Category Archives: Product Reviews

Product Review :: Watercolor Pencils with Travel Case

Product Review :: Watercolor Pencils with Travel Case

 

watercolor colored pencils with carrying caseNo doubt about it, I love to color and so of course, love colored pencils and watercolor pencils. This is a nice set that is marketed as both colored pencils and watercolors, I use other pencils both ways so didn’t know there was something special fabrication to differentiate. I do know that some sets are more successful than others, and this is VERY SUCCESSFUL at playing both roles.

PROS:
* These blend like butter!
* Works wonderfully with water
* Extras included: Pencil case, brush, eraser, and sharpener *see notes about them below
* Six sides to the pencils so they don’t roll
* Coloring is effortless, you don’t need to press hard
* Easy to get a light shade and a dark shade with the same pencil
* Nice colors, 48 pre-sharpened pencils with no repeats. This set has every color you would need for most coloring projects. If it isn’t included, it is so easy to just blend it yourself!

watercolor colored pencils with carrying casewatercolor colored pencils with carrying case
watercolor colored pencils with carrying case
watercolor colored pencils with carrying casewatercolor colored pencils with carrying case

CONS:
* Once you start using them, you will need to make sure you have your pencil sharpener on hand. They are so soft that you go through them very quickly.
* For good coverage, you may need to go over the same area two times unless you are pressing hard

EXTRAS:
* This great pencil case makes these pencils easy to take with you anywhere. The case is made of canvas with a PU leather pencil guard and trim. The case is very well sewn and the buttons are strong. You can actually roll this up completely or use the extra button and use the extra strap length it gives you to make a little carrying purse. Roll up your coloring books and it will rest inside of your new little purse and you are set to go!
* The eraser that is included is really nice. When I have used it I can’t even see any marks left over! It wipes away cleanly and easily. I am very impressed with it.
* The brush and the pencil sharpener are just your average tools. They work but there isn’t anything special about them. I do have a tip for sharpening pencils, though: Hold your pencil steady and turn the pencil sharpener. You will have less waste of your pencils that way and get a sharper tip quicker.

This is really a great set for beginners to advanced hobbyist. I have certainly been impressed with it and I am very picky about what I use to color with. No two brands that I have tried have ever been the same. The pencils are above average and the case and eraser take this to a 5-star rating!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Artustry Colored Pencil Set PLUS Watercolor – Includes: 48 Pencils, Protective Roll Up Canvas Case, Watercolor Brush, Eraser, and Pencil Sharpener on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. (This review was originally published on Amazon before the changes in TOS.)

Product Review :: 7 Day Pill Box

Product Review :: 7 Day Pill Box

Product Review :: Small/Medium Easy Open 7 Day Travel Pill Box, Prescription & Medication Organizer with Pill Case from Stuff Seniors Need

7 day pill boxWhat Seniors Need, and What Spoonies need too! If you are not sure what a Spoonie is, it is a person who deals with a chronic illness that has limited amounts of energy (spoons) a day. I am not a Senior, but I am definitely a Spoonie. I take a lot of medications, of course at different times of the day. This pill box not only helps to stay organized, it helps you and your caregiver make sure that your medication is being properly dispensed and that it is being taken. At times I can be so tired, sick, or in so much pain that I am not thinking straight so, a pill organizer is a must. It is not good for me to miss a dosage or to take a double dosage because I can’t remember if I took something or not.

PROS:

* Helps you to stay on your medication schedule by filling the box once a week
* Saves time by doing it a week at once instead of each time you need to take your medication
* Brightly colored sections, one color for each day of the week
* 4 compartments per day, labeled
* Compartments are easy to open and snap shut
* You can easily slip out a day from the holder instead of taking the whole thing with you if you are going somewhere
* The holder for the individual days is made of sturdy plastic that will last. There are slots in the bottom of the holder that you can use to pop out the individual trays if they are giving you trouble when you try to get them out.
* Nice leather case to ensure privacy. I know I don’t like other people to see what medications I am on or how many pills I have to take.
* This looks much better on my nightstand than 10 different pill bottles!
* Leather case is easy to open with a Velcro tab, when closed it helps to ensure nothing falls open if accidentally dropped
* Nice plastic pocket in the lid of the case that holds a general information paper you can fill out, there is room to keep your medication list on the back of the paper. I like it that it is not permanent, you can choose to have that or replace it with something else if/when needed. You can easily take this medication list with you to the doctor or hospital, making paperwork and questions there much easier. The general information is also great if you leave your pill case somewhere.
* Even before my new case was delivered, I received an email full of really helpful information along with contact information for different services Seniors might be in need of. Even though I am not a Senior, I thought it was great that the company selling these was really thinking about their customers and wanted to give them lots of resources to check into if they were in need of anything. I think it is great that the company found a way to offer their customers more without increasing costs at all. That information could actually be priceless to someone!

CONS:

 

* If you take large pills, they may not fit. I use the third slot for pills that don’t fit where they should. If you take large vitamin supplements, you might want to look for something larger than this.
* Some of the words are already rubbing off of the pill boxes, but you can use a Sharpie to write on these if you have trouble remembering what is what.
* There was a problem with the sewing on my leather case by the closure tab. The person sewing it missed about an inch section, veering off the leather itself. So my case is split open there but it is easily fixable with some glue.
* The plastic hinges on the pill cases are very thin. One problem I have had in the past with pill holders similar to this is the hinges breaking. You then have to depend on the snap closure on the other side of it to keep your pills in place, which doesn’t always work. I am going to monitor this and if I do have a problem with the hinges or anything else on this case, I will update my review.

I am really happy with my pill case. As I mentioned, it certainly takes up much less space on my vanity and looks so much nicer than a bunch of scattered pill bottles. A well put together pill organizer is a must if you are caring for someone who is ill, have aging parents who are taking more medication or are ill yourself. This would make a nice gift as well. It shows that you care and want to make sure that the person you are giving it to won’t forget something or have to wonder if they took their medicine at a certain time or not which could cause them to take too much medicine. This happens more than you know and I am not just speaking from my own experience. By keeping medication in a pill organizer, you can tell at a glance what you need to take or if the medication has already been taken. Chronic illness and age can do many unexpected things to your thought processes. Help your loved ones as much as you can, a well thought out pill organizer like this one is just one of the many ways you can help, but a very important one.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Easy Open 7 Day Travel Pill Box, Prescription & Medication Organizer with Pill Case from Stuff Seniors Need, (For Small to Medium Sized Pills Up To 0.75″ in length) on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. (This is an older review I am just now sharing on my blog, created and published before the TOS changes.) All ratings are earned and never promised. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Product Review :: What’s Your Favorite Color?

Product Review :: What’s Your Favorite Color?




 

I saw a funny thing on Facebook earlier today from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons asking, “What’s your favorite color?”

Answer?

myfavorite-color-is-christmas-lights

 

Please note, I received all of these products at a discount in exchange for evaluation and a review on my blog or in social media.

The first five years or so we lived in this house, our outside decorations were the best decorations around. We have a larger home and every line of the roof had dangling lights and there was a blow-up Santa in a sleigh on top of the roof! There were multiple other decorations and ornaments in the yard too. We would have people driving through our neighborhood from Thanksgiving until after the New Year to look at what we had managed to do.

Then I got sick and there were not as many decorations, but still our home looked lovely with the little we could do. The last 5 years or so we have done very little, a few years there were no decorations at all. I felt like we let our neighbors and all the kiddos down but we just couldn’t manage it between my health and my husband’s declining health. 

This year I had a plan. I ordered 4 items; 2 laser lights, one set of curtain lights, and one set of mesh lights. My plan was to accomplish an elegant transformation in much less time than it took to write this blog post, hopefully in less than an hour or so.

What do you think? There were 3 of us to work on this, my husband, my sister, and myself. Granted, we are three disabled adults, but I had a great transformation in mind and my goal was to show you just how easy it can be to decorate the outside of your home.

starry-laser-lights-projection-christmas-lights-moving-laser-fda-approved-star-projector-landscape-lights-with-wireless-remote-green-blueStarry Laser Lights Projection Christmas Lights Moving
Laser FDA Approved Star Projector Landscape Lights
with Wireless Remote (Green & Blue)

 

 

laser-christmas-lights-landscape-projector-outdoor-waterproof-lights-laser-lamp-outdoor-garden-yard-wall-family-gathering-decoration-green-and-blueLaser Christmas Lights, Landscape Projector Lights Outdoor
Waterproof  laser lights Laser Lamp for Outdoor
Garden/Yard/Wall Family Gathering Party
KTV Wedding Night Club Decoration (Green and Blue)

 

 

ActionFly Multi-Color Outdoor RGB 96 LED Mesh Fairy string Lights Twinkle Lighting With US Plug for Wedding Christmas Xmas Thanksgiving Party Events Home Roof Decor Tree-wrap (Blue)Nofonda 300led Window Curtain Icicle Lights
String Fairy Light Wedding Party
Home Garden Decorations 3m*3m (Cold White)

 

 

 

 

nofanda-curtain-lightsActionFly Multi-Color Outdoor RGB 96 LED
Mesh Fairy string Lights Twinkle Lighting With US Plug
for Wedding Christmas Xmas Thanksgiving
Party Events Home Roof Decor Tree-wrap (Blue)

 

 

 

Well to find out, you will have to check back next week…..  I can’t wait to show you the After pictures. Here is the Before picture, taken earlier this week. 

 Our house

#LaserChristmasLight


 



Book Review :: If You Were Me and Lived in… #Elizabethan England

Book Review :: If You Were Me and Lived in… #Elizabethan England


 

If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England

(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)

 

(Volume 3) Paperback

by Carole P. Roman, Author 

Paula Tabor, Illustrator


* This book was provided to me by the author, all opinions expressed are my own.



