Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chomps Beef Jerky Review

You say beef jerky and I think Slim Jims. 
Not because I love them, but that's a brand that I'm familiar with. 
I've had the occasional hankering for some, when I can't run to my Polish butcher for some 
homemade stuff. 
But, we also know that they are loaded with chemicals. 

Being a teacher, I often have "snacky" lunches, or something that can tie me
over through an almost hour commute. 
I had the chance to try an assortment of beef jerky complementary from the brand

As their website declares:
Well, considering the fact that I know that Slim Jim's are terrible and contain questionable "meat", anything could be healthier. 
Apparently, if you follow the Whole30 or Paleo movement, 
these are also approved by both programs.  
I don't really follow either, but I do try to opt for healthier, and more natural foods when I can.

But, I had the chance to try three flavors, so in ranking of my favorite to least here we go!

Hoppin Jalapeno

I should preface this with, I love spicy food.  I love spicy meats even more. The texture of this is very similar to a Slim Jim, with a thin outer casing, and softer inside.  You get actual, identifiable chunks of jalapeƱo within the stick *you've been warned*. The fat was well distributed, although the minor downside is that I wish it didn't have a sweetness to it.  It needs just that little bit more of salt. 

Yep! Mid-study snack!
This is closest to what an original Slim Jim would be like.  Has the meaty-ness, the savory flavor.  
This does not have the sweetness of the other two, and therefor you get a nice steady heat.  This comes second best as there was just something about that Jalapeno which tasted just a TINY bit better. 

Crankin' Cran
You can see a a little bit of cranberry in this bite!
This is for the hot and spicy and sweet wallop lovers. I love my spicy and this is the spiciest of the bunch, BUT the sweetness of the cranberry plus the natural sweetness of the stick combine to be a bit sickly. You can see the actual chunks of cranberry and habanero peppers, and your mouth will feel the heat, which I LOVE. But that follow up sweetness is something I disliked. 

As you might notice, these sticks have a sweetness to them, which I don't LOVE. I LIKE 
the flavor options. I LIKE that they are actually spicy and not a whimpy flavor. But that sweet after taste leaves me with a ".... um what?"

Nutritional Facts versus Slim Jim
Okay, so let's talk about those nutritional facts. What are the stats on this thing?

So let's start with the portion, both are 28grams. So same size, great!
The Chomps stick is only 100 calories, while Slim Jim's are 140.
For those who follow strict food programs, that might already become a deal breaker. 
Slim Jim's have 11 grams of fat, 25mg of cholesterol, 480mg of salt and 4 grams of carbs. 
Meanwhile the Chomps stick has 3 grams of fat, 20 mg of cholesterol,  and almost HALF the sodium at 250mg.  It also has zero carbs.  Considering that we eat a lot of foods already with salt, I'll be glad to take the lower option. 

For my protein loving friends, Chomps has 9 grams of protein, while Slim Jim has 6. 

So looking at the Nutritional Facts, the Chomps brand is more mindful, and probably the "healthier" option of both. 

So let's discuss ingredients.  It's awesome to see a short list of pronounceable ingredients.  In Chomps Original Sticks there are 10 ingredients.  There are actual spices, and they use celery juice as a preservative.  (I never knew you could do that!)

Slim Jim's 
Um. Yeah. What is exactly the purpose of outlining that chicken is mechanically separated? 
Soy protein concentrate? 
No wonder why my mom never let me take these things in my lunch boxes!

Clearly, Chomps uses better ingredients. 

So show me the money!
After this side by side, we know that Chomps is better, but then we know usually more natural means much more expensive. 
A Slim Jim from my locale ShopRite retails at $1.49.
Chomps sell via their own website, and offers several package options, and I've calculated to see what are the price points. 

You can buy a 5 count pack for $11.25. 
Ouch. This means that each stick is $2.25. 

A box or 24 count pack goes for $49, 
which breaks down to $2.04.

A case or 144 count pack goes for $259
and you get free shipping with this one. 
This option breaks down each stick to $1.80.

The most cost effective option would then become the 144 count, and yes you can get a mixture of the brands three flavors. No matter which option, you will pay between 40-76 cents more per snack stick. 
For orders over $75 the shipping is free, and for under it is a flat rate of $4. 

Final Thoughts:
I really hope this brand expands into supermarkets near me. 
Or at least into my more natural markets such as Whole Foods, Fairway or Trader Joes. 
 While this doesn't beat out my trusty Polish butcher shop, this is much better than any Slim Jim. 
If you are looking to have natural, 100 calorie snacks, this is a good option. 

Interested in Purchasing?

