Reviews You Can Use: Lunchblox

With back to school sales in full swing and some children having already started the new school year, lunch box options are everywhere. And even though I’m long out of school, I still pack my lunch (and sometimes dinner depending on my schedule) everyday so I’ve tried many of them. My favorite has to be the Rubbermaid LunchBlox. I have two sets of the entree ones that come with multiple containers and a few months ago I also picked up the salad one, which is the one seen in this post. The lunchblox brand is great because not only does everything fit together, but they also snap into their own ice trays to keep everything cold.
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The salad lunchblox kit consists of a large square container with a three-compartment tray that fits into the top and a seperate container for condiments. I put lettuce in the bottom of the large container and then sit the tray on top of that. In the tray, I put cheese, chicken and bacon bits. Then I fill the seperate container with salad dressing and secure its lid before placing it in the tray on top of my cheese. Then I put the large container’s lid on and snap the whole thing into an ice tray which keeps everything cold. Plus, the seperate compartments allow me to take everything I need for my salad to work, but to not assemble it until I get there. That way everything stays intact and doesn’t get mushy or mixed together. It also fits inside my Thirty-One lunchbox with room to spare.
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If you’re looking for a good salad option, you may want to check into the Rubbermaid LunchBlox salad kit. They also have other options including a sandwich kit and an entree kit.

I was not paid for this review nor did I receive this product free for review. This post represents my own experience with the product.
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Reviews You Can Use: Dessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing Three Step System

20150326_211720Recently, I had the opportunity to test out the new Dessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing Three Step System. It consists of a shampoo, a conditioner and a leave-in replenishing oil treatment, all designed to replenish dry, damaged hair. It’s easy to use, starting first with the shampoo and conditioner and then applying the treatment and the bottles are made to look very high-end, with a mix of golds and coppers, fairly unusual hair product colors which I’m sure will make them pop on the shelves. Also, the scent isn’t horrible–kind of a spicy, cologne style versus the usual clean florals of many shampoos.

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Fresh from the shower post-conditioner and yet frizzy and dry.

Now, with that said, the product just fell flat for me. I used it for a week, although if I had purchased it, I probably would have quit much sooner. The whole system is all about its “three precious oils–argan, camellia and pracaxi.” What it doesn’t highlight, of course, is that the second ingredient in the shampoo is a sulfate, plus its full of a variety of alcohol and other chemicals. The oils aren’t listed until much lower in the ingredient list, signifying that there’s probably not much of them actually in the bottle. Because of the ingredients, I wasn’t really surprised when it massively dried my hair out. The “replenishing” conditioner didn’t do much to help the situation. Then, adding the oil, which you’re encouraged to use 2-3 dime size drops, I used two, somehow creates this oily, grease slick, yet frizzy and dry hair. It’s fairly odd and I’m definitely not a fan. I have very long, thick hair and moisture is important to me. This just didn’t work. I’m not sure why something that is supposed to be replenishing would use ingredients that are obviously not replenishing. Then, to get the shiny hair it says it’ll give you, it’s like they just said let’s oil things up, because oil creates shine, right?  Yeah, I’m fairly certainly that’s not the kind of shine we’re looking for. The whole thing just made me want to rewash my hair.

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Post oil application which creates an oily, greasy, unclean feeling.

Something I also found odd was that the largest portion of the text on the bottle, minus the ingredients list, is all about the creator. There’s only a few lines actually describing the product itself. That’s nice that the owner was a word-renowned hairstylist in France back in the 1950s, but tell me how fabulous your product is. I can Google him.

Bottom line, I’m not a fan and this product wasn’t for me. There are some who may absolutely love it, but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea.

I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. I was not compensated for my review.