If You Were Me and Lived in Elizabethan England

if-you-were-me-and-lived-in-elizabethan-england
is a children’s book that explains what it would be like to live in Elizabethan times.
It is part of a series of books all about historical times written in a way that children learn all kinds of fascinating facts as they read an entertaining story. As a former teacher with a minor in Library Science, this book caught my eye right away. I knew this would be something fun to read with my grandchildren and I had an interest in reading it myself since I have a great love of history also.

I found the book to be fun to read, it presented a lot of facts in a way that was not only easy to read but also teaches a great deal as the book progresses. It starts out by comparing two pictures, one of what London and a girl at home looks like today and one of how it may have looked in the late 1500’s. 

It immediately starts sharing facts about how the world was evolving and people lived, both the rich and the poor, along with the royalty. Anything a child might want to know is included or opened up for discussion. How did people live, what did they wear, what did they eat, what kind of jobs did they have, what did children do, how much did things cost, what things were called vs what they are called today, what did people do for fun; all of this is presented along with detailed illustrations that help to share the story and bring it to life. 

At the end of the book is a list of important people of the era with images and a wonderful glossary to explain any terms that are useful to know.

if-you-were-me-and-lived-in-elizabethan-england-back-coverThe illustrations are in somewhat muted colors, accurate to the times. By using a beautiful blue background for the text, though, they are really set off and seem to actually bring them to life more. Children love bright and colorful things and I think this was a smart move on the book designer’s part to do this. 

I really enjoyed this book and think it is not only something that children in the Second through Fifth Grade would find enjoyable, but it is also a great teaching tool. I can’t wait to read more books from this series and would also like to read some from the author’s other series.

Amazon Synopsis

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Elizabethan England, the complicated clothes you might wear, what might influence your parents to choose your name, and what children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get onboard this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

 


 

About the author

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born. “Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life” has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. “Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series. This year, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was named to Kirkus Best 2015. The entire cultural non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in… was named Best Series by Shelf Unbound. She has begun work on two new series that will be released in early 2016.

Her new nonfiction series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico” has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children’s Non-Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca’s Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in …France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in…France for best in children’s non-fiction literature 2013. They will be followed by Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.

Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.


 

Product Review :: Belgian Chocolate

Product Review :: Belgian Chocolate


Napolitains, Dark Chocolate from Bouchard

I absolutely love chocolate. I am one of those people who enjoy food to the fullest, and chocolate is one of my favorite treats. I was so excited to be chosen for this promotion through Bouchard, introducing their imported chocolate for the very first time.

They have packaged five of their most successful flavors into small bites, called Napolitains. I received a package of their best seller, the Dark Chocolate! They also have Milk Chocolate, Dark Mint, Dark Orange, and Caramel and Sea Salt available in Napolitains. 

bouchard-belgian-chocolates

“Indulging doesn’t have to be sinful when you eat Bouchard’s dark chocolate Napolitains. They contain 72% cacao, which leaves less room for sugar.” – Bouchard

When I opened the box the chocolate came in, I could immediately smell the rich aroma of cocoa that signifies high-quality chocolate. It is such a tantalizing scent, one that if you are a chocolate lover you may be able to recall simply by thinking about it. 

I immediately opened the package, drinking in more of the delicious scent. I quickly unwrapped one of the chocolates and slipped it into my mouth, letting the rich chocolate melt on my tongue and fill my senses. Then, my lovely experience was interrupted when I heard the downstairs door open and knew my son was home from school. I quickly grabbed two more pieces and hid them under my pillow and shoved the box under my bed. As much as I love my son, this was a review item and to truly test it out, I owed it to you all to eat every single piece myself right? 😉


Before I get back to my story, here is some information about Bouchard Chocolates. It is always nice to know more about the company, especially when it comes to gourmet food. 

bouchard-beligian-chocolate-logo“We’ve been perfecting the art of chocolate making from the historical city Ghent, Belgium since 1931. We care about our heritage, our employees and especially our customers. We’re your friends in the chocolate world. We’re here to make you the best gift giver and chocolate connoisseur.

We use only high-quality ingredients to bring you the rich flavor associated with premium dark chocolate. When dark chocolate is made well it doesn’t leave your mouth with a bitter aftertaste. Because our Napolitains are made with 72% cacao they are healthy alternative to milk or white chocolate”

bouchard-gift-wrapped

Along with the Napolitains, Bouchard also creates all of the other delicious specialty chocolates that you would expect from a fine chocolatier. They have many different options and they come wrapped in lovely gift boxes, ready to present to the perfect person. 

 

 


While I was thinking about getting back to my hidden chocolate treats and waiting for the perfect opportunity, my thoughts went back to something I have heard many times over the years. Did you know that dark chocolate can actually be good for you? I did some research on this because I wanted some actual facts to share with you. If you are going to eat chocolate, dark chocolate is the best kind to eat. Studies show that quality dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease. Of course, this doesn’t mean that eating a ton of chocolate is good for you, everything in moderation.

7 Health Benefits of Chocolate from AuthorityNutrition.com

1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

11 grams of fiber.
67% of the RDA for Iron.

58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
89% of the RDA for Copper.
98% of the RDA for Manganese.
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

2. Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function

When I am enjoying a delicious piece of chocolate or two, my mind is not on health but it is good information to know!


Finally, I had the time I needed to sit back and take some beautiful pictures of this delicious chocolate and enjoy some more of it. The two pieces I had hidden under my pillow were a wonderful treat later that night, and just as delicious as the first piece was. I had been thinking about my hidden box of chocolate for over a week, thinking about the smooth, oh so memorable, taste of it. 

The problem was, I couldn’t find my chocolate. It wasn’t where I had hidden it. My husband doesn’t like many sweet things but these chocolates were so good I thought he might have tried them and then hidden them somewhere more convenient. Nope, we looked high and low for days and could not find the chocolate. After a few more days we finally arrived at the truth.

My son said he had smelled the chocolate as soon as he started up the stairs on the day that it arrived. He quietly snooped around for a while until he found the hidden box and took it to his room where he proceeded to eat every single bit of it! Every single bar of my delicious chocolate! I was heartbroken, my chocolate! And my review! What was I supposed to write for my review? I didn’t even have any of my own pictures to show!

I contacted Bouchard and explained the situation and they said they were happy to hear that I loved their chocolate and my son loved it every bit as much. They graciously agreed to let me use any of their images from their website also. 

Although I only ate 3 pieces myself, it was enough to recommend this as something you absolutely have to try. It is rich and delicious, very smooth and not bitter at all. I usually do prefer milk or white chocolate, but I would eat this dark chocolate with the same enjoyment as what I would normally prefer. My son says it is the best thing he has ever eaten!

Please enjoy these additional images from Bouchard Chocolate and be sure to watch for these which are available at your local Costco in California, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. 

 

 

For more information, please check out their beautiful website, BouchardChocolate.com

#bouchard #darkchocolate 

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Essential Oils Wooden Storage Case – Holds Up to 74 Bottles – Large Capacity Box with Customizable Slots – Bonus Color-Coded Bottle Cap Stickers and 25 pips


Nice case with plenty of room!

Please note, I received this case for free but all opinions expressed in the following review are my own. 

essential oils storage boxI love working with essential oils and have acquired a fairly large collection. My favorites I keep on my bedside vanity with my diffuser, but I have others stored all over the place. I have wanted one of these storage cases for a very long time now because it is frustrating to have to look for the bottle you want and not be able to find it! I like to keep my things organized and this is the perfect case to do it with.

Advantages:

Able to hold 68 (5-15 ml) Essential Oil Bottles and 6 (10ml) roller bottles

Case is divided with a wooden grid to keep each oil in its place. 

Box comes with a secure latch to prevent accidental spills

Bonus materials include 25 pipettes, aromatherapy eBook on a cd, and a pack of colored sticker labels

essential oils storage box

Disadvantages:

When the box arrived, the wooden grid of squares for each oil was jammed into the box and was too big, making it stick up at an odd angle. My husband had to remove the grid and sand one of the sides to make it fit. 

One of the slats was broken, but my husband was able to glue it and fix it. 

essential oils storage boxOther Highlights:  This box is made of white pine and comes unfinished so you can customize it to fit your needs. Right away my husband had plans for this, he is going to spray stain it in a rich mahogany color. I am also going to place some felt in the bottom of the box and under the lid. Now, of course, you don’t have to do any of this. You can use it exactly the way it comes. This just gives you the option of making your box more decorative or fancy if you would like to. 

Other ideas you could use to dress it up would be painting it or even using decoupage to dress it up in your favorite theme. 

This box wouls be useful to store other things besides essential oils. Right away my son thought it would be perfect for his Lego people.  It would actually for any kind of small collection. Any person that is into crafts could find a myriad of uses for it. Jewelry making is a hobby that comes to mind. 

Recommendation:

I love this box and will undoubtedly get a lot of use from it. I do feel the quality control could have been better. This should have never shipped to a customer like it did with the grid not fitting and a slat that was broken. If I didn’t have someone familiar with woodworking to fix it for me, I might have sent it back.

  #anjinaturals


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Double Hammock #XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock

Product Review :: Double Hammock #XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock


YUEDGE Lightweight Portable Durable Nylon Hammock for Outdoor,Traveling, Camping, Hiking, Backpacking (XL Blue)


Durable enough to stand up to several rambunctious kids!

Please note, I received this at a discount in exchange for my review. 

I ordered this hammock for my grandchildren to use in the back yard and on camping trips. Our family really loves hammocks and everyone seems to always gravitate to them when they are out. I thought if I got this double hammock it would be big enough to hold a few children and I was right, it is perfect. Two adults can even snuggle up in this for a nice nap.

