Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 2017 Pooch Perks Review

What: Pooch Perks is a subscription box for dogs containing 2-6 treat, toy, or hygiene items. There are three subscription tiers; boxes within each tier are curated according to your dog's size.  You can also make special requests (heavy chewer option, allergy-conscious, box frequency changes) when you sign up. For reference, this review is for the Popular Pooch box (4-5 items) for a medium/large dog (35lbs+).
When: Ships monthly on your subscription renewal date
Cost: $20-$50 per month (shipping is free); ships anywhere in the US and US territories
Fun Fact: Want only treats or just toys? You can sign up for that for just $20/month! Also, $1 from each box goes to rescue groups. You can learn more about how Pooch Perks gives back here.

Dogs are smart cookies; mines know when they get boxes in the mail the second I walk in the door. I know they have good noses, but jeeeez sniffing out treats from 15 feet away when they're still sealed in a package and a box is quite impressive. This month's Pooch Perks day was no exception, and although I've succeeded in holding them off for the past week since it arrived I can tell they're growing more impatient with each passing day. Sorry pups, momma's gotta finish this post first.

ZippyPaws Squeakie Pad Ladybug ($6) - If you love your pup but HATE cleaning up stuffing after Rover beats his stuffed animals to death, you'll appreciate these stuffing-free toys. They have all the cuteness with none of the mess. All that's inside here are two long Blaster squeakers for honkin' fun. Unfortunately, my dogs like to tag team. Macho de-stuffs, Pebbles de-squeaks. I don't know where she learned it, but she knows exactly how to find the little squeaker tube no matter how hidden it is and remove it from ALL of her toys.

Puptato Chips (2oz, full size, $5) - Dried sweet potato with a bit of dried chicken liver for flavor - that's all that goes in here! Both of my dogs love these chips and I don't have to feel bad about giving them more than one because these are dried and not fried.

Multipet Ruff Enuff Nobbly Wobbly Ball ($4) - Both Macho and Pebbles love to destroy plush and canvas toys but find the tougher thermoplastic rubber ones boring because they're often too big or slip out of their jaws. This rubber ball is the perfect size for my corgis and they'll have no problems holding onto it. I think I'll stuff some treats in here to add a bit of a challenge for them. :)

Dogs Love Kale Tropical Delight Coconut-Banana (6oz, full size, $9) - Believe it or not, they do. My dogs love kale. They also love to eat salad greens. I guess when you're a dog any human food = good food. The green bananas used in this treat are good for dogs' coat, digestion and muscle tissue, and coconut contains lauric acid which helps boost their immune system.

Verdict: My dogs give this month's Pooch Perks two paws up! Pebbles is loving her new nobbly wobbly ball and both dogs are going bonkers over their new treats. I'm glad to finally add some dry treats to our stash; lately we've been getting mainly meaty treats and cookies so it's nice to have low calorie healthy treats for a change. I'm still debating whether I should give them the ladybug toy, though. I'm certain Pebbles will rip it apart within 10 minutes, but she'll be so happy (and quiet!) for those 10 minutes too. Plus there won't be any stuffing to clean up afterward. :D

Click here to subscribe to Pooch Perks. Your dog will love you for it, promise! Also, don't forget to use the code FRIEND10 to get 10% off your first order.

Note: This review reflects my (and my pups'!) honest opinions. No referral links were used in this post.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 2017 Daily Goodie Box Review

Whew! Has it been a busy start to the year or what?! Holidays, birthdays, new year's babies - it seems like January is the month to be born! Not to mention getting burnt out and feeling under the weather after all the festivities. But I'm finally back and have a stack of boxes to go through, soooo...time to grab a cup of tea and get on with it! First up is a box that's new to me so of course it scores a free pass to the front of the line:

What: Daily Goodie Box sends a box of samples and full-sized items for you to test and review right from your account.  The more you review, the better your chances of scoring another box!
Cost: Free! Just submit reviews to improve your chance of getting more boxes.

Everyone likes free stuff (you know I'm right). And companies like to put out stuff that consumers will like. So how do you make both parties happy? The answer is simple: Daily Goodie Box. They work with product manufacturers to bring you free stuff to try out and in return those companies get feedback on said products so that they know what did and didn't work. The Daily Goodie Box process is equally as simple: 1) Sign up for an account; 2) Wait for a box to come in the mail; 3) Login to your account and leave reviews for each of the products you received. Remember to put some thought into your reviews because it may qualify you for another box! Here's what came in my first ever Daily Goodie Box:

Looks pretty full...full of FOOD. I love food so I'd say that's a promising start :)

Gary Poppins Lite Popcorn in Simply Sea Salt - I'm a popcorn lover and will try any brand of popcorn at least once. This is the first time I'm hearing of Gary Poppins and my first thought was that the brand name sounds fun - and that umbrella, it's just like Mary! :) I received the lite version in my box aka the healthy one which has olive oil rather than palm oil like buttered popcorn has (i.e. less saturated fat). That and sea salt for flavoring. That's all that's in here. I'm more of a buttered popcorn kind of gal so I can't draw a conclusion on the brand based on this lite version. I guess it tastes okay considering it's healthy popcorn, and at only 90 calories per bag you can't really go wrong. Gary Poppins also makes kettle corn too so I'll probably give that a whirl.
Gary Poppins Lite Simply Sea Salt popcorn