Reviews You Can Use: The Vow VoxBox

IMG_20140612_215928I recently had the opportunity to test some products thanks to a VoxBox from Influenster. The box had a wedding theme and featured some wedding-ish products:

  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda
  • Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream
  • Riley & Grey
  • Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream
  • EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge
  • Tide to Go

See? That’s why I said wedding-ish. You could kind of use these items for wedding day prep, but they also work into the “for everyday use” category, too. At any rate, here’s the skinny on the above:

  • 20140705_174809Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda: This wasn’t my first rodeo with Sally Hansen and I actually love their complete salon manicure line. It’s a base coat, color and top coat in one which is great for me because I’m not into over complicated beauty things. I can paint this on and go, no extra steps needed. With that said, I’m not in love with the Barracuda shade. I think it’s supposed to be a Tiffany Blue knock off, and I don’t really have a problem with the color in general, but it is not cute on nails. Sorry Sally, it just isn’t.
  • IMG_20140808_195102Olay Regenerist Tone Perfecting Cream: This stuff smells amazing and is super creamy. It leaves a nice clean smelling, moisturized effect on your skin which is fabulous. However, it’s almost a little greasy and I didn’t use it long enough to try out the tone perfecting piece of it. In general, I don’t really need too much tone perfecting, so I’d probably stick with a non-tone perfecting cream, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt. Downside to this one is really the price. I’m not someone who regularly spends $30.99 on face cream. Heck, I’m not the type of person who spends $10 on face cream (I’ll probably kick myself for that when I’m the wrinkly one at the senior center Bingo).
  • Riley & Grey: This one is fairly fun even though I can’t make use of it. Riley & Grey is a company that is revolutionizing the wedding website. These sites are gorgeous, modern and fairly expensive. However, there’s a 50% off code: RGINFLUENSTER
  • 20140704_110743Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream: The raspberry scent smells amazing! That aside, it’s basically like all other shave creams, but minus the mess. This one actually comes out of the can as foam, unlike some other shave creams geared towards women that come out of the can as gel until you move them around and they turn foamy. Bottom line, if you’re a shave cream girl, this one is a winner.
  • EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge: In a nutshell, this thing seems to work okay. There’s really nothing too fancy about it. It’s a sponge which you can apply your facial cleanser to in order to clean your face. Easy enough, right?
  • IMG_20140626_141908Tide to Go: I like the concept of Tide to Go, but I wish it were easier. This thing requires some serious elbow grease. I tried it out on fresh stains, thanks to my husband’s Chipotle burrito bowl, and I had to really scrub for probably 10 minutes. Even then, it didn’t get the stains all the way out, but rather it just faded them. If a product is supposed to be used on the go, let’s make it easy, mmkay?

So there you have it. Which products have you tried? Which do you want to try now that you’ve read my fabulous review? My suggestion–paint your nails, shave your legs, clean your face, apply your moisturizing cream and de-stain your clothes before taking the ultimate glamour shot to feature on your Riley & Grey website.You know you want to.

 

I received these products free for testing purposes from Influenster. I was not compensated for this review.

Reviews You Can Use: Pure Silk Shaving Cream

20140704_110743Okay ladies, if you’re like me, you don’t waste your time with shaving cream. Why buy something extra when you can easily shave with a good body wash? I’m a shower shaver, if you’re not, I encourage you to look into it. The steam of the shower creates the perfect condition for a close shave. Plus, who has time to deal with the hassle of trying to shave in the sink?

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So, being someone who doesn’t purchase shaving cream (although I have been known to sneak my husband’s from time to time…) I was a little skeptical about trying the Pure Silk Shaving Cream I received from Influenster for testing. I’ll admit I left it in the box for a while before finally testing it out. How did I use it?

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Sorry Britney, I’m not convinced. No, I went old school and took it to the legs. Unlike some other women’s shaving creams that come out a gel until you move them around, this one comes out the can as foam ready to go. That’s fairly fun because who can resist creating shaving cream animals? No, you can? Really? Okay…moving on…

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The shaving cream worked really well, allowing me to get a nice clean shave while also moisturizing my skin. It wasn’t super messy either and had a great raspberry scent. Bottom line, I could live with it, but let’s be honest–I’m cheap and probably won’t justify the cost just for the raspberry scent, but you might. Try it out and see what you think. You may love it.

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I received this item free from Influenster for testing purposes. I was not compensated for this review.

Ipsy: May Glam Bag

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Apologize for the photo quality here. Quick cellphone snap.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I made the decision to switch from Birchbox to Ipsy and love it. (You can read my comparison of the two here.) Well I received my second Glam Bag and just have to share all about it.

The theme of the May bag was “Beauty’s Fresh Picks.” The bag itself went along with the fresh theme, featuring a leaf print on a neutral background. Inside the bag were five items: Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask, Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo, Avene Thermal Spring Water, Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria and Jersey Shore Sun Sans Tan Anti-aging Sunscreen.

