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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
How It Performed
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
If you follow me on any of my social media, then you most likely know I have been working on my house for the last couple of weeks and that I got a purple mattress. More than one person has expressed interest in hearing about my experience with purple. Because of the nature of this mattress and the way that it is purchased I thought it was best to do at least a couple of these reviews in stages. In this first review I will take you through my decision process to buy this particular mattress, the ordering process, receiving and setting it up, and my first impressions after sleeping on it for a week.
Before we begin, I want to make clear this is not a sponsored post. Purple has not contacted me in any way other than emails about my purchase. I paid for this mattress with my own money and all the opinions expressed here are my own and free of any outside influence. Any links to purple are simply for your navigation ease, they are not affiliate links.
Why I Decided To Purchase A Purple Mattress
I have had back issues and pain for more than twenty years now. I have ruptured discs, bone spurs, and pinched nerves causing a plethora of issues. Needless to say what I sleep on is very important. I also wanted to take into consideration my weight since many mattresses do have weight limits. It’s not so much that you can’t use any mattress, but they make them for certain weights and the more weight you add over that can cut down on the longevity of the bed. It seems a lot of companies don’t openly share their weight limit, no surprise there.
The last bed I got was purchased a little over ten years ago and was a combination of an extra firm mattress and a 5″ memory foam topper. Overall I would say that it worked pretty well for me, but things could have been better. But its been over ten years of use, and above average on wear and tear in that time. With the illnesses I have that means I stay in bed more than the average individual at times. In the last year I have really noticed my bed deteriorating a bit. Like it’s not horrible and probably wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t have all the back issue, but it’s just not at the comfort level I need now. So after much discussion, my husband and I decided it was time to purchase a bed soon.
That decision was about six months ago. I knew I could make do for a while and that I didn’t want to rush my decision on what to buy. I originally started off thinking I was going to go with one of the Simmons Beauty Sleep Mattresses or a Heavenly Bed from Westin, but I still wanted to test them out since it had been a while since I seriously looked at mattresses. Not too long after that was when I started seeing and hearing ads for Purple and became very intrigued. I really liked the science aspect behind the bed, and I felt like the aspects I liked in the other two beds that interested me were in this bed but more amped up.
When I discussed the mattress with my husband he mentioned there were a couple of other brands he had been hearing about that he would like me to look into as well. I did take the time to look at those other beds, and while I did think they had some great things going for them they didn’t necessarily have what I needed.
In the end what really sold me on trying the Purple Mattress was the total uniqueness of their design, their fantastic return policy/home trial period, reviews from people with the same or similar back problems, and the egg test ad which I also saw individual recreate on their own YouTube video reviews. In case any of you haven’t seen the egg test, here is the video I refer to.
As a bonus is their weight limit. Here is what they have to say about that:
There is no weight limit for the Purple Mattress, although we do suggest 300 lbs per person or 600 lbs total. If you exceed this recommendation it will not void the 10-year warranty and you will still get plenty of the benefits Purple has to offer. Regardless of weight, we are confident you will love your Purple Mattress.
If you are like me, before you make any kind of major purchase you research it to death. You take time to look at both the good and the bad that is said about a product. And you try to weigh that out with how much you think is hype on the good side and how much the negative posted might be from competitors or people just being petty. Now I already shared with you a lot of the positive points that I found when researching Purple, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t share what was said that was negative and explain it a bit.
I doesn’t take much research about Purple to come across rumors about the white powder people are seeing on their purple products. And with the internet being what it is, let’s just say some of the rumors have gotten super crazy. I have seen everything from it’s a sign that the mattress is disintegrating to it’s a cancer inducing agent and everything in between. But what is it really? For now I will just tell you what Purple had to say and later in the post I will show you why what they say actually makes sense along with my thoughts on some of the issues people were reporting with it.
So purple has made two post regarding the white powder this past year on their blog. The first post explained, “It is a food-contact-grade material, meaning that this family of plastic materials can be used for eating utensils, children’s toys, etc.”. They essentially use it to keep the bed from sticking together after the compression it goes through in the shipping process. And they said, “Purple is keeping the exact type of plastic a “trade secret,” which helps protect the jobs of those 600 people from competitors who would love to figure out how to do what Purple does.” Now in the second post they told everyone the non-toxic plastic powder coating they use is polyethylene and cited several studies they had done independently.
