Thursday, February 21, 2013

BzzAgent: Schick Hydro Silk Razor Review

I was invited to participate in the Schick Hydro Silk campaign and was sent a razor and refill blades for review. I was previously using a Venus something or other. I usually use my razor until it basically isn't shaving anythign anymore so I was excited to try something new. Here is the product description as per BzzAgent and Schick:

With the Schick Hydro Silk Razor, you go beyond an incredibly close shave to actually care for your skin. Only Schick Hydro Silk razors include Water-Activated Moisturizing Serum to hydrate your skin for up to two hours after shaving and 5 Curve-Sensing blades with skin guards to help reduce irritation.


Wow, FIVE blades! That's an amazing number of blades for a razor! My current razor must have had 3, maybe 4 blades at most. The moisturizing serum are those little white dots that are at the top and the bottom of the razor. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the way I shave my legs but I noticed that the dots on the top wore down a lot faster than those at the bottom.


After using this razor for about a week now, I am definitely loving it. I normally have really dry skin that requires constant moisturizer (especially during this weather) but my legs have been surprisingly smooth and moisturized. The rubber handle is also really easy to use and I haven't dropped my razor yet (unlike my normal razors with plastic handles that can be slippery when wet). This is a definite plus because I have a fear of dropping my razor and having it cut me somewhere on my foot, leg, etc.

I also love how the starter kit came with a hanger that will suction to your bathroom wall. that is genius! Have I just been out of the razor game for too long that I didn't know they sold razors like this now?

Final verdict: I love this razor! I'm so glad there was an replacement blade included so that I can continue to use it. I would definitely buy this item again. You should check it out too!



Disclosure: I was provided this item for free from BzzAgent for review purposes only. All opinions are 100% my own. I am not a paid sponsor for BzzAgent or Schick.





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Zatarain's Big Game Cravebox Review

I’ll start this post under full disclosure that I did end up receiving a full refund for this box. This Cravebox was advertised as a “Game Day” (meaning Super Bowl) box and although there was no guarantee that your box would arrive by Super Bowl Sunday, I at least expected it to arrive +/- a few days. It took over two weeks (maybe closer to three) for my box to arrive and well after the big game. This is highly unusual for Cravebox because normally their shipping is pretty fast.

I originally chose not to opt in for this box because it sounded like a lot of New Orleans/Zatarain’s items and I couldn’t justify paying $15 for a box of stuff I wasn’t sure I would like. However, Cravebox sent out an email later saying they were super sizing (aka doubling) each of the boxes so you would essentially get two of these boxes for the price of one. Being the sucker that I am, of course this convinced me to opt in.

Contents of the box:
2 boxes of Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix
2 boxes of Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice
2 containers of True lemon Iced Tea Mix
2 containers of Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
2 jars of Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
Mardi Gras Beads


First impression, I would not have been happy paying $15 for half of this box’s contents. I’m definitely glad they decided to super size it. I’ve already tried to True Lemon Iced Tea and it is pretty citrus-y and has a strong lemon flavor. PB definitely did not like it. Next time I make it I will add some Splenda or another sweetener to give it a sweeter flavor.


 
I’m most excited to try the Jambalaya Mix and Red Beans and Rice. I’ve never had either of these before and they sound really easy to make. I’ll probably pick up some sausage to add to the Jambalaya Mix. I’ll keep you posted on the results.


Overall, if I HAD paid $15 I would have been satisfied with the contents of this box but not wowed. Cravebox is getting less crave-worthy and I’m starting to question whether I will enter more drawings for their boxes. I’m very pleased with their customer service; they responded to my email about my delayed box the same day and resolved the situation for me immediately. Good customer service goes a long way in my book so I am definitely not counting Cravebox out of future subscription box purchases.

Disclosure: All opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, February 4, 2013

January 2013 Birchbox Review

Birchbox is a monthly subscription program that sends beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products. It costs $10 a month to subscribe and the value of the box is usually double the cost of the box, although can vary from month to month.


My January Birchbox arrived slightly later than normal due to the length of time it took to ship. I’m not sure why the shipping took so long this time since it looks like my box went through its normal shipping route. Anyhow, here is what I received in my January box.



