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What You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Wardrobe – A Review Of My First Plus Size Order

Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Amazon Prime Wardrobe

I have been talking about Amazon Prime Wardrobe here on the blog since the news first came out this past fall. I knew this could mean something big for plus sizes, especially for those of you who live in areas where plus size clothing is just not that accessible. I know from personal experience that if you have a limited budget for clothing, it can cause a lot of anxiety when you want to try a new brand but have no way to try it on before buying.

So I wanted to make sure I shared my first experience with Amazon Prime Wardrobe so you can see exactly how it works and what I thought of the options available. So this will be part review and part explanation. I will also be sharing more in the future, but most likely those will just be strictly about the clothing and not as much about how it works.

How Prime Wardrobe Works

Prime Wardrobe works pretty simply, but you must have a credit card on file with Amazon to place an order. Unfortunately a debit card or prepaid debit card will not work, it must be an actual bank issued credit card.

First you can either search directly through Prime Wardrobe available items, or you can just look for the Prime Wardrobe badge on items as you shop. You need to add at least three items to your cart that are Prime Wardrobe eligible. And I believe eight items are the limit. There is actually a separate cart that your Prime Wardrobe items go into. So don’t be surprised when they don’t show up in the regular area that you check out in.

Once you have selected your items and checked out, they will be shipped to you. Some items may be shipped separately, but your try on period does not begin until you have all items in your possession. The try on period is seven days. Just be careful not to remove any of the tags. And this is just for try on. They are not meant to be worn.

During the seven day try on period you can decide what you want to keep and what you do not. Though you can absolutely send things back before the seven days is up. Once you decide what you want to keep, you wrap everything back up and put it in the easy seal reusable box it was sent in. Put the provided return label on the box. And then simply drop the box off at your local UPS or UPS Store.

 

What I Ordered

I want to share here what I ordered to try on. In this section I am sharing the pictures from Amazon, and I will share my own pictures a little later.

 

 

 

How Your Package Arrives

Your Prime Wardrobe order doesn’t come in the typical Amazon box or bubble mailer. All items come in a box like this:

Amazon Prime Wardrobe Boxes

Now you want to make sure you open these the way Amazon intended because you will be reusing these boxes and if you don’t open them the right way it could ruin it. There is actually a pull tab that you rip on one side. Then when you open it up you see there is a second sealable closure so the box can be reused for shipping items back.

Inside the box, here is how it is packed:

Packing materials inside the Amazon Prime Wardrobe box

You get the little booklet telling you what to do with the items and how to return anything. And inside is also return labels, so make sure you don’t toss this in the trash. And as you can see there is also plenty of the air packs included to keep items from shifting around too much during the shipping process.

You see that I received two boxes. My order was shipped in two parts. Now I don’t really have a problem with them shipping these items separately, but I do have a problem with what was shipped in the second box. In the second box was my necklace. That is all, just the necklace. The reason I have a problem with that is these are big boxes, and not just big but thicker than the average Amazon box. I really dislike being wasteful like this.

Trying Everything On

I have pictures of everything except for the Jessica Simpson dress, in this case I was sent the wrong item and in the wrong size. Most items I have pictures of it on me, but there is one pair of shoes I did not put on for pictures. If you have been following my All Dress April posts, then you may have already seen some of these pictures.

Amazon Prime Wardrobe Plus size dress

Here I have on the Tiana B dress paired with the Naturalizer Sandals. And here is a closer look at the Sandals:

Naturalizer Sandals from Prime Wardrobe

I did not keep either of these items. The shoes, while extremely comfortable were just a little too loose on me. I ordered them in 9W, and I think I would have needed a medium width in these. If they are still available when I get my next box I may try them in the medium width. The dress fit comfortably, but I felt it just wasn’t the best look for me. If it had been cut a little different I probably would have kept this.

Plus size dress and necklace available through Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Here I am wearing the Lark & Ro dress with the Panacea Necklace. And here is a closer look at the pendant on the necklace:

Panacea pendant necklace available in Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Again, the pictures are just not doing this justice. It is an unbelievably beautiful necklace. And I did end up buying the necklace. The dress I thought looked great on, but the fit just was not good for me. It wasn’t tight or anything, but because of the cut combined with the type of fabric used it didn’t work well with a larger bust. So if I raised my arm the whole dress raised up way too high. I think this would be perfect for someone with a smaller bust than me.

Bella Vita shoes available on Amazon Prime Wardrobe

This is one of the two items I did not take pictures of on me. That is because even though I ordered a 9W, as I did with the other pair, it was extremely tight. The other item was the third dress ordered, but as I said earlier, they sent the wrong dress and wrong size.

Sending Things Back

The process of sending things back is really quite easy and does not cost you anything. You just pack everything back in the box provided. And if you got your items in multiple shipments you can totally put all of your items in one box, assuming they fit. You seal it up using the easy seal strip, simply peel off strip the plastic strip and then press the box lid down. Affix the label, and it is ready to go. You just have to drop it off at UPS. This part was super convenient for me since my mail box is at the UPS store.