Ordering From Purple
The ordering process was super simple. It only took a few minutes and it didn’t take any more time than say ordering a top from Torrid. Because of the size of the package and weight, you will want to make sure to have it delivered directly to the place it will be used.
When we ordered they had a special going on for Black Friday, you got a free pillow with the purchase of a mattress. Since then I have noticed they almost always seem to have some sort of special going on, and it will be listed at the top of the main page.
Deliver Of The Mattress And Setting It Up
The mattress and pillow were delivered separately. Both were delivered via FedEx. The pillow was delivered first, though I did have a bit of anxiety over the pillow and the issue that arose over its delivery.
Let me say first that what happened with the pillow was not the fault of purple at all, it was completely at the fault of FedEx. I got a notice the day before Christmas Eve, so on a Saturday, that the pillow had been delivered. I was out running last-minute errands before going to my in laws house for Christmas. I got home and look for the package. Nothing outside and no notes that I had missed a delivery either. I ask my husband if he had picked it up, and he said he had not seen the delivery. After looking around the house, just in case, I decided to call purple.
However it seems Purple is also good to its employees and gave everyone an extra day off for Christmas, so no one to talk to there. So I called FedEx. They did start an investigation, but I had to explain to them three times it didn’t actually show up here. So Tuesday morning rolls around, which is the next time Purple would be open. I get up and I am having my morning coffee. I was planning on calling Purple right after, but before I finished my coffee the doorbell rings. Someone three blocks away had gotten my delivery and was nice enough to return it. Thankfully there are still decent and honest people still in the world.
Now you know that had me holding my breath waiting on the mattress. But thankfully no such drama happened with the mattress delivery.
I actually forgot to snag a picture of the packaging everything arrived in because we were so busy. We were still in the process of getting the room ready when the mattress was delivered. It ended up setting in our front hall for about a week while we finished everything up with the bedroom. This included putting the new bed frame together. (If you do purchase a purple mattress be aware they can no go on a regular box springs) Once we got the room ready we used our dolly to move the mattress to the bedroom. And then the plastic casing the mattress is in has handles at both ends so two people can easily lift it onto the bed frame.
They do provide a tool to cut through the bag. It is supposed to be attached to the top of the lid when you open the bag. Ours however had come unattached since there was very little glue on it. We ended up finding it about 3/4 of the way down in the bag. Thankfully we had a box knife on hand or we would have never gotten it open. Once the bag was open it was just a matter of rolling the mattress out, it was really quite easy.
Here is a look at the mattress set up on the frame, and no the exterior is not purple.
Once the bed was set up, I actually was not able to sleep on it the first two nights. It was ready, but it definitely had a very strong plastic smell that was on the verge of giving me a migraine. So I essentially had to air the room out to get it to a point where it wouldn’t bother me. After two nights the odor was not completely gone, but it definitely was at a tolerable level for me.
And this is the point where I wanted to talk to you about what I thought was going on with all of the rumors about the white powder. First let me say, I do completely believe what Purple’s explanation is about the powder. The gel material they use to make the beds are extremely sticky, and in the way they are condensed for shipping they have to coat them with something to prevent that. The best way I can show you this is by the showing you the gel pieces they sent and what they do.
Here is what one of the purple gel cells look like:
You can see just a touch of the white powder people are talking about on it. I actually got two of these cells because they included one with the mattress and one with the pillow. Since I had two, I decided to play around with them a bit. I wanted to see if I could stick them together, and I did quite easily.
These were stuck together with just loose pressure. No adhesive used. This picture was actually taken after they had been laying stuck together for a few days. I picked it up and they were still firmly stuck together. So for me, this shows purple absolutely has to coat their beds with powder before shipping.
