Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mirror Mirror on the (Shower) Wall

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

You'd think with as often as I'm standing in from of my mirror doing stuff for this blog I wouldn't lament my lack of mirrors in other places, but I do. Specifically I lament my lack of a mirror in my shower. I'm sure people who shave their faces feel my pain, though I don't need one to shave with. I need one to see what I've missed when I'm washing off my daily face mask in the shower. I've had several different mirrors in the past (even some with a built in radio), but the one sent to me by Soap on a Rope is my all time favorite.

There are mirrors that hang, and mirrors that attach to the wall, and this mirror attaches via the strongest suction cup in the world. You turn the ring to lock or unlock if from the wall and I legit haven't been able to pry it from my shower wall when it's locked in. So no sudden mirror dropping and shattering on the tile floor, which is how I lost a previous mirror.

The mirror surface is magnifying by a factor of 3, which can be a little jarring first thing in the morning, but I really love it for plucking my eyebrows. And I know my husband is really enjoying using it for shaving.

The swivel ball joint means I can tip it down for me or up for him, so no fighting over mirror placcement (which is what happened with the last shower mirror we owned). And the price isn't to bad, $24.99 with free Prime shipping. I'd personally like to see it about $10 cheaper, but I think the quality is good enough to demand that price. I give this two thumbs up.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bad Review Times Two

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

It's not often I get shafted by a company who wants me to work with them, but it does happen. Getting something crappy happens about 40% of the time, but I rarely get shafted. Today I thought I'd only write one grumpy post instead of two and combine a shafting with a crappy product. So if you don't like that kind of thing I suggest skipping today's post.

Let's start with the crappy item, which admittedly isn't a beauty product but rather a kitchen product. I happen to love cooking, so sometimes I sneak in a blog post or two about kitchen stuff. My latest gadget it suppose to cut potatoes (or whatever you put in it) into perfectly shaped fries. Suppose to being the prime word in that sentence.

 I could not cut a potato with this thing to save my life. The hardest thing I managed to use in this was a cucumber, and I can cute those with my butter knives. It feels so flimsy that I was actually worried it would snap if I pressed any harder than I did for the cucumbers, and my one attempt at a potato did not end well. It is literally going right in the trash, and even though it was only a few bucks on Amazon it is still a total waste of money.

In case you don't know how these sort of posts typically go, a company sends me a code to order their product (for free) off of Amazon, though sometimes they send me the item directly. I prefer the Amazon route because I have Prime shipping and I don't have to wait around for them to actually ship it. Sometimes I get a company like TaliRokni who sends me a dud code and then won't respond to any of my messages FOR A MONTH! So I'm left with faking a review (which I've seen people do), taking the hit on my blogger score, or writing an angry post like this one and giving them the bad review. I'm sure you can guess which route I took. This was suppose to be a fashion post about a cute pair of grey business casual pants I was actually really looking forward to, but I have nothing but angry feelings. I will be filing a formal complaint against them, but for now they get a big ol zero in my book.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Adorlee Lavender Hand Cream

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

If you were to ask my husband he'd say I need another lotion like I need a hole in the head. But lotions are one of those things I seem to hoard. And it's not like I use lotion daily, I'm maybe a once or twice a week sort of girl. But there is just something about lotion that I love. Maybe it's the scents, or how nice they make my skin feels. I just can't say no to lotion, which is why I agreed to review a lotion I really didn't need. Now this isn't me saying this is a crappy lotion, this is me recognizing that I own a gallon of lotion and I may need an intervention.

Adorlee is a brand I'm not familiar with, I've never seen them in a local store before so they may be a online only brand. The lotion they sent me is labelled as a natural hand care therapy lotion for dryness relief, but I've been using it all over my body. Unless it's specifically for my face I'm going to use it all over, because that's how my lazy butt rolls.

