Wednesday, September 17, 2014

**REVIEW** Bit Defender Antivirus (Free Edition)

Wow. I am so thankful to +Sandy Sandmeyer for telling me about Bit Defender Antivirus. I was getting tired of struggling to understand and use Comodo.

First off, the big difference between these two pieces of software is that where Comodo was loaded but confusing to use, I don't really have to think about Bit Defender. It's just sort of... there. And doing its job. Comodo was beautiful, and loaded, and just chock full of stuff that would have been great to use, but...

Not enough aspirin in the world!
Another thing I like so much about Bit Defender is that it makes it easy to find quarantined files. Then it makes a simple pick-and-choose job of of viewing the file in its folder, restoring the file, or just deleting it. Easy.

This would make life easier
This program is so simple to use, I really don't have much else to say about it. There is no convoluted interface. The shortcut is right there on my desktop when I want to check and see any warnings or quarantined items. (I was going to get a screen shot of it on my desktop but... some little cutie pie who I won't name named DJ jacked my mouse & I am having trouble with the built-in one on my laptop.)

Even this chart confuses me...

Anyway, another goodie about this program? Free. Yep. Of course, Comodo also has a free version that I was using. I was actually tempted to just buy Bit Defender Antivirus Plus 2015, but I can't afford the $59.95 just now. They also have Internet Security 2015 ($$79.95) and Total Security (on markdown right now for $79.94 from $89.95). Thing is, these are all priced for a year for 3 PCs. I'd love to ask for a discount since I have only one PC! Hah.

First Problem? No money.

So, yeah, I am really liking the great job that Bit Defender Antivirus Free is doing. I like it so much that I am planning on putting the paid version on a wishlist somewhere.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Products I'd LOVE to Review

First a little personal note:

I'm in the midst of re-re-locating. I'm going to be living between family homes for a while. I will actually reside in Anchorage, but because of my awesome family support system, I will be able to get to Iowa every few months for a few weeks. This takes the stress off of me while I wait for an affordable place here in Anchorage (and shame of this city for not having enough affordable housing for singles!); my healthcare team is here, so I don't have to be anxious about that; I will get to see my little brother and sister often enough that we don't go into bonding withdrawals; and, most of all, I get to save money for when a place opens up here. Who else has family like mine!????

Oh yeah. These guys were a good family too.

Now, because I am (almost literally) moving in about 5 different directions at once, I have been slacking on the product reviews. I have a couple of new products in transit but, in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to talk about products I'm just SO wanting to try. (Maybe someone will see this and I'll get an offer to try out a few of these.)

You think I'm kidding? Nope.
  • Anything from this brand. I did get a tiny sample of the Immune Perfect Continuous Hydration, but not enough to really test it over a few days. From the little bit I did try, I loved it. They have a special offer on a "dry skin treatment" (including the Continuous Hydration) that I'm just drooling over...
  • "Love Curl Moisture Milk" by Camille Rose Naturals just sounds so yummy. My hair was almost too hydrated from the Iowa humidity, but the mineral-laden tap water also dried it out after shampooing. Now that I am back in Alaska, my body clock has re-adjusted but my hair is still confused! (Also, I kind of like the story of the product's founder.)
  • And because I'm a little hair-obsessed right now, I'm also wanting to dry this Hair Dew by Oyin Handmade. I wish I knew their story. 
  • TUKKA Naturals interests me because - well, it's for "naturals". Like me. I want to try this  conditioner and this duo. And, of course, I want to try this shampoo. (Aren't the names interesting?) Once again, I love the story.
  • Getting away from the hair thing (sort of), I came across this quite by accident. I love the idea of using oils on my skin. I had never heard of CaiauĂ© oil before this. One thing I can tell you is, I'm sure I will like the orange scent better than I do that of the rosehip oil (which works great, by the way)... I found that there is not as much info out there about this oil as I expected because it's better known as the trademarked name of Ojon oil. The company selling it on Amazon has this site. Huh.
  • This is a little embarrassing to share, but I have bad feet. I don't mean "bad" as in crooked or anything like that. I mean "bad" as in I don't take the best care of my feet as I should. I have corns and calluses that could frighten a podiatrist. My calluses get so bad that I find it painful to walk barefoot on hard flooring. We have wood floors throughout the house here. Yeah. So... Now, I do soak and scrub and moisturize my feet like a fetishist, but if I miss one week of not doing all that, those calluses grow right back like a petri dish experiment. So, this product is on my radar. It even comes in an "orange". What caught my eye? That it's supposed to eliminate calluses in mintues. Oh, yeah. This one is on my radar for shu-ah.
Well, there's my little product Wish List. I didn't even add on all the makeup I want to try. That would make for a loooong list. There are all sorts of BB and CC creams and new lips stains I want to try out. I think I'm going to have to make some vendor suggestions to