I actually had a small issue with the bag. My eyeshadow duo came broken! Tiny gold dust was all over the other products in my bag. I went online and found out I was not the only one this happened to. However, I contacted Ipsy and was sent a new eyeshadow. Unfortunately, the new duo was not the same color as the old one, but that’s fine. It came super fast so I really couldn’t complain.

My favorite product from the bag (and I admit I haven’t used them all yet) is the Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask. I love it! I use it once every one to two weeks and it leaves my hair nourished and looking great. Plus, it smells amazing. I only wish the bottle were bigger. I’m definitely going to be purchasing this one in the future.

20140606_234409Other things I love: the eyeshadow duo is fun and really, can you ever have too much eyeshadow? I love the little sunscreen. I like tiny sunscreens that I can toss in a bag and carry to the beach, the pool or even an outdoor photo session. They’re great for the face, which is an area that easily gets sun burnt.

Things I’m not so sure about: I’m not a fragrance girl so I’m not entirely loving the endless euphoria. I’m sure it’s great, but it’s not my thing. Also, the spring water, I doubt I have much use for it. I just can’t see myself running around spritzing my face with water. Maybe I’ll just decide to go for it one day and try it out, but I doubt it. We’ll see.

Bottom line: I love my bag and I love my hair mask. I’m definitely still a fan of Ipsy. Let’s see what next month brings.

Want to try it yourself? Visit this link. It’s only $10 a month and you didn’t need that Chick-fil-A extra large combo anyway, right?

This post represents my own experience with Ispy. I was not compensated in any way.

 

Hold the veggies, keep the loaf…

20140529_144757If you’ve read this blog, you know that I’m a gluten free goddess. No, I don’t run around referring to myself as “the goddess” or “gfg” because then you’d hate me, but I am gluten free and what that means is sometimes I find myself eating some unusual things in the sake of time. It’s not easy being gluten free and having to figure out what to take for lunch everyday, especially when you work in a rural area where there’s gluten aplenty.

Behold, the veggie loaf. Paired with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots, plus made by Amy’s, it can’t be bad, right? Wrong. I’m fairly open-minded, I can try new things, but veggie loaf won’t be on my shopping list again any time soon.

20140529_150017You think it’s going to be like meatloaf, but made out of vegetables, kind of like one of those MorningStar chicken nuggets that taste fairly close to chicken, but aren’t chicken. Veggie loaf is a whole other ballgame. It’s a loaf and it’s made out of veggies, but not how you would think. It’s kind of green inside and has whole peas and other vegetables in it. Plus, it’s mushy and all of that combined doesn’t make for a good non-meat loaf. The mashed potatoes and peas and carrots were great, but the veggie loaf is not my thing.

I love Amy’s, in fact I had a great broccoli and cheddar bowl made by them yesterday, but I won’t be venturing down the veggie loaf path again for a very, very long time.

I was not compensated for this review. It represents my own experience with the product.

Reviews You Can Use: Battle of the Blades

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Hydro, Glow, Soliel

As a BzzAgent, I recently had the opportunity to test out the new Bic Soleil Glow razor. I’m a  huge fan of the original Soleil, so I was more than excited to try it out. Incidentally, I also received a Schick Hydro razor sample in the mail. Perfect timing on that one Schick. What better way to check out the competition than reviewing both at once?

Let’s start with the Soleil Glow. The razor itself is similar in shape to the original Soleil with a handle that has a grip underneath for the palm of your hand and one on the top for your forefinger. Like its predecessor, the Glow also comes in nice pastel colors, perfect for summer. Men may like their black razors, but us women like them to be pretty. It is what it is.

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Glow vs Soliel original

That’s where the comparison between the Soleil and Soleil Glow stops. The Glow features a swivel head, previously unseen in the original and also has a slightly larger blade setup. Both would be perfect if not for the large amount of plastic surrounding the blades. This one design flaw keeps the razor from being a true upgrade from its original form. Because the blades are set deep within, the plastic prevents a close shave. While great for a preteen girl just learning how to shave, it isn’t so great for us veterans. Every woman wants a close shave and that just isn’t possible with this razor.

