Thursday, July 21, 2016

**MAKEUP** Rimmel Eyeliner & Bitzy Lip Colors

Don't think that I consider myself a diva or anything, but I wanted to share a little style tip. If you are of a medium, deep, or dark skin color, you probably use dark brown or black for your eyeliner. That's what I've always done. I always thought that going dark to match my eyelashes and brows was the way to go. And dark liner does look nice, but it doesn't pop as much against darker complexions unless it's worn heavy or dramatic. The same goes for lipsticks and glosses: get out of the nighttime colors and go for something with a bit of brightness and pop.

Lately, I've been mixing some of my cream liners - the lighter ones or sparkly ones with my blacks and browns - or I was using cream eyeshadow pencils. Then I found this eyeshadow shade by Scandal Eyes:

It's shade number 004 and is called Guilty Grey, and I love it. I found it at Walmart for around $4.

I had trouble fully capturing the visual effect with my laptop camera but, try to trust me and know that it's a nice (yet subtle) change-up from a basic eyeliner shade.

The main thing that I like about this shade is that it works to draw attention to my eyes the same way a dark liner does for someone with a paler complexion. I wish I had thought to do this long ago. When I was younger, I would occasionally wear eyeliner and I remember going through a phase of wearing blues and greens.

By the way, I think that a grayish or shimmer shade might look good with any skin color - just as black does with all shades. Going lighter is just a new thing for me. (I will warn you that, because this is an eyeshadow, you won't want to use it to line the inner part of your eye. I did that the first time and got some in my eye while wearing my contacts. Oh, mama! Danger, Will Robinson, danger!)

The other thing that I really like about wearing a grey/gray shade is that I get just a such a different look without having to overdo my makeup. When I first wore this shade in public, one lady actually commented on it. Of course, this is Alaska and strangers chat with each other all the time but, still. She just mentioned that she liked the way I had highlighted my eyes. As if I had done more than change my liner shade. (I've also stopped going so dark & red with lip colors and have been giving lighter shade and shimmers a try.)

This is one of the lighter lip colors I've been wearing:

I have to admit that I'm going to be looking for my next light eyeliner in the Bitzy brand. These little things are so cheap that I can try lots of different colors and shades for less than what some brands charge for a single full-size item.

These are two of the Bitzy "Lip Stacks", which are like tiny samplers of lip glosses. (Note that the other photo I just showed up above is what's considered a "full-size" gloss!)

If you've never tried the Stacks before, each of the 3 colors has their own sponge applicator.

The only downside to the Bitzy Lip Stack is that, once you find a color you just adore, you might not be able to find the shade in a full sized tube. That's what happened to me when I fell in love with the very bottom shade in the Irresistible stack. There's no identification of each shade. Even the clerk couldn't find it in the full size. That's how I ended up with the Beautiful shade. I like that one a lot, but I'd still like to find the other one. I think it must be either Candy or Nude.

The Lip Stacks are perfect not for just sampling shades, but also for having a variety to change up your look throughout the day. I keep both of mine in my purse and love being able to play mix-and-match.

Those Lip Stacks, by the way, are quite small. I have small hands and can hide one in my fist. Here are the Stacks along side the "full size" gloss.

Don't go looking for a Bitzy website. Until I was writing this post, I didn't realize that Bitzy is a Sally Beauty Supply brand. That's where I've always bought my Bitzys, but I never thought about where they came from until I was trying to find a link for Arcadia Beauty Labs - which is the imprint on the Bitzy product labels. Check out all the various Bitzy items available on the SBS website! Hot diggity. I might never buy another full sized product again! I'm going to have to talk to the manager at my local SBS to see if she can get more of these items into the store. (By the way, I think I caught a sale when I bought my gloss and stacks because all I paid was a dollar for each item.

All "grayed out" & Bitzy'd up!
(It looks good in person. Really.)

I never wore much makeup when I was younger. About ten years ago, I started experimenting with the basics, so I'm not a woman who goes all out with her makeup. At the most, I like a little lip gloss, maybe some watered down foundation or light powder, and mascara-or-eyeliner. I apply everything with a light hand. I'm older now and I think of makeup as either my "war paint" (to hide my insecurities) or as window-dressing (to accentuate a feature).

