Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Feature: My First Influenster VoxBox!

Last month, I talked a lot about my plan to open my blog sponsorships and working with different brands, not only for income but for fun. I love trying and finding new products to love, and if I can do that without breaking the bank, that's even better, so I've been spending some time looking into ways to grow this blog. My goals were to:
  • grow this blog into something more than just an author platform, so that I could reach out to my community as more than "just" book people. Yes, I'm an author, but I'm also a mother and a woman. You're a reader, but I know that you're also so much more - and I like that this new lifestyle format allows me to explore that.
  • explore the lifestyle format more deeply. I've written a great deal of deep content over the years, covering personal confidence, body-love, self-acceptance, mental health and wellness, domestic violence and abuse ... In 2017, I want to find more balance, and that means exploring other less serious things that I also love, like fashion and photography, music and movies, makeup and entertainment. And someday, maybe even travel.
  • monetize the blog in a way that will (hopefully soon) help me to support myself and my daughters. You guys know that over the fall of 2016, my family also experienced the final straw in what had been a hope to reconcile with my kids's dad. The end of that hope meant adjusting more fully to the idea of life as a single mom - but it's still important for me to be around and available to my kids. Creating an income here is a great middle ground that allows me time to mother my children, nurture my writing career, and look after my own health and mental wellness.
One of the best ways to accomplish some of those goals was to look into how, as a single mom with a limited budget and two kids to take care of, I could begin to explore new products and brands. I said I didn't want to break the bank, but I can't go out robbing one either, right? I needed a good solution, and I found one with Influenster.com's VoxBox program.


Influenster is a free community of product reviewers, and one of the best things about it is that anyone can sign up. They even have an app you can download - but the short version of this long story is that if you review products you already use and love, Influenster gets to know you a little, and once they do that, they send you a box of products they think you'd like.to try. For free!

I got my first VoxBox right at the end of January, and I was a little surprised at how many different products were in it. There was even a full-size bottle of the new Febreze ONE, which smelled amazing. It's in the Orchid scent and I can't get enough of it - I spray it all over the house, my van, everywhere. It's my most favorite product from this VoxBox, and I've already been raving about it to my friends! I've been trying some of the other products from my VoxBox over the last week too, incorporating them into my normal life to see how they work for me, making sure to give each item a fair chance even if I thought from the beginning that it wouldn't be right for me.

Those PopChips you can see on the left of the photo? SO. GOOD. I'm not even kidding.

This box is the 2017 Resolution VoxBox, and as such, it's full of products mostly designed to help get your health in order. There were several items in the box, which were all included on a complimentary basis so that I could test them out and review them here for you guys. Among the items included were:

  • an OraBrush A Dentek Brand Tongue Cleaner (#OraBrush)
  • Febreze ONE Fabric & Air Mist Starter Kit (#FebrezeOneAtTarget)
  • Orgain Organic Protein Bars - Peanut Butter (#OrgainProteinBars)
  • PopChips Ridges Cheddar & Sour Cream (#PopChips)
  • Burts Bee's Protein+ Healthy Radiance Powder (#DrinkItAllIn)
  • and a package of Crispy Green Crispy Fruit (I received the Cantaloupe). (#CrazyForCrispyGreen)
So far, I've tried only three of these items - the Crispy Fruit, which I tried with my girls, the Febreze ONE, which was SO GOOD, and the little bag of PopChips, which I tried by myself - and I'm glad because I wouldn't have wanted to share them. And since all I can do is rave about the Febreze and the PopChips, I guess I'll take this post to really break down what my family thought of Crispy Green's Crispy Fruit.

