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Customer Reviews: 952
Top Reviewer Ranking: 870
Helpful Votes: 23768


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Reviews Written by
Mark "Technology, Music and Movies" RSS Feed (East Coast)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (2008 HOLIDAY TEAM)   

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AXE Deodorant Stick, Phoenix, 3 Ounce
AXE Deodorant Stick, Phoenix, 3 Ounce
Price: $3.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Axe Deodorant - It Works Well, Despite No Antiperspirant!, September 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In general I opt to use products which also contain an antiperspirant instead of just regular deodorant. As an active man, I sweat a lot and regular deodorant just rarely seems enough. Most antiperspirants have ingredients which have been linked to potential health risks, but there are not too many viable alternatives.

I am surprised to say that somehow this product seems to perform better than other deodorants I have tried. I have no idea why that could be. It has a very similar ingredient list, with the usual suspects: dipropylene glycol, propylene glycol and sodium stearate. There are some useless colorings in there which I could do without. But whatever is different about this formulation seems to work better.

CONCLUSION

Scent is a subjective thing; some people will like it and some wont. The thing that matters most to me is that this product works. It does not leave me wishing I would have used an antiperspirant half way through my day.


Pace Ready Meals, Fiesta Chicken & Rice with Green & Red Peppers, 9 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Pace Ready Meals, Fiesta Chicken & Rice with Green & Red Peppers, 9 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Price: $17.74

2.0 out of 5 stars Pace Ready Meals - Bad Execution / Poor Ingredient Mix, August 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wasn't pleased with this product. Sometimes for the purposes of testing food products we are given multiple units. In this case, I am glad I only got one. This is a case of an interesting concept that is poorly executed.

The meal itself, if it can be called that, is a kind of soupy rice with bits of spices in it. The spice level is mild. However, there was almost no meat in the contents of this package. Hard to call it "chicken and rice" without meat; it should have been called "chicken flavored rice."

As many others have noted, the nutritional content of this kind of meal is bound to be lacking. I won't beat a dead horse. All I can say is that I did not think this tasted "salty" to me considering the higher than normal sodium content.

My plan was to add this on top of plate of rice to put all of that good sauce to use. But that's the biggest problem with this. Comparing the rice in this pouch to the rice I mixed with it, this rice is pure mush. I just don't think that things like rice and pasta can be pre-cooked effectively.

This is a product that will not be added to my shopping list. I recommend you avoid it.


BlueAvocado 4 Piece (re)zip Seal Essential Set Bag, Clear
BlueAvocado 4 Piece (re)zip Seal Essential Set Bag, Clear
Price: $18.16
5 used & new from $11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars BlueAvocado 4 Piece Kit - Functional, But Not For All Foods, August 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This product is in a class of its own. It comes with four pieces ranging from small to huge. And it's very much versatile enough to store an entire meal. The bags are re-sealable and PVA / BPA free.

There are a few interesting concerns I have though. When my friend saw it, the first thing she said was "oh cool, disposable bags." It took some effort to explain that these were meant to be the opposite of disposable. That seems like a marketing challenge.

And from the start I noticed a dusty residue when these came out of the box. They can be cleaned easily enough, but my concerns stem more from the inside of the bags. The fringes of the bags are joined so tightly that it creates corners and crevices all along the edges for food to get stuck. That is mildly annoying, and also might lead to bacteria as it will be difficult to clean the bags of certain foods. Note that small loose foods like rice, cereals, etc, are not ideal for these bags. I would either use rounded Tupperware or disposable bags depending on the item.

CONCLUSION

This is a great product to help you reduce the use of disposable bags. Just make sure everybody in your house knows they are not disposable. With careful cleaning and storage, these should last a very long time.


L'Oreal Paris Skin Care Youth Code Illuminator Tinted All-in-1 Moisturizer SPF 20, 1.4 oz
L'Oreal Paris Skin Care Youth Code Illuminator Tinted All-in-1 Moisturizer SPF 20, 1.4 oz
Price: $12.98
13 used & new from $8.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars L’Oreal Tinted All-in-1 Moisturizer SPF 20 – Messy Tint, Greasy Residue, August 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The L'Oreal Paris Skin Care Youth Code Illuminator Tinted All-in-1 Moisturizer is a premium niche product that may meet the needs of a small demographic. But for many people this product will come up short in one or more areas.

This product is marketed as a makeup product that will enhance your youthful appearance. Yet in addition to being a moisturizer, it can also be used as a sunscreen with an SPF of 20. As a sunscreen, the SPF is relatively low compared to what most people would want. As a lotion, it has that kind of greasy residue that is common among sunscreens and less ideal in a moisturizer.

