Monday, August 21, 2017

Travelling with the TRTL Travel Pillow

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Travel can be a real pain in the neck, both figuratively and literally.  Air travel, especially if you're not on a window seat, often makes sleep difficult, especially with airlines cramming in more rows of seats and cutting the reclining distance.

I know I'm not the only one who has tried to nap on a long flight and woken up stiff and sore from having my head canted at a weird angle for several hours.  Travel pillows have tried to address this in the past, but usually I've found that, despite their bulk, they're just not stiff enough to provide support.

All that is to say, I was pretty excited to try out the TRTL Travel Pillow as a new option when I made two round-trip flights from Europe to the States in the last month.

So what is the TRTL Travel Pillow and why did I think this device would be any different?

Unlike traditional travel pillows, the TRTL model does not use any sort of stuffing to provide support. Instead, it's a fleece pocket with a curved, plastic neck support that rests against the side of one's neck to provide support from the shoulder to the head.

The plastic brace is removable for washing the cover. The pillow is secured by a fleece wrap with a hook and loop closure, which forms a sort of scarf wrap around the neck to hold the plastic brace in place. If you are looking for a place to sleep without a place to lay down, you'll be in for a good night's sleep usin the TRTL.

During my flights, my different seating options resulted in three different scenarios.

For my first flight, I was on a window seat.  Traditionally, this is a good spot for sleeping by leaning against the wall of the plane, so I didn't really need the TRTL pillow on the side of my neck.

But there's also the ability to attach the pillow so that the brace is on the front of the neck.  When I did this, I did discover one weak point: I'm tall and the TRTL is designed a little short for my neck, especially when placed in front.

To solve this problem, I took the travel pillow that Delta provides on international flights and placed it under the bottom edge of the TRTL to give it a little more lift.  A travel blanket, coat, or other small clothing item could just have easily met this need.

Once I got used to the feeling of an object being held against my neck (admittedly, you can feel the plastic edges of the brace), I fell asleep and actually managed to get about three hours of restful sleep, woke up to stretch the legs, and then went back to sleep again for another two hours.

No neck pain from my head rolling forward while leaning against the wall of the plane!  I considered this to be a great success.

My next flight was easily my most difficult.  I was stuck in a middle seat that had... issues.  The reclining function was broken, so the seat wouldn't even recline the couple of inches usually available.

Add on to that, the head rest attached to the seat itself was broken and wouldn't stay out when deployed.  It was the worst possible solution for trying to sleep on a nine hour flight... but I was going to try!

In order to get the seat's head rest to stick out at all, I had to wedge it forward with Delta's pillow.  I then put the TRTL Pillow on the side of my neck this time and used a bit of the travel blanket I had rolled up to boost it to the right height.

It was an awkward position (sleeping sitting straight up), but I did manage to doze off and intermittently nap for about two hours.  I can't say I got a lot of rest during that time, but that wasn't the fault of the pillow.

I will, however, say that despite the awkwardness of trying to sleep sitting straight up, I still woke with little to no neck pain thanks to being held in place.  Additionally, without the brace of the TRTL pillow I don't think I'd have gotten any sleep at all.

The third situation I was up against was better, since I was in an aisle seat that could recline and had a functional headrest.

For this case, I actually put the TRTL Pillow diagonally so that it was split between my right shoulder and the front of my neck.

I bolstered it up at the bottom with Delta's pillow, and leaned my head against the seat's headrest.

The TRTL Pillow managed to prevent my head from rolling forward or putting too much weight to the side and collapsing the headrest.

On this flight, I was able to get a fair amount of rest.

As a side note, this flight got a little bit cold, and the neck wrap used to secure the TRTL in place also does a good job of acting like a scarf to lock in warmth.

So what's the verdict?

There's no mac that's going to make sleeping in an economy seat on a flight a comfortable experience.  Legs are going to get stiff, you're going to be sitting up, and sometimes your seat is just going to suck.

But I honestly found that the TRTL Pillow, while unable to turn my seat into a bed, made each flight's sleeping experience a bit better.

