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.
Thanks to our friends over at Influenster I got another VoxBox. This time it was a much coveted makeup box. I received the Maybeline Super Stay 24 Color Liquid Lipstick in two colors. I was sent Constant Toast 136 and Keep Up The Flame 025. These lipsticks are available in 30 different shades. You can see a full list of colors available here.
Constant Toast looks a little like a light brown nude in the package, but on the lips it looks more like a pinky peach nude. And Keep Up The Flame is a brick red color, though I thought the it looked slightly more like a true red on the lips but not by much.
In my voxbox it came with a card that had instructions for application and a list of product claims. I would like to note that there were no instructions on the actual products on their boxes. I think that without the instructions, this could be a product that could go terribly wrong.
So first lets talk about what the product claims to do. Here is what is says:
Meet the wonder that stretches the limits of longwear lip color, SuperStay 24 Lip color. This longwear lip color won’t cake, dry, flake, or fade thanks to our unique Microflex technology that leaves lips feeling fresh through 24 hours of wear.Sounded great to me, but I was more than a bit dubious. It’s hard to not be doubtful. I have tried so many liquid lipsticks and it seem like you have two option. You can either have the super matte liquid lipsticks that last a long time, but not a full 24 hours. And you still can’t really eat and drink what you want with them on without them wearing off, and usually in a really unflattering way. But with these you have to worry about them being painfully drying, or if your like me and have natural lip creases from birth and dry lips they look horrible on most of the time. Or you can choose the non matte ones, and they will last a little longer than a traditional lipstick and wear away gracefully, but the extra time they last is just not that much. And at least they aren’t painful on the lips. But to find a color that will last through anything and not be drying? Really.
So to give it the best chance of working the way it says it would I also wanted to follow their instruction. Here is what it says to do:
Apply liquid lip color to clean, bare lips. (Helpful tip: if you have dry and/or peeling lips it is best to use a lip scrub and balm prior to application, just make sure to wipe it off prior to use.)Allow two minutes to dry, then apply the ultra conditioning balm to seal in moisture. (Helpful tip: don’t allow your lips to touch during the dry down time.)
Reapply balm as needed. (I found for me personally it was mainly necessary after eating and drinking.)
Remove with an oil-based makeup remover.
The helpful tips parts are my own notes I wanted to share after some trial and error. The rest was what was on the notecard.
I wanted to really test these out fully. It said it would last 24 hours so I decided I was going to wear one of them a full 24 hours even if that meant sleeping in it. So I tested out Constant Toast first because it was the lighter color and I didn’t want to end up with red all over my sheets just in case it did have transfer. I used my cell phone to take these pictures so I would be sure to have a time stamp. So let’s go over how each of these lasted through the day, and then I will give you my thoughts on the product.
Here is a closer look at what Constant Toast looks like. It’s very obviously a nude color. I wasn’t really planning on going anywhere the first couple of days that I tested these lipsticks out, I decided not to bother with any other makeup. I only concentrated on the application of the lipstick and checking in often to see how it was wearing.
Here I am applying Constant Toast at 5:16 A.M. in the morning. You can see constant toast is pretty close to my own lip color. It’s probably what some people would call a better than my lip color, but I don’t know that I think that.
After applying I had my morning coffee like I do every morning when I first get up.
And this is my first check in at 5:43 A.M. and everything still looks good.
At 8:39 A.M. is the first time I feel compelled to use the lip balm again. I wasn’t to the point where my lips felt painful, but its like it would be on the average day when I would use a regular lip balm.
I had to run to my mail box and decided to do a check in while I was in the sunshine. This was at 12:32 P.M. As you can see it still looks fully in tact.
When I got back from running my errands I had a light snack and this left me needing to apply the balm again at 1:39 P.M.
And here is my last check in for the day at 5:37 P.M. after dinner. I did reapply the balm one more time before going to bed.
And after sleeping in the lipstick all night long here is my last check in after waking up at 5:00 A.M. You can see that it is still there, however some of it has worn off in spots. And of course my lips are a little dry looking. I of course have no way of knowing at what time it started to wear off since I was asleep.
Up next was the color Keep Up The Flame. I felt like I had already tested the formula well, so I didn’t really need to test it to that extent, but I did still do some check ins during the day.
It is obviously a brick red color. A little on the dark side, but not super dark.
