Wednesday, June 14, 2017

May 2017 Daily Goodie Box Review

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.

Yup, no joke. Daily Goodie Box is completely free. No paying for shipping or locking yourself into some fine print that comes back to bite you in the butt. Sound too good to be true? Well there is a catch. You need to review the products. But that's it. Daily Goodie Box works with product manufacturers to bring you free stuff to try out and in return those companies get feedback on their products. But note that this is not a subscription service - anyone can sign up for an account, but Daily Goodie Box will contact you if/when they send a box your way to review. Once you get your box, have fun trying everything then login to your account and leave your thoughts on each of the products you received. Remember to leave quality reviews because it may qualify you for another box! 

I know I'm a little (okay a lot) late to the party, but here's what came in May's box:

Kicking Horse Coffee - Kick Ass Ground Coffee - It's times like these that I wish I was a coffee drinker (and/or had a coffee maker) because this one sounds so decadent. Plus, with a name like Kick Ass who wouldn't want to try it? The aroma is described as "smoky, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate," and the tasting notes are "chocolate malt, molasses, licorice and an earthy lingering finish." Doesn't it make your mouth water? But it's a dark coffee and my sweet tooth can't even handle medium roast. Yep, I'm that girl who always orders the frappuccino at Starbucks because I like a touch of coffee with my sugar. My girlfriend told me that I'm the gal she gets mad at for holding up the line and ordering fake coffee. Haha. Oops. Still wouldn't mind trying it though, if only I had a coffee maker...

Georgia Grinders Creamy Peanut Butter - With all the processed foods you see lately, sometimes it's nice to eat something simple with minimal ingredients. What's even nicer is if you can eat something simple without going through the trouble of making it yourself. Georgia Ginders is simple. They handcraft their peanut butters (and almond butters, and pecan and cashew butters) in small batches. Not only that but they never add any sugars or oils. It's just slow roasted nuts and some sea salt. Since they don't add the extra stuff, don't expect this to taste like Skippy. It's on the bland side but grew on me the more I ate. It's actually quite delicious. And then I ran out of club crackers. :( Note to self: buy bread today.

ONA Cookies in Peanut Butter - As it turns out these aren't your typical soft and chewy peanut butter cookies. These organic cookies have the soft, sticky-but-chewy texture of a protein bar instead of the chewy, crumbly cookie that we're all used to. There are 5g of protein per 2-cookie package and over 12g of fat. Fortunately, it isn't the empty-calorie kind of fat; the fat in here comes from nuts (mostly peanuts and coconuts) - they're healthy fats. Still, at 105 calories per cookie, I think these are meant to be snacked on one at a time, not the whole package in one crack. But they're so delicious that I ate the whole thing without thinking twice, but now that it's gone I'm realizing that these cookies are a bit filling and one would have sufficed had I chomped slowly. Oh well, 20/20 hindsight.
ONA cookies: delicious AND satisfying

Prince of Peace Ginger Candy - I'm typically not a fan of ginger-scented or -flavored anything. I don't mind it in cooking, but I could totally do without it, too. But for the sake of a fair review, I tried to do this from an objective point of view. What I do like about this candy is that it's coated in powdered sugar (remember my sweet tooth?). It's a welcomed distraction from the spiciness of the ginger. The texture is soft and chewy so it doesn't last long like a hard candy would. Unfortunately, it's not enough to completely change my view on ginger candy, but the initial sweetness earns it some points and I think I'll keep this around for those times when my stomach could use a little soothing. 

Natralia Eczema Body Wash & Shampoo - This unscented colloidal oatmeal-based body wash is intended for the management of flaky itchy, red, irritated skin associated with eczema. My husband is always looking for something that will clean yet will not irritate his skin. Anything with sodium lauryl sulfate leaves his skin itchy and dry, but without it he claims his skin still feels dirty. Instead of SLS this body wash contains cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), a coconut oil-derived surfactant (which ironically is reported to trigger allergic reactions in some). Whether this will work for you depends on how sensitive your skin is as well as the purity of CAPB in here. Hopefully the soothing effect of the oatmeal is enough to counteract any irritation this ingredient may cause. 