I was really pleased with my rest on the flight where I had a window seat, and my aisle seat experience was about the same level of rest I usually get with a window seat.

The nightmare scenario was impossible to save, but the TRTL Pillow at least made it bearable and kept me from waking up in pain.  What seat you choose is still going to matter, but the pillow improved my sleep experience in each case.

I would like to see varied sizes of this product in the future.  If the brace on this model had been about 2 inches taller I feel like I could have gotten by without having to bolster the pillow up at all.
This shortcoming was easily overcome, but would require some planning on a domestic flight (where the airline won't provide a pillow and blanket for use).

Most importantly, even though my review sample was free, I would buy this pillow.  In fact, I'm recommending it to family members who are coming to visit Europe later this year!

The TRTL travel pillow comes in black, grey or red and can be purchased on their website for $29.99 (USD) with free shipping to the US.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Caring for Natural Hair with Hot Head (Giveaway)


For the last several weeks, I've been working with the Hot Head Thermal Hair Care Deep Conditioning Cap for review.  This product is intended to work with a variety of hair types and lengths, but I will be talking about how it handles my natural hair.

After going natural three years ago, I have found the love of my curls and the diversity in the different hairstyles I can do. Going from a big chop to neck length in three years for me is AMAZING!

With that being said, holy moly, it's a work-out to detangle, comb and even work with on a daily basis.

And those visits to the salon for a deep conditioning add up. With young children to look after, I honestly needed a lifesaver before I gave in to the relaxer.

Then I learned about Hot Head, a flax-filled microwavable cap meant to be used with conditioning products to hold in the heat while they work. To be honest, at first I didn't think a cap could actually make my hair feel softer unless I was under a dryer at the salon spending $75 each time. (Yes, it's really 75 bucks where I live.)

At that price, you can understand why I don't go as often as I need to and because it's so time consuming to do it myself, I often just wear this night cap turned daily life cap.

Yes, it is a hot mess and my husband often threatens to throw it away!

So, when I knew I'd be reviewing Hot Head, I didn't have a lot of hope that it'd do any better, but I headed off to the salon for a deep conditioner and a trim so my hair would start in good shape.

(Ok, I wanted an excuse to go, so on paper I will say I went for the sake of the review.)

It was a sorry-not-sorry moment and loved the fact I didn't have to do it myself.

My hair came out soft and smooth and I even had it straightened so it felt weightless. Sadly I do not have a picture for that, because as soon as I walked out the salon doors, I was greeted with nonstop rain that I did not expect, so my hair was poofy before I even got home. (Tear!)

So when the Hot Head arrived, I was actually excited to use it since it was two weeks after the salon waste of time trip.

I ordered the Forbidden Hot Head with skulls on it and it's a beautiful bright red terry on the inside and roses on the top. I LOVE THE FABRIC!!!

The Hot Head cap is reversible and reusable (my two favorite words!), and it also comes with 10 disposable shower caps that are used with it, so not to get product on the cap. This is a good thing, since it is recommended to only wipe clean and use a lint roller on cap.

The first time I used it, I needed to wash out the product in my hair, so I shampooed and conditioned and left the conditioner in my hair to use the Hot Head.

I following the instructions for the first time, and without extending the recommended time.

I found the heat to be OK and the results for my hair to be better then not having it on, but I didn't think the results were an equal replacement to the salon visit.

Now I think this was due to the amount of time I used it for. Per the instructions, I used it for 20 minutes. After that I rinsed and styled with the flaxseed gel and styled with a wash and go method.

The second time I used the cap, I increased the heating time to an extra 20 seconds in the microwave.

I did a co-wash and then applied conditioner and left the cap on for 30 mins. Then I rinsed and blow dried my hair, and rocked the fro for a few days.

During this time I also did a twist out for about 2 days, and it was time to wash again. The results for this was a little better. After taking the cap off and before washing, my hair was soft and had slip to it but after drying it there was no difference for me then without using it.