If you're wanting to try something a little different with your makeup, give a different eyeliner (or mascara) a shot. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has other tips for jazzing it up with makeup.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

**REVIEW** Art Naturals Fractionated Coconut Oil

This is probably the eighth FCO (fractionated coconut oil) that I've used. I think I have reviewed at least 3 or 4 of them in the past few years. I wanted to come and do a review on this one because I think it's going to be a new favorite.

You wouldn't think that there'd be much of a difference in FCO's, no matter the brand, but you'd be so wrong. I've liked almost every FCO I've tried, so if I had to pick one of those over another, it would come down to price. Since this one would rate well in the price criteria, I'll go over what else I do like so much about it.

First off, it's not rank, stale, or stinky. I hate to speak ill of local stores, but good quality and price are two main reasons I usually order certain products from Amazon. When I picked up a bottle of FCO from a small store in a local mall, I thought it would be okay. The oil was in a smaller bottle (I think it was 8 ounces), but wasn't too expensive. I had previously gotten some scented lotions and fragrance/warmer oils there and wasn't too underwhelmed. Plus, I was trying to buy local. I don't know if it was a batch problem or what, but that FCO was "off". It had a rank/dank odor. I returned it and the store explained that I must have just gotten a bad bottle. In addition to my refund, the clerk was nice enough to give me a sample bottle of fragrance oil.

Next time I bought some FCO locally, it was from a store I generally trust. The oil itself was pretty good as far as the moisturizing properties. The problem I had was that it was labeled as "pure" (or maybe it said "whole" I can't remember which) and there was a light coconut scent to it. As far as I now, pure FCO does not have a scent. That's one of the things I like about it. I don't want to use anything on my face if there is a scent involved.

Anyway, there were two reasons I applied to try this FCO from Art Naturals. One reason is I was out of FCO, period. LOL The second reason is that I'd been seeing other Art Natural products (tanning creams, Argan oil, face serums, etc.) on the brand review sites I use. I was curious about the brand, so...

My order for this FCO was placed via Amazon and the price was really decent. Like I said, the price is going to be a big part of the decision to purchase a quality oil. And, trust me, the  prices vary a lot. The 16-oz size is pretty standard, but just go and check out how many price ranges you can find. It's crazy. If you go over to Art Naturals, you'll notice the price for the FCO is dang good.  And, there are two extra reasons for shopping from the site (especially if you aren't an Amazon Prime member):

  1. Shipping. Standard is FREE & Expedited is only around $6.00 (I didn't even see any exclusions for Alaska or Hawaii!)
  2. You can sign up for their mailing list for a chance at free products in exchange for reviews. I think you have to stay tuned for when they are running a campaign but, still.
See the site's FAQs for info on all that. By the way, I noticed that they also have a magnesium oil. Interesting, huh?

I can tell you that I'm happy with the FCO from this brand. Like I said, I had run out since the last bottle that I bought (and liked) at a local health store. I used this one almost as soon as the FedEx guy handed me the box. 

In case you forgot or never knew all the ways FCO can be used:
  • Moisturize skin & hair. Depending on your skin type, you can try using this as an overnight face and body treatment. The good news (especially for you loving couples) is that FCO doesn't stain sheets and clothing. Moving along...
  • Remove your makeup (or just clean your face) with FCO. When the weather or my meds have my skin feeling extra dry, I will use the FCO with a damp face cloth so that some of the oil is left on my skin. Otherwise, I'll wipe the oil off with a cottony baby wipe. That cleans the oil completely off.
  • Hot oil treatment for skin and hair. For the skin treatment, I like to slather on the oil then sit on some towels in the bathroom with the shower steaming the room. (Just be careful that you don't slip-slide and bust your pride!)
  • The oil is great for shaving. I don't have to shave my legs, but I love putting FCO on my pits and leaving it while I shower, then shaving just before rinsing off.
  • For those of you who need scalp moisture, you can apply this to wide parts in your hair and then brush.(I use it a little heavier after I've got my hair twisted for the night.)
  • For people with a smoother (less kinky) texture of hair, a tiny bit of oil can tame or even prevent the "splits". FCO is a nice hair oil because it is so light (and remember - no staining).
  • I've heard that "brushing" the skin is a trend these days. I am thinking of trying that but, for now, I know that applying some FCO and exfoliating is nice. You can try using the oil with sugar, coffee grounds, baking soda, rice powder, or some other mild scrub. I used to use sugar, but now I use the finer-grained rice powder or baking soda. One day, I'll have to experiment with a fine-grained salt.
  • FCO makes a good cuticle oil, lip balm (try mixing it with an EO of your liking). Of course FCO is a wonderful carrier oil for using with EOs.
  • This last one is a personal goodie that I will dare share with the ladies, but guys might want to try it: Throughout those hot (or extra active) days, try cleaning your "private places" with some FCO and a baby wipe. You can grab some small, cheapie plastic bottles at Walmart to keep a portable supply of FCO on hand. This is a nice way to keep fresh on days when you feel self-conscious for whatever reason. I'm just sharing a tip.
If you think that using oils as a part of your hair and skin care routines is worth it, let me share a photo of my 55-year old self. And be sure to keep in mind that I haven't always taken as much care with the rest of my health as I have with my skin. I smoked cigarettes for most of my life, not always eaten well, and messed around and acquired a chronic immune disease. Still...