Before your try on period ends, and before sending everything back I do recommend you log in and use the checkout. This is simply you letting them know what you are keeping and what you are sending back. If you do not do this you will be charged and then refunded when they receive the items back. But if you use the checkout you are only charged for the items you are keeping and don’t have to worry about waiting for a refund.

Final Thoughts

Before I tried Amazon Prime Wardrobe I thought this had the potential to be great. After trying it, I think it is currently a good service that still has the potential to be great. I think this works better for me than similar services out there right now.

I have tried a couple of clothing boxes where you try on and send back, but they all choose for you and charge $20 styling fees each time. After trying those multiple times I have yet to receive items I actually would purchase from either of the ones I tried. But with Prime Wardrobe you choose what you want to try yourself, and there is no additional fee beyond what you pay for a Prime Membership.

There are definitely areas Amazon could improve on. The plus size selection is slim, especially when it comes to the more affordable options. I have been told they are planning on increasing the selection, not just for plus size but all sizes. I would like to see them have an option for post office drop offs for anyone who may not have a UPS in their town. And I hope they work out a way that would make it possible to use a debit card for the transaction, that way it could be more accessible to everyone. But only time will tell what sort of improvements are actually going to happen with this service.

 

Let me know in the comments if you have tried Amazon Prime Wardrobe yet and what you thought.

 

 

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Product Review: Dr. Praeger’s Black Bean Chipotle Pollock Burgers

Choosing the Black Bean Chipotle Pollock Burgers from Dr. Praegers

I was recently sent a coupon for a free item of choice from Dr. Praeger’s new frozen seafood line to be redeemed at my local Krogers. Since I am always looking to try something new and this fits in perfectly with my Pescatarian Diet, I was excited to try something from their line.

Coupons and booklet about Dr. Praegers

I made my way over to one of my local Kroger’s stores to check out what was available. My options from the coupon were Black Bean Chipotle Pollock Burgers, Spinach Potato Pollock Burgers, Fish Taco Bites or Lightly Breaded Fishies. But when I found where the items were placed in the freezer section the Lightly Breaded Fishies were not available at the Kroger I went to.

Dr Praeger's in the freezer section.

I actually have been searching for a good alternative burger choice for a while, but haven’t been able to find something I really enjoyed enough to buy again. So I decided it would be an opportune time to try one of these burger alternative. I ultimately decided to try the Black Bean Chipotle Pollock Burger, but you probably already knew that from the title of this post. They are both gluten-free and made from certifiable sustainable seafood.

Choosing the Black Bean Chipotle Pollock Burgers from Dr. Praegers

Each box contains 4 patties, and they are all individually wrapped. I really liked this because there are times when I don’t want to fix a whole box of something, and then the part that is left over ends up getting frost bite in the freezer before I am ready to make the rest of it.

The directions on the box gives both options for baking or for frying. I decided to prepare mine in the oven. The preparation was really easy this way. It just took 20 minutes to cook, so it was relatively fast too.

As for toppings, neither my husband or I are fans of traditional hamburger toppings. We don’t like mayo, and I can’t have ketchup anymore because of my allergy. And don’t even get me started on my feelings about lettuce. So I decided that since it already has southwest/tex-mex kind of vibe going on with the ingredients I would use toppings that are similar to what they have pictured on the box. I used a fresh guacamole along with some pico de gallo. I just made old bay seasoned fries to serve with it.

my finished Dr. Praeger's burger.

But let’s get down to what everyone really wants to know, what the product taste like. It doesn’t taste like an actual burger, but I didn’t really expect it to. But, I am happy to say that it was pretty good. I think they did a good job of balancing the flavors and textures so you aren’t really overwhelmed by one thing. And this is the first burger alternative that I actually would willing eat a second time. I may even give their other burger option a try.

Tell me in the comments if there is a burger alternative that you really like.

 

 


 

 

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Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit (Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Mask)

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. This is the second review of this series, make sure to check out my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner to see the first review.

My Hair And Scalp Type

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

The Product

 

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter KitThis is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection 3-Piece Starter Kit, and it runs $26.00 for the set. This kit includes:

  • Monoi Repairing Shampoo (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Conditioner (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Hair Mask(2.0 oz.)

I bought mine on Amazon, but it is also available at Ulta. These are all small travel size bottles that come in this package, but there is a Monoi Luxury Hair Care Gift Set that comes with full size products if you would rather have that. The shampoo, the conditioner, and the hair mask can also be bought separately in full size.

I had never tried anything from this brand before, but I had heard a lot of wonderful things about the brand. They are (or at least they use to be) a small woman owned company. Their products do not contain sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

I picked this line specifically because it contained a lot of ingredients I had good experiences with. It was for intense moisture and repairing the hair. One of its large claims was that it would help prevent breakage of brittle hair. It really had a lot that appealed to me. And outside of fragrance, there were no ingredients that immediately concerned me. (If you also have a Balsam of Peru allergy, please note this does contain citric acid. I know that some react to that, I do not.)

How It Performed

I tried the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner combo four different ways, all ways that I typically would use other shampoos and conditioners before doing this review. I wanted to make sure I had a fully adequate comparison to the other shampoos I have used in the past. And so for me that means the hair mask in this set only got used once.

