Friday, April 29, 2016

**REVIEW** SoundPEATS vs LG Tone Pro (headsets)

This is LG HBS-760 Tone Pro headset that I got from AT&T. Current Price: $39.99 (I paid around $69.00 for the first pair 2 years ago and have been given replacements)

3 of 5 stars from me


This is the SoundPEATS Q800 headset I got from Amazon. Current Prime Price: $21.99 (I paid $19.99 last year)

4 of 5 stars and 1 heart = 5 stars LOL

When I wrote an Amazon review for the SoundPEATS (SP) headphones, my Tone Pro (TP) was still my favorite (even though it was broken, which I why I got the SoundPEATS). In comparing the 2 sets, I was team Tone Pro all the way. I thought the SB wasn't as nicely designed. Also, I thought the sound quality wasn't as good. I did concede that, for the low price, it was a decent headphone to use as a backup. (After the TP set kept breaking down, I was glad for the backup!)

I used to have the Tone Pro VERSION, then it went wacky. One earbud quit seemed to get a short and would work off and on, depending on how I positioned the cord. That got tiresome. I took advantage of the AT&T 1-year replacement warranty. The replacement worked great. For a while. The next time I had to replace it, the headset had been upgraded. I thought that was great. Maybe the new version would actually work for a longer period of time. Uh... Nope. And that's whey I stopped using the SP as backup and made it my full-time headset.

Funny that my opinion about the SP set changed so much when I was actually using it all day, every day. When I review products for brands, I make sure to give whatever the item is a good chance. I look at the Pros and Cons from every angle, then I make my judgement call. When I reviewed the SPs the first time, I tried them out for about half and hour (or maybe even less), and decided they were only good enough for a standby.

Once I had no choice but to use the SPs as my main headset, I paid more attention to the design and sound quality. This is what I should have done in the first place. (And, by the way, I did have a choice about using them, but I was too cheap and lazy to hunt down a new set,)

I've been using the SPs for about 3 weeks now. I like them so much that I take them for granted. I almost forgot about the old review I'd done on them. The other day, someone asked me what kind of headset I was wearing and I told them. I added that they had been so well-priced that I wish I had been using them all along. And that's when I remembered the old review.

My headset works so much better than the pricey LGs. The one thing I still don't like as much about them are the large buttons. I wish the ends were sleeker, but... I don't have complaints about the sound quality anymore.

I use these things constantly. I have a slight hearing problem and I also have trouble concentrating on one thing when lots of things are going on around me. With my headset, I can listen to (and focus on) my audio books, podcasts, and - most importantly - phone calls.

In general, I recommend that everyone should use a headset for using their phone. It sure makes driving a lot safer. Wearing my headset frees up my hands and allows me to keep my phone out of the way. Before now, when I would cradle my phone between my ear and shoulder, I came close to dropping it into dishwater. Now, I can keep my phone safely in my pocket, purse, or clipped to my clothes via a holster.

So I really want to back peddle on that first review. I wasn't being fair to SoundPEATS. Once I gave these earphones a real trial, I had to go back and admit that they are more than worth it for the price I paid.

I still have a fondness for the Tone Pro headset. When it worked, I loved it. I liked the look of it and the feel of the buttons. But I'd rather drive a hooptie that runs consistently than a Maserati that keeps breaking down.

Because the SoundPEATS work so well, I'm thinking of getting a second one. I have my current ones paired to both my phone and computer. Switching from one to the other is also another feature that works better with these than the Tone Pro. Still, I want to look at getting another color as a birthday gift to myself. Maybe this time I'll get a really jazzy color...

So, to the makers of SoundPEATS, I want to apologize for kinda, sorta slamming your product. I've gone back and updated my review. I gave this 4 of 5 stars on Amazon.

Peace
--Free

(Apologies to readers. I know that my grammar and tense constancy was horrible in the post. It's been a rough morning.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

**REVIEW** Natural Nail Polish Remover

Out of all the "natural" products I've tried or heard of, I never even expected to see nail polish remover. I guess, I just never thought of something strong enough to strip nail polish could be natural.

When I saw this being offered to reviewers, I applied mostly so that I could prove how awful it would be. I'm not always a big old ball of positive sunshine/ Go figure.


As soon as I opened the bottle, first thing I did was a sniff test. And... Nothing. I smelled nothing. Since I always have or am getting over a cold, I had someone else sniff this. They also smelled nothing.

Interesting.

Also interesting is that this looks and feels like an oil. Almost like a cuticle oil or some other very "thin" oil-based product.

Next test was to just try it to see if it would work. I was going to be putting this stuff to an extreme test by using my toenails. I was wearing 2 coats of polish that I'd done a couple of weeks before. Since the original coating, I'd been adding polish to the tips. (It's finally sandal-wearing weather, so...). I would guess that, all told, I had 2 coats in the center and at least 4 coats along the tips. I'm too lazy to re-do my whole nail more than once a month. Which is why I only tested the polish on one nail for the time being!

This is what I started with:

It might be time for a pro pedi!
I started with couple drops of remover on a cotton ball. Then I wiped at the nail a couple of times, like I do with regular polish remover. The ball picked up just a tinge of the color, but my nail was still fully polished. Huh. Maybe I was doing something wrong.

