Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zep Cleaning Products Review!



Thanks to Crowdtap, I had been the recipient of many cool trying campaigns, and this time I got tot try Zep Commercial Cleaners. 

I had two to try and share with others! They were the Quick Clean disinfectant and All-Around Oxy Cleaner and Degreaser.

My favorite was the All-Around Oxy cleaner and degreaser.  I cooked some bacon in my brand new stove and it's a black stove so of course all the grease stain show pretty well.  After spraying the stove with the All-Around Oxy cleaner, and leaving it there for five minute, it was so easy peasy just wiping it down and removing all the grease. No tough scrubbing, no smudging.  It was like brand new again! 








And now that is flu and cold season, the Zep Quick Clean Disinfectant comes in very handy.  I have a brand new house, so nothing around here is dirty BUT lots of people have been coming in to see our new home.  So, in order to prevent anyone from getting sick, I have been spraying all the doorknobs with this just to be extra safe, since it kills the viruses that cause the flu and cold.  I sprayed the disinfectant around my mother-in-law's house.  I gave my sister-in-law one of the disinfectant bottles because she just had a premature baby and I think this would be very useful in keeping the house clean and the baby safe of possible infections.  You can never be too safe!

Overall, the degreaser was amazing, better than any other cleaning product I have tried, and the disinfectant gives a great peace of mind during this cold/flu season.  I think they are great products that I will continue using in my new home! Thanks Zep and Crowdtap!


Disclaimer:  I got this product to try for free as a Crowdtapper! All opinions are honest and my own. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sell Your Clothes Using Apps in Your Phone!



I'm the kind of girl who has too many clothes, and honestly I haven't met a girl who doesn't have too many clothes.  I lived in a little apartment with a tiny closet, in other words, not nearly enough space for all the clothes I had, and all the clothes I wanted to have. Some clothing I did not wear had to stay hidden away in storage, just waiting for somebody to love them. I recently discovered that I could sell the clothes I did not want from the comfort of my home!
But before you start selling your clothes and listing stuff, here are a few things you'll need beforehand:

- Printer.  You'll need a printer to print out shipping labels.
- Packing tape.  You'll need to tape the shipping labels to packages.
- Boxes to ship stuff or packages.  You can also get free shipping boxes from the post office.
- Bank account of PayPal where your earnings can be deposited.
 
 There are many apps out there that you can use, but here are my favorite ones to use.

1.        Poshmark 


Poshmark is easy to use.  The app is probably the most popular out there to sell clothes. Poshmark pays via check or direct deposit to your bank.  Here are my pros and cons of the app.

Pros:

1.        Easy to use - the app is very user-friendly.  Easy interface and easy to sell your clothes.
2.        Tons of sellers and buyers - this app has been downloaded millions of times in both the Google Play Store and the Apple app store. 
3.        Although Poshmark is supposed to be strictly used for selling clothes, shoes and accessories, the market is highly unregulated, and people can pretty much list anything.  From movies, to toys, to baby clothes, to bedding, to phones.  You can pretty much find anything there and for pretty cheap prices. 
4.        They have good buyer protection.  If the item is sold and it's significantly different from the listing (torn, wrong size listed, piling, or anything not noted in description, etc), Poshmark will give you a refund provided that you turn in proof of your claim in photos and you can return the item to the seller.
5.        You can rate your experience with a seller.
6.        You can easily save an item, and Poshmark will notify you via e-mail when the price is lowered.
7.        Sellers at Poshmark will usually negotiate great deals with the buyer.   Although you can always skip the negotiation and just “Make an Offer.”
8.        It works!  By taking two or three pictures of clothing or shoes I don't wear, I have made about $320 in a period of a few months. 
9.        Very interactive.  They have daily theme parties in which you can share your items or other’s items for more exposure.
10.    They have a good referral program:  If you enter the code HBSJI when signing up, they give you $5.00 credit (pretty much free shipping!) and they'll give me $5.00 as well.  You can refer up to 10 people for a total of $50.

Cons:

1.      Although it is free to list, Poshmark takes a commission of 20% of any sale over $15 and $2.95 on any sale under $14.99.  The minimum listing price is $3.00 but they'll still $2.95 of that so you'll end up with $0.05. Not really worth it for cheaper brands such as Target, Walmart or Forever21.
2.      Lowest shipping price is $4.99 for a limit of 5lbs (cost extra if you need to ship heavier items).  It's awesome if you're shipping coats, shoes or bundles, but it's not a great deal if you're only shipping a t-shirt or something smaller.
3.      Takes up a lot of memory on your phone.
4.      Communication is a bit difficult.  There is no way to message privately, and everything has to be in the comments section.

2.        Vinted

Vinted is very similar to Poshmark but there are a few differences worth noting.  Vinted only pays through direct deposit to your bank account.  
 
