Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Hard About Dying

I'm sitting here, taking some time to pray and reflect while my sister is fighting several medical issues. Everything in this post is something I would normally share with her during one of our talks. I decided to share my thoughts here.




What's hard about dying is being the one left to live without a loved one.

It's hard to accept that the person will be gone, that you won't wake up with them here.

What's hard is not being selfish; being able to let them know that it's okay to let go. Hard not to make all the bargains with God that you have no right to make.

It's hard to suddenly come face to face with the idea that we all are born to, eventually, die. Life is temporary. We know that and we hear it in whispers every time we hear about the death of someone else's loved one, but we hear it as a roar of grief when it's us that's saying goodbye.

No matter how hard life is, death is harder. Life in hard for the individual, sometimes by their own choices. Death is hard on all the ones who love you, need you, and think they cannot go on without you.

What's hardest about death is that it's so easy.

I am loosely repeating something I once heard: "Everybody wants to meet Jesus, but nobody wants to die."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Support Beams

I want to thank all my online buddies for there encouragement and prayers over the last several days.

This is the loneliest, scariest, most faith-testing time I have ever had to go through. I've gained some strenght and some character, I've cried and rejoiced. I've learned that this life is like a building. There are parts of it that are purely for decoration, but the most important parts are the hidden support beams.

I have had to find where my strongest support beams are. I have learned that there are the weaker ones too. They are there in the talking but not in the doing; there to be noticed, but not there when that earthquake hits.

I also am learning that the way a lot of people behave at the possible approach of Death has nothing to do with the way the behave at funerals and memorials.

Most important - and hardest of all, but the best - is that I have learned more about myself than I have about other people. I have learned that I am stronger than I knew, that I am often weaker than I ever thought. I have learned that I am tough. I have learned that I love harder than I realized.

So, thank you for your prayers and positve thoughts. Keep them coming. This battle is not over yet.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Taking A Break

I have some urgent stuff happening in my life right now. Until things get back to normal, I will not be able to post often.

Keep me and my family in your prayers and thoughts.


Peace
--Free

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

**REVIEW** Sole Magic Foot Smoothing Pad

If you have problems with dry, scaly or callused feet, I'm going to scream at you to go and get one of these:


That is the Sole Magic Foot Smoothing Pad. And, boy, does it work.

You can get one of these online at the Sole Magic site. It's $7.99 (U.S.) and I'd very happily pay double (triple, if I had more money like that).  It's worth every single penny. I happened to find it cheaper and Walmart ($2.79). I found it a couple of weeks ago and, liked it so much, I went back for another one - just in case the price goes up.

I don't have money to throw around, and that I consider it a problem to "throw around" 3 bucks should tell you how hard up I am! Seriously, I have to be a little tight with the money so, when I bought this, I hung onto the receipt in case it was a dud. I have no problem returning bad products for a refund.

This is no dud. This works so well on my foot calluses, the only thing I wondered about was who the heck would be using it on their elbows. I'm not going to criticize though. My feet were so bad that I would never have taken a Before photo like the person on the Sole Magic site did. I can tell you that the photo is no trick. The foot smoothing pad works that well.

I am surprised that I never heard of this product before noticing it at Walmart. It was on one of those junky and badly placed racks where you can find everything from the latest things being hawked on infomercials to some hosiery. HOSIERY? Whatever.

The main reason I bothered to take a closer look at this smoothing pad is because I always take a closer look at any product for feet. And that's why I held on to my receipt until I saw the results I got. I have bought (and returned) so many products that claim they'll moisturize and smooth and, basically, keep you from shrouding your crusty, cracked, calloused feet in gauze to keep from offending other people. A couple of them did moisturize well (not well enough for my feet), and one or two of them lived up to at least part of the claims made (on TV, in magazines and by celebrity hawkers), but none of them worked fully as well as I'd like. One of them would have been great if it had been better designed.


The Sole Magic smoothing pad works mostly (I assume) because it has the basic concept of a foot file worked into a great design.

It's easy to hold and grip the smoothing pad, which seems to be the best part of the design. You don't have to exert a lot of pressure to remove the dead skin from your feet. And for the calluses... Oh! It just filed them right down to nothing.

I especially like that the pad smoothes the skin on your feet (and get's rid of calluses) without hurting at all. With some other foot file devices, I was afraid to use them too much because I didn't want to end up with scraped feet. It's the same reason I don't ever let anyone use razors when I (rarely) get a pedicure.