If any of you have had a chance to try any of these products (or any products from these brands), I'd be interested to get your take on how they work.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Found What I'm Looking For

As I get ready to leave Iowa and head back to Anchorage, I can say that I maybe have found what I'm looking for.

I found that my little brother is going to be just fine once I go home to Anchorage because he's been blessed with a wife who loves him. She will do just fine looking after him (and him looking after her). I will see them again soon.

I found that I have to be happy wherever I end up, and that just happens to be nearer to DJ and my sister right now.

I found that while I've lost some things and people in life (RIP Perry), that I have been given more than has been taken away.

I found that I can't worry about finding tomorrow; I just have to live for this day that God's given me.

I also found fresh faith.

So, I'll be heading back to Anchorage, where I can complain about the long, relentless winters and the never-ending darkness. But I'm going to start some new habits: attending church and Bible study; enjoying more of every second with my little "Boo Boo" (DJ); and just taking one day at a time without worrying about moments I haven't lived yet.

Finally, I have to give a shout out to the awesome people I met here (Hi, Marty & Mrs. Marty! Hello Pastor Scott and Sister Robin!).

And I'm giving a big blog hug to my little brother and his wife.

Oh yeah, and...

We look too much alike, don't we?!


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Still Haven't Found... (photo post)

I feel like that "Walking Man" that James Taylor sings about.

I came to Iowa, hoping to find a new place to live. I did. In the second week, I found affordable housing. I also found a new "sister" in my sister-in-law. I've always had a strong bond with my 'baby' brother, so there was that.

What I didn't find was the ability to be away from my sister and baby DJ. My brother, sis-in-law and I really want the rest of my family to move here...

I learned something too. I learned that the right storm of circumstances can knock all the firmness from the ground under your feet.

When Perry died, I felt so thrown and heartbroken and lost that I couldn't get my bearings. I still can't. I've been sick (physically) and off kilter. I need the familiar and the routine of my life in Alaska right now. (And I can't believe I am saying this when I know a long winter is coming.)


I have gained a love for this beautiful place and its people. From (literally), the moment I landed at Des Moines, I have not met one unfriendly person. The first Iowan I shook hands with was the gentleman (and I do mean he's a true gentle-kind-sweet man) who picked me up to bring me into town - giving me a tour along the way and refusing to take a cold nickel for his time or trouble. Thank you, Marty Anecita Rowe! You should be one of the ambassadors for this great state.

When I attended church, the pastor, his wife and the congregation greeted me very sincerely by saying things like "Welcome home." When's the last time that's happened to many of us? Let me tell you once again, the people here don't just mumble "Have a nice day," they mean it and try to make it so. It's unbelievable.

Most of all, I was able to spend time with my brother. We were able to have our long and winding talks. We were able to reconnect for a while. He, my sis(in-law) had long drives through the countryside, sat around the fire-pit, and I even had "foil burgers" with a friend of theirs. I had the meaning of "family" re-enforced on my heart and in my head.


