Wednesday, October 15, 2014

**REVIEW** Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls

Well, shame on me. Isn't that the way the saying goes? "Fool me once..."

~sigh~

Here's what happened: I was strolling through one of the local malls and, since I was having one of those days when my hair couldn't decide whether it wanted to curl or coil (and, yes, there is a difference), I let my feet take me into one of my favorite beauty supply shops. Damn feet.

If you remember, we Alaskans just received our annual Permanent Fund Dividends. I can't go crazy and spend mine like most people do/did, because I have too much financial instability going in my poor, pitiful, nothing-like-Oprah life. What I can do though is combine 3 months of my normal pittance of a budget for miscellaneous expenses into a lump sum without starving. With Christmas and some birthdays in the family coming up, this is perfect. And I gave myself a small allowance. So...

As I'm browsing the store and asking the clerk (who knows a little something about black haircare) if she can recommend anything for the current state of my hair which seems to be off its medication, she points out two products: Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls and Mizani's Curl Stretch Cream. (I hope the Mizani's will be as good as the other stretch cream I've used!)

Now, I have tried (and liked) a couple of Mizani products. They are expensive so I only get them on deep sale or on that Burlington's Coat Factory shelf where just about everything is discounted. I hadn't ever tried this particular Mizani product though and it was priced at $19. Oh boy. The Jelly Soft was $17.

Of course, I have tried (and not loved to death) Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls. I didn't like the same way most folks hate skin on their pudding. After using that product, I spent too much time wondering what the hell kind of prison-issue, stiff and crunchy pillows Miss Jessie slept on.

I relayed all this to the clerk. She told me that she did nt carry Pillow Soft but that she had heard back from other customers that they liked Jelly Soft. And since I didn't have access to any handy Amazon reviews just then, I hemmed and hawed. The clerk promised that I could return and get a refund on any product I didn't like. I stopped mid hem-haw and went for it. I got both. 

I will review the Mizani in another post, but let's talk Miss Jessie's, shall we?

Obviously, Miss Jessie has as much of a problem with understanding the softness of jelly as she does pillows. Pillow Soft was not as horrible as Jelly Curls. In the case of Jelly Curls, at least the name fits. After I applied the product (according to the directions) and let my damp hair dry, I wondered if there wasn't actually a little bit of jelly in the ingredients. Jelly, yes. Soft, no. Not soft, but dry. Dry as if I had sat with a hair bonnet connected to a dehumidifying machine that could suck all the moisture from an ocean.

Lies, lies & more lies

Take one more look at the pic and read that description of Jelly Soft again. Know what's missing? The word "DON'T". As in:"For people who don't want..." all that soft and touchable hair that the product is promising.

Damnit.

What the hell is with all the hype over Miss Jessie's products? Was she ever one of Oprah's favorite things or something? I mean, how did these products get so much positive recognition? So far, all I can tell you about them is that they are expensive and don't live up to the descriptions on the labels. 


truth-free hype
After using the gel, my hair felt gunky and stiff. I had to wash it out and deep condition just so that I could detangle the desert that was my hair. Thank goodness I can return this mess.

With the Pillow Soft, I could at least say that I found a way to make it work. And it seemed to function as a conditioning agent. Once I rinsed that product out, my hair seemed as if I had retained some moisture. With the Jelly Soft... nothing good. I wouldn't have wanted to let anyone touch my hair because it was so stiff and icky feeling.

***Forgot that I got a pic. This is after using Jelly Soft. My hair has dried & you can almost hear the crunch through the photo***



Shame. Shame on me. 

So, all after the fact, I went over to take a look at some Amazon reviews.

Guess what? Only 7 bad reviews, but they all echoed my sentiments. Of the good reviews, I am thinking that maybe some folks have never experienced a good hair day. (That was mean of me, but Miss Jessie's does not deserve any good thoughts from me at this point.) Even for reviews that were positive on how Jelly Curl worked for them, the complaint was that the same results could be had with more reasonably priced products. 

With the returned funds I wasted on Jelly Soft, I picked up 2 other products (and had change left over). Even though I got my refund, I am holding a grudge against that other store and made sure to buy my replacement products at Sally Beauty Supply. They have never mislead me about products before.