So what do I think is actually going on? Well as I said it does have a strong plastic smell when you initially take it out of the bag. It definitely affected me. Also, just because something isn’t toxic doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be a select group of people who are either allergic or going to have reactions to it. Just like with my allergy to Balsam of Peru. It and the hundreds of items it causes me to react to are not toxic, but I am still allergic. So, most likely there has been a small group that reacted to it or the smell or both. Then it blew up on the internet and people are over reacting.
My husband did sleep on it the first night. He typically snores, loudly. I did not hear him snore once. Then the next night he went back to the other mattress, the one he is use to. It was back to snore city. I have never heard him so silent, I can only guess that it was something about the bed and the position it puts your body in.
After the smell aired out, I myself have slept on the bed a full week now. I was hoping to be able to tell you I had the same response a lot of people were having. I hoped it would be a miraculously different experience for me where I actually got a full night of rest with no pain and no waking up. But I honestly can’t say that, and I am not sure what I think about the bed yet.
At this point I would have to say my feelings are very mixed. Each time I lay on the bed I do get that initial feeling of “Oh this is super comfy”. I am definitely waking up less. As for the bed staying cool, I am not sure I am getting that. I lay on the pillow and it always feels cool, which I love. But when I lay in the bed it just feels the same as any other mattress temperature to me. I am not having the same pain I was having in my old bed, but I am now having some new small pains I haven’t had before.
During my research I did see that Purple said for a small portion of people it can take up to thirty days to adjust to the bed. You have up to one hundred nights from the time you received the bed to return it. So I am committed to at least giving it thirty days to find out how it does for me. At the end of thirty days I will do another of these reviews to update you with how I am doing with the bed.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Do you have a purple mattress? If so what has been your experience with it? Let us know in the comments.
If you follow me over on Instagram then you already know that late last month I received a gift card from Sally Beauty. I decided the best way I could put this to use is to go pick up some of the new COL-LAB line and test it out for all of my readers.
In case you haven’t heard about COL-LAB yet, it is Sally Beauty’s latest beauty line. It launched just this November, so future reference that is November 2017. It was created in collaboration with several well know beauty influencers. In fact a couple of my favorites were involved, shout out to Dani from Coffee Break With Dani and Lizzy from What Would Lizzy Do. Eight different influencers were involved in this brands creations, each with different skin types and cosmetic preferences.
My goal when I went shopping was to pick up everything I needed to create a full face of makeup using just this brand. I did not include anything that I don’t do at least 50% of the time or more. For instance, brow product is not something I always use, so it was not included in my purchases. I also did not see an eyeshadow primer or setting spray in the store I purchased at, so I used my normal products for those.
So let’s take a look at what I got and my thoughts on each of the products.
1. Palette Pro Eyeshadow Palette in Best of the Day – This is one of five options in an 8 color palette. I picked this particular color option because I felt it had the biggest variety in colors and thus offering the most options of looks. However you will notice that my picture looks a bit different from what is shown on the website. I think that my picture more accurately shows the colors.
Overall I thought these were definitely quality eyeshadows. I found the colors to be very pigmented. They applied well to the lid with little to no dust pick up. I was able to create a few decent eye makeup looks. However, I had some difficulty blending them. They seemed to set in place quickly. Even though I felt this color selection had the broadest selection of colors, I still felt a little limited in what I created. That is not anything bad against the palette itself, I am just not the kind of person that is prone to doing the same makeup look more than a time or two. So for me, I prefer a lot of colors as options. If you are someone who does their eye makeup pretty consistently the same then this would make a great palette for you.
I will share my favorite look I created at the end of this post.
2. Soft Spot Sheer Blush in Meet Cute – Meet cute is a unique color, or at least I think so. It is sort of a mix of a red and a mauve with some brown thrown in. This is one of six color options available in this blush. It is a sheer buildable blush.
The first time I dipped my brush into the blush, I really thought this was going to end up being too much of a color for me. Just with the smallest of dabs my brush had picked up a ton of powder. But I am happy to say that it lived up to its claim of being a sheer blush. In some ways it reminds me of a NARS blush.
I chose a shade lighter than my skin in this powder because I was concentrating what I used on setting my concealer under my eyes and I wanted to brighten that area. However my under eye area is also really dry, so it is usually challenging to set my under eye area without leaving it looking cakey. This setting powder worked wonderfully though. And after a little setting spray it was practically invisible. I was highly impressed.
