Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gnu Foods review part 1

Hello all!  Just a quick reminder to check out my Aurorae giveaway here!

A couple weeks ago Gnu Foods sent me a box of Gnu Bars to review.  Their website is very informational, and you can get all your questions answered here.  You can also find a store near you here.  The following quote from their website sums up their products:

"Gnu Bars are a great healthy snack that pack 12 grams of fiber into one small bar! Each of our bars is made with delicious, all-natural ingredients that keep you feeling great inside and out."

That's a lot of fiber in a 130-140 calorie bar!  As for taste, I would describe them as a mix between a Heart Thrive and a Larabar.  More moist than a Heart Thrive, and more oaty but not as sweet as a Larabar.  Here are some of the flavors I've tried so far:

Lemon Ginger Bar

7.5 of 10. This flavor gets a lower score mainly because I'm not a huge lemon fan.  I was happy that the lemon flavor wasn't overpowering, but it was still a bit much for me.  The hint of ginger was nice, and I loved the moisture of this bar.  It was also quite chewy and somewhat crunchy.  It was the perfect sweetness.  One thing I didn't like about it though, and all of the Gnu Bars actually, is the fact that it had whole flax seeds.  I don't like how they get stuck in your teeth, and I also know that your body can't digest whole flax seeds very well unless you chew them fully, which is hard to do since they're so small.  But, hey, that's just my opinion.  My humble suggestion would be for them to use ground flax seed instead :-).

Banana Walnut Bar

9 of 10.  Great banana aroma!  Quite sweet like banana bread, while also being crunchy, soft, and chewy.  I definitely enjoyed the pieces of walnuts too.  A great treat!

Cinnamon Raisin Bar

9.5 of 10!  This was my favorite flavor!  It was the perfect blend of cinnamon and raisin - with whole raisins!  It was sweet, chewy, and very fresh!

Chocolate Brownie Bar

9 of 10.  A mild chocolate brownie flavor, but a slightly bitter and sweet dark chocolate after taste.  Nice texture (minus the flax seeds) and the perfect amount of chocolate to satisfy a chocolate craving :-).  A truly delicious and nutritous treat!

I'll be reviewing the other flavors within a week or so.  Overall, I am quite impressed by these bars.  There is one caveat though.  These bars have A LOT of fiber... SO if you generally eat a lot of whole grains, fruits, and veggies, you may need to watch your intake of fiber on days you want to enjoy these bars.  Also, I wouldn't recommend having more than one of these bars a day unless it's going to be your only source of fiber for some reason.  I had two of these bars one day in addition to veggies, fruit, and oatmeal... and I learned that fiber overload is not a pleasant feeling!  Just some humble words of wisdom :-).

I can't leave without showing you a picture of my FAVORITE flower that is now in bloom:

wait for it.......

almost there.....

you're going to love it.....

Ha, ha!  Just joking ;-).  My actual favorite flower is below:

Yes, lilacs!!  So beautiful and such a heavenly fragrance!

Have a wonderful week!

And... there's another shopping spree here:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yoga Tune Up review

Just a quick reminder to enter my Aurorae yoga giveaway here

Now, on the topic of yoga, I recently had the wonderful opportunity to review the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Ball Program.  What is this, you ask?  Well, here is some info. from their website:

The Yoga Tune Up® Get Down & Roll™ Therapy Ball System provides targeted self-massage trigger point therapy by using specially designed high grip rubber balls and focused movement routines that help penetrate through layers of skin and muscle to massage deeply into your high tension areas.
  • Relieve Stress  
  • Unwind Knots  
  • Loosen Locked Muscles

Personally, I think of it as an alternative to foam rolling.  Of course, I'm sure both target muscles in different ways and could be useful in self-massage!
Here is my pic:

The kit that I was sent free of charge to review included two therapy balls and a CD with guided exercises.  I give this product a 10 of 10!  The texture of the balls truly does grip the skin and allow for a better massage.  While tennis balls would certainly be a cheap alternative, these particular balls are truly unique.  They can get fairly deep into your muscles and work out tension and kinks.  I could definitely feel the effects after using them.  This system is a great way to massage your muscles after any type of exercise or even just sitting or standing at work all day. 
Now I think I may need to buy myself a foam roller too so I can compare :-).
I hope you all enjoyed celebrating Earth Week - though I personally think we could use an Earth Year!  I actually saw Avatar for the first time last night, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone.  It is action-packed with great graphics and a wonderful message about taking care of our environment!
I only have 2 weeks until I graduate!!  It's crunch time ;-).
You also might want to check out a Silk giveaway here!!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Aurorae Giveaway!