I will soon be reviewing the Mizani and the other two products I got. For now, I have to go and release my hair from the ICU into rehab. Damned Jelly Curl almost put it into flatline...

I have learned and been burned. No more Miss Jessie's for me.


Peace
--Free

Sunday, October 12, 2014

**REVIEW** Body Merry (a skincare trio)


I have been slacking just a little. I've fallen behind on my product reviews & they are starting to build up. One issue is that I have been doing way too much in the way of skincare items. To do a fair use and review process, I have to give myself time to see how a product is working on my skin and I don't like to overwhelm my skin with product after product after product. What I've been doing is trying each item and taking notes for blogging the review. (After this latest round of products, I'm going to be reviewing items in other categories: electronics, apps and hair products.)

My latest product review is for a great company with excellent service and quality products - Body Merry. I've used their products before and this time I got to try out a trio:

Body Merry serums & eye cream

Left to right:
  • Professional grade 2.5% Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Green Tea for wrinkles & fine lines. It also evens your skin tone and addresses dark spots and acne as well. (I don't have acne, but the rest of those problems are sneaking up on me!)
  • Eye Cream for dark circles, wrinkles, puffiness, crow's feet, fine lines & bags. It's an under eye treatment with natural & organic anti-aging formula of peptides, retinol, hyaluronic acid, cucumber, rosehip oil, MSM, aloe & More). This one is also for men. (There's that rosehip oil again!)
  • Hyaluronic Acid Serum is professional grade and vegan with Vitamic C and  Green Tea. Like the retinol serum, it's for wrinkles and fine lines but additionally offers organic hydration.
Because I am careful about overusing certain products on my skin, I used the serums every other day, alternating between each one, and I only used them in the morning. Both are fairly mild, though I could feel more of a tingling with the Retinol Serum that I didn't get with the Hyaluronic Serum. Odd. I haven't noticed much difference after using them, but I think I need more time than a week.

Speaking of worries about skin reactions, I noted this from the Retinol Serum's product page: "The addition of Plant Derived Hyaluronic Acid provides the much needed hydration so you can reap the benefits of Retinol, without having to suffer any dryness or irritation. Organic Green Tea works its charm as a powerful antioxidant." 

The eye cream is very mild. It was super-hydrating, so I didn't even bother to use my regular moisturizer in that area. Another thing: the cream is so moisturizing, you need to be careful not to pump out too much of it because it literally only takes a tiny dab to hydrate the entire area around the eye. I used this morning and night. I was a little concerned the first time I used this one. The skin around my eye is really sensitive, so I was worried about a reaction. Again, I think this is why it's important to use the tiniest little bit.

The eye cream has over 70 ingredients, so I won't even try to list them all here, but they include:  Vitamins C + E + B5, Peptide Complex, Amino Acid Emulsification, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Antioxidants, and MSM. The product page on Amazon lists these natural and organic ingredients: Aloe, Rose Hip Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Cranberry, Licorice, Sunflower Oil, Borage Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Lavender, Calendula, Chamomile, Witch Hazel, Cocoa Butter, Cucumber, Green Tea - to name just a few! No harsh chemicals such as Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates.

Of course, I have to add a final mention that none of these 3 products has an unpleasant odor. I smelled nothing with the serums, and the eye cream had a faint (pleasant) green-ish/tea-ish scent. Not bad at all.

If you try any of these items and find that you aren't happy with them, Body Merry offers a 100% money-back guarantee. You get your money back without having to return the bottles. That's as nice as the fact that the products are made in the U.S.A. in an FDA registered facility and are not tested on animals. 

Finally, a note about the way I use any new product: Even those I had no reaction or sensitivity to any of these, I always am careful to only use a little bit on one part of my face to test for problems. Also, with any of these retinol-based products, I am super careful to wear sunscreen. Heck - I wear sunscreen all the time, no matter what (or at least a moisturizer with sunscreen), but this is definitely not the time to skimp on sun-protection. Also, I know that I can't use this type of product too often. I will use it every other day, or even every other day.)

