Friday, April 20, 2018

**QUICK POST** Manuka Oil Healing Psoriasis

(NOTE: Blogger wigged out and deleted my whole post after I published and auto-posted to G-Plus. So, here I go, re-creating the whole thing!)

It's never easy to be publicly vulnerable, but I want to post some Before and After photos of my psoriasis-plagued feet to illustrate how Manuka Oil is helping to heal them. First, let me tell you a few things:

  1. I think the psoriasis started about 5 years ago.
  2. The affected skin gets scaly and itchy. It flakes so badly that it's visible in my shoes and socks.
  3. I've tried the long-term use of an RX ointment and an RX cream.
  4. Before I left Alaska, I was going to the dermatologist 3 times a week for UVB treatments. This went on for about 2 1/2 - 3 months.
  5. I've ordered balms and creams online. Some helped the appearance. Some didn't work at all.
  6. The last thing I used (and still do) really helped the appearance of my feet and gave some relief from the itch. Plus, it smells great.
  7. I ordered the Manuka Oil on 4/11/18 and started using it immediately. 
Bottom line is, nothing healed the psoriasis until I started with the Manuka oil. I was seeing a difference in the skin of my feet the morning after the first night-time application of the oil. It was so immediate.

Please understand that I am not a medical professional of any kind. Do your research and check with your medical care providers before using this or anything. I am only here to tell what this oil did for me.

By the way, I am in the habit of taking photos of my feet for other product reviews and/or so that my family and close friends can see what's happening. Now, here are the photos. 





 I realize the lighting is different for each picture. That's because I hadn't anticipated using the first one for this post. You can though clearly see that the skin is much less dry and flaky and actually is healing back to normal. I expect that in the next few weeks, I can stop hiding my feet altogether.























 Those are photos of the brand of oil I happen to be using. I am not being reimbursed in any way whatsoever for mentioning them, but I will be buying this particular oil again. It's from Inn & Co. You can read the review I recently did (again, not reimbursed or compensated in any way by the brand or seller) to get an idea why I will stick with this brand.

If anyone else has had success with Manuka Oil (or other products) to treat psoriasis, drop me an email or leave a comment.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, April 19, 2018

**REVIEW** Birchbox

The Birchbox I told you all was coming... arrived.





This was courtesy of my angel sponsor but, let me tell you what, I will be continuing this subscription. It exceeded my expectations.

The cute little collectible, um "upcycle-able" box is adorable and the contents were pretty awesome. For a $10/mo subscription, this is what the April 2018 box contained listed with the full-size prices:

1. Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel ($12)


This was one of my 2 faves in this box. Though I don't wear full-face makeup that often, I do like to do my eyes and lips. I hace unruly brows and I am a mess when it comes to shaping them. This gel has a brush that made it easy even for me to get my brows to behave. The shade would be best for when I over-pluck or shave the brows, but I would have preferred the Clear.


2. Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème ($24)



This was totally out of my beauty profile range. I wear my hair afro-curly and try never to use any kind of heat other than to deep condition. That being said, I can tell you that this product smells awesome. When I applied a little of it to my hand to check the texture, I found it to be very light and it didn't leave even the trace of a film on my skin. I hope that helps anyone who is looking for some kind of information about the product.

3. Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream SPF 20 - All Skin Types ($54)



First, let me say that I wanted to like this and I mostly did. Two things about it turned me off: 1 - there is a fragrance in it and I don't like fragrance on my face unless it's an essential oil I'm using for a specific purpose. 2 - Did ya see that price? OMG. If I had loved the crap out of this, I'd have to find it sold by a tenth of a milliliter.

I can say that it's the lightest and best-textured day cream I've seen outside of the Avon Anew that I typically use.

4. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner ($22)



I love, love, love a good liner. This one is so easy to use because of the felt tip pen-like applicator. If you can write, you can use this. Mine came in black and it's a true rich black. I don't use eyeliner every day, but when I do, this will be the one.