Before using this foot smoothing pad, I had stopped wearing certain types of shoes - just because my calluses were so painful. I could never walk barefoot around the house because the hardwood floors were like torture devices with each step. I spent about 10 minutes on each foot. Most of the time was used on my calluses because they were thick and located in odd places. The way the smoothing pad is made for gripping and angling is perfect. For my heels (which aren't so bad) and just for the overall smoothing out of my feet, I was done in no time.

Like with anything that files/smoothes dead skin, you're going to get that nasty skin ash falling everywhere. I usually try to do these kinds of foot treatments over the empty tub or over a towel, just to keep down on the mess. Plus, it's kind of gross. Another benefit of using the Sole Magic smoother is that it can be used wet or dry. I did my first smoothing treatment with a dry pad. A few days later, I did try it out in the bathtub. My feet were already pretty smoothed up by then though. I think that I will like it better wet for random "touch up" treatments, but I needed to full effect of a dry pad to handle these calluses!

After treating your feet to a smoothing, you can really tell a big difference - HUGE - right away, but you will be super impressed when you apply lotion to your nice new footsies. For me, it was better than a post-pedicure feel, and it didn't take all that soaking and waiting and paying. Besides, I'd rather take care of my own feet than risk some of the infections I've heard you can pick up at a mani-pedi salon...

Depending on how well I treat my feet (keeping them moisturized) and how dry or humid our weather is, I expect to do a smoothing treatment about once a month. Just touch up work. The pad seems to be sturdy enough to last for at least a few months, maybe more.

I'd check out my local drugstores before I ordered online. If your feet are in the shape mine were, you're not going to want to wait for shipping. Plus, it's nice to stock up on a couple of better-priced products while you can.

Recently, I've been wearing all my cute boots that my calluses made just standing uncomfortable. I can't wait for summer when I can wear my sandals...

Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 15, 2015

**REVIEW** Derma Roller System

This was one review that I was a little frightened of once I saw the actual product. The Derma Roller System is a skin care product device that is meant to
"naturally stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin to promote healthier skin cells"
Also, use of the Derma Roller is promoted as being able to "treat common problems such as wrinkles, skin hyperpigmentation, scars (including acne scars), uneven skin, stretch marks and even hair loss." Please remember all that for later in the review...

This is the device -

1.0mm needle length

Those little "teeth" on the rolling part at the top? Small as they are, those made me nervous - much the way toddlers can do. Those needles are tiny and the length you choose are based on how you plan to use the Derma Roller: 0.5 - 1.0mm for face; 1.0mm (and up) for body; 0.5mm for hair.

Thank goodness I chose the right size for either face or body! Once I saw the device, I decided a body treatment was the way to go. No way am I rolling those little needles on my face! I'm sure there are people with more guts, but I'm just a chicken about scratching, poking, or doing anything the slightest bit invasive to my facial skin.
Even the Roller is not huge
Since I decided to do a body treatment, I wanted to start with a "test" area. My legs could use some work. They look lots better now but, after losing weight, I could use a little help in the skin tone.

I prepared for my first treatment and immediately ran into issues with the directions and the other item included in the package. There are only 2 items in the packet - the Roller and this "Purederm" mask of mysterious uses.


A mask comes *with* it? Well, duh!
Let me say this: I can be excited about almost anything that is described as "Soothing. Relaxing. Moisturizing." The thing is, from what I can tell, that mask has not one thing to do with the Derma Roller Treatment.

Oh. Wait! I might be wrong...

 Item Number 2 of the instructions (for the face treatment) indicate placing "one sheet of Peptide Mask" on your face for 10 minutes.

Nope. Not wrong. The mask they included is not the mask they are referencing.

Oh boy.

As I continued reading the instructions, I realized that it wasn't just the Peptide Mask that wasn't included. Depending on which treatment you chose, you were going to be making a store run for something.

It was at this point that I started to wonder about the effectiveness of a treatment that:

  1. Claims to help stimulate collagen and elasticity to my face, but instructs me to purchase collagen, peptide masks, etc.
  2. Claims to help treat wrinkles, etc., but instructs me to purchase a "nutrient rich" lotion; and
  3. Claims it can help treat hair loss, but instructs me to purchase Minoxidil at my pharmacy.
I didn't expect to have to go shopping
Why wouldn't I just purchase all those things in the first place and skip this Derma Roller treatment?

Could it be that the wording promoting the Derma Roller is just twisted around? Maybe they should inform potential customers that use of the Roller enhances the use of other skin and hair products? 