I was.

When I went back to look  more carefully at the actually look at the instructions on the bottle, I see this:


Ohhhhh..... LOL! I really do have to learn to pay attention to instructions.

Starting over, I added about 3 drops to a fresh cotton ball, then let it sit on the nail. Still, I didn't wait a full 5 minutes. I barely waited a whole minute. I think I lasted about 45 seconds before I started rubbing the ball across the polish, and... wow.



No drying, no ash/residue, no smell. The used cotton balls didn't even stick to me like when I use regular removers.

I have to say, I'm impressed. I used only 2 cotton balls (and ended up using a full dropper of remover) and managed to clean all the polish. I still never did wait as long as directed.

Not only is there none of the unpleasant odor if regular removers, this one had even more positives. For one thing, if you look at the photo of the cleaned nail, you can see that the surrounding skin looks more conditioned and moisturized. Because of the lighting, it's harder to see the effect on the nail itself, but it was also conditioned and shiny. My cuticles (which are naturally very dry) felt and looked better than ever. I haven't had a pro pedi since I was in Texas back in November. Regular salon visits are just not in my budget.

Let's go back and look at the label and what not in this remover (I highlighted the list with a red heart):



My next question, obviously, was how does this work then? I suppose the answer is: It's all about the ingredients. Those ingedients are:


  • Methyl Oleate (see below)
  • Palmitate
  • Linoleate
  • Stearate (magnesium or calcium, I don't know) ...
  • and other "proprietary" botanical mixtures (Okay)

I can understand why brands keep parts of their ingredients secret. They are trying to sell you something, after all, and not give you the formula. Otherwise, a lot of folks would be mixing up their own Coca Cola in their kitchens. Maybe.

The biggest thing that struck me about this list of ingredients is that the first one is tied right into something I've been talking so much about lately. Apparently, Methyl Oleate, is related to a honey bee pheremone.

Anyway, this stuff really does work. As far as quibbling about what "natural" might mean, I'm not going to push it with this. Since the nail polish I wear is not exactly "natural", I can accept using a less toxic than usual remover.

This bottle should last about as long as the same size bottle of regular remover would. I guess it would really depend on how often you change your polish. After using this correctly (and more than once), I've decided that this might even last longer than regular removers because there's no evaporation like there is with

Finally, you should go over and read the entire product description for yourself. There's info about how this is rated with people who monitor chemicals and such. Also, notice that there is a "no questions asked" refund policy.


Peace
--Free






DISCLOSURE:
In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using AMZ Review Trader. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

**ApothaCare** The *Other* Honeys

When I started looking into the various types of honeys, I had no idea how far down a rabbit hole I was sliding. It's a nice slide. I'm learning more than I expected to.

Last post, I mentioned how pricey Manuka honey can be. I wanted to look at some other types of honey that might be just as healing.  One of the sites where I found so much good information is called Benefits of Honey. It's a pretty amazing source of information and it's where I first heard of these "medicinal grade" honeys:

I haven't found any of those at my local health food store, but I will mention them to the folks there. What I can find there is pretty varied, some of which are mentioned a lot in the online health communities:
And lots more, including those made locally (Fireweed is one I want to try).

Soon, I will get the chance to try out some actual raw honeycomb and even some Propolis Extract. Neither of them cost me anything due to a gift card, so... I can't wait to let you guys know all about that.

To close out this post, let me tell you how I have been experimenting with using honey lately:

  • As a face wash: Mix a little bit of honey with a 1 or 2 drops of water. Rub between palms to warm. Apply to face (avoiding eye area). Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Rinse and use your usual moisturizer. I've done this for  about 3 days now after seeing it on Crunchy Betty. My face always feels good when I do a honey mask, but doing this every day gives some really good results. Don't know why I only ever did this on an every-now-and-then basis!
  • As a lip healing salve: I get cold sores. Always have. I swear I think someone with a cold sore infected me as an infant! Mostly happens when I am stressed. I've been using really expensive (but highly effective) Abreva,, which I always keep on hand. The last time that I felt that itchy little tingle that indicates a sore coming on, I dabbed on some honey with a Q-Tip and just let it sit there like a sugary mole. Guess what? I never did have to pull out the Abreva as a backup. Hmmm.
  • For intermittent/alternate day fasting: As I said recently, I need to fast more often. Since I got back to using the honey-water on a more regular basis, I discovered that I can fast for up to 18 hours every other day as long as I nourish myself with a little bit of honey. This is great because I had been fasting off and on, but never more than once a month (truth be told!). I guess all this discussion of my love of honey has inspired me. After the first couple of times, it gets easier to go for longer and longer periods. I started with 10 hours, then 15, then 18. Think about it, for around 6 hours of that time, I'm sleeping anyway. (I'll make sure to post more about this after I've been doing it for a while.) By the way, some people opt for setting aside days for "calorie restriction" instead of total fasting. Since I have, on some fasting days, ingested some light broth (in addition to my honey-water drinks), I guess I'm riding in the "calorie restriction" lane. You'll have to get in where you fit in, healthwise.
I'd love to hear from anyone who's been lucky enough to try some of these honeys. 