I'll be back. Often as I can. I will be back to see the "baby bro" who is the other part of my heart, and my sister-in-law (who warned me: "You're in trouble. I never had a sister before"). I would probably not have that goal if I hadn't been here for this little while and at this particular time in my life. (And, by the way, +Bonnie Conway - you're in trouble too. You can ask my other sisters about that!)

My baby bro & sis.
Love these guys!
My little brother might think I'm leaving for good, but he's never getting rid of me that easy. Never.

Just an everyday drive from Forest City to Klemme
When I think of Iowa, I will always think of shades of green - the same way that Alaska brings to mind the colors of blue.

Here's some of my photographed memories. You can see the beauty of the state, but you can't see the laughter and conversation and joy that the three of us Conways were blessed with. If you have family that you love, you'll know what I mean.

A "small" ice cream cone from
Viking Ice Cream in Clear Lake

I wanted to visit the beautiful cemeteries that are
everywhere here. Look at the date on the tombstone. History.

Uncommonly beautiful is so common here

In the yard. Peace and nature.

"My" dog. (Hootch is everybody's dog!)

Seen on my very first day in the state. An old mill and dam.

Hibiscus bloom given to me by my family's neighbor (Randy)
Because people are just thoughtful like that

I'll always come back to see the farms and houses and... beauty

If I can talk the rest of my family into moving here.... 

A real cowboy in the Kawana Labor Day parade

View from the family's backyard fire pit & swing
Our own private Eden

the Black-eyed Susans I saw in Clear Lake
trees everywhere, of every kind and color!
charming, simple neighborhoods

About these windmills (turbines?): I was so fascinated with the size of these things. Even driving close by them, I can't wrap my brain around how enormous they are. To give you an idea, I found this info online:

  1. How much do wind turbines weigh? In the GE 1.5-megawatt model, the nacelle alone weighs more than 56 tons, the blade assembly weighs more than 36 tons, and the tower itself weighs about 71 tons — a total weight of 164 tons. (source)
Isn't that insane?! When we were driving one night, I got to see the red flashing lights they emit in unison. It's such an ordinary thing for the people here, but I never got tired of looking at them.

Because I just can't get over it, here are some photos from online:

Just. Incredible. And I got so see whole "farms" of them.

Speaking of farms...
This is such a common sight that I always felt like we were driving through a painted landscape

Seen on one of our drives

Why am I so fascinated with soybean fields? LOL

This made me want a farm. Sort of.
Until I thought of walking in all the dirt & grass.

Every shade of green there is

This is a historic house in Clear Lake, but there's so much pretty home architecture here

If I could get the rest of my family to move here (and I will be working on that), I could spend the rest of my life here. Clean air, good people, lots of nature and old-fashioned values...

Here's what I wonder? Do the people (other than my family) who live here realize how lucky they are?


P.S.: Because my brother, Darrell, is awesome... He took us to breakfast right after I composed this post yesterday. Guess what we saw coming up the highway across from where we were parked?

 Yep. One of the "arms" of a windmill/turbine was being transported.

The driver has a truck following him so that when they make turns, the "follow" driver can use a control to turn the back wheels of the transport truck. Otherwise, no way would the transport vehicle be able to make turns. It was pretty cool to watch. I hope this video that my bro took via his phone will work for you viewers.


Hats off to the guys who drive (and assist) these vehicles!

**REVIEW** InstaNatural Organic Rosehip Oil

This is another goodie I am trying thanks to Tomoson.

First off, let me say that I am extremely sensitive to smells. This product is one that you will either like or dislike the smell off. It has a very distinct odor that I am finding hard to describe. It's a sweet, sort of woodsy herbal scent that I'm not crazy about. The odor dissipates quickly, but it is there at the outset.

The second thing I have to tell you is that I wasn't really previously aware of rosehip oil or its uses. I did a little digging around and what I am learning is that it's taking a place right up there with other trendy skincare oils.

