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Friday, October 19, 2018

**VAPING** The Vuse Vibe Recall is Tedious

For those of you who have a Vuse Vibe Vapor Tank System - this thing:



- you should know that there is a recall on them. This is for the Original units - ones that came out prior to this October (2018). The one I had was from at least 6 months ago and I can't even remember who gave it to me.

The recall is due to "a small number" of complaints about the units overheating. The new and improved Vibes are back on the market this month.

This is the site with the recall info. You will find the reasons for the recall and a contact number.

Recalls are great because you know that the company is at least trying to rectify problems. However... the process for this particular recall is as painful as passing a kidney stone. I was on the phone for at least 20 minutes with the rep handling the information. So, before you even put yourself out, let me tell you what the rep will be asking for and requesting that you do:

  1. A ton of verifying info of mine - name, address, phone number, birthdate. (All necessary stuff but it really just felt a bit invasive.)
  2. The code from the top of the unit. (Yes, I had to unscrew the tank and get a magnifying glass to see it.)
  3. The UPC from the bottom of the box. (Good thing that I'm that person who saves original cases and packing, right? How many other people do that???)
  4. RJ Reynolds will be sending me a mailer to return the original unit in. (That's fine and I don't mind.) 
  5. I have to take the packaged unit to a UPS drop-off location. (That part is a pain in the rear. I can't just drop this at the Post Office. Noooo... And if I ask for a UPS pick-up, I have to pay for that part.)
  6. Once the unit is received, it will be tested and checked over - which could take a few weeks - before I am sent a refund. Of twenty dollars.
Okay, so if I had been smart, I would have just cut to the chase and asked how the return would work. The rep and I would have saved time because, to be honest, I don't know that I will be making a special trip to a UPS drop-off for a twenty-dollar refund.

The whole finding a UPS drop-off bugs me (I live directly across the street from the Post Office), but here's my main peeve: RJ Reynolds is going to be doing a refund - regardless of how the testing of the unit goes. So why in the heck do I have to wait for their "testing" before they send the refund?

I don't know why they didn't just let me send in a photo of my unit with the UPC code, get my address, and send me the refund. I would have taken a ten dollar refund to cut through the hassle. Instead, they are paying someone to sit on the phone with customers for about a half hour for this runaround.

To be fair, I was so tired the whole time I was dealing with the rep that I didn't think until I'd hung up about asking if this was the only way to get a refund. Hindsight (and after a nap and some coffee) made me wonder what would have happened if I hadn't had the box and UPC code. 

Anyway, this is for any of you who might have a Vibe laying around.

Peace
--Free


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

**RECIPES** Brown Sugar Bread & Lemon Tea Loaf

I've been vaping to quit cigarettes and haven't had an actual light-em-up smoke for over 2 months now. Of course, I put down the cigs and started picking up anything halfway edible. That had to stop. Alas, I love food, whether I smoke or not, so I had to start sticking to good, wholesome meals and find a couple of sweets that aren't overloaded with calories. Here are my two favorite bread recipes that fulfill my sweet tooth. They are really easy and quick to make and they are sooo good.

This first recipe is one that I found on a lifestyle blog by this lady. I want her to be my friend. Do check out the site because, well, yum!

 I modified the original to include chopped walnuts and that's my favorite way to have it. This is her recipe and nutrition info.

Brown Sugar Bread (from Julie Blanner)
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 4 c flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c milk
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil

(I cut this recipe in half and add a tablespoon of organic chocolate powder and about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts)

DIRECTIONS
  • Grease 6 mini loaf pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat eggs, milk, and oil.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to wet until just moist.
  • Pour batter into pans an inch below to compensate for rising. Optional: sprinkle sugar on top.
  • Bake 40 minutes.
Julie notes that you can also make this in 2 - 1 pound loaf pans or cut the recipe in half for just 1 loaf pan and bake 50 minutes. That's what I do unless I am sharing with my brother's family.

This is not an overly sweet bread and when I add the nuts, I find it to be very filling and satisfying. I like it so much that there are days when I eat nothing else but this bread. The last time I made some, I did a large loaf for my brother's house and 2 small loaves - one for me and one for my neighbor who is always bringing me juice and fruits.



Speaking of my brother (the youngest, I mean), his favorite treat is the Lemon Tea Loaf that I make. The recipe came from a set of recipes my brother's MIL gave to me over a year ago as a sort of housewarming gift. To keep it safe while I was setting up the rest of the apartment, I put it in the storage cubby. And forgot about it. Unfortunately, I can't refer you to the easytobake.com site because it's now dead. The link I will give is to a similar online recipe that I have tried, but recipe below is from the Easy To Bake card.



INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c sugar (for the cake)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
DIRECTIONS


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Oil & flour (lightly) 3 5 3/4-inch x 3-inch pans 
  • Combine sugar and butter in large bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes on medium speed). Stir in eggs and lemon rind and beat 1 minute. 
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir this flour mixture and the milk into the sugar/butter mixture.
  • Pour batter into pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (35-40 minutes).
  • Set pans aside to cool slightly. Pierce tops of loaves several times with skewer (or piece of spaghetti!)
  • Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle slowly over the loaves (and holes) until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let cool another 10 minutes or so and remove from pans to cool completely.
I modified this recipe slightly by adding some lemon flavoring to the batter and then using much more glaze than indicated. My brother likes the tanginess of the lemon so, yeah.

I also made this once and then put a twist on the serving method. I sliced the loaves very thinly then made sandwiches with a filling of cream cheese that I whipped with some lemon and sugar. My neighbor and I ate them before I took photos so... Guess I will have to make more and do an update!



This is what a loaf looks like. Next time I make some, I want to try freezing them for later. We will see how that turns out.




Peace
--Free

Thursday, October 04, 2018

**REVIEW** Curls & Naturals Leave-In Conditioner + Daily Moisturizing Serum

In a recent post, I told you all about texturizing my hair with a product from Biocare Labs. The texturizer is from BL's Curls and Naturals line. Since I was using the texturizer, I decided to give a try to a couple other items from Curls and Naturals. Let's go.

First up, this is the Leave-In Conditioner which is touted to also detangle.




The label tells that it contains shea butter and natural honey with silk protein. Here is the full list of ingredients:


I'm not up on all the no-no ingredients that some people know about, but I am glad to see that the silk, honey, and shea butter are not the last items on the list. Also, the fragrance is closer to the end and I notice that it's not very strong to the nose.

Now, while I do love the texturizer, I barely have a crush on this leave-in conditioner. For one thing, the moisture doesn't last once my hair dries. I've been using it the past couple of nights as a twisting cream. It doesn't dry my hair out or make it "crunchy" or hard, but it doesn't add much moisture that I notice. As a matter of fact, today, I had to spray in some of my SofSheen.

On the Plus side, I do feel that this adds some strength to my hair because I am seeing a lot less breakage while using it. Because of that, I will keep using it and just add some SofSheen when twisting or styling my hair.

I also have to mention that I have the coarsest, driest type of natural hair. I have vowed that the next time I'm in Arizona, I'm going to find someone to give me a Jheri Curl. My hair thrived with that stuff!

I am happy with how my hair looks after using the leave-in as a twisting cream. This is after the texturizer (and dye job) and before adding the SofSheen:




For those with a less coarse/dry type of natural hair, I think that this product is right up there with the pricier stuff. This will be one of the rare times that I prefer shoping the brand site instead of Amazon.

On the BL site, this 12-ounce bottle is $6.99 + shipping (Biocarelabs.com offers FREE STANDARD SHIPPING in the 48 states in the continental U.S. for merchandise orders $50 and over (excluding taxes). For shipments totaling less than $50, delivery charges are based on the weight, city and state. Our standard shipping option is ground services. Orders over $50 ship for free —no promotion code needed)

On Amazon, the same size bottle is $6.99 + $9.35 shipping. As far as I see, none of the Curls and Naturals stuff is Prime so...yeah.

Now, for the Daily Moisturizing serum:



The highlighted ingredients in this one are Shea Butter, Natural Honey, and Abyssinian Oil. It has a glossier look and silkier texture than does the conditioner but, like the conditioner, it's nice but not quite moist enough for my coarse hair. I have learned to add a little bit of the SofSheen when putting this on my hair right after washing. When I used it on dry hair (slightly dampened with a spray bottle), this was even less effective than when used on really wet hair.

The 6-ounce bottle is $6.99 plus shipping on the BL site. On Amazon, it's the same price but, like with the conditioner, it's a non-Prime item and the shipping charge is ridiculous.

I have to say that, while this is not a great match for my very dry, 4C type hair (not many products are), I think that it's worth trying for a softer type hair. If you want to understand just how dry my hair is, try using some SofSheen on your looser-textured hair. It would be way to heavy and oily. For me, it's perfect.

On the big Plus side, both these products really help the hair hold a curl. My twists were on point...

Here is a look at the difference in texture between the two products:

serum is more transparent
conditioner is thicker/whiter

In summary, I will say that Biocare Labs has good products at really good prices (except for the shipping) and is worth trying out. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends with hair as coarse and dry as mine.