Peace
--Free

Friday, April 22, 2016

**ApothaCare** For the Love of Honey: Manuka Mania

In the last post, I talked about my love of honey and the various favorites I have. This post, I have to talk about one that I would just love to try:

Image result for manuka honey

Manuka honey is a prized type among honey lovers. While I do think it's a very potent honey (as far as its healing benefits), I've learned about other honey types that may be just as good. I'll be talking about those later. For now, on to Manuka and why it's such a big deal.

By the way, there is a bit of Manuka honey in the Antioxidant blend that I mentioned in the previous post, I don't know how much is in the blend, or how "active" it is. And by "active" I mean- Well, just keep reading and it will start to make sense.

The first place I looked for some info on Manuka honey and other types was WebMD, and this is what they had to say in part:
Looks like peanut butter, huh?
"But not all honey is the same. The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey as well as when and how it's harvested. Some kinds of honey may be 100 times more potent than others." (source)
Basically, it goes on to say that where most honey types are known for being protecting against bacteria and infection, as well as being anti-inflammatory,  Manuka honey (MH) and some other types of honey have multiple components that are beneficial.

As I mentioned in last post, I learned that one of the key components in honey is hydrogen peroxide.

Since I do love honey so much, I really wanted to see if I could find some that I could afford (like maybe in a sample size), and I did find some. One Seller on Amazon lists a reasonably-priced jar of Manuka, but... something about the wording on the label made me hesitate.

When I doubt, read the reviews! I'm really thankful to the other people who take time to review products online (whether "in exchange" for a product or not). When I checked reviews for the brand of Manuka I was thinking of buying, I noticed one that stood out. It was very informative and detailed. I'm not kidding when I say this reviewer did an amazing job of listing some things to look for when buying Manuka honey. I sure hope he/she doesn't mind my copying his comments to share because I love their reviews on the site (my emphasis on certain points).
1. It says UMF, MGO, or OMA clearly on the front of the jar
2. It says “Active” on it
3. It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand
4. It’s from a New Zealand company that is licensed to use the name UMF (which is actually a trademarked name), OMA, or MGO
5. It has the UMF, OMA, or MGO licensee’s name on the front label
6. It has at least a rating of UMF or OMA 15+ or more, or if it is MGO, then at least 250+
Apparently 16 is the highest rating that is naturally found. While there are manuka honeys rated above 20, I've heard that some companies artificially reach this lofty rating for marketing purposes, so I’m sticking with 16 and probably wouldn't go lower than that.
0 – 10 is pretty much just normal honey, and while ratings 10 – 15 are less expensive and have some beneficial properties, they don’t have as much as we’d like. I figure that if I’m going to shell out for honey that’s pricier than normal, I may as well go ahead and get the real good stuff!
 Now that is a super helpful review. It sure saved me from possibly adding the wrong item to my Shopping Cart.


You should definitely check out the full article on WebMD if you've been interested in trying (or learning about) Manuka honey. It even explains something else I was wondering about: what's up with the different types of ratings I've been seeing while browsing for Manuka honey. Remember what that reviewer mentioned about the ratings? Well, here's some clarification on that:
  • MG =  methylglyoxal  which is an  found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound -- dihydroxyacetone -- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect. 
  • UMF = "Unique Manuka Factor" . To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.  (my emphasis)
  • "Active" = Honey at or above the 10 UMF level is marketed as "UMF Manuka Honey" or "Active Manuka Honey."
When I checked around. I went back to the best source to explain the grading system for Manuka honey. If you're super-vigilant (or just nosy like me), you can go in and search for one of the many, many papers and reports written by researchers.

Of course, I can look lots of places for the claims about the power of Manuka honey, like here, but I'm still educating myself. I've contacted the UMF org for more information since using their search system for licencees was tricky. I'll keep you posted.
Now that thing is, I was really wanting to try the Manuka honey. Until I saw those Manuka prices at local health food stores and online. Yikes. If that honey really is as healing as is claimed, I'd need it to heal my pocketbook after buying any of it. I saw prices from $49 to $112 for anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces. Whenever I found a jar that was more in my price range (I saw one jar for around $30), I noticed that the rating was low (in the 5+ range).

I will wait until I can find a decent jar of Manuka that doesn't require me to go without any other groceries for a month! Probably, I will go ahead and get the same brand pictured at the start of this post. For one thing, I was able to check that Y.S. is one of the suppliers that is actually licensed and legit. For another thing, the price was decent for the 15+ rated honey.

Next post, I will talk about some of the honeys that might be as potent as Manuka honey. Stay tuned.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, April 21, 2016

**ApothaCare** My Love of Honey

I'm going to do a little bit of a series on honey. For this first post, I figure I'll just go over how & why I came to love honey, then I can go into some general information about it. But, first, a little prelude:

When I was still getting used to not being as healthy as I had been pre-illness, I knew I wanted to explore a more natural lifestyle. Growing up, I knew of (or was even related to) people who relied heavily on "natural" medicines and remedies for just about everything health and beauty related.