5. Smashbox Cosmetics Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer ($24)


This is another of the products that I wanted to like. I do like the way it goes on - very smooth and non-sticky - and I loved that, once applied, it didn't dry out my lips the way a lot of matte-ifying products can. The one thing that put me off is that I am so particular about the shades of my lip products and this changed the shade ever so slightly. Maybe it will work better with some of the shades I want to change anyway, but it's not for my regular lipsticks. On the other hand, this is a super product for those who can have a little bit of variety in the lip color.

6. BONUS Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick ($25)



Remember I said I had 2 favorites in this box? This is the other one. This is my top fave and it wasn't one of the box samples. It was the bonus gift. 

You can see that the lipstick itself is green (frog prince green?) but when it reacts with my body ph or heat, it turns the faintest shade of blush red that's perfect for my complexion. I said today that I always envied people who have those naturally shaded lips. Now I can have that same look and the gift/sample is actually going to last me a while.

Free's Birchbox Rating

So that was my first box. It will be up to me to pay for it from now on and I think that, if I can swing it, it will be totally worth it. Based on this month's box, I give Birchbox a 5-star rating. It's affordable for most people, the samples are of a good size, and the items are all interesting.

If you are interested, you can use this link to sign up. Please do becasue I will get points as the referrer :-)

Another Plus to the Birchbox is that you get a discount when you purchase anything you have sampled. Also, you earn other rewards. This is from the Birchbox site:
"Each time you shop with Birchbox, you automatically get rewarded! The minute you create an account, you can start earning Points to spend on full-size favorites and gift subscriptions. Even better news: You’re on your way to bigger perks. The more you shop, the closer you’ll be to qualifying for our VIP Aces tier, which gives you access to exclusive added benefits."

Peace
--Free





DISCLOSURE The products reviewed in this post were paid for by an "angel" sponsor who is in no way affiliated with either product or brand or seller. My opinions are not influenced by the "angel".

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

**REVIEW** ScentSplit Decant Perfumes

For anyone who loves perfume but lives on a tight budget - or is just very careful with their money - the best services are those that sell decanted fragrances.

Q: What is a decant?
A: Perfume that is taken from a bottle and put into a smaller bottle.

I wanted to try some fragrances that use Tonka Bean as a part of the scent. When I checked around, I found 3 perfumes that sounded promising. They were on the ScentSplit site:
  • Fève Délicieuse by Dior
  • AMEN Pure Tonka from Thierry Mugler
  • Tonka Imperiale from my favorite - Guerlain 
This is the thing, I can't afford to even look at any of those perfumes at the store. Decant purchases is definitely the way to go.

Here's what the decants cost vs what a bottle would cost in a store like Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus:
  • Fève Délicieuse 1ml decant = $4.99 vs $210 for 4.5oz
  • AMEN Pure Tonka 6ml = $16.99 vs $90.00 for 3.4oz
  • Tonka Imperiale 1ml decant = $7.99 vs $260.00 for 2.5oz
I can't remember where I read the catchline of "when you want to date a fragrance, not marry it", but it's perfect for this post.

Since this review is for the ScentSplit service, I won't get all into how much I love these perfumes, but... I love these perfumes. Guerlain wins out again though as my forever-will-be favorite. Tonka Bean must be included in all my future scents! Now, on to the Pros and Cons of ScentSplit.

PROS

Selection
They have a fabulous selection of fragrances to choose from. I looked at a couple of different services to do a review on and chose this one to start because of the crazy amount of choices.
This is only HALF the brands shown

Price
The prices are great and you are given enough size choices to afford at least a sample of something.

Presentation
My package was nicely wrapped to protect the contents. Inside the mailing box, was the actual box of my items. This was wrapped so prettily, it was like getting a gift.


Fragrance Quality
When you open the gift box, your items are inside, covered with and nestled in paper. I removed the top layer to take the photo.

