Saturday, February 25, 2012

Upcoming Prize Giveaways at My Real Life Reviews!

Starting in March, there will be monthly prize giveaways here at My Real Life Reviews!

Some of the companies I have worked with in the past year (and hopefully more from this coming year too) have graciously offered to supply prizes for the upcoming giveaways.

Stop by the first week in March to see what the prize is for the month and enter to win!

I love freebies and prizes! And I am so happy to be able to start hosting a monthly contest at My Real Life Reviews to share some wonderful product goodies with my readers!

Stay tuned and do share this contest information at your own blogs/sites if you can!

Good luck and Have a Wonderful Week, G :<)

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lion Brand Yarn company vs Knitting Warehouse

As I blogged about recently here and here; I've been on a bit of a knitting binge lately and lovin' it!

As we have no LYS (local yarn store) in our oh so small city; I usually order yarn online when I need some.

I've ordered from the  Lion Brand Yarn company several times in the past few years and planned to do so this time. The yarns I required were all Lion Brand. Well, I did place the items I wanted in a shopping cart at the Lion Brand site. But when it came time to check-out, I was shocked to see what my order ended up costing!

I then went over to Goggle and did a search for Jiffy Yarn. I found a link to the  Knitting Warehouse site  and was pleasantly surprised by their much lower prices and yes, they did ship to Canada too. Several yarn sites based in the U.S. do not offer this service.

Please see the two comparison orders at the end of this review.

Wowsa, that's some difference in total price!

And even more surprising was the fact that this was Lion Brand yarn I was ordering! Is it not usually the case that the company that makes a particular product is also the company that can sell it at the best possible price? I always thought so but not this time.

Lion Brand Yarn also annoyed me (big time) by not allowing me to request/receive one of their catalogues with my order, due to the fact that I live in Canada!

Come on...I'm placing a sizable order with a company and they can't even throw in one of their catalogues? No extra postage required. Just a good way to tick-off this potential customer.
And a customer who went elsewhere and probably won't order from them again.

Knitting Warehouse provided a order notification immediately after placing my order, via email. They also let me know when the order shipped, which was prompt too.
They also provide excellent prices on many other brand name yarns, tools, books. A very good selection of free patterns too.

The only complaint I did have with Knitting Warehouse was the fact that the tracking number link they supplied for my order, did not work when I clicked it. I then emailed their customer service department and they replied saying the link hadn't worked for them either (words to that effect) and that I should phone DHL to follow up on my order.

I thought they should have been the ones to "follow-up" not me. After that, I did visit the DHL site and finally found the correct page for DHL Global Mail to track my order; which arrived a few days after that.

I won't be ordering from the Lion Brand Yarn again, any time soon. I still like browsing their selection of free patterns but I was NOT impressed by this recent experience with their company.

I WILL be ordering from Knitting Warehouse again and probably many times in the future.

It really does pay to do your homework when it comes to buying online and at retail stores too. And don't assume that a company brand  name item is being offered by that company, at the best possible price. As was the case with this order, it isn't always the reality.

My actual order with Knitting Warehouse:
Items:QtyEach PriceLine Total
Retail Subtotal41.78
(Via DHL)Shipping9.75

Additional info. re: Knitting Warehouse order: I was not charged any additional charges for duty. The cutter is a bit different but I liked it better than the one from Lion Brand.

The same items IF I had ordered from Lion Brand Yarn:

Items:QtyEach PriceLine Total
Retail Subtotal62.39
(Via DHL)Shipping28.58
Duty and Tax11.23 

Overall rating for Lion Brand Yarn: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5.
Overall rating for Knitting Warehouse: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Conair Infiniti Model CS54C Hair Curler/Straightener

A few months ago, I ordered the Conair Infiniti Model CS54C (hair curler/straightener tool) using up some of my oh so slowly earned AirMiles in the process. With my recent hair "snips" I thought this would be a helpful tool in keeping my hair styled, quickly and efficiently.

When the package arrived here, I took the time to read over the instruction booklet and check out proper usage suggestions for this product. I know a lot of people don't bother with instructions, safety guides etc, but I think it's a good idea, always.

What I was really surprised by was the large tag, attached directly to the cord of this product which read in big bold text:


That one stopped me in my tracks.

 Yes, I could understand a caution about being careful when using any kind of hair care appliance that involves heat. Of course they can cause burns if not used properly.


I decided to go to the source and contacted Conair directly.
Here's the email correspondence:

My initial inquiry:

"I recently ordered this item from AirMiles and when I received it I noted that it is NOT FOR HOUSEHOLD USE. I'm assuming its due to the electrical source x28;as in a salonx29; that is recommended for use. I am returning this to AirMiles, after they agreed to accept it as a return. Im wondering why this product is being offered on their site as a reward if its not safe for household use? I read the label but I know a lot of people who wouldnt bother. This looks like a lawsuit just waiting to happen, if there is an injury due to this product. Please let me know.