Peace
--Free

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Get to Know Your Library (or at least this app)

Being well-read is reward enough - for everyone
Back when life was a little more settled for me, I used to go to the library. A lot. During the winter months, when I hated making the trek any more often than I had to, I discovered and started using more of the online resources. I'm going to highlight some of those resources right here and I will start with my own local library, but much of this pertains to most local libraries:
  • If you live in Alaska, you must get acquainted with everything your library card gives you access to. I'm used to being able to request books from libraries all over Alaska, but a cardholder can actually make a request from libraries all around the world via an Inter-library Loan Request. No kidding. The "World Cat"(catalog) is made up of over 72,000 worldwide libraries. Check on whether or not your library participates in inter-library loans.
  • For you folks wondering what to do to entertain and broaden young minds, check out the story time and other events for small children. Loussac Library has an area specifically set up for youngsters and their is also an area designated for teens.
  • Within the library, there are quiet reading rooms (some set up as work spaces for serious researchers, writers, etc., and others set up for relaxation and comfort), zones with lighted and divided open workstations for folks who want to plug in laptops and other devices. Actually, the library has lots of comfy seating and spaces for just chilling out. A favorite place of mine is the coffee shop. I can go there to plug in, java up and get a snack to enjoy while I read. If the cafe proper is too crowded, I can step right outside the door to a table inside the libary entrance and hang out for hours. Hey - you can even take your own food (just not inside the book areas of the library). In the summer months, I like to sit at one of the tables that are sometimes placed outside the coffee shop. That won`t be happening any time soon...
  • The Alaskana Resources section is a collection including information on the history of the state, the native peoples, the law, etc. There are even yearbook, geneaology, obits and even a wildlife encyclopedia. I'm sure that a focus on local resources is not restricted to Alaska public libraries.
  • For myself, I recently got back into using an application that I can use on my desktop, phone and tablet. It's called Overdrive Media. Overdrive is a resource that every book-lover should know about. I use mine to listen to audio books from my local library's digital collection. Via Overdrive, a user can read or listen to books and watch video. Users can also sync their bookmarks and libraries across devices (though I find this part a bit tricky). 



By the way - Overdrive is something anyone can sign up to download. I just use mine in conjunction with my library card. What I like so much about this app is that I can employ bookmarks and sleep timers. I can view my "bookshelf" when using on my phone or tablet. There's not much I don't like about this media app, especially since I don't need an internet connection to listen to audio once I've downloaded a book. That's great for when I'm at long doc appointments or just stranded somewhere with nothing to do. There is a little bit of a learning curve to get used to syncing and controlling the desktop version. It's worth it though.



Some of the trickier issues I have with Overdrive are not negative at all: I was able to access more books than those supplied by my local library system. I actually was routed to Amazon after a search for a particular book. Interesting, right? Unfotunately, I was on my phone and couldn`t see well enough to complete the process. I will play with that later and let you know how it goes.


Another resource that I find worth having is the trial for Kindle Unlimited. With a $10/mo (okay, $9.99) cost, this works best for folks who don`t use their library as much - or don`t want (or have space for) books lying around. Also, some folks just don`t want an actual copy of most books. In my case, I`m too transient at this point. I do have a collection of a few very cherished books, but Kindle Unlimited is a great idea.

One thing you should check out at your local libary is whether or not they provide patron access to Ancestry.com. I was pleased that our libraries do allow a certain amount of access to the site. Nice, right?

Anyway, this is all just a heads up about the value of our libraries. They are the one decent resource that`s still free and so wonderful in our communities. Even if you`re not big on books, you might enjoy your library the way lots of Loussac patrons do: to just hang out in a quiet place and think.

Before I close the post, I have to mention the resources for the disabled. My sister, who just underwent eye surgery, has been able to enjoy audio books sent to her (along with a special player) courtesy of the Alaska Talking Book Center. This has been an invaluable resource for her as she does not own (nor is she particularly comfortable with using) a computer. She loves listening to her books and the machine is easy to operate.

Comes with headphones
Since TBC is a state government program, I'm sure that there is a similar resource available in your community

Peace
--Free

Saturday, October 04, 2014

***READING** The Lazy Intellectual

I'm doing a trial of Kindle Unlimited and one of the first items I chose was this:

by Richard J. Wallace & James V. Wallace
The book is "The Lazy Intellectual" which I hesitated to try. I'm not that intellectual, but I got the "lazy" part down! At least I was smart enough to choose this book to check out.