The fragrances houses on ScentSplit are on the higher end and more classic types. I have nothing against the celebrity or passing-trendy scents, but I prefer names that withstand time. ScentSplit has a nice mix while some other services seemed to favor "younger" scents.

All three of the scents I ordered are of wonderful quality. I had the opportunity to sniff a bottle of the Tonka Imperiale when I hit the stores in Arizona last year. I know that the decant I ordered and received is the real deal. 


This is the 6ml spray bottle -



The sprayer is nice and fine and is great for not wasting any of this perfume.


The 1ml sample tube is capped very tightly. That's great because you don't want any of your fragrance to leak, but it was tough to open it. I'd rather have it tightly sealed like it is though.




 Not only were the prices reasonable, but the shipping wasn't bad. It was $4.99 for the small box with USPS 1st Class Postage.


CONS

Using ScentSplit is such a great way to make enjoying fragrances an affordable adventure. It's a shame that the site needs so much improvement. From the point of putting in an order to awaiting delivery, I kept notes of my frustrations:
  • The website needs an overhaul. Trying to sign up for an account is silly because the first option at the top left of the page doesn't work. You have to go to the middle top of the page at "Your Account" and work from there. Also, if you order without creating an account, you can't merge any order info once you do set up an account. It's just unnecessarily complex.






  • Order delays are not readily addressed. I ordered on the 4th of the month and there were no online updates or tracking info provided by the 9th. I had gotten a Thank You email from the owner so I used the Reply function to ask about the delay. He let me know that one of my items was on back order and he was very nice about offering to change my order or cancel with a full refund. My issue was not the delay as much as it was not being kept informed about delays. If this order had been for a date-specific gift, I'd be so late.
  • When I did get a tracking number, I couldn't copy/paste it to check up on the updates for myself. The way the site is set up, you can't copy information. Okay. The postage fees were for 1st Class USPS. I got the package on the 16th. The Order Page wasn't updated with all the information until the packaged was delivered...

Yay or Nay?

So, basically, I would rate ScentSplit very high on quality of the product, but that website needs work. I hope that in the future, deliveries will be more timely and I think they will be barring any back ordering issues. The presentation of my items was so beautiful that I have to give it a 10-star rating. It just about makes up for the hassles of dealing with the website. (NOTE: I was just informed that the ScentSplit site is one of those hosted sites. That may be the cause of the issues I'm fussing about. Not the fault of ScentSplit then. My bad.)

Based on my overall experience and satisfaction with the product, I will definitely be referring my friends and family to use this service. I will be checking out other similar decant sites though. 

I give this a 4-star rating overall. The product more than makes up for the site issues.

Peace
--Free

Monday, April 16, 2018

**REVIEW** FabFitFun Starter Box

So. I finally broke down and tried this particular subscription box. I didn't even think about trying the fifty-dollar seasonal box, but I had a coupon to try the Starter box for $19.00.

INSERT PHOTO of the box outside

The box had some really good items in it and was well worth the intro $19.00 but I would never even consider paying fifty bucks for even a quarterly subscription beauty box.  Also, I happened to love everything I got in the Starter box but I looked back over some of the past boxes and wasn't impressed with the contents I saw.

This Starter box though... It was pretty nice. Let's take a look.

The box outside my door looked festive enough. It wasn't that heavy though so I was super curious to open it.
Anticipation...



The teasing just never ends. I like the care that was taken to nicely wrap the contents. Just like getting a gift. Well, one that you pay for anyway.


I'm not kidding about the tease. It seems to go on and on. The magazine inside was nice and there's the thoughtful note included.





Whew. Finally, right? It's almost like Christmas. You pay for the gift, but the element of surprise is fun. For about ten seconds, I was a little disappointed.  I saw these 3 items and thought, is that it?



Actually, there was more. Four items in total. I think that every box includes a bag of some kind. This one did not disappoint, but I can't help but...


I would personally never pay $62 for this one, as cute as it is. I think the name is the reason for the high price tag.