Reply from Conair:

Subject: Re: Product inquiry from

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your email inquiry and for your support. Hair Straightener in order to be overall effective has to operate at a Salon high temperature. To achieve this the product must have a commercial rating and bearing the statement, based on the CSA Standard. The product is perfectly safe to use at home. Like any electrical appliance please review and follow the instructions that come with the product before initial use.

Best Regards,
My reply to their email:

If it is perfectly safe for household use it should not be marked NOT FOR HOUSEHOLD USE. You are contradicting your safety warnings. If it's not a safety hazard, then why have this warning on the cord sticker?
Well, I still wasn't convinced this was a product I wanted to use at home, with a normal electrical household current as a power source so I contacted AirMiles  (they are still offering this product as a reward btw) who did return the AirMiles I had used to buy this item and apologized for my inconvenience. A big waste of time for me and still no curling iron to use.

My question: If we have to start second-guessing safety warnings on tags, in instructions etc, then what are they good for? If this curling iron is safe for household use, why does it have a tag saying exactly the opposite, attached to the cord?
I think this is a very poor policy on the part of this company. I would be wary of buying anything else from Conair in the future, based on this experience. I want to feel confident when I am using any kind of appliance that it is safe and obviously for household use too!
As I didn't actually use this product, I can't say whether it worked well or not. At least I'm not out of pocket any cash or AirMiles, just my time. It was an eye-opener though.

As for this curling iron, I guess it's headed for the recycling bin!
Overall rating for this company/product: BAD. 0 out of 5.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jiffy Yarn from Lion Brand Yarns


I've been on a knitting binge lately, after a long hiatus from the craft. I have 3 projects on the go right now: My first Fair Isle project (a cardigan), a patchwork throw and a cable headband. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed knitting and how relaxing and de-stressing it can be.

It's good to be clicking again! :<)

I have also been trying to transition away from animal fibers like wool and silk due to the cruelty aspect of some production of these types of yarns. I recently went on a search to find a substitute for the mohair-wool blend, chunky weight yarn suggested for this cardigan I'm making (click to read more about this fun pattern) and found Jiffy Yarn from Lion Brand Yarns.  It sounded like a good option and I liked the extensive color choices that were available.

Well, it's been great! I've never been a real fan of any synthetic yarns but Jiffy is changing my mind about how they can look and how nice they can be to work with. This is one viable option if you are looking for a yarn with the look and feel of wool but without any guilt attached. And a much lower price point too.

Jiffy Yarn is currently on sale at Knitting Warehouse for only $ 2.89 for a 3 oz. ball. The yardage is great too. Solid shades: 135 yards. Multi-colors: 115 yards.

This yarn has the look of mohair. It is soft and smooth and has a nice sheen. And no problems with splitting that can happen with wool fibers.

I love the colors I got for my cardigan. The (flash) photos don't do them justice:


The main color is Dusty Pink and it's a gorgeous dusty rose shade that blends perfectly with the accent greens and pale pink in the pattern work section of this sweater.

The yarn costs for the complete project was just over $25 plus tax and shipping from Knitting Warehouse! The same cardigan made in a comparable wool yarn would have cost at least $ 50. or more. And I am really happy with how the cardigan looks so far. I've got 2 sleeves completed and am now working on the body of the sweater.

Speaking of Knitting Warehouse, I will be writing more about this company in the future here. Suffice to say, I was impressed by the very good prices they offer on many brands of popular yarns in addition to offering a full range of yarn-crafting supplies and resources.

Jiffy Yarn comes in a very good range of colors. Check out all the choices at Knitting Warehouse. I plan to make another one of these cardigans in winter colors too.
Fair Isle can be addictive! LOL. ;<)

If you have been looking for a good alternative to mohair-type (chunky weight) wool yarns  Jiffy Yarn is definitely one to try.  

Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Now Senior & Weight Management Cat Formula

Mr. Cheddar here....

As they say in Vegas, I hit the JACKPOT big time recently. The kibble jackpot that is!

 In case you missed all the exciting and yummy details about this recent win, you can read about it here.Suffice to meow, I was one happy dude. You can tell by that glazed look above, can't ya???

There was only one surprise in the bunch that I was not expecting.

 Lo and behold, a bag of the dreaded SENIOR/WEIGHT-MANAGEMENT type of kibs was part of the mix! Of course, I immediately planned to throw THAT particular bag out and fast. But wouldn't you know it, Meowmie managed to stopped me, just in the flick of the tail time! She mumbled something about taking care of it herself so I left it at that. After all, I don't make a habit of doing menial tasks like taking out the trash! Far from it.

Well, it turns out that the humans were smarter than I thought, this time. Much, much smarter!

 Did this bag of kibble actually land in the trash? Or was it perhaps given to some geriatric fat-cat in need?

Nooooo....this kibble ended up being part of the menu here!
And ultimately, ended up inside the Cheddar-barrel tummy!!!

