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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Suave Skin Solutions Advanced Therapy Lotion - Smooth Skin, Great Price.

I've been a fan of the Suave brand since I was a kid. The scent of Strawberry Suave Shampoo and conditioner still takes me back.



But this little narration is about a more grownup Suave product: Suave Skin Solutions Advanced Therapy Lotion with Rich Hydrators.



My family is very prone to extremely dry skin. We've bought a lot of expensive creams and lotions. Suave works better than any of them, and leaves a light, fresh scent behind that doesn't overpower our other colognes and perfumes. It even works well on the kids' skin...no irritation, no more dry skin.

Suave to me has always meant great quality at an equally great price, and this lotion doesn't disappoint one bit. I recommend it for all your severely dry skin needs, from scaly elbows to itchy legs.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dr. Scholl's® For Her Cozy Cushions: I Want a Pillow Made of These.

Because I was granted the beauty that is the Rose VoxBox, the coziest thing to hit my feet since the fuzzy toe sock was made mine. Dr. Scholl's For Her Cozy Cushions. Tadaa!


Fabulous, no? And before you ask, they are easily adjustable...just cut to size.



Heads up - you want to use VERY sharp scissors to trim them down. If they're too dull, you get a ragged edge that is zero fun to walk on.

The biggest appeal for me was the most basic: they are SO soft, warm, and yes, fuzzy. Not just cute and fuzzy, though. Their plush softness cradles your feet AND keep you feet both warm and dry. Crazy, you say? It's totally true.

Ready for my closeup:



That's not a teddy bear, that's the Cozy Cushion texture. You'd think it would make your feet sweat like the devil, but they stay nice and dry. I don't know the science behind it, but I love it.

They create a nice plush layer between your feet and the world. Between the warmth factor and the comfy cushioning, I was able to wear these boots without getting cold feet, literally or figuratively.



I need a set of these for all of my winter shoes, and an extra pair for my house slippers. This is a fantastic addition to the Dr. Scholl's For Her line.

I received this product complimentary from Influenster. But I mean everything I said from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pow! Bam! Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam... Mascara!

Because Influenster was once again fabulous, I was granted the honor of a Rose VoxBox, with a gem of a Glam inside. I adore the look of mascara, but I don't have the patience to apply, twist, curl, repeat until I get a cool plush look. Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara lets me be chic without the freak. Look how happy it is, resting on my makeup bag.


 Okay, mascara virgins, or those in fear of the dreaded bristle brush: this mascara does fabulous things, and doesn't feel like sixty pounds of muck on your eyes. It only comes in Black, but it's pretty much universal if you're going for that retro glam look. I especially liked the brush shape. It's usually difficult for me to get the corners of my eyes evenly, and this made it simple. But enough pretty words.. let's get to the pretty eyes!

This is me before. I know, it looks like I don't have lashes at all. I actually do, they're just VERY light. This is unretouched, and I am wearing zero makeup.


Enter the Scandaleyes. I love the name, by the way. It just says fun to me. So anyway...First off, when I put on mascara, I always make sure there's no excess on the tip, so it looks like this:



First step: I run the brush lightly over my top lashes to "prime" them.



Next, I use a stronger stroke, twirling the brush upward as I go over the lashes.


Then, I do the bottom lashes, again rolling the brush to curl. I'll spare you the visual, which tends to show the underside of my eye at a way too close range.

Finally, and as I said, this brush makes it easy due to the hourglass shape, I stroke the brush on the outer corners of my lashes, curling and lengthening.


 Helpful hint: if you tend to have a shaky hand or get a bubble and you get a smudge, just dab a cotton swab in eye makeup remover and touch it up. If you don't have remover, a dab of baby oil works great too.

With only that one coat, I got these results:


Hello, wow factor. HUGE difference, no? Just in case you're not convinced, let me give you a closeup:


Are those retro doe eyes, or what?

These are my selfies, and are not altered aside from cropping. Check that out. From no-lashes to OMG we gotta go party lashes, with one application of Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara. It made my green eyes huge. This fabulous product hit store shelves just this November, so run and find it!

I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. My opinions and my doe eyes are my own.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Adventures in Thanksgiving Prep.

