WIAW #3 (But Not Really)

For this week’s WIAW, I thought that instead of doing a food related post I would do a little something different. I still managed to incorporate food somehow though.

I’m going to show you what I’ve been working on the past month for a very special event coming up this weekend. My cousin Sarah is getting married June 13th and I get to be a bridesmaid in the wedding, which is a first for me. This Saturday is her bridal shower and Bachelorette party.  I was asked by her maid of honor to be in charge of the game prizes for the shower. Sarah apparently told her I love wrapping gifts and being creative. Well, she was right. Originally I had planned on doing something simple-maybe a bottle of wine with a boquet of flowers or candy. Cute idea, but not good enough for me. I always end up going a little crazy with gifts. I have a lot of fun shopping for other people. I love putting together gift baskets and coming up with creative gifts rather than being more simple, just to make my life easier. For the shower I needed to come up with 7 prizes.

Since the weather is getting nicer and it’s spring I wanted to do something colorful and fun. I like when gifts all have a common theme and match. Weeks ago, I went to Party city and bought 7 different Chinese takeout boxes in different colors. I was going to make truffles and fill the boxes with those and then pair each box with flowers. I crossed that idea off the list after I realized I probably wouldn’t have time to make and decorate a bunch of truffles. So then I thought, what is something that virtually all females like and can use? Right  away I thought of makeup. I headed over to the Ulta website to check out the situation and came up with this-each box will get 4 pieces of makeup plus a homemade bracelet. I tried my best to match the pieces with the color of the box but it was hard. Ulta always offers awesome deals and I happened to visit the site during a great sale. I also got free shipping, which always seals the deal for me. Since I recently started making jewelry I thought it would be nice to make bracelets to go with each prize. This was time consuming but fun. I made these first, before deciding on the makeup and everything else. I always try adding a homemade touch to gifts that I give. The beads match the color of the box each one goes with and attached to each one is a different heart.

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Here’s a peek into one of my boxes-and my favorite bracelet. Each box has a nail polish, eye shadow, anti-bacterial gel, and lip color. The candy will go in a separate bag.

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Everything in this box (below) matched almost perfectly. Love this one too.

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But…this still wasn’t enough for me. Something else pretty much all females enjoy? Sweets. In particular, chocolate and cookies. These won’t be done until Friday because that is when I am picking the cookies up from the store. They will be sugar cookies with crystal sugar sprinkles (matching the color of the box. I had to). So, into the treat bags will go a few cookies, a special piece of candy from Malley’s ( I bought some Malley-ohs, and chocolate covered pretzels), and then gumballs that also match the color of the box. I also got matching ribbon for the treat bags. I know, people might think I’m strange for doing the whole color coordinated thing…and maybe my prizes are over the top but I have so much fun doing things like this. This is an example of me working creativity into my life. I’m very excited to see what the women think of my prizes on Saturday and I wouldn’t mind winning one myself 😉

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NEXT UP for today-a product review. One of my all time favorite things to eat is a quest bar. I talk about these all the time to the point where it’s probably obnoxious, but seriously these are incredible. I’m not going to review each flavor, although I have tried them all. But I will describe a few. These are, in my opinion, the best protein bars on the market.  Quest products taste so good that it’s like you are eating something very unhealthy, however the nutrition facts are incredible.They do not use any sugar in their products. In fact, the only sugar in the bars comes from natural ingredients, like nuts and dried fruit. (click the link to read about their ingredients). Quest offers the following products-protein bars and powders, protein chips and Quest pasta. I have tried everything except the pasta and another product, Quest Cravings, which is their version of a Reesee’s cup. I’ll review the powder in another post, after I try all the flavors.

