Category Archives: Reviews

AXE Hair Care REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Carly with AXE to see if I would be interested in trying and reviewing AXE Hair products.

My husband, having used the shampoo, body wash, and body spray in the past was eager to be a guinea pig try the AXE brand hair styling product. I told Carly that I would love to try and write a review, and I soon received a box containing shampoo and hair styler.
In the past, I had always purchased hair styling products for my husband based on if I could get a deal by using a coupon or finding a good sale. Because of this, my poor husband has been stuck with everything from organic mousse to curl enhancing gel (he does not have curls). Since receiving this hair care package from AXE…or should I call it a hair “rescue” package…I have been banned from purchasing these sale items. The products we received were AXE Primed – Just Clean shampoo, and AXE Whatever – Messy Look paste. I asked him several questions about each item…here’s the verdict.
Q: How did you like the packaging? A: ‘The flip-top on the shampoo is awesome.’
Q: What did you think of the scent? A: ‘I really like the scent of both the shampoo and paste. They smell fresh and clean.’
Q: How did you feel about the shampoo? A: ‘I like that it doesn’t make your hair poofy.’ The paste? ‘It’s phenomenal. It’s not sticky, doesn’t make your hair crunchy, and it lasts all day without having to re-apply.’
Q: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how would you rate each product? A: Shampoo = 8 Paste = 10
Q: Is there anything you didn’t like about the products? A: ‘No. Everything was as good or better than I expected it to be.’
So as you can see, the overall opinion on the AXE products we received was very positive. In my 3rd person opinion, (since I didn’t actually use the product on myself) I really liked the scent, and the way they made his hair look and feel. The scent of the paste was a little strong when hubby used it on my toddler, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t intended for use by toddlers. LOL
A huge thanks to Carly and AXE (you can follow her on twitter @CarlywithAXE or check out the AXE Hair Crisis Relief site) for the opportunity to try and review this product…my husband has now requested that I ONLY purchase AXE hair styling products for him.
ON TO THE GIVEAWAY!
Up for grabs:
1st Prize (1 winner): 2 Full size AXE Hair Care products + 2 coupons for a FREE AXE Hair product.
Extra Prizes (10+ winners): coupon for FREE AXE Hair product.
How to enter:
1. Follow @jessalexander on twitter. (1 entry)
2. Tweet the following message: ‘Enter to win AXE Hair products for your man from Life @ 30! http://tinyurl.com/lifeat30AXE Ends @ NOON CST Jan. 23! @jessalexander’ (1 entry)
3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or RSS feed. (1 entry)
4. Leave a comment stating why your man needs AXE! (1 entry)
Leave a separate comment below for each entry. (Be sure to post the link to your tweets in your comment & make sure your e-mail is in your comment or easily found in your blogger profile.) Please remember you can enter daily, so enter, enter, enter! This giveaway begins Monday, January 11, 2010 and the winners will be chosen at NOON CST on January 23, 2010 using random.org. Winners will be contacted by e-mail and will have 48 hours to reply with their mailing address or a new winner will be drawn. *ONE PRIZE PER PERSON*
*NOTE* 1st prize in this giveaway is available to U.S. residents only, but my readers from outside the U.S. are eligible to win the coupons…sorry for the inconvenience! (If you live outside the U.S., please note that in your entries so there is no confusion.)

Review & Giveaway…it’s here!