There's a cute and sassy little tasselI like and the strap is a good length. I couldn't wait to fill this one up. There are no inner pockets but I managed to fit my phone, wallet, some tissues, lip gloss, a tube of lotion, and a perfume roller inside easily enough. I do like this bag more than I expected to.  Simple and classy.



This Ahava hand cream... This is some luscious stuff. I have a thing for Dead Sea minerals and this lotion's ingredient list includes mineral waters and dead sea water. It feels wonderful and is immediately hydrating. I would definitely buy more of this in the future, but I don't know if I can afford the $33 price tag. I will be looking forward to seeing more products from the brand.


Doucce is a new brand name to me. I'm seeing more of the products. The tubes are so sleek and chic looking. What surprised me was how much I like this lip stain duo. I have issues with most lip stain products. Either they are very drying or, depending on the color, they look dry. This is a medium brown color, which I didn't think would suit my complexion.


It is a bit lighter than I like when I wear just the stain and it tended to look muddy-ish, but when I add the gloss, it looks nice and I have paid more for a good lipstick. Now, if I just do my hair the rest of my makeup and clean my bathroom mirror...

that's toothpaste on the mirror, not something in my hair

I saved my all-time favorite from this box for last. I LOVE the smell of this Marrakesh oil. If I could find a matching perfume, I'd stock up. This does add some shine to my hair, but the scent just makes me happy.

I can tell that the pricing given was pretty accurate because everywhere I priced this oil, it is as shown; $22.99.

Love the smell of this oil!!!

Honestly, everything in the box was good quality, and quality does cost. I really like that they include a bag. I needed a crossbody bag and the Summer & Rose bag replaces the poor, worn-out, raggedy thing that I've been carrying.

So...

Is Fab Fit Fun worth it? I guess it all depends on your budget and the kinds of items you like getting in a box subscription. Fab Fit Fun is just way out of my budget at that $50 each for the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall boxes.

If I could afford the FFF subscription, I would try it at least for a year. Since I cannot afford FFF, courtesy of my angel sponsor, I am trying out at least one each of the cheaper boxes from Birch and Sephora Play. I will be reviewing those as soon as they come in.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, April 14, 2018

**REVIEW** Manuka, Manuka, Manuka

As promised, I am going to review a product that I have been talking about forever: Manuka - but not just the honey. Thanks to my "angel", I have a small bottle of the oil and a jar of the honey. So, let's get to it.







I didn't get the EcoBee brand that I have talked about before because, as I told you, I have an angel purchaser. When someone else is footing the bill, I try hard to look for the best price as well as a quality item. I still want to try the EcoBee brand, but that's for another time. For now, I went with the Steens. The first reason is that they passed all the tests of being UMF-certified and licensed as an authentic Manuka brand. The next reason is that, after reading a ton of reviews and doing some other light research, I was impressed with the quality. Now, about the details:

The Taste

Not the usual off-the-shelf texture, sweetness, or color. The honey has a grainy-ness that you can see, but it's not very noticeable on the tongue. Its flavor is more molasses-sweet than table sugar-sweet (but doesn't taste like molasses). If I have to relate the taste to a sugar, it would be more a raw-sugar-sweetness. Though the product page talks about the "bee bread" being included, don't expect what you get with a brand like Really Raw where some of the comb and propolis is very visible when you open the jar. With the Steens Manuka, all that seems to be blended into the honey itself. The coloring is almost that of a very dark peanut butter:

This best captures the color of the honey


Also, I have to mention that this jar was clearly labeled with the UMF rating and country of origin. Even more important, it was sealed for safety in every way.

The Smell

I chose the least expensive jar of Steens. If you remember from my other posts, I talked about the much-lauded UMF rating system.This one is UMF 10+ and cost about $25 for 12 ounces (so around $2/ounce). The other choices on Amazon are UMF 15+ (approx $55)  and 20+ (approx $120). If I had chosen either of those, I would not have been able to choose other products to review for this period. Even my angel has a budget.