Born with good skin genes. Upkeep with oils and other moisturizers.

So, yes, there are so many ways to use a good FCO. The one use that I haven't ever thought too much about until I saw the Art Naturals label: "Medicinal". They don't mean for internal use but as a wound cleaner. I thought that was interesting and will have to look into it more.


DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned in the post free of charge in exchange for providing a fair & honest review.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

**REVIEW** Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

I can't believe that I am just now getting around to blogging a review of this deodorant.

That is Lavanila, a natural and aluminum-free deodorant that I started using back in mid-May. As you know, I love vanilla anything so that is the scent I chose, but there are several types and fragrances to choose from. Before you do select a scent, check user reviews. I love the one I chose, but I did see some users/reviewers who did not like the grapefruit choice at all. I haven't tried that one so I can't chime in.

The reason I actually tried this deodorant is that I was getting tired of the crystal type I was using. With that one, I always had to dampen it before using. This one works just like any other cream stick deodorant. Just keep in mind that it is ONLY a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. But, boy, does it work overtime as a deodorant.

Although I wanted this particular one because I love vanilla scents, the fragrance with this isn't very strong. and that's just fine with me. I plan on trying some of the other natural deodorants so that I can do reviews, but I like this one so much that I will probably use it as my regular choice. Since it is natural, but works so well to control odor, I was interested in the ingredients:

  • aloe barbadensis leaf juice (aloe juice, water/aqua)
  • alpha-glucan oligosaccharide (sugar derived)
  • carrageenan (seaweed derived)
  • hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) extract 
  • inulin (artichoke derived) 
  • loncera capifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract 
  • lycium barbarum fruit extract (goji berry) 
  • melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) flower/leaf/stem extract 
  • propandeiol (corn derived) 
  • saccaromyces ferment 
  • sodium stearate (coconut derived)
  • stearyl behenate (coconut derived)
  • usnea barbata (lichen) ext
Wow. I'm not familiar with most of those. I expected to see magnesium (in some form) on the list. I will have to compare those ingredients to the ones listed for other natural deodorants.

Here are the things I like most about the product:

  1. Goes on very, very smoothly (even better than "regular" stick deodorants).
  2. Does seem to condition.moisturize the skin (as product page states).
  3. Keeps the "funk" away - even on hot days, days at the gym, etc.
  4. I've personally had no skin problems from using it.
  5. Though mild, the scent is nice & not as acrid as those in store brands.
  6. Is lasting a long time. After 3 months daily use, I have at least another 3 months left.
Here are the things that I like least:
  1. Because of the moist texture (which is almost damp), I have to let it "set" for a moment after applying.
  2. Though I like that it conditions the skin, I'm not crazy about the initial damp feeling.
  3. I really wish it had some antiperspirant protection.
For those who care, apparently, this product is vegan (as are some of Lavnila's other items). As far as I can tell, Lavanila doesn't carry an antiperspirant. Dang it. I was surprised to find that this is the brand that produces the Lavanila scent I tried years ago (and loved, but forgot about). I just have to remember that the brand is Lavanila - not Lavanilla

The brand also makes body butters and sun protection products. I ordered from Amazon, but if you go to the Lavanila site, you can sign up for product discounts. Be sure to check out their "Our Story" page.