The first time I tried them with a hot oil treatment that I use fairly often. Then I tried them on their own. The third time I used them with a Korean brand dandruff shampoo that I use occasionally. And the fourth and final time I used them with the hair mask that came in the set.

I was actually surprised at how moisturizing the shampoo was. I realize that the shampoo contains oils, but I have used lots of shampoos that contain various types of oils and none of them have felt like that. I think it did a decent job at cleansing too, but the standout feature is just going to miniaturization. I almost felt like I could have went with out conditioner after the shampoo, if that tells you anything.

The conditioner performed just as well. Not only was it moisturizing, but it also felt very smoothing to my hair. I could definitely tell that after my hair dried this was still smoothing as I was not experiencing as much fizziness. I typically have to use an additional leave in conditioner with most shampoo/conditioners. But I did not have to with these.

One big thing I could not say whether it was specifically the shampoo or the conditioner, but I definitely saw less hair loss with this set. It could have been coincidence, but I find that unlikely.

The Allergy Effect

As I mentioned in my last post, anything that has a fragrance, I always put it through the smell test. Smelling this product was no help. It definitely has a unique fragrance that I have never smelled before. That actually made me far more nervous than it just having fragrance. I suppose it was the element of the unknown. To be completely honest here, I am not really a fan of how this smelled, but if something works for me I don’t care ultimately.

I am happy to say that I did not have any reaction to the shampoo and conditioner. However, I don’t think it did anything special as far as helping my dermatitis either. The one exception would be when I mixed it with my dandruff shampoo. That was probably the longest I have went itch and scale free in a long time. I don’t know if that was coincidence or if it was something special about the combo. And it would take a lot longer of testing to find out.

Now I am not sure why, but I didn’t fare as well with the hair mask. After using it I was itchy almost immediately. Looking at the ingredients nothing looks all that different or stands out to me as to why the hair mask would cause that.

Final Thoughts

Overall, with the exception of the hair mask, I really like the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection. I think I will keep this on the list of shampoos and conditioners that I feel okay using in a pinch. If I don’t find anything better this year I may even circle around and give this one another try for a while.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried anything from Carol’s Daughter before. Let me know what you tried and what you thought about it. And as always, I am taking requests of what you would like to try.

 

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Product Fails – Plus Size Clothing, Makeup, Skin Care, and Personal Care – March 2018

Product fails for March 2018

Product fails for March 2018

Recently quite a few of my readers here have expressed interest in seeing the products that did not work for me, so I bring you Product Fails. I don’t expect this to be a post that appears more than three or four times a year. I think in general I am decent at picking items that work well for me. But I do have occasional fails, so whenever I feel I have enough collected to make a post I will share them.

Please remember that for the most part, just because a product doesn’t work for me it doesn’t automatically make it a bad product. I will try my best in these post to describe why the product didn’t work for me. And if I really feel the product is bad, I will also make sure to include that info.

I am sure that each time will cover a variety of products. This time I have some clothing, makeup, and personal care items to talk about. So let’s get started.

Makeup

Maybelline Total Temptation Palette

This is the Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow and Highlight Palette. I have been really excited and pleased about most of the new makeup Maybelline has been releasing. I picked this up recently at my local pharmacy, though I have spotted it as several places. While I still think it looks beautiful, it just didn’t work for me.

The highlights both looked good on me, but the purple one was very dry and hard to apply to the skin. Most of the eye shadows were soft and buttery, and easy to pick up on brushes. However I found that the majority didn’t show up on my skin, and with the exception of a couple of colors they were too easily blended and muddied together.

Skin Care

Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head by ClarisonicThis is the Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head for the Clarisonic Mia2. I had previously been using the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head, but I decided I wanted to try something a little more gentle on the skin for a while.

I wanted to give this one a try because the box said it was good for hydration, and I am in desperate need of all of that I can get lately. The Cashmere brush head was definitely gentler on the skin than the Deep Poor Brush Head, but I think for me it was too gentle. I get more exfoliation from just a wash clothe. And I really didn’t feel that it impacted the hydration of my skin at all. I will definitely be trying out a different brush head next month because this one did not work for me.

Personal Care

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

If you caught my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner, then seeing them on this list should be no surprised. I don’t want to go into a whole other review here on this post as you can go back and check that review out if you want. But I will definitely say, this is one of those products that was just wrong for me but I am sure it is right for someone.

Clothing

For the clothing I did not bother to do a styled shoot. These all were pretty bad. And with the exception of one item they got sent back, but I will explain that when we get to it. All pictures of the clothing are clickable if you want to see them closer up for detail.

If you noticed that I haven’t done a Hidden Gems of Amazon post since the one I did pre Valentine’s Day, there is a reason why. Part of that reason is because I had ordered this sweater to show you. It is the RM Fashions Womens Long Sleeve Chunky Knitted Heart Print Cardigan Sweater. I ordered it in a 3X, however there were massive problems with it including the sizing.

As soon as I  opened the package I saw there were picks in the fabric and small signs of wear. You can’t really see this part in the pictures. I really suspected they had accidentally sent me a returned item. What you can see in the picture is that it is very small on me. The arms were extremely tight. It didn’t really fit all the way around me like it should have, even if I pulled it like in the first pictures I couldn’t get it around my breast.