A good texture, even after refrigeration


Of course, I can't, for now, check the honey for certain benefits - such as faster healing of sores/wounds. What I could test immediately was for whether or not it would give me an energy boost. Not only did I try this, but I had my brother give it a test also. Result: he felt more energy than I did. I did feel a slight boost during the day that I took 2 teaspoons, but that could be psycho-whatchacallit. My brother has been on a new work schedule that is disrupting his sleep and he said he definitely got a boost the second time he tried 2 teaspoons - one in the morning and one at midday. So, okay.

It's going to probably take me a while of taking my daily teaspoon of this before I can say yay or nay about the benefits. Right now, I am trying to work the honey into my intermittent fasting routine. I like to add some to cucumber water and out it in the fridge overnight to chill. That way, I have a nice big helping of water for first thing in the morning. On the days when I fast - like I will be doing tomorrow - I make up at least 3 jars of the drink to have in between cups of (ugh) unsweetened lemon or mint tea.

In addition to the 10/15/20 UMF Manuka, there are other products at the Steens site.

One last thing about the quality and authenticity of the honey. There is a trace code on each jar that allows consumers to track and trace the origin of their particular jar of honey. If you want to see a test of this tracing feature, head over to here and try out the sample code. I was able to trace mine, but I couldn't zoom in on the map itself.




While Manuka honey has a UMF rating system, the essential oil has a different grading system.



This Inn & Co Manuka Oil I have is rated at  MβTK 25+ Certified.  MβTK stands for Manuka Oil ßeta triketones. I won't get deep into it because it will make my head hurt, but the triketones are important because - according to the NIH and other sources - of their antimicrobial activities.

Getting away from all the technical details and five-dollar words, I was mainly interested in the oil for these touted benefits (especially the ones I italicized):

  • Proven to Kill Bacteria And Other Microbes – 30 TIMES MORE Effective Than Tea Tree Oil
  • Laboratory Tested and Proven Effective Against 35+ Bacteria Harmful To Humans: Streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as Pathogenic Fungi.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Treats Aching and Stiff Joints, Strained and Painful Muscles, Back Aches, and Arthritis Pain. Rubbing Just A Few Drops May Help Relieve and Alleviate the Symptoms.
  • Cicatrisant /Cytophylatic– The Oil Helps Scars and After Marks on the Skin Fade Away Promoting New Cell Growth and Healing of Wounds
  • Relaxant/ Aromatherapy – Has Remarkable Soothing and Relaxing Effects. Helps Fight Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Stress, Nervousness, and Disturbances As It Provides a Relaxed Feeling. 

I have actually been using the oil for almost a week so I can speak to the benefits I have enjoyed.

  • Psoriasis on my feet is showing a lot of improvement. I've been using other balms and oils that soothed the skin and gave it a better appearance. This oil after just one treatment seems to be clearing up the problem areas. There is a lot less of the scaling and flaking. I've been using the amazing Pumpkin Seed oil as a carrier and adding just a small drop of the Manuka for each foot. 
  • Again, using the tiniest drop or two in my humidifier, this oil does have a calming effect. I've started using it every night to help me sleep better. Side note about humidifiers: they will set off your smoke detector. I learned that at this morning around 4am...
  • I added about a drop of this to about 3 tablespoons of my hair twist cream and it seems that I got more shine as a result. I've read that the oil is a dandruff remedy as well as a hair growth treatment.
  • To test the oil as an underarm deodorant, I rubbed some manuka and coconut oil on my palms then rubbed under my pits. Works.
  • To test this as an alternative to feminine hygiene spray, I dabbed a small bit of the manuka onto the sticky side of my panty liner. This makes me nervous though because who knows what kind of personal hell it would be to get this oil on your private parts. I have decided to get a fine-misting spray bottle to mix some 10 parts filtered water with 1 part manuka oil to spray my freshly laundered panties and let dry before wearing. If anyone else decides to use the oil as a personal hygiene deodorant, all I can say is, be careful and know the potential risks. LOL
I have added a little bit of the oil (about 5 full drops) to a 1-quart spray bottle and I use it to clean counters in the kitchen and bathroom and to spray the shower curtains with. 


