Neosan Black Triangle String Bikini

Summer is finally fully upon us in Southern California, and with it a June heatwave, which means the pool for me, Hubby and the dog, not necessarily in that order. So with pool weather usually comes a quick updating of my bathing suits, and a staple for years has been the simple black bikini, like the one I was sent by Neosan.

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Amazon is just full of sellers of inexpensive (or some might say “cheap”) bathing suits of dubious quality and very obviously stolen pictures from bigger manufacturers like Victoria’s Secret (who, incidentally, is getting out of the bathing suit game after this summer! Boo!). The product received looks nothing like the product pictured, takes weeks or longer to arrive, usually smell funny, with straps that break of seams that come unsewn. Neosan has none of those problems, and what you see is exactly what you get! The quality is amazing for the price for a set (Just $12.99 for top AND bottom) and the colors don’t fade after the first use. The black triangle bikini has removable padding and is double lined, with no worries of see-though fabric when wet like the last Neosan bikini I tried out. Both pieces sport tie closures for a customizable fit, and sadly, the seemingly popular “scrunch butt” back. Hubby loves it, me….not so much. The set does run a little on the small side, so if you’re worried about more modest coverage, order up a size.

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A girl can never have too many bathing suits when you have a chlorine in-ground pool. The chlorine will chew up bathing suits and spit them out, so I try to only buy suits that are made to last a couple of years or more, and these Neosan bikinis are the goods. You get what you order, it looks and feels like it should cost 2-3 times what they charge, and they are affordable enough to buy one in every color! I recommend them highly for your summer fun in the sun!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from NEOSAN. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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NEOSAN Colorblock Bikini

Summer is almost here, and In Southern California, we’re gearing up for pool and beach weather. Part of getting ready fro the coming swim season is updating my bathing suits. From time to time, I like to change things up a bit, and NEOSAN was more than happy to oblige me with a sample of their wares to wear.

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And while I like a few things about the suit, there are a few I didn’t like as much. Right from jump, the suit should have been double lined, because the white part, when wet, is almost completely transparent. No bueno for the beach, and a little risque even for the pool at home. Now, the padding in the top would cover any….shall we say, bits, that might show, but they are awkwardly shaped and make for a “lumpy” looking top. So it’s a real catch-22. The material is stretchy and doesn’t bind, and the first wear and wash I didn’t see any real color loss or shrinkage. Which is good because this suit is pretty low-rise in the front as is. I love the ties on the side for the bottom and on the top, which means I can semi-customize my fit. I ordered medium, and it fit like a medium, which is a nice thing when sizes on Amazon tend to run all over the place. I’m not as much of a fan of the “scrunch” back bottom. It makes the waistband dip and show some crack, which isn’t a good look on plumbers and isn’t on me either, plus it’s uncomfortable. That’s a trend I’d like to see go bye-bye. But the coverage on the back is moderate and other than the “scrunch”, I like it.

I wanted to wear the suit more, but the transparency of the wite portions is a major issue. I’m not a prude at all, but I definitely don’t want my cash and prizes out there for the world to see every time my bikini gets wet. So as much as I want to give this a 5-star rating, I have to say it’s more of a three because, really, a see-through bikini might be a hit with Hubby but isn’t my cup of tea. This issue might be limited to this style/color, but I would venture a guess that other, darker colors wouldn’t have this issue, and the cut and feel of the bikini I received is on par with Victoria’s Secret, at a fraction of the cost.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from NEOSAN. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Andre Lorent: Daily Rehydrating and Anti-aging Sunscreen with SUNDRISOL7™ #Review #AndreLorent

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Sunscreen is a year round product I use on a daily basis. I have tried practically every brand from organic, natural ingredients based and every SPF number you can think of. I have been burned and not just by the sun when it has come to sunscreen products. Some protect from the sun very well but do nothing for my skin’s health. I end up with clogged pores and sometimes even breakouts. I don’t believe in this day and age that I need to settle for a product and it seems Andre Lorent believes the same!

Andre Lorent is a beauty company, which offers products for skincare, to hair and even beauty application items like brushes. They carry a little bit of everything! I was sent a bottle of their Daily Rehydrating and Anti-Aging sunscreen. The first difference I noticed, was that this product is a multi-tasker, serving as protection but also nourishing your skin.

