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Monday, July 04, 2022

**CROSS POST** The Most Serious Thought Experiment

 I wanted to share this post from my other blog. 

Take some time with this. Take this opportunity to think deeply about this most important thing. 

Imagine that you just died. Now imagine Eternity.

 Maybe you were important enough that the news broke into regular programming. Maybe you were so forgotten on earth that there was no obituary at all. Maybe those of us still alive don't even know that you have died. 

Now you stand before God, facing eternity.

God only asked that you forsake other "gods" and idols. He asked that you believe. He gave you proof of His being. You could look around at nature and the wonders of life and know that He is. 

Maybe you didn't hear about Jesus but you knew that everything that is did not come from nothing. You saw a newborn child, opening their eyes for the first time to see this world. You watched that child come out of the womb, knowing how to breathe and think and wonder. You saw the child learn language and numbers and time. Maybe that told you of God.

Maybe you did hear about Jesus. Maybe you knew and believed but you never finished reading the Bible so you didn't get every detail of what he sacrificed. Maybe you did.

Maybe you were of a brilliant mind and studied the maths and sciences. Maybe you decided that you didn't believe in God because of all that you learned. Maybe you decided that there is a God because of all that you learned.

Maybe you were never very smart. Maybe you never learned to read or write or count. But maybe you still knew of God. 

Maybe you were wealthy and privileged to enjoy every material thing. Maybe you were only well off, or comfortable, or maybe you were poor. 

Maybe you woke up every day, healthy and eager to live. Maybe you struggled with depression or pain or all manner of suffering.

Maybe you were loved by a lot of people, celebrated and lauded and envied. Maybe you just went through life as one of the many people who garner no special attention.

Maybe you were beautiful or handsome; tall and thin, big and robust; shapely and attractive; short and stumpy; ugly of face and plain of body. Maybe you were deformed or crippled or blind or mentally challenged. 

Maybe you were always happy or always sad or just simply living with no expectations of this world.

Maybe you were a good person - generous and kind and loving. Maybe you were a great father, son, wife, husband, or daughter. Maybe you fed the hungry and clothed the poor. 

Maybe you went to church often. Maybe you served in the church you attended. Maybe you never cursed, smoked, drank, took drugs, committed adultery or committed sexual sins. Maybe you were more "moral" and upright than most people who claim to be Christians. 

Maybe you were a good Buddist or Hindu or Muslim or Mormon or Roman Catholic. Maybe you were a committed Mason, Scientologist, or a non-affiliated member of society.  Maybe you never ate meat. Maybe you obeyed all the laws. Maybe you were a good citizen.

Maybe people respected you in your career. Maybe you invented life-saving equipment; discovered life-saving medicines; or found new ways to help people live healthier. 

Maybe you conquered the world with your voice or your intellect or your cunning. Maybe you were charismatic or ruthless or powerful or a titan. 

Maybe you never did anything outstanding or special. Maybe you were un "under-achiever", a "loser", a "slacker", a "drain on society". 

Maybe you traveled the world and saw every wonder on earth. Maybe you slept in fine hotels and dined on meals prepared for royalty. Maybe your home was palatial and luxurious. Maybe cars and airplanes sat ready at your command. Maybe you lived on the streets or ate from charity, or wore clothes thrown out by others. 

Maybe you donated money to open libraries and schools and maybe your name is on buildings of good reputation. 

Maybe you shouted praise from the rooftops or whispered prayers in your heart. Maybe you cursed God eloquently or defied him in the dark.

Back among the living, some might be wishing that you rest in peace. But they can't be sure. But you will know. Eternally.

Some might be wishing that you had a moment to ask forgiveness. But they can't be sure. But you will know. Forever.

Some might believe that they know you are safely in a peaceful rest. But they can't be sure. But you will know. Always.

No one can be sure what is in your heart but God. The God you believe in or the God you rejected? The God you challenged or the God you prayed to? The God you chose or the God you turned away from?

No one here on earth can be sure. But you and God will know because whoever you were, you are now dead. And you stand before God, facing eternity.

Will you be thankful for the rest you have earned? Will you be frightened of the consequences of your beliefs? 

You are dead and facing eternity. What will your eternity consist of?

For those of us still alive, we have time - if only this very moment - to think and to be sure. 

Don't reject what you haven't carefully considered. Don't turn away from what you cannot dismiss with certainty. Don't discard out of anger or hatred. Don't dismiss what frightens you without knowing why it frightens you. Know why. Think, think, think, and consider.

No matter what your life is among the living, your eternity is coming. Every day that you live, prepare to be eternally not among the living. The choice you make while you still can choose will be with you for all of the rest of time. 

