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While I am not in love with Crowdtap anymore, they have been trying to butter me (well not me but all of the disgruntled members) up with new offers.  My newest was a sample for Hershey's new chocolate spreads.  They come in three flavors: chocolate, chocolate with hazelnut, and chocolate with almond.  Of course they sent me the one I was hoping I wouldn't get... the one with almonds.  I don't mind almonds but they certainly are not my favorite.  Nevertheless, it IS chocolate.  Our duty was to try the spread with many different items.  The shipments were very delayed so I haven't tried it with many things but its pretty good with cookies (especially Pepperidge Farm's Sausalito) and fruit.  The next time I make waffles, I would love to try making sandwiches with this and sliced banana.  I've done it before with peanut butter and it is soooo good.  The spread is very cream and spreads like a dream.  It's not good for you.  At all.  Not even a little bit.  Use sparingly especially if pairing it with other junk like above ;)
 
 
As you all know, one of my favorite programs ever has been Crowdtap.  Not only did I earn Amazon gift cards to use for Christmas shopping just by participating, but I earned some great sample shares and hosted parties.  My love for them has faded however and I can no longer recommend them.  Every few months as they have grown, they have made big changes to accommodate the growth.  They all stung a little.  The bigger problems started late last year.  They had a lot more people earning the gift cards through heavy participation but the number of gift cards did not seem to be increasing.  So they made a once per month redemption rule where there would be a huge rush at the two times that day for people to cash in.  They sold out quickly and people were mad.  They announced that they would be changing the system for the better and we held out hope.  Then in January, they sent out notice that they were DOUBLING the amount of points needed to cash in.  You would now need 40,000 points to get a $10 gift card instead of 20,000.  Crazy person say whaaaaat?!?  Do you know how much work it took to get 40,000 points?  Probably not.  I'll fill you in... a LOT.  The absolute worst part of that shady move?  It was effective for the February 1st redemption!  So it was not a "this is going to happen after this last chance" type thing.  Lots of people were justifiably angry.  A couple more months of redemptions then the new "improved" system came.  

The improvement?  That the whole reward system was changing to a drawing based system.  So you could spend hours and hours a week to win top awards on the discussions, dozens of quick hits, and going out of your way to participate in photo challenges and then still not win anything or maybe win $5 for the whole month.  The top 100 for the brand in the current month get a bonus amount of points but it was such a trivial amount that it did nothing.  I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt for a few months and see.  Results... AWFUL.  The most I won in one month was $10 and that was only once.  I was one of the few good tappers left that put thought into their submissions.  I almost always received stars for my posts and had several top awards (from back when there was stiff competition with a lot of great tappers).  Then you would go on the Crowdtap facebook page and see people with less than half of the entries, few top 100 finishes (or worse... none), and no top awards getting 5,6,7, even 8!! prizes.  We tried to show Crowdtap how flawed their new system was.  If they don't want to put the money into rewarding people how they were in the past, they needed to at least fix this type of system.  Some good suggestions were given like increasing the amount of points you get for time consuming things (like top awards, top 100 finishes, "excellent" rated reports, etc) by a very considerable amount or by matching top 100 finisher's points (for instance if they earned 7,000 points that month, they get a bonus 7,000 for the drawing), etc.  They always say they are listening but no changes for the better ever came.  

The absolute worst part?  No more OLD NAVY!!! :(  They pulled out of the program.  This was the one "crowd" that I was amazing enough for me to stay with Crowdtap no matter the rewards because the Sample Shares and hosted parties were that amazing and that frequent.  The amount of samples and parties has gone down in general (and the quality of the packages for the ones they do have, have gone down for most) so to take Old Navy out of the mix... not worth it anymore.  I am still a member and I will still go on once or twice a week (hey maybe I'll be one of those lucky "do little, get lucky and win" people, if not, I didn't waste a lot of time) but don't recommend it for others as most people don't have as much patience for these types of programs as I do.  Fear not though, there is another program that I have not blogged about yet that is actually my new favorite (reward wise not product wise) that I will be posting soon.  Stay tuned... it is definitely worth it :)
 