Peace
--Free



Here are the places you can find me. If nothing else, keep me and my health in your prayers.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

**REVIEW** Curls & Naturals Texturizer Hair Softener (Biocare Labs)

It's been a minute since I've blogged. I've had a rough couple of weeks, healthwise, but I am back with a review of a product I really needed after being sick and run-down. Trust me. My hair was wrecked. Nappy, dry, and just totally neglected. So the first thing I did when I felt halfway human again was to take care of these tresses.

Wearing my hair "natural" really works well in the humid summer weather. Once the weather starts getting cooler and dryer, though, my hair starts acting all kinds of crazy. That's when I cheat and use a little bit of texturizer to add some softness and manageability. In the past, I've mainly used African Pride or Softsheen texturizing products. This time, I used a product I stumbled across online.




That is a product from Biocare Labs but you would have to look hard and for small print to see that on the box. As a matter of fact, over on Amazon, you will see the products just listed as Curls and Naturals - even if you search for Biocare Labs. 

I found the product completely by accident. I needed a "change-up" from my usual hair products and Biocare came up in a search. The products on their site are very affordable. The real test is in the results. This texturizer is the first of 3 full-size products and 3 samples. I will be reviewing them all in separate posts.

Like I said, I had totally let my hair go for over 2 weeks. I decided to do this texturizer and a dye job the minute I could get out of bed. And so I did. I managed to snap a quick photo of what the naps looked like (gray and all) pre-treatments:


Told you it as rough.

The main worry I have about texturizers is that they are close to being relaxers. I do NOT want my hair relaxed. Or, at least, I don't want it over-relaxed. I want it relaxed like I am after 2 drinks and not how I am after 3 drinks.

I love my natural hair but it's got management issues. A good texturizer will soften and tame my curls. This texturizer is perfect. My hair came out much softer and I didn't lose any of my curls. It loosened the curls so that they don't tangle together (which causes breakage when I comb or style it). Unlike most other products, it didn't leave my hair hard or "crunchy".

The only downside to the product would be that the 5oz jar is too small for most people. Not for me. my hair in the longest spots is about 4.5 inches, but a lot of it is at 4 inches or less. I only ever texturize the roots and out to the first inch or so of my hair so I ended up with half a jar leftover.

Because this is a pre-mixed formula, I will be able to seal and save the leftover for later use. And, I do mean I sealed the leftovers using my food sealing machine. (I am telling you now, you need to get a food sealer, for real!)

Right after I finished rinsing all the texturizer out of my hair, I could tell that this particular product wasn't as drying. Usually, I have to immediately do a 5-minute conditioning just so that my hair doesn't have that stiff "processed" feeling. Of course, I still did a deep conditioning anyway. Once my hair dried completely, I could really tell that this was a good product.

Will I buy this again? Definitely. The jar is small, but the 5-dollar price is awesome for 5 ounces. To sum up the Pros:

  • Product is no-mix and not as messy
  • Comes with gloves 
  • Comes with a conditioning neutralizing shampoo
  • 5 ounces is enough for short hair and more than enough for root touch-ups
  • Has mild "processor" smell that fades fast
  • Ships from BioLabs very quickly
  • Samples come with purchase when ordered from BioLabs site
  • You can track your shipment easily
The downsides are just minor:
  • Doesn't come with Prime shipping on Amazon
  • Shipping cost on Amazon is per product, which is expensive
  • Shipping from Biocare Labs is based on weight, shipping & state and can be pricey
  • The model photos in the instruction packet is wearing bone-straight hair. This might be confusing if you only want to texturize. 
Like I said, I have no major complaints and will be using Biocare Labs again. The samples they sent were of a good size and good enough that I'd like to try the full sizes. I will do reviews when I get full-sized products.


By the way, I used Nice and Easy, this time in the shade of Soft Black. I like it.



Peace
--Free

Saturday, September 08, 2018

**REVIEW** French Market & Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee

In the last post, I talked about chicory (and its benefits) and bulletproof coffee. In this post, I want to review 2 brands of chicory coffees.

First up, is this French Market brand from Walmart:


This is a great price($4.98/12oz can) but it's not to be found in all stores (like my local Walmart) so I have to order it from the online site. Amazon has it at a slightly higher price.

