Schick Hydro Silk® Razor

Oh, hello there skirt season, you snuck up on me!  One of the best things about winter is that I can really slack off on shaving my legs because they are nearly always covered. Well, spring is just around the corner so it’s time to bust out the razor again. Right now I’m trying the Schick Hydro Silk razor for free through BzzAgent. So what do I think?

I’m not one to splurge on a million blades, so the Hydro Silk is a bit of an extravagance for me, with five blades. I’ve been using the Venus Breeze handle with some cheap 3-blade cartridge for as long as I can remember. Honestly? I can’t really tell much of a difference. Shaving with the Hydro Silk might be a little bit faster. I shaved one leg with my old razor and one with my new, and now, a few hours later, they feel the same to me. Both had nice, close shaves, and neither one left me with razor burn.

The design of the Hydro Silk handle is nice – it’s weighted just right and has a soft, rubberized grip to ensure that it stays safely in my hand. I can’t say as much for the included hanger. It attaches with a suction cup that will NOT stay on my shower wall. It’s not textured or anything, so I don’t know why, but it falls off at least once a week, scaring my dog and making her bark in the middle of the night, which makes my husband think someone broke into our house. So I’m literally losing sleep over this.

I like the “Water-Activated Moisturizing Serum” strips, but I have to wonder what the point is, if you still need to use shaving gel while you shave. (Pro tip: Do you have some conditioner lying around that didn’t work out for you? It makes a great shave lotion!) That said, I did shave my legs only with soap, and I have no irritation afterward.

All in all, do I like the Hydro Silk? Yes. Do I like my old razor? Yes. It’s really a wash – I’ll probably  just buy the cartridges for whichever one is cheapest at the moment.

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MorningStar Farms

Years ago, my husband used to work at a now-defunct ‘Net Cafe (remember when those existed?) that served a great black bean burger. After we moved away, there was a veggie-burger-shaped-hole in my heart (or stomach) that had to be filled! I came across MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean burgers in the grocery, and they immediately became a staple in our house. I have been buying them at least monthly for the past ten years or so, so I was happy to be chosen for the BzzAgent MorningStar Farms campaign. As part of the campaign, I received a coupon for a free MorningStar Farms frozen product, as well as some discount coupons. I really wanted to branch out and try another variety (I’ve been intrigued by the Mushroom Lover’s burger), but I just couldn’t stray from my beloved black bean burgers.

For the record, we are not vegetarians, though I do try to serve one or two meatless dinners per week, for cost and health reasons. My go-to Black Bean Burger preparation is baked patties served with tomato and avocado on a bun, but they are also delicious sliced up as a wrap and with guacamole (though what isn’t delicious with guacamole?!) I like to serve them with sweet potato fries on the side. Once I served them on garlic bread – the health benefits go out the window, but they are really tasty. Speaking of health benefits, did you know these burgers have 73% less fat than ground beef, and are only 120 calories each?

So how do they taste, anyway? A lot of people hear “veggie burger” and think “flavorless soy patty,” but the black bean burgers have a nice kick of spice – not so much that my toddler won’t eat it, though. I like to amp it up a bit with pepper jack cheese sometimes. You can see real chunks of tomato, corn, and of course, black beans. The texture is not really similar to a ground beef burger, but more of a crispy exterior with a soft interior. They are a good size to fit on a bun, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to that! A quick peek at the Spicy Black Bean Burgers website offers several tasty options, like Roasted Vegetable-Black Bean Burger Panzanella Salad.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream

My family and I recently spent a few days at a huge indoor waterpark. Waterslides in Ohio in January, pretty nice, isn’t it? The only problem is combining days of swimming in super-chlorinated water, frequent showers, and incredibly dry winter air leads to really flaky, cracking, painful skin. Luckily, I had just received a whole slew of Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (seriously, a full-size tube as well as a ton of mini samples) for free in the BzzKit from this BzzAgent campaign. A little goes a long way, so this was a really generous amount of product.

