REVIEW: Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino

I generally can’t take anything with the adjective “serious” in it, seriously. But that’s the beauty of Starbucks’ new Serious Strawberry Frappuccino Blended Beverage. Strawberry is a fun, summer flavor, but this drink is so good that you should take it seriously.

We know Starbucks has a track-record for creating awesome fruit-flavored summer beverages, but I didn’t see this one coming! I thought at least the tasty mango pineapple flavor from last summer would be back, but I actually saw it as the lead at its Hong Kong and Taipei locations instead.

Either way, I’m not complaining. This new flavor makes more sense as it stays in the theme of R&D refreshing core flavors we already know and love. Although, truth be told the old Strawberries & Crème flavor never appealed to me, but Serious Strawberry’s botanical infusion and puree definitely did.

Speaking of the old flavor, Serious Strawberry means business as it replaces said old flavor completely, unlike the other new flavors. So, it’s particularly surprising that it’s not denoted with “Blended Crème” per Starbucks’ typical non-caffeinated nomenclature.

When picking up my drink, I got a kick out of the barista announcing, “Serious Strawberry for Tiffany!” It sounded so silly that I had my own Bart Simpson Anita Bath tee-hee-hee moment. But, that’s part of the charm – that moment can’t be replicated with a Misto or Matcha Latte.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 2

I noticed it was a little more liquid-y than expected. I enjoyed my beverage indoors, but I could see this melting very quickly in the heat if it were consumed outdoors. It was a fleeting thought as I was immediately distracted by the pretty pink and white resembling the pink marble trend all over Instagram right now. I was also pleased to see real strawberry seeds in the swirls of puree because it sparked hope that it wouldn’t be artificial tasting.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 3

My mind was blown from the first sip. The flavor was like if I stuck my straw in a juicy strawberry; there were some sips that were tangier than others and some sweeter like eating the fruit itself. The nuance was in part from the botanical infusion of apples, licorice root, hibiscus, rose hips, and lemongrass.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 4

But, the botanicals also contributed to what I misread at first as a slightly artificial aftertaste. However, as I continued drinking I knew that it wasn’t at all like an artificial/powdered strawberry milk flavoring. The vanilla whipped cream rounded out this classic combination of berries and dairy.

With all these seriously stellar summer flavor launches, it’s going to be a tough act for Starbucks to follow in the fall.

(Nutrition Facts – Tall 12 fl oz – 260 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugars, 3 grams of protein and 0 milligrams of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a drinking a strawberry – some sips are tarngier and some sips are sweeter. Still Instagrammable like pink marble. No caffeine (if you’re looking for a non-caffeinated option).
Cons: A bit more liquid-y than usual (may melt faster in the summer heat). Not seeing the value in the fancy botanical infusion – just created a bit of tastebud confusion as I mistook it for a slight artificial taste at first

QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Ultra Caramel Frappuccino

Starbucks Ultra Caramel Frappuccino

What is it?

Starbucks’ new Ultra Caramel Frappuccino launched with the Triple Mocha Frappuccino to kick off Frappuccino season. I straight up asked the barista what the difference was between the Ultra Caramel and original version. Not really selling it – he stated that it was a different caramel and whipped cream.

But it was so much more than that –- the caramel is a new dark caramel sauce, the new whipped cream is infused with cold brew (!!!), and it’s created in layers so that all the good stuff is distributed nicely throughout the drink.

How is it?


When I was in middle school, I used to drink a Venti Caramel Frappuccino with extra caramel every single summer day. A little bit gross, I know. So, the Ultra Caramel is like the upgraded adult version. I enjoy the smokier dark caramel sauce and the additional caffeine and coffee flavor from the cold brew whipped cream. The blended coffee is a good backdrop, but a bit icy per usual.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Starbucks Ultra Caramel Frappuccino 2

Starbucks needs to package this delicious cold brew whipped cream and sell it, please. But, you can add this topping to any drink for 50 cents extra. Also, Ultra is not replacing the original Caramel or Mocha flavors. But, the Ultra version will run you $0.80 more (than the original) for a Tall, $0.50 more for a Grande and Venti.


Hello Frappuccino season! The new Ultra Caramel is a great way to kick it off.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall (12 fl oz.)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 350 calories, 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and 70 milligrams of caffeine..

QUICK REVIEW: My Oreo Creation Pina Colada Oreo Cookies

My Oreo Creation Pina Colada Oreo Cookies

What is it?

Piña Colada Oreo Thins are one of the three finalists in the #MyOreoCreation contest. It’s a thin layer of pineapple and coconut flavored-creme sandwiched by two thin Golden cookies.

My Oreo Creation Pina Colada Oreo Cookies 2

Conjured up by a guy in Camden County, NJ, I chuckle a bit as I imagine him trying to think happy tropical getaway thoughts in the dead of a snowy, cold winter.

How is it?

It takes you to there – there as in that sunny beach destination. I expected this one to be overly coconut-y because most tropical flavors typically lean that way. But, there’s a great balance of between the two flavors.

My Oreo Creation Pina Colada Oreo Cookies 4

The trusty flavor we know and love from the existing Coconut Oreo Thins provides a nice backdrop and ending note to the brighter, more citrusy pineapple. The Golden cookie is just there as the vehicle, but a chocolate cookie would definitely not work in this flavor combo. I’m glad Nabisco made this an Oreo Thins because if it were a regular Oreo, the creme might be too much.

Is there anything else I need to know?

This cookie reminds me of a Big Stick and that’s a compliment. It reminds me of my childhood and those hot California summers with melted sugary goodness running down my hands and face. Now, I can taste that but without the mess!


I’ve had all three flavors and this one is my favorite by far. Vote for it on #MyOreoCreation to keep it around!