I'm happy that I found the product and, like I said, I'll probably always use it now. However, I will be doing reviews on similar items.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Updated **REVIEW** Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen (specifically reviewed for writers)

Please scroll to the bottom of this post for an update of the review.

I could have titled this post "Happy Birthday to My Broke A**", but... LOL

When I was studying this smartpen to decide if I wanted to buy it, I read lots of reviews. I didn't see any that were specific to people wanting to use it primarily as a tool for creative writing. Also, I wanted to come to the post as an older and only slightly tech-savvy person. So...


My Livescribe Echo 2GB smartpen arrived today and I wanted to do photos of the unboxing:

** A quick note on the only difference I've noticed between the Echo and the Livescribe 3 - apparently, the Echo is geared toward use with laptops and PCs and the Livescribe 3 is for use with phones and tablets. Notice that this is as far as I can tell! **

By the way, the contents on the side of the box lists 2 ink cartridges. It should list that there is 1 additional cartridge since most people would expect there to be 1 inside the new pen. (I spent a couple of minutes checking for a second cartridge in the plastic packaging.) Minor point, but this is a review.

Now I just have to get everything open and set up. I'm a little bit afraid! LOL

I had to charge the pen before I could do any of the setup. Duh. Apparently, it takes up to 2.5 hours for the pen to charge from empty but it only took about 40 minutes before mine was charged.

I chose the 2GB pen because it's cheapest. There are 8GB ones on Amazon, but there was an $80 price difference. I've heard that there are also 4GB versions. ~shrug~ The 2GB pen is supposed to over 200 hours of audio (depending on quality), or "thousands of pages" of notes. Keep in mind that is an or not and. I plan on doing more note-taking than recording.

The pen feels more comfortable in my grip than I expected. It looks fat, but I had no trouble adjusting to the feel of it. I had a chance to get used to using it when I did the steps to set up initial information - date, time, etc. The coolest part is how easy it is to use from the very start. (Or maybe I should say "so far".)

The "starter notebook" that comes with this pen is probably the size I will prefer to on-the-go notes. It's what I used to set up the basic information. It's also a good "starter" for new users getting used to the technology of the pen. Putting in the date and time; adjusting brightness and volume; then checking the status of the battery, storage, and software version were all as easy as tap/click and done.

Using the Navigation to scroll the Menu was easy enough, but I will need some practice before I go past the very basics. From the get-go, the Menu sounds interesting and has options for Applications, Shortcut Buttons and something called "Sound Stickers" (yeah, I'll have to investigate that one!)

This is what the pen display looks like (set to 75%).

This is the size of the Starter Notebook.

This is the size of the 3-hole 8.5 x 11 notebooks I ordered (in a 4-pack). Like I said, I think I'm going to favor the size of the Starter notebook. I set the Starter notebook on top so you could see the difference.

This is the inside of the college-ruled 1-subject notebook:

 The main thing I noticed about the first page in the larger notebook was the line for a subject or other kind of title.

There is a cheat card of smartpen controls tucked in the front pocket but it seems to specifically be for the Livescribe 3.  I can't tell if all the notebooks in the pack have this because I haven't opened the others.

When I opened this one, I was a little startled by the adhesive tag holding it closed. I almost just snipped it off before I realized it's coded for "archiving" the notebook. I only know the most basic of basics about the archiving issue. I just wish I'd noticed that tag right off. Until I figure it out, I've left the tag stuck to the back part of the notebook.

Now that I have the pen up and running, I am dealing with the Echo Desktop that I downloaded to my computer. At first glance, I feel completely confused.

There were so many parts of the Desktop app that confused me until I connected the pen to the computer. I was still a bit confused but, oh well, at least I got the pen registered.

I also have downloaded a 30-day trial version of MyScript. This is the application that will be important to us writers. While it's wonderful to have a digital backup of our work, the best part is being able to convert those handwritten notes to text. Text = easy editing.