Herr's Popped Chips Tangy BBQ flavor - If you're the kind of person who loooves potato chips but hates how fatty they are, try these instead. Popped chips have all the flavor and half the fat of regular potato chips (not to mention no saturated fat!). In fact an entire snack size bag is just 100 calories! Plus since each chip is puffed and airy it tricks you into thinking you're eating more than you really are. This bag was still gone in under 5 minutes, though. They're just that good.
Herr's Popped Chips in Tangy BBQ flavor

Dream Water in Snoozeberry - Dream Water contains gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which indirectly regulates brain activity, melatonin to regulate your sleep cycle, and 5-HTP to stimulate melatonin production. I remember trying a bottle of this sleep aid a while back but don't recall if it worked. The powder mix tastes similar to the pre-made drink; I added one stick to one cup of water but you can adjust it according to what tastes best for you. I took it on one of those nights when you're wired but have to be up in 4 hours for work. The pack says to allow 30 minutes for it to kick in so I waited. And waited. I eventually fell asleep after an hour. Maybe it just took a while for it to kick in, but I think it's more likely that I just fell asleep because I got so bored staring at a blank wall.

Em+Pact Protein and Energy Bar in Maple-licious - Their mission is simple: empower women to impact their lives, families, and communities, starting with healthy energy bars. When you eat well you feel like you can take on the world. This all-natural, non-GMO bar has 10g of protein to aid in tissue recovery and maintenance to keep your body running smoothly. The first thing that came to my mind when I took a bite was that it's chewy like a Power Bar. I didn't care for this particular flavor too much, though - I like pecans but could only taste the maple and chia seeds. Em+Pact also makes coconut and chocolate cherry flavors. I'm thinking I'll look for the chocolate cherry one next. Mmmm, cherry cordials.
Em+Pact energy bar in Maple-licious

Alsa Energy Drink Powder Mix sampler - This sampler came with one each of three flavors - dragonfruit, pomegranate blueberry, and three citrus. Alsa's claim to fame are its patented ingredients Cognizin, for mental focus, and PURENERGY, which contains a co-crystal of caffeine that's metabolized more efficiently than regular caffeine. Add one packet to two cups of water for an energy boost. Unfortunately, I didn't experience any change in energy levels afterward. In case it was a fluke, I still have two more tries to see if it works...
Alsa dragonfruit flavor in powder mix form...

...and dissolved in water.

Raw Rev Superfood Bar in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Raw Revolution (Raw Rev for short) makes organic vegan nutrition bars. They never use GMOs or artificial ingredients so you can be confident about what you're putting in your body. Like the Em+Pact bar, this one has the texture of a Power Bar but I liked the taste of this one a lot more. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for anything that sounds like an ice cream flavor, but I found this to be very tasty (I could even taste whole chocolate chips in here which gave this bar major brownie points). In fact, it was so yummy that I forgot to snap a photo after the first bite...sorrynotsorry.

Natralia Anti-itch Soothing Cream - Bug bites? Sunburn? Rashes? Natralia it. This brand specializes in skin care, especially when it comes to dry skin and itchiness. Lots of creams use hydrocortisone to quell inflammation, but prolonged use of topical steroids can leave skin brittle. Natralia's cortisone-free formula uses colloidal oatmeal and menthol to soothe itchy, inflamed skin. I used it on a bug bite and didn't think it did anything to soothe the itch, but I try to be fair and give things at least three chances to prove itself. My hands have been really dry lately; I wonder if it works on dry skin?

Verdict: I was impressed with the quality of products included in this box. If you do a little further reading on the brands you'll find that most of them put out products with consumers' health in mind. I also liked that almost everything in here was brand new to me; out of the seven items in here, I had only heard of one of the brands before. Personally, this is what I feel a consumer review box should be about - connecting up-and-coming brands with an audience. It's a great way to get the brands' name out while also getting feedback about what did and didn't work.

If you're interested in product testing and reviewing, sign up for a Daily Goodie Box here. They are shipped based on availability so you may not get one right away but sit tight and hopefully one will come your way soon. When you do receive it, don't forget to sign in to your account and leave your reviews so you can qualify for another box!

Note: I received these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 2017 3B Box Review

 What: The 3B Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty items from Korea, Japan, or Taiwan
When: Ships during the first week of each month
Cost: $15/month with free shipping to US (or as low as $12/month with longer commitments)

Sweet! New year, new masks! It looks like January is mask month over at 3B. This month's box came with six masks, some from familiar brands, some new to me. Time to dig in! :)

SkinRx Lab MadeCera Re-turn Express Microfiber Mask ($6) - This mask is intended to repair damaged skin. It contains naturally-fermented ceramide and madecassoside, an herbal remedy derived from Centella asiatica that stimulates collagen production and has anti-inflammatory effects.

