Posts Tagged ‘Product Review’

Product Review: Allay Lamp – Plus $25 Coupon!

February 23, 2021 1 comment
A glowing green lamp.

The Allay lamp is a narrow band green light therapy lamp that I purchased in early November 2020. Why did I do such a thing?

Emerging research suggests that green light therapy may be beneficial for migraines. I have episodic (non-chronic) migraines with aura. This means that I have fewer than 15 migraines a month. Fifteen or more would make it chronic. When I do have migraines, I experience aura. For me, my aura presents as seeing sound (synesthesia). What I read initially was that using a green light during a migraine as your light source might mean needing to try to function through a migraine could be less painful (akin to putting on sunglasses during a migraine). While my migraines have improved significantly since I began working remotely due to the pandemic last March, I was still having them. What really pushed it over the edge for me was that I was struggling to do yoga at home. Basically, the lighting in our home is primarily overhead. If I was in even the beginning stages of a migraine, I found it painful to do yoga. It was important to me for stress management to be able to continue to practice, so I started investigating in alternative lighting sources. But all of them just seemed like they would still cause me pain if I was symptomatic. The Allay lamp seemed like it at least stood a shot of giving me enough light to practice yoga while not causing me pain.

What’s special about green light? Different colors of light are also different wavelengths. The Allay lamp uses a very specific narrow range of green light that is small enough that it isn’t painful to look at for people with light sensitivity due to migraine. (Their website does a far better job of giving a detailed explanation than I just did.) Interestingly, new research is emerging that shows that use of green light therapy by those with migraines had a significant reduction in number of migraine days, as well as even more significant reduction how bad the migraine was when it did come, as well as improvement in quality of life. (Martin et al, 2021)

So the science is, arguably, limited, but promising, and this is a non-invasive treatment. Essentially – it’s a light. If I didn’t like it, I could just…not use it. So I figured I would go ahead and try it. Plus, I really liked that it’s charged by usb and fully portable. If I was going to use it regularly, it needed to be able to easily move around the house with me.

I’ve used it since the middle of November. This is just a description of my own experience as a person with episodic migraines with aura.

A woman in a flannel shirt looks directly into a glowing green light
  • If I am feeling at all light sensitive, I can use the Allay lamp without pain from light. This allows me to continue doing some activities.
  • Usually when I am feeling light sensitive, I am also actually in some low-level pain without realizing it. About an hour or so into using the light, I will notice that pain suddenly easing.
  • If I am experiencing prodrome (pre-migraine symptoms that tell me a migraine is oncoming), sometimes I can actually arrest the migraine by putting myself in a dark room with my Allay lamp for an hour. This is true regardless of what I am doing while I am using Allay (ie I’m not always doing yoga when I use Allay, so it’s not the yoga.) This is so much the case that if I am exhibiting any prodrome symptoms my spouse, who used to suggest I take some ibuprofen and have some caffeine (which can sometimes arrest migraines), has now started saying, “Maybe you should go spend some quality time with your lamp.”
  • My migraines are not entirely gone, but they are less frequent, less severe, and I can arrest them when they start at night without messing up my sleep by drinking caffeine. I’m also able to take ibuprofen less often, something I prefer. (I prefer not to take any medication unless I must). If I am in an active migraine, the pain is eased by spending time with Allay.
  • I usually feel less anxious after using Allay. It’s possible that my anxiety is exacerbated by pain, so this is just a symptom of the pain easing. I suppose I could try using it on a day when I am not in pain but am feeling anxious to test this. If I do, I will update this review further.

A note that when you first come out of the green light, regular light looks a little wonky. I think it looks kind of like a pinkish-purple. This was noted on the paperwork that came with my lamp and that it would pass. It’s just from seeing one wavelength of light for a time. It passes very rapidly for me (under 2 minutes), and frankly I enjoy seeing the purple light anyway (cue Purple Rain). It comes with a shade to “direct” the light. Personally, I felt like it just blocked one side of the light and didn’t make the other side stronger, so I don’t use it. The directions say you can lay your palm on the top to turn it on, but I find I have to purposefully put my finger at the particular on location on the top of the lamp.