Aside from the taste, what I like best about Quest bars is their nutritional profile. All of the bars have at least 20g of protein, 3-5 g net carbs (which comes only from the natural ingredients used to make the bar-for example, nuts). The fat content ranges from 5-10g, calories range from 160-210 and all the bars are high in fiber and have virtually 0g of sugar. These bars are said to be the only truly low carb bars on the market. They almost sound too good to be true. But, I will not be the first to say that these are legit. I’ve been buying quest bars for a few years now. I have tried them baked, microwaved, and broiled. I’ve shaped them into cookies, and I’ve made them into pop-tarts. I’ve seen many recipes involving the bars, and I’ve tried a lot of them. I’ve tried all the flavors (there are 18) and I can honestly say there are only about 2 flavors I am not fond of. I don’t buy a lot of the older flavors, like pb&j or peanut butter supreme, because I like so many other flavors. I would eat those two though. The only two I probably won’t try again are lemon supreme and mixed berry. They aren’t bad-just not my thing. I love these bars because I am always trying to increase the protein in my diet. I try getting my protein from natural, whole sources like chicken and eggs but with 20 g of protein, these are a great boost to my daily intake. I don’t use these as full meal replacements. I eat them either as a snack or if I am in a rush, for breakfast or lunch on the run (always paired with something else).

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Anyway, on to some of the flavors. I prefer the bars that have chunks over the other ones, but two of my favorite bars actually happen to be chunk-free. Yes I just used that phrase. I get real excited when Quest comes out with a new flavor. The newest one that just rolled out is mint chocolate chunk. It’s…good, however not as good as I was hoping…especially after seeing all the reviews from other bloggers and fitness gurus. A lot of people are saying it takes just like a girl scout thin mint cookie. Ehhh I’d have to disagree. It’s good, yes. But thin mint? Not quite. Thin mints are hands down my favorite girl scout cookie, so the quest bar was facing a touch competitor. This might not be a bar that I buy as often but once in a while I’m sure I’ll get a taste for it. The other newest bar is the s’mores flavor. Now this one-just, yes. This is s’mores in bar form. It has chunks of graham cracker, marshmallow bits and chocolate chunks. Need I say more? This one deserves many gold stars.

As far as taste, texture, and nutrition go-Quest takes home the win. The only downside to these are the price. I have gotten pretty good at searching for the lowest prices but it’s hard. I usually end up buying them from Giant Eagle, where they are the cheapest at $2.25. Sometimes Heinens sells them 5 for $10. When I see that advertisement I lose it. That’s insanely cheap for what these usually cost. On the Quest website, a single bar is $2.39 and a box of 12 is $24.99. This doesn’t include S&H fees. It is difficult to find websites where they are cheaper than that but it can be done. There are certain sites I go to quite often to see what kinds of deals they have. Some sites I have bought from include BodyBuilding.com , LuckyVitamin.com , and Amazon (VERY good deals there). I like buying them as single bars rather than full boxes because I like having more options to choose from. The only time I have bought a full box was recently and I only did it because the price was killer AND it was my all time favorite flavor. My current Quest collection has a nice variety. These are some of the ones I have now.

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Choco chip cookie dough, cookies ‘n’ cream, banana nut, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chunk, s’mores

And here are my 3 favorite flavors.

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On the top-chocolate brownie. This legit tastes like a brownie and I wouldn’t lie to you about that. Warm it up and it’s over.

On the bottom-cinnamon roll. This has always been one of my favorites. Something about the texture made me fall in love. The taste is also top notch. Not quite a Grands cinnamon roll but pretty damn close. Warmed up, it gets >5 stars easily. I like to put a stevia/greek yogurt frosting on top.

And in the middle is my most beloved Quest bar. Double chocolate chunk. The description reads  “A chocolate lovers dream… finally come true!” SOLD. I can’t even describe how much I love this flavor. I sound so lame talking about it but when I am eating this bar I literally feel a sense of happiness. It is that good.

Quest, you make me happy. Please don’t ever stop. If you’ve never tried a quest bar, what are you waiting for??? You are missing out on a real treat. So please. head on over to the website and see for yourself. Then, take a ride to your local GNC, vitamin shoppe, Giant Eagle, or Heinens and pick up a bar.

Cheat clean my friends.

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All information found/taken from questnutrition.com

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