The best about this hand cream (beside the price, which is a totally reasonable $4.99 for around 200 applications) is that it really reverses the damage to your skin in one use. My skin feels so smooth after applying, and it lasts for hours. I used to work in a dental office, and with the constant hand-washing, we always kept an ultra-expensive hand cream around – I wish I had known about this product back then! It works as well, if not better, than other really pricey options. The packaging suggests you can use it on your lips, too. I haven’t tried that yet, but if it heals them like it does my hands, this is definitely going to become a winter staple in my house. It’s available in unscented too, so it won’t clash with your perfume.

Post Alpha-Bits Cereal

After joining this BzzCampaign, I received in the mail a free full-size box of Post Alpha-Bits cereal as well as some coupons. Super WHY! is my son’s favorite TV show, so he was thrilled to see Whyatt on the front of the cereal box. Then he realized there was food in the box, and forgot all about what was on it.

Cold cereal is a favorite snack in our house (and often one of two or three courses in my son’s breakfast – he can never have just one thing.) I tend to stay away from the super-sugary breakfast cereals (though I admit a weak spot for Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and usually purchase Cinnamon Life or Honey Nut Cheerios. I remember eating Alpha-Bits as a kid when my mom bought it on occasion, and I guess I sort of lumped it in with the sugary frosted cereal category in my head. I never really considered purchasing it for my family. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Alpha-Bits have less sugar than the cereals I usually buy, and a similar amount of whole grains.

And of course they are delicious! They stay crunchy in milk longer than the average cereal, and are not too sweet. Everyone in our house enjoyed them. My son is starting to learn to read and liked putting the letters together and asking me what they spelled. Some of them are a bit hard to recognize, although I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re making letters out of food.

Now here’s the problem – they don’t seem to be sold in any grocery store in my area, only at Target. I wonder why? I would probably buy them on occasion if they were found where I usually shop, but I don’ t find myself at Target very often, and when I do, I’m almost never purchasing food.

COVERGIRL blastflipstick

While I’m more of an eye girl myself, I like to experiment with different looks on occasion. I was looking forward to trying the Covergirl BlastFlipstick campaign – after all, who doesn’t love getting three free fullsize lipsticks (and two colors each – 6 new colors!) and a SLEW of coupons? Thanks BzzAgent! Well, they send me these things so I can tell you about them – so here goes.

Out of the three lipsticks I got, only one of them really worked for me. Covergirl has a neat colormatch quiz that helps suggest colors according to your personal coloring. I’m very pale with dark hair and rosy undertones to my skin. The “Vixen” shade is very similar to what I currently wear – a rose pink with a lighter pink shimmer. That one was suggested to me on their website, as well as “Stunner,” an orangey-red with gold shimmer. That one felt too bright for me, although it was a little better after blending with the shimmery side. “Minx” is an intense brownish-berry color with a gold shimmer, and made me look like a silent movie starlet. It’s an interesting look, but not one I’d really feel comfortable braving the public with.

I have very dry lips and ALWAYS need to use a lip balm before lipstick. Unfortunately, BlastFlipstick isn’t really doing wonders for the delicate skin of my lips. It feels very grainy going on, even the “creamy” matte color. It is difficult to blend with the shimmery side. That said, it doesn’t seem to dry my lips out much WORSE, but it isn’t really helping them.

I think the idea of this product is fantastic. I like that you can change the placement of the shimmer for different effect. (PROTIP: Use a dab of the shimmer side in the very center of your lower and upper lip for an instantly plump pout!) I also think the shade selection is good. I’d like to try one of the more neutral shades in the future.

Private Selection Holiday

Two reviews in one day! Woohoo! (Ok, well, a review and a half, but who’s counting?)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big fan of Private Selection products in general. I usually find that they are at least comparable in quality to name brand items, with a much better price. And in fact, I’d like to start this post off by mentioning two PS products I enjoyed this holiday season that were not part of this bzzCampaign – their premium hot cocoa mixes, and the spiral sliced glazed ham. The cocoa mixes come in four flavors – double chocolate, mint, caramel sea salt, and cherry cordial -and they are all delicious. I recommend the variety pack, though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with mint. I will be drinking a lot more of this winter staple in the next few months. As for the ham, I enjoyed it at my Mom’s house on Thanksgiving. It was juicy and delicious, and didn’t feel cheap or fatty like a lot of hams do. My Mom commented that it was one of the best hams she’s prepared, and was even better than the Honeyglazed she usually gets.