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Ingredients (as listed on the website):
Key Ingredients include– Sundrisol7, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Seaweed Extract, Algae Extract and Orchid Extract.

Active ingredients– Octinoxate 7.5%, Homosalate 6%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%, and Zinc Oxide 10%

Verdict:

I used the product for a total period of 3 weeks. It was my go-to sunscreen and I used it on my face, neck and decolletage. I also wanted to see how well Andre Lorent’s daily rehydrating sunscreen worked with my skin’s needs, so I forwent any use of primers. I wanted to really test how the product performed on it’s own and if it caused any skin blemishes or problems, something that a primer could block from happening or could be a contributor, so I went with just the Andre Lorent’s product and make-up for the days I went out.

I can state the product protects very well with it’s SPF 30 rating. The SPF amount was perfect for the delicate areas and the formula did not leave a white visible film that is both unappealing to the eye and tends to rub off on anything you touch. I applied, distributed the product evenly and the formula just disappeared, but I was still left with breathable skin. On the days I applied cosmetics, I did not experience any interactions with my foundation, such as peeling or beading up that tends to happen if you even perspire just a bit. Everything remained just as I left it and that is really a sign of a sunscreen that has a base that is not only welcoming to your skin, but can play well with other products like make-up. As long as I did not get wet or over perspire, I was satisfied with not getting burned, so the Andre Lorent sunscreen passed the protection phase and exceeded my expectations.

Retail Price Point: $24.95 via Amazon and $27.95 via the website, however they are sold-out on the website.

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Next, came the skin health factor. My skin still felt comfortable and not suffocated by a nasty film like so many other sunscreens tend to do. The formula felt lightweight and I did not experience any pore blockage when I used it on a daily basis. After washing my face, the product did not leave any residue and calling a rehydrating formula is spot-on. My skin did not feel over dry after washing and remained healthy. The Sundrisol7 is a proprietary ingredient and it’s suppose to aid with your skin’s anti-aging needs that are caused by damage from the sun. The blend blocks UVA and UVB rays that are the leading cause to wrinkles, sun spots, pigmentation, and so forth. I felt my skin was protected and did not even get lobster red cheeks when I used the sunscreen, so it does work at protecting you from sun damage. I think with continued use, the user would be able to receive sufficient protection from aging caused by sun exposure. With the formula’s hydrating qualities, you also will visibly see nourished skin that remains soft when touched and glowing from being healthy, versus a sun burn!

Connect with Andre Lorent and their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Andre Lorent.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Sacar Stationary: 100 Kraft Tags with 10 ml Jute Twine #Review #SacarStationery

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I have been in a crafting mode that started in Spring and seems to be going into Fall and beyond. I’m always about changing your surroundings because as much as familiarity is welcoming, it can grow dull. I don’t want to look at the same rooms and walls and day after day they remain the same. Sprucing up your surroundings should be given the same energy you would dedicate when gifting someone. So, why not gift yourself too?

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I love “raw materials” that bring in the natural aspect and can easily become accent pieces. Love the burlap with printed images that take the dull and makes it all your own creation. Sacar Stationary was kind enough to offer me 100 of their Kraft tags for review. They come in a cute package and even with twine. I think these little guys are more than tags and can easily serve multi-purpose uses. I love that they have no holiday or season attached to them, you just make them your own and they apply to any project all year round. I decided to time myself and in 20 minutes I was able to make a seasonal banner. I figure you know how they say in magazines how a gal can put on their make-up successfully in 20 minutes? Well, I’m putting on “make-up” on my surroundings and this is my homage of saying goodbye to Summer, which was beautiful but too hot and start welcoming in Autumn. I always save clip art or images, so I have them ready to use. Printed them in the fast and the economic setting to give them an aged look, some color pencils, on some of the tags edges I just used those scissors that cut with a patter and Voila’! I was done. Oh’ don’t forget the all mighty glue stick that makes the magic happen and 18 minutes later I was finished. I can’t wait to make fall leaves and even tag gifts with self-made personalized tags. Better than any tag out there and what I love about Sacar Stationary, they keep the price economical too!

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Retail Price Point: $9.95 and free shipping with Prime via Amazon for 100 tags that comes with 10m of Jute Twine.