Pros:

1.      Vinted takes a commission of 19% of the sale, no matter what.  So this app is better for selling lower end brands.
2.      Vinted has different prices for shipping.  Anything under ½ lb costs about $3.59, anything under 2lbs costs $5.99 and $6.99 for 5lbs and under.
3.      Available on Apple Store and Google Play Store.
4.      Vinted does have private messaging. 
5.      It works!  Although it does not have as much traffic as Poshmark, it’s quickly catching up, and so far this app has made me about $155 in a few months.
6.      They are stricter with their rules, and they enforce them!  No stock photos allowed.  No listing anything that isn’t shoes, clothes or accessories.  If you do list something like a stock photo it will be taken down.
7.      Great features like “Make an Offer,” “Swap” or “Gifted” are available. If you simply wish to swap your clothes the Swap button is awesome, although you still have to pay for shipping.
8.      Their referral program is the same as Poshmark.  You get $5.00 for signing up and I get $5.00 for signing up. You can sign up HERE.

Cons:

1.      Vinted is not as user-friendly as Poshmark.  Their menu is a little bit more difficult to navigate.
2.      Not as many sellers or buyers, though it is quickly catching up.
3.      Not as interactive as Poshmark, so you’ll have to really put effort in your photos to make it stand out as there is no sharing of items or closets.

3.     Instagram:

I know, I know, Instagram for selling clothes?  Believe it or not, there is a huge community of girls selling their closets.  You can usually find them by searching with the hashtags #ShopMyCloset, #CloseSale or #BuyMyClothes.  There are thousands of sellers and of course, buyers.   You take a good picture of the item you wish to sell, set a price with or without shipping and write a brief description of the item.  With no listing prices or seller fees, you can find items way cheaper than you would at any of the aforementioned selling apps.  Usually a seller gets paid via PayPal, and the buyer is still protected by the PayPal buyer protection in case the item was not as described.  It is a little more risky to buy this way, but it’s great to sell, and free!  So far I’ve sold a few items totaling a little over $100, but I have scored great deals from great sellers that are quite reputable!  A reputable seller has great pictures, does try-ons, responds to questions quickly and updates their closet often.  They usually have “store policies” as well.  I don’t like dealing with teenagers, which there are a lot of.  I also always look for some sort of feedback or “sold” photos along with the tag of person who bought it.  My favorite ones are:


And of course there are many more I like but right now I can’t remember their usernames.

4.     Twice 


Twice is an app for the lazy seller.  They only accept certain brands in excellent condition, and only 5 years old and newer.  They use PayPal for payout.

Pros:

1.      They have lots of used and new clothing from many great brands such as Diane Von Furstenberg, J. Crew, The Limited, Theory, etcetera, and for a fraction of the retail price!
2.      They pay for your items up front.  No waiting.
3.       They will also pay for your shipping label, or if you prefer, they will send you a shipping kit.
4.      It’s easy, simple, and quick.
5.      You have the option of accepting the cash, or store credit for an extra 25% of the cash offer amount.  For example, say they buy your clothes for $40, if you choose store credit instead; they will give you $50 instead to spend at their store.
6.      They have a great referral program! I earn $10 in store credit when you sign up and you earn $10 in store credit as well.  Up to $500 in store credit.  You can sign up HERE.

Cons:

1.      If you want to just make room in your closet, and don’t want to deal with the whole taking pictures and dealing with people and what not, you can just send all your items to them. The catch?  Don’t expect to get paid much.  They pay anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00 for more common brands such as Express and a little higher for higher end brands such as J. Crew and Diane Von Furstenberg. 
2.      They only accept certain brands.  And this changes all the time so you have to check their website often for what brands they are accepting.
3.      They will make you an offer on your items, and if you don’t like the offer they will ship it back to you for $4.95.

For example, a month ago I sent 11 items, all excellent condition, that had been listed on other apps for a long time, and didn’t sell.  I was moving and wanted to get rid of as much stuff as fast as I could.  So I tried Twice.  I sent 2 pairs of brand new shoes (Chinese Laundry and Lifestride), a Jessica Simpson purse, and tops and dresses and I got paid $34.50 +$20 in store credit.  Of the 11 items I sent, 9 were accepted.  I took the offer because I no longer wanted the items. 

Again, these are just suggestions of what you can do to make room in your closet, trying them out is up to you.  You will probably not make a ton of money from it, but for me, doing this for a few months will be paying for my family’s Christmas presents!
                                    









Disclaimer:  I was not paid for this post in any way.  All opinions are honest and my own and depict my own experience.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Listerine Naturals Review


Thanks to Crowdtap, I was able to try the new Listerine Natural Antiseptic Mouthwash to review.  