The color and smell are wonderful and a little bit of this goes a long way. I had to remember that for a couple of reasons. For one thing, even without adding anything, this chicory coffee does have calories (10 for every 2 tablespoons). That is because of the chicory. Also, the chicory has a laxative effect. The first time I used the coffee, I made it strong thinking it would be like regular coffee It's much richer and just a little bit goes a long, long way. When I brew this coffee now, I use 1 full tablespoon for every 1.5 cups of water and I get a very strong brew.

By the way, when I opened the can and saw the coffee grounds, I was reminded of the roasted chicory root I used to buy in Anchorage.





I was disappointed by the Monterey Bay Spice Company chicory root I recently tried:





To be honest, I have not yet tried this one but when I do, I will do a review.

Let me mention something I found interesting about French Market Coffee. The brand is from Reily Foods Company but the name "French Market" does make one think of Cafe Du Monde - which is the more famous chicory coffee brand. Keep that in mind.

Reily Foods covers several brand products you might recognize. This includes the Luzianne Tea which I see in stores all the time.

As for the Cafe Du Monde:




Notice that, like the French Market brand, Cafe Du Monde also has a non-chicory French roast. The French Roast cans look quite a bit alike - both in purple cans and all. Interesting. Of course, taste is the main thing, so let's talk Cafe Du Monde.

These pics compare the look of the grind from both brands:



When I brewed the Cafe Du Monde, I used the same 1 tablespoon to 1.5 cups of water recipe. The taste?

Both coffees are rich and 'deep' with flavor, but I have to say that the Cafe Du Monde is a bit smoother and richer in taste. I can find the 15oz can for $10.79 on Amazon ($12.99 on Walmart).

While there is a slight difference between the two brands, it's not enough to make me buy one over the other due to a slight price variation. There are some things that make a difference for online purchase:
  •  Walmart.com and Amazon have both brands.
  • On Amazon, I could currently only find French Market as a Prime Pantry purchase. I don't liek Pantry purchases because you have to fill a 'cart' to qualify. The Cafe Du Monde was available with non-Prime but free shipping for 1 can; a 2-can purchase was Prime. Now that I know I like the coffee, I would use that option.
  • On Walmart, the shipping was very unstable this time. In spite of the 2-day shipping on my order, I ended up waiting until Sept 5th (Wed.) for things I ordered on Aug 31st (Fri). Even allowing for the weekend, that was 3 additional days. I found out that they hadn't even shipped my order right away. Also, Walmart's online system of tracking orders does not always reflect the correct information. My Aug 31st order was shown on their page as "expected to arrive" Sept 1st. Unless they are using drones, no one is that fast yet.
  • My local Hy-Vee has the French Market chicory coffee and they deliver. That means I can add that brand to my usual monthly grocery order since Hy-Vee is where I get my perishable items.
So, yeah, you have to kind of shop around to find a good chicory coffee. If you are lucky enough to have a local health food store (I have to check mine), you might be able to just get some decent chicory root.


Peace
--Free







Thursday, September 06, 2018

Coffee, Chicory, and Bulletproof Recipe

Unless you are into Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Paleo, or any eating regimen included Bulletproof Coffee, you might want to skip this post. But if you are curious about chicory, you might want to hang around.

First, let talk Bullet Proof Coffee:

I am curious what any of the rest of you think of using MCT oil in your coffee? I've posted about my experience with it, but I don't know if everyone feels it makes a difference in their diet.  The kind I am using is great but... that price tag is a little scary.

For now, I am still using the MCT (because I have some left) in my BPC and I have gotten back into using chicory also. I don't know that I will be re-purchasing the oil again anytime soon.

This is my recipe for Morning B.P. Coffee:
  • 3 tablespoons dark roast coffee (had to order Yuban it online, but it's worth it) brewed with 2.5 cups of water (because I like my coffee strong). Recently, I'm adding chicory but I'll get to that later.
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. I keep a small amount in a sealed container on the counter so that it's softened for use.
  • 1 Tablespoon of MCT oil
  • About 2.5 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
  • Either 2 packets of Monkfruit Golden or 1.5 tablespoons of Monkfruit Classic White
  • Sometimes, I use a couple tablespoons of coconut milk or coconut cream.
After I add everything to the coffee, I hit it with the stick blender until it's a little frothy. I happen to have an excellent thermos-type mug that keeps my coffee hot for hours. Thanks to my niece for sending such a useful Mother's Day gift.
It's a "Kanteen" and
you can get one with other wraps

I usually go through 2 mugs of my coffee in a  day. If I'm sick from my meds, I will even do 3 because the ingredients make up for the food I don't eat those couple of days. It's a really filling, satisfying drink. Adding the coconut milk or cream is perfect when I need something extra in my stomach.