Since I'm not crazy about the smell, and since I have a daytime moisturizer, I've been using the rosehip oil to bed. I use it very, very sparingly on my face, but I like to douse my lips in it. I have not yet tried it on my hair, but I'll let you know how that goes when I do. Oh - I am loving the way it makes my fingernails and cuticles feel, which I discovered completely by accident.

 After a few nights' use, I haven't had any problems with skin sensitivity or any redness. I have decided that I'm going to start using it on my elbows as well.

Now, for some additional points I like about this brand:

The product can be ordered via Amazon or direct from InstaNatural's site.

I have tried other InstaNatural products (one of which I'll be reviewing shortly) and I can attest to their excellent customer service.

As I stated before, I had to get used to the initial out-of-the-bottle smell, but I can see that some folks might find the odor to be pleasant.

Once I get into a place of my own and get back to a more normal routine, I will be trying the oil in every way directed: stretch marks, any burns, and on my hair. Then I will do an updated review.


**REVIEW** Comodo Internet Security

This is what I've been using on my PC for a while. I'm thinking of finding another program though because, while I hate change, I'm getting frustrated with this one...

All I want is a security program that will clean my PC of threats, warn me of potential threats, and help me maintain, monitor and keep some control of installed/downloaded stuff. Oh - and said program must be user-friendly without my having to run to the Help section every time I want to use it. Am I asking too much? Am I dreaming? Maybe.

Here is why I'm dreading trying to replace Comodo, but feel I must.


  • Nice surface interface (as far as how things are labeled for the user)
  • What works, works very well and quickly
  • Has a ton of features available
  • It updates easily
  • I can't figure out a lot of the features so I don't use them
  • What works, works well, but only if you can figure out how to make them work
  • The "Help" features sucks for a novice
  • While the surface interface looks great, the best stuff is in the nuts & bolts. Which I can't ever easily get to.
Basically, this would be the perfect Internet Security program if it were more user-friendly.

For some reason, Comodo insists on "Sandboxing" my of my regular and long-used programs - even though I've designated it as Trusted. When it does isolate this program, I have to try to remember how to clear it. It's not a simple process (and the process shown in Help is not the one that works).

Comodo is probably a great security program for someone with better skills than my own.  I know how to use my computer and the internet; I don't want to have to take a class in how to use the program that's supposed to help keep my PC safe. I'm just too tired of having to figure out how to solve issues in Comodo.

That said, I think that some people will love Comodo. Just not me. I don't have time or patience to solve a puzzle every time I run security on my computer.

I'm now on the hunt for an inexpensive (or free) program to replace Comodo. Even though I am dreading the chore...


Monday, September 08, 2014

**PRODUCT FIND** Yes to Carrots (lip butter)

This is not a proper "review", so I'm going to call it a "product find".

I found this the other day at WalMart in Mason City. I'd misplaced my regular lip balm and was having an attack of sandpaper lips.

The "flavor" I chose

Can get in a 4-pack
When it comes to lip balms and butters, my main requirement is that they don't have an overwhelming scent or taste. For some reason, most lip products that do have a heavy taste or flavor tend to chap my lips. Weird, huh? I can even only use Burt's Bees or Carmex products on my lips when they are already in good shape.

This Yes to Carrots lip butter was soooo good to my lips on the day when they had been dried out for much of the morning. My family and I had been out for a while and I'd lost my lip balm that morning. By the afternoon, I'd been licking and chewing at my lips so much that they were getting raw. As soon as we got to WalMart, I headed off to find something to soothe my kisser.

Most of the inexpensive lip products I saw were obviously flavored (as Cherry, Chocolate, Fruity, etc.). Ugh! The rest (including Nivea lip butter, which I like) were too pricey.

The balm I chose is labeled as being "berry", but I also saw the words "with Olive Fruit Oil" on the label. To keep from spending $3.00 or more on another product, I picked the Yes to Carrots because it was around $1.30-something.

