Product Review: SHEEX

Most people probably don’t get overly emotional about sheets but, if they wanted to get emotional about sheets, SHEEX would certainly be the most likely culprit. I came across SHEEX at BlogHer’12, on the expo floor, with the rather come-hither proposition of getting to lie down on a soft-looking bed covered in sheets that were billed as being the softest things I’d ever slept on. OH HOW I LOVE A CHALLENGE.

Needless to say, I was ready to fall asleep right there on the expo floor in front of all those other bloggers. I was amazed by how soft the SHEEX were. Then the rep started to talk about the selling points (softness, wicking, breathability, durability, etc.) and she challenged me to take some home and try them out. It seemed unlikely that they would live up to such billing when I got them home, but I’m a born skeptic. Then again, as a mom of two small kids – with a full-time job outside of the house – my sleep time is at a premium. So, if there’s a way I can make my bed that much more comfortable or inviting, I’m willing to give it a shot.


Don’t you just want to take a nap, now?

I put the SHEEX on the kids’ beds (I got twin-size SHEEX) and tested them out on the toughest critics: the small people of the house. The feedback from the kids was pretty immediate in that they loved the SHEEX. They found them soft and comfortable, and those first few days of having the SHEEX meant virtually needing a prybar to remove the child from the bed. Still, I wanted more time to test them out. Since DH and I have been wearing wicking material for ages (primarily for working out), we both have a lot of experience with microfiber materials that wick moisture away from the body. DH was concerned that the wicking process would cause the SHEEX to smell after a few days, so that was something we were careful to check. I also wanted to be sure that the color wouldn’t fade and that the fabric wouldn’t pill, snag or get “runs” after repeated washing.

So, here’s how things went on each of the selling points (which were taken directly from the SHEEX web site):

1) SHEEX are “ridiculously soft”. Verdict: Absolutely YES. It was hard getting the kids OUT of the bed, and it was similarly hard getting our heads off their pillows when we would cuddle with them at bedtime. The feel of the sheets is akin to a cross between satin sheets and a microfiber (like that used in the softer tech shirts worn by athletes). It makes for a very soft and comfortable bed.

2) SHEEX’s temperature control system facilitates “deeper, more restorative sleep”. Verdict: Unsure. Frankly, it’s hard to get a read on this when you have young kids doing the sleep testing – your mileage always varies on how well they sleep from night to night. However, I will say this: the SHEEX didn’t have a negative impact on their sleep patterns, so it’s safe to assume that the result is no worse than a “maybe”.

3) SHEEX breathe “nearly 50% better than cotton”. Verdict: Unsure. I don’t have any good way of measuring this. However, low thread-count sheets are notoriously bad for breathability and tend to run hot and uncomfortable, which is why DH and I tend to aim for nothing less than 400 thread count on our sheets. The SHEEX didn’t seem to be any less comfortable than what we typically put on the kids’ beds, so again I think it’s safe to assume that this is no worse than a “maybe”, but I have to be honest and fess up to the complete lack of a lab where I can truly test this out.

4) SHEEX have “precision fit” to work perfectly with any mattress. Verdict: Probably yes. We have two different mattresses for the kids’ beds (same source, same type, different years), and the SHEEX worked great with both. I didn’t notice any issues with there being an excess of fabric, nor did I see any tightness trying to get the SHEEX on the beds as they were being made. There appeared to be no slippage as the kids slept (which you would typically see with ill-fitting sheets). We didn’t find that we had to refit the fitted sheet at any point, and there always seemed to be a good amount of top sheet to cover the bed.

5) SHEEX’s wicking will keep you “dry and comfortable”. Verdict: Absolutely YES. Since we got the SHEEX in August and I put them into service as soon as I had washed them, it was simply a matter of seeing how the kids did with the nights we did (or didn’t) put on the air conditioning. The kids never woke drenched in sweat (or even mildly sweating) after a night’s sleep. This is where DH’s concern comes back – did the SHEEX smell from wicking away the moisture during the night? The answer to this is a defiant NO. SHEEX somehow, magically, wick away the moisture without taking on the odor that could accumulate over several nights of use.