I like to prep as much as possible the day before the main event, so I'm not scrambling around the day of. So I was in the kitchen for about 8 hours today. During that time, I:

1. Peeled and cut potatoes, carrots and squash.
2. Baked a scratch apple pie.
3. Baked several loaves of homemade cardamon bread.
4. Made a nice salty brine bath for Tom Turkey.

Pictured: Cardamon bread.


While that was pretty cool, the main reason for this post is the fun things that happened while I was doing those things. Here you go.

1. I taught my two little ones, Aidan, age 4 and Regan, 20 months, to make handprint turkeys. I helped with the tracing and left them to color. The baby colored for about a minute, then started throwing crayons everywhere. Aidan got annoyed because his turkeys didn't look like real turkeys, and opted to build towers with the crayons instead.

2. Aidan asked for leftover pie crust to play with, which I gave him. He tried to use it like play-dough, but his sister kept eating his creations.

3. I was playing music and singing along while working. Every time I would stop singing, the baby would run into the kitchen and yell at me.

4. Aidan rocked out hardcore to "Welcome to the Jungle", and insisted I replay it several times.

5. Aidan asked for pie, and when he was told it was for Thanksgiving tomorrow, eyed me and said, "Well, it's dark out, it must be ALMOST tomorrow."

So in addition to the normal cleanup, the entire kitchen was destroyed. I love my kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Green Mountain Coffee - A Great Taste, a Better World.

"When you buy Fair Trade, you're not just buying better coffee, you're building a better world."
- Kelly Clarkson

I've been a longtime fan of Green Mountain Coffee, and I was thrilled to be chosen by BzzAgent to try the new Kelly Clarkson Limited Edition Three Continent Blend for free.I love my coffee. No, I really, really love my coffee. The survival of myself- and others-depends on a steady supply. To sum it up, compliments of coffee.org:



This particular bit of steaming jet fuel? Straight up, it's delicious. It's got a smooth, rich flavor with an assertive finish that even when you drink it with addins like I do, you know you're drinking coffee. It's not harsh, though, or bitter, it just gives you a kick at the end. The aroma is wonderful...nutty with a dark scent underneath. It has the distinctiveness and quality I've come to expect from Green Mountain Coffee. A generalization: even using the K-Cups, you get a full strength cup of java. Not all brands deliver like that.


Okay, now you're wondering why I put such a powerful title on a review about coffee, not to mention the quote by the lovely Kelly Clarkson that started this post. Now that I have your attention, I will explain.

What is Fair Trade?
From the World Fair Trade Organization website:

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by  consumers, are engaged actively  in supporting producers,  awareness  raising  and  in campaigning for changes  in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”

So what does that have to do with coffee?

Green Mountain Coffee is Fair Trade Certified. Long story short, when you purchase their fabulous coffee, you are helping local farmers make a decent wage for their hard work. I'm from farming country and have done my stint at my friends' farms, so I know it's a very tough job. In 2012, coffee farmers earned more than $31.8 million in Fair Trade premiums to invest in their communities and improve the quality of their harvests. This is an 88% increase over 2011 premiums earned.Since 1998, coffee farmers and workers have earned approximately $93 million from Fair Trade. (Source: http://www.choosefairtrade.com.)

Had no idea? Don't feel sad at all. Only 38% of people know about it.

So what can you do to support such a lovely thing? Buy Green Mountain's really awesome coffee, and other goods that carry the Fair Trade label. Coffee is the best known, but you can find Fair Trade versions of everything from chocolate to wine to soccer balls. Seriously. Check this site out. I've used quite a few fair trade products, and they truly make you happy, body and soul. It's always good when spending money brings a great happy. For more information on Green Mountain Coffee, their mission, and what songstress Kelly Clarkson has to do with it all, check out http://www.choosefairtrade.com.

I received free products from BzzAgent and Green Mountain Coffee for testing and reviewing purposes. My opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cyberbullying is Rampant on YouTube.

I' m normally one to keep my posts light, but my baby girl is under attack, and no one can seem to stop it. Or cares.

My teen daughter has been through a rough time. She had trouble making friends. She had social problems all through school, until we finally received a diagnosis of Asperger's. Her major functional issues are purely social; she doesn't have ADD, or anything like that. She doesn't require medication, and is instead receiving counseling, attending a special needs school, and learning coping techniques.