I don't know.

This all put me off a little. I didn't expect to have to round up a bunch of other products in order to use this one. You know?

At any rate, I went ahead and tested the Roller on a spot on my leg. I used my own "nutrient rich" lotion after and the results aren't in yet. I do know that I'm very glad I tested this NOT on my face. My leg tingled for about an hour after the treatment. I don't know if it was a cell-renewing tingle or not, but it's not a tingle I'd want on my face. Other than that tingle, which started about 10 minutes after treatment, I can't see any real difference. 



I even marked the treated area on my leg

Maybe I'm not supposed to see immediate results, but I don't think I will be using this device again. I'll just stick to my nutrient rich lotion.


If you want to know more - because I only tried the one treatment - this is the website for the Derma Roller System. You can try the product for 60 days, risk-free, with their guarantee.

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, February 13, 2015

**Book Review** Starfish on Thursday

This is a review of "Starfish on Thursday", a collection of essays written by Amie Ryan.



Ms. Ryan manages to put a new lens on wonderful glimpses of common life incidents. I found myself nodding along with so much of what she had to say that I felt like a bobble-head doll. In a few instances, I was pulled in with fascination at learning more about something I'd only ever had a passing glance at from my window on society. Almost all of the time, I was laughing and giggling and making mental notes to share a tidbit of a story with a friend.

If I'm correct, I counted 23 essays and I thoroughly loved 22 of them. I even sort of like the one that was for people who love animals more than I do. 

Amie writes with such an honest voice about things most of us can relate to so well - dating and raising children, and she has the best ever options for gun ownership. Even when she takes on the most serious subjects, she does so with a thoughtfulness and openness that anyone can respect.

The feeling that stayed with me was that, in this book, Amie was not just writing to her readers but having conversations with them. Not all conversations are about pleasant things. Real conversations are about life and death; race and money and gender; being young and being not-so-young, and being human. Some of those conversations are easier than others. 

Yes, I enjoyed this book very much. I enjoy reading anything that helps me grow a new thought, create a new smile line, or stop reading to take notes on how to be a better writer myself. Amie nailed it.

I'd also like to mention that this book would make a great read for group discussion among friends.

By the way, I am thinking of adopting a couple of the author's ideas for my own life - mainly the "15-minute rule of cooking". Oh - and, before I forget, God bless Jimmy Hoffa!

Peace
--Free



Disclosure: Amie Ryan and I are online friends, but there should be no doubt about my ability to be objective in this review. I didn't even get the book for free. But seriously, there is no reason not to be objective and honest. For one thing, Amie wanted an honest review and  I respect her far too much to offer less. Also, I respect my blog readers too much to be anything but honest with them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

**REVIEW** Majestic Pure Rosehip Oil



A 100% organic, cold pressed Rosehip Oil from Majestic Pure


Let me start this post with a little bit of a rant about my phone... Somehow my photos of this product was lost in that thing that I use to do almost everything but make phone calls. That's why I had to snag a product photo.

There. Done. Now on to the review:

It may not sound very objective of me to say how much I like the products from this company, but it's the truth. The reasons: the quantity and quality as compared to a lot of similar products from other brands. Majestic Pure is pretty consistent with what they put out there. That's important. This, straight from their site
Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals  essential oils are 100% pure with no diluents or additives. We provide high quality organic and/or 100% natural botanicals to the public at very competitive prices, with an emphasis on the pure aesthetics and freshness. We have always put an emphasis on conducting business in an ethical, responsible, clear, and ecological way. 

Some of you know that I have a love/hate thing with Rosehip Oils. It's the smell that puts me off. A while back, when I was still getting used to R.O. in general, I almost couldn't stand it. But the benefits to the skin and hair are so good that I have tried different brands. I really, really like this one by Majestic Pure.

This R.O. feels thicker, or heavier, to me, which is good. That odor is still there but it fades fast (or maybe I am just getting used to the smell after using several brands). Because of the thick texture of this one, I came up with a really good use for it on my hair (especially natural, kinky/curly types) and on my hands.

