Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

Here and there I like to dabble in different sorts of skincare. Oils have been a hot item recently with a surge of various facial oils on the market as well as cleansing oils. I recently picked up The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter as I've been on the hunt for a one-step makeup remover/cleanser and was intrigued by some of the good reviews this product garnered. It retails for $15 USD for 2.7oz (76g), but The Body Shop often has sales so you could probably grab this guy for less. I was debating between this cleansing butter and their similarly named Camomile Cleansing Oil, but the lady in the store said the oil was a little more messy and was not as apt at removing waterproof eye makeup, which was one of the primary reasons I was interested in this type of product. 
Nice compact tin, easy to travel with

The product is a white, waxy substance that is soft and melts easily into the skin. The fragrance is a light, sweet floral scent that is nice - though I can't really vouch for it's "chamomile-ness" since I'm not sure what chamomile smells like. It's pleasant - and not overbearing at all. 

You rub your fingers in the product and gently massage onto your dry face to work the product in and it melts in smooth and quickly. I do spend some extra time working it into my eye area and have had no trouble with burning or irritation. Once massaged in, you rinse your face with warm water. I have been using this cleansing butter for about a week - I wear a full face pretty much every day - foundation, blush, contour, and waterproof mascara and eyeliner - and this stuff has been working to take it all off. After rinsing, my face feels clean, smooth, and (mostly) residue free. It also definitely removes waterproof eye makeup!  Some of the ones I use are exceptionally tough to remove - Maybelline Rocket, Maybelline Lash Sensational (review to come!), and Covergirl Lashblast, to name a few. I previously was using cotton rounds soaked with Neutrogena's Oil Free Makeup Remover  to remove my eye makeup, but found even that didn't remove my waterproof stuff all that well, not to mention the greasy residue it routinely left behind. 

Now - I said this left my face *mostly* residue free - I still feel a slight slip as I rinse my eye area, as if it were still ever so slightly greasy. If I am using the butter alone I sometimes still wipe my eyes with a cotton round doused in some Bioderma to "degrease" any residue left behind.  I have to be honest - I do usually cleanse again after using this cleansing butter with a face wash that contains AHA/BHA or Benzoyl peroxide, as that is my usual routine to help keep my spots at bay - but - you really don't need to double cleanse after using this balm. I have used it alone and my skin does feel soft and cleansed, even my eye area doesn't really feel like it has much there. So far, I haven't experienced any extra breakouts or increased congestion since using this balm. It feels really nice to massage it in and rinse it off. You have NO idea how annoying it is to me to have to hold cotton rounds to my eyeballs nightly in an attempt to undo all my warpaint, only to not even have all of it be removed! (I have tried a myriad of eye makeup removers which claim to remove waterproof stuff including Clinique Take the Day off, BiodermaLancome's Bifacil - probably the best but oh so pricey, and  Sonia Kashuk's Eye Makeup Remover -my least fave of the bunch.) I also didn't want to use these makeup removers for all over the face, so I would end up using them just for my eyes, and then washing the rest of my face with a face wash anyway. Sorry. That was a l o t of makeup remover complaining! Anyway, this cleansing butter has been really nice to use. There is no absolute need to double cleanse like I do - really -I just do anyway because I'm paranoid! At $15 it may not seem the most economical but a little goes a long way and I think you can definitely snag it on sale if you just keep an eye on their website. 

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you've tried the product! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blue Apron vs Gobble Meal Delivery Review and Comparison

Many days I am at work anywhere from 10-14 hours, sometimes longer. The inclination after a tiring day for many of us is to snack incessantly on random goodies (guilty!) or to pick up less than healthy take out or just go out to eat. The idea of thinking up something to cook is certainly low on my list of things I want to do, much less go to the store to pick up groceries. Several of my friends turned me onto Blue Apron, which is a "meal delivery" service of sorts. Basically you sign up and they send you a box of ingredients once a week to make 3 meals that serve two people. They have weekly menus offering 5-6 different choices of dishes with vegetarian, and omnivore options. You fill out a quick survey specifying food preferences when you sign up and they send you some combination of 3 meals each week. There are options for 2 persons or a family plan, but no plans available for one person. The box they send includes all the items you need to make the meal, but you do have to wash and chop stuff. Blue Apron meals come together in 30-45 minutes depending on the recipe. 

Blue Apron: Sauteeing!

Blue Apron: Finished product! Korean Style Tteok: Spicy Pork Ragu with Gai Lan

Blue Apron: Banana Leaf Steamed Cod with Spiced Rice, Yu Choy and Coconut

This differs from Gobble -where they boast 10 minute meals, one pan, and minimal-no food preparation. 

Everything is nicely packaged and there are ice packs in there to keep everything fresh and cold.

Meals are individually packaged with Gobble - very convenient.

That's my problem with feels more like food assembly than cooking to me since many components of the recipe are already prepared/pre-cooked. I also feel the dishes Blue Apron sent resulted in restaurant quality meals (see my pictures above) while Gobble meals seemed more like frozen meal quality. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of our Gobble meals to show. I received one set of meals from each service prior to this review. The other nice thing is that both services send you free invites to give your friends to try their service after subscribing for a while. You have the option with both programs to skip weeks - you can do this ahead of time, and you can always unskip weeks as well. You can easily sign up, receive a week of recipes, and skip the next few weeks to see if you like the service. If you do this, you can preview the next week's menu of recipes with Blue Apron; with Gobble only as the upcoming week approaches do they send you an email notifying you of the coming meals -and then you can unskip the next week if there are recipes you are interested in. Of course, you can just opt to receive meals and be surprised when your delivery comes!    

Oh! I almost forgot to talk about the pricing. Both are reasonably priced. Blue Apron is $59.94 for 2 persons/3 meals ($9.99 per person per meal) with free shipping. The Family plan is for 4 people and you have either a 2 or 4 meal option at $8.74 per person per meal. Gobble is $11.95 per person, so for 2 persons/3 meals it comes to $71.70, and for 4 people/3 meals $143.40 - I'm guessing the higher price is because more of the recipe is done for you. These prices include the tax/shipping so the $59.94 is the total price you pay per week with Blue Apron and the same for $71.70 with Gobble. While it may not seem as cost effective as you buying all the ingredients for a recipe at the grocery store - there is a lot less if any food waste. I know many times I've tossed bunches of dried out parsley, or unused celery among other unused and spoiled produce after cooking. It seems so wasteful to me and money down the drain in reality just the same. 

Overall, I think these are great services for the busy person who still wants the satisfaction of a great tasting home cooked meal. It would be nice if there was an option for a single person I think, but the prices are reasonable for two, and if you don't have someone to eat the second meal, the food is good enough that you won't mind eating the other portion as well! On that note - the portion sizes are good and you will definitely be full. Trust me, I'm an eater! After trying both services, I definitely think Blue Apron is the better program. Their websites are very similar but Blue Apron's is better, and I really like that you can preview the menus with Blue Apron. These services take the guesswork out of meal planning which for me, is hugely helpful, and their recipes are quite inventive. 

I really think you would enjoy at least trying one of these programs - Gobble currently only delivers to California and Nevada, while Blue Apron delivers to most states. I would love to hear you what you guys think! Leave me a comment with your thoughts.