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Size of Product: 9 x 5.4cm (3.54 x 2.12in approx.) Tags and 10m (32ft approx.) of Natural Jute Twine.

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The stock of the paper is nice and thick, so I will be buying damask pattern stamps and will also be stamping some images on these beauties. You just can’t go wrong with the quantity and quality of these Sacar Stationary Kraft Tags!

Connect with Sacar Stationary at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sacar Stationary.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

LifeWell Technologies Aluminum Garden Trowel

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Going back to the garden, I like hand tools best. Not only are they easier for me to use and control but they are a little more intimate than Hubby’s larger, more rugged tools. And when LifeWell Technologies offered me their aluminum Garden Trowel, I was thrilled. I’ve had a few different garden trowels, of various materials and build qualities, and almost all were found to be lacking. They’d bend, break, rust, or just plain fall apart and fail me. Usually mid-job, and nothing will frustrate a gal more. LifeWell Technologies claims this is “The Best Trowel You’ll Ever Buy”. Bold words. Let’s see if they live up to them.

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LifeWell Technologies Garden trowel looks to solve all of those previously mentioned issues. Rust? Pffft. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum, polished to a flawless chrome-like finish. The edge is sharp enough to dig clean through rocky, uneven ground with no issue. Bending? A thing of the past, what with the thick, robust neck and full tang handle. Break? Did I mention that it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum? This LifeWell Technologies trowel shouldn’t break even under heavy loads and stresses. So now that we’ve established that this trowel is better than all my past trowels, lets get into how it’s been so overbuilt that it became my favorite.

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A lot of trowels I’ve owned have been just a straight wooden handle, with little thought given to ergonomics or comfort. This LifeWell Technologies Garden Trowel has a handle clearly made by someone who has used the before and knows exactly when one puts their fingers and thumb. It has a rubberized non-slip coating too, that not only reduces hand strain my being slightly padded, but means your damp or wet hand won’t go sliding down the handle and crash painfully into the spade. It even has a slightly elongated tip if you need to pound the trowel past a tough root or two. It’s even a bright and attractive neon green that means your not going to lose it in the grass or tall shrubs. It’s not so heavy that you get hand fatigue but not so light that you think it’ll break on the first rock it hit. “Built like a brick ‘out’house” Hubby would say, although not so politely. I think I’ve found the garden tool I won’t be sharing with Hubby. This green beauty is all mine. As for LifeWell Technologies boast of this being the best trowel I’ll ever buy, it might well be, as well as the last  trowel I’ll ever need to buy. Well done, LifeWell Technologies.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from LifeWell Technologies.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Elite Chef Stainless Steel BBQ Grill Brush

Summer is for grilling (goofy, rainy SoCal July notwithstanding) and we grill here. A lot. Grilling, smoking, BBQ. The outdoor cooking stations get put through their paces. Almost as important as the tongs, the spatula, the skewers, and the charcoal, is a good grill brush. We have had a few, of similar shape and design, as the Elite Chef Products version we’re going to review here today. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t stack up as well, and I’ll go over exactly why.

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A grill brush needs a few things to be truly effective. Good bristle spread, good bristle density, and they need to have the tensile strength to stay standing under pressure, while exposed to heat, and being possibly caked with grease and/or BBQ crud. This one mostly passed, but came up short in bristle density and tensile strength of the bristles. The Weber version I had of this type of grill brush did very well for over 3 years. The Elite Chef version will not last that long. The bristles were bent and left gaps after the first use, especially around the corners.

Next, a grill brush should have a good, long, sturdy handle and shaft to keep your hands away from the heat and grease, but also be strong enough that it won’t bend or fold under a good amount of pressure sometimes required to really get the grill clean. And while this one held up okay on the first use, by use 2 it showed signs of being bent or curved. One would assume after a few uses you would have to flip and use the pressure to bend it back. also, the hollow stainless steel handle feels just a little flimsy.