I see the company has now changed the sizing on their page to say XXXL, but previously they were marked 3X. I don’t think they would fit anyone over a size 1X, if that. It may even be best for a misses XL. It is a real shame that it has such problems because the fabric thickness and print was perfect for around Valentine’s day.

 

I am really sad to bring you these next two products. I actually bought them from eShakti for a blog post about their custom sizing. Previously I had only ordered from eShakti’s sized items. So many of you had expressed in a recent Facebook discussion that you have various issues with finding clothing that fit you correctly due to height or body shape, so I thought it was a good time to try out eShakti’s custom sizing. I also had been looking for places to list as places to find plus size steampunk clothing, and I had noticed they recently started carrying some items that fit the aesthetic.

First I got the Ruffle Cuff Charmeuse Satin Blouse. This is no longer available, not that you want it. And in case you were wondering what it was supposed to look like, here is their photo.
stock photo of eShakti's Ruffle cuff charmeuse satin blouseNow in case you are thinking that I possibly put the wrong measurements in, not the case. You see my measurements are almost spot on for the sized pieces I usually order. Not only was the body and arms way too big, but the sleeves were too short, the armholes were in the wrong place, and when I raised my arms the area puckered up. How that last part even happens I don’t know.

Lace trim faux wrap cotton knit skirt customed from eShakti

And now for the piece I kept and what was wrong with it. This is the Lace Trim Faux Wrap Cotton Knit Skirt. If you follow me on Instagram you already saw this look from my Steampunk group meeting earlier this month. This one actually fit correctly, so I want to give them that. However, there were several problems that you would not know by just looking at it without 1. putting it on, and 2. seeing the original picture.

The visual differences are pretty subtle, and you probably aren’t going to be able to see them like you would in person. But when you put the skirt on, or even just examining it, there are some very obvious seeming issues. It left almost little lumps in the side seems. But overall, it was still usable, so I decided to keep this one.

Now as you may know, I say all the time, for me it is not the lack of problems that determines how I feel about a company but rather how the company chooses to handle it. Well a couple of days after I received my order I received an email from eShakti saying that if there were any issues with my order or if I had questions to respond to that email, so I did. I made sure to explain the problems, I explained why I ordered, and I said please lets fix this so I feel comfortable recommending your products to my readers. Three weeks later I had still not received a response. I sent a second less polite email saying how unhappy I was at their lack of response and that I was proceeding with the return before time runs out. (You have 30 days to send the return back from when you receive it.)

During those three weeks I managed to receive daily emails about their sales, plus several email asking me to rate my happy experience. I think that upped my upset meter a bit. In addition to the second email I send I also sent comments with the returns explaining why I was upset and that I had really wanted someone to contact me. It has been three more weeks since then. I have since received a ton more sales ads, an email notifying me they received my return, and an email saying my refund was being processed. Still no contact or response of any kind from the company.

I had only back in December added them as one of my affiliate companies so I could put their ads here on the site. I am really so disgusted with them that I dropped them as affiliates. Their total lack of response after asking me to respond to them by email if I had problems just cut my whole confidence down in the whole company. This has left such a bad taste in my mouth I doubt I will ever shop with them again and I can’t in good conscience refer anyone to shop there as it stands.

 

If you would really like to see some recommendations now, you don’t have to wait till my next blog post, you can check out my Amazon recommended list anytime. I do update it periodically, so items change all the time.

 

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried any of these products. How was your experience?

 

 

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Product Review: Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

If you caught my post a few weeks back all about the benefits of Amazon Prime, I told you I would be starting to review some of the products and service only available through Amazon Prime. That day has arrived. I am starting with some of the sample boxes available. I want to reiterate, these are only available to Amazon Prime members.

When you purchase a sample or sample box on Amazon, the amount you spend is credited to your account after your sample ships. Once you receive your samples you can log in and select to use your credit on a list of approved items.

Today we are looking at the Coffee & Tea Sample Box.

Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

How It Arrived

Each sample box is shipped in its own individual box. They come in the usual brown box, but are marked Amazon Sample Box. This particular one was rather on the plain side compared to the others I have ordered. Some are quite elaborately designed, as you will see in upcoming reviews. This box was by far the heaviest out of the sample boxes I have ordered.

What Was Included

The coffee and tea sample box is unique because you are actually getting full size products. But they are available in other sizes and in cases. The page description says you get six or more items in this box, and that samples may vary. Here is what came in mine:

1 illy Caffe Unsweetened, 6.8 fl oz

1 illy Cappuccino, 8.45 fl oz

1 Gold Peak Chai Tea Latte, Vanilla, 14 Fluid Ounce

1 Gold Peak Coffee Drink, Almond Toffee, 14 Fluid Ounce

1 Java Monster, Mean Bean, 15 Ounce

1 Honest Tea (Organic Unsweet Peach Ginger Tea, 16.9-Ounce Bottle

1 Honest Tea (Organic Honey Green Tea, 16.9-Ounce Bottle

 

I actually got the exact drinks pictured in the listing, and there is a good chance you will too.