So, bottom line? If you have migraines and the money to spare, I recommend trying it for the reasons I explained above. If you don’t have migraines but do think you’d like to try a different type of relaxation light, I don’t see any reason not to try it. The light is soothing to me, and it’s portable and easy to set up.

Currently, Allay is $149. Get $25 off the cost of the lamp by using my referral link here (the referral link generates a coupon code).
Full disclosure: I receive $25 for every purchase made with my link. However, all of my opinions in this review are an honest reflection of my experience with Allay. I tried it for three months prior to posting to ensure I had a solid amount of use of Allay prior to reviewing. I use it at least once a week, sometimes more often.

Disclaimer: The information given in this review is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Seek advice from a qualified health care provider before starting a new treatment or discontinuing a current treatment. Speak with your health care provider about any questions you may have.

If you found this review helpful, please consider tipping me on ko-fi, checking out my digital items available in my ko-fi shop, buying one of my publications, or using one of my referral/coupon codesThank you for your support!

Product Review: Squatty Potty

August 31, 2015 5 comments

Back in July, I found out that I had won a giveaway that I entered on the blog Yoga by Candace.  (Candace’s blog is excellent.  If you’re into yoga, I highly recommend checking her out).  I actually had kind of mixed feelings about the fact that out of all the blog giveaways I’ve entered, this is the one I’d won.  While I was very excited to try out the product, I also was kind of embarrassed at the thought of it actually being in my house.

I emailed my fiancé and excitedly told him I’d won a giveaway! That was a $90 value! His response was basically “Yay! Wait…what did you win? What?”

What is this product that elicits such mixed emotions?

The Squatty Potty.

Basically it’s a stool to help you poop better.  The theory is that humans were designed to squat when we poop.  If you think about it, our ancestors weren’t taking a relaxing seat when they went.  If you’ve ever had to poop while camping, you are familiar with how our ancestors actually pooped.  Squatting. Over a hole.  In fact in Eastern countries this is often still done.  In any case, the designer of the Squatty Potty discovered that having your legs at the squatting angle removes a bend from your colon. This means your poop comes out better, relieving hemorrhoids and constipation.  Now, I was skeptical of this, but I also figured, what have I got to lose trying it for free? Also, Candace gave away the top-of-the-line bamboo Squatty Potty, and I just really love bamboo products.

The Squatty Potty arrived flat-packed.  We unboxed it, discovered we had to assemble it, and proceeded to not assemble it for a few weeks.  I wish we had assembled it sooner.  First, it actually wasn’t hard to assemble at all.  Second, we’d have had two more weeks of getting to use it.

Product Review: Squatty PottyThe assembly is really easy.  Like if assembling Ikea furniture is Mount Everest, the Squatty Potty is a leisurely stroll up a gentle hill.  The instructions clearly explain how to set up the Squatty Potty to be the right height for your toilet and your abilities.  There are two heights of toilets in the West, so you do have to measure the height of your toilet to see which one you have.  From there, you can choose either regular or advanced squatting.  Regular squatting isn’t actually squatting.  Your legs are just casually resting on the stool. No effort involved.  From what I understand, advanced would require actual squatting, but we’ve never tried it, so I could be wrong.

When you’re not actually in need of the Squatty Potty, it tucks away very nicely under your toilet. You hardly notice it.  (Well, our cat notices it.  She rubs her face on it every time she walks by, but that’s cats for you).

Product Review: Squatty PottyWhen you are ready to use it, you just sit on the toilet and pull the Squatty Potty out to the distance that feels comfortable for you.  It has handy handles and is very lightweight so pulling it out and sliding it back is really easy.  You can see it at the approximate “in use” position below.