In spite of the title, the book really is for anyone who has a love of knowledge. Lazy folks will use it as a cheat sheet for schmoozing. Smart people will use it to touch on things they never had the time or patience or good sense to pay attention to in school. I think I fall into that second group (mostly), but I sure wouldn't be above whipping out  some schmooze if the right chance came along. (I'm kidding. My memory sucks so I'd need a cheat sheet to remind me of where I put a cheat sheet!)

Anyway.

The subtitle of the book is "Maximum Knowledge, Minimum Effort." It's broken down into sections that cover a variety of topics. My favorites were Philosophy, Music, Modern Language, and Language Arts. I even found Mathematics interesting. Also covered: The Classics, History, Religion, Social Sciences, and Physical Sciences. Each section, which is a quickie refresher of basics, adds in some quotes and "Fun Facts." (Schmoozers will love the quotes.)

Like many people who have been out of school since the Noah's Ark landed, I have a conversational knowledge of most of the covered topics, but reading this book is like having a conversation with a person with more knowledge. I learned quite a bit without feeling that I was being lectured to. After reading the first sections, I began to create a sort of syllabus for further study on my own.

This book would make a great gift for someone. I know some young people who love learning, but don't necessarily get a deep education from their schools... This would be perfect for them. I also know some folks in my age range that would appreciate this book for the same reasons I do.

Learning should not end the minute we get a diploma. Sometimes that's what happens, isn't it? We graduate, then we get busy just trying to get on with work and family and all other responsibilities that happen along. A lot of us can't fine the time or money for additional structured education. Shoot - a lot of us can't find time for a pottery class at the Y.  Still, we can all find the time to open a book every now and then. Just take some of the thirty minutes spent watching junk on TV.

Another reason I think lots of people get put off of learning any more than they absolutely have to because "smart" is not as hip as "fashionable." When we hear certain words, we conjure up certain images. "Nerd", "Geek", "Bookworm" don't get enough credit for being positive ideals. On the other hand, being "Gangsta" or "Hot Bodied" - well, that's why everybody wants to be a reality star or video vixen.

Maybe part of the problem is that we have so many "smart" people who look down their noses brains at the rest of us. Who knows? Maybe they just read this book. Such posers.

Don't make me Google your ass!

If being motivated to teach and learn became more profitable (and sexy) tomorrow, TMZ and Gawker would be stalking teachers for more than finding out which kid they corrupted. Until that starts trending, we're on our own. If you want sex, just turn on the TV. If you want knowledge, you'll have to pursue it.

At any rate, this is an awesome book for anyone in pursuit of knowing more.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, October 02, 2014

***REVIEW*** UNi Rose hip Seed Oil


Since I am trying to go more and more "natural" in my approach to diet, health and cosmetics, I love that I'm getting to try a variety of that type of product. As I blogged about, I tried my first rose hip oil a few weeks ago. Once I got used to the smell, I could appreciate the benefits of the oil. I stopped using it on my face because it was a little too heavy for that area. I did start using it on other parts of my body that tend to dry out: elbows, knees, my dragon feet...

I recently received another bottle of rosehip oil to try out. This one is from UNi brand. First I wondered if there would be that much of a difference. I mean, rose hip oil is rosehip oil is rosehip oil. Right? Well, pretty much, but this latest one has a much milder smell than the first brand I tried. While the benefits are likely to be the same, I think that it's easier to use one that doesn't smell quite so strong.

From Chile
One thing I know now: I do like using rose hip seed oil. I like that it not only softens my skin, but tends to absorb into it and last longer than some other oils I've tried. Compared to coconut oil, the rosehip oil lasts a bit longer. Also, because it stays in its liquid form, it's a lot less messy to apply. This particular brand comes with a dropper which makes it even easier to apply.