Now, this is the golden variety of the monk fruit sweetener that I have fallen in love with:




I guess it's supposed to mimic brown sugar the way the white variety mimics table sugar. It does have a somewhat richer flavor but it's not anything like actual brown sugar. I love me some brown sugar in my coffee, but this will have to do for now.

There are benefits to black coffee that you can look up online. Chicory root also has benefits you might not have heard of - and I am not saying that these are proven benefits, but just things I have heard of from others including my family that chicory might have an effect on:
  • Lowering blood sugar
  • As a laxative (my mother told me about this years ago)
  • To help increase or decrease appetite.
  • To help lower blood pressure
  • As a caffeine-free substitute for coffee
When I was young, my mother made chicory root tea to help ease my constipation but I didn't like the taste to drink enough of the tea. As an adult, I can say that, if I ingest enough chicory, I get mild laxative benefits. (By the way, I have heard of chicory root being used as a sweetener.)

I used to get chicory from the health food bulk bins at Carrs Safeway in Anchorage and loved the smell and taste when added to coffee. I ran out of the last of my very old supply and ordered this from Amazon. I was not pleased. The product smelled and tasted rank and stale.

There are quite a few coffees that have chicory added- or even java substitutes that made solely of chicory. I prefer just adding chicory to my own choice of coffees. Thanks to social media photos I have taken and captioned with a mention of chicory, I have been offered a couple of chicory coffees to try.

This is French Market Chicory Coffee. It is very reasonably priced. This one is about $5 for a 12-ounce can at Walmart (but is not available at my local Walmart so it has to be ordered from their online store). I will be doing a full review later, but this is what the coffee looks like:


 I expected the chicory to have that nice, dark color (along with the scent of coffee, but this is what I got:



As you can see, the color is not very deep. The smell is very stale and unpleasant. There was zero coffee-scent to it. I will not be using the brand again. The brand I used in Anchorage was as dark as the French Market coffee.





So, obviously, there are some things to consider when choosing a chicory:
  • It should be organic and fresh (read lots of reviews)
  • Origin should be USA (because I think there are flavor variations by country of origin)
  • Use a seller who offers a freshness or other satisfaction guarantee

Anyway, I would love to hear about anyone else using BPC and/or chicory. Do you have a special recipe and do you feel that it helps you in any way? Also, if you know of a good brand of chicory root (fresh and affordable), do let me know.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, September 01, 2018

**REVIEW** SMOK Veneno 225W TC Starter Kit (& Breazy.com)

WARNING: This post has to do with vaping. If you are under age, please know that I do NOT encourage smoking or vaping for minors and this post is not intended for you.  I don't encourage nicotine use of any kind for anyone. This post has to do with my personal experience as I attempt to stop using nicotine.


This is going to be a sort of double review. First, I will talk about the SMOK Veneno vape device I got (and why) from Breazy. After that, I will discuss Breazy. Let's go.

I chose a SMOK Veneno Starter Kit.


$39.99 for the Starter Kit

One thing I can say is that the device is boxed nicely and the presentation is impressive for $40. My nephew was surprised at the cost because he has seen the same kinds of set ups for as much as $70.


The kit came with everything except batteries and juice:




This is the actual device.






The display is awesome,
shows puffs, power, and voltage setting

I wanted a more muted color but everything was sold out but this Purple/Red combo and it's now sold out. The other colors that are shown and might be available at some time are Red/Gold, Black/Red, Silver/Black, Black/Yellow, Blue/Red, and Rainbow.  My choice would have been the Silver/Black, but I wish there were solid colors available. The one I got isn't horrendous, but it seems a little juvenile in my opinion. It's not really a big deal because I onlyh use this at home. I use the JUUL when I'm out and about.

I like the display on this one for several reasons.





What I like most about the display is that it allows me to set a limit on my use.




I am, after all, using this device to cut down on and quit nicotine.

The device itself fits in my small-ish hands.






Juice goes in that little side slit

The reason I wanted this is that I am doing so well with the JUUL device that I haven't smoked a traditional cigarette in over two and a half weeks and I have not missed traditional tobacco at all. Not one little bit. As a matter of fact, I wish I had started vaping sooner. I am feeling better and I noticed how much easier I am breathing.

Since I have the JUUL, you might wonder why I bothered getting another vape device. The main reason is that with the JUUL, there are no zero-nicotine pods and my goal was always to become free of tobacco and nicotine. The tobacco is gone and that wasn't hard at all, but I want to wean myself off the nicotine. Also, I like the idea of more vapor. Not only does the JUUL not come with nic-free pods, but it also doesn't put out a lot of vapor. The Veneno does. Oddly, the vapor is more satisfying to me than the nicotine.