I was contacted by Ashley with CSN Stores a few weeks ago regarding an opportunity to review one of CSN Stores websites and host a giveaway. I excitedly accepted! I was originally approached to review their dining room furniture site, DiningRoomsDirect.com, but was told I could choose an item from any of their sites within a specific price range (including shipping). I decided I couldn’t be greedy and just get something for myself to review, so I decided to find something I could review and offer as a giveaway. After scouring several of their over 200 stores for a couple days I finally decided on a Pyrex Smart 6 Piece Mixing Bowl Set.
I contacted Ashley, verified that I could receive a set to review and then offer a set for a giveaway to be shipped directly by CSN Stores, and then waited patiently for my bowls. I placed the ‘order’ on Friday, Dec. 4th, and received the package via FedEx Thursday, Dec. 10th. I excitedly opened the box expecting the above set of mixing bowls, and instead found Pyrex Accents 4 Piece Baking Dish Set.
I immediately contacted Ashley, and within 30 minutes she had ironed everything out with the supplier. They shipped the correct order out that same day, AND I got to keep the baking dish set…which was worth 2x what I actually ordered! Talk about customer service!
On Monday, Dec. 21, I received the Pyrex mixing bowl set I originally ordered, and I must say I was probably a little overly excited to be receiving a set of bowls. You gotta admit though…Pyrex anything is worth getting excited over. I received a set of Pyrex mixing bowls for a wedding gift (my first marriage) about 11 years ago…and they are still in great condition. I picked this particular set of bowls (even though I already owned a set of Pyrex) because of the size of the largest mixing bowl and the fact that they came with lids. I am always making a huge mess because I don’t have a large enough mixing bowl. Well, now I do. The largest is a 4 qt. bowl. It’s so big it doesn’t fit in my cabinet good…and I love it!
Overall, I was impressed with the ease of ordering, the huge selection of reasonably priced items, and the customer service I received from CSN Stores. I definitely plan on ordering from them in the future.
On to the giveaway!
Up for grabs is a Pyrex Smart 6 Piece Mixing Bowl Set to be shipped directly to you from CSN Stores. Here is the overview from the site:
Pyrex® glassware is a must have for any serious kitchen. Available in an array of functional shapes and sizes, each individual piece can be used for baking, cooking, microwaving, serving, and storage.
Set include:
32 oz. Bowl with Orange Plastic Cover
48 oz. Bowl with Blue Plastic Cover
80 oz. Bowl with Red Plastic Cover
Features:
Pyrex glass is non-porous, so it won’t absorb food odors, food flavors or food stains
Clear glass allows you to watch your food as it cooks
Specifications:
Safe in the oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher
To enter (leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Visit CSN Stores and leave a comment stating which item you’d love as a gift! (1 entry)
2. Follow @jessalexander on Twitter. (1 entry)
3. Post the following as your status in Twitter/Facebook/Myspace. ‘Enter to win a set of Pyrex Mixing Bowls from Life @ 30! http://tinyurl.com/y9frlna Giveaway ends 12pm CST Jan. 9!’ (Be sure to leave a link to your post in your comment!) (1 entry)
4. Subscribe to my blog! (1 entry)
Important notes! This item cannot ship to Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico…sorry for any inconvenience! Giveaway runs from Dec. 23, 2009 – Jan. 9, 2010. I will draw a winner using random.org. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address, otherwise a new winner will be drawn. Good Luck!

Sensa Weight Loss System *REVIEW*

Several weeks ago, I received a 3 month supply of Sensa from the great people over at Rocket XL for me to try and review. I really wanted to give this a fair review, so I’ve been using it for almost 2 months. It took me awhile to get started because I really wanted to read up on it and make sure it was safe and everything. I didn’t really need to lose much weight, just about 10 or so vanity pounds, and I didn’t want to be taking anything risky. Originally I was pretty skeptical about this product because it just seemed too easy. All you have to do is remember to sprinkle the ‘Tastants’ on all your food. Seems simple right? It is. The basic idea behind this weight loss system is that you sprinkle your food with the Tastants, they do something to stimulate your olfactory nerve, and you get full faster…therefore eating less food. You get 2 shakers a month (one to keep at home, and one for your purse or bag for when you eat out) that have 2 sides ~ ‘SWEET’ and ‘SALTY’. The Tastants don’t really taste that much, so you barely notice it at all flavor-wise. You shake the ‘SWEET’ over sweet foods like fruit, cereal, desserts, etc., and ‘SALTY’ over salty foods like meat, veggies, salty snacks, etc.