One thing to mention: I got this from Amazon (via my Tomoson membership), but when I checked the brand's site UNi (or UniPurity), I could only find information for their argan oil. Maybe the rose hip seed oil is a new product for them (?) At any rate, here is the info I pulled from the product page on Amazon:
PREMIUM INGREDIENT 100% CERTIFIED USDA AND ECO CERT ROSEHIP SEED OIL.
NO ADDITIVES OR FILLERS. Imported and sourced from their natural environment in Chile, bottled here in USA.
NATURAL SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS AND ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS INCLUDING OMEGA- 3, 6, and 9. HIGH IN VITAMIN A and C. EXCELLENT REMEDY FOR SKIN CARE AND MAINTENANCE.
100% FRAGRANCE FREE
Super fine, easily absorbent and does not leave behind any oil residue. Non-greasy and super light. Leaving your skin feeling soft and look radiant.
Multi-purpose oil for all skin types that promotes healthy skin and hair care. Use alone or in conjunction with other daily moisturizers. Treats winkles, scars, stretch marks, rashes, burns, acne, dry skin, dermatitis, age spot, brittle nails, psoriasis, eczema, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, dry and damage hair, and anti-inflammatory.
NOURISH YOUR SKIN FOR A HEALTHIER AND SMOOTHER TONE. LOOK RADIANT AND BEAUTIFUL ALL THE TIME!
SATISFACTION GARAUNTEED. TRY IT RISK FREE TODAY! SEE AMAZING RESULTS WITHIN DAYS. NO HASSLE MONEY BACK.

If you look up "Rosa Canina" on Wikipedia, you'll get to see a photo of actual rose hips. I'll save any jokes about that...

By the way, this product is not to be ingested. It's for use on the skin and hair only.

Now, I haven't used this particular brand on my hair yet, but last night I did use it on my scalp. For some reason (probably to do with my not drinking enough water), my hair and skin have been drier than usual. My scalp is so dry that it was starting to get itchy. I used just a tiny bit of this oil on the center, sides and near the back of my scalp. That did immediately relieve the itching. I'm going to repeat that process later this week and then do a 15-minute wrap with a warm, damp towel. For now, I am impressed at the relief I got from applying the oil to my scalp.

So, yes, this is a great oil. Like I said, it's not as strong-smelling at some other brands and, I'm Phappy to say, it is priced (on Amazon) cheaper than others I've tried. Unipurity has a money back guarantee.

I want to mention also that I've seen other online info that suggests refrigerating rose hip seed oil and keeping it from a lot of direct light.

Last of all, and not directly related to this product review, I wanted to include a little bit of general information. With this whole trend I've been on of trying to use organic products, I decided to check out some terminology used on the label here:
  • Organic - in this context, is basically derived from living plants (instead of from chemicals). I guess.
  • Unrefined - When it comes to anything other than good manners, this term is tricky. I'm going to refer you to a source I checked when I started looking at other products. Take a look at what the author here says about coconut oil. I like the clear explanations used in breaking down terminology we see so much of these days.
  • Omega - When you see "Omega acids" on a label, just think "fatty acids." I like how these fatty acids benefit the body when taken internally, but I wanted to understand what they do when used topically. Apparently rose hip seed oil is high in these fatty acids. I still haven't found much other than the basic info that discusses the use of rose hip seed oil for common skin concerns (sunburn, eczema, etc) and its moisturizing properties. If nothing else, I like the moisturizing factor.


By the way, did you know that rose hip is known by many other names? I was amazed at the list of them:

Apothecary Rose, Cynorhodon, Cynorhodons, Cynosbatos, Dog Rose, Dog Rose Hips, Églantier, Fruit de l’Églantier, Gulab, Heps, Hip, Hip Fruit, Hip Sweet, Hipberry, Hop Fruit, Persian Rose, Phool Gulab, Pink Rose, Poire d’oiseaux, Rosa alba, Rosa centifolia, Rosa damascena, Rosa de castillo, Rosa gallica, Rosa Mosqueta, Rosa provincialis, Rosa canina, Rose Hips, Rosa lutetiana, Rosa pomifera, Rosa rugosa, Rosa villosa, Satapatri, Rosae pseudofructus cum semen, Rosehip, Rosehips, Rose des Apothicaires, Rose de Provins, Rose Rouge de Lancaster, Rosier de Provence, Satapatrika, Shatpari, Wild Boar Fruit.

This Unipurity brand is the mildest-smelling rose hip oil I've heard of. It's reasonably priced and the product is certified organic. That it is doing a great job of keeping my newly pedicured feet soft (not to mention how it's relieved my dry elbows and scalp) is extra-nice.