Anyway, I got some nic-free "juice" to go with the vaping device.


                          


I got the "Mad Peach" and it's nice but a little too flavorful for me. I should have gotten something a little plainer.  This is a 100ml bottle for $15 and I've been using it every day for about 10 days and there is barely any gone from the bottle. I can see having this bottle for months at this rate. That right there is definitely cheaper than traditional cigarettes. At about 5 dollars a pack, three packs of smokes would not last long, especially when I share them. I've shared the vape with my SIL. By the way, this juice is very smooth and there is no throat burn at all like with regular cigarettes.

Once I get finished with the JUUL pods, the nic-free juice is going to be my main game.  I'm kind of looking forward to it. By the way, I am still getting used to the language of vaping. There needs to be some kind of dictionary. The first new terms I learned had to do with the liquid (or "juice") and the different methods of vaping (mouth to lung vs mouth to throat). There's even a term for how different levels of nicotine feel ("throat hit" sounds vaguely sexual) and I'm glad I going to be weaning.

Now that I have used a different juice and a different device, I can tell that this one is much smoother than the JUUL. I still love the JUUL, but this one is so dang smooth and I love that it produces so much vapor. Maybe that is silly, but the vapor is my fave part.

Now, this is the part of the review where I will talk about Breazy.com...

I didn't exactly know where to go to get a vaping device so I scoured some YouTube videos and vaping forums before I chose Breazy. I can't say it's been the best experience.

The prices at the site are some of the best I saw. The problem I had was with order fulfillment and slow delivery. For 4 days after ordering, my items didn't make a move to shipping. Not only that but when I was placing my order, I used the chat option to ask a rep if by ordering a starter kit I was getting everything I needed to start vaping. They said that the only other thing I needed was some juice. So I got some juice and thought all was well. Then, when watching a video about the particular device I'd chosen, I heard mention of something about batteries. I went back to Breazy and asked about this and was told that I would need to order batteries separately. I should have realized this because there was mention of this somewhere on the product page. Still, I had mentioned to the previous rep that I was new to vaping when I asked about having everything I needed. I was a little peeved so I ordered the required batteries from Amazon. They came in 2 days as my Breazy order was still sitting unfulfilled. Grrr....

Now, understand that I am all motivated to stop cigarettes completely and get started vaping only. My JUUL is running on nicotine with no non-nic options. And I was possibly going to be going out of town soon and had no idea if the vape device would be delivered beforehand.

Finally, I mentioned this on a forum where I asked about potential other sites that were faster. Luckily a Breazy rep is on that forum and jumped in to see what he/she could do to expedite things. As soon as they got involved, my order shipped. That's great but what if I hadn't come across them on the forum?

Maybe my problems with order fulfillment was a glitch because so many other people claim to be very happy with the speed of receiving their orders. Thankfully, now that I have a device, I don't plan on shopping as much for juice online but if I do, I will give Breazy another try.

Finally, let me say that spending a one-time total of about $60 for a device, batteries, and juice is not far off what I would pay in Alaska for a carton of cigarettes. As for juice, I plan to buy cheap and local when I can and I've been told that I won't have to spend over $10 every few weeks at the rate that I vape. For now, I don't have to spend any more money because I have everything I need for at least the next couple of months. I'm off traditional cigarettes and I'm not going to have to worry about braving the extreme heat or cold of outdoors smoking. I count all this as one big "win".


Once again, I do NOT recommend vaping any more than I would recommend smoking. I do think this is a great way for smokers to wean off of nicotine.


Peace
--Free

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

**REVIEW** Purelace Wigs (not what they seem) **UPDATE**

UPDATE: I was only getting "canned" responses from Purelace when I requested refunds. One letter went so far as to try sounding 'girl-friend-ish', calling me "Sis". That pissed me off more than anything. I went through my credit card company to get a refund. I'm still adding comments on every Purelace posting I see. I have learned a lesson. Other ladies tell me that there is no way I was going to get a decent lace front wig for such a low price. Now I know. Now I know.




Note: You might see videos on social media (especially Instagram) for "realistic" lace front wigs. Make sure that you check where the link goes before you get excited. I saw at least 10 videos with different screen names but they all go to Purelace. The following post details my experience with them...

Recently, I've been having problems with uneven hair texture. I figure I need to "rest" my natural hair and thought about protective styling - like braids or a wig. That's how this whole saga started.