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Lastly, the version of this brush from Weber is cheaper. While the hand is a composite plastic in that one, it’s sturdy and strong and well made enough to last many, many years. I don’t think this one will last as long, and I don’t see the logic in paying more for it based on my experience with it. It’s adequate and will do the job for one season of maybe more if you’re careful, but I don’t feel it’s worth the price they’re asking.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Elite Chef Products.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Compressions Mirrored Swim Goggles

 

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Summer is in full swing in Southern California, and the pool is open for business. I recently got a chance to try out some pretty cool swim goggles from Compressions, and having bought more than a few of these in the past, I’m liking how they’re holding up so far!IMAG3178

 

Compressions Mirrored Swim Goggles are anti-fog and anti-leak. I guarantee anyone who has used swim goggles in the past has had a problem with one or both issues. Compressions coated the inside of the lenses with an anti-fog treatment that means no matter the time used, these goggles won’t fog. Nothing is worse than swimming around blindly and crashing into a wall. Or worse, someone else, because your goggles fogged up and you can’t see. Thankfully these goggles are also shatter proof as well!

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The only worse thing is them filling with water. We’ve had more than our fair share of leaky goggles, and it’s probably one of Hubby’s top pet peeves. There’s a lot of stuff in our water to keep it clear, fresh and clean, and trust me, you want none of it in your eyes. Chlorine, muriatic acid, floculant, tri-chlor tablets? No thanks, I’ll just use my Compressions Swim Goggles.

What’s nice is that these goggles also sport mirrored lenses. On a bright, sunny day, I want to wear my sunglasses. But none I had fit over or under some swim goggles. Compressions took care of that by making an all-in-one solution with these mirrored lenses. They even give you 100% UV protection! It’s like sunblock for your eyes! I can’t think of anything I didn’t like.

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Hubby has quite the large head, and they took a fair bit of adjusting to fit him properly. The infinitely adjustable silicone straps did finally fit his big ol’ pumpkin head. They did, however, dribble slightly under water, and jumping in meant the came right off his head too. That never happened with his Speedo branded goggles, and he did notice that the lenses were not 100% optically correct, which basically means they had some small distortion from lens to lens and that can lead to eye fatigue, but it’s not like he’s wearing them to drive or something else terribly important, so I doubt it’ll be of any major concern. The also came with a nifty little carry/storage case so that hopefully they last for years and years to come. And finally, Compressions backs their goggles with a 12 month “No Questions Asked” 100% refund and return guarantee, so if you’re needing some high quality swim goggles, I recommend giving Compressions Swim Goggles a try!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Compressions.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Inspired Basics Nomex Heat-Resistant Oven Gloves

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It’s should be no secret that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, trying new things. Hot handles, pans and oven racks are par for the course. Sometimes, our potholders don’t cover right, or are awkward, or just flat out don’t give you enough grip. Oh, but if only there was an oven safe glove that was EN 407 and ISO Certified up to 662 degrees, with a soft cotton interior, and silicone grip bumps on them. Oh, wait…Inspired Basics has just such a glove!!

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I’ve tried silicone BBQ gloves/mitts in the past. I even reviewed a pair here. They’re pretty good. They can be awkward to clean, wear, and use, and fit me poorly, and while dishwasher safe can start to build up a film and hold a smoke smell pretty quickly. And silicone gets pretty slippery when wet. My fondness for them faded pretty quickly. But these gloves (machine washable…yay!) seem more for me. with a form fit and protection halfway up my forearm, there’s no worries about grabbing a deep roasting dish and getting that burn on your wrist. I can get my fingers into the handles just fine, and lose almost no dexterity. And while they did fit me, they were very large. That would be my one drawback, and I wish they came in more sizes. They fit hubby nearly perfectly, though. And that’s good, because he isn’t as well rehearsed in the kitchen as I am. Thankfully, these are the made of the same flame-resistant material used in racing and firefighter’s survival suits, Nomex. So, these are good for the BBQ as well. and again, being machine-washable there’s no worry about stains or grease or soot, because one quick trip through the old washer and they’re good as new! I would, though, for the sake of durability, probably recommend hand-washing and air drying. Things just get cleaner and last longer that way for me. Now, don’t go pouring boiling water over them. That’s the one single benefit of silicone gloves is water resistance, but these are fiber and 100% cotton, so don’t go grabbing pasta out of the boiling water or anything.