My Thoughts After Trying Products

For this box, I thought that based on the picture that as long as I got at least one tea drink I was pretty sure I would like something in this sample box. And as you can see I got two tea drinks.

I did at least tasted everything in the box except the Monster drink, I already know I don’t like those. But my husband doesn’t like Monster, so I passed that to him. He said he preferred his regular flavor. Before I tell you my thoughts on the other products, I want to make it clear, this is not a statement on whether these products are good or not. It is just my personal taste and dietary needs.

The first things I tried were the two Gold Peak coffee drinks. I wasn’t really a fan of either of them. They were too sweet for my taste. Way sweeter than anything I have tried from Starbucks. So maybe if you can’t find coffee drinks that are sweet enough for you, these may be a good choice for you.

I then tried both of the Honest teas. The unsweet Peach Ginger tea was a bit of a disappointment for me. I thought that with the peach flavor there, it shouldn’t need sugar added. I was unfortunately wrong. I even tried adding a bit of sugar myself, but it just didn’t seem to help it. The Honey Green Tea however was my favorite thing in the box. I have had a similar product from another brand that I also enjoy, so I am not surprised that this was the favorite.

Finally I tried the two drinks from illy. I again was not a fan of the unsweetened caffe drink. I felt a bit torn on the Cappuccino drink though. I liked the initial taste, but there was an overwhelming metallic after-taste. I can’t help but think that if this drink were stored in a different type of container this might have been my favorite drink. But as it was I couldn’t drink it with that after-taste.

How Using Your Credit Works

Once you have tried all of your samples, or really anytime after receiving you sample box, you can log into your account to find your credit. Now I initially found it a little difficult to find where the credit was located. If you also are having a difficult time, then there are two ways to get to your credit. If you already have a link to the Amazon Sample page that is the most direct way to get to it, and I have linked to that page for you at the beginning of this post.

If however you do not have the direct link to the samples page, then the easiest way to get to that page is by going to the list of your orders in your account. Find the sample box in the list and click on it. At the top of all samples, and sample box, pages there is a link to the sample pages.

Once you arrive at the sample page there will be a box in the top left corner that tells you how much credit you have and link to take you to the redemption page. When you get to the page to redeem your credit there is also a link that says see all products that qualify for redemption. I found with this box there was more variety in flavors and product sizes to choose from than what came in the box.

What I Chose

I think you probably won’t be surprised that I ordered tea. I didn’t just order one tea, I ordered a variety of the Honest Teas. Of course a couple of those were the Honey Green Tea. I don’t know about all of the options, but the ones I chose were only available through Amazon Prime Pantry, so that is something to keep in mind with this box.

Once you make your selections the sample box will still be viewable through your orders list, but it will say it is no longer available. These are one time purchases.

 

Tell me in the comments if you have tried this sample box or any of the products in it. What did you like/not like?

 

Shop Snarky Tea Today!

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Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.

To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.

I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.

The Product

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought mine online at Ulta.com, but it is also available in most Ulta stores as well as Walgreens. Each 16 oz. bottle sells for $8.99, at least at Ulta.

I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.

 

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How It Performed

Not Your Mother's Shampoo

This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.

Not Your Mother's Conditioner

Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.

Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.

The Allergy Affect

When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.

The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.

After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.

Final Thoughts

This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.

I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?

 

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Product Review: PF Chang’s Home Menu Sesame Sauce & Bonus Recipe

Inside the PF Chang's Home Menu VoxBox, I had the Sesame Sauce and a coupon to use towards another product of choice.

I received the PF Changs at Home Menu VoxBox

The people at Influenster recently sent me the PF Chang’s Home Menu VoxBox. If you are wondering what a VoxBox is you can check out my first post about getting a VoxBox to find out more. To potentially get a VoxBox of your own, sign up on Influenster’s Website. You don’t have to be a blogger or YouTube personality to receive them, you just have to have social media and be willing to review products and share them on your various social media accounts.

Each VoxBox you receive from Influenster is different depending on the brand or theme they are centered around. Some VoxBoxes everyone gets the exact same thing, and other ones like this box there is a variety of things you could potentially get. Some boxes you are told up front exactly what you are receiving, and with others you don’t know until you open the box. With the PF Chang’s Home Menu VoxBox I knew I was receiving a sauce, but I didn’t know which one.

What I did know was that there were four options of what I could receive, and they are pictured on front of the box I received. The four sauces you might have received in this box is Kung Pao, Teriyaki, Mongolian, or Sesame.

Prior to receiving this VoxBox I was already a fan of PF Chang’s Restaurants. I had tried several of the PF Chang’s Home Menu frozen products. However I was not aware that these sauces were available to purchase.

Inside the PF Chang's Home Menu VoxBox, I had the Sesame Sauce and a coupon to use towards another product of choice.

When I opened my box I saw I had the Sesame Sauce as well as a coupon for $1 off a sauce of my choice and a card with a recipe suggestion on it.

The recipe they suggested for this sauce is a Sesame Stir Fry. But their recipe calls for chicken, and as most of you know I eat a Pescatarian Diet most ten months out of the year. Granted that is what most people think of in the US when they think Sesame Sauce, so I am not surprised PF Chang’s Home Menu’s recommended recipe included chicken. If you want to see the recipe they recommend, click here.

