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!