On to the bzzCampaign.

As a part of this campaign, I received a bag of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee and a box of Water Crackers in the mail, as well as coupons for a free jar of olives, a free package of sliced deli cheese, and a free jar of pasta sauce. I also got a coupon for $0.75 off three greek yogurt containers. The coffee was okay. It was a little darker than what I usually get and was pre-ground (I usually grind my own) but I do regularly buy and enjoy other PS coffee flavors. They have a very good selection. I don’t eat olives, but my husband does, so I picked up a jar of garlic-stuffed olives (mostly for my own amusement.) I can’t comment on them in detail, but he mentioned that they were generally good, but the garlic was a little powerful. I saw him use them in an omelet with picked green tomatoes this morning. The crackers were fine. That’s all you can really ask for from a cracker that’s meant to play second fiddle to whatever topping you’re using as an appetizer, so I guess it served its purpose. I had some at a Christmas party with a variety of toppings and it went well with all of them.

I picked up the Herb and Garlic cheese slices. I was hoping to try the Buffalo Monterrey Jack, but my store didn’t carry that variety. The cheese was good, but the herb flavor might have been just a smidge overpowering. I used it on some turkey burgers to help kick the flavor up a bit, and it was excellent. I also picked up the Roasted Garlic pasta sauce variety (can you tell I like garlic? So much so that I want everyone else to eat it, too!) but oddly enough, I found that it tasted and smelled kind of vinegary, even though that’s not listed as an ingredient. It is a thinner pasta sauce, so if you like your sauce chunky (like I do) you may find it a bit lacking.

I also picked up some of the yogurt while I was in the store – and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they package it the way they do, with the fruit partitioned off they way they do with crunchy toppings. It makes sense with crunchy things that you don’t want to get soggy, but it’s just annoying when you have to scrape the fruit into your yogurt, and then stir it in. Why not just put it on the bottom like everyone else? The flavor was fine, I tried Cranberry-Pomegranate and it was not too sweet or tart, but I just can’t get past that mind-boggling packaging.

All in all, I was mostly impressed with the offerings and will definitely be buying some of them again in the future.

Perdue Oven Ready Roasters

Well, sorry for the broken image link above, hoping they’ll fix that in the near future.

This was my most disappointing bzzCampaign yet. I was PSYCHED to try the Perdue Oven Ready Roasters, having seen them in the store and thinking that it was a good idea. But after that first sighting – nothing. Over the last two months, I’ve checked three different grocery stores, usually visiting the grocery twice a week or more, and have yet to see any of the Oven Ready products since. The coupon I received from bzzAgent for a hefty discount (I believe it was nearly $11?) expired with 2012, so maybe I’ll pick one up in the future (assuming they still exist) if they’re on sale. I don’t know if the cooler space was just crowded out by turkeys for Thanksgiving, hams for Christmas, and 40 pound bags of shrimp for New Year’s, or what. I even checked Perdue’s official webpage, which assured me that the products are sold at two of the stores I shop at, but had no luck.

I was really excited to try this product, because I do love roasting chickens at home, but I hate the mess associated with it. I usually roast a whole bird (salt, pepper, a little thyme, searingly high heat – gives a lovely crispy skin and super juicy meat.)  I boil the carcass with whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand to make my own stock. I shred the leftover meat and use it in barbecue chicken sandwiches (hubby’s fave) or pot pies. (Side note – did you know you can shred chicken with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer? This CHANGED MY LIFE.) And then I try to leave the house so I don’t have to deal with that messy roasting pan. That’s not the only annoyance, either – rinsing and drying the chicken? Finding something to do with the gizzards and stuff? I really wanted to try this product, which seems to take at least half of the problems out of roasting a whole bird. Oh well. Maybe someday.