Here it is - the moment you've been waiting for ;-).  Aurorae Yoga generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for my readers.  One of you will win the exact same package I received: yoga mat, yoga sport sweat towel, and yoga slip free rosin bag.  You'll love it!

How to enter:

Go to the Aurorae website, pick the color mat you'd like and tell me about it in a comment. If you win, you get the mat!  The mats are different colors that reflect different personality traits.

For extra entries:

Become a Twitter follower of @AuroraeYoga or a Facebook fan (one entry).

Follow me on twitter AND tweet about the giveaway by stating: @cygirl88 is hosting an @AuroraeYoga giveaway on Food, Fotos, and Fun!   Comment with a link to your tweet.  (one entry)

The contest ends on April 30, 2010. The winner will be chosen at random via generator and will be posted on my blog. Only one person per household may enter. The winner will have 72 hours to post a comment on my blog with their e-mail address.  I will then e-mail them in order to get their shipping address.  If a winner doesn't respond, another winner will be chosen. Contest is open to U.S. Residents, 18 yrs. and older only. Each entry must be submitted in a separate comment.

Good luck!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Aurorae Yoga Review

If you were to tell me two years ago that I'd be an avid yoga lover and practicer today, I would've laughed.  I was obsessed with aerobic activities like running and kickboxing.  I'd tried yoga a couple times but it wasn't "real" exercise becuase it was too slow.  Not to mention that I was discouraged by the flexibility of everyone else in the classes.  I didn't feel liked I belonged. 

Now it's a different story, and I LOVE yoga!  I started it up this January in the hopes that doing some relaxing moves before bed would help me sleep.  It worked (usually)!  I would watch 10 minute or longer videos on YouTube or use some of the workouts at  These videos have persuaded me that regardless of my flexibility, yoga can still be beneficial to me.  Of course, the more I practice, the more flexible I become :-). 

Now, since I was just starting up yoga and doing it in the comfort of my dorm room, I hadn't purchased a yoga mat.  Instead I just did the poses on the carpet-like rug in my room.  It sufficed, but I longed for something better. 

Along comes Aurorae Yoga!!!  I was generously offered the chance to review a great package from them including a yoga mat, yoga sport sweat towel, and a slip free rosin bag!  I was sooo excited when the package arrived a couple days ago! 

First, I want to share the owner's statement from Dennis Ingui with you.  You can find it in addition to lots of other information on their website - which has amazing background music by the way, so you should check it out ;-).

"I started this company from the passion I developed for yoga over the past nine years. Being a cancer survivor since 2001, I needed an outlet in my life to help build my body as well as develop inner peace for my mind. Yoga has helped accomplish both these goals for me while also making many new friends and energizing me with a positive and balanced attitude toward life."

That's a wonderful statement if you ask me.  I am also a big fan of Dennis Ingui's close to his statement:

"Remember, "it's your yoga" so don't be intimidated or uncomfortable." 

That is a very important reminder that I can never hear enough!

Here is the package I received:

Above you can see the different colors their yoga mats come in.  I am very happy with my pink "Hope" mat :-)

Here it is all rolled out on top of the rug I previously used for my nightly practice.

I give the yoga mat a 10 of 10!  It is thick, soft, easy to grip, and LONG!  It's also machine washable and made with eco-friendly material.  The focal point icon is very helpful when trying to maintain balance.  Suffice it to say that I am very happy with this yoga mat!

The yoga sport sweat towel and slip free rosin bag also get 10's.  The towel, machine washable too (of course!), is soft and absorbant.  It also has beautiful embroidery!  The slip free rosin bag was new to me, but I thought it worked quite well.  I'm not sure how long it's supposed to last, but I'll definitely be keeping it in the plastic ziploc bag so as to increase its life as they suggest.  Using the bag helped me to grip the mat, and it kept my hands from slipping.  I also like the fact that it is odor-free.

Now.... Aurorae Yoga wasn't just generous to me... they're also allowing me to host a GIVEAWAY on their behalf!!  Stay tuned for that in the coming week ;-).

Some flower pictures as promised:

Have a wonderful week!  And don't forget to check out Aurorae Yoga :-).

Also, if you have the chance, please head over The Candid RD's blog to help take a stand again Slim Fast's recent contradictory weight loss claim!

