1. WHAT I DO AND DO NOT REVIEW:
As stated in my brief "about me" (and yes, it is all about me!) Gigi Reviews is dedicated to all things edible (and drinkable, if you want to be picky). That leaves us a pretty big assortment of things that I will review. It's really easier to say what I don't review: Things that you can't eat or drink. Example: yes, you may use a pan to cook said food in, and while I may review the food in the pan, I won't review the pan itself -- at least not on this site. (I do have an additional site that I seldom update, for the times when I wish to write about something non-food.)
Because I review a little bit of everything, some of the items may not be widely available even in the United States, let alone overseas. In those cases, I will often link directly to the product's website so that readers may find the product locally -- or if it's not available locally, to order it online. Occasionally, I will also link to another website I have used and trust, that they may be able to purchase said product from; even if that is not how I acquired the product myself.
In addition to reviews, every now and then I feel so passionately about something regarding food that I will write an op-ed style piece on it. But that is the exception rather than the norm.
2. SAMPLES/COMPENSATION/AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Yes, I do accept unsolicited samples from companies. And in cases where there was a product that I was dying to try but was unable to source on my own, I have requested samples from companies.
NB: My accepting a sample, whether or not I requested it, does not guarantee a positive review. If the company were to insist upon any such conditions, the product sample would not be accepted by me, nor would I review any of that company's products in the future. The only thing that makes for a good review is that I actually liked the product.
I try not to accept samples of products I know (or at least strongly suspect) that I won't like. This would include samples where the product itself sounds potentially good, but contains some ingredients that would likely ruin it for me. For example, I hate red bell peppers. So if a company were to offer me an item that is mostly or entirely made of red bell peppers -- let's say, a jar of ajvar, for instance -- I already know that I am not going to like it, and I feel therefore that it would be wrong even to attempt to write an objective review. It would be impossible for me, and I don't feel that would be fair to the reader or the company. (There are occasional cases when I may receive a sample without knowing in advance that it is something I wouldn't have requested for the above reasons. In that case, it will most likely go unreviewed. If by some chance I review it anyway, I will mention my particular prejudices against the offending ingredients, so that readers of the review can take my opinion with that caveat.)
[NOTE REGARDING SHIPPING OF SAMPLES: Anyone who plans to send me something to review should be aware of the fact I operate not out of Los Angeles, California, but rather from a suburb (almost an exurb, actually) quite a distance to the east of it. This is important! Not because I'm far enough from Los Angeles to avoid the daily sight of preening wannabe celebrities, fake orange suntans, plastic boobies, violent street gangs, and people who use the word "dude" altogether too freely -- no indeed, we've got those here too. It's important because we don't have the balmy year-round coastal climate that Los Angeles has. My area is reclaimed high desert, and -- deceptively green lawns notwithstanding -- summer temperatures reflect this. Daytime highs in the summer are often 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 43 degrees Celsius) and on rare occasions can approach 120 Fahrenheit (49 Celsius). All of which means that if you send me a sample during the hot season...please please PLEASE be sure it has been packed with appropriate insulation, cold packs, dry ice, penguins, or whatever works! Believe me, there is nothing more heartbreaking than to receive an item that must have been gorgeous when it left the factory, but has since melted into a puddle of unrecognizable goo.]
If the item being reviewed has been sent to me by the manufacturer, or its public relations agent, or through a website where the item is for sale online rather than purchased by myself directly, it will be stated in the review.
I do not accept any monetary compensation from any manufacturers, public relations firms, online vendors, retailers, or anyone else in any way involved with the products that I review. I am in the affiliate of two websites and FoodBuzz; however, that bears no impact on the outcome of any given review.
Keep in mind also that a banner ad on my site, from a manufacturer or seller whose products I may have reviewed, does not constitute an endorsement on my part. If they are unhappy with a review of mine, they are free to withdraw their ad (though, in the spirit of honesty and fair play, I would certainly hope that they don't do that).
Finally, I do not profit financially from any contests or giveaways that may be featured on this site. I do them strictly because it is fun for me, and hopefully fun as well for whoever wins them.
3. MY REVIEWS = MY OPINION
And you know what they say about opinions! There have been items that I have loved beyond words, and items that I would sooner eat warthog anus with Andrew Zimmern than ever have to taste again. My opinions are mine alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the product manufacturers, their representatives or sales outlets, my readers, other reviewers, Blogspot, or the interplanetary visitors who can read my mind when I am not wearing my special hat.