The great thing about PF Chang’s Home Menu Sesame Sauce is that it’s not really a super sweet sauce like you get at many Chinese takeout restaurants. Instead I think the vinegar tastes shine more, and it really lets the taste of the Sesame rise to the surface. This makes it so much easier to pair it with a much broader variety of meats.

So when I made time to cook with the sauce I decided to stick with making a stir fry, but I changed up the ingredients to suit my mine and my husbands dietary needs and tastes. I made a brief video of me cooking the stir-fry along with the directions to make it the way I did.

This was so simple and easy to make, and I love the way the Sesame Sauce tastes with the shrimp. I will definitely purchase the sauce on my own. And I am quite eager to give the other sauces a try. This is definitely one of my favorite VoxBoxes I have ever received.

If you are interested in seeing other people’s post and videos on various social media about these sauces you can search the hashtags #RecipesThatWok and #SauceThingsUp.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these sauces before. And don’t forget to share any recipes or tips you have for using them.

 

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Update: After One Month Of Sleeping On Purple

The purple bed

The purple bed
Last month I posted all about getting a bed from Purple and my impression after sleeping on it for a week. So if you want to hear all about the buying process and my first week of sleep, make sure to check that out if you haven’t already. At the end of that post I promised that I would be doing some updates, and here I am back with my update after one month.

If you read the last post then you know I was having a couple of issues that left me unsure whether I was going to keep the mattress or not. They recommend that people give it at least thirty days before making a decisions, and say that some people with back issues have a harder time adjusting. And since you have a one hundred day period to try the mattress out at home, I wanted to give it as much of a chance as possible.

I am happy to report that things are going much better with the mattress. When I did my first weeks impression post I was very much torn and it was a 50/50 toss on whether I was going to keep the mattress. But the mystery pain I was having seems to be gone. I am actually sleeping solidly through most nights now, which is a rarity. If I do wake up its more like I turn over once and go right back to sleep. So I am now at a 90% sure that I am keeping the mattress.

I have actually went back to trying the pillow out too. I am still a bit more torn on the pillow because there are things I like about it and things I don’t. I love that it alleviates the neck pain I would often get at night. I also love that it never gets hot. But it is the worlds heaviest pillow. If I try to sleep like I normally would with my arm under the pillow, the weight will cut off circulation in my arm and it will go to sleep.

So at this point I probably won’t do another update on the mattress unless something changes drastically and I decide to get rid of it, or if I feel it starts to wear out faster than it should. I will definitely share those types of things with you.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the bed or the pillow.

 


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What Is Really Included In Your Amazon Prime Membership

Amazon Prime Membership Benefits

So if you are like me then you probably don’t read most of the emails you get from companies you buy from. This includes Amazon. So unless it’s really brought to your attention, you may not know exactly what is included in your Amazon Prime membership beyond the couple of things your signed up for.

For the longest time I didn’t realize there was anything more than free prime shipping and prime video. I slowly started to learn about some other benefits, but I still didn’t realize the full extent of what you get with Prime. So when I recently posted about the new service Amazon is starting, the soon to be Amazon Wardrobe, I did quite a bit of research and discovered some things I didn’t know was available to Prime members. And since there seems to be such a big response to the posts I do about Amazon, I thought I would start talking about more of the things you can get through Prime and occasionally reviewing some of them as well as some of the add-on services you can sign up for.

The Cost Breakdown

I am guessing most of you know at least the basics of Amazon Prime. But just in case you didn’t here is a quick rundown. Amazon Prime will cost you $99.00 a year, or alternatively you can choose to pay monthly at $12.99. What many people may not know is that if you are a family that is on a tight budget and gets any sort of assistance through an EBT card, then you qualify for a discounted option called Prime Discounted Monthly Offering. If you don’t already have Prime, then you can get a 30 day free trial to either Amazon Prime or Prime Discounted.

The Basics

First, lets talk about the two things that I consider the basics of Amazon Prime. I think these are the benefits the average person is going to be more familiar with from Amazon, and it’s certainly what springs to mind for me first when I think of Prime. How familiar you are with other benefits are probably going to depend a bit on when you signed up for prime and if you read Amazon emails.

First you have Prime Shipping/Prime Delivery, where it all started. Now not everything on Amazon qualifies for Prime Shipping, but you will know what does by the bright blue Prime written out by the price. You can also narrow your searches to look for items only available with Prime Shipping. So what does Prime Shipping consist of? You get:

  • Free Two-Day Shipping: Millions of items delivered fast and free.
  • Free Same-Day and One-Day Delivery: Order in the morning to get free delivery before bedtime on more than 1 million items. Or get One-Day Delivery on qualifying orders placed by the afternoon in certain cities. Look for the Prime logo.
  • Prime Now: Skip the trip and get FREE 2-Hour Delivery on thousands of items.
  • Free Release-Date Delivery: Be among the first to get new video games, books, music, movies and more. Choose Release-Date Delivery on qualified items and receive your package by 7 p.m. on that date.
  • Free No-Rush Shipping: Don’t need your Prime order right away? Select No-Rush Shipping and earn rewards for future purchases.