Advantages:
* Accurate size at approx 108″ x 80″
* Big enough for 2-3 kids under 10, 2 kids and 1 adult, or 2 average sized adults
* Made of breathable nylon, easy to clean, dries quickly
* Carabiners and thick nylon ropes came already attached to the hammock
* Easy to hang and comfortable to use

Disadvantages:
* I wish the carrying case, which is actually attached to the hammock, was just a little bit larger. I found it difficult to get it all packed back up into the bag but it is possible. If you are the methodical type, you will have no problem.

double hammock

This hammock comes in 4 different sizes and 2 different colors so make sure you are ordering the size that you need. I ordered the XL in Blue and have been very happy with it. It does match up to the product description very well so as long as you are aware of what is described in the listing and that is what you are looking for, you should be very happy too.

I think the smaller sized hammock would make a great reading nook hammock in a closet. Kids love hammocks and any small space would do. You could even make a reading area in an unfinished basement or attic by hanging one of these from the beams and simply putting some tumbling mats below it in case of a spill from the hammock. These hammocks are lightweight and durable, perfect for all kinds of different projects with kids, indoors and out.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this YUEDGE Lightweight Portable Durable Nylon Hammock for Outdoor,Traveling, Camping, Hiking, Backpacking (XL Blue) on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#XLLightweightPortableDurableNylonHammock


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon has once again made changes to their Promotional Content in Customer Reviews. I thought there would be some changes to their policy, some fine tuning. I never imagined that they would go in this direction.

They have added some “clarification” that seems to negate their last changes, especially what was in the changes on Seller Central which I didn’t even talk about on here.

Here is what is relevant in the new policy:

Amazon Customer Promotional Content Reviews

So what does this mean? To me, it seems like they are going back on their previous ban on getting products through third party websites or groups. However, the Seller can still not ask for a review. They have also put in further clarification prohibiting other benefits besides the product and added that the review can’t affect your membership in a program or club and that the Reviewers ratings or referrals in any club can’t be affected by whether or not they write the review.  It seems also that there can be no monitoring of whether or not a review is written for the product.

If you do decide to start reviewing right away, you MUST include a disclosure (disclaimer).  If you don’t, you could be facing hefty FTC fines. I would go with something simple like “I received this product for free, I was in no way obligated to leave a review.” If you got it at a discount, use that word instead of “free.” DO NOT use the word “exchange” in your review. 

promotional-content-in-customer-reviewsWhat do you think? I am not sure I will jump right back on the bandwagon. Things are changing too quickly, one right after another, and the day to day wondering whether any review I write will remain on Amazon or not is not worth it at this point. After another short period of “letting the dust settle,” I may jump back in… I am interested now in looking at any trends in the reviews that are deleted from our accounts now. Were they from products that we got through a club? Were they from Sellers who just aren’t on Amazon anymore? Has anyone heard of any other bloggers who have been looking at that? Would love to know if anyone has.

I would also love to know what you think and what your plans are!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant

Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant


In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, a positive review is never guaranteed or implied.

Crystalline Salts Premium Crystal Deodorant

All Natural Deodorant Made From Natural Mineral Salts Harvested From the Pristine Mountains of Thailand – Ideal for Athletes. Combats Odor Naturally. No Stains, No Synthetics, Aluminum Free. For Men and Women. Natural Salt Rock

After I started getting interested in essential oils, I realized that there were so many other natural products that I had never given any consideration. I came across this all natural deodorant and thought I would give it a try.

I have had this for over a month, and I must say that I am very impressed with it! It is a little different to apply, you get the mineral stick wet and then apply it. It takes a few seconds to dry but once it does, this deodorant has staying power.

It is very dry, once you have applied it and it dries there is virtually no residue that you find with other deodorants. If you are going to be wearing something special I would recommend this so as not to end up with any residue on your clothes. I can also see where it would be very beneficial for people who sweat lot like I do. It does not wear off until I wash it off.

This stick of deodorant is also going to last a very long time! After repeated applications, it still looks brand new. Instead of monthly, the product listing claims you will probably only have to buy this again once every year, and I can believe it from what I see so far. What a time and money saver.

The only thing to be careful of is to be sure and not apply this if you have just shaved. It is made out of salt so will sting against cut skin.

This product has a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied in any way. The best thing about this deodorant is that part of the proceeds from each sale goes to Avoda – an orphanage in Thailand dedicated to helping children with food, shelter, a home and education.

A great product all around, good for you, the environment, and they help out a very good cause!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

#crystaldeodorant #naturalproduct #beauty #deodorant #mineralsalts


Reviewing 🌟 The Dust Has Settled, What’s Next? Even Better Things!

Reviewing 🌟 The Dust Has Settled, What’s Next? Even Better Things!

keep-calm-and-experience-serendipity🌟”Late Reviews”  🌟ARAT  

🌟Blogging  🌟Social Media

🌟Other Opportunities  🌟Amazon

🌟What’s Next!


 

🌟 “Late Reviews”

Keep calm and just say noI am still hearing about some people receiving pressure from Sellers or admins to finish reviews that you were holding off on. Keep Calm And Just Say No! It will in all probability be taken down by Amazon anyway and you could lose your account. Anything published after the 4th (I believe that is the date, they supposedly gave one day for the policy to go into effect) is subject to the new policy and if you didn’t use your own money to buy it, don’t review it. Let anyone that is pressuring you know that it is against Amazon policy and offer them an alternative posting on one of your social media accounts. If they are still adamant, I would consider reporting them.

If you did post a review after that date for anything that involved any type of agreement, I would delete it. That is my personal opinion only, I have no facts to back that up. I know I have always said in the past not to delete any reviews, but the rules have changed now.

As far as I am concerned, and the consensus among people that I trust, is that the dust has settled and it is time to move on from posting reviews involving anyone else at all, on Amazon. If you haven’t read my post Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews I really encourage you to. If you have read it, you should take a look at some of the Comments people have left.

I always love reading Comments, they are the favorite part of my blog. The additional information, corrections, questions, and insightful thoughts really make for great reading. We have had some really great participation the last 2 weeks, it seems to help when I write a post, lol. I love the interaction with you all, your thoughts and opinions, just learning more about you. Thank you!

🌟 ARAT

keep-calm-and-download-a-copy-of-your-reviews-with-aratIf you still haven’t backed up your Amazon reviews using ARAT, do it now. How To Back Up Your Amazon Reviews Using ARAT  It doesn’t take that long to get a copy of your reviews and you never know when they might come in handy! You have worked hard and you should always keep a copy of your work. Who knows, save it and in 20 years publish it as a “Remember When” funny commentary about products we used in the early part of the century! If you only have an iPhone or Mac and don’t have access to Windows, which is required by ARAT, contact me I will make a copy of your reviews for you. I do not require your Amazon password to do this.

🌟 Blogging

keep-calm-and-enjoy-blogging-5If you are planning on starting a blog and have a copy of all of your reviews from Amazon, courtesy of ARAT or your own foresight, you have ready made content! Just because they are still on Amazon today, doesn’t mean they will be there tomorrow. Remember, Amazon is sifting through the reviews with their new algorithm removing content if the Reviewer was excessive or did not follow policy. Amazon Removing Some Reviews

Even if you already blog, you might be like me and only have a small percentage of your reviews on your blog. Having more reviews on your blog is a great way to showcase your work to potential sponsors (Sellers who either give you products or money in exchange for a potential review or endorsement.)

If you need to start a blog I recommend WordPress. You can get a free account and they even have free templates. They have a great Support Forum too. I can post some places for free tutorials for WordPress and I can offer some support to other WordPress users if you have a problem with your blog. There are other places to get free blogs but I don’t know as much about them, if anyone wants to recommend what you use, I would be happy to add it to this post.

If you are looking for a company for a self hosted blog, I use SiteGround and have been extremely happy with it. It is only $3.95 a month. If you already have a blog but want to move for some reason, you can get free site migration and up to 6 months of free hosting bonus added to your new account for unused time with your current host. (Please note, I do receive a referral bonus, but that is not the intent of this post.)

🌟 Social Media Reviews

keep-calm-and-review-on-social-mediaSocial media just keeps growing and growing and Sponsors are taking advantage of people like us who are usually micro-influencers! A micro-influencer can sometimes market products more effectively than an Influencer who has hundreds of thousands of followers and up. (Blogging is technically social media but for my purposes right now I am keeping it separate because it takes more effort to get started.) If you haven’t already, create your social media accounts and start to build up your network, your followers and friends. The number of people in your network is one of the things that Sponsors look at when choosing who to work with. I will share some tips on how to do this if you want, in the meantime I would recommend these as the most popular social media sites to be on: Facebook with a Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. For YouTube you need a Google+ account which you may have already if you use Gmail. Do you have to do all of them, of course not! Especially if you are new to any of them, go ahead and create your accounts but concentrate on 1 or 2 at a time or you may quickly become overwhelmed.

As you are creating your new accounts, or even if you have existing accounts, think about branding. First of all, do you want your personal and review accounts as the same account? Second of all, think about your name. If you have a blog, your social media accounts should reflect your blog name in some way. This can get tricky, especially if your blog name is long, not all social media accounts allow the same number of characters in your name. Some of the services will let you change your name, on others it is harder to do, so think about it first.

🌟 Other Opportunities

keep-calm-and-review-on-other-online-retailersMany other online retailers have successful review programs. There are a few FB groups that I know of that are already working with many retailers, if you know of any that are looking for additional members, please let us know! I will share a list once I have the admins approval. There are also a few websites I can think of that put you in contact with different brands. So if you just enjoy the ease of posting on one site, similar to what many people did on Amazon, those opportunities are out there.