Aerie Shimmer Fragrance: This light-as-air blend of bergamot, peony, and vanilla feels fresh and warm.


Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre: A favorite of models and makeup artists, this cult French moisturizer heals dryness and leaves skin primed for foundation.


Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner: This UK import features a user-friendly pen applicator and supersmooth formula.

Rut roh...forgot to take a picture of this!

Ojon rare blend oil Total Hair Therapy: This tricolored oil prevents heat damage and gives hair an instant shine boost. Before you apply, shake the bottle to blend the layers.


Beauty Extra
100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream: This skin-friendly moisturizer is made exclusively from 100 percent vegan, organic ingredients. Not that you need an excuse to slather it on.


So far, I’ve only tried the Ojon rare blend oil Total Hair Therapy. I believe I originally indicated in my Birchbox profile that I have damaged hair. I applied the oil to my hair after my morning shower just prior to blow drying. After my normal blow dry and flat iron routine, I noticed that my ends did look healthier but my hair still felt oily. Almost like when you go a couple of days without washing – a feeling I am not too fond of.

Here’s a Birchbox tip: After you receive your box, review your products on the Birchbox website and they will give you 10 Birchbox points for every product you review. Every 100 points can be redeemed for a $10 credit in the Birchbox shop. That’s how I purchase most of my full size items.

Are you interested in signing up for Birchbox? Click here!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I purchased this with 100% of my own money and all opinions are my own.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Influenster Holiday VoxBox Review: NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine


First off, I've been absent from the blogosphere because I've been feeling under the weather for the past few days. I'm finally starting to feel a little better so I decided to continue my beauty reviews of the Influenster Holiday VoxBox.

                                                          
The NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine "keeps your lips soft as ever. It's pure pigment ingredients create a 3-D gloss effect while Vitamin E provides shine and moisture. The non-sticky formula creates the ultimate creamy and soft textured feel."





I received the lip gloss in the color Nude York City which is the perfect nude color to go over any color lipstick or lip gloss. It adds the perfect amount of shine and moisture and really lives up the the product description. On most days I tend to wear lip gloss by itself and this color can be worn alone as well.

                                                    

My favorite way to wear this lip gloss though, is when I go out. I apply a layer of lipstick and add lip gloss on top as the finishing touch. I then take my NYC Liquid Lipshine with me and reapply touch ups throughout the night.


Final verdict: I love this product! I would definitely consider getting it in other shades as well because you can never have too many lip glosses!!

Visit the NYC New York Color website and product page:
NYC New York Color
Liquid Lipshine Product Page

Disclosure: I received this product to test for free through the Influenster VoxBox program. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by compensation. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 2013 PopSugar Must Have Review

After the PopSugar Luxury debacle of 2012 I noticed that my PopSugar box for this month was among the first wave of shipments. I was following along in the Makeup Talk forums and realized that I received my shipping notification at the same time as the east coast gals and before the west coast gals. Previously, for whatever reason my box was always shipped with the west coast boxes even though I live just as far from the shipping origin as the east coast subscribers.

What is PopSugar? It's a monthly subscription program that sends you an exciting monthly box, full of fun, hand-selected items from our editors. Each box will include a variety of full-size products worth over $100 (based on manufacturer's MSRP).

Anyhow, my box shipped on 1/14 and I received it on 1/26; that’s pretty much the norm for shipping times. Funny thing is that my Birchbox shipped AFTER my PopSugar box but I still have yet to receive it.


On to the goods! The theme for this month was “getting a fresh start on that fitness resolution while still finding time to indulge in some warm treats.” I anticipated that the January box would include some fitness items and I am not big on fitness…at all. I however, do enjoy me some warm treats. J


Must Have Fitness: Stott Pilates Stability Ball ($20). Like I said, I’m not big on fitness so this item wasn’t that appealing to me. I’ve heard that people use these at their desk but I prefer my regular ‘ol office chair. I’ll probably end up giving this away.