Meanwhile, the Hydro excels where the Glow doesn’t. It’s slightly larger, but also features the swivel head and has a similar shape with grips underneath and on top. It also has a larger blade head which isn’t marred down with the unnecessary plastic of the Glow. It should be noted that the Hydro is a reusable, meaning the blade heads can be 20140604_213805switched out, whereas the Glow is a disposable. You use it up and toss it away. What does that mean? Razor heads are usually fairly expensive compared to disposables and I won’t pay the money for them. Once the Hydro’s blade is used up, I’ll be dropping it into a basket under the sink somewhere, likely never to be seen again. Don’t rejoice yet Glow fans, because I won’t be buying that one either. When it’s finished I’ll toss it in the trash and likely move back to its predecessor. It’s cheap and it works like a dream. Should Bic change the Glow then we’ll reevaluate, but until then, it’ll be the original all the way.

Reviews You Can Use: Mary Kay VoxBox

20140427_184817Thanks to the wonderfully fabulous Influenster, I recently had the opportunity to test out some Mary Kay sun-kissed products. Being one that favors a more natural makeup look, I’ve never been a fan of Mary Kay. My impression has always been that Mary Kay favors a more made-up look–definitely not my thing. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I kept an open mind as I awaited the arrival of my test kit. Boy was I ever surprised.

20140512_201358Included in the kit were several products, all geared towards brightening up my spring look and getting ready for summer. Here’s what was in my box:

  • Lash Love Mascara in I ❤ Black
  • Cream Eye Color in Apricot Twist
  • Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush
  • Translucent Loose Powder
  • Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black with an Expandable Brush Applicator
  • Bronzing Powder
  • NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in Mango Tango
  • A Cream Eye Color/Concealer Brush
  • A Blush/Bronzer Brush

The box was amazing! I was so surprised to get full-sized samples of so many products and couldn’t wait to try them out. Since then, I’ve definitely found my favorites.

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A softer, more subtle look

My loves:

  • The mascara is amazing. It stays put and doesn’t flake like some mascaras, plus the applicator is really easy to use and there are no smudges.
  • The cream eye color is the best I’ve ever used. In the past, I’ve had issues with creasing where the eye color would wear away halfway through the day, particularly around the crease between the eyelid and the area under the eyebrow. I was surprised to see that I don’t have this problem with the Mary Kay cream eye shadow. Plus, I love the Apricot Twist color. It can be used for a softer look or a more ba-bam look, which is great.
  • Love, love, love both the blush and the bronzer. Both are so easy to use and look great. Plus, the blush has a nice, golden sparkle to it which is great for summer.
  • Both brushes are fabulous, especially the cream eye color/concealer brush. It’s the best I’ve used for applying cream eye colors. The blush/bronzer brush is also great, but I have noticed it looses little hairs when used.
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A more ba-bam look

My ‘ehs:

  • I like the lip gloss, but the orangey Mango Tango shade is too much for me. I just don’t think I can pull it off with my skin tone. The gloss itself is great though and isn’t too sticky, which I love.
  • The gel eyeliner isn’t my fave, but probably because I’m not a gel eyeliner user. It’s a little intimidating and I haven’t gotten up the nerve to rock it yet. That said, someone who loves gel liner might love it. This is a “try it for yourself” kind of thing.
  • I haven’t had much use for the translucent powder. I think it’ll become more useful as the temperature heats up since it can be used to prevent unwanted shine, which is not an issue for me yet.
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Trying to show off my lip gloss

After testing these products, my opinion of Mary Kay has definitely changed. While I do still think some of their looks are a little too much, I’ve realized that I can use their products to achieve the look I’m after. Plus, sun-kissed is a look I love and these products are great for creating it. I’ll definitely be trying more Mary Kay items in the future.

To find out more about Mary Kay, visit their website at http://www.marykay.com and search for a beauty consultant.

A great, Virginia-based consultant is Andrea Jeremiah. You can visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AndreaJeremiah.live2day01.

I was not compensated for this review. I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. This review represents my own experience with them.

An ex-Birchboxer is now riding the Ipsy train…

20140416_230942Last month, I shared my experience with Birchbox (you can read it here). I noted that since I wasn’t loving Birchbox, I was going to take the advice of a few ex-Birchboxers and try out Ipsy. I received my first bag this week, and I’m in love.