To be honest, this is probably the one reason I've gone for broke and ordered this digital writing tool. When I am eating soup and crackers and being fascinated with the "body" and "aroma" of all the tap water I'll be drinking, I want to know it's worth it. What will make it so is when I can write the way I prefer - on paper, in ink - and not have to transcribe all my amazing ideas into a Word doc.

I'll tell you all right now that I've probably done my best writing only to throw it out. Why? Because I can never finish transferring my handwritten stuff to a text editor. The minute I am reading (or typing) an unfinished story, I start fiddling with it before it's time to fiddle with it. I start changing words and ideas and.... Yeah. Usually, I get so mad that I never get back to the original fire of the story. The fire that made me want to get it down on paper in the first place.

MyScript is supposed to take my scribblings and, well, this will explain better than I can. There's also a demo at the same link.

The ink quality is not the best. In my opinion, it's sticky and seems like it's going to have tendency to leak. Ick. I hear that the ink can be replaced if you are careful about choosing refills. Also, for anyone who wonders, the paper can also be printed - if you have the right kind of printer.

That's' pretty much all I have for now. The last thing I will say is that I didn't want the Livescribe 3,but I am disappointed that it has features the Echo doesn't. For instance, I can't "share" to the same places (think OneNote). Bottom line is that I am pleased so far. I will update this as I get more familiar with the pen.

One last thing: someone wrote the most excellent, detailed review on Amazon. There were so many tips in there, you have to check it out before you buy. I'm going back to look at what he said about gluing in a magnet that tends to slip out of place...??? I know, right?

Here's Wikipedia for anything that I missed.



Still loving the pen. I have been writing like mad. I wanted to update on the conversion results (using Echo Desktop and the MyScript software). This is a sample of what my handwritten notes look like when the pen uploads to Echo:

It's a very clear and sharp image and viewing size can be adjusted (though I did zoom out for this screenshot). What you are seeing is what most people - student's, for example - might be happy with. After all, if you are only wanting to review your notes from a lecture or meeting, then a capture of your handwriting is fine.

This is a shot of what the handwritten notes look like when first converted to text. At this point, the notes are still in the MyScript app and have not been exported to MS Word, email or as a picture file.

Nice, yes? Certainly. Until you do export this to a Word doc. Then this happens.

I should say that this is what happened for me. There could be an issue with my handwriting, spacing, or something else. I should also point out that there is a solution. It's a time-consuming solution though so I have been getting help directly from one of the nice people at MyScript. Let me stop here and say that the customer service makes up for almost anything else. I'm getting one-on-one help and I'm only using the trial software. So... I'm not even an actual customer. I'm more like a potential customer, yet I'm getting personal and courteous attention from a rep.

I will most definetly be back to update further. I will tell you that not everyone is having the issues with the text that I am having. Please do not hesitate to give MyScript a tryout. The customer service is excellent at so many levels.

**REVIEW** ScentSationals (scented wax)

If you ever wanted a simple way to brighten, enhance or lift your mood, you have to try ScentSationals wax melts. This one is my all-time favorite right here:

I've also tried some others and this is another fave:

The Iced Lemon Sugar Cookie (ILSC) scent is so fresh and calming that I have driven across town to other Walmart locations to stock up. I told a friend of mine that the fragrance is better than a Valium. I'm not kidding. I am beginning to think that I might be addicted to the scent.

Not long ago, I tried one of the Burt's Bees wax melts. What a disappointment. First of all, like most things from Burt's Bees, the item was overpriced. The scent was amazing though. Until I tried to use it. I still can't figure out how something that smelled so good in the container could lose every hint of fragrance as soon as it started to warm. I mean, there was NOTHING fragrant coming from that wax once you moved your nose more than half an inch from the warming pot.

If you think I'm being harsh about Burt and his bees, I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed by the wax melts. The next time I was in the store to pick up some more of those fabulous ScentSationals, another customer and I discussed our disgust with Burt's wax melts. She said that she'd actually bought more than one scent, and had even bought one of the candles. In her opinion, the candle was slightly better than the melts - but only very slightly. She had returned all the unused items. Like me, she was sticking with the more affordable lines. (By the way, her favorite are the melts from Better Homes and Gardens. They are about the same price as my faves so I tried out one. Not bad, but I haven't seen a lemon scent to match the ILSC!)