This is waterproof, which is something I almost always want in an eye liner since I like to put them in my waterline most of the time. I would have like to see more color options, maybe a beige skin tone and bright pop of color or two, but perhaps they will be adding more things like this in the near future. I did think it applied beautifully, and the wear was good. It did not outshine my very favorite eyeliner, but it takes a very close second place.
5. The Filter Highlighting Powder in Glow For Gold – This is one of four color options for the Filter Highlighting Powder. It has a soft silky texture. It is meant to give the skin a soft glow.
This highlighter is way more subtle in use than it looks in the package. Maybe a little too subtle for my personal preferences. But again this is a personal preference thing. I don’t really own any other highlight to compare to this one. But rather than it having glitter or a sheen finish it felt more matte. I thought the texture was wonderful and it did blend it very easily and I really liked that. This would be a great highlight for those of you who want to highlight, but don’t necessarily want to have all the glow on your face.
6. No Flaws Cream Concealer in Ivory/Sand – This is one of eight options for colors in this cream concealer. It comes in a twist up stick. It is made to cover both under eye circles and uneven skin tone.
Let me say first that I have tried a lot of concealers in a lot of different forms, and I have had an extremely difficult time finding ones I thought worked well on my dry textured skin, especially right under my eye area. It always seemed like they would either look cakey, settle in the fine lines around my eyes, or be so watery that they wouldn’t cover any dark spots. This concealer however is my dream concealer. It glides on so soft and smooth. It is super lightweight that you can barely tell you have anything on. Not drying or cakey and covers beautifully. It has never settled in a line or creased. I can’t imagine anyone designing a better concealer. This just blew all of the other concealers in the world out of the water. Seriously, you need to try this.
7. Full Body Lipstick in Really?? – This full body lipstick comes in sixteen color options and two finish options. Really??, the color I have is a matte finish. These lipsticks are designed to go on in a cream and dry down to either the matte or satin finish.
I thought that it applied and wore well. The color applied in one even swipe, which is really hard to find for me. Even though it is a Matte it was not drying. It is a very similar feel to Urban Decay’s Comfort Matte. And I thought the wear time was insanely good. I will definitely be picking up another shade or two to try at some point.
8. Bright Spark Radiant Foundation in Sand – The radiant foundation comes in ten color options. It is a low to medium buildable foundation. It is meant smooth and even your skin tone and leaving you with a soft radiant glow. (Side note: radiant foundations work best for normal to dry skin)
This is probably the product I was most hesitant to try since my experiences with drug store level foundations have not been good and I end up reacting to them. However, I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. There was no detectable fragrance in this, so that is always a plus in my book. It comes in a bottle with a pump, so no touching the product or exposing it to the air unnecessarily. The foundation comes out in a very moussey texture and after applied dries down to a satin finish. The finished look, feel, and wear is very similar to the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation but with just a tiny bit more coverage. The color is a better match for me than any offered in the Nars line, at least at my current color level.
9. High-Rise Insane Length Mascara Extreme Black – This is one of three color options for this mascara. Made to lengthen and lift your lashes. Comes in a unique package with a long skinny wand. And I believe the brush is silicone.
This is fantastic mascara. Just like the foundation, I have struggled to find a drugstore level mascara that I really liked since they discontinued one I really liked years ago. I love the very skinny wand and brush design. This definitely makes my top five favorite mascaras. It wears and performs very similarly to Clinique’s High Impact Curling Mascara, but it is harder to remove.
There were definitely three stand out stars for me in the products I tried. It is probably pretty easy to guess that those are the No Flaws Cream Concealer, the Full Body Lipstick, and the High-Rise Insane Length Mascara. I also really enjoyed the foundation, but I don’t know that it was as much of a star as the other three products.
I think everything I tried were good solid products, even the things that were not necessarily what I would want for me. Nothing was an outright fail. There are definitely things I think that could be improved upon in the line, mainly the selection of colors in the face products. I really hope that they make an effort to add a broader range of shades over time.
