BzzAgent Review: OXO Candela

2 Sep

Presenting what is probably the coolest thing that BzzAgent has sent me: OXO Candela. Full disclosure: I received this item for free from OXO/BzzAgent so that I could use it and share my honest opinion. I had, however, lusted after these for quite some time, so I was thrilled to be part of the campaign.

OXO Candela

two-pack of OXO candelas; image c/o amazon.com

I’m a big fan of OXO products in general, although they tend to be much pricier than their competitors. But, they’re always so functional and beautifully designed that I can’t help but want to shell out $25 for a large container. It’s crazy, I know, but worth it!

The Candela is a neat concept. It’s an LED lantern that gives off a soft glow that is about the equivalent of a votive candle, without the “danger” or mess. They are rechargeable and come with a stand for charging. The battery and LED light can be easily replaced, and they have a nice aesthetic. Clean lines, nice glow, and they just work. They are easy to grab and are wonderful to have on your deck on a warm summer evening.

The only real problem with these are 1) they are expensive (about $45 for the two pictured above), and 2) they don’t give off much light, so a large grouping would be more beneficial and look stunning. The problem presented by number 2 is compounded by the price problem. OXO sells a set of 8 for $130, and honestly, if I had the money I’d probably buy it like the pathetic consumer that I am. These things are just so modern and cool. However, they are probably pretty low on the list of things that I need to spend $100 on right now.

My mother was enamored with these when we had a barbeque tonight. I think these would be a big hit for anyone entertaining, and would make a unique gift. The price, however, will probably discourage people from picking them up. It’s a bit of an investment! I’m hoping I can find more at HomeGoods…

Overall? Another great product (if not a tad overpriced) by OXO!

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Organize Your Online Presence: about.me

17 May

I was pretty surprised by the most recent Bzz Campaign, about.me. I wasn’t expecting much; I mean, really, what more can be added to the online profile experience? Enter about.me, a virtual splash page that allows you to post a brief bio and links to all of your important profiles and websites. For those who use the internet as a way to market and network, about.me is really brilliant. It’s free and really easy to create a splash page. All you need is a high-rez image of you, and you can make one that looks truly splendid.

about.me sample profile

about.me featured profile

This site is perfect for giving one simple address (about.me/yourname) to connect the world to your entire online presence. It certainly helps shorten a lengthy email signature!

BzzAgent Review: Maybelline SuperStay 24 2-Step Lipcolor

10 Mar

Full disclosure: I was provided with free samples of this product via BzzAgent. That said, on with the review.

The skinny: I think that for a longwear lip color, Maybelline SuperStay is probably a really great product. I have not tried many longwear lip colors, but it does seem to have less flaking and caking than other brands. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. If you’re into the longwear thing, this is a brand worth trying. I’m still not convinced that it’s my thing.

Read on for the details:

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BzzAgent Review: StyleFind

7 Mar

There are a lot of things to love about StyleFind. It takes what is really useful and enjoyable about magazines and updates it for the modern age. And, unlike the webpages for many magazines, the website is easy to navigate and doesn’t take forever to load.

So, down to the details:

StyleFind, as I mentioned, is like an online magazine. It has editorial pages with treasures at a variety of price points, including fashion, accessories, and beauty products. If something catches your eye, you can click on it for more information. There is a TON of stuff on here, divided up into easy-to-browse sections. Definitely great for a shopping fix without the pain of dealing with other people at the mall. With everything in one place, and a section to mark your favorite finds, this is an excellent website.

The best part, however, is the deals. I have yet to work out the details, but it seems that there is a different deal for every day (50% off right now!), and you can see them a week at a time. This is an excellent perk. There are a number of items listed that are on sale, and StyleFind also has coupons available for members to use at retailers.

This kind of website is particularly perfect for someone like me, who enjoys fashion but doesn’t really have the time or energy to keep up with it. I like browsing this kind of thing on occasion, and it makes for a simple, user-friendly, and enjoyable experience. Also good for gift ideas! Check it out.