This was not long after I applied the lipstick. It actually looks okay in the picture, but this color was very hard to apply. It kept wanting to slip outside the lip line. Once the dry down happened there were no more problems, it was only while trying to apply it. I wore it a second time and had the same issue, but it was some easier if I wiped a lot of the product off of the applicator.
This was more to the end of the day. It was close to twelve hours of wear. I think it help up well considering I had a pretty oily pizza for dinner. There is a little bit of color loss towards the center of my mouth, but that is it. It also looks overly glossy, not really sure what caused that.
My thoughts about this product are this. First let me say, I really would not have ever chosen the colors that I was sent. I did end up liking Constant Toast, but Keep Up The Flame is not a color I would wear again. But I did absolutely love the formula. I think it put every other liquid lipstick I have ever tried to shame. There should be no reason that if this $10 lipstick can make a moisturizing long-wearing lipstick, then the $20 and and $30 ones I have tried can do the same. The one drawback is the selection of colors. They do have 30 different shades to choose from, but most don’t seem to be that different from each other. And there are definitely no fun shades.
I actually loved the formula so much I had to run out and buy some other colors. I haven’t gotten to wear all the colors I purchased, but I wanted to share some of the makeup looks I created both from the two I was sent, and from ones I purchased.
I did receive two of the lipsticks in exchange for a review, but all opinions expressed are my own. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried the Maybelline Super Stay 24 Color Liquid Lipsticks. If you have, what was your favorite color, and did you love these as much as I did?
I will be super honest here and say that the one I received is not the one that I would have picked out for myself had I been given a choice. Based on my personal needs, and keeping in mind I have no experience with any of these particular dry shampoos, I most likely would have chosen one of three. My first choice would have been the Dove Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo. I think that the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless Dry Shampoo or the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Dry Shampoo would have also been good options for me.
Before I tell you my thoughts about the product I want to tell you my personal history with dry shampoo, so you know where I am coming from and what I am comparing this too. I am a long time user of dry shampoo, way before the recent hype. With my particular hair type if I wash my hair too often my hair starts breaking, so I try not to wash my hair more than twice a week at most. When I have my hair colored, then I try to cut that down to once a week or less if possible. So dry shampoo has really been a beauty staple in my life.
Over the years I have tried a lot of different types of dry shampoo from salon level to just outright making it myself. For the last five years I have narrowed down to essentially three things I use on a regular basis depending on budget, my current hair and scalp needs, and what I want to achieve with the dry shampoo.
So I still sometimes use homemade dry shampoo. If you do a google search or even better a Pinterest search you can find hundreds of recipes for DIY dry shampoo. Personally I have found just straight up corn starch does the best for me, and its the cheapest anyway. This does a great job when you simply want to quickly remove oil from you hair, but it can be messy if you are not careful.
I have also found two retail brands that I have remained pretty loyal to. I tend to go back and forth between the two because they are very different in what they offer. I use Batiste Dry Shampoo Tropical Scent for the best oil removal. And as an added bonus it has a wonderful fragrance I enjoy. Most of you know I am very fragrance sensitive due to my Balsam of Peru Allergy, however this Tropical Scented Batiste has been the only scented dry shampoo I had found that did not bother me in one way or another.
The other dry shampoo I use is the Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Dry Shampoo. I find this one is best for when you want to get some volume in your hair. However I don’t feel its quite as good at removing oil. But it is unscented, so if you are fragrance sensitive this one might work for you.
Me using the Suave Professionals Refresh Revive Dry Shampoo for the first time.
So Influenster asked me to the three day dry shampoo challenge. No problem since I usually go longer without washing my hair and using dry shampoo, right? Well, sort of. I did do the three day challenge. I even hung in there the fourth day, but I couldn’t go longer with it.
Me and my hair on the third day of the three day dry shampoo challenge.
It actually did a decent job of taking the oil out of my hair (not quite as well as Batiste thought), and it gave a decent amount of volume to my hair with use. Performance wise it was actually quite close to the Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. However, this dry shampoo put out more of a white cast than any dry shampoo than I have ever tried. I could have lived with that part but the fragrance was horrible for me. But if you like a very orange/citrus scent you may like the fragrance. But be warned the fragrance is strong and it never seems to dissipate.
