Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Futur-e-Stick -The Coolest Universal Tablet Holder

I received this product for free to review.

Hey everyone! Just checking in after my household has been wracked with sickness. Oh well at least it gave me some time to play with my new little accessory here.
 First let me tell you what I instantly did not like about this set. Well maybe first I might explain what it is and comes with... I'm so discombobulated!
OK this is not a selfie stick or a phone mount, its basically a new way to hold your tablet or phone. A little sticky platform very similar to a phone stand I reviewed previously but instead of a big bulky cup holder sized base, this has a convinent, adjustable handle. Now with the basic version this is all you get but the version they sent me is the upgraded model that actually has a portable battery charger built right in. This leads me to the part I didn't like. It comes with a cable that might be long enough to reach from the charger in the handle to a plug in the bottom of a phone while using it but if so barely and certainly couldn't charge my tablet if I was using the stand and had the charger inside it. Not only was this cord sorely lacking in the length department, it was the wrong kind of cord all together. Its a USB to mini USB (I think I got that right think ps3 controller charger) instead of the practically universal micro USB or even an iPhone charger, it really stood out because the charger doesn't use this cord either. Otherwise thought the whole setup is pretty sweet. Its very light weight. It's comfortable to hold in either hand. The fact that it has an adjustable tilt that locks also means you can use it to prop up your phone or tablet hands free. The other cool thing is since the charger is an option it unscrews, so you can charge it without being tied to the cord yourself it even has a bottom piece that screws in while your charger isn't there. Since it is made out of lightweight plastic it may feel a bit cheap to those who value weight in a product. The charger itself looks like they took an 18650 battery and modified it so you can charge it and use it independent of any other charger. On the downside for one thing I can't find the chargers capacity listed anywhere, though the biggest 18650 batteries I've seen are roughly 3500mah so I doubt its a very high capacity. I would personally like it better if I could change the battery in it myself. What actually holds your phone is the sticky jelly stuff that you can wash and renew. It will hold my tablet fine for short periods of time (an hour or so) less if I'm trying to prop it up. My phone on the other hand it can hold almost indefinitely including upside down which the instructions clearly state not to do! I will add pictures in later. I would definitely recommend getting this at least as a holder as its great for reading with. Holding my tablet or phone for that matter in my hand alone for that long usually gives me cramps in my hand. This is a lot more comfortable! As far as buying the upgraded version with the charger, its convenient but without knowing the capacity, you may be better off getting a stand alone charger. If you would like one yourself you can get the standard version here or the upgraded version with the charger here.

Update: I have been informed by the manufacturer that the cord that came with mine was the result of a shipping error. Apparently it affects less than 1% of their stock and should it happen to be included they are perfectly happy to replace it. It is also meant to be the charge cable for the unit itself and not to charge your phone or tablet, my mistake I do usually read the product instructions carefully but I guess this one passed over me, also I've updated my links to go to the proper pages for getting the product if you are interested and have asked for clarification on the battery's info as well so may update this post again.

Update: below is a direct quote from the manufacturer regarding the battery charger itself. Note I retract my previous statement about preference for the battery free model, they've got this one worked out quite nicely as is and its always good to have at least a backup charge for your precious devices. (Well mine is precious to me, perhaps I'm only projecting)

 "That's a 3200 mah battery. We've specifically designed it so it can trigger the input charging circuit of tablets as many of them (like the iPad) require a current of at least 1.1 amp to start recharging. Ours supplies an output current of 1.5 amp.

Most other small chargers like these have an output current of 500 ma to 800 ma with a few of them giving 1amp.

Without getting too technical, others have 1 PCB containing all the components for recharging the battery and supplying power to devices. Ours has 2 different PCBs, one used for recharging the battery and the other with higher end and more powerful components used to generate the 1.5 amp output."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to help the environment accidentally by being cheap!