BeeKeeper’s Gold

20 Feb

The daughter of an amateur beekeeper, I tend to gravitate toward products that reference bees. It’s a quirk. Thus, last time I was at Williams Sonoma, a store I only wish I could afford to shop at regularly, I picked up a 7 oz. container of BeeKeeper’s Gold, a “Natural Beeswax and Mineral Oil Blend Salad Bowl and Wood Preserver.”¬†As I completely loathe the messiness of mineral oil (and thus avoid using my beautiful wood cutting boards), this solid balm-like product seemed promising. Being one of the few items sold at Williams Sonoma that doesn’t seem crazy to buy on my budget, I picked up a tin.

This is a really great product. Unlike liquid oils, it doesn’t require you to let the wood absorb the messy product for some time before wiping. It’s incredibly easy to use, much more efficient than liquid oil, and leaves a nice finish that can be handled immediately. It also makes light nicks on treated wood like cabinets or molding nearly disappear. With a light, woodsy scent, this product is a snap to use and motivates me to properly care for my wooden cutting boards and kitchen utensils (one of my most hated chores).

It’s not on the Williams Sonoma website, but you can order some online at Sur La Table here.

Local: Eastside Bike Shop

19 Feb

Here in Michigan, the weather has been uncharacteristically warm for mid-February. I like to think that this is our reward for surviving such a bleak, intense winter. It’s swinging back down to the mid-20’s and 30’s, but this is a welcome change after several weeks of deep snow and thick ice.

I may not be as bold as those who don shorts the moment the thermostat hits 50, but I have been feeling like spending more time outside. Purchasing a vintage bike has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, since my current Huffy mountain bike (very chic) was purchased when I was still in elementary school and isn’t very practical for light suburban commuting. I made a trip over to Eastside Bike Shop on Van Dyke in Center Line.

Eastside Bike Shop

Eastside Bike Shop

Eastside Bike Shop, founded in 1982, is owned by a really nice, dedicated man and is well-stocked with new bikes, vintage bikes, and bike¬†accessories. I suspect that we were beating the spring bike rush, as there was a very large selection of vintage 3-5 speed Schwinn cruisers, which is exactly what I was hoping to find. Even better, I was able to get my hands on a women’s bike that was tall enough for me to ride without hunching over to reach the handlebars.

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Easy Decor: Dictionary Prints

19 Feb

Whose wallet hasn’t been under some stress these days? With the staggering costs of law school and my impending bar exam, some days it seems like I open my purse and cartoon moths fly out. Regardless, I try my best to balance a responsible budget (operative word: “try”) and a comfortable lifestyle.

I can’t always afford to buy the beautiful art that I see in galleries and at art shows, but there a lots of little gems out there if you know where to look. One place for finding great, affordable art and home decor is Etsy, the “Amazon” of homemade and vintage wares. One trend that has made its way into my home is Dictionary Prints:

Dictionary Print

Antique Black Octopus by Black Baroque

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Recipe Test Drive: Baked Kale Chips

10 Feb

I have been enamored with kale chips since discovering an insanely flavorful and delicious version of the same sold by Living Zen Organics, an organic, vegan grocery run by a Buddhist center in Hamtramck, Michigan. (Their products, I think, will deserve a blog post of their own one day.) Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at kale chips for Thursday night comedy night on NBC.

Fresh Kale

Doesn't this just look beautiful? (Do you see yesterday's review in the background?)

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Metromint Water

9 Feb

Ever since kicking the soda habit (with relatively infrequent relapses!), I have been on a steady hunt for satisfying, lightly-flavored beverages that lack added chemicals, sugar, or artificial sweetener. I might be imagining it, but substitutes for garbage food that are actually pretty healthy (and not just labeled as such) seem to be emerging with increasing frequency. This works perfectly for me, as I am far too lazy to actualize my honorable health goals when I have to go searching too far to find something fast and satisfying.

Enter Metromint, a water that sounds both completely bizarre and intriguing:

Metromint Water

Strangely satisfying. No, really.

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