For the hair:

  1. Shampoo the hair and rinse really well. (I find that the better I rinse out the shampoo, the better the rest of this treatment works.) 
  2. Get ready a small size plastic bag (trash or grocery) and some really warm water (not boiling!) so you can use it in a moment.
  3. While hair is still very damp (just "squeezed dry"), rub the R.O. on your palms. Pat palms on your hair. Add more to the ends of your hair (and to the more damaged areas).
  4. (Optional) Instead of wiping your hands free of the R.O., moisturize the edge of your hairline - and the backs of your ears.
  5. Soak a towel (or, as I prefer, a t-shirt) as wet as you can stand to have wrapped around your head.
  6. Fit the plastic bag over your towel-covered head and...
  7. ... Relax. for a while. I like waiting for about 15 minutes before I rinse with lukewarm water.
  8. Couple tips: for different textured hair (fine or not as kinky/dry), you might want to rinse with warmer water, or just use less oil - concentrating on ends and damage. Also, I have done this after just rinsing my hair instead of washing. Whatever works for you.
For the hands:
  1. Use this - instead of or along with- regular lotion before wearing gloves out in cold, dry weather. 
  2. Use after shaving, exfoliating, masking or konjac sponging the skin. You can coat the skin, then blot or wipe clear, or just leave on for soothing effects.
  3. This can be used (very lightly) as a facial moisturizer if you allow time for it to absorb, then blot. At least it works when my skin is super dry. I don't know how it will work for those with different skin types.
The ingredients? Just one:

Like I said, this is a really nice oil. Rosehip seems to be one of those oils that actually provides most of the benefits we hear associated with it.

Finally, Majestic Pure offers a guarantee: they will refund your entire purchase price if you aren't happy.

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.




Tuesday, February 10, 2015

More Online Learning Links

Because this:



A big huge thank you to +Marla Hughes for additions to the links I posted the other day. (When you yell "Help!" Marla is always the first one to arrive. Love her!



Here are the links she provided. I will add more as I have time and hear from other folks:

So there. Can't say you can't learn. Not with all these kinds of resources!


You really can

Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 08, 2015

**Update Attempt** Life-long Learning (links)

*****originally published 8//10 - I have not (yet) updated any links or info because I would like to hear from some of you first. Have any wonderful links to add to this list? If you do, please post them via comments here or on Google Plus. Someone was looking for this kind of info & I think we could all appreciate it. Thanks!*****


I don't usually do this: post info here that belongs on my other blog. But...

I know that some people who read this blog don't always check out my World Wide Wow blog (that's a new name for it, btw!),  and I want to do some shameless plugging for it, so I am posting some self-ed and career links here. If you are into life-long learning or need to refresh or up your skills, these links are for you. Enjoy!

  • Learn Well - This one charges only for C.E. credits (in other words, you can learn free & only pay if you want/need credits). Nice, huh? Covers C.E. courses for RNs, Mft, LCSWs, MFCCs, Pharmacists, Dental Health Workers and others. (Don't get discouraged, keep reading the post for more links!)
  • O.E.R.  (Open Educational Resources) - Here's how they explain their site: "In a brave new world of learning, OER content is made free to use or share, and in some cases, to change and share again, made possible through licensing, so that both teachers and learners can share what they know."  There are various subjects (Arts, Business, Humanities, Math & Stats, Science & Tech, Social Science) and different "grade" levels. Please explore.
  • E-Learning Center - They offer free courses for  those interested in learning HTML, A+, MCSE, Excel and Office. (I see they also have many other courses listed on the homepage - for pay?) Check it out.
  • English as a Second Language - is just exactly what the site is about. From the links on the page, I see there are "listen and speak" tools, podcasts and all sorts of goodies. Really cool & should be helpful to those interested.
  • Free Ed - Nice site & covers LOTS of subjects. (Minor gripe: lots of ads make the site difficult to deal with, but, hey, it IS free, so...)
  • Wanna Learn - good site, lots of topics. A little meandering since you have to find a  subject, then wade through more links to narrow things down. But, again, it's free! LOL
  • Open Learning Initiative - Whew! Can be a little intimidating at first glance, but please give it a shot. (First link I spotted was to a course in "Engineering Statics." I thought it was a typo! ROFL. Shows what I know.... There's a course in something called "Computational Discrete Mathematics" O...kay then... I guess if you understand that then you are smart enough to appreciate that it's free.
  • Math.com - for those who aren't ready for computational discrete mathematics... LOL (like ME!)
  • Wikiversity - Well, we all know how I just love anything "wiki-like!" This is the spot to choose your language preference. When I got to the English page, I noticed that there are supposed to be close to 13,000 learning resources. Wow.
  • Creative Commons - I'm not sure how to describe this resource, so here's their take: "Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright." I do know that it's free and what really caught my eye is that they have MIT Open courseware available. Somebody has got to love that!
  • G.C.F. Learn Free (Goodwill Community Foundation) - described as "your free learning source." The offerings listed on its homepage are for Everyday Life, Math & Money, Computer Training and Work & Career. Cool.
I think that may be enough for now (if not overload!), and I really hope you take a look at the full list on World Wide Wow. (I update that blog often as I can, but I think I'm going to  have to take a free tutorial so that I can make it look nice and be a little more user-friendly. If anyone wants to volunteer to help a sistah out...!) Also, if you are looking for specific links on something, contact me & we'll see what we can do for ya.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, February 07, 2015

