Reviewing Products from Tomoson: Sometimes it’s a no go.

I received this product for free (I paid for shipping and tax) in exchange for an honest review.

Recently I decided to check out Tomoson again and see what kind of fun products I could review. I stumbled upon this Vela Contour from Anacis. I thought “Why Not?”.

Here’s why not.

After wearing it for 40 minutes (the amount of time in the directions), I had a head and jaw ache. I figured I had it on too tight. So the next day I loosened it. Same thing.
After loosening it daily and wearing it per the directions for a week, not only did I not see any results, but I had the same head/jaw ache each time.

Zero Stars. Skip it.

Usually when I try products through Tomoson and I blog reviews, I give a backstory or tips and tricks to use the item. Not this time. I took no photos of myself in this contraption. This face slimmer is a hard pass for me. And honestly, getting a lemon of a product is bound to happen. It’s the law of probability. Sometimes you’ll get something cool, in fact, most times you will. This is maybe the second product in 4-ish years that has lacked any redeeming value.

You can buy this contraption on Amazon or Walmart.com if you feel the need to torture yourself, but as for me, I’ll be adding mine to the donate box.

I received this product for free (I paid for shipping and tax) in exchange for an honest review.

 

Making Money Online with Social Media!

spilled-money.jpgI’m sure you’ve seen some of the Work at Home scams floating around the internet, in fact, I talk about a few of them in this post.

This post is all about making money (and/or scoring free cool stuff) via social media.

What’s your brand? Crunchy mom, Working mom, Millenial, Xennial, Stay at home mom, DINK, LGTBQA+, Latinx, Green living, a combination of the above, non of the above? Did you know that you are your own brand, and what you post about online is of interest to larger brands and PR companies.

These companies are looking for unique voices and viewpoints to promote their products and services. Sometimes it’s for free products, sometimes money, sometimes both! This is known as Micro-Influnced marketing. What is a Micro-Influencer? Mavrck says, “Micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have 500 – 5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant topics.” Most of you reading this fit this description and didn’t even know it.

That’s awesome, you are thinking, but how do I seek out opportunities?

Here are a few companies that I use:

Tomoson: This is a company that works with brands to find influencers to share products (sometimes services too). Mostly social media sharing, but also blogging opportunities. Sometimes you can get free stuff, sometimes it’s discounted, sometimes you’ll get paid just to distribute content, sometimes you’ll get paid. BUT- Watch out, there are still companies and brands that want you to buy their product on Amazon with a coupon code and review the item (positively, of course) on Amazon. This is against Amazon’s TOS, and you can get your account wiped. That’s a nice way of saying the remove most or all of your reviews, and revoke your ability to leave reviews on anything in the future. NOT WORTH IT!!

HeartBeat: This is a great one- It’s all on Instagram! I’ve done two campaigns so far, and I have received free product in addition to payment. It’s quick work too. Anyone with an Instagram account can join!

If you are looking for just free stuff in exchange for social media shout outs, check out this post on Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing is a perfect way to start out when you are dipping your toe in the Influencer world.

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

 

The down side of reviewing….

 

I love reviewing products. If you want to start reviewing products, I have a list of sites here.

Every once in a while the product isn’t awesome. When that happens, there area few steps you should take:

  • Email the company or your point of contact and tell them know there are issues. Be precise as to what the issue is- being vague helps nothing. Often times they will not ask you not to review the item.
  • Offer to ship the product back if they email or send you a shipping label (The reviewer shouldn’t have to pay to send an item back). If the company doesn’t want the item back and it is not broken, consider donating it to charity or giving it to a neighbor on your local Buy Nothing group.

Most review websites give you a timetable in which to complete your review and other social media mentions. If you can’t get an answer back from your contact prior to the completion date and you can’t get an answer, you have to post some kind of a review or risk losing your account on the platform or having a negative effect on your standing. And that is where we are right now. I don’t want to lose my account or standing with Tomoson, because for the most part I have had great experiences with their site and tried some really cool products.