Volo Vitamins Energy Sticks in Berry and Citrus - I was a bit wary of trying this at first because my experience with powdered vitamins hasn't been the best. They usually end up tasting chalky or medicinal and don't resemble the labeled flavor at all. So I was pleasantly surprised when the Volo citrus actually tasted like citrus, no weird TheraFlu aftertaste. In fact, it was sweet (again, sweet tooth here). I haven't tried the berry flavor yet, but I have high expectations for it taste-wise. A single packet (only 5 calories!) is loaded with Vitamin C (600mg) and Vitamin B12 (2500ug) as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals. Each packet also contains a proprietary blend consisting of taurine and guarana seed extract w/ caffeine for energy, L-arginine for heart and circulatory health, and lots of other goodies for health maintenance.

Goviter Viter Energy Caffeine Mints - Not too much, not too little, but juuust right. That's how you'd describe Viter energy mints. Each mint contains 40 mg caffeine, or about the equivalent of half a cup of coffee. They also contain vitamin B complex which is responsible for converting food into energy and red blood cell production (more red blood cells = more hemoglobin = higher oxygen capacity = increased energy!)

Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Patch - Back when I was playing sports Tiger Balm was my best friend. When you're grappling five days a week you get your fair share of aches, pains, and tight muscles so you need something stronger than IcyHot for soothing relief. Tiger Balm was my answer. In fact, everybody on the team owned a jar of the stuff and you knew you were getting close to the practice room when you could smell Tiger Balm wafting out of the doors. It's been 15 years since those days but I'll never forget that medicinal scent that gets stuck in your nose. (I wonder how my parents put up with it all those years?) These patches have minimal odor and zero mess. Each patch contains menthol (24mg), camphor (80mg), and capsicum extract (16mg...yup, the stuff in peppers) to soothe and relieve pain. I don't have any sore muscles right now...thankfully...but the next time I do I'll be sure to see how this patch compares to the balm itself.

Andalou Naturals Beauty is Uplifting Face Cream - This is a very thick moisturizer that claims to give you a "more lifted, firmer, youthful appearance and a rejuvenated complexion" with the help of fruit stem cell complex, resveratrol, CoQ10, hyaluronic acid, and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE). Although this cream is super thick, it absorbed into my skin almost instantly and left no greasy residue. I think it's supposed to be unscented but I thought it smelled like candy wrappers (maybe from the sample's plastic packaging?) Can't say whether this is "anti-aging" though. I'd need more time and sample to be able to tell.

Swago Cologne Wipes for Men in Smell Like A Gentleman - Cologne on the go! Swago eliminates the need for men to carry a bottle of cologne if they need to freshen up away from home for a night on the town (because seriously, what guy has room in their pockets for a bottle?) These fragrance wipes come in four manly scents: Legend, Gentlemen, VIP, and Champ. The Gentlemen variety is described as "the fragrance for the man who would be many men at once" with notes of wormwood, bergamot, cardamom, lavender, orange blossom, cinnamon, cumin, wood, musk, amber, vanilla, and tonka bean. Wow. That's a mouthful. I personally prefer the comforting scent of fresh laundry. Wipe a dryer sheet all over yourself and you're good to go. But that's just me. I can be a bit too simple sometimes.

This was my second Daily Goodie Box and in my opinion it was more impressive than the first. First off, A WHOLE BAG OF COFFEE. I may not be a coffee drinker but replace the word "coffee" with "hot chocolate" and I can see myself doing cartwheels across my living room so I can imagine the excitement of actual coffee drinkers. I also like that there was a nice mix of products in here. Some food, some drinks, some hygiene and therapy. My surprise favorite in here is the peanut butter. I thought it tasted rather bland at first but now I can't get enough. Plus I love that it contains minimal ingredients. And this packet is lasting surprisingly long. I don't put too much PB on my bread so I'm going on two weeks and still have some left. :D

If you're interested in product 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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

May 2017 Pooch Perks Dog Box Review

What: Pooch Perks is a subscription box for dogs containing 2-5 treats and toys. There are three subscription options: Sample Pooch (2 past items), Popular Pooch (4-5 toys & treats) and Custom Pooch (includes options for just treats, just toys, heavy chewer, or no grains). Boxes are also curated according to your dog's size.  If your dog has allergies you can also note that down when you sign up. 
If you signed up before February 2017, you're grandfathered into the previous subscription options. For reference, this review is for the older plan's Popular Pooch box (4-5 items) for a medium-large dog (35+ lbs).
When: Choose between monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly deliveries
Cost: $12-$32 per box depending on which subscription option you choose (+$5 shipping/box); ships anywhere in the US and US territories
Fun Fact: A portion of proceeds from each box goes to rescue groups. You can learn more about how Pooch Perks gives back here.