I started this product test at the heaviest I’d been since I had Grayson…124 lbs. Some of you may be like ‘Oooohhhh 124 lbs…big whoop’ but when you’re barely 5′ tall (if I stretch) it can be a big deal. There were times that I forgot to sprinkle my food, but overall I’ve been fairly consistent at remembering. (There was one week that I was pretty sick and didn’t want to eat anything, but since I needed to eat for strength, I didn’t use it…I think I ended up gaining a pound or two back, but it’s gone again.) After the first week, I noticed I wasn’t eating near as much…I was getting full faster. To me this was huge because I’m the kind that eats every bite because I don’t want to waste food. Even if I feel as though I’m about to burst, I will shove down those last few bites. Not anymore. I’ve began starting out with less even when I’m super hungry. If I’m still hungry after I finish, I’ll go back for more, but that doesn’t happen often. The last time I weighed myself I was 116 lbs. I have lost 8 lbs. and done ZERO exercise. (Not that this is a good thing, it’s just a fact.) I do plan on getting back into the gym soon though. I can only imagine what that number would have been if I had been exercising like I was a few months ago.

Overall, I was pretty impressed that it actually worked like it said it would, and it was very easy to keep up with. The only negatives I could see were that for some reason the ‘SALTY’ Tastants didn’t shake out as well as the ‘SWEET’. (Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning to be fair.) Also, I was a little embarrassed to bust out my shaker when we were eating out. I got several questions and a couple strange looks. Nothing bad enough to keep me from sprinkling away though. Questions are good…word of mouth works!

As a special promotion for my wonderful readers, the people at Sensa & RocketXL would like to extend the following opportunity…Click this link SENSA to get a Trial Kit FREE for 60-days and receive a $25 discount card to www.glow.com. Glow.com is the next generation beauty e-tailer. It’s where shopping, socializing and beauty addictions come together with access to over 170 brands offering the best in skincare, makeup, hair care, bath & body, fragrance and more! You will be responsible for a shipping and handling fee of $4.95. If your choose to take advantage of this free trial offer, you’ll have 30 days to try the product free of charge. If you like it, do nothing, and you will then be billed for 60 day supply. If you do not like it, you can return it within the trial period and not pay anything but shipping. Also, use the promotional code RXL1 for 15% off your total order at Sensa! Be sure to come back and let me know if you tried Sensa & how it worked for you!

Review and Giveaway…Coming Soon!

I have recently been contacted by Ashley with CSN Stores with a great opportunity to review their site and offer a giveaway! I very excitedly accepted. I was originally approached to review their dining room furniture site, DiningRoomsDirect.com, but was told I could choose an item from any of their sites. I excitedly searched through over 200 sites to find the perfect item for review and giveaway. With so many wonderful products to choose from, it actually took me longer than I expected. So, check back soon for a review and great giveaway sponsored by CSN Stores!