🌟 Amazon

keep-calm-and-keep-reviewing-your-own-purchases-on-amazonReviewing on Amazon is not going away. You can still review books. I plan to still review what I purchase myself. I just enjoy writing and it makes me feel productive. We buy an awful lot of things on Amazon because I am home bound and need an easy way to shop. I know some people feel like Reviewers have been treated poorly by Amazon and I agree that there are things they could have done differently. They have a huge challenge ahead of them to now improve their Customer Service from top level management down, not just at the Help Desk level.

However, they are still the largest online marketplace and a great place to show off your ability to write a well-written review and/or your talent making videos in order to be found by Sellers looking for people to do posts on social media. Don’t forget, you can still pitch to Sellers on Amazon to do reviews on your blog or other social media accounts.

🌟 What’s next for this little blog that started out to help other people learn about Reviewing on Amazon??? Well, it has turned into much more than I planned and I really love it. At times my health gets in the way, but no worries, I always show back up!

keep-calm-and-remember-that-life-is-about-the-map-we-follow-and-the-treasures-we-find-along-the-wayIf there is interest in learning about social media reviewing, I would be happy to share what I know and research what I don’t. There are lots of other things now that I talk about on this site and maybe there isn’t enough interest in reviewing anymore. I plan to send out a survey to see what you all are interested in. so you will really have to let me know what you all enjoy, want, and need. I love still being able to help other people because I learn so much myself along the way.

👑 Coming up I have some inspirational quotes, coloring links to add, craft ideas for colorists, some boring health updates (that help my soul to share, thank you!), and some re-blogging of some really wonderful things from other incredible people I have been wanting to share!

💗 Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


 

Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews

Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews

Last week I promised you I would be asking some specific questions about reviewing to Amazon and then sharing with you what I learned.  

questions-and-answers-with-amazon-about-writing-reviews-frostedI addressed my email to Jeff Bezos himself so that I could be sure that whatever answer I received was carefully considered and not just from someone at the Help Desk who may or may not really understand what I was asking, much less what the right answers are. I wanted an answer from a top-level executive at Amazon that I could trust.

After receiving my email, Jeff asked Jennifer P. (why does no one who works at Amazon ever use their full last name?) to respond on his behalf. Jennifer, who works in Executive Customer Relations, responded right away and let me know that she would need some time so that she could work directly with the Communities team on my list of questions.

Here is the text of the letter I sent to Jeff.  You can see full screenshots of the email that I sent and the emails that I received in response by clicking here.



Dear Mr. Bezos,

There are multiple emails from executives at Amazon circulating among the Reviewer Community that seem to contradict one another. By going straight to the top, my expectation is that I will have the answers that are needed so that responsible reviewers will be in compliance with Amazon’s policies.  I can then help distribute this to other responsible reviewers to share with as many other people as possible.
 
I am going to try and keep this cut and dried so that nothing is left to interpretation. All of these can be answered with a Yes or No.
 
1. Are hobbyist Reviewers going against Amazon policy if they use the services of a website, Facebook group, email group, or other organizations to come in contact with Sellers who are offering products at a lower than advertised price, as long as the TOS or rules of the business state that there is no expectation of a review in exchange for the product? 
 
1a. Once they receive the product and test it, are they going against Amazon policy to write a review?
 
2. Are Reviewers going against Amazon policy if they accept a gift that is shipped directly from the seller, and then write a review for that gift, as long as there is no expectation of a review?
 
2a. Are Reviewers going against Amazon policy, in the same situation as above, except that the gift is shipped via Amazon? 
 
3. Are Reviewers allowed to use gift cards supplied by a Seller to order products if they are for the full price of the item and nothing more, or are only promotional codes allowed to be used? 
 
3a. Just to verify, a gift card ends in 4 digits and a promotional code in 6 digits correct? 
 
4. Is a disclosure (disclaimer) required when you leave a review if it is written for a product you received at a lower price than what is currently advertised on Amazon if there was no expectation of a review when the product was offered?
 
4a. Does the disclosure have to stipulate whether it was free vs whether it was received at a discount, or is a general disclosure permissible? 
 
5. If no disclosure is required, isn’t that against FTC guidelines? 
 
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I know that if Reviewers have some concrete answers to these questions, you will find that every effort is made to follow the policy by the vast majority of people who write reviews. 
 
In the past, problems have gotten out of control because there was too much left open to interpretation. In fact, it would be wonderful that if a disclosure is required, you gave us a specific one to use. Just as the Vine Program is clearly identifiable by their badge and no disclosure is necessary, if hobbyist Reviewers had a common disclosure to use it would make things much easier for everyone. 
 
With My Sincerest Gratitude,
Lynn Marie White


As you can tell, I really took into consideration the questions I have read going around in all the different groups I belong to, questions anyone sent me, and things I read on message boards and forums.
I wanted everything to be very clear so nothing would be left to interpretation and no one could argue the facts. I really did try to  make it so specific that a Yes or No answer would be easy for Amazon to provide. Many of these executives are so used to speaking in legalese that perhaps they forget that for the average person, reading their TOS, Community Guidelines, or page about Promotional Content can leave some of us confused at times. I must say, they are getting better and I do think this last change in wording helps define our role more than it did previously. 

At times, change comes with chaos, though. There are so many emails from Amazon executives making the rounds that contradict one another, messages from the help desk that also contradict one another, and some that don’t even make sense. Maybe we should have a contest to see who has received the craziest answer to a recent question about reviewing from Amazon!

That chaos is only taking into consideration the written content from Amazon that I have seen. The rumor mill is out of control with all kinds of crazy speculation from Reviewers, Sellers, Admins, and website representatives too. I will caution you strongly to not believe everything you read and I hope that you have followed what I suggested when the news of the changes started making the rounds, Wait Until the Dust Settles! 

So what are the facts?


First email I received from Jennifer P. 

Hello Lynn,

I’m Jennifer of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your e­mail and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thanks so much for sharing your questions regarding Amazon’s review policies ­­ we appreciate our reviewers wanting to be in compliance and I’m happy to answer your questions.

Lynn, because I want to ensure you’re provided the most accurate response to each of your questions, I’m collaborating directly with our Communities team and it’ll take a bit longer than usual. I truly appreciate your patience and I’ll have a thorough response by 4 PM PDT on Tuesday October 11, 2016.

You’ve been a valuable member of our Prime family for 5 years and we appreciate your patronage. I’ll be in touch Tuesday and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

Best regards,

Jennifer P.
Executive Customer Relations

Second email I received from Jennifer:

Hello Lynn,

As you recall, I’m Jennifer of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations. I appreciate your patience while I collaborated with our Communities team regarding your inquiry.

We updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.

We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review, whether or not a review is expressly required. These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, promotional content is only allowed in limited circumstances, and must always be clearly and conspicuously disclosed as promotional content if not obvious from the context:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&…

Please note we do not have information in addition to what is already provided in our help pages and we’re not able to offer additional insight on these matters. We appreciate your understanding.

Best regards,

Jennifer P.
Executive Customer Relations

Thank you.
Amazon.com


 

blue transparent checkmarkThe fact is that unless you are in the Vine Program, do not write a review on Amazon for anything* that you have not purchased yourself with your own valid credit or debit card.  

I would recommend that you not even load up gift cards anymore and use those to make purchases, especially if you might write a review for the product. I know loading up gift cards can often entitle you to a credit, but now, your gift card purchase could result in a loss of your account privileges if you forget and write a review for something you ordered with it.

* There is one exception to this policy, if you are a bibliophile like myself, you will be happy to know that this does not apply to books. The following statement is from the Community Guidelines page. “Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.” A disclosure is required to be in compliance with Amazon’s policy in regards to Promotional Content. 

I understand that there are people telling us that it is okay to write a review because no one has asked for a review. Here is what Amazon has said that addresses that statement:

“We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review,
whether or not a review is expressly required.
These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review:”

I have been going through the multitude of emails I have received from websites and some of the groups that I have belonged to that ran promotions. I am sure you are getting them too. They are all saying that the rules have changed and they have changed with them. 

Many are changing their rules, guidelines, or TOS and saying that a review on Amazon is in no way required in order to receive a product promotional code through them. They are claiming that the choice is totally up to you whether you want to leave a review, and in fact, you won’t be breaking Amazon’s policy if you do leave a review. They are calling sellers and reviewers 2themselves shops and stores and you are now a shopper or some other similar term, anything but a Reviewer.

It is true that their rules have changed and they don’t require a review to get a code. You can go to Amazon and order the product, the code you get will work just like it did before. But if you write a review on Amazon, you are in breach of Amazon’s policy. I know some of you are thinking that there is no way that Amazon can track people who are doing this, there are so many Sellers and so many Reviewers that they will never be able to find out if you do,

My background is in software development and business management and I am telling you straight up that I know for a fact how easy it would be for Amazon to track this and wipe the Sellers and Reviewers who are participating in this type of activity, It is my opinion that the long periods between updates in rankings have not just been computer glitches or periods of time to just wipe groups of reviewers. They have used that time to upgrade their servers, work on their database structure, develop algorithms (software scripts that analyze data to do things like track Seller and Reviewer interactions, reviewing patterns, review content, Reviewer to Reviewer relationships, and anything else you can imagine), write and develop new software, test it all out, and assuredly have it up and running by now.

Amazon has already let us know that some of our reviews will be deleted retroactively if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy. You can read about that here in my post, Amazon Removing Some Reviews.  I really believe that the operative phrase there is “if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.” I do not think they will remove every single review all of us ever wrote in exchange for a promotional code. As long as both the Reviewer and Seller were in compliance when it was written, it should not be deleted. I know many people didn’t think about what a Seller might be up to and were just concerned about being in compliance themselves. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and it has been and always will be a symbiotic relationship, remember the article about Keyword Searching, Wishlisting, and Other Seller Requests where I talked about how working with someone who did these types of things put your account in jeopardy, even if you didn’t do the special request but did a review for them. It is too bad that at times we weren’t aware of some of the tactics Sellers used or the ones to avoid.