Must Have Fashion: Remix Time Bomb Watch ($44.95). I couldn’t find this exact watch online as the was a PopSugar exclusive edition but the similar watch was going for $44.95 on the Remix website. PB thinks this watch is cheap looking and looks like one of those knock offs you get at Sears for $9.99. I don’t entirely disagree and am still on the fence about it. I was hoping for white or black and luckily I got white so I was happy about that.


Must Have Food: Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick in Milk and Dark Chocolate ($2.99 each). I haven’t had a chance to try these yet but they look really good and rich. I’m definitely looking forward to trying these along with…

Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits (about $2). I was looking for the price of these online in Google Shopping and the results were coming back for “used” products. Eew…who would want these used?!?!


Must Have Beauty: Epicuren Lip Balm ($9). This is the same brand of lotion that was in the Luxury box. I haven’t really been using the lotion (only tried I a couple of times) but the smell was divine. I’ve heard that this lip balm has a medicinal smell but if it works I’m down!

Extras: $15 off Casetagram Promo Code. I was actually excited that this was included, especially since I have an iPhone and could actually take advantage of this offer unlike some other subscribers with different phones. There was this really cute set that had 2 iPhone cases that when put together, formed a heart with the pictures. I wanted to get these for PB and me but you can only get them in the same iPhone generation (unfortunately PB has an iPhone 5 and I am stuck on iPhone 4).


Think Thin Bars (about $2 each). I haven’t tried these yet either but they look pretty good and would make a good snack after work/before class.

Total value of this box was $87.93 (not including the Casetagram code since you have to purchase to use it). Not bad for the $35 price tag (plus I got this month for free due to the shipping issues on my Luxury box). PopSugar is by far my favorite subscription box due to the variety and the fact that they give full size products.

Are you interested in signing up for PopSugar? Use the code REFERFRIENDS and take $5 off your first month!

Disclosure: This subscription box was paid for with my own money and all opinions are 100% my own. Referral links are included in this post.

How to be a Bzz Agent

Bzz Agent is a word of mouth marketing company where users sample products, spread word of mouth, and have fun (from the Bzz Agent website). It is very similar in concept to Influenster in that you receive products to try, write your honest reviews and opinions, and spread info about these products via social media networking.

I signed up for Bzz Agent about the same time as Influenster (I believe late November or early December). I received my first invites to Bzz Campaigns in January. So far I have been lucky enough to be invited to 3 campaigns – Schick Hydro Silk Razor, Glade Expressions Collection, and Café Escapes. Unlike Influenster, Bzz Agent sends BzzKits that focus on one product and you are chosen based on answers to surveys, demographic information, and your Bzz Score.

What’s a Bzz Score? Good question – a Bzz Score is a numerical rating from 1 to 10 that measures your connections and activity. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be chosen for Bzz Campaigns. However, just because you have a high Bzz Score doesn’t mean you are guaranteed any campaigns – you still need to fit the profile of the testers they are looking for. You can keep your score in the 5 to 6 range by connecting your social media accounts and staying current with surveys. I got invited to the three campaigns I mentioned about with a Bzz Score of around 5.6.

No invite is needed to join Bzz Agent. Just sign up on their website, stay current with their surveys, and wait for campaign invites. I think I’ve been fairly lucky with getting invites to campaigns from both Influenster and Bzz Agent. I’m not sure if it’s because I identify as Asian/Pacific Islander and there is low representation in the demographic?

Anyhow, do you have questions about the Bzz Agent program? Leave them in the comments below!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to Make Vietnamese Summer Rolls

PB is working late tonight so dinner is on my own. I bought one of these Vietnamese Summer Roll kits from a Food and New Products Show a couple months back and never got around to making it. This kit is pretty neat because it comes with everything (minus the fresh ingredients) to make summer rolls at home. Be forewarned – I’m not Vietnamese, nor do I claim to have any expert knowledge on Vietnamese cuisine. This is just my take on this Vietnamese dish.

 

I purchased the thai basil and mint from the open market across the street from my workplace. Everything else was purchased at the supermarket. My favorite ingredients to add are tofu and shrimp, though I’ve seen variations with chicken, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, you name it!