Hey everyone! So as some of you know I am really incredibly cheap. Its not that I don't wanna have nice things actually its the exact opposite. I really want nice things but I want to pay as little as possible for them. Sometimes that just happens to come with an extra added benefit of actually reducing waste and being better for the environment than the more expensive way is anyway so I figured I would share a few of those things that I've been doing lately. (To be fair some of these I have always done)

Water only washing:
The first thing I wanted to mention is the fact that I've not been using shampoo or conditioner or really anything but water to clean my hair... All year. Actually a bit longer even. The why is because my head was constantly itching and even having gross scabs and such on my scalp that wouldn't go away through the many many things I've tried. So, I looked it up and found out you don't actually need shampoo and turns out that was what was messing me up in the first place. So I ditched it and instead scrub my head under hot water followed by a cold rinse whenever it looks greasy or use a bit of arrowroot powder if I don't have the time. Detangle with a wide tooth wood comb (it doesn't snap your hair up cause it doesn't really bend at all) and then brush like crazy with a boar bristle brush. Hint to get 100% boar bristle brushes super cheap look for "wave brushes" in the African hair care section of a store. Remember the old adage of brushing your hair 100 strokes? Well the point of that was to take the oil your a hair makes and coat the entire length of your hair with it instead of letting it sit on your scalp looking ugly or scrubbing it out with chemicals since it actually serves a purpose. My hair has never looked or felt better than it does now. Plus you know its free and natural so that's a bonus too!

More traditional shaving:
Next up is the safety razor. I can kill even the fanciest chock full of blades and bonuses razors in one sitting. I hate it, they are so expensive and wasteful and it turns out unnecessary. Now for starters what I should have done was bought a straight razor. But well it's kinda scary and yeah I might shave my legs and pits with it but I dunno about my um... Bikini zone... Yeah so it might last forever and be the longterm best solution but I probably wouldn't have used it. So anyway in picked up a cheap safety razor kit from Walmart on a whim. I should have researched it and got a full set on amazon but whatever I went on to pick up accessories on amazon later. Now the only thing you change is the razor itself. There are tons of different brands out there and I haven't played around with any but what came with my kit but you need a brush and cream or shave soap and a cup or bowl to make suds in. You can use the aerosol kind but it costs more doesn't work as well and is aerosol so... I really really like it. Both me and my husband can use the same shave set excepting the blade of course, the blades are super cheap like 10 bucks for 100 on average and in my experience the shave lasts longer so it must be closer with no irritation.

No soap laundry:
This one is a shocker and I got it free to review its balls filled with some sort of ceramic pebbles that change the pH of the water by changing the size of the water molecules and therefore allowing the dirt to come out of your clothes. The crazy thing is it works. Better than using detergent. My husband even said it took out stains his tool bag leaves on his work shirt that nothing else has worked on. It doesn't leave any scent on the clothes they just come out clean (but could be a really good team with the granuales you put in just for the scent though I'm sure)  best part is they last 5000 washes with just a little time in the sun here and there. I'm loving it. Plus its a one time investment, chemical free and Eco friendly.

Microfiber + Essential oils
The next thing is microfiber. I got a microfiber mop and some microfiber rags mostly because while I love my steam mop it isn't really practical for everyday with having so little hard floor plus its a pita to pull out for every little spill. Really though I'm super happy with the microfiber, I was using just vinegar which cleans fine and leaves a nice shine but kinda leaves your house smelling like a salad so I switched to Mrs. Meyers cleaning stuff. One ounce of their concentrate plus water makes 54 oz of cleaner so it's super cheap, smells amazing and is made with natural ingredients and essential oils so its not bad for you like most cleaners. Not sure about the germ killing capacity but heck it gets dirty hand marks off of wall edges on flat paint and makes everything all shiny and good smelling and using it with the microfiber means it pretty much costs, whatever it takes to wash the laundry. It also keeps me from using near as many paper towels.
Sacks and thrift shopping:
OK this store inn particular isn't everywhere but a lot of places have stores like it. Basically it is a store that sells food that the regular stores aren't. Ever see something at a store that was a really cool idea but drastically overpriced? Special edition flavors? Holiday packaging or new packaging or the store simply overbought the item and it didn't sell as good as they thought. Well all of that along with items that are approaching and yes sometimes even over their expiration dates ends up in stores like sacks at super low prices. On top of it if you think of all the freaking food thrown away just because it reached an arbitrary date that really doesn't mean the food is bad (seriously there are NO FDA GUIDELINES on expiration dates) or even close to it for that matter. So you get great freaking deals and do your part to reduce the amount of food waste.