ABOUT CRISPY FRUIT: This isn't my favorite food. I like the crunch, and the fact that this a totally healthy food - it's Peanut and Tree Nut free, Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan, and even Kosher certified! Each packet contains about 1/2 cup of cantaloupe, and at 40 calories, 0 fats, 9 carbs, and 1 gram of protein, it's truly a healthy snack to keep around. However, I'm not sure the cantaloupe was for me. I like cantaloupe in general, but these weren't as ... cantaloupe-y as I expected, I guess. With regular cantaloupe, I like the mouthfeel and the texture of the melon, and that was missing here, although the flavor wasn't exactly awful. They're sweet but not too sweet, light in flavor but not flavorless. I won't be buying these again for myself, as they aren't my favorite treat for sure - but I did like them enough to be curious about whether any of the other offered fruits would be a better fit for my tastebuds. The nagging question I couldn't let go of was, "Do I not like this at all, or do I just not like the cantaloupe kind?"

Crispy Green Crispy Fruits also come in packets of apple, Asian pear, banana, mango, pineapple, and tangerine, and I think if there would be a fruit (of this type) most suited to me personally, it would be the tangerine. Also, I imagine that if a variety of Crispy Fruits came in a packet with the kind of bold sweet flavor I expect fruit to have, then it would be a Tangerine ... so since my girls didn't like the cantaloupe either (they actually spit it out in the garbage) and I really wanted to give Crispy Green's Crispy Fruit a fair chance (aided by the coupon in my Influenster VoxBox), I headed down to Earth Fare. I picked up the pineapple for Eden, apple for Josephine, and then I also got the tangerine and Asian pear.

Here's the verdict on Crispy Fruit for the Kennedy girls, broken down by the fruits we tried (in alphabetical order, since I can't remember which order we opened them in):
  • Apple (purchased at a discount with the coupon included in my VoxBox): This one didn't taste like much of anything actually, but it did have a decent apple-y sort of texture in the mouth. We found it to be the weakest in the flavor department, but the best in texture. Joey liked it decently enough - not a lot - but by the time we got to the apple, Eden had quit on us entirely.
  • Asian Pear (purchased at a discount with the coupon included in my VoxBox): This flavor was also pretty weak, but what was there, I didn't like at all. The texture wasn't the best either - I quit after one piece, and everyone else wouldn't try it, based on the face I apparently made when I tried it.
  • Cantaloupe (included in my VoxBox free for testing purposes): After trying the apple, I'd say this one bumped up a notch on my scale of likability, because the cantaloupe did retain more flavor than the apple. But for the girls, who don't generally like cantaloupe either way, this one just didn't work for them at all.
  • Pineapple (purchased at a discount with the coupon included in my VoxBox): Both of my girls liked this one, as did their grandmother, who happened to be handy at the time to aid them in the test. I didn't eat this one myself because I recently became allergic to pineapples - but I was very tempted to try them, based on the way my family liked them.
  • Tangerine (purchased at a discount with the coupon included in my VoxBox): These were another success.
In general, what we found common with all of the fruits was the same sense of dry something-ness about this product when you first put it in your mouth. It's like your tongue is trying to figure out what you just did, but (with the tangerines in particular, and also the apple) once the moisture of your mouth starts working to rehydrate the fruit, it does come back to life a little, both in texture and flavor. We found that if you pop them in your mouth, chomp and swallow quickly, you'll miss a lot of the flavor to be found here, but if you savor them a moment, you get a lot more of what I believe Crispy Green was intending to offer. The one major thing I found lacking in all of the varieties was the sense of juicy sweetness one expects from fruit. That being said, this is dehydrated fruit, and so taking that into consideration, Crispy Fruits do have certain benefits. The crunch in each of these products was quite satisfying, and we love the idea of fruit that's both portable and long-lasting.

These do have a long shelf life, so they would be amazing to carry in a purse if you suffer from Diabetes or occasional bouts of  low blood sugar - they could be eaten in a hurry, and they do come in single serving packets. They would also be great to keep in your emergency kit or any of your backpacking, hiking, or camping supplies! I really like that they're such a clean eating product, too (remember, they're gluten free, peanut and tree nut free, dairy free, vegan, and kosher!), because that meant we could even share them safely (in moderation) with our dog, who is allergic to gluten and is therefore in love with any sort of fruit or vegetable that can be shared with him. He didn't seem to have a preference, though - all the fruits got him wagging, and I think he loved the crunch more than we did.

