Thursday, May 8, 2014

Naked Volume by Herbal Essences - First Review

I've used Herbal Essences Naked Volume Shampoo & Conditioner four times now. I don't notice any significant volume difference in my hair. What I do notice, though, is the ease of brushing. It has definitely increased. I normally brush my hair in the morning before a shower and comb it out after a shower. Now, when I brush it right after waking up in the morning, there are hardly any tangles. I have very long hair (waist length) and it normally gets a lot of knots, particularly at the nape of my neck. I say that the Naked Volume conditioner has made a huge difference. I haven't had to use any spray-in conditioner for knots since switching. I also like the uplifting light citrus and mint scent - it helps rejuvenate me in the shower.

I've yet to try the Souffle - next week.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sample Source Box!

Last week I received an email saying my Sample Source box had shipped and would arrive within 5 - 10 business days.  Here it is!

As you can see the Hershey's Whole Almonds bar was very popular with my husband - I don't think I had had the box opened for five minutes before he scooped it up and wolfed it down.  Definitely a good milk chocolate fix!

I'm most excited about the Quinoa Chocolate Nut Medley by by Quaker Harvest Crunch. Sounds yummy!

I'm least excited by the Snuggle Scent Boosters.  I don't like scents in my laundry.  Husband suggested that we use it if we have extra smelly loads (like one of the cats sprayed on something).  We'll see.  Its "Blue Iris" scent, whatever that is.  I just don't want to be gagging over my laundry and needing to redo it.

You can't quite tell from the photo, but the Burt's Bees sample is a night cream.  I don't use it, but my mother or one of my other friends will be happy to try it.  Great size for overnight trips.

The only coupons are in the John Frieda Frizz Ease sample pack.  Again, a good size for overnight trips and vacations.  I tend to get more fly-aways in dry weather, so it may come in handy during Summer camping.

Nice small free lot.  I'm supposed to be getting a survey about the products to do in thanks soon.  A couple of products advertised on the site I did not get - presumably due to my answers to their questionnaire.

All in all, excellent delivery time frame - questionnaire filled out April 1st, box received May 2nd.   Thanks, Sample Source!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Elle Canada Beauty Box

I filled out a quick survey on the Elle Canada site for their Spring 2014 Beauty Box a couple of weeks ago.  They did not guarantee that filling it out would get you a box, but lucky, me, I received one in the mail this week.  Nice surprise!

It came in a cute pink box patterned with outlined roses and was filled with products, coupons, and basket shredding - nice festive touch!

The Cover Girl mascara is full size.  Sample sizes of Pantene shampoo & conditioner, Satin Care shave gel, and Crest White Strips.  Coupons for Venus embrace razors ($4), Vidal Sassoon hair dye ($5), and Olay Regenerist ($3).  Also a style guide for different hair dos and make-up looks featuring Pantene and Cover Girl products.

I don't use hair dye or mascara but Elle Canada must think they are pretty standard for women if they sent them along.  One of my friends is very happy to be getting free mascara from me!  I'll pass along the hair dye coupon to my mother.  The survey did not ask if I used these products, but it did ask my age! :P

Friday, April 25, 2014

Herbal Essence BzzCampaign

I've been selected for the Herbal Essences BzzAgent Campaign.  Woo-hoo, more exciting free stuff!  This campaign activated far earlier than others I've been assigned to, and I have already received the box of products in the mail.

What I got:
- full size Herbal Essences Naked Volume silicone-free volumizing shampoo
- full size Herbal Essences Naked Volume silicone-free volumizing conditioner
- full size Herbal Essences Naked volumizing "souffle" 
- travel-size sets of the same shampoo & conditioner x 3

Pretty impressive!

I'll be waiting a week or so to try them out as I'm almost finished my current bottle of shampoo (brand omitted on purpose).  Once that is in the recycling, I'll switch in the Herbal Essences Naked shampoo and conditioner.

The products are all free of silicones, parabens, and dyes.  The scent is grapefruit and mossa mint oil.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mrs Dash Salt-Free Taco Seasoning Review

I received a free 35g package of Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Taco Seasoning in the mail.  Tonight I had some lean ground beef that needed to be used up so I thought I'd give it a try.


First off, ingredients:

  • yellow corn flour, chili pepper, maltodextrin
  • corn starch, cumin, dried onion
  • garlic powder, potassium chloride, yeast extract
  • onion powder, sugar, black pepper
  • citric acid, oregano, red pepper, celery seed

Package directions: brown 1lb ground beef; drain.  Add 3/4 cup water and seasoning mix.  Heat until thickened; stirring often.

Preparation was as simple as the directions.  I sautéed half an onion first before adding the ground beef as my only change.  Drained the beef and added the mix:

After incorporating the water, mix, and beef, it took about three to four minutes to thicken up a bit, resulting in:

Looks and smells good.