So, do we all stop writing Amazon reviews? No, if you really enjoy writing reviews there is no reason to stop, as long as you write the review for something that you paid for yourself. In fact, there are many reasons to keep writing reviews on Amazon, one of the most important reasons being your ranking. Having a solid ranking is still a great way for Sellers to discover you. I will share more about the other benefits of continuing to write reviews on Amazon later, this post is long enough as it is!

Promotions and free products are not going to go away. They have always been a successful way of marketing, especially for new products. In the future, I will be writing more about other social media reviewing and how to market yourself to Sellers differently now. 

Looking at the facts that Amazon provided, do you agree? Even here on my blog, I urge everyone to look at the facts. I always try to show some evidence if I am saying that things should be done a certain way or in explaining what something means. I can be wrong just as well as the next person, so don’t feel shy about speaking up if you disagree. None of us can learn if we don’t share our knowledge and beliefs with others and be open to discussion about those differences.

I am looking forward to this next stage of development and feel more confident knowing whether I am doing the right thing when it comes to writing reviews on Amazon. The uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of Amazon’s former TOS can be put to rest and we can move forward together. Even those unfortunate Reviewers who were actually honest and good at what they did, but lost their accounts, have huge opportunities moving forward.

Those reviewers who took advantage of the system are out of luck. A  Seller won’t be giving anything to someone who does nothing valid to promote their product.  On Amazon, some Sellers put up with it because perceived sells, the number of positive reviews, and many other metrics improved their Amazon ranking.  Social media reviewing is a whole other game, you need to know what you are doing and not just be a number to the Seller.

if-it-looks-like-a-duck-and-quacks-like-a-duck-then-it-is-probably-a-duck


Thoughts? I would love to hear what you think about this post and how Amazon responded. Do you agree with my conclusion? Do you disagree, if so, why? I love hearing from you all, it is the most important reason I do my blog so let’s hear from you!

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

We have a new map going forward with Amazon and Reviewing in general. You all are the treasures I have found along the way!


Reviewing :: Backing Up Your Reviews With ARAT

Reviewing :: Backing Up Your Reviews With ARAT

keep-calm-and-back-up-your-reviewsARAT, which stands for Amazon Reviewer Analysis Tool, was developed by Kirk Hodges as a tool for his wife to use. She is a hobbyist reviewer who enjoys writing reviews on Amazon like many of us. Talk about a great gift for your wife, way to go, Kirk!

In light of Amazon’s announcement (read more here) that they may be deleting some of our previously published reviews, many people are wondering what they can do to get a copy of their reviews. Having a copy of your reviews is always a good thing to have and is especially important right now. If you have copies of all of your reviews, it will be easy to turn those into a blog if you haven’t already. 

If you haven’t downloaded it yet, here is the link: ARAT kghodgessoftware  I use the full version myself. Kirk has provided excellent documentation on his website on how to download and use this great tool. 

I know most of you are just going to use it to download a copy of your reviews. It has some great functionality built in though that I will talk about when I post about being a well-balanced reviewer. 

I think this information posted on his website is a great overview:

Currently, ARAT provides functionality to:

  • Extract data from existing reviews in order to graph rating tendencies across reviews.
  • Store data from previous ARAT extractions in order to graph rating tendencies over time.
  • Organize data from extraction in order to chart voting behavior on reviews over time.
  • Analyze Vine selections to chart the reviewer’s review percentage on received Vine items.
  • Extract unrated purchase data in order to help the reviewer decide what to review next.
  • Automate extraction runs through a command line interface that can be programmed to run on schedule.

Along with the wonderful documentation, Kirk has provided, another reviewer recently made a video on how she uses it. A huge shout out to Meghan Robledo for allowing me to use this on my blog! Please take some time to check out her blog at Robledo Reviews. She is just transferring over from a different service, so give her a bit to have it moved and fixed up, but be sure to check it out! It is so kind of her to share this with us!

In regards to Downloading and Saving your reviews, Meghan shows you an excellent way. I do it a little bit differently so that everything is easier for me instead of being in Notepad. Once you have all of your reviews displayed on the ARAT screen, go to File ~ Print ~ Reviews. It will process everything into a file but it isn’t saved yet. Go up to the Print icon in the top left corner and click on that.  You could print everything out onto paper if you want, but I use the dropdown menu that will now be displayed and pick Print to PDF instead. I can then save an electronic file that is easy to work with, I just have to copy and paste the text into what I want. 


This will not work on Apple products. If that is all you have, let me know and I will see what I can do. You will have to give me your Amazon profile ID though in order for me to run a report for you. I don’t need your password, just the letter/number combination from your profile. 

Please let me know if you need any help. 


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon Removing Some Reviews

Amazon Removing Some Reviews

If you are a Reviewer on Amazon, some of your reviews may be removed. The key word here is may. Make sure you read until the end of the post to find out how to tell if any of your reviews have been removed and one way to save a copy of your reviews if you don’t already have one.

 

Yesterday Amazon sent out a copy of this email to all Reviewers.

amazonemail-we-may-remove reviews

Please read this carefully. It says that reviews are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy. If you followed policy before, you should not be affected too much, if not at all.  What is excessive? Of course, we do not know what they believe excessive is. If you are submitting more than 100 a month, that is probably excessive, but that is only my opinion. What was the policy they will probably be looking for? Having the correct disclosure displayed prominently on all of your reviews.

There is one other thing that may have been out of your control and could have gotten you wiped before now or will affect whether some of your reviews are removed.  Remember, you are not in this alone. Think about who you got the product from and what Amazon is also looking for when it comes to Sellers.  There are many Sellers who are losing their accounts too now. If a Seller loses their account, all of their product listings are taken down and so that means that your review is also removed. I know I have mentioned in several different posts about working with Sellers that you know do things that are against Seller TOS. Even if you don’t do their special request but do a review for them, Amazon only sees the data relationship between you.  They aren’t going to go to each Reviewer and ask you if they fulfilled a request for something special. They are just going to wipe those reviews that are associated with that Seller and product.

Remember, your disclosure has to have said if it was for free or if it was a discounted item. Having a general disclosure was not acceptable. An example of a general disclosure is: I received this as a promotional item. I received this for free or at a discount. I received this in exchange for the sample. The words free or discount(ed) had to be in the disclosure according to Amazon. For the full article about Disclosures, please click here. 

free-vs-discount-product-for-review-amazon-tos-changes

How will you know what Amazon deletes, if they delete any of yours? If you have not been keeping copies of your reviews or at know how many reviews you have written, now is the time to take notice. You can find the number of reviews you have written by looking at your Public Reviews Written By You page on Amazon. You have to be signed in to see this page. If the link is not working for you, you can get to it by going to Your Account and scrolling down to the bottom to Personalization. 

I use ARAT to keep track of my reviews, I will get a quick tutorial together on this asap for anyone interested. The directions the developer has written up are actually very good.  In the meantime, you can download it here: ARAT kghodgessoftware  It is a great analysis tool that not only lets you keep track of the reviews you have written, but run various reports on your reviews. You can also print copies of your reviews from ARAT.

keep-calm-and-dont-write-reviews-until-the-dust-settles
For now, I recommend you to take a break and relax. Do not do anything. At this point, we need to set back and see what happens in the next few days. I know some people and groups are urging you to write your reviews with no disclosure (or disclaimer as it is sometimes called). It is against the law to write a review without a disclosure according to the FTC. The FTC trumps Amazon. The fines can be very high if you are caught doing this. Even if you are writing short reviews on social media, they need a disclosure. 


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Valentia Fresh Mist Calming #Toner

Product Review :: Valentia Fresh Mist Calming #Toner


Valentia Fresh Mist Calming Toner – Natural and Organic Ingredients – with Witch Hazel and Vitamin C – Refreshing – Balancing – 4.0 Oz  from Valentia Skin Care


This toner makes me feel fresh and cool!

Valencia skin tonerI really love a good toner. If you don’t currently use toners in your beauty regime, I highly recommend you give one a try. This one is a fantastic one for anyone new to toners or a toner true believer like I am.  I love that it is full of natural ingredients that I have learned about and know from experience that they work. Magnesium, Witch Hazel, Vitamin C and Tea Tree Oil are all proven natural ingredients that are great for your skin and many other things.

Toners provide your skin with multiple benefits. If you use them as part of a beauty routine, it is best to spritz it on after cleansing your face and before applying moisturizer. A toner helps take your clean routine one step further by removing any remaining oil or dirt from deep down in your pores. A good toner like this one will help balance the PH in your skin, which helps it stay clear of bothersome acne. My favorite thing about a toner is that it helps minimize enlarged pores. The Witch Hazel in this toner is the perfect ingredient for that. It is a natural astringent. 

Valentia facial toner radianceI actually keep this toner by my sink and another on my nightstand and use it anytime I pass by, and especially when I need something to help cool me down. This toner has a light fresh scent that I love. If I am feeling the heat, I just spritz some of this on and then as the fan circulates by my bed, the moisture on my face and neck help to cool my whole body.  I actually use toner so much in the summer that I don’t need a lot of my moisturizer anymore.  In fact, for the last few months, I haven’t done anything special to my face beyond using a cleanser and then toner multiple times a day. My skin looks fresh and clear, and most importantly to me, my pores are smaller. 

Thanks, #valentianatural #toner

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this Valentia Fresh Mist Calming Toner – Natural and Organic Ingredients – with Witch Hazel and Vitamin C – Refreshing – Balancing – 4.0 Oz  for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon TOS :: Fact or Fiction, Again!

Amazon TOS :: Fact or Fiction, Again!