"Back home", there were people who had a mouthful of healthy teeth well into their elder years (and they'd never used anything but tar or tree branches for dental hygiene); pregnant women ate more of certain foods while avoiding others (to benefit their unborn); women doctored pre-existing cosmetics - or just made up their own (because what they needed didn't exist); and I know that there were many herbs and oils used regularly that we ignore today. (By the way, here is one person's story of the healing power of honey.)

Of course, I also come from a line of people who didn't have the best diets. People in my family have died of various cancers, complications from high blood pressure, and heart disease. This was a big factor in my wanting to do things differently.

I no longer eat pork like it's a daily dose of nutrition, I stopped indulging my chocolate cravings on a regular basis (bye bye Snickers!), and I gave up soda a long while back in my late thirties. I refuse to give up my beloved java, and a couple of less-than-healthy habits are.... well, that's always going to be a battle.

The biggest health decision I made in the past few years was to work really hard at what I can control while fighting the good fight against tougher bad habits.

Now, what I am good at is learning to like things that are healthy for me. Eating more vegetables and "good" foods is never a struggle for me. Exercising gets easier as I lose more weight. And, of course, I just love some things that can be healthy. This brings me up to my love affair with honey.

Honey is, basically, good for me. In moderation. If it's the good stuff. If I use it right.

I can (and do) regularly use honey as a food, a medicine, and a hair and beauty product. It's usually both affordable and readily available where I live. In addition to the "Desert Honey" I've talked about, here are some of my favorite types of honey:

1 - The Really Raw brand of really raw (seriously) honey is probably my all-time favorite (my "mostest" favorite!) The texture is so beautiful. I joke that it's probably as about as raw as you can get without licking the butt of a bee.

What I really love about this is that there are actually pieces of the honeycomb (and the propolis and pollen) in the jar. The label tells you about chewing these crunchy little "cappings" like gum and that's exactly what I always do! I can never wait to get a new jar home so that I can scrape some of the surface where these pieces rise and settle. Yum.

Another reason I favor this honey is the price. Even for Alaska, it's affordable and reasonable. For the 8oz jar that I usually get, the price is around $12. Not bad, right? Also, because it tastes so good and feels really nutritious, I never use a lot at one time. Some people like to use their honey on toast, but I no longer eat much bread. What I like to do with this one is fight a craving for junk-like food by slowly eating a small bit off the spoon. (Note that I don't use this for my honey-water drinks. Those cappings that taste so good, aren't very appetizing when floating around in water. Plus, it's not as much fun if I can't just chew those pieces!)

Finally (and this is something I never noticed until I was writing this post) the jar is labelled with this info: "Really Raw Honey never spoils, it lasts indefinitely." I do need to start paying more attention to things!


 2 - Y.S. Organic Bee/Eco Bee Farms brand of organic raw honey is my standard fave. When I am super tightly budgeted, I can always get this in one of the various sizes. For the 8oz jar, I pay about $10. I really trust this brand as much as I trust Really Raw.


It might upset some people to know that I'm not a fanatic about things being "organic", but I am a complete maniac for raw honey.

When I was first using a lot of honey, I shopped purely based on prices. I'd go to Walmart and grab the biggest bottle of honey that I could find. I needed to be thrifty because I was using that honey for all my needs - food, face and hair.

Once I learned how unreliable the quality is for most brands of honey, I became a lot more picky. I still use the cheaper stuff for my hair and face, but I prefer saving up and very carefully using the good stuff for my nutritional needs.

This raw honey is really yummy and creamy and just so nice for any kind of food use.



 For folks who do care deeply about things being organic, this qualifies, I think. Mainly, I just really trust the brand and like the taste of this honey. It's the honey that I use in my honey-water when I do my once-a-month liquid fasts (which I outline at end of post).



By the way, for calorie counters, in my opinion, I think honey makes a nice substitute for white (and even some other types of) table sugars. When I eat honey, I think of the calories as being "nutritious calories".


3 - My jar of Tupelo Honey is also from Y.S. Eco Bee.  Despite loving the heck out of the Van Morrison song, I find this honey almost too sweet. That's not a bad thing because I love to put that sweetness to good use. When I am drinking green teas (which I need to drink more of), or doing a honey-water fast, I can add the tiniest bit of Tupelo honey and get all the sweetness I need in that little shot.  (And.  trust me, if you use certain teas in your honey-water fast, you will want some sweetness...) This is probably the best honey ever to sweeten hot cereals with. Just remember that a little bit is all you need!







 4 - This Antioxidant Power Honey is one of the special blends from YS Eco. I like it for 2 main reasons: first, it's raw and, second it's a blend of 4 types of honey that I can't afford to buy separately.











I have never tried Buckwheat or Manuka honey of any type, but I've had various other floral honeys. I get this one especially because it contains Manuka honey. (I will talk a lot about Manuka honey in the next post.)

The next image explains some about the benefits of certain types of honey.