 

The rice paper wrappers need to be softened with some luke warm water for just a few seconds. Don’t soak them too long otherwise they’ll become too soft and rip when trying to roll your wrap.

 

Layer the ingredients on one side of the wrap. Fold both sides in and roll like a burrito. There’s really no science to making these summer rolls…just add whatever ingredients you like.

The kit I purchased came with a sauce however I prefer to eat my summer rolls with peanut sauce. I found this recipe online and I can’t remember where I found it otherwise I would give the proper credit.

Peanut Sauce:
½ Cup peanut butter
½ Cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
¼ Cup water

If you're not going to eat your summer rolls right away, make sure to cover with a damp paper towel or dish cloth otherwise the rice paper wraps will dry out and get hard. I made sure to save some for PB when he comes home.  Note: PB doesn't like thai basil or mint which is why his is very lacking in color.


Friday, January 25, 2013

How to be an Influenster

As I’ve mentioned before and blogged about some of the products I received, Influenster is an exclusive community for trendsetters to share news, products, and reviews with the opportunity to be rewarded by brands. The sole purpose of Influenster is not just to receive free swag. The purpose is to test and sample these products, then share your honest reviews and opinions with other members of the Influenster community, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, everywhere!

Step 1: Register for an Account
The first step is to sign up for an Influenster account. I believe you can request an invite through Influenster, but the easiest way and the way I got my start was to request an invite from an existing member. I was lucky enough to get an invite from one of the gals on the Makeuptalk forums. Each member is allowed 5 invites to send to friends (I still have remaining invites so comment below if you would like one!) These invites also help to boost your Influenster score (more on that later) depending on how active the members you invite participate.

Step 2: Connect Your Social Media Accounts
Once you’ve signed up, you can then begin connecting your social media accounts – blog URL, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. This helps Influenster determine how “influential” you are; the more influential the better!

Step 3: Unlock Expert Badges
Next, you’ll be allowed to unlock up to 5 Expert Badges and an unlimited number of LifeStage Badges. You should unlock the badges that are relevant to your life and what you feel you have expert knowledge in – this will help Influenster determine which VoxBox programs you are qualified for. Personally, I unlocked the Chowhound, High Spirits, Fashionista, Pop Culture, and Beauty Queen Expert Badges. For LifeStage Badges I unlocked Do-Good-Er, Collegiate, I Voted, and Book Club.

Step 4: Stay Socially Active, Write Reviews, Answer Questions, and Wait
Once you’ve unlocked your badges you’ll want to increase your badge and Influenster scores. You can do this by writing reviews and answering questions in the areas you’ve unlocked badges in. The hardest part is then waiting to see if you get an invite to one of the VoxBox programs. I was pretty lucky in that I got a survey for the 2012 Holiday VoxBox program shortly after signing up.

Step 5: Review the VoxBox Products and Promote
After you receive your VoxBox you complete activities and brand challenges to increase your Influenster score and earn chances to win additional products. The more you engage, the better your chances of participating in future programs. Some of the tasks are as simple as “liking” the brand on Facebook while others require dedicated blog reviews.

It’s that simple! So far I’ve loved my experience with Influenster and the products I’ve gotten to try.

Leave any questions you may have about Influenster in the comments below. I’m more than happy to help! Also, if you’d like a personal invite, leave your email address in the comments below and I’ll send one your way!


Catfish on MTV

Do any of you watch the new MTV show Catfish? I’ve been keeping up to date with most of the episodes (usually catching it on one of MTV’s 872 repeats as the show comes on at 10, ends at 11, and passes my bed time J). Sometimes I wonder just how “real” this reality TV show is.

Warning: The rest of this post contains spoilers regarding Catfish the movie and certain episodes. Stop reading now if you want to watch it on your own.

We borrowed the documentary via Netflix – it follows the story of Nev and his own Catfish experience thinking he was talking to Megan when he was really talking to Angela. As per usual, I wiki’d* the documentary after watching it and there were some questions raised about the documentary itself being a true story and not a work of fiction.

