As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
My blogging friend Fadra, from over at All Things Fadra, posted a “review of her 2015 reviews” post and I thought it was ingenious! Because, the truth is, you might just love something at first; but, do you really end up using it? Does it hold up? Or did the excitement fizzle after a few more weeks or months? So, I’ve decided to look back over the products I’ve reviewed this past year, and share my current thoughts on them.
Rather that reinvent the wheel, I’m going to quote Fadra here, because she put my thoughts on blog product reviews into words:
I’m still old school in that I don’t accept money for reviews. True, I receive complimentary products and by many standards that is, indeed, a form of compensation. But the reason I don’t accept monetary compensation is that, for me, honest and authentic reviews are a matter of trust. And when money exchanges hands, I’m not sure if that level of trust is still intact.
This has always been my thought on blog reviews – from way back when I first started heading up a large product review team for a homeschool magazine – through the time that we worked on Mosaic Reviews – and continues to this day.
So, let’s see . . . . do I like these 9 products just as much now as I did then?
Homeschool Planet is an online, digital planner created by my friends over at the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. It’s so much more than just a homeschool planner, though. You can plan anything from your day-to-day tasks to your menus and store lists. You can make different lists and assignments for each member of your family – and can receive daily reminders via e-mail. It’s available on your mobile device too.
I shared more of its many features in Homeschool Planet – an alternative to your paper planners. The truth is, after I used it enough to write the review, I went right back to my old fashioned paper planners. I know we are in the digital age; but I really don’t care – I still prefer paper. And, I like keeping my life planner separate from our school planners. I just never could get into using this system; and I couldn’t get it to cooperate with me in the way I wanted it to work.
NOW: Fine for others, but not a good fit for me
MonogramStyles Phone Cases
When Ashley and I first switched to Republic Wireless and ordered our new Moto G phones, we bought the cases offered through Republic. And honestly, they were ugly. We wanted fun cases that fit our personalities – cases that we were proud to show off in public. Ashley did some looking around and found these cases from MonogramStyles, a shop on Etsy.
I shared my initial thoughts on the cases in Protect Your Phone in Style. That post was written back in early February. Since that time, Ashley dropped her phone about a million times (I lost count) and didn’t always keep her case on her phone. She ended up having to buy a new Moto G, which is a larger size than the 2nd generation, so she is no longer using her case. I, however, am still using – and loving – mine! It has held up splendidly and is every bit as vibrant as it was on day 1. It’s designed in such a way that all the buttons on the phone are still very easy to access (which is not the case with other phone cases that I’ve tried). In fact, we just got my mom a smart phone a few weeks ago, and she’s waiting on her personalized case from MonogramStyles to arrive!
NOW: Very positive
Just when Ian and I were really suffering with the Winter Blues, we received some fun craft kids from Galt Toys. We had fun crafting the projects together.
You can read more about these projects in Spring Crafting Fun. The products were probably geared toward a bit younger age than Ian (he was almost 9 at the time), he had fun putting them together and, later, we shared them with my nephews as well.
NOW: Positive for the 4-7 age range
Yube Storage System
I was contacted by the Yube company via Twitter with an opportunity to review their storage solutions. Living in an old house without adequate storage made me jump at the chance. The Yube was easy to put together and is still sitting in the exact same place, still holding my printer, and a bunch of other goodies.
My initial thoughts are shared in Yube Storage Solutions. I will say that the removable “door” that you see on the upper left corner of the system does not stay on very well. In fact, every time I open the door to access my essential oils which are stored behind it, the door pops off and we have to put it back on again. So, that’s a little bit frustrating. Otherwise, though, the system is holding up quite nicely and has provided a nice bit of extra office storage for me.
NOW: Positive (I just wish that door would stay in place!)
TOUCH Coffee Brewing System
I was on the lookout for an alternative to the Keurig when I discovered the TOUCH brewing system on Twitter. I wanted something that would make a LARGE cup of coffee. And, when I received my TOUCH system, I fell in love with it. I loved the way it looked, the ease of filling it, how it fit on my counter, and how very versatile it is (as far as cup sizes). It brews a HOT cup of coffee too.
I sung its praises in Taste the Difference with TOUCH. One day, though, my TOUCH stopped working. The water wasn’t dripping through. I contacted them and was so pleased with their customer service – no questions asked, they sent me a new machine. (Honestly, I was expecting ideas on how to troubleshoot, which would have been fine too.)
The new machine came and I returned the old one. We were VERY CAREFUL to only use good water in the new system (as I was afraid our hard water had clogged up the first machine). Then one day, the k-cups started exploding. I posted this on Instagram:
As instructed, I contacted them again. I was promised a new system when a shipment became available. I’ve yet to receive it. I’ve e-mailed and asked about the status and received no reply.
THEN: Very positive (I even made a video!)
NOW: Very disappointed (and missing my TOUCH machine!)
Simple Grace Magazine
I wasn’t going to share any book or movie reviews (if I loved them then, I most likely still feel that way). But, Simple Grace is different since it’s a magazine – it keeps on giving throughout the year.
I shared about Simple Grace Magazine for Women back in September. I still really love this little magazine; but I’ve been a total failure when it comes to remembering to read it! I always zip through the introductory portion, but forget about the daily devotionals. I’m going to try really hard to remember to read it in 2016 because I still feel it’s a great resource for Christian women. (And I’d love to hear from those of you who subscribed as a result of my review!)
NOW: Positive (though I’m a failure!)
The QuickStick products come from the same company that makes the Yube. So, I was excited to give them a try. I shared my thoughts (and how I used them) in Organize Your Space with QuickStick. The ones hanging around my desk are still there and I still LOVE them – especially the ones for sunglasses and my Rx glasses. I’ve consistently used them and now I am never searching for my glasses, which has been so nice.
However, the ones I tried to use for larger projects (like holding my broom) didn’t stay sticking to my wall. So, I’d still recommend these for smaller projects, but not for large ones.
NOW: Mostly positive
In Rolling (my way across) America, I shared my thoughts on this new game from Gamewright. I loved it then and I still love it. We’ve been trying really hard to play more games – either as a family, or individually with Ian – and this game has been one of our favorites.
Kabob Skewers Rack
We just received this neat skewer tool from Cave Tools a few weeks ago. And we live in Pennsylvania – it’s supposed to be winter here. Fortunately, though, we have had some warmer days (only a few without rain, unfortunately), so we were able to make use of this gadget once so far.
I shared the results in Perfect Skewers with Cave Tools. This is a neat product. My husband, the Grill Master at our house, said they were very easy to work with and turn. My daughter, the Dish Washer, said they were a bit hard to clean (I believe she was fighting with your basic, run-of-the-mill, grill-blackened stuff, though. All I know is the chicken that we put on these skewers turned out delicious and I’m looking forward to trying more kabobs in the spring.
NOW: Mostly Positive
Well, there you have it. My 2015 Reviews, re-reviewed. If you have any questions about anything – then or now – please feel free to ask. Hopefully, I’ll get more fun stuff to share with you in 2016. (I do have to share my thoughts on the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with you one of these days!)
If you have a product that you’d like to see reviewed here at Heidi’s Head, please contact me. I’m pretty easy to get along with, but I do share honest reviews only!