6) SHEEX’s durability means they will resist fading, wrinkling or shrinking. Verdict: Absolutely YES. I’ve been holding off on this review for a while because I wanted to make sure that they held up to repeated use and repeated washing. I can say that I’ve seen no pilling, no “running”, and no other signs of wear or easy breakdown. The “plum” SHEEX I received have been able to remain vibrantly purple after several months of use and washing, and I consider this a very good sign. I will note that the plum color did transfer to lighter items in the same load of wash, so we have had to wash all of our purple sheet sets together since to avoid further transfer. Amazingly, though, the SHEEX haven’t faded – so even though some color seems to have rubbed off on lighter colored items in the wash, the SHEEX themselves have maintained their rich plum hue.

plum SHEEX

Plum is a perfect color for the Fall/Winter bed

Overall verdict: SHEEX are really fantastic. I can definitely see people getting excited about having these on their beds, especially during the warmer months, when heat and stuffiness can make sleep more difficult. Price-wise, SHEEX sets run from about $159 (twin sheet set) to $239 (california king with pillowcases designed for twin XL mattresses). You can also buy individual SHEEX pieces (top or fitted sheet, as well as pillowcases). SHEEX come in a variety of colors, so they match easily to a wide array of bedroom decors. As we’re coming up on the holiday season, consider SHEEX a deliciously decadent option to give to someone else…or to be a sweet gift to yourself.

Where to buy: SHEEX can be purchased online directly through the SHEEX store and can be purchased offline at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s.

Disclosures: 1) All images shown on this post are from the SHEEX web site. The picture of the plum-colored SHEEX, while not taken in my house, is representative both of the color as I saw it when I first received the SHEEX and also the color they maintained after several months of repeated washing and usage. 2) I received two sets of twin-size SHEEX for evaluation, so I could form my own opinion of SHEEX. I have received nothing else from the SHEEX folks in exchange for this review and all opinions expressed above are MINE.

Product Review: Empower Fitness Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball

{Disclaimers: 1) I am not, not do I claim to be a doctor. Before you attempt to use this product, check with your primary care physician and/or specialist health care professional to be sure that it’s right for you. 2) I received this product for the purpose of testing and was allowed to keep it as a courtesy for posting a review. I received no other compensation for this review and was specifically told, “Write whatever you want.” In other words: this is MY opinion and not a company-paid PR piece. Take that for what you will.}

NOTE: If you are attending BlogHer’12, you can WIN this item in my BlogHer Attendee-only giveaway!

There’s a part of me that totally wishes I were She-Ra or some other incredibly buff chica, ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, I have a love of ice cream that seems to know no bounds. (I suppose I could rationalize this by saying that I’m helping to prop up the local dairy – which is less than 5 minutes’ drive from my house – but that’s REALLY PUSHING IT.) Anyhoo, when I was presented with the opportunity to check out the Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball from Empower Fitness, I jumped at it. After all, dh had done several “medball” workouts and liked them a lot.

Initially, I went with the 8lb medball. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, since it was a bit too heavy for the level of workout that I needed to keep pace with the DVD. This resulted in me injuring my wrist and laying off the medball for a few days. Thankfully, the folks at Empower Fitness are extremely cool and (at my request) provided me with a 6lb medball so I could see if it was the medball or what I’d term “operator error”. Truly, it fell into the second category…and now I have my form down quite a bit better.

So, what all do you get when you purchase the medball? First off, this isn’t like most medicine balls out there. It’s squishy in a rather delightful way, with these fun little dimples all over that give it a sense of being a wildly oversized, smushy golf ball. The “fingertip grip” indentations make it a lot easier to grab onto the ball, especially when sweating, and I found that to be quite useful. The medball also comes with a DVD workout featuring Gin Miller and a bootcamp workout poster with a set of 10 exercises you can do at your own pace.

There are four weight options for the Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball: 4lb, 6lb, 8lb, and 10lb. I recommend starting with the lower of the weights you think you can manage best (e.g. pick the 6lb’er if you would normally think you should start at 6lb or 8lb), just to make sure you get your form down properly first. As I discovered, you figure it out when you’re doing it wrong…and while I didn’t need to go to my doctor to have an “exercise-related stupid” corrected this time, it’s always best to check with a doctor, trainer, etc. before picking up something completely new.


Empower Fitness 4lb Fingertip Grip Medicine BallEmpower Fitness 6lb Fingertip Grip Medicine BallEmpower Fitness 8lb Fingertip Grip Medicine BallEmpower Fitness 10lb Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball

The four lovelies: 4lbs, 6lbs, 8lbs, and 10lb Fingertip Grip Medicine Balls



The tests:

I did several workouts with the medball, first with the 8lb and then the 6lb. I tried both the DVD and the bootcamp poster, although I will say that I only tested the bootcamp workout with the 6lb’er, not the 8lb’er.


The results:

Overall, I think this is a really nice product. I found it comfortable to handle and easy to use. The fingertip grip indentations did come in handy as I flipped from exercise to exercise; even when I got a little sweaty or tired, I was able to hang onto the medball without fail. The size of the ball makes it easy to manage and comfortable to hold, and when you get into moves like tossing it from hand to hand or “bowling”, it balances well and doesn’t shift too much with the sand interior.