IMG_7020.jpgI signed up to review InstantPeel via Tomoson. I was hired to review it on 11/8/17 with 14 days to complete all of the activities (write a blog post and share on social media).  The company was supposed to ship the item to me directly. After 12 days (that leaves me 2 days to try the product, take pics, write a review and post to social media). I messaged the company via Tomoson right away to let them know I was allergic to two of the ingredients and that I needed some advice on next steps ASAP.

That was last night.  I have not heard back from them yet, and since I only have until 12:01AM to complete my tasks, here we are… I have messaged them again, but without any other way to contact them, I’m at an impasse.

img_7021.jpgIMG_7022Yeah, Shrimp Extract. For someone allergic to shellfish, that’s not something I want to rub on my body.

And yes, I did look online for the ingredients before I signed up. The ingredients listed on this Amazon listing for the product are completely different.

And this isn’t really a peel. It’s a gommage (which is French for erase or eraser). A peel sloughs off the dead layers of skin generally by using enzymes or acid (sometimes fruit based like Alpha hydroxy acids). A gommage is treatment applied to the skin, then after a length of time, the skin is rubbed and the product balls up and flakes off the skin.

So here is my review: I don’t have one because I can’t try a skincare product that contains allergens, and given the time frame I was given, I don’t have time to find someone I can test this on.

 

Winterize your Skin Care Frugally

 

It’s finally cold here in San Diego (it’s 55 degrees and I am wearing a sweater as I type this)! So besides peppermint mochas and sweaters, it’s time to look forward to some changes to our skin care routines.

Recently I was excited to add two new products in my #selfcareSunday routine. Each Sunday night after the kids are in bed (and Mr. is watching the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery), I give myself a DIY facial and do a few other fun self care rituals (like a mani/pedi, or a body mask and body scrub). I play some music on my phone and spend about an hour just focusing on me.

IMG_0245.jpgThe first new product was Anavita Renewing Foaming Facial Cleanser. It smells GREAT. It has orange essential oil, as well as a slew of other botanicals (Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Olive Leaf). It’s 99.8% natural and contains 70% organic products! It foams up providing a healthy lather and left my skin feeling clean and hydrated. The best part is you only need 1 pump to clean your entire face and neck, so a 6 ounce bottle will last a few months!

IMG_0244.jpgIMG_0248.jpgAfter my face was nice and clean, I was onto my next step, was the Alana Mitchell Quick Comeback Masque. It was hard to photograph, but the little container has two parts, the bottom looks like a tiny cotton ball, and the top is liquid. You depress the top of the package until the liquid releases into the bottom. The liquid mixes with the fluff to dissolve the fluff and make a cool masque that helps with plumping, tightening, and firming lines and wrinkles. You can either remove the masque with warm water or you can do what I did, which was to peel it off.

IMG_0249.jpgAhh, the satisfying sense of completion when it’s time to peel a masque off, amirite? My face felt so much better, it’s hard to describe, other than nourished and healthy.

Not to be done in just two steps, it was time to move onto the moisturizing mask for my neck and chest. The skin on your neck and chest ages a lot faster than our faces, since most of use neglect to moisturize and cleanse those delicate areas like we do with our faces.  I like to use Valentia Ultra Plumping Hydration mask.  It contains silk protein amino acids, hyaluronic acid (which is a humectant), as well as other botanically to protect and moisturize. To remove, I used a warm, wet microfiber towel.

IMG_0256.jpgAfter all the masques and such, it’s time for a few spritzes of Insta natural Vitamin C Toner followed by Insta Natural Vitamin C Serum.

I really recommend indulging in your own #selfcareSunday or whatever day of the week works best for you. A little time to yourself to focus on you and your needs is just what every person needs. Maybe it’s not a DIY facial, maybe it’s playing a video game, cooking a favorite meal, getting a massage, going for a walk, or hitting the gym. Doing something you enjoy every week that helps you recharge is an awesome way to reduce stress.