I honestly think the documentary is real. Y’all – that lady Angela was CRAY. She created multiple fake Facebook profiles to keep the con alive and even lied about having cancer. The weirdest part was when Nev was at her house and he asked her to talk to him as “Megan.” Furthermore, even after Nev confronted Angela regarding the hoax, she continued to lie about Megan being away for alcoholism. You cannot make this level of crazy up.

I question the validity of the show because I don’t believe that people can be that naïve (that’s putting it nicely, I actually wanted to say stupid). Take Sunny  for instance – she was talking to “Jameson” who turns out to be a girl catfishi-ing her. Jameson told Sunny he is taking online classes for anesthesiology. Umm…hello? Red flag?!? Sunny was studying to be a NURSE!

Or the episode with Tyler talking to “Amanda Miller” who turns out to be a guy. She couldn’t talk to you because she doesn’t have a phone? Wtf…I see homeless guys downtown carrying around cell phones.

To top it off, the news has been blowing up with the Manti Te’o scandal. From what I’ve read so far (I have yet to watch the Katie Couric interview…does anyone know how I can watch it online?) I think he was really duped. I think people forget just how young he is (21) and that he is liable to make mistakes. I know I made a few mistakes in my days as a 21 year old.

Anyhow, do you watch Catfish? What do you think about the “reality” of this reality TV show? Am I just being too harsh on these kids?

*Yes, I realize that Wikipedia is not the best source for valid, proven information but it is my go to site for finding out more about movies.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated Review on Sole Society

I received my Sole Society shoes on Tuesday delivered via UPS. As a reminder, I purchased the Lindzi shoe in 5.5 (my standard shoe size). I didn’t know what to expect and I was afraid they wouldn’t fit because if I needed to return them for another size, I would need to pay the additional shipping charges both ways!


I placed my order on 1/16 so I was happy with the shipping time (about 5 business days). The shoes fit perfectly and they look great too! I was really happy with the quality and the metal strap parts were really sturdy and substantial. Overall, I am really happy with my first Sole Society experience and would consider purchasing through them again.



Please excuse my ugly unpainted toe nails. I usually have them painted but haven't gotten around to redoing it yet! Gah!

Positives: Quality of the shoes I received, shipping time, price (due to the $25 first time discount), fit.

Negatives: Paying additional for shipping, paying regular price (it would have to be a shoe I REALLY want in order to pay that price plus shipping).

Are you interested in Sole Society? Use offer code INFLUENSTER25 for $25 off your first pair! Hurry, the offer expires on 1/31!

Sign up here!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links. I paid for these shoes with 100% of my own money and all opinions are my own. $25 offer code provided by Influenster.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Julep Maven January 2013 Subscription Box

The theme of the January Julep Maven subscription box was “escape and unwind with our neons and nudes collection.” The Julep maven program is a monthly subscription box that sends you at least 2 polishes and other beauty favorites based on your Maven style profile. Prior to signing up, you take a quiz based on your personality and style preferences and you are assigned a Maven style profile. The great thing about Julep is that you can opt out of any month (if you don’t like what is being offered or are just tight on funds) or choose another style profile (that has colors/products more suited to your tastes).


I received the Classic With a Twist box even though I am normally a Boho Glam. The colors included were Madison and Grace, along with a hand and Cuticle Stick.

Grace: "Classic 'go-to' light pink sheer"
Madison: "Electric neon hot pink crème”

Please excuse the crappy picture

In addition, I also received 3 twistband hair ties and swatch stickers that can be affixed to the cap of your Julep polishes. It seems like these twistband hair ties are all the rage now as I have received them in multiple subscription boxes (PopSugar, Birchbox, and now Julep).


The Julep polishes have a nice consistency and dry relatively quickly, especially when using in conjunction with the Quick Drying Nail Drops. I haven’t had a chance to try out these colors yet as my Kiss Nails manicure has actually lasted pretty long and I am rather pleased with them.

If you’re interested in signing up for Julep, use the code PENNY to get your first box for $0.01! The great thing about Julep is that you get full sized items (not sample sizes) and the value is great too. If you had purchased these items separately at the maven price it would have come out to $40, while the Maven subscription box costs $19.99.