So if you shop through Amazon a lot, getting a Prime Membership may be worth it for just Prime Shipping. It is definitely something to factor in if you are trying to decide when making the decision to purchase a membership.

The other service I consider a basic is Prime Video. Prime Video is a section in Amazon’s own streaming service that has thousands of movies and television shows you can watch for free with your Prime Membership. And just like Netflix and Hulu, Prime Video also has their own original content in addition to movies and shows that you may be familiar with from other sources. I highly recommend The Tick and Good Girls Revolt.

I feel the rest of the options you get with Prime can be put into one of three categories. There is shopping and entertainment extras that come with your Prime Membership, and then there are a group of things you can upgrade to.

Shopping

Inside the category of shopping there is a really large range of perks that come with your Prime Membership. Here is what you get:

  • Early Access To Deals: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com.
  • Prime Exclusives: Amazon’s hand-picked products offered exclusively to Prime members.
  • Alexa Voice Shopping: Shop for millions of items with Alexa and reorder the things you use most.
  • Alexa Voice Deals: Prime members can shop with Alexa and receive an additional discount on select deals.
  • Prime Pantry: Low-priced everyday essentials in everyday sizes delivered to your door for a flat delivery fee.
  • Amazon Family: Up to 20% off diapers and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry.
  • Amazon Elements For Prime: Enjoy access to Amazon’s own line of everyday essentials. (This is Amazon’s own line of natural products and vitamins.)
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Eligible Prime members earn 5% Back every day on all Amazon.com purchases, in addition to rewards everywhere else you shop.
  • Amazon Prime Store Card: Eligible Prime members can get 5% back every day on Amazon.com purchases and access to exclusive financing offers.
  • Prime Reload: All Prime members can earn 2% rewards on their debit spending when they reload their Amazon.com Gift Card Balance with a checking account.
  • Amazon Dash: With a simple click, Prime members can use Dash Buttons to order favorite products.
  • Wickedly Prime: A line of distinctive food and beverages, available exclusively to Prime members. (This is Amazon’s own line of snacks and drinks.)

And while Amazon doesn’t list it on their page as a benefit for Prime Members, Prime Samples is also exclusively available to Prime Members. Prime Samples are a selection of products you can purchase in sample size, either individually or in sample boxes. Upon purchase you get a credit for the same amount to go towards purchasing a full size.

Entertainment

Obviously Prime Video would fit into the entertainment category, but we covered that in the basics of Amazon Prime. What else is there? Surprisingly quite a few things. Here is what you get:

  • Prime Music: Stream more than 2 million songs, plus thousands of playlists and stations.
  • Audible Channels: Unlimited listening to original audio series and playlists handcrafted for every interest.
  • Prime Reading: Prime Reading gives you unlimited access on any device to more than a thousand eBooks, popular magazines, comics, books with Audible narration and more.
  • Amazon First Reads: Read one of next month’s new releases now for free.
  • Washington Post Free Trial: For a limited time, enjoy unlimited access to The Washington Post with a six-month free trial.
  • Twitch Prime: Get free game content every month, ad-free Twitch viewing, Twitch Channel Subscription and more.
  • Prime Savings In Video Games: Prime members get exclusive discounts on pre-orders for PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, Wii U, 3DS and more.
  • Prime Photos: Free unlimited photo storage for you and five others. Plus, upgraded search helps you find photos fast.
  • Share Your Prime Benefits: Link your account with one other adult to share shipping, streaming access to movies and TV shows, Audible Channels and more for free.
Upgrades

There are even a few great upgrades you can add to your Amazon Prime Membership.

If you really enjoy your Prime Music you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited. You can get a 30 day free trial, and after that a membership start at $7.99 a month. Price will depend on which plan you pick. With the unlimited plan you get way more music choices, its ad free, and you get unlimited skips.

You can also upgrade Prime Video with various Amazon Channels. You can add HBO, Showtime, and/or Starz as well as a few other options. Additional channels cost between $4.99 and $14.99 a month. The great news is you do not have to have cable to subscribe, just Amazon Prime.

Amazon also has a special service you can upgrade to just for the kids. It’s called Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. It lets you have unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games. It costs $2.99 a month.

And finally there is Amazon Fresh. It is just $14.99 to add Amazon Fresh to your Prime Membership. This is Amazon’s grocery delivery service, and its only available in certain areas. Unfortunately it’s not available where I live at yet. With this service you will be able to place your grocery order and get it as soon as the next day without every having to leave your house. This just might be my dream come true, and I will definitely try this one out at least for a bit once it’s here.

As you can see there is a lot to Amazon Prime now. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I want to start reviewing some of these perks and things you can get through them. I already have ordered one of the sample boxes and I thought I would start there, so look for that review soon. If there is anything in particular that you would like reviewed or talked about let me know in the comments below so I can move it up in priority. Also let me know how much you knew about Amazon Prime. Was any of this a surprise? If so what?