In this process, she discovered an affinity for making fan videos, and despite misgivings, I allowed her to get a YouTube account to show her work to her friends. I monitored her account, and she had no problems at all.

Then she got a new kid in her class, a self proclaimed "troll". When she refused to follow his YouTube account, as he used it exclusively for trolling, he told her we would be going after her account.

Suddenly, rude comments started appearing in her Discussion section. Someone posting under her name, saying things like "I'M GAY" and "I'M A BITCH" and "I POOP MY PANTS". YouTube's Advice is to change your password and put comments on mod only, which we did. No way to report the person, since they weren't using an account that could be posted into their immovable form. I figured it was her new classmate, but there was no way to prove it. I called the school, but they said they couldn't do anything either. Even when a classmate joined the fray and was caught, he simply changed his account name and denied it.

I tracked down a customer service number for Google, and was put on hold. I waited. And waited. And waited. For five hours and 21 minutes. No, I'm not kidding. Five hours of "Your call is important to us. Please wait on the line until the next available customer service...etc. No one ever picked up.

For a while, I thought the changed password and comment mod did the trick. No comments even attempted to come through.

Unfortunately,  it appears my daughter had picked a password that was hackable. She comes downstairs about an hour ago, hysterical. All of her videos, more than 80, are gone. In addition, replacing her About description is this: (edited for content, but you can see what it said.)

Yep. On a teen girl's account, a filth-ridden phrase with gay and racial slurs. Thank God that my daughter was so upset over the missing videos that she never saw it.

You'd think the notification system would have sent some sort of warning, but nothing. No warning that the videos were deleted. No warning that that horrible phrase was on an account with her name on it. Not a damned thing. My account was linked up to it as well as hers, and I didn't get anything either. The multiple safeguards I put in place were useless, BECAUSE THE TROLLS ALL KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND THEM.

There are no ways at all to talk to a human being at Google or YouTube.  I posted this to YouTube's Facebook page:

I have a feeling I won't get a response, though. They're all about the money, and one teen who needs an outlet for her stress doesn't bring in the millions. So my options are to close her account and let the trolls win, or leave it open, encourage her to start over again, and subject her to further abuse when once again, security is circumvented.

Since this is Blogger, maybe someone will pay attention. These little monsters are nothing but bullies and criminals, yet they're allowed free reign to destroy almost everything. Maybe we're not advertisers with big bucks, but we are consumers, and we should matter.

 My daughter's account link.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bright, White and Lives Up to the Hype: Luster Distinctly White Dual-Action Whitening System and Luster NOW! Instant Whitening Toothpaste

I have some scary teeth, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe a little. I drink coffee, tea and cola. You name it, I stain it. I've used whitening toothpastes, rinses, trays, and strips, and I always bail. Why?

No instant gratification. It takes forever to see any results, and in the meantime, I'm merrily restaining away.

Enter the Luster Distinctly White Dual-Action Whitening System. Thank you, BzzAgent, for the free product!


Exhibit A: My nasty teeth.






Now scope this: My nasty teeth after two applications.


Tell me you can't see the HUGE difference there. You can't? Here's a side by side.



I know the pic colors look a little off, but my teeth really were that hideously yellow. They look that good now, after only TWO applications.

So what voodoo is required to get pretty pearlies? Surprisingly little.

If you're just using the system, you start by rinsing with the Accelerator Mouth Rinse, a slightly peroxide-tasting mouth wash type thing. 10 seconds, focusing on your front teeth, or your "smile teeth."

Next, the Super Whitener Gel. This is the easiest thing in the world to use. It comes in a squeeze tube with a brush on it, kind of like lip balm. Squeeze and paint, again focusing on the front teeth. You really need to glop it on. One thing: the instructions tell you to avoid getting it on your gums, lips or tongue. Heed this warning well. My gums and tongue weren't bothered by it, but it stings like you wouldn't believe if it gets on your lips. It's very thick and clingy, though, so it's fairly easy to avoid that issue.

Next? You make this face.