I saw the wigs from these folks on Instagram. The video is amazing and that should have been clue Number 1. This is a screenshot from that video. Notice which user it's posted under?
the link goes to Purelace.com

Clue Number 2 came after I order the wigs... I started seeing more of either the same video or videos very much like it. When I thought to check the link the posts led to, I realized they all went to the same website - even though the posts were under different headings. For example, this is a screenshot of a totally different post than the one that first caught my attention:


link goes to Purelace.com
Guess what? The bitly link goes to the same Purelace site I ordered from.  There were (at my last count) over 10 videos under various screen names that all link back to Purelace. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention that they were accused of having stolen the video from another site. I have no opinion about that, but still, people, people, people.

It's like they are playing mind games.

Here's the thing, whether or not I like the product is one thing, but service is a whole other deal. I do NOT like the service and will not likely order from these guys again. Here is why:

  • You have to be a detective to figure out that anything you order will be coming from China.
  • China Post shipments are a pain to track and they take forever.
  • Purelace isn't quick on the order processing. It took DAYS after placing an order before it was actually ready to ship. 
  • Getting in touch with someone is touch and go. There is a contact form on the site but you won't get a quick response - if you get one at all. I had to threaten that I'd have my credit card bounce the transaction if I didn't hear back from someone. They got back to me, but a customer shouldn't have to do that.
  • When I got an email response from someone at Purelace, that email address went dead after a couple of days and mail would get returned to sender (me). Ugh.
  • They have a Facebook page that they are not very active on - except to post more radiant images of their wigs.
  • The whole thing smells, if not scammish, definitely shady.
So let's get to the part where the wigs finally arrived... When you look at these photos, I want you to keep in mind that they are supposed to be full lace and/or lace front pieces:


So... even if they had been lace front, you can see how awfully fake the hair looks. Unlike in the video, you are not able to "part this anywhere" and there is no lace front at all.

Purelace is, in my personal opinion, a steaming hot mess. I'm an idiot for falling for something I saw on Instagram. My bad. But the least I can do is warn others. Mission accomplished. I will let you know what happens as far as getting a refund. I'm done and out,

Peace
--Free

Saturday, August 18, 2018

**UPDATE (with photos)** MCT Oil and Intermittent Fasting

I believe it was in this post when I did my last photo update on the Intermittent Fasting plan. I try to take some bathroom selfies at least once a month just to encourage myself.  So, let me just repost some of them from July to compare with August:
July 17th
losing the weight but carrying
a little waist flab 







After months of doing IF, I have been losing weight (slowly), but was having trouble getting rid of weight around my waist. IF works but is slow for me because I get off schedule once every week because I get sick from a medicine I have to take. At any rate, I was still pleased with the results but that waist flab...! Ugh. It has been stubborn. Until now.

Last month, I started taking a little bit of MCT oil in my coffee once or twice a day. I only gave it a try because I thought the oil might also relax constipation I have so often. Yeah, I know -  TMI. Sorry. The stuff I got is a bit pricey on my budget.

One of the reasons I decided to go ahead and try it is that if I was unhappy with it, I could get a refund. Well, I won't be asking for a refund. As a matter of fact, I will be figuring out how to replenish my supply when it runs out. The stuff works. Plain and simple.

Those results up there at my waistline? That's got to be from the MCT. I'm not doing anything different than I was before except eating slightly less during my one daily meal. That's "less" part must be due to the MCT oil because it's the only diet change I've made in the last month - I did start using the monk fruit sweetener but that was just last week.

I take around a tablespoon of the oil in my morning coffee every morning then, if I have another cup or two of coffee, I will add slightly less than a tablespoon per cup. That's it.

I'm not seeing a lot of loss of pounds and have been hovering around the same amount for the past couple of weeks, but I see my waist shrinking or tightening up and I see my clothes fitting looser. This top is one that I could hardly get into a few weeks ago and when I did, it looked a little indecent it was so tight. Now, while it's still snug, I can at least wear it without cutting off circulation.

Yeah, it's still a little "snug"
but that waist is getting tighter
LOL

 I guess I am experiencing what some dieters call a "no-scale victory". I can bend more comfortably; my bathrobe actually fits around me without gapping, and the tops of my jeans don't roll down when I sit. It's the little things, you know...

The MCT Oil that I got is more expensive than some others I saw online but I picked it after reading a lot of reviews and watching other people compare it to different brands. I'm probably not going to do a separate review of it on the blog because I think my photos and results tell it all. The MCT oil that I chose is from Left Coast Performance and I first saw it recommended by 2Fit Docs on their YouTube channel.