Amazon TOS ChangesAre the words Amazon TOS and change coming up in your thoughts and in discussions too much lately? Are you having trouble keeping up with the changes and don’t know where to go for answers right now? Are you feeling more and more confused? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone and I do have some great advice for you. 

I took a quick look around on the internet today and stopped in at some of the “watering holes” where reviewers congregate. I have read multiple emails from different companies and individuals involved with the Reviewer Community, many of from the Seller side of things also. I have read and re-read the new Guidelines for Amazon.com Community ParticipationThe section that affects those of us who love to write product reviews is under the Promotions and Commercial Solicitations section. 


Promotions and Commercial Solicitations

As that reads, it seems that writing a review is no longer allowed on Amazon if a review has been, or is, requested. I know I have many open reviews that I promised to do on Amazon, three of them are very expensive products and now the Sellers are left without a review. I have been trying out the products so I can’t return them, they are no longer new.

Do I publish them with a different disclosure, or maybe no disclosure at all?

Are the different sites where we often find products going to shut down and if they don’t are they breaking TOS?

Can Sellers contact us directly and ask us to review a product? Can we pitch to Sellers?

What about the FB groups and email groups, so many of them are handing out conflicting information, who is right?

The best thing any of us can do right now is to sit back and wait for the dust to settle.  My advice to you is to take a break and do not to publish any reviews on Amazon at all right now.  If you are on a deadline for something, contact the Seller and discuss different options like posting to social media. If you go to them with a plan in mind I think they will readily agree with you.  You do not want to make a mistake at this juncture and jeopardize your account.  If there is someone pressuring you to publish a review on Amazon, please consider whether or not that product, that person, or that group is worth the possibility of losing your account.

In the meantime, I am sure there will be more information forthcoming from Amazon, or at least from different people that have contacted Customer Service and have some verified answers to these questions and more. Consider this a vacation, you deserve one anyway! Take some time off from Reviewing and relax. Enjoy the Fall weather and the changes all around us. Do something special for yourself or a neighbor who could use a helping hand.

I will let you know what I come up with, probably sometime over the weekend or at the first of next week. I know that may seem like a long time when we are so used to being on deadlines and in a hurry. This is really going to be a time to reflect on if you want to continue writing reviews and then consider the best way to go about it if you do want to continue. If you still have an account after all of the wipes the last few months, so many of them senseless, then you really do need to do everything you can to safeguard your account. Giving yourself a few days to consider what you have learned and what I can verify is more than fair enough considering the major changes that have been made lately.

If there are other specific questions you are concerned about, please leave them below so I can gather lots of feedback at one time as I go about verification of  my own questions and yours. It is easier if they are shared here instead of individually through email, thanks!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon has once again changed their TOS. If you currently write product reviews in exchange for free or discounted products, the rules have changed and we will no longer be allowed to do this on Amazon. You can certainly still publish your reviews on other outlets, but it seems like the average reviewer will be out of luck when it comes to finding products to review.

If you have huge followings on social media sites, you may still have many opportunities available and it is not too late to build up those social media accounts if you would still like to review products.

If you enjoy reviewing books, you may still receive an advance copy, but they can not ask you to write a review. The Amazon Vine program is also not going away.

I see more emphasis being placed on their new badges of Enthusiasts but who knows where that will go. Encouraging people to ask and answer questions about products is not the way to go in my opinion. How many times have you read 6 answers to one question that all tell you the exact same thing or someone who answers that “they don’t know” to every question posted!

For myself, I am going to hang back and see where this leads. My blog gets pretty good traffic at times so I may still have the opportunity to publish reviews here. I have several commitments to finish in the meantime also.

Even without reviews, my blog won’t be going away. 🙂


Product Review :: Home Security Camera

Product Review :: Home Security Camera

Smarson HD WIFI Home Security Camera, Baby Monitor, App Controlled, Up to 5 Viewers

Easy set up, fantastic child monitor, loads of functionality

I ordered this WIFI camera to use in our kitchen and dining room area. We have had it about a month now and I am so happy with how it is working out. I have it paired with my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Bluetooth 4.0, Android 5.0.

We have other security cameras set up in the house and have tried to work with a few inexpensive cameras that were better off returned. My husband and I are both amazed at how easy this was to set up and with the functionality of this.

Advantages:
Easy to set up
No wiring needed, everything is through WIFI
Camera is easy to operate through app and camera
I can have 5 preset views
I can pan and zoom, left and right, up and down
Two-way communication
You can set up motion alerts

Disadvantages:
The directions could use some refinement when it comes to details. With a little common sense though it is easy to figure out.

If you are looking for a baby monitor I would highly recommend this. We have a camera in our youngest son’s room just so I can easily keep an eye on him. He is old enough now he doesn’t really need it but since my health makes it difficult to get around, it really helps. Since it is a fixed mount camera I can only see certain areas of the room. When he is anywhere on the floor playing or in his reading nook, I can’t see him. A camera like this would be much more helpful in a young child’s room as a monitor. With the two-way audio, you could soothe a young child back to sleep with a few comforting words without always having to get up.

The reason we wanted a camera in the kitchen once again has to do with my health. Since the stairs are almost impossible for me at times, my youngest does a lot of the leg work around the house for me. Now that he is in middle school, his chores have increased, especially in the kitchen. With the great features on this camera that make it possible for me to follow his every move, I can ‘virtually’ help him out with his chores by lending advice on the best ways to clean certain messes or where certain things need to be put away. He can hear me great without any added speaker on the camera. If you are handicapped, a camera like this can be extremely helpful with your older children as well as your younger ones.

We also like to be able to send our son to the kitchen for a snack and not have to worry about him getting into something he shouldn’t have. He loves sugary snacks but is borderline diabetic. If there is sugar in the house, I swear that child can smell it! Now I can watch and make sure he isn’t searching through the baking supplies or sneaking a treat his dad has saved for a special treat.

I haven’t been able to use it with any Kindle tablets but those are compatibility issues that many apps and hardware combinations are finding. A Kindle, or should I now say Fire tablet, runs on a hybrid Android system so not everything works as it is supposed to.

As far as rating this security system goes I would normally deduct a star for poor instructions but the actual ease of set up and use more than makes up for it. If we were able to rate with partial stars, this would probably rate at around 4.80 all things considered.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Smarson HD WIFI Home Security Camera, Baby Monitor, App Controlled, Up to 5 Viewers on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#smarssen


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: #Smarssen Heart Rate Monitor

Product Review :: #Smarssen Heart Rate Monitor
Product Review :: #Smarssen Heart Rate Monitor


Smarssen Portable Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor, iOS and Android Compatible


Accurate and Comfortable

I experience sinus tachycardia when I move around so I like to keep an eye on my heart rate. I have been considering the different ways to do it. In the past, I have had to wear a portable holtor monitor prescribed my doctor for various lengths of time but to purchase one of those on my own would be too expensive. I was fortunate to come across this Bluetooth heart rate monitor because it will work with various apps and I have found several that work for what I want. I need something that I can wear that will monitor my heart 24/7 so that I will not only have verification of any immediate problems but also have access to data that both my doctor and I can look at to recognize any patterns or trends with my heart rate.

The phone I paired this with is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Bluetooth 4.0, Android 5.0.

#Smarssen Heart Rate Monitor

Advantages:
* Works with multiple apps, you can find the one that works best for your needs
* iOS and Android compatible
* Accurate – I measured this against 2 different oximeters and BP monitor
* Band is comfortable to wear, adjustable for many different sizes
* You are able to wash the band, huge plus when you wear something constantly
* Device attaches/detaches easily, no tangle of wires
* Easy to manage by myself
* I can see right away when my HR is staying high for too long a period of time and then do what i can to get it down myself with medication or rest vs going to the ER.
* With the advantage of working with so many apps, everyone is bound to find one that tracks the kinds of things they are interested in be it just plain HR shown on the display of your phone to elaborate charts and graphs displaying your HR data along with your exercise statistics.

Disadvantages:
* The directions could have been a little more explicit when it comes to how the device pairs with apps (it doesn’t pair through Bluetooth scanning, but through scanning within each app) and the need for the band to be very moist in order to work. I really don’t like that the band has to be wet to work. It is not only uncomfortable, once it dries I loose my connectivity and then have to go through the pairing process again.

#Smarssen Heart Rate MonitorIdeally, it would have been nice if this monitor came with its own app. Many of the ones that were recommended didn’t work because of different updates to them or changes in compatibility. I am not done searching for the perfect app yet, but for my use as a 24/7 monitor I have been using primarily BLE Heart Rate Monitor, HRMonitor, and MotiFIT which I found all on Google Play. I will update this review as I find more apps that are useful for monitoring your HR 24/7. I am not really interested in all of the apps that were recommended in the first place since they are more for monitoring your heart rate during exercise. My exercise is walking as far as the bathroom and brushing my teeth.

In fact, the change you see here of an average HR of 75 to a high of 121 was when I simply walked into the bathroom and back.  You can see that something as simple as walking raises my HR, so it is important that I keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t get dangerously high.

I am excited to show my doctor this heart rate monitor on my next visit along with some data, once I decide which app I like the best. This is such a reasonably priced product (under $40.00 at the time of this review) that anyone who has an interest in or really needs to be monitoring their heart rate will be able to justify the cost easily. It is probably much less expensive than your copay if you have to wear an holtor monitor or event monitor for any length of time.