But the “skin illuminator” claim is the hardest aspect of the product to accept. For those women who have absolutely no color at all, perhaps this might brighten their appearance in a noticeable way. For me it seems to have no visible impact. The only time I saw the tint was when I had to wipe my brow with a napkin and it was stained. And that is probably my biggest complaint. Women may be used to the messiness of makeup. But it seems impractical to me to have a tinted product that doesn’t really change your appearance and yet results in messy stains on your clothes.

The directions are to “apply daily to clean skin in the AM and reapply at least every 2 hours when used as a sunscreen.” The product just looks like a white lotion when you are applying it. Surprised to read others reporting “flecks of powder;” I did not have that experience. Perhaps this has something to do with shelf life.

Reapplication is pretty common sunscreen advice. I think for most people the SPF is just too low to rely on this product as your dedicated sunscreen. And the fact that it’s not really ideal for beach going is also a limitation. Truth be told, even the “waterproof” sunscreens tell you to reapply when you get out of the water anyway.

CONCLUSION

This is not a bad product for those who really need a mild tint in their daily moisturizer. Be prepared that the tint rubs off very easily, and the product does have the same greasy residue as most sunscreens.


Mead Academic Year Weekly/Monthly Planner, Pretty Please, Stripes Design, 12 Months, August 2015-July 2016, 5.38 x 8.25 Inches Page Size (AAW30938)
Mead Academic Year Weekly/Monthly Planner, Pretty Please, Stripes Design, 12 Months, August 2015-July 2016, 5.38 x 8.25 Inches Page Size (AAW30938)
Price: $14.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mead Planner - Functional For Academia and Other Uses, August 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent planner. It has everything you would need to plan out your year. Though it's sold as an Academic planner, it can certainly be used for general use or other things.

The pattern is marketed at a certain demographic, so this will not appeal to everybody. The image is literally inside the plastic cover, so the only way to change the look is to put something over the cover or to remove it. And in removing the cover, I found that it ripped easily. So I would not recommend that.

The plastic provides protection against spills, which the inner paperboard cover cannot do. The front side of the plastic cover also has a re-sealing compartment that can be used to store various loose items. So the cover serves a number of purposes.

There are a number of things I wish were different. There is no integrated cloth placeholder or pen loop. So keeping your place in this book is a challenge. Also, the binding is soft, and a spiral ring inner binding would have been much better. These kinds of planners get tons of use, and after repeatedly opening and closing the paperboard binding will certainly get some wear. But if you handle with care, hopefully it will hold up.

There are weekly and monthly sections dated all the way to July 2016. And there are a ton of handy reference sections, including:
* a world map,
* US time zone chart
* periodic table
* conversion table
* holiday listing
* academic schedule section.

CONCLUSION

This is a very good planner. It has a lot of nice design features, and will definitely be useful to those in the Academic world or those in business.


Avery Removable Chalkboard Labels, 2-1/2 Inch Diameter, Pack of 8 Labels (41573)
Avery Removable Chalkboard Labels, 2-1/2 Inch Diameter, Pack of 8 Labels (41573)
Price: $14.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Avery Chalkboard Labels - Versatile And Attractive, August 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These new Avery Removable Chalkboard Labels are one of the new additions to the "Celebrations" lineup of products. They are meant to be labels for gifts and place-settings for special events. These particular labels are unique though. Rather than being able to print onto the label using one of the Avery templates, these are designed so you can write on them with chalk or with a chalk marker. As such, I think these will have tons of practical uses at home, such as in your information area or mud closet.

This package includes 8 scalloped labels on four thin sheets. They also have an innovative backing. There is an adhesive similar to what you find on a post-it-note. It's supposed to allow these labels to be easily moved and replaced, though I am not sure how many times you will be able to do that and still get them to adhere.

CONCLUSION

These chalkboard labels definitely add a nice touch for a gift or place setting, but as I said I think they have even more use around the house. Highly recommended.


Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire
Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire
by Shane White
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But the author has gone the extra mile and done a good job bringing this material to life, August 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a captivating read. It's written in a style that is common to historical research. But the author has gone the extra mile and done a good job bringing this material to life. Hamilton was a figure I knew nothing about. And as you quickly learn, his roots go way deeper than just Wall Street. In fact, his story touches every facet of the business elite of New York city during his era. One can only imagine the psychology of such a man, who must have felt like an outsider in many places those around him would assume he "belonged."

The author's painstaking research is impressive and notable. It's only disappointing to learn, as the author points out in the introduction, how little research had been done on Hamilton prior to this book. But I suspect this book will play a key role, both among popular historical readers and those in the academic world.