This particular oil when I bought it was around $25 for the 32-ounce bottle and I got it on July 14th. I I just checked and see that I am just a little over halfway through this bottle. It's lasted a while because I drink coffee at least twice a day (often 3 times and sometimes 4 times!) and have been using around a tablespoon full with every coffee refill. I eyeball the amount instead of actually measuring it. Some folks say that they even add the oil to their foods. I tried that but the oil is too pricey for me to do that on a regular basis. 

While I have not tried any other brand, there is so much that I like about this one that I will probably figure it into my food budget when I need to replenish. Here's what I like:
  • The packaging was very secure for shipping. Once out of the shipping box, the bottle was inside the box you see in the photo. It even came with the dispenser cap separate to discourage spillage.
  • There is zero smell and zero taste. Some people claimed that other brands had a rank smell and/or taste.
  • Oil is in a BPA-free container. (I keep mine in the fridge, by the way.)
  • The oil is made from 100% coconut oil. Some other brands didn't even claim this.
  • There is a refund offered if customers are unhappy with the oil or, for some reason, can't tolerate it.
  • It's working for my weight loss and it seems to provide me with some energy.
  • It helps with my chronic constipation.
  • It's on Amazon's "subscribe and save" program (only makes it a few cents cheaper though).
Now that I have experienced some results with MCT oil, I will be reading reviews for some other (cheaper brands) but I will most likely stick with this one. Maybe I will try another brand if they have a good refund policy in case I don't like it as much as this brand.

So, there you go. I am over 50 (okay - 50+ 6) and it's harder to lose weight in my "middle age"... I can't imagine how much farther along to my target weight I would be had I been using this oil all along. I will be back with future updates.

Peace
--Free



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Thursday, August 16, 2018

**REVIEW** KRSI Short Afro Kinky Curly Hair Wig

So.

I have decided to grow my own hair back out after cutting it a while back. There are medicines I take that make it hard for my hair to grow. I have to work hard at getting my hair to grow out evenly and healthily. Oh, how I miss the days when all I had to do was put in some braids for a couple of months... I don't really know anyone here to braid my hair so I decided to try wearing wigs for a while.

I've ordered 3 of the cheaper types and the first one arrived. It's the Short Afro Kinky Curly Hair Wig from the Amazon seller KRSI .  This is what the product page makes the wig look like:




Not bad, right? That's what I thought. Also, all the ladies who posted pictures showing themselves wearing this wig looked pretty amazing.

Yeah.  Well.

At first, I was NOT happy because this is what the wig looked like straight out of the packaging. (And I just realized that I didn't get a photo of the top side. Oops.)



I have to say that the color is more dark brown/red than the described "black" on the product page. Also, the part is SUPER obvious. Not good.  Still, I decided to just put it on and see what it looked like.

Uh... who let the Lion King loose?????

Hahaha!!! Wow...

Oh boy. When I finished laughing at myself, the first thing I thought was that there went $17 down the toilet. I can buy a lot of butter and eggs for that kind of money.

Okay. So maybe I could fix this mess, right? I went online and checked different resources. How to soften the curls in a poofy wig; how to make a wig look more natural; and how to fix an obvious part.

After finding some good suggestions, I used boiling water to soften the curls. Next, I started trimming down the ends so that I had a more manageable length. Last, I used my little eyebrow trimmer to give the part a more ragged look. The results are, I think, much better.




The most helpful suggestion I got came from, I think, Reddit and that was to not be so self-conscious. And that is a true thing. Even if people know that this is a wig, I can just think of it the same way I do makeup: as an enhancer. I have to stop taking myself so seriously, I guess - and stop caring so much what other people think and concentrate more on how I feel. This wig makes me feel pretty.

I'm the only black person in my apartment building. I can't wait until one of my neighbors sees me taking out the trash or something.

Anyway, just to sum up. I will tell you what I like and don't like about the wig. I gave it 4 stars. For the price and quality, I would have given it 5 stars if there had been more instructions for newbie wig folk. I had to work a little too hard on it.

What I like:
  • Looks pretty good for a cheap price
  • Came with a cap, inserted combs, and a set of lashes
  • Was durable under the boiling water (because it's heat resistant)
  • Doesn't shed as much as I expected for the price
What could be better:
  • That part. It's for Caucasian skin even though the wig if made for black people to wear.
  • The seams at the edges are very thick and have to be hidden with your own hair.
  • Took a lot of work to fit it to my liking because it was very long and VERY voluminous.
I will be doing reviews on the other two wigs when they arrive. They are from an Instagram ad that I'm kind of made about now. It will be a while I guess because they are shipping from freaking China...

Peace
--Free