And lastly, if the human variety of our little family had to pick one FAVORITE fruit variety out of the ones we tried, those break down as follows:
  • Me: Tangerine
  • Josephine: Pineapple
  • Eden: Pineapple
Although I can't say my particular family was #CrazyforCrispyGreen, I'd like to take one last second to thank Influenster again for sending me January's Resolution VoxBox, filled with cool products that I got to try for free - the Crispy Fruits weren't my favorite, but the Febreze ONE in Orchid is definitely AMAZING, and I also really loved the PopChips Ridges. In fact, I'm pretty sure that with their sharp, bold flavor and thick crunchy mouthfeel, these are now my favorite chip. This was only my first VoxBox, but I have to say that so far I am having a total blast testing these products and finding which ones work for me. I can't wait to get another one!


Questions for the Comments Section:
  • What do you think of Crispy Green's Crispy Fruits? Did you like them better than we did?
  • How bad do you really want to smell that Febreze or eat those PopChips now? (Hint: the answer is "So. Bad!")
  • Have you tried any of these products before? If so, which were your favorites?

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the links and choose to purchase the products promoted here, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. However, all opinions expressed herein are 100% honest and 100% my own. Thanks for your support!

68 comments:

  1. I haven't tried any of these in fact besides Febreeze I haven't heard of any of the stuff in your box. I make my own Febreeze and have for years now

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    1. I have made my own Febreze spray before too, but I always hated the way I couldn't get the same fine mist that an aerosol spray gave. With this, you don't end up with wet splotches everywhere, and it just smells, so good! It was totally my favorite product in this box.

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  2. wow what a fab box of goodies. Most I haven't heard of but I am going to google them now. I love Febreze too!

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    1. Then you'll love this Febreze ONE - it's amazing!

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  3. I haven't tried these. I'm the type that always subscribe to stuff like that. So I'll definitely consider this

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    1. It's my first one, and I'm so glad I signed up! It was so much fun!

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  4. I haven't tried this before. Seems like it would be interesting to review new products. I haven't even heard of most of these products! thanks for sharing.

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    1. I hadn't heard of all of them before either, but I'm so glad I got to try them. Even the ones that weren't right for me were still fun to test out.

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  5. I have not heard of these products. You did make me want to fo out and buy the febreeze. I will be looking into the influenster website.

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  6. I have never tried nothing like this before, but it looks very cool and fun! I love to open boxes and don't know what it has inside :)
    Great post!
    - Adriana Gil
    www.makemereadmoreofthis.blogspot.pt

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    1. It was definitely a lot of fun - I'm already looking forward to being chosen for another box hopefully soon!

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  7. I enjoy getting things to review from Influenster. I've tasted crispy fruit before and absolutely love it!

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    1. Yeah they were definitely not the worst thing I've ever tried, but I can say they weren't for me.

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  8. What a fun box! Looks like a bunch of really fun stuff though.

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    1. It really was. I already can't wait to be chosen for another!

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  9. That's a great start to your journey as an influencer! Yes, writing an honest and fair review is what I find really important when we write one for brands. Keep it up!

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  10. I've not heard of any of these products. The Crispy fruits look tasty though.

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    1. They weren't for us, but they certainly aren't unpopular. I've seen lots of great reviews on them, actually. And although they aren't my favorite snack, I do think they'd be handy to keep around for certain things as listed in my post.

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  11. This is news to me. I'll be interested in following your adventure with new boxes.

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  12. I love Popchips! I've only had the BBQ flavoured ones, so I'll definitely be looking out for the cheddar and sour cream ones, they sound delicious. I'm intrigued by the Crispy Fruits. I love pineapple so I'd love to try those ones. Also, unrelated to the actual products, I love your reviewing and writing style :D I'll definitely be reading more of this blog

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    1. Yeah, I am in love with them. I wish they weren't so expensive, but I'm betting I'll be getting some to keep around for a special treat. They were delicious!