The DVD workout takes approximately 30 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down, and you can do it either in one fell swoop or pop into the menu to pick and choose which exercises you want to do. Gin’s perky without being annoying, and she gives several modifications so that you can work out at your own pace. Her cardio sections have modifications from low to high impact, and her strength sections have balance moves (or deeper moves) that allow you to push yourself a little more if you want. And, obviously, once you master one weight of medball, you can always move up to the next.

The bootcamp workout was similarly good, although I found the squishy nature of the medball a bit difficult to handle when it came to the one-armed push-ups. My wrist slipped a little and that was an uncomfortable feeling. Some of that is that I am truly MISERABLE at push-ups, and some of it is how the medball just buckled under the weight of my arm. Of course, I don’t discount that it could’ve been a form issue, but a hard medball would have given more resistance and been less likely to create that collapsing feeling that made me uneasy. All of the other exercises were great, though, and I could feel my body reacting to them (as in, “You’re making me work? Le WHUT?”). This is a very good sign. The poster-based workout takes about the same amount of time as the DVD if you do a little cardio warm-up and stretch afterwards (ALWAYS a good idea). It will take longer if you do it in “bootcamp” mode, where you insert a brief interval of cardio in between each exercise.


Where to buy:

According to the Empower Fitness web site, you can purchase these at various places online, including and Modells. Check out the Empower Fitness web site for full details.

Product Review: Empower Fitness 2lb Pair Walking Weights

{Disclaimers: 1) I am not, not do I claim to be a doctor. Before you attempt to use this product, check with your primary care physician and/or specialist health care professional to be sure that it’s right for you. 2) I received this product for the purpose of testing and was allowed to keep it as a courtesy for posting a review. I received no other compensation for this review and was specifically told, “Write whatever you want.” In other words: this is MY opinion and not a company-paid PR piece. Take that for what you will.}

Seeing as how I’m trying to find ways to kick up my workouts by a notch or so, as I get closer to the next marathon, it seemed only fitting that I try out workout weights. I’d been intrigued by them before, since they seem to come in so many flavors – things that wrap around your ankles, things that wrap around your wrists, things that wrap around your waist, etc. So, when I was offered a chance to try out weights that you hand-carry, I was definitely interested in seeing how well they worked.

The product I tested is a 2lb pair walking weight set from Empower Fitness; the set is 2lb total (1lb per weight). These are supposed to be designed specifically for women, and the softness of the sand inside them certainly did make them comfortable to hold. They’re enclosed in a bit of neoprene, with a neoprene strap to go around your hand – again, all quite comfy stuff. According to the Empower Fitness web site, the set retails for $9.99.

Empower Fitness 2lb Pair Walking Weights

Empower Fitness 2lb Pair Walking Weights


The tests:

I did a bunch of walks with these, both indoors and outdoors, ranging from as little as a half-hour to just over an hour. Distances covered were anywhere from 1.5 – 4mi, with my pace ranging between 17-20min/mi.

Typically, I was walking holding my arms parallel to my body with my forearms approximately 90 degrees off from my upper arm. Holding the weights seemed to force me to have better posture and hold my core muscles tighter than I typically would without the weights.

The results:

I liked them! They were comfortable to carry and they were light enough to be easily carried in one hand if needed, yet heavy enough to give me just that little bit of resistance I needed to make my walk a bit more of a workout than it was previously. The straps made it easy to hang onto them, and the squishiness from the sand meant that they had plenty of give for me.

If I needed to put them aside so I could get a drink, if I was indoors and on a treadmill, it was easy enough to put them on the shelf in front of me. When I was outside, they were light enough to transfer to one hand and carry as 2lbs on one side while I got my drink.

It’s a handy thing that you can wipe them down if you need to, although I will say that no matter how sweaty my hands got from wearing them during walking workouts, they never got stinky (big plus!). They  never slipped off my hands due to  sweat; they really seemed to fit my hands perfectly with those straps, and I appreciated the comfortable, tight-but-not-constrictive fit of the straps.

If you’re interested in spending short dollars to add a little oomph to your walks, I’d recommend giving these a try. I’ll definitely continue using them, and don’t be surprised if I purchase a carabiner to allow me just to clip them to a belt-loop for much longer walks when I want to alternate using/not using them. For my walks around my neighborhood, I often eschew wicking fabric in favor of my boy cargo shorts; they just make it a ton easier to carry stuff (granola bars, iPhone, etc.). Hence – a carabiner + these weights (or two carabiners, so I can clip one to each side) is a VERY likely outcome for future walks.

Where to buy:

You can purchase these at various places online, including Check out the Empower Fitness web site for full details on purchase options.