You need to keep your lips and tongue off of your teeth for 30 seconds, to give the Gel a chance to adhere to your teeth. It's not too stressful, but you do look weird. My son ran out of the room. Anyway, if you look, you can see the foaming action of the Gel between my teeth just going to town.

Once you can relax and look normal again, you wait ten minutes for the magic to happen. And magic it is.

After one application:



I mean, look at that. One use, about ten minutes, and BAM.  And again, after two applications:



Now, you can also add a little kickstart with the  Luster NOW! Instant Whitening Toothpaste. I gave that a whirl as well. I have to admit, on its own, not as magic. Visually, my teeth seemed a teeny bit whiter, about what I would get from a typical whitening toothpaste.

However...if I may add a little TMI at this point, it's what was in the sink that counted. I saw yellowish stuff I've never seen before. That tells me there was more removed than meets the eye. I'm going to try it a bit more and see if I'm right.

I am seriously in awe at the results. In my opinion, it meets and exceeds my expectations. I can't wait to see what brightness the future brings. In the meantime, I'm going to get a latte, secure in the thought that my yellow teeth will be contained.

The Luster Distinctly White Dual-Action Whitening System sells for 12.99, and can be purchased here.  The Luster NOW! Instant Whitening Toothpaste sells for 7.99, available here.

In store, they can be located at;



I received free products from BzzAgent in exchange for my review. All opinions and statements are my own.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Kashi Hummus Crisps: Deliciously Different, and Good for You, Too!



 The options for chips have really expanded, with all sorts of flavors and ingredients...some not so good for you, some good for you.

But can you believe...hummus in a chip?

Believe it.


Thanks to the amazing people at BzzAgent and Kashi, I was able to try the new Sea Salt and Olive Oil Hummus Crisps for free in exchange for my review.

So, what the heck is a hummus crisp? Well, it's a combo of popped whole grain chips with the goodness of chickpeas. Chickpeas are, in fact, the first ingredient listed. The benefits of that crazy matchup? Behold the short list. (Information via the Kashi site.)
  • 27 Crisps
  • 120
  • 3.5 g
  • 180 mg
  • 4 g
  • 3 g
  • 6 g
Seriously. 27 chips for 120 calories, with all those other nice stats. The usual chip suspects are much meaner than that in the calorie department. In addition, there's no partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, and as the bag tells me, "No artificial anything".

And they look a little something like this:


Texturally, they're in between a popcorn chip and a tortilla chip. Nice and light, but dense enough to pick up dip and with a great crunch. They're about the size of the bite-size round tortilla chips.

Ah, but since they're so healthy, they must have the flavor spectrum of styrofoam, right?

WRONG. So VERY wrong.

The taste is lovely. Despite the name, it's not just olive oil and salt, but an array of seasonings that meld together to really create a tasty snack. I thought I detected a bit of rosemary, myself. It's tangy, salty and the combination gives a comforting down home feel that makes this healthy crunchtastic nibble a comfort food. The flavor makes a statement on its own, but I really enjoyed it with my personal favorite dip: Medium-heat salsa.


 I offered them to my kids, ages thirteen, four and nineteen months. The teenager snorted and walked away, and the four-year-old enjoyed a handful.The  youngest adored them. So two out of three of my children liked them. We ignore the teenager's opinion generally, anyway.

There are two other flavors available: Caramelized Onion and Sundried Tomato Basil & Feta. I am on a mission to find them both, though I admit, the Caramelized Onion sounds incredible. I'll update once I find them and devour them.

Speaking of updates...if you want to keep up with Kashi and their innovations, get with them on Facebook or Pinterest. It's really a good idea to stay abreast of the deliciousness.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Garcinia Cambogia Weight Management: One Woman's Perspective

STRAIGHT UP: This is not going to be one of those chipper short pieces where I tell you I lost fifty pounds in a week and was still able to eat ice cream and french fries. The concept of the magic weight loss pill isn't something I subscribe to. However, I will be enlightening you on my perspective of Garcinia Cambogia Extract.

In my opinion, the most important part about taking an herbal supplement of any kind is if it improves your health or your outlook in some way, not if it performs a magic act. In short, if you going to use something long term, it better make a happy.