 So, those are my staple honeys. As much as I have used honey for the healthy benefits, it wasn't until recently that I started to look into details. Some of what I have learned was pretty interesting:

  • The reason you shouldn't feed honey to infants less than a year old is because it could cause infant botulism. Go ahead, check out the info for yourself.
  • One of honey's components is... hydrogen peroxide. To clarify, honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide. Still... Wow, Who knew? Not me.
  • It is Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal: “All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.(source(I will get back to to part of this point in the post on Manuka honey.)
  • Honey might possibly help with memory retention. Key word: 'possibly'. (source)
  • Helps wounds heal. (I remember my mother and other elders using honey for this when I was young.)
  • Is good for hair and skin care.
  • Is generally more nutritious than sugar (even though it's usually higher in calories).
  • Eating honeycomb is common, but you can cause yourself serious stomach problems if you eat too much of it!
Another thing I learned while researching some of this is that there are many, many more types and varieties of honey than I ever imagined. Right now, I'm pretty thankful that between my local health food store and my Amazon Prime membership, I can surely find whatever kind I want to try.

Since there are so many kinds of honey, it's easier to list where you can do your own research than it is to list the honey. So...
If you are interested in honey, I hope this was a good start to the series. Next up will be




Peace
--Free



P.S.: About my honey-water-tea fasting

Honey-water fasting is something I find really easy and simple to do about once every other a month. I need to work up to doing it more often and for longer periods of time, but... baby steps... 

For 1 or 2 days, I will attempt to go without solid food. I'll just sip on honey-water with maybe a tea bag thrown in the mix. If I am just super hungry, I'll drink a little warm chicken broth until the craving for something heavier passes. I know that some people do this for weight-loss reasons. For me, it's just a nice and (pretty much) easy way to let my body rest from the inside. Surprisingly, I never even thought of these days as fasting days. I always just thought that I was making myself depend on the nutrition of the honey and hydration of the water and teas to beat fatigue. Maybe because honey tends to be one of those "whole foods", I don't usually feel hungry enough to break the fast for anywhere from 12 to 30 hours. Having the broth helps because it has so much flavor after hours and hours of nothing but honey, tea and water! 

The best thing about this is that, for a day or two, I can let my body sort of clean itself out. It's great when I've been hitting the fast food or a lot of meat (okay, pork) for mealtimes. I guess because I don't set such strict guidelines for doing it, I never feel as if I'm suffering. Like I said, if I do get hungry, I can eat something really light and healthy. I will usually eat a little bit of honey (the Really Raw kind)  off of a spoon. Now if I could only do my fasting for prayer and meditation so well!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Don't Call Me "Senior"!

In 2 months and 12 days, I will be hitting a milestone birthday.

His smile keeps me young
I'm still in a state of semi-disbelief (which means I do believe it but don't want to believe it) that I will be 55 years old.




But I liked 51...











I have just 73 days to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer close to 50, just past 50, or able to convincingly lie about being 45. Just a couple of years ago, I could actually get away with lying about being 35. Those days are gone, my friend.

As this birthday creeps up on me, I'm keeping my sense of humor. Hell, it's just about all I have left.






I accept that I am about to be 55 years old. I accept that:

  • Young people consider me to be ancient. Some of them consider me a miracle. I've had little kids give me the awe and respect they would give a unicorn.
  • At family gatherings, I'm going to sometimes be the person everyone turns to for answers about presidents before Nixon. But, first, they are going to ask me which presidents came before Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford. The subject will only come up after the kids have seen some documentary about the Civil Rights movement or have been studying the American slave trade.
  • Dating looks semi-ridiculous for someone my age. How the hell can I look dignified asking for help with signing up for Match.com? And, if I do win the mystical lottery of love, how do I introduce the lucky fella to people without using the silly-sounding title of "boyfriend"?
  • I will no longer be able to proudly proclaim my love for cats without either gaining the wrong kind of sympathy or hearing stifled snickering.
  • Somehow, someway, I am going to be the subject of a meme or Pinterest board, or viral video. Probably when I get in a defiant mood and decide to start wearing loud colors and dying my hair in Kool-Aid color of crazy.
  • Speaking of hair, mine will no longer be so much as convincingly Dark Brown, Muted Auburn or Natural Black as it will be Suspiciously Not Grey.
  • No matter how great I look, I'm never again going to have that 20-ish  single gal vibe of being the dessert every guys is drooling over. Being single at 55, society will make me feel like the left-overs guys either take out of desperation or just toss in favor of some fast food.
  • As far as being single and looking, the guys my age have choices I don't. They can, after all, change their minds about wanting kids. Dudes can "daddy up" when they should have their old behinds showing women their own age what old and sexy is about. Meanwhile, I didn't want kids when my eggs were willing, and still don't now that my eggs have atrophied.
  • If I go "cougar" in my maturity, I better find the one young dude that a) doesn't want bio kids; b) already has kids; c) won't change his mind about kids five years down the road and; most importantly d) won't hate me for wanting no part of full-time kids unless those kids live in some imaginary world where I have the patience, time and perseverance to deal with kids full-time.
  • I have all the best friends I'll most likely ever have. That's fine with me. Anyone else coming along at this point better come as an in-law, out-law, or someone who can adjust to me very quickly as if we've known each other for a lifetime. I have no time for new drama, new heartache, or sharing my clothes, advice and a lifetime of wisdom with new people. 
That all sounds dire, but there are some really good things about hitting the milestone of 55:


                                                       Some days, the process is rough &
                                                               the going gets tough!!!