It's summer and you know what that means...grilling season! Over at our house my husband makes it a point to fire up the grill at least twice a month regardless of the time of year (thank goodness it doesn't get too cold in these parts), but now that summer's here I'm expecting that frequency to bump up to weekly. You know, because he likes to barbecue, not because I really really really love to eat steak...

He really does love to grill, though. And he usually lets the dogs out back while cooking so that means I get some peace and quiet in the house. *yay!* But what usually ends up happening is the dogs plop down next to him and wait for drippings or a stray piece of meat falling off the grill. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't. But thanks to Pooch Perks' Barks n' BBQ box this month, they can get a 100% BBQ win rate. :D

FouFit Freeze N' Float Plush Munchies Hamburger ($10 on sale for $8 right now!) - This looks like a plain ol' squeaky plush burger, but it's actually made of a quick-drying material which makes it perfect for playing fetch in the water on a hot day. Or if your dog is scared of the water like mine are, simply dunk the toy in water, squeeze out the excess and throw it in the freezer for an icy treat when it's a hundred degrees out.

Preen Pets Just Chicken Jerky (4oz bag, $7 on sale for $5) - This treat contains only one ingredient, 100% USDA chicken. No hormones, no preservatives, no fillers, just human consumption grade chicken oven-baked to perfection. I can't imagine it being very tasty (I guess that's why it also contains some chicken liver), but my dogs will eat leaves and cardboard by choice so I don't think they mind one bit.
Preen Pets Just Chicken oven-baked treats

Soft Flex Airball, 5" (small) (~$5) - One thing I really like about Pooch Perks is that they always include at least one durable toy each month. I didn't sign up for the heavy chewer option, but we've received a rubber toy in each box so far. This is a squeaky rubber toy designed to fly fast and far, kind of like those Nerf vortex balls. This would have been perfect for Macho because fetch is his favorite pastime ever, but a couple of months ago we noticed him having hind leg lameness and although his x-rays were clear the vet instructed us to cut out running and jumping until we figure out what it is. So no fetch for the Macho Man :(

Champion Life Eco-Friendly Poop Bags (60 count, $11) - I don't know about you, but I always welcome poop bags in my house. There was a time when I tried the frugal thing and reused produce bags, but sometimes your fruits can poke holes through the thin plastic without you knowing and ugh...the consequences. I needed something a little thicker and was willing to forgo my thrifty ways if it meant I wouldn't have to smell like poo for the rest of our walk. These bags are marketed as "extra strong" and at $0.18 per bag they better be. But the nice thing about these is that they're biodegradable so I can feel good about tossing their poop bags in the trash. Eventually all evidence of their business will be gone!

SO Bright Beef Liver Dog Treats (6oz, $4?) - These treats are pretty hard to come by! Stores that carry it are concentrated in the Wisconsin/Chicago area (they're made in WI) and online retailers are scarce. I guess I consider myself lucky to have these, then. :) SO Bright makes four types of treats: grain-free, oven-baked, freeze-dried, and soft and chewy in a variety of protein options. These all-natural grain-free treats contain minimal ingredients and real meat to make it a more friendly treat for allergy-prone dogs.

Verdict: As always, I'm impressed with the quality of treats in this box. We got two natural snacks that no doubt will be gone by the time the June box ships out. I'm almost afraid to use the poop bags because they're so gosh darn expensive (for POOP!) but those too will be gone in a couple of weeks. I didn't realize how much my dogs poop until I realized they went through an entire box of one thousand poop bags from Amazon in 6 months.(!!!) To my surprise, the toys seem to last longer around here nowadays, probably because Macho rather sleep during the day and Pebbles prefers to chew on Macho than on her toys. :-/ But all in all another great box!

Click here to sign up for Pooch Perks and 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.