Everyone knows about thrift shops but I don't think everyone realizes all of the items thrift shops sell, or the fact that there are so many more than just goodwill and salvation army which can honestly be picked over and over priced compared to non chain thrift stores. Just this week I picked up some new clothes, a wicker storage chest($6 for something I cannot find for under $160), a pair of ottoman foot stool cubes(also $6) some glass coffee mugs($4 for a set of 7)  a nice TV stand($5), a set of glasses(15 glasses for $5), an awesome quilt($6), and a deep frier ($10)! Which I can absolutely afford thanks to the grocery savings! On top of that of course there is the fact that you are saving all of the materials that would be going into the new products plus the space in the landfill that these items would be taking, not to mention all the excess packaging the new items would inevitably come in. Not to mention that you actually get way more options than you do in a real store because there aren't 100 of each different item wasting space.

Ditching the disposable lady products:
This one was an annoying expense that I simply wasn't aware until recently that there were other choices. When I was researching cloth options I ran into a kit that had a menstrual cup and a set of cloth pads which I bought and fell in love with the cup. That's about a $10 a month savings plus a huge chunk of garbage that doesn't exist anymore, not to mention that its more comfortable, sanitary and convienently never runs out!

There are really tons of things you can do that save money and/or reduce waste at the same time, these are just a few of the things I do that happen to fit into both categories. If you have any little tricks of the trade let me know, I'm always interested in making life a little easier to manage!

A few notes before I go, if I have a giveaway running you can find it at the bottom of any of my current posts (none are active at the time of this post) it will only be visible if you are on the mobile version of my blog. From chrome there are three dots in the top right corner that brings down a list of a bunch of options, one of those says request desktop site, this does work on phones and tablets and honestly makes a lot of webpages a lot easier to navigate so is a handy thing to use anyway just check that and you will be in business. If I remember I will try to copy and paste this on posts that include a giveaway as there has been some confusion. The blue or purple links with the word "here" are always a link to find the product I'm talking about available for purchase. I don't actually make any money off of these links I just add them as a courtesy in case you are interested and will update you if that ever changes.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Celfie Stick

I received this product for free to review.

Hey everyone! So given that my phone is my camera and I have to take pictures of myself like all of the time, I thought I would absolutely love this product. Upon receipt though I had some issues. I couldn't get it to actually work to take pictures with my phone despite having no issues getting it to connect via Bluetooth.
Picture I took with Celfie Stick.

Fortunately I was able to fix that issue by downloading a new camera app so I could actually try this out. The phone slides into these claw like grips that slide out to fit. Full disclosure, my phone is huge! I have a Zte Zmax so its almost as big as my kids tablet but it does fit, barely. After getting the connectivity issues out of the way you would think that everything would be smooth sailing from here but that really isn't the case. It has the assumed ability to holkd your phone at different angles however it doesn't really work, at least in my case. Perhaps my phone is just too big and bulky to be used with this model of selfie stick. Perhaps its really too big for any selfie stick. All I know is its pretty awkward to hold and it can flip around while you are trying to use it and even drop your phone so I can't really give it a good recommendation. If you would like to try it for yourself you can pick one up here.

magnetic baby safety locks

I received this product for free to review.
And I couldn't review it. Upon receipt of this baby lock kit I tried installing it but despite my cabinets being as thick as the instructions stated, these would not fit. The part that adheres to the cabinet is simply too long. Had they put the catch sideways these would have fit. The company is aware of this problem and I'm not sure why they wanted me to do a review before fixing a known issue but as a result I cannot recommend these at all despite thinking it was a pretty cool idea in the beginning because the execution was just lousy. If you want to try them yourself or see if they have fixed these issues you can pick a set up here.