      And thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to my little corner of the 'net. You're welcome back anytime!

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  13. This is the first time I have heard about this box. It looks really interesting and it's a great way to try new things and have products to review for your blog. I look forward to continue seeing these :)

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    1. That's my favorite thing about it, and the surprise aspect of it means my reviews are bound to be well-rounded. I'm sure sometimes I'll be a little outside my usual comfort zone, and I love that, too!

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  14. Looks like you got to try some really cool products. The fruit chips sound interesting, I've never tried that brand before. Popchips is really awesome!

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    1. Yeah it was a lot of fun getting to try so many new products! I'm excited and already looking forward to being chosen for another box. And yes, those PopChips are amazing!

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  15. I'm obsessed with crispy fruit! The cantaloupe is amazing but so is the mango, actually I love them all.

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    1. Haha! I knew I'd get someone on here who loves them. It would be neat one day to do a sort of review collab, where I present one side of a review, and have another blogger present the other side!

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  16. What awesome stuff. I love getting these boxes, they're so much fun. I think I'd enjoy that crispy fruit.

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    1. It was definitely interesting. I did like that once you let them sit on your tongue for a second, they sort of come back to life in your mouth.

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  17. I got the vox box too! But I haven't checked out the crispy fruit yet! I can't wait. This is a great post to show me what I'm about to get into!

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    1. It was definitely a great box! I can't wait to get another!

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  18. Looks like a great box! I will have to check them out!

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  19. Febreeze in general is an amazing product! I love how it refreshes everything! We use it between our matresses and on our carpets after vacuuming as well as just spraying throughout from time to time. We usually just get a fresh scented one, I might have to grab the orchid one next time though!

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  20. I keep hearing about the Voxbox as it's such a great idea! I wish they had something like that in Australia us Aussie bloggers could use.

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    1. Search around and see what you can find online. I'm sure there's an Aussie version or something like it.

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  21. I'm loving seeing what is in all of these subscription boxes! I think the only I've used is Febreeze. I used to use it a lot when I was in my late teens to hide the smell of dirty washing hahah.

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    1. Ha! I like to just spray it all over to freshen up a room, or just to fill it with scent. It's a little thing, but it makes me smile.

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  22. First time I hear about this... very nice, thanks for sharing

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  23. Congrats on your first Vox Box. They can be exciting and fun.

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  24. Vox Box sounds like an awesome product!! Have to try it out!

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  25. I just love influencer!!! Looks like you got a lot of awesome goodies

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    1. Yeah it was a great first box! I hope I get another one soon.

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  26. It's really important to write honest reviews.The bad thing is you never know if the person writes a good review because truly thinks that or just because has to.

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    1. Well you'll know that the reviews you find here are 100% honest. I won't say I like something if I didn't - I don't care where it came from.

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  27. I haven't tried any of these products. The box is so nice! I'd like to try them :)

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  28. i have gotten a few but for me it's just not worth it. i'm glad you are liking them :)

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    1. I don't find that it takes any extra effort. When I'm using something, if I have a minute, I write out a quick review for it. If not, I don't. In the end, either they send me boxes or they don't. But I sure hope they do!

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  29. I have yet to try out an influencer box before. I am glad you like it and I want to try it out!

    http://lovekimber.com/

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  30. I love influenster. I hope you get many more boxes.

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    1. Me too! I'd love to get a makeup one to play with!

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  31. I've been wanting to do something like this, as in get Loot Crate but alas, I am not so lucky T^T

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    1. This one was free - you just have to sign up and review products as you use them. The more you review and use their program, the more likely you are to get boxes.

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  32. Sounds like a cool box. Nice review :)

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  33. I want that Febreeze in my life pls :-D
    Katja xxx
    www.katnapped.com

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    1. Yeah, you definitely need to get some. It's seriously SO AMAZING. I'm still using it almost daily.

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  34. i have never tried any of them before but am more attracted towards febreeze :D

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