  • If I have lived the best of my life, then I've most likely also lived the worst of it. Even if life starts to suck now worse than it ever has, I have lots of experience with surviving it. Also, I know what is and is not worth going to jail over. The not worth it list has grown over time.
  • I'm way more comfortable with all that is good and all that is not-so-good in life. When you've been indescribably happy (as I have sometimes been), being sad is just another day that gives you a chance to hope for something better. It's like sex. If you know how good it can be, you're all right waiting for it to be that good again. If you don't know, you don't miss it. I'm fortunate enough to still be waiting for the next time.
  • My mother always said I was an "old soul". Now my age fits my soul a little better!
  • I don't care as much. I really don't. When I was 20, 30, and even 40, I cared way too much about things. I cared who looked like they were living a better life, I cared about who looked better than I did, I cared too much about people who didn't care enough about me. Now? Now, I can give a crap for about 10 minutes. Two craps for about 20 minutes if I ever thought you were a better person. And, then, in spite of you (or whoever), in the words of Louie Armstrong, I think to myself, What a wonderful world...
  • At this age, because I know what real sadness and regret is, I also know what real joy and peace is. If I'm never going to taste another fine wine or travel somewhere amazing, I'm okay with that. Give me a really good cup of coffee and half an hour of quiet to think my own thoughts, and I'm happy enough.
  • When it comes to regrets, I've finally realized that they only have power if I dwell on them. So I don't. They cross my mind every now and then, but I no longer let them park and take up space.
  • I look at young people the way my mother must have looked at me, and it makes me smile. Or laugh really loud. They don't think that I have ever felt they way they feel. They don't think that I have ever had secrets, deep sadness, amazing joy, wild and crazy sex, or done things that made me later wonder how I could possibly be alive to remember. I look at them and think, "Oh, you just wait for your later years".

Being so close to 55 makes me think not just about the life I've lived, but the death that's surely coming. Being older makes me more thankful for things I never would have noticed when I was younger. This is not "old" age, it's just another age. It's also another mood, another taste of life, another freedom and prison. This age is just another step on a journey that is life. 

Someone asked me a while back what I wanted for this birthday. Don't ever ask me that kind of question unless you are really ready for a list! LOL


Actually, most of this is just a re-hash of what I was taught. Trying to pass it on to other people. If any of it applies, own it and don't let it own or define you. So. For my birthday, I wish more people would work on the following:
  • Give the courtesy of acknowledging or responding when someone is talking to you.
  • Saying "Good morning", "Please", and "Thank you" would be great. 
  • Drive as if other people have a right to be on the road. Really. 
  • Moving out of the way when someone is trying to pass would be nice. What are you, the planet that all the rest of of must orbit around???
  • Like music? Great. I do, too. I might not like yours so try to keep that down when I'm sitting in the car next to yours at the traffic light.
  • Being considerate to others. Realizing that their time and their need for "a moment" is just  as vital as yours is. Everything is reciprocal.
  • Don't take advantage of people's time and patience. That goes for being late, never being ready, and just plain old bad manners that say your time is more important than everyone else's time.
  • Actually making eye contact when someone is talking with you - not looking at your phone or TV or anything else as if all that is way more important. 
  • Or, just don't talk. Don't start a conversation that you don't have the time, patience or courtesy for.
  • Does something frustrate you? Guess what? Whatever you find frustrating, others might also find frustrating. Practice that whole "Do unto others" thing, please.
  • Again: Don't do to others the same kinds of things that you find so very annoying when done to you. (That might require putting thought into the things you do.)
  • Don't believe that no one notices (or probably comments on) some of the negative things you do. Don't. Believe, That. Ever.
  • Smile more, It doesn't hurt (and, if it does, get that checked). Don't wait until life is perfect or you're in the best mood. Just smile. It really does activate something chemical that causes joy in other people.
  • If you hate control freaks, don't be a control freak. (I have a theory that control freaks are actually out of control of something in their lives.)
  • Treat people as if they are able to do something for you. One day, they might be.
  • Talk to adults like they are adults - not your kid, your servant, or someone inferior to you.
  • Do what adults teach children as far as not interrupting, not butting in, and using your "inside" voice. Talking into the middle of someone's phone conversation is a really bad habit that says, "Screw you and your need for boundaries and respect." Yeah.
  • Laugh more. Dance more. Sing for no reason. Be a little silly. Be happy.
That's my fantasy list. I ain't ever getting most of that stuff. But I will take any of this stuff:


BlackGoldOxford

That hoodie in any of those colors. The Yellow one if I lose weight!