I received a 90 capsule bottle of Garcinia Cambogia via Influenster and The Vitamin Shoppe for testing purposes. I had heard a lot about it here and there, and I was most curious. The capsules I took were a combination of Garcinia Cambogia Extract (1000 mg) and Chromium (200 mcg).



First dose: I took it 30 minutes before a meal, per directions. After a few minutes, I was starving. No joke. I was like, wait, I thought this was supposed to be an appetite suppressant?

Be patient. That's why you gotta wait the 30 minutes. I drank water in the meantime. After about 15 minutes, I felt less hungry. After the full 30 minutes, I was still hungry, but it was no longer the ravenous "attack the kitchen" mode I had felt earlier. I was more alert, more focused...I felt very clearheaded. I also had to visit the restroom.

I hear you...TMI. Bear with me. There's a reason I mention it.

I'm the master of the trendy diet...I've done plenty. I'm also very in tune with my body. All of these sensations in a combo are a sign that my poor, abused metabolism is kicking it up a notch.

When I ate, it was amazing how quickly I felt full. I'm a girl who really likes her food, and it's obvious by my pants size. I ate a good amount less than I normally would have. The beauty part? I stayed full longer, too.

I continued the dosing, taking two capsules before each meal. It seemed to have a cumulative effect...I found myself eating less and less, and after a few days on it, found I had less cravings for junk food in general, which was a nice bonus. I was aiming more towards proteins than carbs, too. For me, that's another sign that my metabolism is heating up.

I had no bad side effects that I noticed. The positive ones were more energy, less snacking, less overeating, and an inclination to want healthier choices. In general, it made me feel more alert and upbeat. I'm assuming the Chromium helped with that. No digestive issues, nothing like that at all.

I know, you'd like to see huge loss numbers and a sexy before and after pic. I don't have that. I've lost about four pounds in four weeks. Not bad, but hardly a miracle. The big thing is, I FEEL a lot better, which gives me more energy and gets me moving, and I am eating a lot less. During that time frame, I still had some naughty things as well, probably more than I should have. This all adds up to a weight loss helper I can see using long term. The 90 count bottle retails for 16.99 on The Vitamin Shoppe website.

Allergy People: It does not contain:

Yeast, Wheat, Gluten, Sugar, Salt, Starch, Dairy, Citrus, Fish, Preservatives, Artificial Colors or Flavors.


 




It's All ZonePerfect® Greek Yogurt Bars To Me

One of the joyful goodies in my Good Life Vox Box, compliments of Influenster, was a ZonePerfect Greek Yogurt bar. I hear you...SO many bars out there...why should I care?

You should. You totally should.
First, it's about 180 to 190 calories. In that tiny amount is 12 grams of protein and three grams of fiber. And the flavors.  Hello, the flavors:

Chocolate, Raspberry, and Vanilla Berry. My treat was Vanilla Berry.

 It had the texture of your standard snack bar: a bit dry. Ah, but the taste. That's the kicker. The flavors were great...the berry really came through, and the yogurt coating was nice and thick, adding to a "candy bar" feel. It's a nice thick bar, too, very suitable for nibbling.


My thoughts were that if I got "candy bar" from the berry flavor, the chocolate flavor must be fabulous.

Guess what. It totally is. Same snackbar texture, but a great cookies and cream taste that makes you feel like you're being naughty. I can't wait to try the raspberry flavor.

The bar is pretty good sized, and what is there is very filling...normally when I'm hungry, I can drop a couple of these, but this did a great job, even in the case when "snack" replaced "lunch". It's like it expands after you eat it. I've started keeping them handy in my desk, so I don't fall into the "no time to stop and eat" trap. That can seriously rack up your metabolism.

They do contain gluten, dairy and soy, so it's not one for those sensitive to those items. As far as kid appeal, they only liked the chocolate, and even then, not very enthusiastic. That works for me, as it keeps them from stealing them. But never fear: ZonePerfect has a line of bars just for kids. Check it out here. The Yellow Cupcake flavor was a big hit with mine, FYI.

Basically, if you need healthy snacks, ZonePerfect is perfect for your needs. Check them out...you won't be sorry.

I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. My opinions are honest and my own, albeit a bit goofy.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lunchables Jr.: Save the Pack, Wrap and Stash.