As you live this part of your existence, prepare for the next part - the eternal part - that is coming.

There is nothing but the blood of Jesus that will be your eternal salvation and mind. Nothing - not a priest, a church, a parent or child; not your career or talent or wealth; not your looks or abilities; not your fame or notoriety; not your social connections; not your good works; not lighting candles or praying to saints; not sitting in a confessional or being blessed by some man or woman. 

Are you sure? Of what you believe or not believe in? Are you absolutely certain? Are you willing to stake all eternity on your choice?

Peace

--Free

P.S.:  It occurs to me that, as I was writing this, deaths were occurring. Deaths are always occurring. Think about that. You or I could be next.

I am praying that everyone takes the time to consider their life and their coming death. Many of us are afraid to think about our deaths. We don't want to think about what death will mean to us. We will think about what our death means to those we leave behind before we think about what we are dying into

We buy burial insurance and make wills and choose where and whether our bodies will be in the ground, crypt or urn. Our families will have to write an obituary or arrange a wake or memorial of funeral service. Someone will have to clean and dress our dead bodies, comb our hair, apply makeup, and make us presentable for viewing - or ready us from cremation and disposal. But that is just the flesh and bone of what is left of us.

The essential part of what we are, the part that lives on - that is the most important part. What plans have we made for that?

Please take the time to ready yourself for the biggest part of existence, what I think of as the "forever and ever" part.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

To Cut or Not To Cut (Hair, That Is) UPDATE

 I am writing this post on my birthday. I will post it when I decide whether or not to cut my hair. That might be when I finish writing it.

This morning, I freaked out one of my neighbors when she saw my full, uncurled, untamed, unabashed afro. I got up early to mess with my hair when I realized I'd need to take out the garbage because of the holiday pickup schedule. Well, if you could have seen the look on that sweet little lady's face...


She has only ever seen me with my hair tamed with products or naturally wavy or twisted into spiral curls. This freaking Angela Davis afro made her stutter.

I have often been amazed myself the few times I have iron-straightened my hair or blown it out with a dryer. I just don't like putting heat in my hair. And I'm lazy. It's easier to wash my hair and twist-style it or slap on some products and let it dry into its own curl pattern. SO much easier. 

Still, I have been thinking about making my hair care routine even easier. If I cut it short enough, I can just style it by wetting in and rubbing in some good curl cream. On the other hand, if I don't cut it short enough, I will have to work harder to style it. Such a dilemma.

So I am sitting here, holding my scissors, knowing that once I start cutting, I'm going to have to commit. That or turn a crazy half-cut 'fro into a new look.

Years ago, when I wore my hair relaxed, I got a bad batch of product and had to get my hair cut so short you could see my thoughts. I mean, I had to go to a barber. That's because I knew a barber could do a really short cut better than I could. (I've almost always been my own hairstylist. I don't trust anyone else.) I had left work with a medium bob cut and went back on Monday looking like my daddy. SO much like my daddy. The last time I chopped my hair was back in 2015 after my sister passed. I went to visit my niece in Dallas and she put in some braids before I left for home again. But that short style wasn't really that bad.

I haven't been this thin in a while!

Of course, back when I got the barber cut I was under 100 pounds wet and on a full stomach. Of course, I looked like my taller, thinner daddy. These days though, I'm packing enough middle-age weight that I will still look like a woman even rocking a razor-short cut. But let's not get carried away here...

If I do go short-short, I might as well do something to highlight all this grey that's been playing peek-a-boo. 

This is so stressful. And why? It's just hair. 

Maybe I'm reluctant to do a big chop because I'm worried my hair won't grow back. This methotrexate I'm on has been kind so far - to my hair, that is. I haven't had a lot of thinning except for my eyebrows, and I've been on this nasty medicine for a long time. A lady in an online support group told me that she started losing her hair almost within a month of starting methotrexate. Maybe the folic acid I take helps? Prednisone on the other hand... My hair and skin were never more glorious when I was fat and dosed up on something like 60mg of that demon drug.

Predni-ick. 
 I'd rather be bald, thanks.
But my double chin is cute as can be!

So, I am still sitting here, holding the scissors. Thinking. And looking for styling ideas. I do see some cute styles on this page but they are all too young-looking - or overly colorful - for my tastes.

Maybe I will just start with a really deep trim? That will make my hair look healthier, I suppose. Also, think of the money I will save on hair products.

But...

Nope. No cut for today. I will do a bit of a trim and see how I feel after that. But I am definitely thinking of going greyer.

Peace

--Free


65 HOURS LATER...

I went ahead and cut my hair. I figured what the hey. Plus, I could almost hear my best friend saying something like, "Go ahead, tusta girl. It's only hair."