UnitedHealthcare Student Insurance *REVIEW*

Recently I was given the opportunity by MomSelect to write a review on UnitedHealthcare StudentResources. UHCSR is a division of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company dedicated to student insurance programs for over 40 years. Because UHCSR focuses on students, they claim to have a better understanding of the unique needs of this age group. UnitedHealthcare StudentResources has earned parent confidence and a national reputation by offering only the finest, HIPAA-compliant student health plans. They offer several plans/supplements including Health Plan, 24-hour (injury only), At-school (injury only), Extended Dental, and Football. The health plan offers protection/coverage for injury AND sickness, 24/7/365, and is available to K12 students ages 5-18 (4-18 in TX). While the K12 Health Plan can provide a level of protection for uninsured children, it is also being purchased by many families who have high deductible employer coverage. If parents have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to meet their employer plan deductible, the K12 Health Plan can reimburse them for their children’s eligible medical expenses while they are working toward meeting their employer plan’s deductible.
Many (Over 2000), but not all public school systems/districts throughout the US participate with UHCSR to offer this plan. From small rural school districts to the largest in the nation such as Los Angeles Unified and Miami/Dade County. UHCSR has challenged national trends by INCREASING benefits while KEEPING the premium at 2008 levels. Designed to be affordable at $588 per policy year or $98 every two months. Parents can enroll their student at any point in the school year.
Personally, we wouldn’t use this insurance because our kids are covered under a state funded plan. I do believe this insurance is offered in our area (after doing some reading on their web site, I seem to remember the photo coming home on an application at the beginning of the year), but when I went to look up ‘Plans and Pricing’ I received the following error message:
I attempted to locate information regarding coverage, copays, prescription coverage, eligibility requirements, etc., but was unsuccessful. There are several different kinds of insurance offered to cater to your needs, but there aren’t really enough details on any to make a decision without directly contacting someone. (There may be more details available to someone who’s school doesn’t generate an error.) From what little information I was able to gather, the ‘Health Plan’ would be the one that we would need. If I remember correctly, over the past year, we have been to the ER twice with 2 different children. The first one has an exaggerated reaction to pain…she tends to pass out and convulse. It looks like a seizure, but after several tests including brain scans, they say it is not seizures. The other trip was an overreaction to poison ivy…poor kid said she didn’t want to go to school because she “looked like a monster”. Also, the 2 kids who made the trip to the ER also suffer from allergies and are on daily medication for that as well.
I really like the fact that they offer a Football plan, which is an additional plan that provides injury only coverage for High School Interscholastic Football. I have been hearing a lot about high school football injuries lately, and I feel that it is very important to take care of our students that participate in sports. Personally, I feel that if a player is injured during practice or a game, the school should cover any needed medical attention, but that’s just my opinion. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and choosing an insurance policy is a very important decision. There should be careful research and total understanding of policy coverage and limitations, so if you have questions about your current coverage or coverage on a policy you are looking into purchasing be sure to ask your agent!
Learning More and Enrolling: Go to https://www.k12studentinsurance.com Click on Plans & Pricing tab and enter school district name (or just a few letters) to find and select the child’s school. Click View Plan Materials to see the plan brochure, and review the Student Health Plan Coverage page regarding Student Injury and Sickness Benefits. When ready to enroll, click the Enroll Now button on the Plans & Pricing tab (or from the Home page). Complete some information about the child, select the Injury and Sickness plan, create an account, and make a payment by credit card or e-check.

Hungry Hungry Hippos *REVIEW*

Grayson had received $10 to purchase something from the store. He was pretty excited about picking out his own surprise.
His lack of understanding about money was expected since he is only 2 1/2. At first he pointed excitedly exclaiming, ‘I want that!’ at every toy $30 . I eventually tired of pointing to the cheaper toys and asking ‘How about this one?’ to his obvious disappointment, so we moved on to the game aisle. His face lit up when he saw Hungry Hungry Hippos by Hasbro. He had seen commercials for this game, and was very excited to see it on the shelf. The original price was $15, but I happened to have a coupon for $4 off, so I was okay with chipping in $1 for him to be able to get it.
We purchased the game with high hopes based on my memories of hours of fun chomping marbles during my childhood…I was quite disappointed after we assembled and began to play. He, having no clue what the original was like, was beyond gleeful.

I’m not positive that my memory is totally correct, but I believe the original was quite a bit bigger, made of thicker/more durable plastic, the marbles were not made of plastic, and the launching and chomping mechanisms worked much smoother. When we played, my hippo kept getting stuck or his head wouldn’t pop up to ‘swallow’ the marble…it would just bump it across into the mouth of my competitor’s hippo.

The plastic marbles are too light and don’t go down into the scoring area as well as the older version, so the marbles occasionally sit in the throat area and then shoot back out into the playing field. We also had an issue with what we thought was a missing marble. It actually had become lodged up in the hippo’s neck where it was very difficult to remove, and I thought I would end up breaking the thing trying to get it dislodged.
We did end up losing a marble a couple days later, and thought we could just use a regular marble…nope. The launch shoot and throat are too narrow to use regular size marbles, so now we have to play with 19 rather than 20.