Please note, many of the pictures are of the apps I have been using. I wanted you to be able to get a feel for the kind of data you will see and so you will know that it was actually tested and used. What you will receive when you get this is the monitor, elastic band, battery, and battery compartment tool. Which app you choose is up to you.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was selected to receive this Smarssen Portable Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor, iOS and Android Compatible at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own, and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#Smarssen


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Amazon TOS Changes :: Increase in Minimum Purchases to Write a Review, Again

Amazon TOS Changes :: Increase in Minimum Purchases to Write a Review, Again

I have just read that Amazon has changed their Customer Review Creation Guidelines once again. Last month we saw them make an addition to their TOS (Terms of Service) requiring anyone that wanted to leave a review for a product must first have spent a total of  $5.00 on Amazon using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts wouldn’t go towards that minimum.

Today, that $5.00 change has been increased to a minimum of $50.00 total worth of purchases on a valid credit or debit card in order to be able to write a product review.

Amazon TOS changes

This link will take you to the complete Customer Creation Guidelines.

Up to that point, anyone who wanted to could write a product review. There have been 3 sets of lawsuits filed in the past year against companies and individuals that were paying for reviews or that used tactics on their product promotion websites that were against Amazon TOS.

Do you think the increase to $50.00 is warranted? It is steep but it will certainly curb the huge number of fake profiles being created in order to write reviews in exchange for money. Many Reviewers may feel this is targeted at the Reviewer Community but I see it as targeting unscrupulous Sellers who will try anything to manipulate their ranking.

As a reminder, any special Seller requests are against Amazon TOS.  Even if you refuse to do the request but receive a product from that Seller, your account is still in jeopardy.  When a Seller loses their account, Amazon is more than likely to also wipe all known Reviewers who have worked with them. Keyword Searches, Wishlisting, and Other Seller Requests are manipulation, plain and simple. This includes asking you to write and/or answer questions on a product listing. Amazon is not going to stop and ask who has participated in these things for certain Sellers, they are just going to wipe all of the Reviewers who are associated with them through writing reviews. Please, if a Seller asks you to do anything special, don’t do it. Let them know that what they are asking is against Amazon TOS, they may not know. If it is obvious they do know, report them.

What do you think? Leave a Comment below, would love to hear from you!


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: #AmazaPens 20 Pack Super Glitter

Product Review :: #AmazaPens 20 Pack Super Glitter


AmazaPens Gel Pens, 20 Pack Super Glitter | 150% More Ink than Other Sets | Best for Adding Sparkle to Your Adult Coloring Books and Art Projects


5 Star Glitter!

 

This set of glitter gel pens really is spectacular! They are incredibly smooth, much smoother than you would ever expect from a glitter gel pen. I go through a lot of coloring supplies, especially gel pens. After all, what girly girl who grew up in the 80’s could resist gel pens, especially ones with glitter? Along with a video review, I will be attaching a color chart, some blending examples, and a mandala I colored with these along with actual images of the gel pens themselves.

Advantages:

#amazapens
* Smooth, even ink that fills the fiber of the paper with deep color
* Medium point tip keeps the glitter and ink flowing without clogging
* 20 unique colors
* Nice comfort pen grip to help ease any strain from coloring too long
* No bleeding through to the back, a huge plus for these pens
* Ink dries quickly so no smearing under normal conditions BUT not so quickly that you can’t blend if you want to.
* Colors identified by the cap and by the end of pen
#amazapens gel pens* Write on a variety of different paper types including glossy paper
* Non-toxic and acid-free so can be used even for scrapbooking and anything else heirloom-related

Disadvantages:

* Like with most pens you use to color with, these will leave some lines on the page with some impressions so if you have something on the back of the page you want to preserve, you might want to make a copy of what you want to color instead of coloring in the book.

#amazapens color chartRecommendation:

* If you like glitter and you like gel pens, these are the perfect glitter gel pens for you. I love that they have 20 distinct colors that aren’t too close to each other in shade. The ink flows so nicely filling in the paper fiber and leaving great color behind. These pens have a multitude of uses for any kind of craft you are interested in.and tons of everyday uses too.

One thing I did want to mention is the amount of ink in these pens. It doesn’t exactly say how much ink is in each pen, which would have been nice since they are making the claim that they will last 2.5 times longer. I have noticed though that so far the ink levels are staying nice even though I have been using them a lot. A few of them I have even been using on a daily basis as writing pens and I haven’t had any noticeable change in the level of ink yet.

Changing the size of the tube that holds the ink was a great idea. As soon as one of them runs out I will take it apart and do some measuring for future reference. This is something that some companies may really manipulate and as consumers, we would never think to look before this.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered these AmazaPens Gel Pens, 20 Pack Super Glitter | 150% More Ink than Other Sets | Best for Adding Sparkle to Your Adult Coloring Books and Art Projects. on Amazon and received them for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Relaxing Sleep Tea #RelaxingSleepTea

Product Review :: Relaxing Sleep Tea #RelaxingSleepTea

Relaxing Sleep Tea – 2 Sizes – Herbal Bedtime Calming Aid – Helps Insomnia and Anxiety – Peaceful Mind and Body – Organic Superior Quality by Cuppa Magic


 

Refreshing sleep with the benefits of aromatherapy, I love the way this smells!

 

I love anything natural that can improve my lifestyle. I deal with numerous health issues so anything that can help me that doesn’t have to be prescribed I am all for! Due to back problems and chronic pain, I have a difficult time sleeping. I can fall asleep in a heartbeat but can’t stay asleep due to the pain. This cuppa magic tea is just the thing I have needed.

Advantages:

#relaxingsleeptea #cuppamagic*  Natural ingredients
*  Smells heavenly
*  Tastes great
*  Helps me sleep longer
*  Beneficial for so many things besides sleep
*  Individually packaged, no measuring needed
*  Package is resealable
* I have been studying natural ingredients for the last year and I have learned that the things they claim their ingredients help, actually do!

Disadvantages:

* None, I love it and it works.

I especially love the way this tea tastes and smells. I love tea anyway, I have always loved the tea ceremonies of Japan and the countless mystery novels I have read set in the Golden Age of England have instilled it in me. There is a science to the perfect cuppa. Having this pre-measured in individual packages takes the science out of it. All that you have to do is add water at your preferred temperature and let it steep, I let mine steep for just under 10 minutes so that I can enjoy the aromatherapy of it. If the tea is too strong for you, you can add some milk that has been slightly warmed, try some honey or sugar, or even just not let it steep for as long.

There is a strong scent of the orient in this tea, that probably comes from the Ginger and Saffron combined with Spearmint. It reminds me of the scent of Singapore that I used to love so much when I traveled more. It is a light floral scent that once you smell it, you will instantly recognize it. I don’t think that many people realize just how powerful a scent can be, I have no doubt that the aromatherapy effects of this tea no doubt help to put you in the right mood for a relaxing nights sleep.

It is important to have a routine built around sleep and preparing for bed. This is the perfect thing to add to your routine. You should drink this at least an hour before you go to bed to give it a chance to get into your system. I don’t think that I will ever sleep all night again because of my pain, but the sleep that I do experience after drinking this is a deeper sleep that leaves me more refreshed.

Ingredient List With Benefits: (provided by Cuppa Magic)

Chamomile: stress & sleep disorders – gastrointestinal disorders including ulcers – menstrual pain – reducing rashes, pimples & scars

Ginger Root: stomach upsets, indigestion & nausea – fight infections – lower cholesterol – improve brain function

Saffron: promote learning & memory – cell formation & repair – maintain blood pressure – disease prevention

Licorice: heal ulcers – relieve pain & stress – calm liver inflammation – PMS

#cuppamagicFennel Seeds: reduce toxic effect of alcohol – digestive disorders – as appetite suppressant – cough & phlegm problems

Rose Buds: clear toxins from internal organs – prevent infections – fight depression & bring inner peace – clear acne & moisturize the skin

Spearmint: improve circulation & reduce stress on blood vessels – fresh breath – nervous strain & fatigue – hormonal balance

Rose Hips: reduces pain, stiffness & joint inflammation – respiratory problems – boost immunity

Lemon Grass: hydrates the skin – eye problems – relax the senses decreasing stress – boost metabolic process aiding digestion

Tulsi Holy Basil: detoxifying & purifying – digestion – relieve headaches – prevent kidney stones by reducing uric acid

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this RELAXING SLEEP TEA – 2 Sizes – Herbal Bedtime Calming Aid – Helps Insomnia and Anxiety – Peaceful Mind and Body – Organic Superior Quality – With Ginger Root – Chamomile – Holy Basil – Saffron on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#RelaxingSleepTea


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Set of Solar Lights #GardenLight

Product Review :: Set of Solar Lights #GardenLight


Ohuhu Solar Garden Light, Solar Powered LED Lantern Light for Gardening, Outdoor, Patio, Pathway, Wall, Ground, Hanging Mount, 2 Pack


 

Attractive design with plenty of advantages!

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love options and this solar light set is full of options! It comes with 2 solar lights that you can mount on a wall, use the included ground stakes, hang them on the shepherd’s hooks that are included, or any combination of those options. We are using these as accent lights in our backyard by our koi pond. I especially like the look of the shepherd’s hook option. It isn’t something you see everywhere. I think the option of one shepherd’s hook and the second accent nearby on a ground stake is another great look.

Advantages:

#GardenLight* Attractive design, I especially like the shepherd’s hook
* Options for installation with everything included
* Lantern part is nice size, approximately 8.5 in from base to loop
* Light bulb is approximately 3 in, light strength is average for a solar light
* On/Off switch (don’t forget to turn it on to get it to work), battery included
* If placed in full sun while charging, the charge will last around 8 hours
* Sheperd’s hook is made of metal
* Less expensive, easier to install, and no monthly charge when compared to wired lighting
* Environmentally friendly

Disadvantages:

* More care could have been taken in packaging this to ensure it arrives safely and all of the parts are easy to find in the box. I thought I was missing 2 tiny parts until I found them underneath the bottom layer of styrofoam in a gap in the box. All loose parts should be packaged together somehow like the screws were. Packaging isn’t something I usually include in a review so will not be using that as part of my rating.