This would make me SO happy
SHARP (sharp) [electronic memo pad, electronic notebook: WG-N10 [JAPAN IMPORT]
This or something like it
This is even cuter:
Get it here
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Dark
Yaaaassss

But, yeah, I'm not picky. I'll just be glad to start getting some of the senior citizen discounts! Hahahaha


Here's my favorite song when I think of aging. Wish the video were better, but I had to find one with the lyrics. I do want young people to take a look at those lyrics! LOL




Peace
--Free

Sunday, April 17, 2016

**REVIEW** Magnesium Oil Spray (UPDATED)

(UPDATE: I have to say that I now believe the claims about this helping the body work better with other vitamins and minerals. I say that only because I can feel the difference in how my daily vitamins - through food - boost me. Also, I am down 2 pounds in the 5 to 6 days that I have been using this. When I sleep, I rest better. When I eat nutritiously, I can tell in how I feel. I have an appointment coming up with my doctor and I can't wait to ask him what he thinks of this. As always, I will try to come back and update this post as things progress.)

Never even heard of this before, but I am so glad I got to try this:



That is Magnesium Oil Spray from Natural Products.

First off, let me say that not all of the products that I get via the "influenser" type programs are completely free. Sometimes, I'm just getting a discount. In the case of this product, I paid just under just half the price. Yeah, so for those folks who think that bloggers like me only give their rave reviews because of the freebies, that's not true. Not even for the products I get free. You guys should know by now that I try to be super honest when I review things. (In the case of a negative review, I will try to be nice, but I  never lie. Sometimes, I even have to get a little, er, blunt.)

Anyway.

Like I said, I'd never heard of magnesium spray. I barely remembered that magnesium was a mineral. (I've been out of school a loooong time!) This product is specifically a magnesium chloride hexahydrate and water solution. Those are the only 2 ingredients listed on the label. (If you care, at the end of this review, I'll share some more technical info - or I'll at least share what I tried to find out.)

From the Seller's description, these are the positives of their spray:

  • All Natural
  • Improves Sleep
  • Relieves Joint Pain
  • Aids with Muscle Recovery
  • Fights Magnesium Deficiency

They also include this bit of info:
"Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency and Natural Products Pure Magnesium Oil is a great way to naturally improve the bodies magnesium intake. Natural Products Magnesium oil comes from the bottom of the Ancient Zechstein Sea in the Netherlands and can be used to nourish and moisturize skin among many other benefits such as: improve sleep, relieve joint pain, natural deodorant and aid with muscle recovery."
When I read this, all I saw was "can be used to nourish and moisturize skin". So I signed up to get the bottle for reviewing. While I was awaiting the deliver, I checked some more info out online. Mostly, I saw the following claims made about this oil:

  • Hydrates n the skin
  • Helps with hair loss
  • Can dissolve calcium deposits in hair (from hard water)
  • Is a natural deodorant
  • Good for bone & tooth health
  • Helps the immune system
  • Helps boost energy levels
  • Alleviates constipation
  • Helps with stress and anxiety
  • Helps with muscle cramping
  • Soothes menstrual pains
  • Lower blood pressure
And, the biggie - one that I saw almost everywhere I looked for the benefits - is that this encourages relaxation and better sleep. That, and the blood pressure claims, really won me.
So, what did I actually experience from about a week of regular use? I have a list:
  1. Sleep was the first thing that I saw a change in. This really does induce a sense of calm. Not sure how that works, but I am careful not to use too much during the day. First night I used it, I slept so well! I didn't feel drugged or groggy. Mostly, I felt really loose and relaxed. When I dozed off, I didn't do the usual toss-turn-wake-up thing every few hours, I pretty much, nodded off and slept well throughout the whole night.
  2. Energy. That probably came from just sleeping so well. Like I've mentioned, I have night time insomnia and daytime fatigue. That leads me into another benefit...
  3. ... Anxiety relief. Again, not sure how or why this is, but I do get some soothing of my general nerves. I tend to be a constant worrier and I stress over every-thing. (I have lots to stress over!) With this, I noticed more relief after the second or third day. Not that I don't have stuff to stress over, but I just felt more generally relaxed. (Could that be a placebo effect? I don't know. Does it matter much? I don't know.)
  4. I haven't noticed a change in my blood pressure. Matter of fact, I skipped a whole week of my regular meds (just because if I don't set up my weekly pill box, I get forgetful and lazy about it) and, when I went in for my infusion, the nurses were a bit alarmed. I will monitor this aspect again when I've gone a week with my meds.
  5. As a deodorant, this is awesome! I initially tested this on days when I spent time at the gym and sweating like a criminal on their first day in lockup. Now, I like using this for everyday hygiene. I figure, if I'm going to be using it for all the other trans-dermal benefits, might as well spray it on the pits.
  6. Skin benefits were tricky to monitor. I've not yet used this on my face so I can't say. When I put this on my body (chest area, legs, feet, arms and hands) I did like the way the spray felt. This is in no way oily. In NO WAY. That surprised me. This feels like water being sprayed onto the skin. When I rub it in, it still feels like water, but they hydration is longer lasting and more noticeable. (I'm working up the nerve to spray this on my face as I type this! I'll probably add a little bit of coconut or other oil to the mix when I do this.) One thing I'll warn you about: don't get this in your mouth unless you want to make the same face as when you get alum in your mouth. Ick! (By the way, another thing I noticed - before I actually tasted this - is that after spraying it on the first time, I got a metallic/alum-y taste in my mouth and throat. That was very weird. The sensation has not been as noticeable since that first day. 
  7. I did spray this on my hair because... Well, I figured why not? I also saw somewhere that this helps keep the gray away. (I'm already using my blackstrap molasses daily and have less problems with graying. That, by the way, is made to ingest. LOL) What I noticed is that this hydrated my scalp but made my hair feel a little rougher once it dried. I'm going to keep using it on my hair and scalp but I've mixed some in a separate sprayer with a tiny bit of conditioner. I want to see if there is a change in my hair after a couple of weeks. 
  8. As far as this oil helping the immune system, I can't say. Maybe it does, but that's going to be a tricky one to verify. I have immune system problems, so I'll be asking my doc about these claims when I go for my next checkup. Will update the post then.