Overall, I was really happy with this line. There are more things that I hope to try in the future that I didn’t try in this go around. Please let me know in the comments if there are any products in particular you would like a review of.
I did snap some pictures of my favorite makeup look I created when testing out this brand, and I wanted to share that with you.
Let me know in the comments below what you have tried from COL-LAB or what you are dying to try.
The gift card I used to purchase my products for this review was sent to me by Sally Beauty, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. My reviews are all completely honest.
If you are a makeup lover and you spend any amount of time on the internet, then you most likely have heard about Juvia’s Place. Today I will be sharing with you my review of the Masquerade Palette from Juvia’s Place. I have actually had this palette for some time now, but I have just now had the time to fully swatch and test it out.
I had heard so many good things about this palette and company and I really wanted to try something from them. But its hard some times to know whether to believe the reviews when you hear only good things from places like YouTube. Various makeup products get really hyped up on there, sometimes just because they are popular brands or sometimes because people are making money off of their affiliate links. But we will talk about that in a different post at some later date. I do want to be clear before I get into this review, I am not affiliated with Juvia’s Place in any way, and I paid for this palette with my own money.
When I bought my palette earlier this year I believe they still only had three palettes to choose from, or they may possibly have just came out with their fourth palette. They have since come out with several other palettes, but they obviously were not a factor in my purchasing decision. I ultimately decided on the Masquerade Palette because I was really drawn to the bold colors. It also seemed to have a good mix of mattes and shimmers.
Here is what you get in this palette. There are 16 pans of eyeshadow that are 3.6G each. That is a total net weight of 57.6G. You get a mix of 5 matte and 11 shimmer/metallics (three of which appear to contain micro-glitter). This is quite a large palette, however they do offer a mini version. Getting the mini version doesn’t really save you money, in fact it is more expensive if you figure it out per gram or ounce. But if you are someone who doesn’t wear makeup a lot or you have limited space, the mini might be a better option for you.
Now lets take a closer look at the colors:
From left to right: Chi, Mali, Dalia, and Zola
From left to right: Makeda, Zobo, Calabar, and Bori
From left to right: Giza, Burkina, Cairo, and Ada.
From left to right: Dahia, Zulu, Casablanca, and Fulani
I did all of these finger swatches using only one swipe. As you can see the majority of the colors, especially the metallic shimmers, came out very bold full of pigment. The only colors that didn’t perform as well during swatches (and by no means were they the worst), were the few colors that had more of a red pigment to it. However, I did not experience this same thing. That is really unusual. Usually colors perform better on finger swatches than when using a brush.
I took the time to try these out thoroughly. I know it’s a big deal for some people to be able to pull a whole look out of the same palette, so I challenged myself to create looks that only used this palette. Here are a few of the looks I came up with:
After testing this palette out, I can honestly say, the hype is well deserved. All of the shadows were very pigmented. They were easy to work with, they applied easily without much fallout and they blended well without going muddy. I found it easy to create multiple looks. Though one word of caution, if you are very fair you will most likely struggle to find a color that works as a transition shade. I am currently a light/medium and I did struggle a bit. I did find that I could make a couple of the shades work as a transition if I just used them with a lighter hand. You may be able to make it work with you as well. But if you can’t, who doesn’t have a ton of neutral transition shades on hand anyway. If you are anywhere in the medium to dark range of skin tone, then the Masquerade palette should easily work making a full look for you.
Tell me in the comments below if you have tried this palette. Also if there is some makeup item you want reviewed let me know. I am open to reviewing most items.
Something I have talked about here on the blog a lot is my Balsam of Peru allergy and how it affects me as a contact allergen. What I have not talked about as much is that for me, and a lot of people with this allergy, it also causes reactions from various foods. This can be for two reason, just the same as with the contact allergy, the plant can be used as an additive (either as a flavoring or preservative) or I can react to the many foods that are chemical twins. To make choosing food even more difficult for me, I by choice follow a pescatarian diet.