 

Tee Fury

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Subscription Service Review: InstaCandy

Instacandy Logo

Do you like candy? Because I like candy. I mean who doesn’t like candy? What I also like is subscription boxes. It’s no surprise that these two things have been combined. There are pretty much subscription boxes out there for just about everything you can think of. And there are even multiple candy subscription boxes out there. Today we are taking a look at InstaCandy.

Instacandy Logo

InstaCandy offers both personal and gift subscriptions. Subscription options come in terms of one, three, and six months. I decided to go with the one month subscription and I kept it for two months to get a full idea of the type of items they send.

The one month subscription cost $24.99 a month, though there are significant discounts for taking the larger term subscription. In each box you get eight full size items along with occasional extra treats.

I personally got November and December 2017 boxes. I originally hoped to have this review up way before Christmas, but I just didn’t think one month of this box was enough for me to make a full review. I did however only take pictures of November’s box. So lets take a look at what I got. (I will be linking to individual items on Amazon so you can get an idea of the value of products or alternatively buy anything you want.)

InstaCandy Subscription Box

InstaCandy arrives in the standard sort of box that most subscription boxed come in these days. As you can see they have their logo printed on their boxes, so there is no mistaking who it’s from. And don’t worry about my shipping label being on there. I had it shipped to the mail box that I get mail for the blog at.

Inside of the InstaCandy Box

When you open it up it comes with the standard gift cards and ads for other subscription services that seem to arrive in every box. Side note: You know when I first started getting subscription boxes back about sever years ago you rarely got anything other than a card listing the products in your box. Now its rare to get a card listing your products and you almost always get multiple ads. If I get one more ad for Hello Fresh I might scream. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled post.

Road Crew Crunch, Milk Chocolate Mile Flavor in Novembers InstaCandy Box

The first item I got in November’s box was this Road Crew Crunch in the Milk Chocolate Mile variety. It is made with Gluten Free Ingredients and it’s Fair Trade Certified. I had never heard of or tried this before. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the box, but it was okay for what it was. I am just personally not a fan of peanuts.

Smash Mallow in the November InstaCandy Box

Next I got this bag of Smash Mallow in Cinnamon Churro flavor. I again had never heard of tried this item. This was probably the item I felt the most skeptical about before trying it. However, I can honestly say this was a pleasant surprise. This actually ended up being my favorite thing that came in the box. It turns out these come in lots of flavors and I most likely will be trying some of them.

Candy Raisins in the November InstaCandy Box

There were also a pack of Original Candy Raisins in the box. This is yet another item I had not heard of or tried before. These were odd and I don’t know what to say beyond that. I don’t even know how to describe the taste, but I know I didn’t care for them.

A mix of Sour Pops and Bon Bon Boom Pop in the November InstaCandy Box

A mix of Sour Pops from BonBon Boom were included in November’s box. And we come to the first item I have actually tried before. I use to enjoy these when I was a kid, but now because of my allergies I can’t really have these. I passed them on in some kids Christmas gifts, and they were quite excited to get them.

Sour Power Sortz in Novembers InstaCandy Box

Next there was a package of Sour Power Sortz. I had heard of these, but never tried them. Again I use to be a fan of sour candy when I was a kid, but not so much anymore. I did give it a try in one of the flavors that wouldn’t bother my allergy, but while I didn’t find it horrible, I am still was not a fan.

Single wrapped gummy bears in the November InstaCandy Box

I also got these Land of the Gummies Individually Wrapped Gourmet Gummy in Cherry Red. I had not heard or tried this before. This was probably my second favorite thing in the box. I really wish there had been more. And I will most definitely look into trying more flavors from this brand.

Haribo Sour Gold-Bears Gummi Candy in the November InstaCandy Box

And there was a bag of Haribo Sour Gold-Bears Gummi Candy in the box. I have had these in the past as a kid, but again not a fan of them as an adult. Though they were more edible than the other sour candy for me.

Also included in the box was a packet of nutiva Organic Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa in the Dark Variety. It was a one serving packet. It was supposed to be one of the items in the box I think, but I personally would not consider this candy.

So that is everything that came in November 2017’s box. Now if I were I basing my opinion solely on November’s box then I would say that InstaCandy is just meh. It had some good stuff and some bad stuff, but not really enough to sway me either way. However, having tried a lot of subscription services in the last few years I knew that sometimes even the best boxes are like that. So I also got Decembers.

As already stated, there are no pictures of what I received for December, but here are some of the items that were included in the box:

  1. 2 Large Bags of Haribo Gold Bears Christmas Edition Gummi Candy
  2. 1 Bag of Candy Raisins
  3. 2 Poppies Belgium Coconut Macaroon Cookies in the chocolate drizzle variety.
  4. A 3 pack of Santa Shaped Milk Chocolates

There were a few other items included as well in December’s box, but what they were seems to escape me at the moment. But in my personal opinion, December’s box was phenomenally better. With the exceptions of the Candy Raisins I really enjoyed everything in the December box.

I would definitely give this another try in the future or potentially give it as a gift. I know there are a lot of candy and sweet lovers out there who would love to receive something like this as a gift. It does seem like they are giving a decent variety of items. And it also seems to be the best value I have ever seen for a candy subscription.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried InstaCandy. And if you did, what did you think?

 


 

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