CONCLUSION

This is a very impressive book, both as an engrossing read and as a work of scholarship. It is highly recommended to anybody interested in history.


Tanors Electric Milk Frother/Cappuccino Coffee Foam Maker with Stand
Tanors Electric Milk Frother/Cappuccino Coffee Foam Maker with Stand
Offered by Invictussales
Price: $11.99
4 used & new from $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tanors Electric Milk Frother - Easy to Use, Clean and Store, August 5, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a nice basic frother. It's very cheaply constructed, but made to look nice and still be affordable. It's stainless steel for easy cleaning. And it works with two AA batteries. There is a small diagram on the side of the unit to show you which way the batteries go in, but it's easy to miss. Just look for the screws.

The included stand is a nice extra too. This unit is super easy to use, clean and store. Not much more you can ask for. Definitely recommended.


Wellness WellBars Natural Wheat Free Oven Baked Dog Treats, Crunchy Peanuts and Honey Biscuits, 20-Ounce Box
Wellness WellBars Natural Wheat Free Oven Baked Dog Treats, Crunchy Peanuts and Honey Biscuits, 20-Ounce Box
Price: $8.01
23 used & new from $8.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Wellness WellBars - A High Quality Dog Treat, But High Sugar Content and Small Size, July 30, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My dog really loved these treats at first. But after a few weeks with them he has lost interest. The treats seem to bind to his teeth when he eats them. He struggles to get the residue off , and maybe that's why he resists eating them a little bit now.

If it weren't for the "chicken liver" on the ingredient list, I would be tempted to try them myself. They have a wholesome smell and kind of remind you of scones or biscotti. Main ingredients are whole grains, including ground barley, white rice and oatmeal. And there are plenty of sweet, savory and healthy vitamin-rich ingredients as well. But that may be part of the problem. The sugar content of these treats is probably OK for a human snack, but much higher than what I have noticed for dogs. And those ingredients may be why the treats stick to his teeth.

Though they come in the box that you see, there is an inner plastic bag to keep them locked in and fresh. However, this bag is not resealable. It's also somewhat of a pain to get it open.

The size of these treats is on the small side. If you have a tiny dog or tea-cup dog, this is going to be perfect for you. For those with normal sized dogs, this size makes it a little hard to feed them the treat. I found that 2 or 3 squares was enough to equal the volume of a regular treat.

There are also several ingredients that are listed on the package as specifically excluded. This product is advertised to contain NO meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. So for those who are conscious about those types of ingredients, this is a good brand to try.

CONCLUSION

I still think this is a good treat worth trying for your dog. But sadly it's not going to be good for all dogs. The squares are on the small side. So while perfect for a small dog, average or large dogs will just require more squares at a time. And for older dogs with more fragile teeth, the sugar content of these treats and the way they stick to the back of their teeth make them less than ideal.


PediaSure Sidekicks Smoothie, Strawberry Banana, 5.6 oz
PediaSure Sidekicks Smoothie, Strawberry Banana, 5.6 oz
Offered by Shirts Illustrated, LLC
Price: $12.95
8 used & new from $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pediasure Sidekicks Smoothie - A Sweet But Satisfying Smoothie, July 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a great smoothie product that acts as a nutritional supplement for kids as well as a snack. I suppose this could be consumed as a meal replacement by some. This can definitely be consumed by adults too. The main reservation I have about this product is the small amount in each pouch is not going to last long if everybody in your family is consuming it.

I am pretty surprised to see the negative reaction this product has received. Too my palate, this mix tasted as good as any other smoothie mix. I generally use almond or soy milk, so I noticed that with this I will probably use an unsweetened version as this adds plenty of sugar. There was a little residue in the smoothie, but I think it's possible to just add less milk. If I could use a blender more easily, I would. After I drank the smoothie, I didn't notice much if any grit left behind. So I would guess with a blender the mix would be more incorporated and the grit wouldn't be noticeable at all.

Out of 18 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams are from sugars. Compared to other smoothie mixes, that is not unusual. Just be aware of it if sugar consumption is something you watch in your household.

In terms of nutrition, they heavily market this for the "top 4 nutrients low in kids' diets." Those are noted as calcium, vitamin D, fiber and potassium. Pretty sure almost everybody could benefit from adding more of those to their diet. When reviewing the back panel though, the vitamin content appears to be on par with most fortified cereals.

CONCLUSION

This mix produced a smoothie that tasted good to me. Maybe this mix will appeal more to older kids. The sugar is a bit high, but you can just use less or mix in fresh fruit with it. I think it's definitely worth trying.


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