Prevention RD has also posted about the ad:

If you take a quick survey here:  then you'll be entered in a giveaway!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ice Cream for Spring

Hello!  The warmer weather has been making me crave ice cream lately.  The vanilla soft serve (with peanuts!) from the ISU cafeteria has become my favorite go-to dessert lately as you can see below.  And, yes it is a small serving... but it's just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth on a daily basis :-).

As for the ISU campus, the bushes are 'a budding!  Soon there will be blooming flowers and trees too - which means some beautiful pictures to be posted here in the upcoming month.  Stay tuned!!

That's all I have for now.  I'm super busy with school work, but summer will be here before I know it!  Best of luck to all my fellow students (and graduating seniors!) out there.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Luna Bar Review and Pictures

I am absolutely loving the spring weather here in Iowa.  Sure, there's been some rain and wind, but it's MUCH better than winter!  I've been enjoying every minute of my outside runs and am hoping the summer heat holds off until the end of May... we'll see ;-).

A while back I received 3 Luna Bar flavors to review from Clif Bar and Company.  Here's my review of them:

Chocolate Peppermint Stick

9.5 of 10.  I loved the mint chocolate flavor of this bar!  The peppermint icing was sweet, and the delicate crunch of the bar (with oats and soy rice crisps) was perfect.  This is a great treat for chocolate lovers... and maybe even non-chocolate lovers.

Caramel Nut Brownie

8.5 of 10.  Very pretty bar with good consistency and crunch.  It had a delicious chocolate icing and a decent brownie flavor too, but I would have liked the caramel flavor to be a bit stronger.  A few more nuts would have been nice too :-).

Nutz Over Chocolate

9 of 10. I loved the chocolate iced bottom and the wonderfully crunchy texture.  You can't really go wrong with PB and chocolate, but I would have liked the PB flavor to be a bit more pronounced.  Larger peanut chunks would be nice too, but maybe I'm getting too picky ;-).

I'd definitely recommend Luna Bars as a tasty, healthy snack.  There are lots of flavors to choose from too!

And I can't leave without sharing some more beautiful pictures with you all!  The following are from my spring break trip to Indiana University in Bloomington.  It is seriously the most beautiful campus you'll ever see!!

Are you all enjoying some fabulous spring weather too?  What activities have you been taking outside now that the weather is warming up? 

You should also check out the "Shop til you Drop" giveaway here:


Friday, April 2, 2010

YouShake Review and one of my favorite combos!

One of my favorite combos is:

Banana and peanut butter :-)

Now for my YouShake review.  Here's a little info. about YouShake:

With You Shake's easy Make-a-Shake page:
  • You choose high quality ingredients such as freeze-dried fruit
  • You choose the individual portion size.
  • Your shakes are made fresh-to-order and shipped to your door with a satisfaction guarantee. If you don't love your shakes, you'll get a new box free of charge.
  • Your customized nutrition facts and your chosen shake name are printed on each shake package.
  • Friendly telephone customer support is available to answers questions and provide helpful recommendations.
You can mix the YouShake with water, milk, or juice.  You can also use it in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or anything else you feel like adding it to.  I was sent 3 flavors to sample and review, and I chose to use them with oatmeal and Malt-O-Meal since I'm always looking for new ways to add flavor to my breakfast grains!

Breakfast Shake

8.5 of 10.  I'm not including the picture of this one because I mixed it with dry oatmeal and water in a hotel room and didn't have a microwave... so it didn't mix up extremely well (which wasn't too surprising!).  I was still able to enjoy the nice, mellow chocolate flavor.  I was happy to find that it didn't taste "high protein" like some shake mixes can. 

Vanilla Dream

8 of 10.  Great vanilla aroma, but the flavor itself wasn't as strong as I would have liked.  It mixed in well with the Malt-O-Meal that I was able to cook in a microwave :-).

Blended Bliss

9.5 of 10.  Fabulous strawberry banana flavor!  I really enjoyed the little bits of strawberries, especially since I wasn't really expecting them :-).  It worked wonderfully in my Malt-O-Meal.

Overall, the YouShakes were decent except for the Blended Bliss that blew me away.  Therefore, while some of their flavors may not be that exceptional, you should be able to make one that you like.  Besides, they offer a satisfaction guarantee, so you can't really go wrong even if you do get a flavor that you don't enjoy.

I'm also pretty sure that you can all still receive a 5% discount on an order through YouBar if you use my discount code “FoodFotos”.

And.... the flowers are blooming on campus at Iowa State!  I was so excited that I took a couple pictures for you.

I hope you all have a great Easter if you celebrate it, and if not, have a wonderful first weekend of April!

Here's an Easter giveaway you can check out too!