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!"

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