Reviews of lots of very cool products!

Archive for January, 2016

Silk Pillowcase Floral and Butterfly Print by Ibrafashion

Get this great product here: Silk Pillowcase Floral and Butterfly Print by Ibrafashion

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My daughter decided last year to start growing her hair out (from a boyish cut), and as it’s gotten longer, the tangles have gotten terrible!  Her thick, fine hair tangles and matts, especially in the back of her head when she gets up in the morning.  A friend of mine recommended that we try silk pillowcases to help reduce the overnight friction that leads to the tangles.  I happened to have one in plain white and was amazed after the first night what a difference there was to her hair.  Of course no 7 year old is really excited about a solid white pillowcase, so I came onto Amazon and was really excited when I saw the beautiful range of prints from Ibrafashion.  It wasn’t easy to choose which one to order, but I really liked this one because it had both butterflies and flowers.

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My daughter was so excited when I opened up the pillowcase and showed it to her!  The colors are extremely vibrant and the silk material feels wonderfully smooth.  The stitching around the edges of the pillowcase seems quite sturdy and good quality and in fact I like the design detail that there is a second line of stitching about an inch in from the edge.  This gives a distinctive border to the pillow that gives an extra classy touch and makes it look really nice on my daughter’s bed.  Most importantly, the silk material, like our other pillowcase, really helps to cut down on her tangles, which is huge for both of us!

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I’m very glad that I was able to order this at a promotional discount in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

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Rockstix 2 Neon Color Changing Light-up Drumsticks

Get this great product here: Rockstix 2 Neon Color Changing Light-up Drumsticks

My daughter has been taking drum lessons for almost a year now and absolutely loves it, so I was looking around for some fun drum-related items for the holidays when I came across these RockStix 2 HD light up color changing drumsticks.  I knew these would be perfect for her – indeed, my daughter’s eyes lit up when she opened them and I explained how they worked.  The drumsticks themselves couldn’t be easier to use – they are a clear lucite type plastic and at the bottom of each is a battery compartment with button cell style batteries.  There appears to be a wire swirls around the whole length of each stick, which is what makes all the “magic” happen.  

These drumsticks are just so cool!  When they make contact with a solid surface, the wire lights up, and with each stroke the color of that light changes!  Because the sticks are clear plastic, this light illuminates the entire stick – it really appears like they are glowing.  They look amazing in a darkened room while my daughter is practicing on her drum set or drum pad and they will be so much fun when she has a performance to use them at as well.  Especially if the room is dark enough and the sticks are moving quickly, you can see colored light trails in the air, following the up and down motions of the drumsticks.  The sticks seem to be quite sturdy and I hope will last for a long time.
I’m very glad that I was able to receive this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier by Hometek

Get this great product here: Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier by Hometek

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During the winters here in the Northeast, the frigid air gets so dry that I find that our whole family has trouble breathing and keeping their skin from chapping, but using a humidifier at night helps make this so much better.  I was looking around for a new humidifier when I came across this Hometek product and I was really intrigued by the design.  The clear pink plastic is really quite pretty, and a totally different look than other humidifiers I’ve used in the past.  While I was concerned that the 2.2 L tank might not have enough water to keep going through the whole night, it turns out my fears were totally unfounded – it goes all night long and is still producing a nice steady stream of cool water mist in the morning!  I’m finding that I actually really like having a smaller humidifier (as compared to some big name brand ones I’ve used previously).  This is small enough that I can put it up on my nightstand, rather than cluttering up the floor next to the bed, and having to refill it every day or two helps make sure that the water isn’t getting stagnant and kind of forces me to rinse it out a bit, so that dirt and such doesn’t build up like it can in larger capacity versions. 

Probably the best thing about the Hometek humidifier, though, is how totally whisper quiet it is!  My husband is very sensitive to low level noises while he’s trying to sleep, so we’ve had issues over the years with some humidifier models being too loud for him.  This one is amazingly silent – I really don’t hear it at all, and it doesn’t affect his sleep patterns at all!

I also really like that the plastic “cap” piece at the top where the mist comes out can be rotated around to any direction.  It has an angled head so that the water mist all pushes towards one direction.  This is really nice so that without having to move the entire humidifier, I can make sure that the mist is pointed directly towards where we are sleeping.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this and expect to use it for a long time to come!