So, yes, I do like this and will be getting more in the future. It's basically going to be a staple product for me. I will decide which brand/manufacturer to buy from once I get the information about the concentration levels. That's supposed to be important so that a user can determine how much to be applying daily. From what I've heard, it's difficult but not impossible to get too much of this stuff into your system. Isn't that true of everything? You can even get too much water, so why not?

One thing I couldn't find was a site for the Natural Products brand. I don't like that.

That's my review part of the post. If you're interested in questions I have and further info, keep reading...

Since I want to keep using magnesium now that I've tried it, I wondered if there was an easier or cheaper way to get hold of it. Apparently, you can make your own. (Of course. These are the days of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials. Pretty soon, I might be able to build my own car.)

My next question was: Is there a difference between magnesium and the labeled "magnesium chloride hexahydrate"?

The answer is... Not easy to figure out. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole trying to get the answer online. I'm saving articles to Pocket for later reading as I try to figure this out. Here is one article, here is another and then, of course, there's always Wikipedia.

Next question had to do with what concentration of the active ingredient was in this particular product? I have submitted that one to the Seller. Like I said a minute ago, that's something a user would want to know. (And did I just say "user" like I'm discussing narcotics?!)

If anyone else has used this oil, please let me in on your results or opinions. I will update this as I learn or experience more.

Peace
---Free




DISCLOSURE:
In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using AMZ Review Trader. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

Friday, April 15, 2016

**REVIEW** Darjeeling Loose Leaf Masala Chai Tea



This product is a detox tea that is a chai
  1. It smells SO good, and
  2. It isn't like any chai I've ever had.
I don't guess I've ever had a "real" chai before, and I hadn't ever heard of "Masala chai" until now. Maybe that's the thing. I'm pretty sure that when Western commerce jumped on the chai wagon, they didn't stay true to the original version(s). The only chai I've had have been from Starbucks or from one of the shelf brands at the local grocery stores.

In my cultural ignorance, I wondered if Masala chai was different from the chai I've had previously. That's funny to me now that I realize just how ignorant I truly was on the subject. And just how ignorant was I?
"Chai" is simply the word for "tea" in India, and "masala" means spices. So masala tea or masala chai is tea that is made usually with milk, mint, cardamom and sometimes a couple of other spices. (source)
Um, Okay.

The other thing I learned when I first brewed this up was I can be such a guy. I never follow instructions. Instead of brewing a teaspoon of the tea in about 7 ounces of water, I had to go and use two teaspoons in about 10 ounces of water. I did follow the steeping time of the 3 to 5 minute range, but... the other instructions were more important. My first cup was so strong it could have moved mountains. My bad.

When made correctly, this is really good. Actually, it wasn't bad strong, but...

Like I said, I love the smell of this, but the taste did throw me. I've been whoring out my tastebuds to the sugary stuff that I get packaged and with a chain logo on it. I wasn't ready for the real thing. Also, I was trying to drink it "as is". When I added cream to the hot brew, the taste love went way up. Strangely enough, I can drink the cold brew without cream. I do need honey for drinking it hot or cold, but the cream really does something for the hot version.

Maybe because I drink most of my teas cold, I prefer this one cold. I like to put it in my carry-bottle, add some honey, then sip off of it for a few hours. Keep in mind how strong I tend to make it.

It's going to take me a few days (or more) before I can update you on how this makes me feel, but the ingredients are all things that I have been adding to my diet lately. It makes sense that if those ingredients are all good for you, the tea will be good for you. The best thing is, I can get the tea into my body on a regular basis. I do cook more lately with a variety of spices, but this way, I can get the clove and cinnamon in my system.

Here's the big surprise to me: there is black pepper in this. Only just recently have I been adding pepper to my diet. I've always been a weakling when it comes to "hot" food. I've been slowly adding cayenne and black pepper to my dishes. What threw me with this tea is that I couldn't even taste the pepper.

Second kind of surprising thing: this was more refreshing than the chai I've had in the past. Maybe because I can drink it cold and without a lot of heavy creams and other dairy products? It's got a cooling effect on warm days. I didn't expect that. Also, I just like drinking it cold.

Last of all, even though I got this bag for free, I was wondering if the price was a good one. Now that I find I like this, I realize that, because it doesn't take but a teaspoon (follow those directions!) to make a cup (or more, I guess, depending on how strong you like it), this is very reasonable as it's currently priced.

Peace
--Free



DISCLOSURE:
In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

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