Taste: good mild chili taste.  Needs salt.  I like my salt too much for salt-free it seems.  I added a dash of sea salt to my bowl and that enhanced the flavours enough for me.  I'd say its a good base, and great if you want to eliminate or control the amount of salt and sodium in your mix.  Its easy to add your desired amount of salt at the end or to your own dish.

Other comments: does it really need sugar?  I doubt it.  Potassium chloride is classified as a type of salt, though sodium-free. Sneaky.  It is used for a wide variety of other non-food production processes - check out Wikipedia for more.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finish & Mrs. Dash Samples

These came in the mail over the last couple of weeks.  Both had coupons with them.  Mrs. Dash took a little longer than expected, but it is fun to get Taco seasoning.  More useful for me than an all-purpose seasoning.  We'll see how salt-free tastes!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's In My Purse?

In response to the blogging trend of the same name, here is a list of the contents of my purse today:
  • Wallet (flowers & bees pattern from Shag Wear)
  • Coupon file 
  • Personalized note pad
  • Pen
  • Hair clip
  • Random kleenex tissues
  • SwissCard
  • Pill vial (two-day supply of prescriptions, vitamins, Advil Liquigels)
  • Mirror
  • Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Wine (?)
  • Cell phone
  • Old McDonald's receipt for two-for-one pineapple mango smoothies
  • Earrings I wore two days ago
  • Current prescription I need to fill
  • Mini emery board
  • Annabelle #420 Blush lip liner
  • Clinique Sassy Spice Colour Surge lipstick
  • Aveda Nourish-Mint hydrating lip glaze in #764 Ginger Lily
  • Work access card
  • Work key chain

I'm using a Nine West crossbody style 8" high by 7" wide with one zippered exterior pocket, one main zippered pocket, and one hidden zipper pocket inside.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Love & LavAzza

I've been enjoying the flavours my my LavAzza coffee packs for about a month now.  I use a four-cup Cuisinart drip coffee maker at home - or rather, my husband does...I'm too sleepy in the morning to be much use.  Special coffees are love at work in our home.
We started off with the Gran Aroma which is a medium roast.  I love my morning Special Coffees which consist of about a third a cup of coffee, topped by milk foam and cinnamon.  Here is my first Gran Aroma cup and you can see that there is a a lot of foam!  The first sips are sweet and warm, perfect morning waking comfort.  Then the coffee comes through and its a warm nudge of deliciousness and awakening aroma.

The aroma on this coffee is amazing.  From the first opening of the package - which has a round air seal by the way - its just dreamy!  I stood there inhaling the scent of the grounds in my slippers one morning and I could have gone back for more later in the day.

The taste of the Gran Aroma is a standard medium roast - a bit acidic, not very deep - although there is a sense of quality in the liquid - it truly has become coffee, not hot water and coffee.  For myself, medium roast is an okay roast - I prefer the dark.  The Gran Aroma is a medium roast I would go to for the quality if I couldn't find any dark roast.

Onto the Gran SelezioneTHIS is the roast for me.  Oh how amazing it tastes in the morning and blends into the foam like its in a lover's arms.  Yes, the Gran Selezione is so delicious its making me poetic.  It is dark, velvety, smooth, and deep with a hint of quality chocolate.  This is the one I will be looking for in stores.  I'm so sorry that my package is almost empty!  Again, I could inhale the scent of the grounds themselves for hours. 

If you are a dark roast lover, I recommend the Gran Selezione.  My price-checking has come up with $12.99 a package at London Drugs.  I did find Gran Aroma at Superstore, but only that roast.   Don't forget to scour the internet for a $2 off coupon, and I also found Sample Source tear-off coupons for $2 off a package at Superstore.

My BzzKit came with a few $4 off coupons, if you know me, you may be one of the select few recipients. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

LAVAZZA Italy's Favourite Coffee

A BzzCampaign!  Hooray!

Notification came today to participate in this BzzAgent campaign for Lavazza's new drip coffee.  How deliciously exciting!

My previous experience with Lavazza has purely "bean" with espresso  (they have the best decaf around), so this will be an interesting venture into whether or not they have been successful with the drip coffee/French press variety.

Drip/French Press coffee varieties by Lavazza include:

Gran Aroma

Medium Roast

A balanced, highly aromatic blend of 100% Arabica beans with fragrant floral notes and a citrusy flavour profile.



Medium Roast

This blend’s start-stop roasting method produces its intense aroma of dried fruits and rich, full-bodied flavor.


Gran Selezione

Dark Roast

A full-bodied Arabica blend with intense flavor and chocolate undertones that comes exclusively from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.



Espresso Roast

Made from 100% carefully selected Arabica beans, this dark and velvety blend is bold with lingering caramel notes.