These lights aren’t super bright like a security light would need to be; they are just right as accents or somewhere when you need just a little extra light to see when it is dark. It is nice that they aren’t so super bright that they ruin a lovely view at night. It is so peaceful to sit and enjoy the night sky in the backyard, I wouldn’t want something so bright that it was distracting. Make sure that these are placed in full sun to charge if you want them to last a full 8 hours. If they don’t receive a great deal of light for at least 4 hours a day, they aren’t going to last as long or be as bright as they could be.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was selected to receive this Ohuhu Solar Garden Light, Solar Powered LED Lantern Light for Gardening, Outdoor, Patio, Pathway, Wall, Ground, Hanging Mount, 2 Pack direct from the Seller, Ohuhu, for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own, and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#GardenLight


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Copper Compression Gloves

Product Review :: Copper Compression Gloves

Best Compression Gloves Copper Comfort- Helps Arthritis Speeds Recovery in Hands & Fingers – Highest Copper Percent Guaranteed Pair of Medium Gloves


Cool and Comfortable #compressioncomfort

I ordered these copper compression gloves to help with carpal tunnel and pain in my hands. I have heard for years about the benefits of copper and so copper gloves seem to be a logical step. I am trying to use more natural things in my life and for my health and have felt better for it. I ordered a size medium, if you are between sizes or in doubt, I would go larger. The material is very soft and the gloves slip on very easily. They are well sewn so I don’t have any reason to doubt their durability.

#compressioncomfort

Image courtesy of Best Bargains

When you slip them on they are comfortable to wear and not hot at all, which is something I worried about. It is easy to wear them for an extended period of time. My hands don’t swell normally but I do have a lot of pain in them. I wish I would have ordered a size Large instead because I might have been able to wear these more and got more benefit from them when it comes to pain relief.

I did like the fact that they gave good support to my wrists. These are much easier to wear than a whole wrist brace which my doctor wants me to wear for carpel tunnel. They give me enough support as a reminder to hold my wrists correctly as I type and to keep them straight when holding my tablet for extended periods of time.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered these Best Compression Gloves Copper Comfort- Helps Arthritis Speeds Recovery in Hands & Fingers – Highest Copper Percent GUARANTEED *Pair of Medium Gloves* on Amazon and received them for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Product Review :: Expandable Garden Hose

Product Review :: Expandable Garden Hose


Expandable Hose Nozzle, No Kinking Flexible Lightweight Super Strong Green Nozzle, Water Garden, Expands 3 Times From It’s Original Length, Solid All Brass Sprayer With 7-pattern Multi-functional Spray Nozzle 75ft (Lawn & Patio)
by Hosezzle


Lightweight and a great length for our yard

This is the second expandable hose that I have ordered from Amazon. I wanted to get a longer one for my husband since the first one just wasn’t long enough to get all of the jobs done that he needed to get done in the back yard.

75 expandable hoseAdvantages:
* 75 ft long
* Light weight, much easier for my husband’s bad back
* Does expand and contract as stated
* Does not leak
* Brass fittings, much better than what came on our first expandable hose
* Includes mid-grade nozzle that has 7 spray patterns
* This will connect to our other expandable hose that we already have

Disadvantages:
* I was hoping that this would work for our RV also, but it is not for potable water. Potable means you can drink it. Nonpotable means you should not drink it. I wish they would have put that in the product description since a lot of people who have RVs would love to have a hose like this one. There is a disclosure in the box though that clearly states you should not drink from this. Some of the reasons it gives are standard for any hose, but it does leave it open to questions so I would not recommend it at all for RV use, unless you need an outside hose separate from your water hose. If it was for Potable water, it should be clearly stated, and this is not.
* This hose will need a lot of care that you might not be used to having to do with a regular garden hose. It should be drained and put away after every use, somewhere out of the sun where it can lie flat.

We have only had this hose for a few weeks and used it a handful of times. I am hesitant to wholeheartedly endorse it since it hasn’t even been used a whole season yet. A garden hose is something that will take more uses than this one has had to really be sure that it is durable. So far it has been great. If anything happens with the hose to change my opinion of it, I will certainly update my review at that time.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Expandable Hose Nozzle, No Kinking Flexible Lightweight Super Strong Green Nozzle, Water Graden, Expands 3 Times From It’s Original Length, Solid All Brass Sprayer With 7-pattern Multi-functional Spray Nozzle 75ft on Amazon and received it for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Product Review :: Bright LED Headlamp/Flashlight #Luxolite

Product Review :: Bright LED Headlamp/Flashlight #Luxolite


Bright LED Headlamp Flashlight with Red Light – Best Adjustable Headlight for Running, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Hunting, Reading, Kids – Waterproof CREE Work Headlamps Batteries Included


Lots of options on this headlight make it great for focused activities, has even given my son a boost of needed confidence

This LED Headlamp provides many different options when it comes to the light itself and the uses are wide and varied. The product description is accurate concerning the details of the product design and operation so I won’t take up time repeating everything, I will just start by outlining what I found, in my opinion, to be the overall best advantages and then the disadvantages of this headlamp. Then I will share my recommendation and how our family actually uses this headlamp/flashlight.

Advantages

headlamp flashlight✦ This is wonderful if you need a hands-free option in order to do work or hobbies more efficiently and/or safely
✦ Adjusts to a wide range of head sizes, in fact, it will more than likely fit anyone in your family
✦ This is built to last: impact and water resistant
✦ LED bulbs that last more than 50,000 hours
✦ The head mount tilts up and down with 5 positions, helping to direct the light where it is most needed
✦ Options: White Light (High, Medium, Low, Flashing) Red Light (Steady or Strobe night vision)
✦ Comes in 5 different colors so you can easily tell who’s is who’s if you have multiple family members that have them
✦ Comes with 3 AAA Duracell batteries, ready to use. I hate getting something and not having the needed batteries on hand.
✦ Lifetime guarantee, I think it is great that more companies are focusing on customer service and standing behind their products

Advantage and Disadvantage all in one:

headlamp flashlight red flash headlamp flashlight red✦ This light is extremely bright, much brighter than ordinary lights or flashlights. You will be able to light up the area you are focused on close at hand and you will not need to use multiple lights to do the work. If you are looking further away and using it for your light when walking at night, it provides a focused path of light quite a ways away depending on the terrain. In emergencies, the SOS modes will provide the visibility you need while leaving your hands free to cope with other things.

bright headlamp flashlightHowever, this light is so bright that it can result in some temporary vision problems if someone looks directly into it. Just be sure that anyone using it knows what each setting does and the one that they should use, especially children.

Disadvantages:

✦ Since the beam of the headlight/flashlight is so focused, I would not rely on this for any activity that involved traveling quickly or for something that involved being out in the wilderness with this as your only option. Bicycling, hiking, running/jogging, or hunting are things that the product description mentions that I would definitely want a light with a wider beam than this provides. You need to be able to see your surroundings with a wide field of vision in those situations, not just what this headlamp/flashlight’s beam produces which is too narrow for those activities.

Recommendation:

✦ This LED Headlamp/Flashlight is great to have for focused activities. When I say focused, I mean activities that have a defined scope of vision and one in which you don’t need a broad field of vision, where you don’t need to see what is going on in the environment around you. I don’t agree with the product description about many of the activities it does list that they think this headlamp could be used for. In fact, this headlamp could actually be a liability in certain situations they list, making you feel safe or secure when you actually need a different kind of light for those activities, many of those which I discussed in the Disadvantages section of this review.

✦ It would be really great if the company who makes these looked into offering two types of beams for this, the narrow one it currently does and wide one.

How our family uses this and other people who might benefit from having one:

✦ I really do like this light and it is perfect for what I had in mind which is something a little bit different. My youngest son and the grandchildren all love playing in the back yard. They love playing all kinds of games and riding their battery powered vehicles. My son has limited sight in one eye though and it makes him more hesitant than he really needs to be, especially in the early evening. There aren’t any real obstacles so I thought if he had more light, he would feel more comfortable in being adventurous and exploring.

This light has been perfect for that, it even gives him the extra light needed when it is dark to be able to drive around in one of the little jeeps, adding to the wider field of vision the headlights give. I was right when I thought this would give him the extra boost of confidence he needed to be able to explore more of the yard and participate in activities in the evening. Children need to be able to feel independent and if it takes something like a headlamp, I am all for it.

This really does make a great item for kids to have for so many different things like exploring the yard and house, reading under the covers, playing games like hide-and-seek and so much more. At the time I ordered this, the price point was under $20.00. If you have a lot of kids that is probably too much, but as a special gift or reward it is reasonable, At times I think we guide our children in their play too much, this is the perfect thing to give them and then just sit back and enjoy watching what they find to do with it.

headlamp flashlight white✦ This also makes a great tool for work around the house and in the garage. My husband wants one of his own for his work in the garage.
✦ It will also be very helpful next time we are able to go out camping. Nobody likes walking around the campsite or to the bathroom while tripping over everything not in sight! It won’t be the only type of flashlight we need, though.
✦ The product listing does mention other things this light will be good for that I agree with, especially the caving and walking your dog at night, as long as you are in familiar surroundings.
✦ This is great to use with hobbies where you need to see close up at times but your vision isn’t what it used to be. I love to color but at certain times of the day my eyes are very blurry and just don’t seem to focus well. This added light helps make the whole process easier so that I can relax. People who do any kind of hobbies like embroidery, making models, or painting may find this useful.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Bright LED Headlamp Flashlight with Red Light – Best Adjustable Headlight for Running, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Hunting, Reading, Kids – Waterproof CREE Work Headlamps Batteries Included on Amazon and received it for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised; all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

#Luxolight