Now, the next time, I wanted to see the difference in using some of my homemade products, so I used a homemade shampoo with apple cider to clean the scalp and I then used some Shea butter and olive oil with egg conditioner and protein, then put the cap on.

Using two plastic caps and the Hot Head, I heated the cap for an additional 40 seconds past the instructions and left the cap on for 45 mins.


I literally had to call everyone I knew in my family that was having trouble with their hair about this product.

It did an even better job than the salon using this method. It was soft for the entire eight days I had my twist out, and it heated my hair up to the point I felt my scalp breathing, so it enabled me to have a great scalp massage and release my natural oils.

Plus it allowed all the product to reach every curl - I sometime get a rough patch in the middle of my head as if it didn't get treated, but this did not happen this time.

Even after drying my hair, my edges were like the rest of my hair. It sometimes seem rough and crispy, it that makes sense, but the Hot Head took care of that problem.

So, this product gets 5 stars from me!  I will for sure be getting the Little Hot Head for my daughter, to make working with her hair easier, too.

Of course every head is different, and each time you will have to increase or decrease the heating time and time wearing the Hot Head to your liking. The results varied for me, but once I found the best method for my head I can happily say that $75 bucks will be spent elsewhere. At $29.99 for a reusable Hot Head deep conditioning cap, this is a steal!

I did not try their other products like the spritzers intended to add an aromatherapy element to the experience and to keep the cap moistened, but I do look forward to trying those as well for both me and my daughter.

Hot Head is letting one of our US readers claim a Hot Head Thermal Hair Care Cap for their own - read on to see how you can enter to win.

One winner in the US will receive a Hot Head Thermal Hair Care Deep Condition Cap in the style of their choice, selected from what is in stock at the close of the giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning. (If you don't leave a comment, any additional entries will be void.)

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 9/2. 

The winners will be notified by email 24 to 48 hours after the end of the giveaway by email. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #125

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's what we've been up to this week - I hope you'll go check it out!

So, now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

My Thrift Store Addiction // Mosaic Garden Art as Camouflage
"Today I have some unique garden art to share with you. It's not so much the mosaic design that makes it unusual, but rather its location."

The Country Chic Cottage // DIY Tray From an Old Coke Crate
"...the Coke crate was in an old barn and the bottom was completely rotted off.  I was left with a little of the sides.  Enough to read the “Coca-Cola” basically.  So I promise I did not destroy anything precious to make this tray.  If you are in the same situation, read on to find out how to make those pieces useful again."

The Boondocks Blog // School Bag Makeover
"This small school bag was given to one of my girls when she visited a factory...  We were going to give it away but it was a nice size, not too big for those days she has few books and it was very sturdy.  The only problem was that sticker on the front."

Crazy About Expresso // Chicken Parmesan Sliders
"Slider sandwiches are one of my favorite meals to make for dinner because they are usually easy and fast.  Two of my favorites when cooking."

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl // Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
"So our new favorite side dish is this simple and easily adjustable dish. For recipe’s sake I’m sharing the everything version I usually make which included potatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, onions, cherry tomatoes, and artichokes."

Simply Stacie // Mediterranean Chicken and Rice Bowl
"These rice bowls contain an assortment of Mediterranean flavors. We’ve got dill, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese. When you mix those flavors with chicken and rice, you’ve got a remarkable meal!"

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No-Beer Beer Can Chicken with Cave Tools


So, I am back with another one of Cave Tools awesome grilling products to review!  Last time, I tried out their Jalapeno Popper set - this time around they offered to let me try out the Beer Can Chicken Rack!

I had heard of making beer can chicken before and always wanted to try it, so I was super excited to review this item.

For those of you who haven't heard of this way of cooking, it is really as simple as it sounds.

Originally, you'd use an actual can of beer.  With Cave Tools, you fill the included reusable can with beer and place the roaster chicken upright, right on top of it, and the beer steams away from the inside of the bird, infusing the chicken and keeping it moist and flavorful.

The Beer Can Chicken set runs you a mere $19.99 for a full set up. It is equipped with a 100% stainless steel deep tray so that when you are roasting your chicken, the grease will not overflow!