*I was sent the products complimentarily for review.  This does not affect my honest opinions within this post*

Billion Dollar Brows Kit Face Off

So I'm the type of person who HAS to draw in her brows, because I have SUCH
light natural brows.  I have about half an inch of darker brows, and then light hairs. 
So filling in my brows is pretty important, needless to say. 

I was contacted by the company Billion Dollar Brows 
to be able to test out two available kits, at two price points. 
I figured, hey, let's do a face off and see if either is better than the other 
and do I feel like either is truly worth the money. 

The first kit up is the cheaper of the two:

60 Seconds to Beautiful Brows ($24)
There are two parts to this kit:
1. The Brow Powder in Taupe:
I got the color taupe which is the lightest shade, and when you first open the container, it seems rather dark.  If you have very fair blonde hair this would not be the product for you, I have dark blonde and need to go in with a careful hand. 
I found the powder to go very nicely, with no clumps or changes in tone ,
 that said, I still felt like it needed a wax or a gel to just set the powder. 
I have dry brow area (don't ask how but I do get a few flakes *ew* there), 
so if I'm not careful I find that any brow powder gets worn down faster. 

2. Dual Ended Brow Brush
The brush is slim and stiff enough to stand up to sculpting a brow, and the spoolie.. well really what can you say about a brow spoolie? It worked fine but this comes from the girl who snags them for free at Sephora. I may actually switch out this brush for my other brow brush because it is THAT good. 

That is the biggest fault I find with the kit, the fact that the brow powders do not go lighter. 
Also, I feel like I'd have preferred a brow gel, just to keep the powder in my brows, as my skin is most dry in that area and can wear away easily. 

Similar Products:
When I saw this kit, I first thought of Anastasia brow powders. 
I could have sworn that they had a brush and powder set, but the closest one I can find is in ULTA
at $36 and comes with a gel, powder and brush. 
Otherwise to purchase separately to build a similar kit you would spend $23 on a powder and then $18 on a similar brush. 
Even though Anastasia has more tones, it becomes much more expensive. 

the next kit is:
The Best Sellers Kit ($42)

The kit comes with four products
1. Universal Brow Pencil:
I'm going to give it straight, I don't like using pencils for my brows. I dislike the concept of the "universal" tone even more. The kit claims to work on blondes and brunettes, but you have to be even more careful with blonde hair as you have to press super light.  I'd rather have a specific "blonde" pencil, if I had to. It is creamy, but maybe my skill or comfort level just isn't up there.
2. Brow Duo Pencil
This was kind of the hidden gem of the kit.  At first I had a "psssssh" thought to the pencil, knowing that most concealers in this form are dry or they are the wrong color. 
This may become an issue for girls with different tones as there is only one color of concealer.
This has a creamy highlight on one end and the concealer on the other. 
Neither have shimmer or sparkle, but I hate to say that they are matte as they are not dry!
I did find that they work best when patted into the skin instead of smudged. 
3. Smudge Brush
This was a product that I just felt was an afterthought.  Something that was a "fluff" product.  
It's like those sponge tip applicators or blush brushes and are kinda useless.  At first I thought I could try to use this IN my brows, but the brush is too wide. The packaging says this is supposed to be used to blend the Brow Duo Pencil.  I'd rather had gotten a good pencil brush to blend in the products. This was actually my least favorite product, even beating out the pencil. 
4. Brow Gel
This clear brow gel doesn't leave my brows crispy or the old school super shellac-ed look.  It holds the brows in place.  I used this with the brow powder from the other kit as well, and it held the powder quite nicely.  I just feel that if you have a waxy pencil, your brows can usually stick in the right place, thus not needing a brow gel.  But then again, I don't have difficult brows. 

Anything labeled universal already gets on my nerves, as it just never works 100 percent. 
The "smudge brush" was also a product I just felt that could have been done without and let's be honest, it's probably better known to be a flat liner brush. 
I'd rather a kit of 3 good products, than 3 and 1 mediocre product. 
$42 is a fair amount to spend on brow products, especially when you want to invest in a kit, and I'd want each product to be a star, not "just okay". 

Final Thoughts:
Due to my own preferences in brow products, I'd have to say that I would better recommend the 60 Seconds to Beautiful Brows Kit.  The kit uses a powder, which I find better matches my tone than a "universal" pencil (even though there is a limited color range) plus the brush makes application so much better. 
The brush in the Best Sellers Kit seem to be just an after thought, something I could very easily purchase from ELF at a buck. If I could, I wish the 60 Second Kit came with the brow gel from the Best Sellers Kit.  That would make the 60 Second Kit spot on. 

Both kits are available on the Billion Dollar Brows website. 

Both kits were sent to be reviewed from Billion Dollar Brows, but does
 not affect the honest opinions presented in this post.