I might go a bit shorter


I tried to brighten this to show the gray on the sides... 

I actually like it shorter. I noticed that my sides are where I am greyest and I like that too.

On a more serious note, when my SIL and I were looking at these pics, we noticed something else. My right eye opens wider when I am looking upwards and I can actually feel a difference. The left eye is more hooded at the corners. 

When I first got sick with this sarcoidosis, I looked stroked out because of the difference in one side of my face. I cannot remember for anything which side that was. My SIL and I think I will need to get in touch with my doctors to ask about this because she said that she has not noticed this before now. 

Oh, goodie. It looks like my 61st year is going to be as fun as my 50th!

Keep me in your prayers and I will post again if I do any more hair "trimming".

The Next Day...

I did a little more trimming and this time I was committed to the shortness!
I look grumpy but oh well

I like this final (?) cut. I need to get a better curl/shine cream though. Also...

DID I CUT OFF ALL MY FREAKING HAIR?????

Just kidding. I like the cut and caring for it will be easier. It's too humid here for all that naturally kinky-curly hair. Short and kinky-curly is the game for a while.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

**Chick Stuff**I Love Face Serum Sticks

Correction: the title should read "I Love Olay Face Serum Sticks"

Being someone who has always tried to use primarily natural oils on my skin, I'm not big on a lot of branded facial care products. I do like Loreal's Age Perfect cream and the Moistfull cream from Etude House. The only Olay product I've ever liked was the Regenerist Serum I discovered about 10 or 12 years ago. Then I went back to my oils.

I found the Regenerist again a couple of years ago, but either they've changed the formula or else my skin no longer likes it. However, I have found another Olay product that my skin adores...And now that I'm sliding into the second year of my 6th decade, I am having to spoil my skin with more than cooking oils. 

Enter Olay Serums in stick form. 

(l to r) Brightening, Refreshing, and 
Cooling

I've been using the Refreshing/pink formula for over 2 years. I love that it's moisturizing without being heavy or greasy. Also, just one stick lasts so long. It took me around 9 or 10 months to go through my first one and it wasn't completely depleted before I ordered the next one. I ended up giving the 2nd (and partially-used) stick to one of the SILs (she tried it and loves it) and I'm now on my 3rd stick. When I went back to order that one, I noticed there were 2 more formulas. In total, there is the Refreshing (pink), Cooling (green), and Brightening (white).

While I will always want to have the Refreshing serum around, I can live without the Cooling one. It does nothing noticeable to my skin. However, I do like very much the Brightening formula. While I like the skin brightening (brightening, not whitening), I stay for its hyper-moisturizing properties - again while being weightless. I use it at night when my skin tends to dry out no matter the season.

Well, let me deep-dive into what I think about each of these.

They are slightly waxy-feeling
but are not waxy on the skin

The pink/Refreshing stick formula sake kasu and vitamin B3. The green/Cooling stick has vitamin B3 and cactus water. The white/Brightening stick has vitamins C and B3.

 Honestly, I didn't expect there to be much of a difference. However, I could immediately smell a difference in the green stick as it has the slightest scent, one that I can't place. It's not strong or offensive but I did notice it.

I think I am partial to the pink one - maybe because I am used to it - but it did seem to be much more moisturizing than the Cooling stick. It also goes on heavier. 

The green one is a bit moisturizing but not like the pink one and I don't notice anything "cooling" about it. Maybe I need to wait for a day when my skin feels inflamed? And by "cooling", I think what they mean is that it's supposed to be "calming".

When I smooth the pink stick over my face, it leaves a trail of cream that I can see. Of course, I dab it in with my fingertips so it doesn't stay visible. Although I can feel the green stick leaving a trace, I can't see it. 

Now the Brightening stick is pricier than the other two. They run around $6.50-$7.00 while this one is around $15. I treated myself for my birthday and, honestly, I think it's worth it.

The main thing I like about each of the serums is that they are in stick form. Also, you do get the benefit of moisture without a heavy film. I've seen reviews complaining about the lack of moisture. I thought that when I first started using the Refreshing serum. What I finally realized is that the moisture from these sticks is not like that from a jar of cream. You have to glide the stick over your face, then sort of pat in the residue with your fingertips and it disappears. Unlike with some jar creams, I can't see the moisture but I can definitely feel it. 

long-lasting

Because it costs more, I've been saving the Brightening stick until just before bedtime. Of course, in the very dry winter weather, I will probably use it along with the Refresher serum during the day. I notice that if I use either stick on my skin before applying perfume, it helps with fragrance longevity. So that's a plus.