Product Review: Squatty PottyIf you would like to see a person actually sitting in the position, click on through to the Squatty Potty website.  That is not a picture I was willing to model for, lol.

So, what were the results? Our incredulity was completely unwarranted.  It really works. Exactly like it says it does.  You will poop far faster. Your colon will also empty out more fully, meaning less repeat visits to the bathroom.  We were utterly shocked at how much less time we are spending in the bathroom.  It’s to the point where I’m now sad that these aren’t in public bathrooms.  I’m genuinely sad when I have to poop, and there’s no squatty potty.

You may be thinking, why can’t you just squat without it?  Maybe you could if you’re really tall.  If you’re average height or shorter, though, it’s impossible to squat to the proper angle without something to boost you up higher.  You just can’t hang your butt down far enough without touching the toilet.

On top of the fact that it works, it’s also really comfortable to use.  You can just sit comfortably and rest your arms on your knees.  You could easily linger there comfortably, except you won’t have to because the Squatty Potty does its job so well.  We like it so much, we’re actually talking about gifting it to people at the holidays.

If you would like to try one out, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so.  Squatty Potty offers a range of models, costing $25 for a plastic one, $60 for a slim one, and $80 for the bamboo one we have.  My fiancé pointed out that he thinks it would be nice if the company had another high-end model for people whose decor would not go with bamboo.  For instance, a modern looking one made out of something like carbon fiber.  I think this is a great expansion idea for the company.  I could definitely see it helping the brand to expand into sleek, modern designs, in addition to the all-natural bamboo.

(You may be wondering why I said this was a $90 value win, when our Squatty Potty costs $80.  That’s because we also got a $10 value Sweet Loo Potty Spray).
ETA as of 2020 the cost has gone down to $39.99.

Overall, words cannot sufficiently express how awesome the Squatty Potty is.  It flummoxes me that our toilets were designed in such a bad way, but it overjoys me that someone stepped up and designed a simple, cheap fix.  Everyone should try one of these.  You will not regret it.

If you found this review helpful, please consider tipping me on ko-fi, checking out my digital items available in my ko-fi shop, buying one of my publications, or using one of my referral/coupon codesThank you for your support!

5 out of 5 stars

Source: won from a blog giveaway

Buy It

Product Review: Print from Easy Canvas Prints

August 24, 2011 1 comment

I was wonderfully excited to receive my second offer for a product review from Melissa Pont of Easy Canvas Prints.  In her super-friendly email she gave me the opportunity to create my own 8 by 10 print in exchange for reviewing my experience (and the print) here.  As a 20-something slowly trying to decorate my apartment like an adult, I jumped at the opportunity.

The site basically creates professional artist quality prints from your own photos.  This means any one of your many digital photos can become a piece of artwork in your home.  By far the only difficult part of my whole experience was choosing which picture I wanted hanging in my home!  I love taking photos, and Boston as well as my visits home to Vermont gave me a whole slew of scenic items to choose from.  I finally decided to narrow it down by first choosing which section of my apartment needed decoration the most.  My kitchen won by a long-shot, as it only had one picture hanging in it.  Once I chose my kitchen, I knew which picture I wanted in there.

I took a picture my senior year of undergrad at a New Year’s Eve party of raspberries in champagne with SoCo in the background.  The colors in the photo (yellow and red) go with the color theme I’m slowly working on in my kitchen, so that was the choice!  I then had to visit Easy Canvas Prints to create the print.

The website is clearly set-up and guides you through each step smoothly.  First you upload the picture.  Second you choose which size you want.  Third you choose if you want a border or not.  If not, your photo wraps around the edge.  I wanted a border, so I then had to choose what style.  I selected a solid color and a golden-yellow to match the color of the champagne.  You then simply place your order.

My print arrived in just about a week, which I think is a very reasonable time-frame for creation and shipment.  It arrived well-packaged in completely recyclable cardboard and brown paper and clearly stamped as “Fragile.”  Hanging it literally took me about one minute, as the bracket for hanging was perfectly placed on the back, so I simply had to stick a nail in my wall.