(NOTE: I have no idea what's up with the Better Homes site.)

I used the ILSC in my room and in the trailer because that's where I spend most of my time. I have used the other fragrances in the family bathroom. It's nice that the bathroom always smells pleasant (without anyone having to call attention to themselves by spraying away odor or running the fan), but it's tricky to choose a scent. The guys in the family don't want anything "girly" (seriously, this is what they'd say), but none of us want anything too strong or pronounced. What I ended up doing was choosing from the line of "Refreshing" scents. Tea, Fresh Air, and Rainy Day are the light fragrances we can all enjoy. Those are the kinds of scents that they guys in our family would use in their cars.

One of the things I love most about ScentSationals (other than the wonderfully affordable price) is that the fragrance lasts and lasts and lasts. If I melt three of the cubes on High, I can get a good 2 full days use at full strength. The fragrance does start to wane a bit after that and I've learned to use the Low setting if I want to get another couple of days use from the melts. I used to just dump the depleted (and cooled) wax in the trash basket to freshen it. Lately, I will save some of the used wax in a spare jar. When I'm at my monthly budget limit for household things, I will stick a tea light candle in the scented wax. There's usually a little bit of scent left and tea-lights are nice for setting a relaxing mood. (By the way, I was going to take a photo, but I am also out of tealights. Dangit!**)

Another way to use these wax melts is to store the unopened containers in your dresser drawers. Basically, use them as sachets until you get ready to use them in a warming pot, My mother used to give me little powder sachets to put in my dresser when I was starting to mature. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

This next tip for freshening your car can be tricky so try it at your own risk. I'm just sharing my experiences and yall now that I have had some blips in life...  Put one of the wax melts in some kind of small container (preferably glass or thick plastic) with a lid and leave it half open in your car. Of course, this works well on warm summer days. In cooler weather, you'll have to rely on the car's running heater/warmth. It's still nice. For containers, I have cleaned out some makeup jars and such.

One of the highlights of my life is going to the store with DJ to pick up our ScentSationals. I make it part of my monthly grocery shopping routine. DJ likes to pick out at least three or four scents to smell. His verdict is either"Eww! NO!" or "\Yum. I like this one." He doesn't even care that I mostly only get the ILSC scent. We can spend a good fifteen minutes on that aisle, testing different scents. Last month, the closest Walmart was out of ILSC so DJ chose these from Better Homes to try instead:

Nice but not lemony enough

I told him I didn't like it, but he said we should try it. Okay. Turns out, it wasn't anywhere as lemony as our favorite. When we went back to the store a couple weeks ago and saw that scent, DJ goes, "You were right, BooBoo. That one... No, no, nooo." LOL (You have to see now why it so NOT sad that spending time with this kid is a highlight of my life.)

By the way, don't forget that the Better Homes and Gardens wax melts are just about the same price (at Anchorage Walmarts at least) as the ScentSationals. The local price is about $2.30 for the pack with 6 cubes.

Now, I have to mention that the website doesn't make it easy to find your favorites but once you do, there is a nice comparism feature. When I first checked the site for my ILSC scent, I had to use the Search function. Before that I was checking under the wrong categories: Tropical, Garden, etc. The Iced Lemon Sugar Cookies is actually under "Delectables". Okay.

I got extremely frustrated when I added a ton of scents to the "compare" list only to have them disappear. Guess what? I forgot to set up an account. Actually, I don't want an account. I don't want to order online and wait for deliveries when I can just pick items up at the store. Grrrr... Okay, so I established an account only so I could use the Compare feature.

Turns out the Compare feature is pretty useless. I loved the description of the Iced Lemon Sugar Cookies:
"Deliciously baked lemon, lime blend of pure sweet coconut milk and sugar with light notes of vanilla extract."
Yum, right? So I wanted to compare other scents to see what I might like in the same range. This is what I get from the description of Red Velvet Cake:
"Red Velvet Cake
2 oz"
Yeah. That tells me all of nothing.