Sometimes finding food to eat really can be a challenge. What is even more challenging is having food with other people, especially if other people also have food issues and dietary restrictions. So what do you do? Well now there is an app that is here to help. The app is called Selectivor and you can download it for free on IOS or Android in the App Store. If for some reason you do not want to download the app, you can access a web-based app to use. Look for this symbol for the Selectivor App.
According to Selectivor’s description they are “a social food app designed to be a better way to eat together”. The simplified versions of what that means is that you can make lists of your allergies, food restrictions, diets, and any foods you just don’t like. From there you can meal plan and invite others to plan meals with you.
So who is this app meant for? Well pretty much everyone and anyone. But it will be most helpful to people who have food allergies or sensitivities, and those who have dietary restrictions (either by choice or lifestyle necessity). It could also be helpful for people who have friends and family that have food restrictions that they dine with often or wish to dine with more often. I also think there are some other great uses for this app, but I will talk about that more towards the end. Lets take a look at some of the basic functions of the app and my experience with it first.
Once you sign up for an account/log in, the first step will be creating your food profile. The app opens to this page:
This is your dashboard, and the app always opens to this page first. As you can see this is the main page that will have links to all the things you can do in the app. From here you can edit your profile, add people, create events, etc… I think the app is pretty user-friendly and self-explanatory in how to use it. As I said the first step will be creating your food profile so for the most of this post we are going to focus mainly on just that.
First you will want to click on “FOOD PROFILE” button near the top that I have circled in the picture. Filling out your food profile is a three page process. Lets start with the first page.
One page one they ask your diets, foods you are allergic to, and anything you avoid eating. You can see I have already filled in Pescatarian under diet.
If you scroll further down
You see the list of foods I avoid (not finished with my list, still working on that). Now you may be wondering why I made this list but didn’t put anything in the allergy box since I do have an allergy. My allergy as I have said before is very complicated, and not everyone reacts to the same things or in the same way. I have been dealing with my allergy for years, and I am pretty well versed in what causes me to react.
They do have an option for Balsam of Peru Allergy, but its more of a long list of possible things that can cause reactions. So for me picking individual items seems like a better way to go. But going with the pre-made list will be a really great option for anyone that is maybe newly diagnosed or perhaps having a hard time figuring out what is causing them to react.
You can see in the image above that “Balsam of Peru and food that may cross react with BOP” pops up as an option with just the first few letters typed in. Of course Balsam of Peru is not the only option. The Selectivor App will let you choose lots of various foods, diets, and allergies. Some of the options for diets and allergies are Kosher, Low Carb, FODMAP, Nut Allergy, and Shellfish Allergy. There are many more options and the list is growing. However, because they are still growing and developing the app, there may be things missing from the lists. But don’t worry, they have a solution for that too. If you look at the second photo up, you will see that at the bottom of my food list there is a link that says “I Don’t See What I Am Looking For”.
If you click that link a box like this pops up. From here you can make the suggestion to add anything you can’t find. So far in my experience they are quite responsive and quick to research and add what is needed.
When I first talked to the people at Selectivor about reviewing their app, they did not have Balsam of Peru listed. They had it added within a couple of days after we talked. Once I started playing with the app I noticed there were something missing from the list that I react to, so I submitted using this form on the app. Again it was taken care of within two days. I am sure there will be some variation in response time when there are higher volumes of people accessing the app and making requests. But so far I have no complaints in their responsiveness.
Once you have finished filling out the first page and submitting anything you need added through the suggestion box you will hit the next button.
On page two there isn’t a lot to fill out for me. This page should be slightly different for everyone. You can see they just offered me a suggestion based on one of my choices. I did not add the suggestion because I don’t react to everything with carbonation. After you make your decisions on any suggestion you want to add or not add, you will then hit next.
And here on the third and final page you should have a review of your choices. If everything looks right you will simply hit the button that says “That looks correct”. That is all there is to creating your food profile. It is unbelievably easy to do.