The "can" itself is about the size of a regular beer/soda can but a little more narrow to fit easily inside the chicken. The site boasts that the can has an unique locking mechanism that prevents you having to struggle while removing the chicken, but I had a little trouble which I will get to later.

This tray also comes equipped with two 2 pronged spikes which you can use to grill up some veggies at the same time.. How cool is that?

I happened to have made my chicken in the oven, but it can also be made on the grill.

It would probably crisp up and be amazing on the BBQ, and I will definitely be trying it that way next, we just so happened to have run out of propane when I decided to make this up!

Bummer, I know!

Getting the bird onto the can was super easy! I imagined that I would have a little trouble getting it on  - you know, maneuvering it to make it fit, but it slid right on.

In our house we do not drink beer, so I had to improvise for my moisture. I made a mixture of fresh garlic, red onions and melted butter plus a little chicken stock.

The mixture itself was delicious so you can only imagine how good it would taste infused into my chicken.

So here's what I did:

No-Beer Beer Can Chicken
makes 1 whole roast chicken

1 whole roasting chicken
juice of one lemon
Weber Chicken and Rib Seasoning (or your poultry seasoning of choice)

1 cup butter, melted
2 small red onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chicken broth (or beer!)

Start by cleaning the chicken and patting it down with some poultry seasoning.  Squirt lemon juice on the bird, and put the chicken in the refrigerator to rest for at least an hour.

Prepare the butter blend.  Saute the onions until they are slightly translucent, then add garlic and cook for another minute or so until they are fragrant. Add the onion mixture to a bowl with the butter and broth.

Once you are ready to cook, put the butter mixture into the can, and put on the ventilated cover.

Place the chicken onto the can by inserting it into the large opening of the bird, then set the canned chicken on the Beer Can Chicken Rack, following instructions to place the chicken and can onto the Cave Tools rack.

Adjust the racks in your oven to fit the upright chicken without touching the top of the oven or walls. (You may need to completely remove one of your racks)

Put the  in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours (or onto your grill). I did not baste or move the chicken around at all. After two hours, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Once it hits an internal temperature of 170 degrees, pull that bad boy out!

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes and then disconnect it from the can*. Carve as desired to serve.

I added this to my dinner with a side of wild rice, a simple salad and mini potatoes. This would be a great recipe for anything you would normally serve with a rotisserie chicken.

*Ok - so... theoretically, after removing it from the oven, you'd lift the chicken off and it comes right off the can but for me, it got stuck on.

I turned it sideways which dropped all the liquid in the can out, and then I had to take a fork to pry the can out.

It was not a big deal, nor did it inconvenience me in anyway, BUT it did not lock into place or slide right off like it states. I made sure that I locked it the best I could and it still happened. Not sure if my chicken was maybe too narrow or what, but that's what happened to me!

But on the subject of how it handled my chicken - let me tell you that I have a weird thing about poultry.

When I cook normally, it has to be burned; like super well done. The idea of undercooked chicken freaks me out enough that I'm more comfortable with it being overcooked, even if a side effect is that it is more dry than it should be.

I had no worries with this chicken! It was so perfect - completely cooked yet still very moist!

Even my kids were raving and asking for more. That is always a good sign.

I would highly recommend the Cave Tools Beer Can Chicken Set to any of my friends and family. It would make a fun get together meal, and it is so simple to use.

I want to thank Cave Tools for again letting me review their product. I have had such fun trying out new things when it comes to cooking and BBQing.  And since I now know for sure that  this works in my oven, I can use this method for roasting chicken throughout the year!

I will definitely be utilizing this product again in the near future!

Cavetools is offering our readers 15% off this product by using promo code: 
Just enter BEERCAN15 at check out on their site!

The Cave Tools Beer Can Chicken Set is also available for purchase on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Party in Your PJs #170

Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

Donna @ Aging Like a Fine Wine

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Lynda's Features!

 Make sure you head over to the other member of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiratioPn to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.