The site might be useless for anything other than getting a list of scents but, hey, I'd rather follow my nose anyway. I can always ask local stores to order the scents I like
Other than the categories of fragrances (Tropical, Romantic, etc), there's also something called "Fusion" for mixing and matching. By the way, I usually get the 6-cube item (and you can see from the photo that they are a good size for smaller warming pots), but both the Scentsationals and the Better Homes melts come in larger amounts ("value packs") and in con sets:

Finally, I noticed that the scents are cheaper at the local Walmart than they are from the website. Just saying.


** If you want to know why I'm out of tealights & can't get more.... Wait for my next review! LOL

Saturday, July 09, 2016

All the Time in the World (to digitize)

There was an episode of the Twilight Zone about a man who just wanted time to read. After a worldwide catastrophe, he is the last man on earth. He has all the time in the world to read. Until he breaks his glasses.

I feel a little bit like that poor guy. I've got a couple of nice, quiet days to do nothing but write. I haven't broken my glasses (or damaged my contacts), but my muse is apparently off having a bad menstrual cramp or something.

Do you realize how utterly mesmerizing a blank Word doc looks? I've even learned how to change the background color and I'm still unable to fill that space.  When I try to write. It's as though all the ideas that were dancing around in my head when I was busy doing other things have now gone into hiding.

Yesterday, I ran into an old acquaintance at the store. It's been years since I saw him. I spotted him at the exact same time that a piece of a story fell into place for me. I actually was torn between wanting to speak to this person and wanting to avoid him. He noticed me and so, of course, we had to do the whole long-time-no-see chat thing. The entire time that he was talking, I was listening to my fictional characters having a wonderful dialogue that would be perfect for my story. By the time I got back to my car and had pen and paper out, I'd lost most of the story idea.

I think I'm a person that works better when I am trying to ignore distractions. Give me too much peace and quiet and I start getting the urge to re-decorate a room or at least re-organize my closet. This is not anything new for me. Back when I first got serious about writing, I would spend the first half hour of a session sharpening pencils.

My best inspiration comes to me when I'm tucked into bed and about to doze off. This is one reason that I am going to be investing in a digital note-taking device. I've been putting it off for a while now, but when I think about being able to turn over in the middle of the night and jot down half a story that can be transmitted to my PC in legible text, well, I feel the same way that I do when I'm enjoying a good crush on someone. Everyone who writes fiction can tell you that the worst feeling is when you write down some middle-of-the-night notes and can't make any kind of sense of them the next morning.

So, yeah, I'm going to find a way to budget out the purchase of a device for keeping my notes. Thing is, there are so many different kinds of devices - all with their Pros and Cons - that I just can't choose. Right now, because of price and customer reviews, I am leaning toward the Livescribe Echo (2 gig) pen. From everything I have seen about it, it's perfect for writers. There are a couple of concerns: 1) To convert handwriting to text (say to MS Word), I'd have to purchase another item - the Myscript application. Seems to me that this should be included with the pen. 2) Some users complain that the customer service is really lacking. Also, one user stated that he's gone through 3 of the pens so far. I guess the only reason he still uses Livescribe is because the features are awesome.

I thought about other pens simply because they don't require special paper. The ones I saw had too many other flaws noticed by users. Arrrgh!!!

This video is of the 8 gig Echo:

The Livescribe is reasonably priced (around $110 for the 2 gig pen and about $30 for 4 of the 100-page notebooks), but I worry that it might be uncomfortable to write with. I've checked out a couple if videos like the one above and the pen looks pretty thick. If I do manage to get hold of one of these pens, I will definitely be doing a review. AND, I'd have no problem at all returning it if I end up the least bit unhappy.

If any of you have feedback on this device or a similar one, please do share. PLEASE!


Thursday, July 07, 2016

**REVIEW** Thyroid Support from Zhou Nutrition

This right here...

... is the subject of today's post.

That's the Zhou Nutrition supplement Thyroid Support with Iodine.

There is a reason I applied to test out this product. Bear with me for the story.

Just over a month ago, I started experiencing some weight gain. This is after I had worked so hard to lose the first 40 of the 45 pounds that was my goal. The weight gain hit at a time when I was also dealing with more fatigue than I'm used to. I knew that I had not been eating well because I hadn't had much of an appetite. Mostly, I was living off of soup and bits of deli turkey meat. I hadn't been getting much green stuff in my diet other than some of the green food powder that I'd put into some gel caps.