I’m very glad that I was able to order this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

Young Innovators Fair – Oaks, PA

I was so excited when I heard about the Young Innovators Fair #YIF2016 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. As a full time scientist by day, I love to try to find ways to expose my two young children to the fun sides of science and math, and this sounded just right for them.

We had an amazing time! My mom commented later when I showed her photos that it looked like a small science museum, and I had to say “Yes, but not so small!” That is actually a great way to explain the event, because there were just so many fun, interactive activities all throughout the site. They used a huge double space on one side of the Expo Center – it was a lot to get around and try to see!

There were a bunch of vendors and activities focused on Legos and similar building toys. My kids have never really gotten into Legos, so I was actually glad that we could just focus on the rest of the exhibits and vendors, since there was so much else to see!

Our first stop when we came in was to do a couple of activities at the tables with math-related puzzles and games. The kids made small paper pyramids to contribute towards a huge fractal pyramid being made throughout the day. It was cool to see how simple folding of 2 business cards can make a pyramid – I may have finally found a use for my old, outdated business cards!  We also spent a while making cool semi-crystalline patterns with magnetic tiles #tilemeaboutit.

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We then went over and the kids built their own parachutes from upcycled materials – a paper tube, the top of a grocery store plastic bag, and a couple pieces of string. The vendor had two large box fans pointed upwards to use to float the parachutes and the kids had a blast with this! They wanted to stop back by before we left to fly the parachutes again!

Just around the corner from there was a Star Wars themed vendor that was a big hit, since we recently saw The Force Awakens. They had costumed people as Stormtroopers and Darth Vader himself that were happy to pose for photos – lots of fun! We also gladly donated to Toys for Tots for the kids to have a chance to shoot dart guns at one of the Stormtroopers.

All throughout the convention hall were so many cool things that it’s hard to name them all. Adventure Aquarium and The Franklin Institute both had really nice exhibit setups, including the chance for kids to touch different live animals (and whale bones, shark teeth, and polar bear fur!). They even got to each hold a live tarantula – really pretty cool! I liked the activity from Adventure Aquarium to cut a fish tail shape out of craft foam, then the volunteers glued it onto a mechanical fish and they raced them in a tank full of water to see which shapes were faster.

The kids also got to make slime, make cool pictures on index card with shaving cream and food coloring (totally remembering that one for future home or classroom use!), explode a film canister with Alka seltzer and water, play with bread dough, make and test their own bubble wands, dress up as a cardboard dinosaur, and even more that I can’t even recall.

I understand they are planning to do this event again next year, and I definitely hope to be able to attend!

I am so glad that I received free promotional tickets to this event in order to spread the word on social media and post my review.

Simien Rubber Twist Bar


Get this great product here: Simien Rubber Twist Bar

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I’ve been dealing on and off for the last couple years with discomfort in my arms and hands, including some RSI issues and tendonitis in both elbows.  I did a round of physical therapy and one of the items I used during sessions at the PT office was  thick rubber grip bar that I would rotate as instructed by the therapist.  I liked that exercise, but was unable to do it at home, so when I saw the Simien ArmBar on Amazon, I was really intrigued, thinking it looked very similar to what I used during PT.  Now that I’ve tried out the Simien product, I’m really impressed.  The ArmBar base is a thick blue cylinder, made of a sturdy rubber and with a ridged texture along the outside that makes it easy to maintain a firm grip.  What makes the design on this so clever is that this cylinder is hollow, and included with the product are three different rubber core inserts, which easily slide into the hole in the cylinder.  It comes with the yellow one inserted already – this is the easiest and provides 5 lbs of resistance.  Also included are green (10 lbs) and dark blue (15 lbs), which I will try to work my way up to using.

I’m really pleased with the detailed insert included with the product, which gives clear picture and text instructions for a range of different exercises, including ones specifically targeted for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.  I’ve been doing the exercises for several days now – it’s really too soon to see results, but I intend to keep doing this to help strengthen my arms and hands and try to help avoid additional flare ups.

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A nice unexpected surprise is that the pamphlet also includes instructions on how to use the ArmBar for massage of the wrist and fingers.  This is done by simply placing the bar on a solid surface, putting my hand on top of it, and then rolling back and forth so that the ridged surface presses into the skin.  This is a great way to relieve tension in my hands after computer use – I’m so glad they included this as I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own!
I’m very glad that I was able to order this at a promotional discount in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.