Peace
--Free

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

**REVIEW** Body Merry Cellulite Defense Cream (part 1 review)

I love my Tomoson.com! My latest product received is one that I hate to admit I need. It's a cellulite-fighting cream from Body Merry. Actually, it's their Cellulite Defense Gel-Cream. And, yes, I am in a little bit of a battle with cellulite. Not a huge battle, mind you, but... When I gained all that weight while on prednisone, I was careful to moisturize, moisturize and moisturize some more. More than I usually do. Still, now that I have lost a lot of the weight (10 pounds in three weeks, thanks to some stress), whenever I sit down, I notice a slight dimpling on my legs where that elusive "thigh gap" is supposed to be.



Because I have only been using this for couple of weeks, I can tell you that, while I haven't seen dramatic results yet,  my problem areas do look better (probably due to the extra moisturizing). I am going to need to use this product for a while longer before I can review any more definitive results, I will use this post to give you my initial impressions. In a few weeks, I will update with a "part 2" that will let you know what kind of effects I will have noticed. For now, let's take a look.

First off, you know how I am about smells, right? Well, I thought I was going to dislike the odor of this because of all the mention of "herbal" and "organic" in the product description. (I love most things herbal and organic, but the smell of such things can be tricky!)

Happily, I discovered that, while there is a slight odor, there is no stink. It reminds me of something slightly eucalyptus-y except not anywhere near as strong. Anyway, the odor dissipates by the time cream dries.

Oh, yes - it really is a "gel cream", as described on the label. It's a little bit gel-ly like. I found this out when I was careless while removing the safety seal. I almost dumped out some of it when I opened and tilted the jar! This product is extremely moist. What I like about such "runny" creams is that I can usually get away with making a little bit of it go a long way. (If I don't dump it all over the floor in a klutz move...)


Because I recently lost my glasses (long story), I was not able to read the complete list of ingredients on the jar, but I found this on Amazon:

Some of our KEY ingredients are: Caffeine + Retinol + Algae Extract + Kelp + Dulse + Organic Cayenne + Japanese Green Tea Leaf Extract + Organic Coconut Oil + MSM + Vitamin E + Organic Sweet Almond Oil + Organic Aloe + Apricot Kernel Oil

Have to say that I like all those.

If you have or or don't need glasses, this is for you:


I have heard and read lots of information on how good coffee is for treating cellulite. I've also heard that coffee/caffeine has no effect as a cellulite treatment. If coffee is not the solution, then regularly massaging the skin with a good cream is (and this cream is excellent for that). Then there is what I'm hearing about retinol for improving problem areas. I've actually tried homemade coffee scrubs (messy, sooo messy!) and, like I've mentioned, I'm diligent about moisturizing regularly. I'd rather drink my coffee for kicks and use a body product that makes less of a mess in the shower, so this cream could be just the thing.

I have used the cream almost every day so far, massaging it into my thigh area twice a day. At first, I was worried about whether or not there would be any tingling or stinging sensation because of the "horsetail" ingredient I'd be using for the first time. There was no unpleasant sensation and the texture of the cream really made for a nice massage.

Body Merry has a 100% money-back, "no questions asked" guarantee in case you aren't satisfied. You can find the Cellulite Defense on Amazon but, so far, the only product on the Body Merry site itself is their Age Defense Eye Cream. I like that they ensure the testing and quality of their products. It's my opinion that most people don't use a product long enough to see promised results. In this case, there's no excuse because Body Merry will let you keep the remains of your product.

By the way, when I checked, I saw a lot of very positive reviews for the product. As for myself, I will be letting you know what my results are in a few weeks. Hang tight!

Peace
--Free

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

**RANT** Invisible Illnesses

Lord forgive me, but there are times I wish that I had a more visible illness.

You know that look you give someone who whips out their "Handicapped" placard, pulls into a reserved parking spot, then hops out of their car with the agility of Mick Jagger at 20? Sure, you know. THAT look. Well, I used to give people that look. Used to. Not anymore.

Thankfully, I don't need to park in a reserved spot so I never get "the Look". What I get is ignored. Ignored might be something that some disabled people long for, but not when it's worse than a smack in the face. Or when it makes being sick worse than "just" being sick.