I was chosen by Crowdtap to hold a Lunchables Jr. Playdate, and received the yummy snacks in exchange for my feedback.

I'm sure we all know what Lunchables are. Lunchables Jr. are a treat for the younger set that has all the construction fun of regular Lunchables, with cute names like Teddy Bear Picnic, Ants on a Log, Blueberry Bonanza, and Very Beary Crunch.

The two we tried out were Teddy Bear Picnic and Blueberry Bonanza.






Teddy Bear Picnic has honey flavored Teddy Grahams snacks, dried apple pieces, and a little tub of peanut butter. Blueberry Bonanza has Cheez-Its crackers, blueberry flavored dried apple pieces, and mini Nilla Wafers.

The packaging was very appealing to the little ones. I just held them out, and the kids snatched them up and pulled them open. There was a third guest, age 4, but I was asked not to put her image in my post.






















The first thing they did was start nibbling. They got really excited, though, when I told them that for a change of pace, they could play with their food. The dried fruits and crunchy treats are ideal for artwork. My son took this prospect quite seriously.




Together we created (All names chosen by the kids):

Mr. SnackMan.






The Great Snack Caterpillar. He's holding a teddy bear. The kids insisted.





And last but not least..Snack Bot.


They finally got hungry enough that the art was soon gobbled up. My daughter in particular enjoyed the peanut butter, much to the chagrin of the others.


I polled the kids to get their feedback. The consensus was that they loved the cookies and crackers, but the fruit wasn't a big hit. Between the two fruits, the blueberry flavored apple pieces were more popular.  None of them ate very many of the regular dried apples...they said they were too soft and chewy. They really liked the little peanut butter dipping cup in the Teddy Bear Picnic. The thing they mentioned the most, oddly enough, was the package. They thought it was "fun" and liked the way it looked.

My grownup opinion wasn't far off from theirs. I liked the packaging as well...the size and shape is very easy for little fingers to manage. The colors, too...very bright and sunny, perfect for that age group. The crackers and cookies were all classics, and very appealing to kids, and even me. I loved the blueberry flavored apple pieces, but agreed with the kids on the plain ones...while tasty and flavorful, the texture left a bit to be desired. The blueberry ones were a surprise to me, personally...I thought they were dried cranberries, not apples. Very cool. The best part is being able to just grab a healthy snack all ready to go without having to pack it up, wrap it and stash it for later.

All three enjoyed Lunchables Jr. tremendously, and my son begged for more. I am curious to try the other two flavors, so they'll be on my next shopping list. I think they're a great option for both busy on the go moms and a fun treat anytime.






Friday, September 20, 2013

Why You Might Not Be Getting Brand Campaigns: My Thoughts

As you might have noticed, the majority of my posts are reviews for products I get for free via various campaigns.

I take these campaigns very seriously. In my perspective, they're my job, and the companies have every right to have certain expectations, and to either reward or decline depending on whether those expectations are met. I keep a close eye on my conduct on social media, because I feel I'm acting as their representative, even when I'm not "on the clock".

In my opinion, some people consider the items they get in exchange for review or testing to be free gifts, and that they have no responsibility whatsoever to the company that gave them. This is unfortunately perpetuated by a lot of "freebie" sites posting them as such, rather than barter for services rendered.

The behavior of some of the others who also belong to these companies is, frankly, disturbing. The primary issue I see is people complaining about not getting enough campaigns. So I compiled a list of the reasons I've observed that might be the problem.

1. When doing the social sharing, you put out posts that are poorly worded, misspelled, or lacking punctuation. The point of these projects is to be creative and put your own spin on it, and that you are a representative of the brand. How you come across affects the brand, and the company that gave you the campaign. It takes a couple of seconds to check your work. Do it.

WORST EXAMPLE: I've seen a member who consistently misspells the company name in every post she makes, and she's had several campaigns. I fail to see why she wouldn't at least check to make sure that was right.

2. You rant on social media about how the company is unfair, and you never get campaigns. Usually in the kind of awkward prose I mention in Example 1. We're supposedly taught as children that screaming and throwing fits do not get us what they want...in fact, it's the opposite. Logically speaking, if you're spewing rancor in poorly expressed prose, a company certainly does not want you acting as a representative for your brand.