 
Well tonight I got to spend some time with E (the person not the drug o_O) shopping for some activewear for free courtesy of Crowdtap and Old Navy.  After my amazing trip for the winter Active sample share (you can read about that here), I was expecting a lot.  To be honest, when I first walked in, I was a bit underwhelmed.  Then as I started browsing, it got a little worse because somethings from the somewhat small selection were already clearance.  From my selection photos, it looks like there is a lot of selection but most of the tops were sports bras and a good portion of the tops and bottom from the photos were clearance and just mixed in.  All of the things that are crossed out in red were not available at all in my store (I was really looking forward to that top, faux layered tank).  As you can see, it's a lot of red.  Then the orange was because the padded cami was not available in those colors.  In fact, it was only available in gray.  
I actually really liked the padded cami (if I had chosen this, I would have had to go up a size though because my girls could not breathe) and strongly considered it.  In the end I chose to get another compression jacket even though I know that I won't be able to wear it for a few months because of the heat.  You already know how much I love them.  The padded cami looked great and was both practical and versatile.  Since I was going to get it free, I chose the $35 jacket to put away for the fall.  I figure that Old Navy will more than likely have a 40-50% off and since the cami is regularly priced at $20, I am taking the chance that I can grab it for a reasonable price.  The bubble top was ok but probably not something that I would wear to workout.  Many of it's colors were clearance already.  The mesh tee was ok but not my favorite.  
My biggest disappointment was the selection of bottoms.  It has already been hot in this area and almost all of the bottoms were long pants.  There were some shorts (not my thing) and only one type of capris (in 3 I think? colors) that were not clearance.  They did not have the skort that I really wanted to try to see if it was long enough on me.  I honestly was shocked the proportion of pants that they had.  Most stores have already been taken over by shorts and capris by now and just have a few pants for those that use them year round.  I got the black with pink detail capris shown above.  I love them.  I loved the way they felt and fit.  I wasn't sure which ones I was going to get between those and the same pair with blue but I went with the pink since I have a hot pink athletic tee.  I love the two pieces that I got so overall the trip was success.  I think that E got the outfit from the bottom right photo.  
 
 
I forgot to post this preview earlier but better late than never right?  I love love love the top faux layered tank.  It has coverage and comes in great colors.  The padded cami is cute and look versatile (able to be worn with non workout clothing).  Since the pants are too long, there are several capris that I want to try.  My favorite item though?  The skort.  It has compression shorts (love compression gear but don't like the lack of modesty of tight, thin material on my bum) but is covered up with a skirt.  If it fits longer on me than it does on the model in the photo (which Old Navy clothing usually does), it will be the perfect bottom for hot summer workouts.
 
 
Remember how I posted here about that fantastic party kit that Marc Jacobs and Crowdtap sent me to promote the DOTS fragrance? 
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Yes I realize, I broke the plates... the cost of not using good plates ;)
Well, it was so much fun.  I made little lady bug crackers using pepperoni and olives, corn on the cob "dots", and I cut strawberries sideways so that they were circles instead of hearts and paired them with blueberries.  The rest was provided by the other ladies (there was all sorts of food, this was just what was on the table in the beginning).  This is a close up of some (not all) of the favors including some of the ladybug closet/car fresheners that I made out of the blotter cards.  I cut them in half, glued it onto some black construction paper w/ a ribbon, and sprayed it down (in two layers, dried in between) with the perfume.  I think they came out pretty cute and they smell great.  
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Close up of the lady bug fresheners
The response was really positive for the perfume.  I was pretty surprised that everybody liked it.  I like it but everybody has different tastes when it comes to scents so I figured at least a few ladies would turn their noses up at the DOTS.  Everyone really liked the samples and thought the nail decals were cute.  This ended up being one of the most fun things that I have done for Crowdtap.
 