**REVIEW** Poppy Austin Eye Cream (with Green Tea & Vitamin C)

It might sound a little silly that when I received this product to review, all I could think about for the first ten minutes is how good it felt on my skin. I didn't think about smell, ingredients, or if it would irritate my face. I was mesmerized by the texture of the cream. Nothing else.

please ignore my dirty laptop screen!


It's Poppy Austin's Eye Cream with Green Tea and Vitamin C. And, by the way, according to my sister, it's very faintly scented and smells of... green tea? (I have a cold so I had to get her opinion.)
Okay, that photo sucked just a little, so...



Thankfully, I pulled myself together and got back to the job of doing an objective review for this eye cream - (though it's not just for the eye area).

This comes in a pump jar. I like products in a pump jar, but only if I can get a lot of use with minimal pumps. So, the first question, for me, was: How much coverage would I get per pump? Answer: one pump to do my undereye area and across my nose. One pump. Nice.

The reason one pump of this covered so well is because of the texture I was raving about right off the bat. The cream is super moist (I think I described it as almost damp. Most creams - even the most moisturizing - don't have that kind of "wetness"). I believe - and this is just me - that it's what the label calls its "enriched blend" of ingredients. The aloe could also lend to the high moisture level.

Whatever the reason, the texture and the feel on my skin is what really wowed me. The cream itself looks like just about any other facial moisturizer: white, thinner than body lotion, and really creamy.

Because what dispensed with one pump was more than enough for my undereye area (and because the cream can be used as a full-face product), I went ahead and, well used it full-face.

Dispensing the cream onto the back of my hand, I used my fingers to just dot tiny amounts around my face, then rub it in. Know how we are warned to be so gentle with the eye area? So that we don't tug at our skin? Well, there's no tugging with this. It's so moist that it just glides over the face, Good coverage, small amount. Love that this will last a long time.

This is how the product defines its use:
 Directly Tackles Dark, Sagging, Baggy Eyes as well as Fine Lines, Crows Feet and Wrinkles.
Well. I don't have the dark or sagging or baggy eyes, but I do have the fine lines, crows feet and... Well not a lot of wrinkles.

#SmileLinesAreNotWrinkles!

Moisture is the biggest weapon against fine lines on the skin, so I think this is going to be great for minimizing, or at least keeping those lines in check. I'd love to hear from someone else about whether this works as well for dark circles. Lord knows, we are all living with enough stress to develop some of those skin problems.

Now. That is all what I love about this product. I didn't have any negative issues with it, but ran into something that is my personal flaw: I have combo skin. Depending on the weather, my face is "Normal/Dry" or "Normal/Super-dry". (As in arid as the Sahara.) This cream worked amazingly well as a moisturizer of the Normal and Dry parts of my face...

... Except for my chin. My chin is just ri-dic-cu-lous!

The Poppy Austin cream actually did soothe the dryness of my chin, but after a while, I had to add more product to that one area. Who knows, maybe with continued use, even that part of my face might get better? Let us hope.

Now, for the other important stuff, I'm going to leave you with a list (well, a photo) of the ingredients, and the happy note about the manufacturer's guarantee of a FULL refund if you are not happy with the product.

Also be sure to check out the actual Poppy Austin site! I like what they have to say on the "Our Story" page.

Here is a partial list of ingredients from the product page on Amazon, and a photo of more ingredients as shown in the product page photo:
"Poppy Austin® revitalizing under eye cream contains a cleverly combined blend of 72% organic and natural ingredients. These include our luxurious organic Aloe, Grapeseed Oil, organic Jojoba Oil, Green Tea, Lemon Citrus, organic Rosehip Oil, Vitamins E and C and many other sumptuous moisturizers and natural antioxidants. A full list of ingredients is located on the product packaging" 


Since I had trouble with the image copy, my photo attempts to better show all ingredients listed:


Peace
--Free



DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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