Because I don't have an illness anyone can see, I don't get to park in any of the reserved spaces at the store or in life. Nope. Those special "life spaces" are reserved too, you see. Since I look like I can trot through life like a young Mick Jagger, there are lots of things I get a dirty attitude for:
  • Fatigued? Well, that's just too bad. I look too healthy (and might I say "gorgeous", or maybe not) to be fatigued. Fatigued from what? I look perfectly healthy. I should be able to wind up every morning and put the Energizer Bunny to shame!
  • A little down and blue? Well, none of that pity-pot business for me, my friend. At least I don't have ~insert disease #1 her~ or ~insert another disease~, right? My life is just perfect. I can get any job I used to, or go back to school to learn another job. Oh wait... I'd need to have better short-term memory for that. And then there's the whole fatigue thing. You know the problem I shouldn't have. We won't even talk about the stigma of being sick while looking well and fine. We really won't discuss any of the rest of stuff that can beat you down like Tyson in the ring. All those things like housing and food. Affordable housing and food. 
  • Not counting my blessings. Because, you know, I don't have one of those other diseases. And, besides, the one I do have doesn't seem all that bad. And, not that I care what idiots think, but I do count my blessings. I wish I could add more people to the list of blessings to count. (Okay now, that was just plain snarky. Sorry.)
  • Discouraged ever now and then? Well, that's just not allowed. Even though I struggle to piece back together some kind of a life. Even though I can't write as well as I used to (the one thing I was good at), and even though I wonder if I'm ever going to feel "normal" again. None of that matters. Especially when other people make it all look so easy.
I could go on. And on. I won't because then I'd get accused of being bitchy. I'm going to have to ask my docs if "bitchy" is a symptom of this disease or a symptom of most invisible diseases. A symptom brought on by, maybe, those other things I mentioned right up there. I'm pretty sure if I ask the wrong person, I'll get the "parking space" look.

So, yes, while I count my blessings and ward off my own bitchiness, I do sometimes want to wear a shirt like this one:

Cos that's what people think anyway
(get this shirt here)

And, by the way, you can hold the advise about how to handle illness. I don't want to handle it, want to beat the crap out of it. And, anyway, no one else - not even someone with the same disease - can tell anyone else how to handle their illness. I think that any disease/disability - no matter how "strong" someone is or how well they seem to handle it - is a personalized kind of struggle. My struggle has my name on it, not anyone else's. And, okay: that doesn't really explain the "bitchy" part. (I'm seriously going to have to ask a doc about that!)

Being sick made me more "natural"???
(get this shirt here)
 For those of you who don't know, I have another problem:

Part of it is this tho
It's true. If I'm not smiling, I look like I'm off to start trouble. That's why I smile so much (and sometimes look like I either have a great secret or better meds). Mostly. Part of it is (sometimes) just this:



I do have a flaw (yes, just one) of my own: I have a problem hearing other people complain about their little aches and pains when some of us are dealing with bigger stuff. See how I fell right into that whole "your problem vs my problem" thing? That's what happens when I turn my head and you see my other face.

So, yeah. This is a shout out to you all who are healthy and well. Don't make those of us with an invisible illness have to wear our bitchy face just to repel your "parking lot" attitude.

Peace
--Free

P.S.: Again, I'm thinking of Perry. I used to have him to vent all of this to. I guess I'll be using the blog to sometimes "talk" to him.

Monday, September 22, 2014

***REVIEW*** ProLinc Callus Eliminator

Remember when, a few days ago, I was wish-listing products I'd like to review? Well, this product from ProLinc for removing calluses was on the bottom of that list but at the top of my mind. My niece has hardwood floors almost completely throughout the house. The floors look great. The floors are murder on my bad feet. I'm addicted to my house slippers at this point!

Would take a miracle for my feet
Anyway, I had to do something. I could either go wild and spend the whopping $8.20 (from Amazon) for the 4-oz bottle of callus remover, or I could keep wearing out expensive insoles or coming up with alternatives, one of which I'll tell you about if I don't chicken out before I finish this post!

First, let me mention that the feet used in the Before/After photo are not really that bad compared to my dawgs. (How sad is that? Cos you know they tried to find the worst-looking feet they could. They should've called me. Or maybe not. They want to make a point, not scare off potential customers...)