Woolite

04/23/2013

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Another current campaign that I am in right now is a sample share for Woolite.  They sent me 10 sample packs, one for me and 9 to pass out (one person not shown because she grabbed and ran lol).  The response was very positive overall to the samples. I told them that Woolite is good for all of your clothes not just the delicates.  The smell is nice but not overpowering.  It is supposed to keep your clothes looking new longer by preventing fading, stretching, pilling, etc. I have some clothing, especially darker clothing like some dark blue jeans that really could have used something like this as they are noticeably faded.  The one thing that I do have to say is that I haven't used Woolite in the past and one load is not enough for me to be able to tell if it really lives up to it's claims. Even with cheap detergent, I haven't had those problems after just one wash. Since the brand has been known as a premium detergent (for me Woolite and Tide come to mind personally) that has a good reputation for working well (while also being more expensive) the chances of it living up to it's claims were good. My eyes are open for upcoming deals on Woolite so I can try a bottle so let me know if you find a good deal.  Do any of you use Woolite?  Does it live up to the claims and is it worth the extra money?
 
 
Look at that stack!  My latest Sample Share with Crowdtap was for Cottonelle.  They are promoting their clean routine where they encourage the use of toilet paper AND wet wipes.  Have you seen the funny commercials where they do hidden camera pranks on people showing the importance of water (the waterless car wash, the bus boy wiping down the table with a dry cloth, etc)?  They are funny and they really prove the point.  If a dry cloth doesn't get a car or a dirty table clean, what makes you think that it does better for your behind?  I grew up using wet wipes (before the nice ones from Cottonelle, Scott, and Charmin came out, we used the cheapest baby wipes possible) so this was not new to me but who turns down free toilet paper?!  They sent me an 18 pack of double rolls for myself as well as 2 4packs to hand out AND three tubs of the wet wipes to accompany the toilet paper.

Cottonelle is one of my favorite brands of toilet paper to begin with though I don't use it exclusively.  I like that it is thick but doesn't clog the toilets (like Charmin does).  It is soft without being flaky.  And the ridges get the business done if you know what I mean.  The wet wipes smell fantastic and are flushable.  The tubs come in all sorts of fun colors and patterns.  The ones I already have are plain white and a white with flowers so for my freebie, my son chose a blue one for his bathroom.  We even used them when we went camping last week for our whole body.

For this particular share, I am not going to post the people's photos (yes I did take them to give a good report though).  But one person that I gave them to said she already loves the wipes but uses a different toilet paper.  I haven't asked her yet what she thought of the samples.  The other person was so thrilled with the sample.  She too already uses wipes (but uses the dollar store baby wipes) and hadn't tried Cottonelle yet.  She hasn't used it yet so no feedback.  You wouldn't believe how excited people get 
 
 
This past weekend, K and I went to Old Navy to pick up our free Old Navy "Best Tees."  To check out my previous post on this sample share, click here. Right away I noticed that all of the long sleeve tees (and even some of the short sleeve vintage tees) were on clearance already... darn!  But there were soooo many colors available of the vintage v-neck, perfect crew neck, and perfect henley.  Look at the rainbow of colors below.  It reminds me of their flipflop wall that they do in the summer that is just a humongous rainbow.
The vintage tees were longer, thinner material, and not as fitted.  The perfect tees are fitted, a regular length, and had shorter sleeves as well.  I like the perfect fit more so most of what I tried on was from the henley selection.  I do wish they came in a v-neck since I am not a huge fan of crew neck (I do have a few of their crew necks that I mostly wear with scarves though).  I think it is great that they have the two different fits though.  It means that you will most likely be able to rock one or the other.  If you are thinner (or bigger but smoother if that makes any sense), you will be able to rock both. 
Henleys- 
They did the buttons and neckline differently this year than they did last year which I was actually a little bummed about.  Last year, all buttons were functional so if you buttoned it all the way up, it was a scoop neck.  The button section went down lower so if you wanted to layer with a contrasting color tank/cami, it could show more.  This year, all of the buttons are just for show.  It is a pretty deep v and you can not change how much it is opened at all.  I prefer last years version better.  They were still cute though so I got two.
The above left is the only vintage tee that I tried on.  I liked the kind of faded/heathered blue color.  I also liked that the sleeves are a bit longer because I am not a fan of my arms right now (need to start working out again).  This is where it ended.  I look fine in the cropped photo right?  Well there was a reason I cropped it lol.  Because of the longer length on my shorter body and not so flat midsection, it draped awfully right on my belly bulge.  This cut looked great on K who is "smoother" around the midsection.  She actually liked a pink striped version and considered it as her second (that bright blue was a definite for her first).  Her reasoning for choosing something else was actually that the material was somewhat see through so she'd have to watch what color bra she was wearing.  
These are the tees we picked.  We both picked that bright blue henley (it was such a pretty color).  For my other tee, I got the greenish/brownish earthy tone that is the top right one on my preview photo.  It is a little bit lighter than it looks in my photo but as you can see, it looks nice with tan so it will be very versatile.  For K's second, she went with the blue perfect crew that she is holding in her hand.  I thought the color was ok on the shelf but on her it really popped and looked very pretty.  There was a pretty pink that looked nice on both of us that I considered but went for blue in the end. 
Overall opinions of this share:

