to me than the smell of ammonia or cat pee in the air. I try to tread gently on the earth and live free of artificial chemicals, reduce my waste, and use biodegradable product and had struggled to find a cat litter that made me feel okay about using it.  I have tried pine litter, recycled news litter, and clay litters made especially for multi cat use with so called odor busters and fragrances.  None of them worked.  The  litters with fragrance created this icky fragrance laced cat pee ammonia smell and didn’t show any improvement over other clay litters.  The pine litter developed a sweet piney cat pee smell, which also left me feeling nauseous.

On my last trip to PetSmart, I discovered the Blue Buffalo 100% Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Cat Litter (non-clumping formula) and decided to give it a whirl.

Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Walnut Based non clumping cat litter

Blue Buffalo 100% Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Cat Litter, in a nutshell:

– More than 2x the odor control of non-clumping litters (True!  I would even say it’s more than 2x.)
– Virtually dust free (Hallelujah!)
– Low tracking
– All natural, and made from an annually renewable resource.
– Chemical and toxin free
– All of the walnuts used are grown in the USA
– The litter should last at least 30 days between changes if you have a single cat household.

I have been purchasing Blue Buffalo cat food for five years now and am sold on the brand, so I felt very comfortable trying a different product from them.  It seemed like a win-win situation, the product is made from walnut shells which is a naturally odor neutralizing agent that is biodegradable and renewable.  The litter itself is pellet shaped and since it is not clay based there is virtually no dust and it won’t get stuck to kitty paws and tracked through the house.  It does not clump like clay litter, but there is a type of clumping action that happens when the pellets absorb the urine.  After using it for a month, I’m sold, this product works.  I do clean out the poo and pee soaked pellets on a daily basis.

Litter box after two weeks, waste has been scooped out and this is what remains.

If you have a standard scoop the pellets won’t drop through the holes, and you have to try and only scoop the waste that you want to remove, but that is the only downside I have found with this product.  I did not transition my cats into this new litter, I simply cleaned out the old, disinfected the boxes, and filled with the new pellet litter.  My cats did not have any problems adjusting to the new litter.  At the Pet Smart I visited this was the only type of Blue Buffalo litter available, but I plan on trying the multi cat formula and clumping formula on my next litter purchase.  I am thrilled that I discovered this cat litter, my house no longer smells like cats live here, and I’ve managed to accomplish that goal by using a product that is in line with my desire to be chemcial free, renewable,  and enviornmentally friendly.

Here are some places where you can buy this product online.

Mr. Chewy – 15% off store wide today, free shipping on orders over $49. The non clumping formula is 12.99 for a 17 lb. bag. (More expensive product than purchasing at PetSmart. I’ve never shopped this site, but if convenience is key then this may be for you.)

PetSmart – Non Clumping formula is normally 9.99, but is 7.99 through today I believe.

Our pets deserve to live natural, chemical-free lives too!  Let’s give them the loving, healthy, clean environments they deserve.


04/22/13 – Update :   I have three cats and apparently one of them did not like using the litter after awhile.  I was using the non clumping formula so it could be that I didn’t completely empty it often enough.  Anyway, the cat started using the bathroom all of the house and after trying several things to stop it I eventually tried Tidy Cat again and now I have no more cat messes.  I did use the litter all the way up until about two months ago and would still use it if my cat didn’t dissaprove. The clumping formula of Blue Buffalo is out of my price range but maybe I’ll find another alternative again that my cat will approve of.