Second, I refuse to take a photo of my feet for this post. Not because they are that awful, but because it's really awkward to get a good shot of your feet. I almost fell off the edge of the tub when I tried it. Besides, I've been shameless in describing my feet so you should all have the idea by now.

The thing I noticed when looking at that Before and After pic is that 1) my feet aren't that bad - at least not all over, and 2) that person has cracks in their feet.  ProLinc's FAQs advises customers not to use the product on cracked feet. Common sense, right? So... I guess the "Before" pic may not be accurate. That's just my opinion. It didn't stop me from giving the product a try. After all, there are no cracks in my feet. Just calluses and corns.

Does anyone else see that crack in her heel?
I didn't have a lot of time the first time I used the product, so I had to kind of cram my self-pedi in between appointments that were 45 minutes apart. Gave me enough time for a 10-minute foot soak and another 10 for putting on some disposable gloves, applying the product, almost dropping my cellphone into the water, and damn near sliding off the side of the tub. I allowed 5 minutes for the product to soak in and do its thing. By the time I washed and dabbed my feet, I realized I'd left the foot file-buffer-thingie waaaay down the hall in the bedroom. I just used the edge of a cap from my shower gel to sort of scrape at my feet.

By the way, the product is runnier than I expected. It didn't really "stick" to my feet, so I had to keep catching the run-off and slathering it back on. Just a minor quirk, but all the photos show the product as having more of a coating texture. ~shrug~

Now. Since I didn't exactly follow directions, I can't complain about not getting the exact same results as the person in the Before and After photos. I got close, but... My heels and the softer areas of my feet ended up looking great. Very smooth and free of all that nasty dead skin that looks horrible.

The rougher areas of my feet (and I mean rough like a bad neighborhood after dark) didn't come out quite as beautiful. This is partly my fault. I didn't have my tools on hand and I'm pretty sure that a hard plastic shower gel cap is not a great substitution.

Here's the good thing: Even without the right tools on hand, I still saw a lot of improvement in my worst calluses - which are mostly on the pads of my feet right under my little toes. Just imagine the results when I actually have time to do a proper job of this. The bottoms of my feet and the heels are nice and soft. The calluses softened up enough for me to bear walking on these hardwood floors without being in pain.

I think this is a great product. It's affordable and easy to use. You just have to be careful to follow directions - not just for results but for safety (see the "Warnings").

Peace
--Free

P.S.:

I mentioned that I have come up with ways to protect the footsies when I'm without insoles. Insoles can be pricey and I can't afford them for every pair or shoe or cheap slipper I own. And what about when I want to just pad around the house in my socks? Well, I have a little trick I use that just cracks my family UP! I'm going to tell my secret solution to you and only you, but only if you promise not to tell everyone else:

Panty liners.

Yep. The cheap kind that are almost no good for use as a liner for your panties. Those are the ones that are great for use as a quickie insole. Just stick the sticky side onto your feet before you slide on socks to walk around the house. Depending on how your shoes fit, the liners are even great for a day out on your feet in one of those stores with concrete floors. 

You can laugh all you want but, baby, let me tell you... When I couldn't get my expensive Dr Scholl's into my cute boots, I strutted right around with some Dollar Store panty liners keeping my feet padded and comfy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grief Prolonged

Today was one of those days. It was a decent day, but so many little things bothered me that I just felt worn out by noon.

And I'm missing Perry so much still.

I've been listening to a song that reminds me of him and our friendship. I'm surprised that I didn't know how much he meant to me until he was gone. He meant everything.

It was Perry who kept me on the safe side of sane when I was going through the worst of my sickness and life turmoil. He could make me laugh if that's what either of us needed but, more than that, he could let me cry if that's just what I needed. I hope I was there for him like that too.

I know that people can die of heartbreak because I can literally feel my own heart aching every time I want to see an email or get a phone call from my buddy. He's not here anymore and that just hurts and hurts and hurts.

Thinking of you, my friend.

I wish you were.

I know what you'd probably say if you were here. You'd tell me to go ahead and feel all the bad stuff - just for a little while though. Then you'd tell me to find at least one blessing to count. So I'm going to sit here and feel sad for a little while, then I'm going to continue a challenge I've been given to name 3 blessings a day. I'm on Day 4, but it's harder to count through the tears I'm swallowing.

Peace,
Free

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.

Peace
--Free

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