Overall, my son is very happy with his purchase, but if I had known how poor the performance of this game would be, I would not have purchased it. I’ll be keeping my eye out for an original version at our local thrift store.

Softsoap Nutri Serums *REVIEW*

A few weeks ago, I received samples of Softsoap Nutri Serums Body Nourishing Wash from BzzAgent to try and review. I was very excited to try this body wash. I had purchased some a few months ago that went into my stockpile and I had forgotten about it. When I was chosen to participate in this campaign I remembered about my stockpiled body wash and had to force myself not to raid my stockpile closet and to just wait for my samples to review. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to receive several trial size bottles of both kids to try and share with my friends.

Okay, on to the details! Softsoap Nutri Serums Body Nourishing Wash comes in two varieties. The green kind is Restoring Vitamin E (this helps restore your skin & protect it from UV rays & pollution that damage collagen & elastin – the proteins that help to keep your skin tight), and has a light clean, fresh scent. The pink one is Moisture Retaining Omegas 3 & 6 (this helps preserve your skin’s protective layer, and maintains moisture), and smells kind of tropical…reminds me of a light coconut scent. The body wash is very thick, and feels quite luxurious (even though it is thick, it is not hard to rinse off). I don’t know if the serum pearls make much difference, but I like them. The only real problem I had with the body wash is that it didn’t lather well. I even tried using it with exfoliating gloves, and still wasn’t happy with the lather. My favorite scent was the pink one, but my husband liked the green one better…he said the pink one was a little too feminine. Overall, I like the body wash. It has a pleasant, not over-powering scent, and did leave my skin feeling clean and soft. (The suggested retail price is $3.50 – $4.50 for 15 oz.)
Now on to a little bonus for you!
1. Visit ChatThreads.com, and enter the following Conversation ID: 101 763 632783
2. Answer some questions. (It’s not many.) Then choose either a donation to charity, or the chance to win Amazon.com gift certificates worth $100 to $1000!
(This helps BzzAgent follow word of mouth about this product…and gives you a chance to win a gift certificate…with Christmas coming, who couldn’t use a little extra $$?)

Bounce Dryer Bar *REVIEW*

I received a Bounce Dryer Bar from Viewpoints, have been using it for over a month now, and absolutely love it. It was very easy to install, and has a wonderful scent. It is available in a 2-month bar and a 4-month bar. I received a 2 month bar, and it seems to be lasting longer than expected. With 4 kids, we do A LOT of laundry…but, it looks as though the bar is going to exceed the 2 month mark easily. Installation was simple…clean a spot inside the dryer between the fins, remove the backing from the adhesive, press firmly onto your ‘cleaned spot’ for 15 seconds…and ‘Ta-da!’ 2 months of soft, fresh smelling laundry.

Aside from having a choice between a 2-month bar, and a 4-month bar, there are also 2 available scents…Outdoor Fresh and Fresh Line. Both of these smell wonderful, but I think my favorite is the Outdoor Fresh. I like a strong, long lasting scent, and this bar delivers way better than dryer sheets. The only thing I can see that it doesn’t out-perform dryer sheets on is preventing static cling. I’ve recently busted out some fleece blankets, and a couple sweaters in preparation for colder days and evenings, and after washing/drying using the Bounce Dryer Bar, there was significant static cling. Considering the fact that I do so much laundry, this issue is not really a deal breaker for me. I like that I don’t have to put in fabric softener or dryer sheets…plus the fact that I am not disposing of dryer sheets makes me feel a little more ‘Earth friendly’. (These are available at Wal-mart, and online at drugstore.com. I don’t recall seeing them at Walgreen’s, but I haven’t really looked that hard either.)