My initial reaction was to start drinking more water and making sure to get some black strap molasses on a daily basis. Black strap had almost miraculously increased my energy levels before, then I had started slacking on my intake.

When my energy was still down after a few days (and was even getting worse), I too tired to deal with anything other than crawling out of bed for a few hours a day. The next symptoms were really worrying. Almost overnight, I started to develop patches of dry skin on the lower inner sides of both feet - the area just above my arch line. No other part of my body was dry or irritated.

I talked to someone I know who told me to try adding some iodine to my daily diet. And, wouldn't you know that I just happened to have some J. Crowe's  around.

As soon as I began adding a few drops of iodine to my water and coffee (for at least 3 cups of beverages each day), I noticed that the drying skin on my foot stopped getting worse. The itch was disappearing withing the first few days and it looked as if the skin was healing.

My primary doctor was absolutely no use at all. I checked with him about the iodine and explained why I was taking it. His answer was just not to take too much iodine. Well, done, my physician, well done.

I have an upcoming appointment with my specialist and I trust him with the whole of my life. I will talk to him then. In the meantime,  I am taking the Thyroid Support (with iodine) from Zhou Nutrition. Since the supplement includes iodine, I'm not taking the J. Crowe's right now. What I was interested in is the ingredients listed in the T.S. supplement:

Here is some general info about the various ingredients:
When I just glanced over some of this info, I could see how all the ingredients (or the blend) could help with clearing up some of the skin issues I was having. This is what my feet look like after just using the iodine for a few days. They are getting better and I hope they will be back to normal after using this supplement for a while.

Everyone who knows me know that I take excellent care of my skin. It's a vanity thing in a way, but it's also the one thing I've always been able to control. So... yeah.

I know that a lot of my symptoms indicate thyroid issues. I have never had such problems so I'm interested in the relief I'm getting from the ingredients in this supplement.

I received the bottle on Tuesday and, even though it was after 5 o'clock, I took one tablet right away., then I took another tablet just before going to bed (about midnight). The recommended dose is no more than 2 tablets each day. On Wednesday, I took my morning dose and started doing some freelance work. At around 3 or so, I realized that I wasn't so wiped out. I have no idea if the supplement is supposed to start working so fast. I can't remember what time I took my second dose on Wednesday, but I can tell you that I woke up this morning not feeling like I was going to die of fatigue. Of course, I'm not seeing any weight loss yet. To be honest, I don't care if the supplement doesn't help me lose weight. Now that I am getting some pep back in my step, I will be able to make it to the gym. I'm already more active around the house and my pedometer step numbers are way, way up from the past weeks.

I'm going to have to do more checking up on all the individual ingredients listed on the label of this supplement but, in the meantime, I am overjoyed at the resurgence of energy. Until you have dealt with extreme fatigue, it's hard to understand how much it impacts your life. For me, either the fatigue or underlying symptoms, had me feeling so depressed that I was scaring myself. I was sleeping like Rip Van Winkle and, even when I was awake, I couldn't function. I completely dropped off the radar with Google Plus, and I wasn't able to do any work on the revisions for my short story collection.

Today, I feel more alert and my depression is nearly gone. I'm actually getting more than one thing done. The past several days, I could pull myself together only long enough to update a review, post some photos, or pay some bills online. After I finished one thing, I'd take 2- or 3-hour nap.

In a few weeks,  I will come back and update this post but, for now, I just want to say how much better I feel. I can't say what this supplement will do for anyone else, but it's been (so far) life-saving for me. I mean that literally. If I'd had to go on any longer with the fatigue and depression, I was going to be dialing a helpline.

If anyone else has dealt with the symptoms I've mentioned, please let me know about your experience. I'm looking anywhere and everywhere for information because I don't think that my primary care doc pays that much attention to me when I talk about my concerns. I have been spoiled to having the best doctors ever and this new one is just not that impressive in my opinion. I want to hear from other "real" people who can relate to the symptoms I've had.

To close, I want to mention Zhou Nutrition's site. Many of their products are available via Amazon (which helps for those of you with Prime membership). A nice Plus is that their guarantee will accept even your empty bottle.


DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned for free or at discount in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Total Pageviews