It is a nice and thick lotion, which is a plus, and doesn't feel greasy at all. It absorbs really well and didn't leave any sort of sticky feeling on my skin, which is another plus. I guess my only real complaint is the scent. Now I love lavender, that's one of my favorite scents out there, but this is seriously strong! Enough that I can easily see this giving someone a headache, which means I can't use it before I go to work or around my kiddo. If you like your lotion with a heavy scent then you'd probably really like it, but for me it is just to much. I'd probably really like it if it was about half as strong.

My other big complaint is that their website sucks. I hate the scrolling picture format and it was a pain in the butt to actually find how much the product is. That alone would make me walk away and buy something else.They are $22 (says the grey font on a white/picture background), and shipping is only $2.99, but because it's from Canada there's some sort of fee attached. Yes, it's under $2 but still, for around $27 I can get several lotions here and not have to mess with it at all. So I'm calling this a pass for me, maybe something about this will float your boat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Amazing Expanding Sponge

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

A major component of most makeup artist's kits is disposable items like mascara wands and sponges, but space can be an issue. So something that starts out small and compact but grows to a large size is a great option. Gold Cosmetics was kind enough to send me another disposable item to review, this time in the form of a sponge that goes from tiny to giant with just the addition of water.

These start out about as long as my index finger and as big around as a pen, so I could fit a TON in a small space. Once you get it wet it expands to a circle about the size of an average compact.

They're soft and flexible so I can wrap one around my finger to do precision blending (AKA around the nose), or I can cover a large area at once, like a cheek or forehead. Is it as nice a sponge as a Beauty Blender? No, but when I'm tossing it after each use it makes much more financial sense. I'd put these on par with the wedge sponges we all know and use. I wonder if these can be used to apply tanning lotion as well. I may have to test that theory out later this winter when I'm pasty white.

For $19.99 (for a set of 50) these are a good deal, and I'll be sticking some in my budding makeup artist kit for sure. I'm also really happy with the company and I think I'll be poking around their Amazon store some more and see what else they have to offer.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Smooth Viking Hair Care Pomade

*I received these items free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

While my hair is growing in nicely, I'm just now leaving the awkward mullet stage. Since it is not in fact 1992 a mullet is the last thing I want to wear, but I guess it's better than being bald again. I've been using and trying out lots of different hair styling products, some with good results, some with not so good results. Smooth Viking was kind enough to send me two different pomades to test out and review for you guys.

The first one is the super hold, which is kind of super glue for your hair. And the second one is the medium hold, which is more of your average level of hold. You can use them on either wet or dry hair, though I always used it on dry hair. My personal preference is to use products like this on second day hair to wrangle it into submission.

The actual product is clear, which was interesting since 99% of them seem to be white. It applied well and held my hair pretty well. Not as well as a straight gel, but enough that I'll continue to use them. I think my biggest issue was the scent. It's kind of a patchouli herbal scent, which can get a little overwhelming sometimes. I understand these are targeted at men primarily, but still. If you would like to purchase a tub for your own personal use they are $11.95 with free Prime shipping.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Disposable Mascara Wands, a Must Have

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

As I'm sure 99% of my fellow makeup addicts can attest to, getting to do someone else's makeup is a real treat. But one of the difficult parts of doing other people's makeup is making sure everything is clean and sanitary. One of the things that helps with that is disposable sponges and mascara wands. I'll be talking about the sponges in a few days, so for right now I'm going to share my thoughts on some mascara wands I was sent to review.

This 200 piece set is from Gold Cosmetics and Supplies, and can be found on Amazon for $18.99 with free Prime shipping. Each pack comes with 50 blue, black, pink, and yellow wands. There isn't a difference between the colors but I like having a variety of colors available to use so I dig it.

The stick part is long enough to hold and wield but not long enough to be awkward, which I appreciate. I've gotten ones with itty bitty handles in the past and they really just blow.

There is nothing fancy about the actual brush head, which makes them usable as a brow brush as well. I've actually been using a yellow one for my brows lately while I test out a new eyebrow pencil. And these work great for that, but I'd be surprised if they didn't.