I put it on as soon as I paid for it because my lips were starting to burn a little bit by then. I'm pretty sure they looked as awful as they felt. Yuck.


No flavor/smell (berry or otherwise) that I could detect, and the moisturizing was immediate. Not heavy or too "chap-sticky" but just soothing enough to relieve my lip situation.

Yes! Perfect.

Now, I haven't tried any of the other products from Yes to Carrots but, since I've fallen in love with the lip butter, I can't wait to.

Here's the thing: when I checked online, I couldn't find the single tube of "berry" butter I got from WalMart. Also, the prices on the site were much higher. Maybe I was getting a sale price the day I bought mine? Even so, the 3-pack prices on the site are not that bad. Besides, I will probably always get mine at WalMart or some other drugstore, so...

Now that I've been on their site, I am going to be looking in-store for the Yes to Coconut Cooling Lip Oil. Sounds good, huh?

As for their product ingredients and "recipes" - which sound great - I am a little confused about the labeling on individual tubes/containers. My lip butter indicates the Olive Fruit Oil, but I didn't see that mentioned on the site's ingredient page. At any rate, I like that they have and list their product "standards". Very nice.


Saturday, September 06, 2014

**REVIEW** Deep Facial Cleansing Oil (by InstaNatural)

The producers of this product - InstaNatural - are the ones that made the rosehip oil I recently reviewed. I really, really like this Deep Facial Cleansing Oil. I even like the (non)smell of it.

Even though it is an oil and it is meant to cleanse your skin of dirt and makeup, it not greasy or slimy. It's sort of a "clean" oil. Because I have been keeping mine in the fridge, I do have to warm the bottle in my hands for a few moments before I can pump any out. It sort of melts at your body heat so you can apply it to your face.

I prefer using oils to clean my face (rather than soap), so I like this one. And it works. I did use a method different than suggested on the bottle for applying.  One of my favorite things to do is to give my skin a little massage with the oil, let it rest on my skin while I brush my teeth, then massage once more before wiping it off. Instead of using a cloth, tissue or cotton balls, I always use those disposable (flushable and cheap) baby wipes that I buy in bulk size at WalMart.

I experimented with removing waterproof mascara and gel eyeliner since those are the toughest types of makeup to remove. The cleansing oil worked great with one application (using my massage/rest-massage/wipe method). Nice. I'll also mention that with a lot of other makeup removers, I've had to do double applications to remove my foundation, which is dark-shaded and formulated for matte-wear. Just saying.

Of course, because this is an oil cleanser, you're not left with that 'dried-out' feeling that comes after cleaning with most makeup removers. Surprisingly, you're not left with an oily residue to interfere with your followup products. Because a tiny little bit goes a looong way, the 4-oz bottle will last you for a while. Double-nice.

Normally, I use coconut oil for cleaning my skin, but this was a really nice product. Like I said, I love the job it does of removing waterproof and other "sticky" makeup products - which I don't use everyday. This oil is also formulated to be a "pore refiner" but, because I don't have a problem with my pores, I had to use the experience of my sister-in-law. We can tell that it seems to be shrinking her larger pores after about a five-day use. Both my sis-in-law and I are now getting really interested in using more essential oil & essential oil products in our personal care regime.

Organic Jojoba Oil
Olive Oil (Olea Europaea)
Lavender Essential Oil
Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil
Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium Graveolens)
Organic Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata)
Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa Oil)
Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil
Tamanu Oil
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Wheat Germ Oil (Triticum Vulgare)

I forgot to mention in previous reviews for InstaNatural products that the company has an excellent rating on Amazon. Once again, this is their direct site link (with the 90-day no-hassle guarantee and their customer service contact number).

Finally, the cleansing oil is not tested on animals and is made in the U.S.A. Good stuff.


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

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sad (In Real Life)

I feel so sad at this moment, that I am almost physically ill, but I have to write this post. All I have at a time like this are my words. I don't even know if I can get through this post without making myself feel worse, but I'm going to try. This is my memorial to my friend.