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.1 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4 cookies) 150 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix copy

My inner kid could not resist when I learned Duncan Hines launched a Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic (yes, this is actually on the packaging) Color Changing Cake!

I particularly love products that I can sarcastically hashtag #Adulting and #PeakAdulthood. This cake is the perfect instance of such because I can eat two for dinner without anyone judging me. Yes, I am completely aware this was probably created for small humans and their fun after-school snack/activity with Dad, Mom, or sitter. But, hey I’m living my best life over here.

Unfortunately, I read the instructions after I left the grocery store, so I didn’t read the part about needing three tablespoons of apple juice. Ugh. I could see apple juice easily being a staple item for a household with a small human, but there are none in mine! I was also irked by the thought of having to buy an entire bottle for three tablespoons. However, I was pleased to find a much more manageable 10-ounce bottle at Kroger.

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Powder

I pulled out one of the individual pouches and was surprised by the robustness of the packaging. I was thinking it would be paper, like a hot chocolate pouch, but I guess they’re serious about protecting the color changing magic. When I opened it, the contents looked and smelled like an unassuming vanilla powder.

As soon as I dropped in the first tablespoon of apple juice, I was delighted to see the white powder change to pink! Cue the Toy Story Aliens’ “OOOOOO.” Nowhere online or on-pack indicated when the Funtastic was going to happen, so I didn’t expect it so early!

But after some more mixing, the batter started to look like an unappetizing Pepto-Bismol pink. To compare, I also started a second mug with water instead of apple juice. The water version was also pink, but slightly less Pepto-like. It was also easier to mix. The powder seemed to congeal better versus sticking all over the sides of the mug.

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix

Apple juice (rear) Water (front)

Out of the microwave, the cakes looked like pink Play-Doh. It was so convincingly Play-Doh-like because of the slight sheen from the steam that I almost thought I could smell that signature musk. But, it was just my mind playing tricks; it still smelled like vanilla!

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Apple Juice Cooked

With apple juice

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Water Cooked

With water

It was also like eating a classic vanilla cake. It had a wonderful fluffy texture, wasn’t too sweet, and didn’t have a weird aftertaste. The water version was a bit fluffier and slightly less sweet than the apple juice version, which I preferred. So, if you don’t have apple juice handy, water will work fine!

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Water L Apple Juice Right

Water (left) Apple juice (right)

I am impressed with Duncan Hines. They’ve institutionalized mug cakes and have made them foolproof. If you’re looking for any easy snack, meal, or dessert for yourself (or your booger monsters), this Funtastic color changing cake should make your short list!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – 250 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Mug cake done right! Peak adulting. So fluffy! Works well with water also.
Cons: Definitely not pretty – Pepto and Play-Doh pink.

REVIEW: Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches

In honor of the new Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches, let’s go through a quick timeline:

Summer 2001: A young Tiffany tries her first Rolo, thinks the chewy caramel and milk chocolate combination is pretty good, but wonders why the shape oddly resembles a potty training seat.

June 2011: Nestle decided to try to make Rolo and ice cream happen – behold the Rolo McFlurry!

March 2016: The McFlurry did okay, so Nestle launched Dreyer’s Rolo Ice Cream

January 2018: The next evolution of Rolo ice cream — cones and sandwiches!

Moving on up in the world, R!


First, Rolos completely fell off my radar until now; it’s probably because peanut butter and chocolate took the spotlight for a while. Second, it’s kind of strange to launch a new ice cream flavor when three-fourths of the U.S. is still frozen from winter. But, luckily, I think ice cream tastes best when it’s 30 degrees outside. Anyone else?

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 6

Being the eager beaver, I scarfed down one cone, one sandwich, and an entire Rolo roll in one sitting. I started with the cone simply because of the packaging, which looks like Nestle’s Drumsticks but in a different outfit. As for the sandwich’s packaging, no one will care about it because it was a sad plastic sight next to the full-color cone.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 2

Although the cone’s packaging was pretty, it was hard to get off. There was some chocolate ice cream and caramel stuck on the side and it broke off the best part – the chocolate nugget at the bottom of the cone. While I rescued it, eating the chocolate nugget first felt all wrong. Order of operations, Nestle!

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 3

I enjoyed the top part of the cone with the chocolate frozen dairy dessert and caramel. It reminded me of a Rolo without the caramel stuck in my teeth. Then, I got to the vanilla part and chocolatey cone. These elements added nothing but sweetness. The cone tasted more like a standard sugar cone AND, while there was a crunching sound, it was soggy!

I loved three-eighths of the cone – the chocolate and caramel top and the chocolate nugget bottom – but the other five-eighths was disappointing.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 4

I had even lower expectations for the sandwich. I took it out of the plastic and thought, “What makes this Rolo again?” It looked like a regular vanilla ice cream sandwich. I had to re-read the box to remind myself it was caramel swirled into caramel frozen dairy dessert that didn’t even look caramel colored. It was plain white, but it definitely tasted sweeter than vanilla.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 5

The only flavor I could really discern was the chocolate cookie. So it reminded me of eating a sweeter version of a Carnation ice cream sandwich. Nothing about this was Rolo-y.

Final Takeaway? If you’re craving a Rolo, just eat the candy (or the top part of the cone).

(Nutrition Facts – Cones – 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sandwich – 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49 each
Size: 4 cones or 5 sandwiches per box
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cone)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Sandwich)
Pros: Nice packaging on the cone! Top part of the chocolate/caramel on the cone was great – like a Rolo without caramel getting stuck in my teeth. The chocolate nugget. I like frozen dairy dessert’s fluffier, lighter texture.
Cons: Cone packaging was hard to get off – broke off the chocolate nugget. Vanilla and chocolately cone added nothing but sweetness. Sandwich was a disappointment – just like a sweeter version of a Carnation ice cream sandwich.