MaskerAide Weather Warrior Sheet Mask  ($7) - Whether your skin is dry and damaged from sunburn or windburn, this mask can help. It's enriched with aloe, green tea, witch hazel, and argan oil to soothe, calm and heal your skin. And I'm not sure how, but supposedly it can help prolong your tan?!?

Hada Labo Tokyo Ultimate Anti-aging Facial Mask ($4) - Each cotton mask is soaked in a full bottle of anti-aging serum to provide deep hydration, restore firmness, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes and pat the excess serum into your skin. You can even save the rest of the serum left in the package for next time :)

For Beloved Girl Extreme Moisture Mineral Cloud-Silk Mask ($3) - If you have dry skin you'll love this mask from Taiwan. It's loaded with hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA and sodium lactate for maximum hydration. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then enjoy plump, glowy skin all day.

Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask ($5) - This is Wei Beauty's top-selling mud mask for a reason. It dries without making your face feel tight and crack-y - a major plus for me. The key ingredient in here is golden root extract which counteracts oxidative stress while china clay absorbs dirt and impurities.

23.5N Rice Soothing Gel Mask ($6) - Oooh, another bestselling mask! This rice gel mask is 23.5N's top seller and is produced from locally sourced ingredients. The gel is cooling and soothing for dull or irritated skin. Lately my skin's been acting up and reacting to everything so I've only been using gel masks lately. I think this one will be first up in the lineup!

VerdictI'm happy to get a mask box from 3B, but I think I may have to hold off on it all except for the gel mask. Sheet masks have been leaving my face tooooo hydrated and oily lately and I've been seeing an increase in breakouts. I'm hoping my face settles down soon because I really want to try the MaskerAide and mud mask!

Click here to sign up for 3B Box for $15/month (free shipping). They will ship to anywhere within the US. 

Note: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Walmart Beauty Box - Winter 2016

    What: Walmart Beauty Box contains samples of beauty products from major drugstore brands. Multiple versions are available for different age groups - this review is for the Trendsetter box.
When: Ships once a season (March, June, September, and December)
Cost: The box itself is free, but there is a $5 flat shipping fee

About two years ago Walmart introduced a couple of FREE subscription boxes -- the Beauty Box, which includes drug store beauty samples, and the Baby Box, for expectant moms or moms with infants or toddlers. The only catch was to pay the $5 shipping charge. I'm a big fan of finding affordable products that still give the same results as their high end counterparts, so these boxes definitely sounded appealing. I haven't tried the Baby Box yet (if you have, let me know what you thought of it!), but I've been a Beauty Box subscriber since the first one came out. Walmart tries to include products appropriate for the season, so this month I'm guessing there will be lots of moisturizers to go with the dry winter weather. Time to dig in!

TRESemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo - For those days you can't (or don't want to) wash your hair, spritz on some dry shampoo and it's supposed to sop up the excess oil. Maybe it's just me, but dry shampoos don't seem to work. I've tried a bunch of brands and all have the same result: my roots just end up looking greasier than ever. Yeeeah, I'm probably better off just not putting anything on my hair on the off-shampoo days.

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion - This lotion first made its appearance in the Summer box and is the first lotion from a sub box that my husband has used more than once. Of all the high end moisturizers and creams I've received, this is the only one he chose to stick with. Not that it's a bad thing; it saves me a ton of money in the long run!

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer - This is a water-activated lotion that you apply to wet skin before toweling off, while your pores are still open. It contains a ceramide complex that absorbs into skin and replenishes the skin's natural moisture barrier. I don't know about you, but I'm shivering when I step out of the shower and the first thing I want to do is dry off, not apply lotion.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream - Moisturizers galore! This super concentrated cream is packed with glycerin to improve the look and feel of dry skin. According to the instructions, a small dab is all you need to keep skin hydrated.

Dove Dry Oil Moisture Nourishing Body Wash - More dry skin rescue! This body wash is enriched with Moroccan argan oil to lock in moisture. I love the smoothing effect argan oil has on my frizzy hair and it smells good, too. Looking forward to making my whole shower smell divine!

Also included in the box were a couple packets of Loreal anti-aging cream and Garnier Whole Blends shampoo & conditioner. I've been curious about Whole Blends for a while so I'm happy to try it and see how well it works with my hair.

VerdictI'm a bit underwhelmed this month. Just as I expected there were lots of moisturizers in this box, too much for me since I already have a million backup bottles and I don't use too much at once. And I don't use dry shampoo so that's going to get passed along. At this point two years after the inaugural box, most of the brands are repeats, but I do appreciate that they try to throw in slightly different variations of a product such as a new line or scent. However, if you calculate the box value, lately each box has been breaking even with the shipping cost so if you're looking for a box that gives you a big bang for your buck you might want to keep looking.

If you'd like to subscribe to Walmart Beauty Box, click here to get started. Spring boxes start shipping in March, but I think you might still be able to get a Winter one if you sign up now.

Walmart Winter 2016 Beauty Box

Note: All opinions contained within this post are my own. Post does not contain any referral links.