If you feel the process is unfair or biased, take your concerns, in a polite and adult manner, to the proper areas...PRIVATELY. These companies have thousands of people wanting campaigns, and they are hobbled by what the brand wants, factors like region, gender, and age group. No amount of whining, screaming, ranting, or passive-aggressive muttering will change that. It might keep you in your current position of nothing, however. I've dealt with the customer service of several companies, and all were both cordial and helpful, even when I made mistakes or had concerns.

WORST EXAMPLE:
 A.  I saw a woman complaining on the company's Facebook page that not only was she angry about not getting a particular campaign, but the brand would suffer from not having her involved. Beyond arrogant, right?

B. On another company's Facebook page, not only did the woman rant rather nastily to the company, when a well-meaning colleague tried to help, she was told, "STFU, this doesn't concern you." Would ANYONE want this person representing them?

But what should you do?  
Support your colleagues and the company by sharing, retweeting and commenting. Show up to company events like Twitter parties and actively participate. Make sure any activities the company requires is up to date. Number one: When you do get a campaign, do it up right. Which leads me to the third issue.

3. When you do get a campaign, you slack off and do the bare minimum, or you don't take care with the activities. In most cases, it's not quantity, it's quality. You can whip right through a list of activities in five minutes, sure. But the idea is that you're trying to drum up interest in the brand. If you don't think it through, take your time and do your best, you might not get another campaign. Yes, you did all the requirements, but poorly and without any real effort. Less is often more in these situations...most companies prefer you do a few things very well than everything poorly.

WORST EXAMPLE: I've seen people posting images to fulfill a challenge that they stole off of Google images. Not just once. MANY times.

4. You don't follow the rules. Two ways this can hurt you. First, the company often gives you lots of leeway, but there can be certain activities they want done a certain way. Read your instructions, and do it right. You don't know better than them what should be done, no matter what your experience or skill set is. Second, there are rules with each company that require certain phrases in postings when you are acting as a brand ambassador. THEY ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED. It's not just to torture you. If you consistently forget, you might move down the ranks. I know, we all goof...I've done it. The occasional mistake won't hurt you. In my experience, the company just lets you know it needs to be redone. But if you blow it off, it'll hurt you.

WORST EXAMPLE: I've seen many posts that didn't do what the brand requested at all, but it was still submitted. They then complained about it on social media as if it was the company's fault when it was rejected.

5. You're coming off as greedy or desperate. If you don't get a campaign, congratulate the ones who do. If you get one, don't beg for another one. If you attend a Twitter or Facebook event, don't beg for prizes, be sociable. If you win, say thank you. If you don't congratulate the winners. There's nothing wrong with saying, "Oh, cool, what a great campaign," or even "I love it!", but avoid things like "I wish I'd gotten that one", "Why didn't I get that one", or "Please give me that one". It's okay to compliment the brand, like "My son loves Transformers", or "We always drink TruMoo and love it!", and it might even make you a more attractive candidate. Being polite never hurt anyone.

WORST EXAMPLE: So many. To sum it up, people can really get nasty when free stuff is involved.

This is my personal opinion, based on my observations and what has always seemed to work for me. Comments, questions and differing opinions are welcome.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Puffs Fresh Faces: Totally Your Momma's Boogie Wipes

I was chosen by the awesome folks at P&G to try out their newest thing, Puffs Fresh Faces.

I've used and LOVED Boogie Wipes, as I have two young ones, aged 1 and 4. This is the version for the Mommies, who also want that fresh feeling and gentle cleansing. Through an agreement with Little Busy Bodies Inc., the group of moms who developed the saline based goodness that keeps my babies' faces clean, Puffs Fresh Faces was born.

Yes, a group of moms leading the way. Isn't that fabulous? But I'm getting off topic. If you want to read more, check out this article.

On topic again...So what are Puffs Fresh Faces for?


If you're not familiar with Boogie Wipes, they're a saline based wipe that comes in yummy scents that are PERFECT for "saving the sleeve". Not only do they easily remove the crustiest of boogies, they're gentle and soothing, and help keep away sore, red nose issues. I love the Great Grape scent myself...it smells so good, I can get a good wipe in before they realize what it is. (.: They're also available in Fresh, Menthol (to help with stuffy noses), and Unscented.