Bottom line, I would recommend these to anyone who does any amount of laundry. The Bounce Dryer Bar is a good value (especially if you can find coupons), it performs up to and exceeds expectations on fabric softening and scent, and is a time saver. A minimal time saver, but one none-the-less. I think it is a great innovation in laundry, and hope they are able to ramp up the static prevention part to where it works like it should.

Michael Buble CD *REVIEW*

I was pretty excited to be chosen by One2One Network to receive an advanced copy of Michael Buble’s *NEW* CD “Crazy Love”. I made the mistake of not checking the mail until I came home from picking my girls up from school. When they saw I received a CD in the mail, it was immediately confiscated. They listened to it the entire evening until bedtime. The older 2 (ages 7 & 9) really liked it…my youngest daughter (age 6) was indifferent. She said she liked it, but didn’t seem overly enthused. After listening to it myself, I think she’s crazy. Maybe it’s because she’s 6, but I agree with my older girls…it is fantastic. Michael Buble’s voice is soothing and charming. His songs have that ‘feel good’ factor. You just can’t help but tap your foot or groove along.

On the Today show, he stated that he was influenced by and always admired Harry Connick, Jr. I thought that was pretty cool since I had recently reviewed Harry Connick, Jr’s new CD as well. Their styles are quite similar, but Michael Buble has a little something extra…I’m not quite sure what that is, but I like it. While doing a little research on this fabulous artist, I discovered he has a Christmas CD. I love Christmas music, and am sure I will be adding his CD to my iTunes library. His website (you can get there by using the widget below) has too many features to mention. One that out of curiosity I just had to click on was ‘The Daily Buble’. It shows articles written about Michael Buble, youtube.com clips of some TV appearances, upcoming appearances, etc.

Speaking of TV appearances, he will be on Rachel Ray October 28th! Get your DVR’s ready! Bottom line, Michael Buble’s newest CD ‘Crazy Love’ appeals to all ages, and in my opinion is a wonderful CD. Huge thanks to One2One Network for hooking me up!

Album Tracklisting:
1. Cry Me A River
2. All Of Me
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. Crazy Love
5. Haven’t Met You Yet
6. All I Do Is Dream Of You
7. Hold On
8. Heartache Tonight
9. You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
10. Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)
11. At This Moment
12. Stardust
13. Whatever It Takes (bonus track)

Joshua Bell ‘At Home With Friends’ CD *REVIEW*

This CD was sent to me by One2One Network to review. ‘At Home With Friends’ is Joshua Bell’s 21st CD.

Honestly, I tried very hard to give this CD a fair listen. I think when I signed up for this product review, I thought the artist was someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all types of music, but since I was expecting something else, it was a little harder for me to review this one. When I first popped the CD in I was skeptical, but I did enjoy it. The music on ‘At Home With Friends’ reminds me of something you would enjoy while dining in a fancy restaurant. Joshua Bell is amazingly talented, and the musical arrangements are beautiful. He was on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien a few weeks ago…in case you missed it, check out the video below. (You’ll need to skip to the last marker to see Joshua Bell’s performance…I believe the video is of the entire show.)

This CD jacket says “At Home With Friends is inspired by Joshua Bell’s fondness for hosting informal musicales in his Manhattan home. Join Joshua as he celebrates the many musical friendships he has made over the years – a diverse group of artists sharing their love of music in an intimate setting.” That statement is 100% spot on. The variety of artists is quite remarkable…Sting, Josh Groban, and Regina Spektor are the names that I recognized. The fact that he doesn’t fit into a specific genre was quite interesting to me. As of today, ‘At Home With Friends’ has been on the Billboard Classical Charts for 2 weeks, and has been #1 for both weeks. Bottom line, I like this CD, and quite enjoyed the variety of artists featured. I would recommend it for anyone who likes classical music. Check out the Joshua Bell widget below to visit his website and check out all the features.

Album Tracklisting (Originally performed by):
I Loves You Porgy featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira
featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I’ll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano
Left Hand featuring Regina Spektor, vocals