The only halfway negative thing I can say about the oil is that the smell can be strong and has a medicinal tinge to it. I notice it most when using it in the humidifier. On the other hand, the smell dissipates quickly into the air and it also does not linger too long when applied to the skin. I don't find the smell "nasty" like with some highly beneficial oils (hello, Neem), but it isn't a perfume-like oil.

To Summarize

Do I think that these products live up to the hype? Yes. Surprisingly, it is the Manuka oil that I plan to purchase for myself in the future. I am getting a lot of use from this bottle - from use on my skin, hair, in the air, and for cleaning. The honey will last longer and I can see myself not having to replenish the stash for another couple of months.

When I think of the cost of these products, I have to look at the overall use and value. They are worth what they cost in health and mental well-being. The oil is my favorite.

To leave you with something to think about, while I was doing a bit of research on these two products, I discovered that there is still another type of honey to be looked into. It's called Kanuka honey. Kanuka, not Manuka. Seriously. I will have check that out much later. I already have to finish reviewing the products my angel has lined up for the next few weeks.

It might be a minute before I do get to the other reviews. I've been dealing with yet another health issue the past couple of weeks and am just now starting to bounce back. Hang tight though because I have some good stuff coming up - not to mention the May Giveaway...

Peace
--Free






DISCLOSURE The products reviewed in this post were paid for by an "angel" sponsor who is in no way affiliated with either product or brand or seller. My opinions are not influenced by the "angel".

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pumpkin Seed Oil: Best Hair Moisturizer

It's been a very not-fun week over here. For the last several days, I was dealing with excruciating pain from the right side of my head down to my throat. Turns out I might have something called TMJ. I hate when pain is associated with something that causes more pain when I try pronouncing it.

Anyway, the OTC pain meds are working and, until I can get in to see a dentist, I'm just moving along.

I can't remember if I mentioned that my hair has been acting quite the fool lately. It's so dry that it's been hard to keep it looking halfway decent. These tresses have been thirsty. I found and have been using some decent products, but either the results didn't last or they came with unwanted features - like flaking or heavy buildup. I was going through every oil in my arsenal when I ran across one that I had almost forgotten about:





Oh, mercy! This stuff is ah-mazing...  I rubbed just a few drops in my hands and rubbed them over my hair that was already styled with a twist-out. I got immediate softening and some shine and a whole lot of relief from that "crunch" feeling. I don't want to exaggerate but I think I heard my hair sigh.

When I was using the pumpkin oil before, it was mostly for my face. Sometimes, I would use it on my elbows or my knees if they got drier than normal. I loved it for my face and always remember how good the residue made my hands feel. I have no idea why I wasn't using it on my hair. Maybe it's because my hair didn't dry out as much in Alaska. My whole body is still getting used to the Iowa climate.

I wanted to blog about this because I don't know if other afro-naturals are using this particular oil on their hair. Maybe like me, they hadn't heard much about it?

The other thing I've been doing with the oil is doctoring my other hair products. I have at least 2 products on the shelf that haven't lived up to their moisturizing claims even though they are great at giving me some curl definition. I have added a few drops of the pumpkin seed oil to the cream I've been using to do my twists at night. Big difference. I'm shedding less and getting a bit more shine - or at least relief from the dull and faded look that dry hair gives off.

If you use this on the skin, once the oil is fully rubbed in and fully absorbed (takes about 10 seconds), it leaves a really nice "powdery" kind of softness without being greasy. On the hair, it makes the strands feel nourished and sort of healed, if that makes sense. I haven't done so yet, but I plan to do a scalp massage with it before I do my next twist-up for the night.