Once your food profile is complete you can share it several way. You can use Facebook, Whatsapp, or by a link that you can paste anywhere. And as mentioned earlier you also have the option of directly inviting people to the App. When you share your link, people do still have to sign up for an account to view it. During my time testing out the app this has been the only hindrance I have come across. The function part works fine, however getting others to download the app was a struggle. I think between just being busy and not being motivated by an allergy of their own, it was a hard task to get some to download the app. So meal planning with others hasn’t really happened for me yet. I have suggested they look at a way to share food lists to Facebook event pages so that people who don’t want to download the app can still access it. They said they will be looking into this as an option, but this might be a bit of time away.
But even if you are like me and can’t get anyone else to download the app I still think I see a valuable use for this app. For some allergies and diets, like mine that are more complicated there are long lists of foods to memorize that you can’t have. It can be very overwhelming, and to date there hasn’t really been a website created with an empirical list of foods you should avoid if you have a Balsam of Peru allergy. So having an app on your phone that is easy to access, that is so valuable right there. People who are newly diagnosed often feel lost and don’t know what to eat. This app can be a real life saver and time saver for them.
If you have any sort of food restrictions because of allergy or diet, I highly recommend that you check out Selectivor. You can also check out their companion website for special information and tips on dealing with food allergies. And because they are new and still growing, I really encourage to reach out to them with any feedback you have and let them know of any foods or diets that need to be added to the list.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan on trying this app out.
This post was sponsored by Selectivor. However all opinions and thoughts about the product are my own. I was only asked to share the product with my viewers, and any thoughts shared beyond that are of my choice.
Today we continue with another giftable product review. We are looking at the Sterling Stackable Ring and Birth Stone Ring Set from Southern Stamped Jewelry Company. Southern Stamped Jewelry did send me items for free to review. The Stackable Ring and Birthstone Set was what they let me choose, so that is what I will be reviewing. They did however send along another surprise item that I will be sharing with you, but not reviewing it.
First let me start by telling you a little bit about Southern Stamped Jewelry and what they offer. They are a small business run by a husband and wife team. Something that grew from a hobby and a passion for helping people through the grieving process. Now their selection has broadened to many categories as well as custom-made pieces.
Southern Stamped Jewelry Company offers both women’s and men’s pieces. There is something that will fit in everyone’s gift budget. All of their products are made to be personalized, either by stamping or adding birthstones and many pieces are both. They also do custom pieces, so if you don’t see exactly what you want they can make it for you.
My package arrived in a small poly mailer. Inside it was nicely wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue paper. Also in the package, they included two of these anti-tarnish silver polishing clothes, one for each item they sent.
I am not sure what they send if your item is a different metal. They do seem to have a variety of metal options.
After I got the tissue paper completely unwrapped, I found both items in cute little drawstring bags.
I personally prefer boxes or the little silk bags, just because it adds to the element of surprise when getting an item. That is just a personal preference and doesn’t really affect the actual items, nor would it prevent me from shopping with them. But I thought it was a nice touch that their company logo was printed on the bag. I think it adds to the idea of I picked out something nice for you from a jewelry company, rather than if the bags had been plain.
So I opened up the rings first to look them over since they were what I picked out.
I was initially attracted to this set because it is a ring set, and most of you probably know by now that I do love rings. I also liked the simple design, which tends to be more of my taste. I really like that they can be worn together or separate, and they could easily be stacked with other rings.
When I told the owners what items I liked, I included a few additional pieces of info. I just let them know my ring size, that both mine and my husbands birthdays were in November, and that I would want my husband’s name on the one ring. Now you could have your own name inscribed. I thought that if you got two it would make an adorable choice for “Best Friends” jewelry. You could also have MOM inscribed on it. The possibilities are endless.
The rings fit fantastic. They are available in 4 to 10, but not half sizes. I asked for an 8. I technically wear a 7.5, but I have found that my hands swell a lot because of medications I am on, so I wanted to size up. So it worked out okay for me that they didn’t have half sizes, but if it is something that is absolutely necessary for you its something to keep in mind. But I think my fellow plus size gals will be happy to see they offer up to size 10, as they are not always available past size 8 with some stores. So definite bonus points for that.
Obviously this would be more of a gift for a mother in law, or possibly mother of the groom as a wedding party gift. If you have a larger budget for gifts you can even take items like this and tie them in with the bow as part of the wrapping.