I do not plan on purchasing this in the future. But since I never had a reaction from it, I suppose if I needed dry shampoo and that was all that was available I at least know its a useable option.
I did receive my bottle of dry shampoo free for review purposes, however all opinions are my own and are just that, opinions.
I do want to share a couple of tips on using dry shampoo while we are on the subject. One of the biggest complaints I hear about dry shampoo, even with the really good ones, is it leave a white cast on your hair. After some conversations with people I have come to realize there is some misunderstandings on how dry shampoo is supposed to be used.
The instructions should be printed on all the bottles, but I do realize some people tend to skip that. Anyway make sure you shake the bottle well before use each time. Hold the bottle about 10 to 12 inches away from your head when you are spraying. The closer you have the bottle to your head the more of a white cast you will get. Granted some brands are going to have more than others.
Now here is the big thing after you spray it in, let it sit for a minute or two. Then use your hands to rub it into your hair roots. Then brush it out. Any white cast that was there should completely brush out, even with the worst of them. There are only a couple of dry shampoos on the market that are made to stay in your hair, most are meant to be brushed out. Dry shampoos are meant to control oil, some to give you volume. They are not meant to be used in hair that has product in it. So don’t use it over top of mouse, gel, or hairspray.
Additional tips, if for some reason you still can’t get the white cast to go away, you can get dry shampoos to match your hair color. Also, some people say that dry shampoos make their hair look too matte and shineless. You can use a dry hair oil spray to help give your hair some shine.
What are your favorite dry shampoos? Do you have any tips for using dry shampoo?
But lets get back to what was in the Sprout VoxBox. This time instead of everything coming from one company, all the items sort of fit a theme. Everything in the box was either Organic or Non-GMO. Definitely things you would consider healthy alternatives. I will include links below to anything that I can find.
This is what the box I received looked like. It got dinged up just a bit during shipping, but outside of that it arrived fine.
And this is what you see when you open the box. There were all the products as well as a couple of cards with product information and a box check in card.
So as you can see, I received one full size product and four one time use products.
The first thing I decided to try was the Curate Bar.
I received the Curate Gluten-Free Snack Bars, Dark & Tempting Balsamic Fig & Hazelnut flavor. I can honestly say that I really loved this one. It ended up being my favorite thing out of the box. The funny thing was, I was really skeptical at first about trying it because of the combination of flavors. It tastes a bit like a fig newton and a granola bar came together and had a much better tasting baby. I actually liked this so much that I went and order two boxes and I order a box each of the Sweet & Tart Berry Bliss and the Harmonious Blend Marcona Almond & Apricot flavors. The dark and tempting bar is still my favorite though, and I believe there are two other flavors available.
Next I decided to try the Spicy Black Bean Tortilla Chips from EatSmart. They, for the most part, tasted like and had the texture of your average Tortilla Chip. The main difference was that it had a very distinctive black bean flavor. It wasn’t super strong, but you just got hints of it from time to time. For me that was a good thing, but if you don’t like black bean then this might not be what you want. The one drawback for me was it was just a little too spicy for my taste. They do have a Garlic Hummus flavor that I really want to try. I think it sound more to my tastes.
Okay, I got a little corny with a couple of the pictures. But with a name like Hair Food I couldn’t help myself. I received these sample size packets of Clairol Hair Food Apricot Shampoo and Conditioner with Honey Apricot Fragrance. Lets start with the good points. Both the shampoo and conditioner were very moisturizing and seem like they would be great for anyone with highly dry hair. I was very pleasantly surprised at how little of the conditioner I had to use. Now for the minuses. I thought I would enjoy the scent of this, but it was fragranced in a very unnatural way and way too strongly, especially the shampoo. The scent of the shampoo was so strong that I ended up getting a headache by the end of the day. If you are not fragrance sensitive, you probably won’t have an issue. However for a product that claims to be hypoallergenic it was a bit frustrating. Also, I felt overall my hair did not stay clean as long as it does with my usual shampoo.
The last two items I received I was unable to use myself, one because of an ingredient and the other just because it is not something I would ever use. So I passed them to friends to try out. I will share with you their thoughts on each product.
I received a one time use size of the ECOS Magnolia & Lily Liquid Laundry Detergent. The friend I passed it to said, ” It did the job you would expect from a laundry detergent. However with a one time use I found it difficult to really tell. The load I used it on wasn’t really stained or anything. But it did clean the clothes.” This was by the way the one I passed on due to allergy reasons. Due to my Balsam of Peru Allergy I have reactions to the majority of flower fragrances.