Honestly these are basic, no frills mascara wands. But that's exactly what I need so I'm really happy with them. The price is ok, and I'm pretty sure the 200 pack will last me quite a while.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Coolest Invention Since Smart Phones

*I received this product free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Hi, my name is V and I am a tech junkie. I've been very lucky in that I was born before the big internet, cellphone, PC boom, so I've gotten to watch and enjoy the leaps and bounds the tech world has made over the last 30 years. One of the newest things that I'm most excited about are NFC tags, which are basically this little hot spots for your phone that will tell it to perform a set of tasks ranging from logging into a wifi network to switching to bluetooth and bringing up your navigation system. The possibilities are endless and I've been folloing them with interest for about a year now. I'm very lucky that I got a whole set of them to review for you guys.

The Crystal Cube NFC Tags by Utopiaplus are just like your typical NFC tag, though I think the design is both unique and pleasant. I've seen a lot that are basically a black square or dot, so these are fun enough I don't mind having them out and about. They are backed with 3M sticker tape so you can just program, peel, and stick. You get a set of 9 for $13.99 with free Prime shipping, which I thing is a decent deal. I'm sure you can find plain looking ones for cheaper, but I prefer my tech to look as nice as it performs.

Now you do need a program to...well program these, but there are plenty of free ones available. I personally am using the NFC Tools one, but I'll be upgrading to the NFC Tasks one here shortly. And I'm sorry Iphone users but no Apple products are compatible with any NFC tag, which I think is a major strike against Apple. I have one set up at work so that I just tap my phone to it and it connects to the secure wifi there. I'll be setting another one up in my bedroom to turn my alarm on, turn off my ringer, turn on music, and set a "I'm sleeping, I'll text you when I wake up" message for people who text me before I wake up in the morning. Like I said, there's a hundred different things you can do with these and I think the Crustal Cube ones work fantastically. I've yet to find a reason to complain about my set.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thin Botanicals Body Wraps

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Ok, sometimes I agree to review an item just because I want to see if it might actually work. I know logically that it won't but I want to try it anyways. The Thin Botanicals Body Wraps are one such item. I know they aren't going to work, but I still wanted to see anyways. Because that's what I do sometimes. Let's get down to business (to defeat the huns! Like I wasn't going to finish that line, come on guys.)

These, like the million other similar wraps on the market, are suppose to immediately slim your stomach down and detox your body. This particular one claimed an immediate long term inch loss, which is quite the hefty claim. And for almost $32 for 5 on them, you really want them to work. But they don't, sorry guys. As any Doctor, fitness expert, or Nutritionist will tell you, the only way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. These didn't even help with bloating, which was a major let down. I thought they'd at least slim down the bloated belly I'd been battling that week thanks so some specific food choices.

The wraps themselves are essentially a giant bandaid with a whole cut out for your belly button. You wear them for 6-8 hours and are suppose to wake up to a slimmer midsection all ready for the bikini of your dreams. I've done two of the five wraps and the only thing I've lost is some peach fuzz off my tummy. These are just another gimmick in the endless line of get slim quick items that have permiated the markets lately. You want a slim stomach? Eat right and exercise. Sit ups and veggies will get you there quicker than all the expensive wraps you see. And before you flood my inbox with "well MY wraps work" emails, know that I will instantly delete them and block you, so save us both some trouble please and keep your snake oil to yourself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Amsana Hydration Running Belt

*I received this item free for testing and reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Oh man, it feels like it has been forever since I last wrote anything on this blog. But I've been seriously busy with lots of different things, including running. I ran my first 5k in March and it was love at first mile. Now mid March here was cold and rainy, so I wasn't super concerned with being hydrated during those runs, but for some reason April has decided to be more like July weather and it is scorching! So my latest reviewing item has come at the perfect time.

A hydration belt is exactly what it sounds like, a belt to help you stay hydrated. There's two half liter bottled that you can fill up with whatever liquid you like, and a large pocket in the front to hold your keys, phone, or a running snack. The pocket is big enough my galaxy S5 (in a case) fits just fine, so I'm pretty happy with that. There's elastic loops to hold other things and the whole things fits really well.