Thanks to the awesome peeps over at Tomoson, Anavita, and Alana Mitchell Skin Care for the cleaner and masque. I feel a kindred spirit with Alana Mitchell. As a mom of a child with autism, life can be hard, especially in the first year of diagnosis with all of the changes like doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, IEP meetings, and changes in life to help support your child and give them all they need to succeed. I really relish and embrace each Sunday night when I can focus on helping heal and restore my spirit. I throughly enjoyed her masque and I can’t wait to try her other products!

 

DIY Fairy Jar (No Glow Sticks needed!)

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.51.22 PMEveryone has seen the Fairy jars on Pinterest that glow in the dark. In fact, you may seen them on Pinterest fail lists too, because, well, the directions don’t work.

Not familiar? Ok, it goes like this: Take a Mason Jar (because after all 90% of crafts/stuff on pinterest involve a Mason Jar), open 2-3 glow sticks, dump them into the mason jar, screw the lid on and shake. OOOH, it’s supposed to look like a magical Fairy Jar. What it really looks like it a fairy vomited into a jar. And glow sticks glowiness only lasts one night (or so).

So here is the deal on how to make a legit, serious, awesomely cool fairy jar in less than 10 minutes, no glow sticks or scissors needed.

You need two things:

A jar with a screw on lid. I used an Anchor Hocking jar that my mom gave me (she got it here). You could also use a wide mouth quart Mason Jar.

A string of these cool LED battery operated lights on a copper wire. You get two for $7.99, so really, you could make two if you had another jar.

Here are the totally simple directions:

  1. Wash and dry the jar.
  2. Loosely coil the string of lights around your hand, put hand into jar. let go of the lights.
  3. Leave the end of the string with the switch dangle over the lip of the jar.
  4. Screw on lid (the wire is so thin, you’ll be able to screw on the lid with the wire coming up over the top of the jar).
  5. Turn lights on.

That’s it. REALLY! The batteries last a while, especially if you aren’t leaving the lights on 24/7. If you wanted to get a little fancier, you could spray paint the inside of the jar, allow it to dry, then continue with steps 2-5. I am doing that with my second string of lights. Watch my Instagram feed for photos of that when it’s done later today.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.50.58 PM

I can’t wait to share this with Henry when he gets home from school.

 

Thanks to Tomoson and #OakleafLEDLight for the opportunity to try these cool little lights for free. I was not financially compensated for this review, however I only review items that I think area good fit for my family. All opinions are my own!

Look on trend with Color-Changing Nail Polish! (Review and giveaway)

delsolpolishI love nail polish. I was stoked when Del Sol asked me to review two of their nail polish colors.

I chose May I? and Graffiti. Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 8.22.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 8.22.35 AMMay I? is a light purple that turns dark when exposed to sunlight, and Graffiti is clear with silver, red, and black glitter that turns reddish pink in the sun. What I like about Del Sol is:

  • 5-Free: No harmful toxins added
  • Never tested on animals
  • Lifetime Color Change Guarantee

The nail polish is long lasting, and I’m really tough on manicures. I’m going on day 5 without chips!

Ok, so I’m sure you are asking… How does it work? Well,  it’s simple: Spectrachrome® Crystals reveal hidden colors when exposed to ultraviolet waves; i.e., sunlight. When a flower blooms, the result is the exposure of the inherent color of the flower. A Spectrachrome® crystal is similar in that an energy-shift occurs causing the color of the dye to become visible to the human eye. The dye does not actually “change” color; rather, it becomes visible to the human eye.

Check out the photo I posted on Instargram! I’m excited that Del Sol is giving away 2 bottles of their color change polish to ONE of my readers! Entering is easy: Leave a comment with a your favorite color nail polish! I’ll choose a winner on December 16th!

I received these bottles of nail polish to facilitate my review, I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.

Review: Moringa Oleifera


I’ve tried everything to increase my breastmilk supply. Drinking tons of water, eating oatmeal until I look (and feel) like the Quaker Oats Guy, supplements galore.

600638b72f86e2f3fcaf08498417e4ec771f5856I have IGT, so there isn’t much I can so, but I’ve heard great things about Moringa Oleifera. Moringa comes from Asia where it is eaten as the whole leaf in soups. Pure Moringa Oleifera is one of the richest sources of nutrients available today. Moringa leaves have been shown to contain 9 times the iron of spinach, 4 times the calcium of milk, and 3 times the potassium of bananas.

