Monday, April 22, 2013

BzzAgent Campaign: Kroger Foods, a Family Easter Meal.

I was happy to be selected for the Kroger Spring Dinners Campaign. We tried tenderloin, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and white cake with vanilla icing, all of these were Kroger branding foods. I received the Kroger dinners as part of a bzzagent campaign for review, these are my opinions. I was not compensated for my trial. I did receive these Kroger meals with a coupon voucher. I prepared an Easter lunch for my toddler and my husband after church. I cooked the tenderloin with a marinade of various spices, apple cider vinegar, and broth. I cooked the Kroger brand mashed potatoes as the side dish. I chose the mashed potatoes over the mac and cheese because the Kroger's near us did not have the macaroni and cheese dish. I formed the Kroger brand crescent dough into bunny shaped rolls,each with very large, floppy ears and cute noses (for Easter lunch). We selected the lower fat option of the crescent roll can and could not believe how tasty it was. We agreed it tasted as good or better than the mainstream brand of crescent rolls. We were happy we got the low fat option. (Since we all ate 2-3 bunny rolls each!) For dessert, I made a Kroger brand vanilla white recipe cake with vanilla icing. How did it all turn out? What did we think? The mashed potatoes were a bit thinner than we would have preferred, but we liked the flavor. We normally make our own homemade mashed potatoes with a thicker, more heartier style. We use milk, butter and salt and mash by hand when we make our own. We also enjoyed green beans and buttered sweet baby carrots with our meal, these were purchased by us from Kroger, but not their label branding. My husband complemented on how flavorful and tender the tenderloin was and how he was so happy to get to try this out. My husband and I were both amazed at how nice the tenderloin tasted. It was so moist and flavorful, and easy to prepare. We both enjoyed the crescent rolls (we had the low fat ones, and could not tell a difference in taste from full fat ones). My toddler loves bread and ate 2 crescent rolls---I! (not the healthiest thing, we know). My husband and I enjoyed these rolls and have since purchased these a few times. The Kroger brand cake was not a favorite to my husband or I, as we normally buy the kind with pudding in the mix. The other name brand cake mixes that advertise "Pudding in the mix" on the boxes, are more moist, have more selcetions for flavors, and are only between .50 and $1.00 more in price. These other brands seem to taste better and are more moist. We ended up throwing the icing away after using a few spoonfuls. It was labelled as vanilla, but tasted like a bland white icing with very little vanilla flavor. We will purchase the tenderloin and the crescent rolls in the future. We will pass on getting the cake mix, icing, and mashed potatoes. I received the Kroger dinners as part of a bzzagent campaign for review, these are my opinions. I was not compensated for my trial. I did receive these Kroger meals with a coupon voucher.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Olia Oil powered hair color, 3.0 darkest brown, bzzagent review

I was happy to get one box free of hair color, and be part of the BzzAgent Garnier Olia campaign. I color my natural dark brown, almost black hair every month as I have had premature greys since my twenties. (I am thirty now). It was getting about that time to color my hair, as I saw a few sprigs of greys arriving. (YUCK).

I tested this color in 3.0, which is darkest brown as my hair looks almost black in some lighting. I used a coupon for a free box and then purchased a second that same day at Walgreens for $9.99. It was easy to find these in the aisle. Here is what Garnier Olia claims and how they describe their product:

    First oil-powered permanent home hair color
    No ammonia
    60% oil blend with natural flower oils
    100% gray coverage
    Maximum color performance
    Visibly improves and restores hair
    Pleasant floral fragrance
    In 24 different shades

First Look: I really am quite fond of the pretty packaging. The yellow flower on the black background is a nice touch and looks classy. The gloves inside were black and they did fit me fine but were a tight fit. They may not fit larger hands or a man. (Men do color their hair too). The gloves felt a bit cheap, but most at home hair colors are that way. The black gloves did make it seem nicer.

Words of wisdom: If your hair is past your shoulders, I do recommend two boxes, or you will not have enough for your entire hair. Luckily used the free coupon and purchased the second box the same day, and was able prevent any disasters of running out. Ok, back to the review...

The applicator bottle looks fancy and fun, however is not easy to hold at all. The shape makes it near impossible to hold with gloves and while applying the color. The first box of color I used the applicator as directed. I found the color dripping out of the tip and some would slide down the side of the bottle and cause it to be slippery. This brings me to the cons. This design of the bottle is a big con for me.

Cons: The bottle was very awkward to hold and difficult to use. I dropped it a few times, into the sink, and the formula of the colorant is hard to remove from the sink.  Our old, dated wooden grain faucet handles (circa early 90's---eww tacky, but it came with the house) are now stained permanently with black hair color.

The second box of hair color, I used with the lid off and after mixing, applied to my hair with a haircolor applicator brush that I happened to already have on hand from other time I colored my hair. (wow that is a long run on sentence, lol).

Fragrance and Oil technology: Oil powered, conditioning the hair. Garnier says this oil propels into the hair allowing the colorant to promote vivid, long lasting color. The fragrance was the best part of this hair color. It smelled less like chemicals, and more like a fragrant hair oil treatment. The mixture was not as thick as I hoped it would be. I am used to using John Frieda foam, and the thick foamy, non drip application. The olia once mixed, stayed an off white color, and looked like thin watery mayonnaise. I was a bit disappointed in the thickness.

I use many oils in my own hair and beauty routine, so I am already a promoter of oils and their benefits. I use a variety of oil mixtures in my hair even before learning about Olia Hair color: avocado oil, almond oil, apricot kernal oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and essential oils such as tea tree, rosmary and lavender. I am not sure what oil types are in Olia.

The coloring process: I left the coloring on for the directed time and rinse my hair. It took a lot of rinses to get this out. I made sure to rinse well since I colored right before bed and did not want to ruin our white pillow cases.

Afterward: My hair felt a bit parched afterward (I was not not happy) and was not the easiest to comb out. I went to bed with an old towel on my pillowcase and the next day my hair still was a bit dry in texture, and my heart sank. I wash my hair every 2 days so wanted to wait before washing to find out how it felt.

I waited another day and used my boar bristle brush and used the tiniest dab of almond oil on my ends. After a good brushing my hair was less damaged and parched then it was the night I colored.

Did this change my life? Is my hair healthier and quenched? I am not sure this made my hair healthier afterward, but it may actually be less damaging than the majority of other hair color formulas. I am happy that this does not use ammonia. Is there good news about this hair color? Well, for a person who colors every month, (like me) this is probably a good option since it adds some type of oils into the hair and is ammonia free. I do wish this was a foam, as I have better luck with foams.

If they could find a way to make this an oil powered foam color, and use a pump applicator like the Frieda, I would buy this again. The smell is lovely and the packaging is cute. I am fond of Sunflowers, and I do love Michael Jackson (his favorite flower: sunflower--lol random fact for you)

The biggest con, is the applicator and how messy it is. The second con is how I need to use 2 boxes. John Frieda foam is so far the ONLY color I have had success with only one box with my long thick hair. I have tried almost every hair color brand on the market, and with all I need two boxes.

I enjoyed reviewing this product. These thoughts are all my own.