My biggest concern was chaffing and shifting around while I ran, and I'm pretty pleased to report that so far I've experienced zero chaffing. I may just be incredibly lucky but it fits me perfectly and even on my 3 mile runs it doesn't shift around at all. I'll be taking it with me on some trail runs next month, but I'm pretty sure it'll perform just as well then as it does now. And as an added bonus the water bottles don't leak (unless you forget to actually shut it and end up dumping all the water on your leg), which was another concern of mine.

I am so happy with this item, I've been telling all my runner friends about it. This is literally keeping me running right now because of the heat. If I couldn't keep cold water on my person I would literally have to call it quits after the first mile. And it's like $15 on Amazon, which is a great price I think. I super recommend this for all your runners out there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Cheapest Expensive Sunglasses I've Ever Received

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

I like cheap sunglasses, I really do. I buy mine at either Marshalls or the Dollar Store. So when I say a pair of sunglasses is a cheap piece of crap you know I mean it. Now add in a $30 price tag and I become a cranky blogger. These are so bad my husband actually refused to be seen in public with me if I wore them.

They came in a really nice velvet lined hard case, which got my hopes up super high. The case is nice enough I'll continue to use it for my Dollar Store shades, which is cracking me up.

When you opened up the hard case you saw a cleaning cloth and a cloth bag to further protect the shades. Again, these are both nice items and I'll use them for sure.

Then I got to the actual sunglasses. They are a super cute design, don't get me wrong. But it all went downhill from there. They're metal, but the thinnest metal I've ever seen. They feel so flimsy I'm afraid I'll snap them in a heartbeat.

Can you see that? I've bought art paper thicker than that! And while I didn't take a picture of it, the nose piece is also super thin metal with a thin rubber sleeve on it. Not exactly the kind of comfort and protection I expect for $30.

The hinges are really weird too, they're basically two bits of metal interlaced. I'm pretty sure they'll pop apart with constant use. Thank god I have super short hair still, this hinge style would catch so badly on long hair. Makes my scalp hurt just thinking about it.

And the final nail in the coffin is they sit super high on your face so they just look bad on your face. Like soooo bad! They make my nose look huge! I did not appreciate that at all. These are so cheap I wouldn't even pay a buck for them, let alone the $30 price tag, though they are listed as $149.99 which has to be a joke. Who in their right mind would pay that much for these?!?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Woobamboo! The Bamboo Toothbrush

*I received this item free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own*

Every year, millions and millions of toothbrushes end up in our nations landfills. This is an unavoidable situation for most of us, especially those like myself who replace their toothbrushes every 3-6 months. I always feel guilty about contributing so much plastic so when I was sent some environmentally friendly brushes by WooBamboo! for my little guy I was pretty dang excited. These toothbrushes are made from bamboo, which is one of my favorite renewable wood sources. I could probably fill a whole blog post on the wonders of bamboo, but I'll spare you guys this time.

These are even packaged in recycled materials for added green points, and the bamboo is organically grown. The kid sized brushes come two in a pack, while the adult and pet ones come in a single pack. Yes, they even make toothbrushes for your pets. And floss, which is doubly cool. And all of their products are biodegradable.

Look at that list of all the different ways both the product itself and the packaging is green? I really love this aspect of the product if you couldn't tell.

The actual toothbrushes are really light feeling in your hand, which surprised me at first. They're smooth to the touch but are unsealed so you still get that awesome bamboo texture. The bristles are in fun colors since this set is for kids, and they are nice and soft. I'm not sure what the life span on these are, but I change my son's toothbrush every 3 months so I'm not worried about them lasting for longer than that. The best part is they're pretty much the same price as a regular kids plastic toothbrush. A duo pack is $5.25 with free Prime shipping, which is a pretty good price. I'm excited to try out the adult sized, I'll be ordering some once my stash of plastic ones is used up.