Midori Matcha

I received this product for free to review.

Hey everyone. So I have as until now including this Midori brand matcha tried two different kinds of matcha. The other is a culinary grade matcha and this is actually ceremonial grade so two completely different things. I'm definitely no expert in matcha and after the first time trying it straight I didn't think I would again. I really don't care for the taste of matcha by itself. I find it bitter by itself and so I wasn't looking forward to it here. Why did I do it? Because I am addicted to matcha lattes. Cold truth but since this was a different type and brand I figured I'd try it again. The first time I made this one I did it exactly like it says except I don't have a sieve. You need one with this, its a bit clumpy and it doesn't really mix out easily. Maybe I'll try adding the water more slowly. Now I'm lucky enough to have a set (video soon) made just for matcha so I have the whisk, bowl and scoop you need. I also have taken the liberty to compare the looks of the two types side by side for you so you can see the difference. This one is much darker brighter green and the powder itself is definitely finer but it does clump more maybe it has more moisture, not sure. Anyway I used two scoops and two ounces of hot water, mixed it as it said, tasted it and... Egh. Yeah I didn't like it, but I didn't let that stop me from making my tasty drink. I added some sugar, for some reason did not taste it after,(it is good with just sugar ) heated up a coffee cup of milk and mixed it in.

God that is delicious!!! Biggest difference between this and the other is the powder is basically gone. With the lower grade it feels a bit chalky especially toward the end of the drink. I found it to be just perfect the flavor was stronger and the color was much more green than the culinary grade. I tried making another serving and adding water to see if I can find a mixture I would regard as tasty without milk and sugar to no avail, the best I got was watered down bitterness. I really like the nice tin it comes in. It opens easier than most of the metal pull tab cans and it has the directions clearly on it as well as an expiration date. This seems to be a very nice product and if you are looking for a ceremonial grade matcha in a nice can that's what you are getting. If you are drinking lattes in the morning and don't mind paying 10 times the price for a smoother finish go for it here. For me it just seems incredibly pricy for my purposes.  However,  it's not the most expensive ceremonial grade out there so, its  probably a really good deal for what you are getting.

Elite Fat Burner

I received this product for free to review.

Hey everyone!
So this one is a good one. I have been taking it most mornings and just fly through the day. So here is what I thought about this supplement.here.
For first impressions the pill looks like it is filled with blood. Like seriously it gave me flash backs from true blood which did not go away upon swallowing the pill.
I love the way it woke me up. For good or for ill it made me use the restroom very shortly after taking it followed by some pretty intense sweating. That's just off of one pill. I couldn't take any more than that myself.
Taking it any later in the day and I couldn't sleep at all and taking more than one was just too much caffeine for me to handle so I felt like I was having an anxiety attack all day. The surplus of energy I received was enough to ensure I worked out for the day or a least ran around like a crazy person cleaning my house. Let's face it, it was pretty much impossible to set still while they are in your system. They have a lot of well known fat burning ingredients but I'm convinced that no fat burner is going to work more than half way without loads of caffeine. This one definitely delivers on that note. Taking them just the one time a day on the days I remembered them early enough was enough for me to lose 4 pounds over the course of about a month. I fully believe if my caffeine tolerance was where it used to be I could take these and lose some serious weight. These definitely remind me of taking stackers back before ephedera was banned but then add on some serious body heat on top. These do have a ton of caffeine though, 108mg per pill. In any case if you are looking for some serious help with weight loss you can check them out

Blossom Cup

I received this product for free to review.
Here is my butchered attempt at a video review. All in all I much prefer this product to other period control methods and other menstrual cups I've tried. I'm giving one away enter below. This only works if you are not viewing the page as mobile. You can buy one here.