How did this miscarriage of cat-justice happen, you ask? Well, as I don't actually pour my own kibble each day, I'm not always aware of what is being served at din-din time. I leave that to the humans. After all, what do they really have to do with all that time on their hands? Don't answer that if your human is reading this right now but... snort, we felines know!!!

The evidence that I had actually eaten this bag of Now Senior & Weight Management Cat Formula was made abundantly clear when I noted the EMPTY bag in the recycle bin.

Alas and alack...I had been slickered!!! And not slicker-brushed either.

And now for the real surprise in all this. This cat food tasted oh so yummy! :<)

All my precatceived ideas about what a weight-management dry cat food would taste like got chucked faster than a furball! I mean this stuff isn't just good, it's greeeeeeattttt!

Of course, we all know that I am NOT overweight. And of course, I am only on the outer cusp of being considered a senior cat at 8. And even that number is debatable as my birth certificate got lost somewhere along the way. So this is of course only a guessitimate made as usual by the imperfect and oh so often incorrect humans who call the shots, more often than not.

 In reality, I am probably only about 4!!! So young and youthful looking am I. Do you not agree? Look at that firm jawline in the photo above. I know Meowmie is oh sooooo jealous!!! Snort. Oops, digressing...

But for those cats and humans they live with out there who are of a certain age and/or might have a bit of a bag-belly problem to work on, I can highly recommend Now Senior & Weight Management Cat Formula. Full of yummy turkey, veggies, oh even clever. But it's a long list so here's the scoop from the people who actually make it.

Ingredient list for your perusal from the Petcurean Website:

De-boned turkey, potato flour, peas, pea fibre, whole dried egg, potatoes, tomato, flaxseed, apples, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), alfalfa, de-boned salmon, de-boned duck, natural flavour, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), lecithin, carrots, pumpkin, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, papayas, pineapple, grapefruit, lentil beans, broccoli, spinach, cottage cheese, alfalfa sprouts, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), niacin, inositol, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, beta-carotene, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate , ferrous sulphate, zinc oxide, iron proteinate, copper sulphate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), dried kelp, L-lysine, dried chicory root, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, yucca schidigera extract, yeast extract, L-carnitine, marigold, dried rosemary.

There's also a whole lot of other info. over at their website about all their products and how to choose the best for your own particular needs. Get your human to check it out and DO have them write down your final choices. They are so easily distracted at times! Sigh...

I give this cat food (after getting over my initial shock that it was a senior/weight-management formula!) the Cheddar Paw's UP!!! It's A-OK, I just don't like the name of it. And now, I'm off for another nosh!

And Meowmie's rating (yeah, like she actually tried it, snort):

Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Erzulie Clarifying Liquid Mineral Foundation


I've been searching for a good natural liquid foundation for quite some time. I recently tried Erzulie Clarifying Liquid Mineral Foundation (warm light shade) and I am very pleased with this product.

I only wear liquid foundation in the winter time, to off-set some of the effects of drier air, colder temperatures and "winter white" skin LOL. When I do, I don't want to use a product that feels cakey or heavy. Or worse, one that dries out my skin.

Erzulie Clarifying Liquid Mineral Foundation has:

-A very pleasant texture.
-Goes on smoothly and dries quickly to a slightly-matte finish.
-Moisturizing, vegan formula.

-No shine, greasy feeling or heavy scents here!

-Coverage: leaves a sheer finish with just enough coverage to even out skin tones.

I have very fair skin and the Warm Light shade is just right for my skin tone. Unlike some other "warm" shades of makeup I've tried in the past, this foundation has no bronzy or orangey look. Just a nice, fresh color that blends perfectly with my skin.

I was amazed how much better my skin looked after trying this product for the first time!

I've used some "high end" foundations over the years, some of them selling for $40...or more for a small bottle of product. And most with very questionable ingredient lists too.

At $12 (on sale right now) for a one ounce pump bottle; Erzulie Clarifying Liquid Mineral Foundation is a real bargain, in every sense of the word. And yes, sample sizes of all of the foundation colors are also available so it's easy to try before you buy a full-sized product. I like that a lot too!

I previously reviewed the Erzulie Eye Depuffer Balm, which I also love. Looks like I've found another "keeper" from this company.

The only way this product could get any better would be to have organic ingredients included in the formula. Hopefully, that will be something available in the future. Still a much better choice right now, than any other "natural" foundation products that I have checked out, with other companies. And at a very good price too!


"This flawless finish formula has a light feel and soft matte finish(nothing greasy or heavy about it!). It evens out your complexion with superb coverage.It perfectly matches most skin tones.

All Natural and good for your skin, moisturizing without being greasy and blends perfectly!
You don't really need anything but blush with this formula.
Great for mature skin. Doesn't look like a mask over your skin. Enhances the beauty of your skin! Clarifies and keeps skin clear.LIGHT SPF 20 ACNE SAFE!! Non-Comedogenic. Vegan formula."

Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.
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