I've lost the best friend that I never met in person, but who has been such a big part of my life since just before I got sick. If I had never gotten to know Perry,  I don't think I would ever have gotten as well or have ever been as (mostly) happy as I learned to be. And all I got was a mass email notification of his passing. I keep asking myself if I would feel better right now if he had just disappeared from my life? Then, at least, I could imagine him still here on earth and okay and just on one of his crazy bike trips. Or somewhere doing all the other brave and amazing things he liked to do - things I would never do: snorkeling, skiing, camping in some weird and strange place...

Perry, what will I do without your phone calls and emails and little encouragements? What will I do without knowing that you are somewhere out there in the world, rooting for me and just being there?

Because I never met you "in real life," I don't know what to do with this pain I feel at losing you. You were here and now you're just gone away. I feel cheated.

I have, vaguely, wondered before what happens when people who connect online lose touch. At least I am lucky enough that someone thought to contact me. I don't know. I might have preferred just not knowing.

All day today, when I felt like I was so lost and alone in this world, I kept reaching for my phone to check for a message. From Perry. Every time I thought of something funny, or amazing, or scary - I wanted to tell Perry about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I felt so brave, coming here to a strange place. I felt like I was on an adventure because that's how Perry encouraged me to look at it all. This morning, I felt a big whole tear right into the bottom of my world. I'm not feeling so brave now. I'm not feeling like I can hear Perry's voice telling me that I can do this.

There is no more Perry on the other end of a phone call or email. There won't be anymore little bits of crazy humor from him to make me laugh. You aren't here to remind me that I am smart (when I feel dumb), or pretty (when I feel horrible), or tell me to get off my pity pot and just be thankful. You aren't here anymore to just help me keep trying to be a better person.

How can you just be so gone away from me?

I now have one friend left that I don't know "in real life" and I'm going to tell her right now and right here how much she means to me. For +Sandy Sandmeyer:

"I love you, Sandy girl! No matter where in this world you are,  and no matter what might happen to either one of us. you must know that."

Because Perry always ended our calls by saying something about taking care of myself or being good to myself, I didn't miss the chance to let him know how much he meant to me. He also liked to end conversations with, "In my heart, Tru." I hope he can still know that, wherever in Heaven he is, he is always in my heart too.

There are a lot of little memories that are going to one day make me smile when I think of Perry but, right now, I can't think of anything except that he's not here. One day, I will write about you but, for now, just rest in peace.

And, for any of you who knew Perry - or who have lost a friend - I'm going to encourage you with what is encouraging me. From 1 Thessalonians 4:13,
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

And, because this is my blog and my memorial, I'm going to go ahead and include one of Perry's secretly favorite songs.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

**REVIEW** Foxbrim Vitamin A + Antioxidant

This really feels to me like a "complete anti-aging moisturizer" and that's the truth.

Since moving to the midwest from up north, I notice that there is more natural humidity in the air. Of course, my skin and hair are loving this, but I still need a regular moisturizing routine. This product is doing a good job because it's making my skin feel very smooth and even without adding any greasiness.

So that you can get a good look at the ingredients list:

I am getting to try my product via Tomoson, but Foxbrim Vitamin A + Antioxidant can be purchased via Amazon or from the Foxbrim site.

I find that I only have to use a little bit. To be honest, because the air here in Mayberry is not as drying, I am only using the product first thing in the morning. That's been enough to keep my skin feeling extremely smooth and even.

One of the mistakes I think that we can make, when we live in a more humid area, is to skimp on moisturizer. What I do like so much about this particular product is that, even though it contains "retinol", I haven't had any sensation of tightness or increased sensitivity.

I'm going to be using this as I head into winter, even though my skin is still adjusting to temperature changes. I'll be trying other products as usual, but I already know that this is going to be a favorite.

A final Plus: the 90-day Money-back guarantee. Win. Win. Score.


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

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