After just a few days I noticed my supply increase just little, but in my case I’ll take whatever extra drips and dobbles I can get.  In addition, my horrible charlie horses have subsided!

I plan on continuing taking Moringa Oleifera as long as I can. It’s nice to see an increase in my supply and know that I am getting essential nutrients that I may otherwise be missing! I try to eat healthy, but sometimes I can’t always get in my 5 servings of fruit and veg a day!

Thanks to the nice folks over at Tomoson and Fresh Healthcare for the complimentary bottle of Moringa Oleifera to facilitate my review. I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.

 

Babywearing: Getting stuff done with the Mamaway Ring Sling Baby Carrier!

I’m a baby wearing mama. Why? Well first off, both my kiddos did really well being close to me. They slept well, and were less fussy when I was wearing them, in contrast to the times when they were in their stroller or carseat. There is something to be said for the comfort of being close to Mommy.

IMG_0880Secondly, you can get more stuff done when you are baby wearing. You aren’t trapped in the room with the baby swing or whatever contrivance the kiddo is chilling in. Washing dishes, folding laundry, doing crafts with Lil’ Man. All of these things are possible while baby wearing.

Recently I got the chance to try out a new ring sling from the cool folks at Mamaway. Their ring sling is made fron 100% Pima Cotton, so it’s super comfy, breathable and machine washable!

Mamaway Ring Sling is an all-around baby carrier perfect for your newborn. The right fit and customizable shape gives your baby the perfect comfort, snugness and love they deserve. Position your baby any way you want; upright or lying down, in front, on your hip or behind your back. Ideal for hands-free cuddles- as you can see from my photos in this post.

IMG_0878You can also nurse your kidlet in this sling too, which is a plus in my book! While this ring sling can hold up to 100 pounds, I don’t think I’ll still be toting around Birdy when she’s that big!

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 7.21.23 PMI chose the striped “Cesar Salad” Color because I’m trying to keep everything gender neutral. I’m just not into pink. The rings are STRONG, and there is a little pocket in the sling too- perfect for stowing a few things (like my sunglasses!). This is a must have, and would make a great Baby shower gift!

I was given a free Mamaway Ring Sling to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and I received no financial compensation for this review.

How I’m dealing with International Breastfeeding Week….

IMG_0501This is Birdy. She doesn’t want her picture taken. She’s busy nursing. If you’ve got a baby and/or a social media account, you are probably aware that it’s International Breast Feeding Week.

That means your feeds are being flooded with photos of happy, milk drunk babies, boobies, women nursing in public, articles about how breast is best, and ads for stuff like nursing covers or breast pads. But for some mommies it’s not all sunshine and flowers, soaked breast pads and milk stains on your shirts. I’m one of those mommies that isn’t blessed with bursting, milky breasts. I have IGT (insufficient glandular tissue). For me, it means trying everything I can- seeing several Lactation Consultants, having the baby checked for lip and tongue ties, supplements, special foods, pumping like it’s going out of style, tons of skin to skin. Anything to try and increase my output of milk. I’ve tried so many things and gotten a lot of advice, mostly unsolicited. Some are common sense things (get some rest, drink more water), and some were kinda weird (Eat nothing but red meat and 100 oz. of water a day). I have spent so much time crying in pain and shame because society has made mothers like me and so many others into pariahs. Well, no more. This International Breastfeeding Week, I’m holding my head high. I’m sharing with others that I have IGT! I’m still a breastfeeding mom~ I still nurse Birdy (mostly for her comfort and bonding), I still pump (only a few ounces a day) and bottle fed her expressed milk, and I give her formula.

belibeahookRecently, I was able to try a new bra that helped me. Not increase my supply, but made pumping easier, and helped me get every single drop I could into the bottles and not on me. When you don’t produce a lot of breast milk EVERY DROP COUNTS. I posted on FaceBook a few weeks ago, “Whomever said, “Don’t cry over spilled Milk”, has never pumped!”.