Now, branding can make a difference in quality with oils. I have put another brand on the list to try later and will compare the two when I've tried that other one. For now, this brand is awesome and my bottle is almost exactly at the shelf life limit of 1 year.

Speaking of hair products (and reviews), I have a personal "angel" sponsor who is purchasing for me some of the products that I want to review but can't afford. I can't wait to do my next review (it's not to do with the hair - or is it???) and have at least 3 products lined up for the next week or so - including one I use along with the pumpkin seed oil. Also, I have some products coming from a new service I found. My sponsor doesn't have endless pockets, so I am spacing products out as I decide which to review.

I'll be back in a day or so with the next review and I think it's going to be a good one. I've been looking forward to trying the product for a long, long time. So excited. Until then...

Peace
--Free

Saturday, April 07, 2018

**INFO** Site Slinging for Fragrances & Oils

A neighbor asked me something the other day and I referred her to a website I know of. She commented that she never would have found the site herself. True or not, it occurred to me that I do often run across some interesting and random sites when I am writing, blogging, or just looking for something myself. Why the heck have I not been sharing these sites with you guys? Dunno. So... here goes the first list of sites. (Understand that I can't endorse the quality of these sites so... use your noggin.)

Oh, and I came across most of these when I was looking for a fragrance oil featuring Tonka Bean. Now, down the rabbit hole we go:

  • Scent Split is where you can check out buying decants of perfumes. Good idea for those who want to test a scent first, or already like a fragrance but can't afford the whole bottle. Their shipping speed is iffy. It can take at least a couple of weeks for items to arrive and, in the case I know of, the tracking information wasn't available. On the Plus side, they have a HUGE selection and they use glass vials/bottles for the fragrances which is better than plastic.
  • Candle Science is where I landed next while looking for the Tonka oil. If I ever decide to make candles, this is going to be the first stop.
  • Fragrance Buy is in Canada, but they offer "hard to find" and "niche" scents. They didn't have my Flori Roberts Gold, so...
  • Lucky Scent caught my eye because they offer not just perfume but all types of fragrant items - bath stuff, candles, etc. IMO, the perfumes I checked on were pricier than I liked.
  • Fragrance Original carries discontinued scents as well as current items. The site reminded me of the fragrance offerings at Burlington's Coat Factory. Prices were fair.
  • Root American Made Candles is to candles what the other sites are to fragrances. The prices ranged from impressive to the out-of--my-range range. I like that they have smaller sized options in case you can't spend lots.

I'm adding a note about The Fragrance Shop because I have used them for years to buy fragrance oils. I love their original oil scents. At first, I was crazy about the Shalimar mimic oil that I got from them about 6 years ago, but the oil will degrade over time so I don't count on using it after about 6 or 7 months unless it's very well stored. Customer service is excellent and you can get very affordable sample bundle.

If anyone knows of any other relevant sites, do let me know. And if you know where I can find some Tonka Bean oil, really do let me know!

I will be back to do a review of Scent Splits once I receive my order from them...

Peace
--Free

Thursday, April 05, 2018

**REVIEW** Organic 4-Ingredient Soap Bar

This right here is the best soap ever.





It's "Nature's Moisturizing Soap" from Bliss of Greece.

As I've mentioned, I use more than one product from the Bliss of Greece store and I have never been disappointed. I'm not normally a bar soap user, but I love the brand's products. I didn't think they could've have done any better than they did with the Greek Remedy Oil I reviewed before. I was wrong. They really knocked it out of the park with this soap.




By the way, another customer thought to ask what the difference was between the soaps since one bar is lighter than the other. The Seller response is:
"...both soap bars have the exact same ingredients, the only difference is the dark soap bar have olive oil sediment which is full antioxidants and have numerous health benefits, beside that both soaps are the same..."