That's what Puffs Fresh Faces are, only I feel they're more for pampering than keeping your clothes free of crusties. Along with the saline, they're infused with aloe and Vitamin E, and they smell FANTABULOUS.

The Fresh scent is a light floral, with a slight fruity note. It really perked me up.

The Light Lavender is lovely. It has a scent like natural lavender, and is subtle and fresh. This one was my evening treat.

Finally, my savior from my seasonal allergies: The Vicks Scent. It's strong enough to open your stuffy nose up, but not harsh or irritating. It worked fabulously on my congestion, and helped me feel comforted, besides.

I used them for many things: cleansing, soothing my irritated nose, and just freshening up. They worked well for removing makeup. The best was using the Fresh scent during the day. It was wonderful for a quick cleanup after a workout, and made my errands much more comfortable, despite the heat and humidity of a Virginia summer. Something about that scent just made me feel more alert.

The wipes are a nice size. The thickness is good, too...not so flimsy they fall apart, not so heavy that they tug.


 The packaging is a nice size to carry with you , and fun, too. You peel back the label and there's a pop top, like on baby wipes. It keeps them nice and neat and moist, ready for the next use. I like the design of the packaging...the colors really match the scents.

All in all, I think it's a new and interesting product, and I'm curious to see if there's any more scents planned. So now in addition to my usual stash of Boogie Wipes, Mommy is going to have her Puffs Fresh Faces to keep her feeling fabulous. Thank you, P&G and Little Busy Bodies Inc.!

Time for a Light Lavender relaxation moment...

I received products in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own, and are truthfully stated.





Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lifeway Kefir: Great Taste and a Probiotic Punch!

I've had my share of yogurt before. It's a staple in my diet. However, I had never tried Lifeway Kefir. But yes, once again...
What is Kefir, you ask? Where did it come from?

From Lifeway Kefir's website:  

"The drink we now call Kefir (it is sometimes pronounced Kee-Fur) originated in ancient times when Eastern nomadic shepherds discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into a deliciously effervescent beverage. Once the accidental process was discovered, this bubbly refresher became popular throughout the known world. It is thought to originate from the Turkish word “Keif” meaning “good feeling”, for the sense of well-being experienced after drinking it." (Ref: http://www.lifeway.net/LifewayWorld/KefirProbiotics.aspx, © 2013 Lifeway Foods, Inc., all rights reserved.)

Yes, it really is fizzy. You'd think having yogurt and fizzy combined would be offputting, but it's a fabulous experience. It harkens back to the days of old-fashioned ice cream sodas. You could even make an ice cream soda, because, ta-da, it also comes frozen. Feel free to scope at the fabulous options here:

I chose this:




The Lowfat Kefir Cultured Milk Probiotic Smoothie in Coconut Chia flavor. A mouthful? Yes. But a  delicious one. Healthy, too. I  won't go into details, but check it out:

Straight out of the bottle, it's delicious. The effervescence adds a refreshing twist to the standard yogurt smoothie experience, and keeps it from being heavy. The coconut flavor isn't overpowering or fake. It's subtle, but you know it's coconut. I enjoyed it immensely.

It's not just a tasty smoothie, though. Mind blown, right?

I poured it into my ice pop maker. It froze up very well and held its shape, unlike regular yogurt, which tends to soften quickly. Was it good?

Check this face:




Yes, that is my four-year-old enjoying a healthy dose of probiotics, and SMILING. He asked for more, too.

It doesn't just make kids happy, though...I discovered another variation that makes adults happy as well...it makes a heck of a pina colada.

Observe:





Lifeway Coconut Chia Kefir, ice, and a splash of pineapple juice. With or without a bit of spirits, it's absolutely delicious. In my case, it was a good thing that I kept this one "virgin", because it was stalked by the aforementioned four-year-old, who ended up finishing it for me.


Delicious, diverse, and different. I enjoyed my Kefir experience, and will be restocking my supplies so I can try even more variations and recipes. Also, my son demands it.

I received this product complimentary to test through Influenster’s VoxBox program.