Selection- Many colors to choose from at my store in both styles.

Cut- I do wish that the sleeves were a bit longer on the perfect fit as I don't like my upper arms.  Also a v-neck in perfect would be amazing.

Material- both were soft but the material on the vintage was so thin that it was see through in several colors.

Fit- I like that there are two very different fits to try to fit more body styles.  Perfect works better for me but I like that there are options

Staff- They were nice as usual.  The cashier asked me "is this a coupon?" when I handed it to her which I found kind of funny.  The coupon didn't scan this time for some reason? But it did go through when the cashiers manually typed in our coupons so we did not have any problems.  The fitting room attendant was very nice and gave us rooms near the big mirror when I requested it and didn't seem annoyed at all that we were taking so long.

Store- While they were not right next to each other, the perfect and vintage tees were in the same general section so easy to find.  We were there soon after opening on a Sunday morning so it was not at all crowded.  The tees were pretty well organized as well. 
 
 
WOW WOW WOW!  This kit is amazing.  I can't wait to share these goodies with the ladies.  That large bottle of perfume costs like $69 alone!  Then there is the cute mini bottle and a bunch of the mini vial samples!  I am wearing the headband right now while cleaning.  And I have to learn how to wear a square scarf.  I am all about scarves but don't own any square ones so we'll see how I do.  And below the the mini bottle is a stack of manicure kits with polka dot nail decals, mini emery board, etc.  SO exciting! 
 
 
As I mentioned earlier, my newest Crowdtap Sample Share for Old Navy is for their Best Tees.  Half of my tops that I have are Old Navy tees both long sleeve, short sleeve, and in between.  They come in two basic fits... the Perfect fit and the Vintage fit.  The Perfect fit tee is more fitted which is what I prefer so I have a lot of these.  The vintage is a little more loose and also comes in some heathered colors to match the vintage name though they do have some regular colors as well. I do have some of these as well.  After looking online at the selection, there are three types of shirt that I am looking at (though I will still look at others if they have additional colors in store or if they have v neck short sleeve tees).  I like the Perfect Henley shirt (I already have this in charcoal gray), the Perfect v-neck long sleeve tee (I already have a couple of these as well and would consider it in short sleeve too if they have it), and the Vintage V-neck long sleeve tee (you guessed it... I have a couple of these).  From looking at the photo, you can see that I don't have a particular color in mind this time.  I am open to several colors (or maybe even more if there are other colors available) though there are a few colors I don't look good in so I wouldn't consider (yellow, orange, most light pastels, and I don't wear white).  And I do not need any more gray shirts so I won't be getting those.  I have 4 (I think?) Old Navy tees already... a short sleeve charcoal gray perfect henley, a long sleeve light gray perfect crew neck tee, a heathered gray vintage tee, a long sleeve charcoal gray (I think vintage fit)... oh and a medium gray 3/4 length sleeve Old Navy tee that is not from their "Best Tees" line.  I am open to pinks, purples, blues (can you believe I don't have any navy blue long sleeve tees?!), that light red above, aqua/teal, and natural colors like the top right.