Yes, I also got corny with this picture. I received a sample of the Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder In Vanilla Bean. I just don’t use protein powder at all, but I have a friend that uses it quite often, so I passed it along for her and her husband to try. They said, “It mixes well with almond milk and has a very wheat like flavor. Not gritty and has a smooth texture. Mild flavor so you could add fruit too it and make a smoothie or something.”
That is all I received in my box, but
I do know that some people received a couple of other items in their box, but from my understanding those items were very limited. I would love to hear from anyone else that got this box or has tried any of these items. What do you think? If you got the box, did you have a favorite? Was there anything you plan on buying for yourself?
Also, I just want to make sure that I say that while I did receive these items for free from Influenster, all opinions are my own. When you get a box from Influenster you are encouraged to review the items, but you are never told what to say.
I recently joined a website community called Influenster. I briefly mentioned this a couple of post ago when I was doing an update on what’s going on with the blog. So let me start by telling you what Influenster is. According to Influenster they are:
A community of over 1.5 million social savvy shoppers that:
Stay on top of the latest product news & expert tips.
Review products, share honest opinions with brands and the community.
Test products for free based on social media influence.
And yes that is what they are, but that doesn’t really tell you everything until you really get there and see how it works.
My best description would be imagine Tripadvisor, Ipsy, and Instagram joined into one, but completely free and the only way to get products were dependent on you writing reviews and how many followers you have, then you have Influenster.
They do not require that you have a blog or a YouTube channel to sign up or to receive free products, though it certainly won’t hurt you. Anyone is allowed to sign up, and in order to get free products you only have to be active on social media. And you can not use Facebook fan pages to count into your social media usage. And if you do have a blog, all blogs no matter how big or small are treated equally in how much credit you get for them.
I personally do not have a tremendous amount of social media followers on my personal accounts, but I do really enjoy writing reviews. I probably would have participated whether I thought I would be getting a lot of freebies or not. But as it happened within the first couple of weeks of being a member, I got a notice saying I was receiving my first VoxBox. (VoxBoxes are what they call the various promotional boxes they send out to members for review.)
The first box I got was the L’OREAL Revitalift VoxBox. I received the complete volume filler part of the line. So lets take a look at what I got.
This is how it arrived in the mail. The shipping label being on the bottom side you can not see in the picture.
Here are all the products I received in my LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox. In addition there was also a card with product information included in the box.
If you have followed my blog for any amount of time at all you know I have to be really careful about the products I use due to the semi-rare contact allergy I have. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, and would like to learn more about my allergy or whether you or someone in your life should possibly be checked for it, the you can check out one of my older blog post about it here.
After careful examination of all the ingredients I was saddened that I was not going to be able to use the products. So what to do? Well, that is where one of my best friends Jenna comes in. She and I are close enough that I refer to her kids as my nieces. (we are both only children, so its the closest I will ever have to a sister and nieces and I love my friends like family anyway) She and I are similar in age and skin type outside of my allergy. And we both have maintained our skin over the years in similar ways, so it makes sense that she be the one to test it out for me.
So I gave her the products shortly after getting them, and this is what she had to say about them:
I’ve been using the Loreal Revitalift system for about a month now. The volume filler Eye Treatment, Serum and the Night and Day creams. I really like how the day cream feels on my skin, it doesn’t feel “heavy.” The night cream is ok, it does it’s job, but I like how the day cream feels better.
I haven’t noticed any significant difference in my skin in regards to the serum, but with the volume filler for the eye area, I have noticed a big change. The small “laugh line” wrinkles around my eyes are much less noticeable now than they were a month ago. That is great, as I will be 42 next week and I got carded for wine the other day. The person did not believe I was my age, they thought I was in my early 30’s. It feels great to be mistaken for a much younger person.
Here are a couple of side by side selfies from last month and this month of Jenna, and I think I can see a little difference, what do you guys think?
I think the biggest difference I can see from comparing the pictures is, like she mentioned, her under eye area and then maybe the texture of her skin appears to be more dewy or youthful looking.
Has anyone else tried this line? If so what do you think? What about Influenster? Are you a member? If so do you find it helpful?