The campaign officially begins February 26th.  The BzzKit is slated to include:
  • A FREE 12 oz bag of Lavazza Gran Aroma Specialty Drip Coffee
  • A FREE 12 oz bag of Lavazza Gran Selezione Specialty Drip Coffee
  • A travel mug per me (that's "for me" in Italian)
  • $4-off coupons to share with other coffee drinkers (would that be you???)
  • Lavazza magnets to pass along, too
  • An Italian Gestures Game for my Passion Party (not the lingerie party, a coffee party!)
 The game idea makes me smile.  I hope it will be a good laugh.

Grazie, BzzAgent & Lavazza!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Johnson & Johnson Healthy Essentials

Way back in mid-Fall, the Healthy Essentials™ program site of Johnson & Johnson™ had a promotion.  You were allowed to sent an invite to the site to five specific email addresses.  If one of them accepted, they said you would get a gift bundle.

I dutifully plugged in my five and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  I knew at least one person had accepted long before Christmas.  Still no word.  I was getting annoyed  - perhaps I had submitted this information under false pretenses and these people were getting spammed.

Lo and behold, Friday, January 17th in my inbox I receive an email from Healthy Essentials™ subject line "The Special Trial Gift Bundle is Yours!".

Hi ,

Great news, we’re sending you one of the great trial gift bundles of Johnson & Johnson Inc. products for you and your family to enjoy. It's just our way of saying thanks for sharing the benefits of the Healthy Essentials program.

Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for your trial gift bundle to be processed and shipped. In the meantime, thanks again for being a valued member of the Healthy Essentials program.

Take Good Care.

OK, so great that it is coming, a trial gift bundle!  Woo-hoo!  I'm excited by the prospect of a bundle - my head is filled with images of gift bundles and gift baskets.

Yesterday, February 3rd, a little box appeared at my doorstep:
The size is reminiscent of the Proctor & Gamble™ seasonal sample boxes that I used to get.  It is not really the gift basket I envisioned or felt was advertised, but it is still free stuff.

Inside was:

The Neutrogena™ is a For Men product with SPF 20. The long Splenda™ is a French Vanilla flavour for coffee flavouring.  Expiry dates for Reactine™ is October 2015, for Tylenol™ for January 2015, and for the Motrin™ March 2014.  Um, that is less than a month away.  Not so good on that one, J&J! 

I'm happy that it was all free, but I feel a bit mislead about the size of the bundle, and of course it doesn't look good to give a pain killer sample that expires in less than four weeks.  3/5 stars including the wait. Still worth doing again if the occasion arises.

The Health Essentials™ program allows you to collect points mainly via printing and using coupons from their site.  You can earn two points per week by printing coupons, and two points per redeemed coupon.  One-time point offers include signing up, completing your profile, your Health Grade™, and signing up for a survey panel (no points for surveys themselves).  Once you do these four, you end up with 45 points.

To get a themed product package requires 100 points.  If you print one coupon and redeem one coupon each week, it will take you 25 weeks to earn enough points for a gift bundle.  That is two per year, and there is usually a selection of at least four from which to choose.  I think twice per year is decent, although personally I do not use enough of the product to need one coupon per week.  A larger family would do well with this, so if that is you, go for it!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Recently Free in the Mail...

Here are a couple of things I recently received in the mail gratis.

The first is two two-packs of Advil™ liquid gels.  They came with a bonus $3 off coupon good on a 24-count or higher bottle, expiring at the end of April.  The samples themselves expire at the end of October 2014.   Great to pop in the travel first aid kid or purse.

The second is a sample of Cloud 9™ cat treats.  That is what looks like a pack of gum!  They are indeed in a blister pack.  I guess for keeping fresher, although since blister packs are almost impossible to recycle, that kind of sucks.  Bonus though is the 15% order code also included.

Both these offers were from internet sign-ups at the brand sites.

Third but not shown is a small sachet of Burt's Bees™ gud™ body lotion.  It came  with a coupon, too.  I was disappointed that the sample was only a single-use sachet and not a small purse-sized bottle to use for travel.

Fourth but also not shown is a travel-sized tube of Colgate Sensitive Relief™ toothpaste, plus a coupon. Win!

If I remember correctly, these last two were from liking and registering on their Facebook™ pages.

I am currently awaiting an $8.99 rebate from purchasing an 8lb bag of World's Best Cat Litter™, and a gift basket from Johnson & Johnson Healthy Essentials™ program.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Earning Free Gift Cards

Where to Get Free Gift Cards

I just discovered a website where you can earn free gift cards!  100 points = $1 towards a gift card.  There is a wide variety of card choices, and this is where to get Starbucks™ gift card as well as Macy's™, Amazon™, Sephora™, and more.

It does take awhile after the first 100 points if you do not want to register for a whole bunch of things.  I've found the easiest is to watch for codes and listen to their internet radio.  You can always turn your volume off and have it open in a window behind what you are working on.  But you do need to check periodically - every 10 minutes reveals a code you need to type in to get your points.

The link is below.  Happy earning!

This is the logo of the site:

Quite obviously, it is called instaGC.