Lest you think these gloves are good for the kitchen only, you can use them to safely grip just about any dry, hot surface you can think of. Hot light bulbs? Check. Hot engine parts? Check. Hot logs on a chimenea fire need arranging? Check, check and check! I like these Nomex Heat-Resistant Gloves from Inspired basics, and I think you will too. They’re also backed by a lifetime, no-questions-asked, 100% refund policy, so you can buy with confidence.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Inspired Basics.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Style Asia Chef’s Basic 18-piece BBQ Grill Tool Kit

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I’ve had more than a few BBQ kits in my time, and they run the gamut form “Most Excellent” to “Right in the Trash”. And cost does not always equate to quality. So when the chance to try out an review a new Style Asia set popped up to review, I jumped in with both feet. Because you could always use a few good tools on the grill.

I would have to say, sadly, that I found this kit lacking. While it is attractive to look at and seems like it comes with an impressive amount of tools in the kit, it’s just not up to snuff with quality. To start, the tongs came loose in the box, and just beat the stuffing out of everything else in the kit. The glue that holds the velcro holder into the case ripped loose from several tools when I when to check them, effectively rendering the case useless. The grill brush had some schmutz on the handle, and it was rusting. That last bit bears repeating: The stainless steel handle was rusting. For those unaware, stainless steel is supposed to resist rust. If it’s rusting already in the dry case, with a moisture absorbing pouch to boot, I shudder to think what would happen exposed to the elements in the least. And, sadly, the steak knives were bent and a corn holder cracked, most likely due to the tongs going all bonkers, loose in the case.

Aside from the QC issues, all the tools seem sturdy, serviceable, and up to the task of grilling. I like that everything one would need for a 4-person BBQ night is right in the case and within easy reach. Even the basting brush has a removable, machine-washable silicone head (an upgrade from the bristle brush shown in the product picture). The aluminum case locks securely closed, and even has plate suitable for engraving. The 18-piece kit hase everything one would need save for the steaks. Competitively priced at $39.10 (at the time of this writing), this could make a thoughtful gift, especially with Father’s Day right around the corner. So long as the quality control issues are ironed out, that is. Otherwise, buyer beware.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Third Voice Marketing for the purposes of review. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Puna Instant-Read Digital Meat Thermometer #meatthermometer

My husband does a lot of grilling and BBQ, and for those that know the difference, they also know that the proper tools can sometimes make all the difference. So this Puna Instant-Read Digital Meat Thermometer seemed like a shoo-in for or product favorites rating. Sadly, it fell far short, and I’ll go over just how and why here.

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For starters, I was initially told this thermometer was waterproof. It’s not, far from it. In fact, it’s very shoddily assembled and not only lets in water, but dust, oil, grease, or almost anything, really. It isn’t even meant to hold together well, so be careful putting it down, lest the top pop off. Next, it’s not very accurate. Temperature swings from 2-5 degrees (or more) at a time are not uncommon, and that can be frustrating. Incredibly so. It also takes a while to actually get a read of the temperature, far in excess of the 6-8 seconds advertised by Puna. When you have your face in a hot smoker, that’s not any kind of fun, as hubby has attested to on frequent occasion.

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It takes a LR44 button cell battery, which are now, thankfully, fairly common and cheap, but might not always be readily on hand to replace. Unfortunately, you can’t get the battery out to replace it without causing damage to the unit, so it’s a one-and-done unit. Puna’s Digital Meat Thermometer thankfully has an auto-shutoff, which should negate any quick battery drain. It also comes with a full-sized plastic sheath. That’s about the extent of the positives for this Puna Digital Meat Thermometer.

 

Lastly. I must touch on the construction. It is very, very poorly constructed. I’ve never had cause to disassemble any thermometer I ever owned, yet when I was seeing how to replace the battery on this Puna thermometer, it completely came apart. As the pictures will show, every expense was clearly spared in it’s construction, and it is clearly not built to last at all. At almost $13 apiece (at the time of this writing), you’re better off spending your money on a better built, more accurate product that might last you more than a few uses. Puna offers a lifetime replacement guarantee, according to their Amazon.com listing, and comes with a free digital e-book entitled “BBQ Mastery Guide”, but it is still grossly overpriced for what you’re getting. The listing is also all over the place, with pictures that aren’t relevant to the listing, and descriptors that defy explanation, like calling a 9 & 1/2″ thermometer “pocket-sized”. I simply can’t recommend this product, and while I hate to be so down on a product I got for free to test and review, I also can’t in good conscience recommend it at all.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Puna, Inc. and Giveaway Service.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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