If you’ve never seen a typical pumping bra, well, it looks like a medieval torture device. The BeliBea bra is not at all like that. You can wear it as a nursing bra, or as a pumping bra. It’s got two sets of hooks, so there is no fiddling with it, trying to get your boobs out. BeliBea bras have a seamless stretch fit, plush-lined adjustable straps and a ribbed band to provide flexible support as well as a v-neck scoop and center ruching. I’ll save you the visual of a woman 8 weeks postpartum in a nursing bra selfie…

I will, however, show you what the bra looks like in it’s full pumping glory (on a mannequin, not on me.. I like you guys, but ya’ll don’t need to see mah boobs).

belibeaHaving worn a lot of nursing bras, first with Lil’ Man and now with Birdy- this bra is super comfy.

If you aren’t a nursing mom, or a parent, and you see someone in public bottle feeding their child, before you give them the side eye, stop. There are a million reasons that child is eating from a bottle.  Here are just a few:

  1. The baby was adopted. While there are medications women can take to make themselves lactate even though they have not given birth, they can be costly, and take months and months to go through the regimen of pills (and it isn’t always covered by insurance).
  2. The bottle has pumped breastmilk in it (That way Dad can feed the baby too!).
  3. The baby has allergies and cannot consume it’s mother’s breast milk.
  4. The bottle contains donor milk. Wet Nursing is the oldest profession, and even today there are women who over produce breast milk and donate it to help others who can’t make enough (or any at all).
  5. The mother has a medical condition such as IGT and cannot produce enough milk to feed the baby.
  6. The mother may be ill or undergoing a medical procedure which prevents her from breastfeeding.

As someone who has received the side eye (and worse) for bottle feeding my two babies in public, there is no worse feeling than dirty looks from others or receiving the “breast is best” lecture from complete strangers (especially those who aren’t even parents). As long as the baby is being fed and loved, it shouldn’t matter the source of the food!

mommyAll moms care for their babies the best they can- and that’s what we should be celebrating this week!

 

I received the BeliBea Nursing and pumping bra free of charge to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated, and all opinions are my own.

Review: ThinkFun Maker Studio Building Kits

Recently, ThinkFun sent me three Maker Studio building kits to test out. Last Saturday, amid the torrential downpour and retched humidity, Lil’ Man and I built two of the kits successfully, and one, well, not so successfully.

macncheeseracerWe started with the gear set. In this set featuring gears, we built a race
car (you can build a cable car, a 3-wheeler and a motorcycle). For each build you’re given Engineering Challenges – experiment with friction, torque and propulsion as you engineer your solutions.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.19.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.19.25 PMWe used a Star Wars Mac and Cheese box (It’s what we had handy).

These kits are a great idea, however…. The directions are picotgrams and are pretty small, so we had to bust out the magnifying glass (which was a fun experiment all by itself).

winchessetNext we tackled the Winches set. This set featuring winches, you can build a tow truck, a jeep, a well and a crane. The tow truck we built completely fell apart before I even got a photo of it, and that made Lil’ Man lose his mind.

propellersetFinally, the Propeller Kit! With this kit you can build a chopper, a biplane, a windmill and a plane. We attempted to build the windmill, however, it proved too difficult for Lil’ Man to master, and I was engineered out at that point (going on 3 hours of making these sets).

The only problem I had with the kits is that it requires you to use a box or can. Most cardboard boxes are recycled so many times that they don’t stand up well to the poking and prodding to build the kit in addition to all of the torture and abuse toys endure. My son played with the car we built (mostly me- he grew frustrated after about 20 minutes) for a few hours before it started to come apart and we had to reinforce it with gorilla tape.

These kits are for ages 6+, but if your kiddo is interested in building stuff and fairly dexterous (which Lil’ Man is), and patient (which he isn’t) I think a younger kid could handle these (with parents nearby of course).

I received these kits free of charge to facilitate the review, courtesy of ThinkFun and Tomoson. All opinions are my own.