It’s a truly gorgeous print and has absolutely added a level of class to my kitchen.  I had a wonderful experience with Easy Canvas Prints, and I encourage those looking for professional quality art for their home made from their own photos to check it out.  It’s a truly unique way to decorate your home.

Print of champagne.

Close-up of the print.

Picture on wall of kitchen.

Print hanging on my kitchen wall. Notice how the raspberries match my red toaster. 😉

Product Review: DeVant 4 Tier Mesh Shelf from CSN Stores

August 11, 2010 1 comment

My lovely loyal readers will recall that I announced that CSN Stores offered me a free product in exchange for my honest review.  Well, it arrived, and I’m excited to tell you all about it!

After pondering the possibilities for the price limit they set, I decided what I really needed was a shelf for my kitchen.  Boston apartments are notorious for being cramped spaces, and much as I love mine, it seriously is lacking in cabinetry/places to put shit.  My cookbooks were stacked up in messy piles under the microwave.  Not the best for ready reference while cooking!  Anyway, so I measured one of the narrow nooks in my kitchen, found a shelf that matched the proportions and was within budget, and ordered away.  The delivery was faster than the spacing of my blog posts implies.  It arrived a couple days or so after I placed the order.

Box and cat.

It arrived in a nice, plain box.  This is good because some companies have a tendency not to wrap the box in another box, and then it gets left on my porch for hours announcing to the world the free awesome stuff inside they could steal.  So yay for plain packaging!  Also, it was really easy to open.  (My cat at this point in time was taking a brief break from rubbing her face all over the box.  She REALLY loves boxes).

Pieces to assemble.

This is exactly how it looked right out of the box.  Not too intimidating, eh?  (To those wondering, at this point in time my cat was attempting to stuff her tubby self into the very narrow box. Hilarity ensued).  I was a bit surprised that there was exactly one page of instructions for assembly, but it turned out to be quite easy.  Anyone who has assembled Ikea furniture would find it to be a piece of cake.  I had a few doubts at first that it would be at all stable, but actually once all the pieces are in place, it’s pretty darn stable.  I wouldn’t go putting super-heavy things on it though.  It’s not made for that.

Shelf next to stove in kitchen.Here it is all set-up! Later I moved it to be centered in that space.  I don’t know why I had it in the corner for the picture.  Who knows.  Anyway, it fits the space well, and I now have two open shelves to do what I want with.  I actually am enjoying using the top shelf as extra counter-top space when I’m cooking.  It comes in handy.

Shelf of cookbooks.And here’s a close-up of the cookbooks, because I know at least a few of you love shelf p*rn!  It turns out I have a lot fewer cookbooks than I thought I did.  I think this totally justifies me acquiring a few more when the budget allows it, don’t you?  If you *must* know what books are on the shelf, from left to right:

America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Perfect Vegetables, Vegetarian Bible, Adventures in Microwave Cooking (college), stir-fry cookbook, vegetarian cookbook (the actual names of those two elude me), Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies (from when I first went veg, it’s an *awesome* book!), Vegetables, The Little House Cookbook, Pumpkins, Vegetarian Italian Cooking, a vintage southern cooking cookbook (bday present from my dad), Nestle’s Best-Loved Cookies, and a family cookbook from my dad’s side of the family.

Hokay, back to the review!  Overall, my interactions with CSN Stores were entirely pleasant.  The site is easy to navigate with convenient left-bar search features such as price, size, color, etc…  Many items on the site ship for free, and the shipping was *fast*.  The item arrived well-packaged, and assembly was fairly easy.  I do wish the shelf was a bit sturdier, but it does its job well enough, particularly for the price.  Overall I would definitely recommend buying items from CSN Stores.  Their prices are competitive, they have good customer service, and their products are items any home would need.