First off, Ipsy isn’t a box, it’s a bag. For the same monthly fee as Birchbox, you get a new makeup bag shipped to you each month full of fabulous products. Sounds good right? It is! Like Birchbox, upon subscribing you fill out a questionnaire which helps Ipsy send you products that fit your style and interests. It asks things about your makeup know-how, style, hair color, eye color, etc. It was fairly easy to complete and moved pretty quick so definitely fill it out after signing up so you’ll be more likely to receive the right products for you.

20140416_231026This month’s theme is “Beauty Rocks” so the makeup bag features a vinyl record player. Inside my bag was a sample of Benefit Lollitint (a cheek/lip tint), Cailyn tinted lip balm, a travel size Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencil, City Color white gold shadow and highlight mousse and Kiss eyelashes. I’m obsessed with three out of the five products. I don’t care so much for false eyelashes (ain’t nobody got time for that) and I’m not sure how I’ll do with the white gold shadow/highlight. I’m willing to try it, but it might not be my thing. As a bonus, if you review your products, you can receive Ipsypoints which can redeemed for various products and if you sign on to your online account and check out your Glam Room, Ipsy has worked out deals with retailers so you can find promo codes to get deals on purchasing full sized products. I see some more UD pencils in my future…

20140416_230934Ipsy is shaping up to be much better than Birchbox. I have a new makeup bag, I get to try products that I’ve had my eye on for a while (hello UD eye pencil and Benefit Lollitint) and it just better fits my style. There’s no tea (thank you!) and the samples are bigger, which I like. Who needs a doll-sized sunscreen or itty-bitty eyeshadow pallet? No thanks.

I’ll definitely be sticking around to see what else Ipsy has up its sleeve. Did I mention the mailer they used to send my bag was awesome? It was this shiny, pink metallic foil bag. Love it!

I really encourage you to check out Ipsy. I think you’ll be glad you did.

I was not compensated for this review. It represents my own experience with Birchbox and Ipsy.

Reviews You Can Use: Barkbox

20131021_231346I signed Buddy up for BarkBox about a year ago using a deal I found on Groupon. It just looked too good to pass up and it must have been, because he’s been obsessed ever since.

Each box, which is sent out on the 15th of every month, usually has about five or six items in it and includes toys, treats and accessories. We’ve gotten everything from balls to salmon treats. For the most part, Buddy has loved everything, but he definitely has his favorites including a plastic treat ball and a once-stuff yellow zucchini. The only thing he really didn’t care for was a wool mouse which cause a serious coughing fit. I think wool isn’t his thing, so on the rare occasion when he gets a wool toy, we just 20140220_200544store it in the closet. He always loves the treats that come in the box and we haven’t purchased treats since signing up. Also, he loves when they send him the occasional bully stick, although he probably eats them way too fast.

The one thing I do wish is that they’d come up with more indestructible toys. Buddy may be small, but he is mighty and toys don’t last very long when he’s involved. He always destuffs any stuffed toy, pulls out the squeaker and makes a total mess. He does continue to play with them though after so I can’t 20140318_211327complain too much. Even the toys that are marked as tough get destroyed. With any of
the rubber toys, once he starts breaking the rubber off in pieces, I take it away. Even though it appears like he just chews it off and spits it out to move on the next piece, I can’t risk him swallowing it. That could get expensive quick.

Besides the toy suggestion, I really don’t have any Barkbox complaints. The boxes are great and the customer service is amazing. 20140309_144022Each month they send a survey to see how you liked your box and ask for suggestions on products for future boxes. I suggested Bowser Beer (a non-alcoholic dog beer) on a few surveys and lo and behold it showed up in a future box. You really can’t ask for more than that. I would say there’s an interesting conditioning thing that comes with subscribing to Barkbox. Everytime I get any box in the mail, Buddy automatically thinks it’s for him. He’ll jump around and try to attack it until he finally realizes it’s not his box. Silly dog. I can’t imagine how that works with large dogs and mailmen…

If you’re interested in checking out Barkbox, click here or use any of the Barkbox links contained in this post to save $5 off your first month. Buddy will thank you because he’ll also get a free box added to his subscription. Plus, proceeds from every box go to animals in need which is a really cool additional feature of subscribing.

 

I did not receive compensation for this review. It represents my own (and Buddy’s) experience with Barkbox.