 When I used this in on my hands just to test it, I knew that it was gentle and non-drying, but I didn't get the full effect until I showered with it. Most soaps, no matter how "gentle" will leave at least a slight residue on the skin. This one left zero residue and didn't dry out my skin in the least. While my skin was still damp, it felt like it had been cleaned with a moisturizer. Instead of immediately applying lotion or oils, I let it dry just so I could see how my skin reacted. I did need to moisturize, but my skin wasn't screaming for it like usual.


My hair today is much softer than it normally is after a wash. What's great is that it usually takes a couple of days after a wash for my hair to "stretch" back into shape and get manageable for styling. I had no idea the soap was going to work so well.( And, before I forget to mention this, it was the darker bar of soap I have been using first.)



Best of all, this is the very natural and simple list of ingredients in the order they appear on the packaging:

  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Coconut oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Castor oil
  • Sodium hydroxide 
The other benefits are that the soap is
  • Organic
  • Unrefined
  • Handmade
  • Cold pressed
  • Vegan
  • Animal- & eco-friendly
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten- & paraben-free





As with every one of the Greek Bliss products I've tried, this one comes with the excellent customer service. If you have a problem with a product, you can contact them and they make it right. I've never had a problem, but have contacted them to ask about their recent limited-buy option on a product. Someone got back to me the same day! (By the way, the limitation was only due to available supply. The Greek Bliss products are made by hand and in small batches.)




The soap comes packaged with a nice rubbery soap mat and a scratch-off coupon. The coupon could net you either a free product or a discount. I got 20% off on mine (and a 40% coupon in the oil I got). Nice.

Like I said, I'm not a fan of bar soaps. I've used one other bar shampoo and it was good but it did have a drying effect and could not be used very often. Also, it was much more expensive than this one. 

I am back to cleansing my hair more than once every two weeks, I guess since this soap is so good on my afro-nappy (4c) tresses. I'll be interested to hear from someone with another hair type/texture to see what they think.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Upcoming **GIVEAWAY** For My Blog Followers in May

Image result for thank you




For the month of May 2018, I will be doing a giveaway, choosing from among my blog followers. I just appreciate so much the people who hang with me even though I'm not a famous blogger.


                                                      *⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂*


I am still trying to find the right item for the giveaway and looking for something that will be of use to either gender.




                                                  *⁂((✪⥎✪))⁂*


By the middle of this month, I will have the chosen item and start preparing for the giveaway.

Thank you for being so lovely and loyal!

Peace
-Free


Sunday, April 01, 2018

Intermittent Fasting Update with Photos

I will keep doing these updates simply because they might encourage someone else who wants to change up their eating habits. After all, I first learned about the Keto diet from seeing videos and blogs from those who had success with it. So... here's the latest:

This intermittent fasting is a life-changer. Here are the latest selfies. The older ones are here and here.





When you are losing weight, you tend to think of the numbers on the bathroom scale while your friends notice you. It was my brother who remarked first on how I was regaining my normal face shape.

This is what my face looked like when I was in Arizona for this past Thanksgiving:

with my 140lb sis-in-law...



Let me tell you, folks, the best motivation is results. I never thought that I would stick so diligently to a healthier way of eating. I mean, I can do alright for days or even weeks at a time, but this IF is the easiest dietary change I've ever attempted.

Because I felt so good after the last one, I plan to do another 24-hour fast. That first one back on the 25th of March... that was a rollercoaster ride of "I can do this, no problem" and "Oh, help me, Lord, I just want a sip of sweet tea". I made it and, in hindsight, it was a breeze. Okay, the caffeine jonesing was a serious test, but...

My next post here will cover the foods, snacks, and recipes that have become staples for me since starting IF. It's working for me and I want to share it with others who might be interested. Trust me, people, when you see what I eat in a day and am still losing weight at a healthy pace, you'll probably be amazed. (Oh, and just for fun, I'm going to share some photos from when I was on the high doses of prednisone and at my absolute heaviest.)

Peace
--Free