I love Listerine and that's my favorite mouthwash and the only one I use.  I love the antiseptic one because it burns soooo good and it makes my mouth feel really clean, and helps with bad breath and helps prevent other mouth and gum problems.  So I was really excited for Listerine Naturals.  Here is what I thought:

1.  It does not burn as bad (good?) as the blue, antiseptic Listerine.
2.  The flavor is a little weird, not in a bad way, just different.  Almost like it has Sweet'N Low, but of course it doesn't.
3.  Has a delicious minty taste that lingers for a long time after brushing, yay!
4.  Leaves mouth feeling clean and refreshed.
5.  Compared to their usual Listerine Antiseptic mouthwash, Listerine Natural Antiseptic Mouthwash is 99% natural with no artificial sweeteners, dyes or flavors.
6.  Has all the healthy benefits that Listerine mouthwashes offer!

So it did take me a little while to get used to it, mainly because I'm used to my giant bottle of blue antiseptic mouth wash.  But it feels just as good after finishing brushing every day. It's another great product by Listerine!





Disclaimer:  I was provided this product to try for free from Crowdtap.  Other than the free product to review, I did not received any other compensation.  All opinions are honest and my own.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our very first home!



Sorry I have been away all this time, but I would have never thought that buying a home would be such a time-consuming and exciting process.

If you would have asked me a few months back what I was planning for the future I would have said "oh, I don't know"... See, I am the most indecisive person I know, I have the hardest time deciding on a menu (unless it has shrimp).  But this year we were contemplating moving to  a bigger apartment since we both got a raise in our jobs, and discovered that rents were just as expensive, if not more, than a mortgage payment.  So we started doing our own research about what buying a home entailed.  Everyone was saying, "this is the best time to buy, the housing market it's coming back up, and the rates are so low!", so with that advice we decided to go ahead.  Turns out, it's a lot of work.

First of all, we took a homeowners class and we found out that it all comes down to money (really though, what doesn't).

We were thinking that there was some help for first time home buyers, and there is (lots of it), if you're low income, but if you're anywhere close to the middle class you're no longer low income, so there is no help.  In order to get a mortgage loan it is usually required to put down 20% of a down payment, or else you're stuck with PMI (private mortgage insurance in case you default on the loan), till you pay 22% of the loan, which is pretty much money down the drain.   If you cannot come down with 20%, there is always FHA loans which has worse rates than a conventional loan, but only require 3.5% down payment.  But there are lots of different types of loans available, which I did all the research on (thank you, Internet!) and that way we decided which one was best for us.

We decided on a conventional loan.  And we picked a Centex home.  Centex homes are all over the nation, and they are ALL built to the same standards - according to our sales consultant.  That means that a Centex home in New Mexico would be designed with the same standards as a home in Florida which is designed to withstand hurricanes , which in turns would be designed to stand earthquakes if California.  Again, this is according to our sales rep.   They also do their own financing, and pays for closing costs if you go with their financing company, which makes it really convenient, and so far we have had a great experience with our sales person and our loan consultant. 

Regardless of the financial and the sales aspect, nothing beats the satisfaction of the prospect of owning your home.  Plain and simple.  It's a dream come true.  I dream I used to have as a child, but was dismissed as a teenager, and completely disappeared as I finished college and started a new life as an adult.   But owning a home is possible, and it became a dream come true for me and my boyfriend, with no one's help, our own research, and our own hard work, it is something we are extremely proud of to have accomplished.  Though we will be locking our interest rate in a few weeks and closing a few weeks after, our house is under construction, but it will be finished in the upcoming months!

The most exciting part is seeing the progress every week!
Our first home with our own master bedroom with a huge bath tub, and our own fire place and our own back yard and no more apartment living!!! I'm in cloud 9.








Disclaimer:   All opinions are my own, I was not in any way paid for this post.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ideal Balance cat food



Tesla loves food.  Dry food, not so much.  Wet food, well, that's a different story.  She'll devour anything that's delicious and juicy.

Thanks to Crowdtap, I was able to feed my hungry cat some Ideal Balance by Hill's cat food.  Tesla's Ideal Balance package came with some wet food, treats and a laser pointer to keep her busy and fit.   I gave her a little bit of this mixed with her regular food for a smooth transition. Usually, when I give her the food I usually feed her, she ignores and eats when she's hungry for real.  As soon as I put out the plate of dry food with Ideal Balance she ran to the bowl, smelled it and looked at me all confused and happy at the same time and started eating it right away.  Exciting!  The best thing about Hill's Ideal Balance cat food is the fact that it doesn't have any grain and it's made right here at home in the USA! It contains the perfect amount of nutrients which aids with weight loss and helps maintain the weight.   She especially liked the wet food and eat it in two minutes.  She enjoyed the treat as well, but her favorite was the wet food! She's happy and fully and I have a piece of mind that she is eating something that's good for her!



Yummy!




Disclaimer:  Tesla my cat received this from Crowdtap and Hill's Ideal Balance with the purpose of review.  All of our thoughts and opinions are our own.  Thanks for reading!