Sign up for Julep Maven here!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I purchased this box with my own money and all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Le Bistro

To celebrate our anniversary* PB took me to a French restaurant called Le Bistro on Saturday night. Le Bistro is located in the Niu Valley Shopping Center at 5730 Kalanianaole Hwy. I had my customary dirty gin martini with three olives. Minus points for not having blue cheese stuffed olives like Ruth’s Chris. To start we each had an appetizer. There were so many appetizers I was dying to try including the oysters on the half shell and French onion soup.

Alas, I settled for the escargot and PB had a salad of fresh Kahuku corn and baby mixed greens. The escargot was to die for!! They serve it with warm bread for dipping and I must say…OH.EM.YUM!

For entrees I had the filet mignon and PB had the quartet of beef. Both were really good. PB’s favorite of the four items was the rib eye.


Finally we ended with dessert and since I wanted my own crème brulee PB had to order his own dessert as well. He got the apple tart with crème fraiche. Both were good but next time I’ll probably try their bread pudding that people have been raving about.


On a side note, whenever we try some place new I always ask PB if he thinks I would be a good place for a first date. I don’t know why I do it, I guess I just like imagining we are on our first date again**. Anyhow, we both decided that Le Bistro would be too nice and too expensive for a first date.

*We don’t know the actual date of our anniversary but know it is sometime in December. We celebrated a month late in January.
**Our actual first date was at BLT during Restaurant Week. I told PB that he set the bar high with that restaurant but he said it was Restaurant Week so we got the special and he didn’t pay full price. Well played, PB.
















Monday, January 21, 2013

Pop Sugar Must Have December 2012

So this review is a little late but I always receive my Pop Sugar boxes late anyways. I usually get my box TWO WEEKS after the box is shipped by Pop Sugar. Other subscription services I have usually take about a week or less to get to me. According to the Makeup Talk forums the shipping is slow because Pop Sugar uses FedEx Smart Post which is a slower service.

Here is what was included in the December box:

  • Bodum Bistro Mugs
  • Tea Forte Tea Sampler
  • Jaboneria Marianella Soap
  • Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit
  • Bogdon's Peppermint Poles
  • GoSwype
  • $30 to Rent The Runway


I was pretty pleased with this box. The Bodum Bistro mugs and Tea Forte sampler were my favorite items. The tea is amazing and I drink one at work every afternoon. I can re-use the tea bags about two additional times before they start to lose their flavor.

The approximate retail value of this box was $112.93. Not bad for the $35 price tag. If you're interested in Pop Sugar Must Have box monthly subscription service, sign up here today!


Disclosure: This post contains referral links. All opinions are 100% my own and I used my own money to pay for this subscription service.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Influenster Holiday VoxBox: Kiss Nail Dress

The Kiss Nail Dress product is the ultimate nail fashion for tips and toes! Just peel, apply, and shape for a manicure that lasts up to a week. The kit contains 28 easy to use strips that can be cut and adjusted to your nail size. 

  

I received a version that had a nude toned nail polish with jewels. I liked how the kit provided different styles so that each nail wouldn't have to look the same. The directions recommend that you use the rounded edges at the base of you nail near the cuticle. One tip I would recommend is to use the square edged ones on your thumb nail. The directions say to start off with clean nails by cleaning all nails with nail polish remover.



You then simply place the strip on your nail and file away the excess.
 

Application was relatively easy but it took a little longer than i expected to do all ten nails. I thought it would be faster than applying regular nail polish but it took about the same amount of time even without having to add a top coat as Kiss says the top coat is built in to the product. The biggest time saving was that I didn't need to wait a long time for my nails to dry. As soon as I was done applying, I could continue of with other business.



Final verdict: I have ugly hands that don't photograph well. But aside from that, I would definitely recommend this product as an alternative to regular nail polish. The true test for me will be to see how long this lasts over regular nail polish.


Kiss website: http://bit.ly/SipR5S
Kiss review page: http://bit.ly/11cEdY7

Disclosure: I received this product to test for free through the Influenster VoxBox program. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by compensation.