The best thing is that these are priced reasonably - even the more expensive formula - because they last forever and a minute. I will replace the pink one regularly and just get the white one as my budget allows.  I won't buy the green one again though. At the rate that my pink ones have lasted in the past, I don't think I will need to replace any of them for another 8 months to a year.

Peace

--Free


P.S.: As for the prices, I used what they were on Amazon the last time I checked. These serums can be found at other retailers at a variety of prices. The Amazon prices fluctuate often - as much as a dollar or two - depending on who knows what?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Things I’d Like Never To Run Out Of

 Instead of thinking about the things I need, as I do every time I put together a monthly shopping list, I wanted to switch it up. Of course, I can't actually do this for real, but I can dream.

This morning, while looking through my Amazon Wish List(s), I realized that it's not a very good list. Most of the things on it are Needs, not Wants. A more accurate list would look like this:

  • 3 of my favorite hair products - Honey Hydrate, TGIN Miracle RepaiRX, and Silicon mix bamboo leave-in (my hair is lost without this stuff)
  • Glossier's You compact solid perfume (because the spray has zero longevity).
  • Olay's Skin Refreshing Serum Stick (best facial product ever)
  • Huggies Nourish & Care Baby Wipes (best face cleaning product ever, ever, ever)
  • Candle Science's Lemon Pound Cake fragrance oil (because I run through Walmart's Iced Lemon Sugar Cookie wax melts way too quickly)
  • Yoga pants (even though I won't be caught dead doing yoga... the pants are life itself.)
  • A good weighted blanket - one for winter and one for summer. (I've gotten to where I have trouble sleeping without mine but it's too hot for summer)
  • Ninja Foodi (because it has replaced every other appliance I have except for the coffee pot)
  • Those nail stickers that are so cute and lack the mess of wet polish. (I like the Diva nail brand but have to find something more affordable.)
  • EOS lotion. (I get the Vanilla Cashmere for the fragrance but that lotion itself is, hands-down, the best I've ever used - including those 20-dollar special formulas!)
  • A Rocketbook notebook and erasable pens. (My notebook and pens are lifesaving workarounds for my lousy memory)
I could add at least 10 more things, but they would all be various perfumes. 

Or more hair products.


I got into a comment discussion once on Reddit about things we can't live without. Everybody has their certain something that just makes their daily life better. One person said that they have to keep a large jar of Jolly Ranchers and Jelly Beans around. It's their go-to snack for when they have anxiety.  One person shared their version of retail therapy. They peruse their favorite shopping site for about an hour but then empty out their cart when they feel better. I wish I had that kind of willpower. I have an Amazon cart loaded right now worth around $200. All that stuff will go to my Save For Later basket.


My late best friend (a gangsta-level shopaholic) could afford any kind of food she wanted but the only thing she to always had to have in her house was fresh fruit. Fruit and tea. She had a pantry the size of my bedroom closet and it was completely filled with every kind of tea that you could think of. All that tea but she had to run out and buy a coffee pot for when I visited her...Weirdo! (RIP Barbie girl.)

I just realized that I don't have food or coffee on my list up there. A few years ago - or even just last year - coffee would have taken up at least 3 spots. 

In 10 years, I imagine my list will consist of things like Ben-Gay or Aspercreme. Who knows? Lord willing, I hope to live long enough to find out.

Peace
--Free

Monday, June 20, 2022

**REVIEW** Mix:Bar Perfumes Are Pretty Yummy

 What a delightful find this was. Thanks to a comment on Fragrantica, I heard that one of the fragrances from Mix:Bar (yes, that is the way the name is styled) is a possible dupe for Glossier's You perfume.

Do tell.

Better yet, the Mix:Bar line is really affordable. I mean, really affordable. As in $10 for the hair and body mists, $12 for the small-sized (0.14oz) perfume, and $20 for the large (1.7oz) perfume.

And... And...

...One of the scents really is a dupe for You. I got my hands on a discovery kit from Target with 0.05oz samples, each large enough for me to try out several times. 

$13.99 for this sampler set
I tried every single one, so let me tell you about them. By the way, I'll show the notes given on the product pages for each fragrance but I will link the names to Fragrantica so you can see more detailed info:

    • Cloud Musk - (Notes: Cardamom, Iris, Jasmine, Cotton Peony, Tonka Beans.) This is the You dupe. The notes for You: Musk, Powdery, Iris. In the Cloud, I don't smell any of the notes listed on the product page but I do smell (mostly) powder and (a touch of ) musk. So...The only reason Glossier won't have to worry is that this, as delicious as it is, doesn't last long. Well... neither does the You in a bottle (unlike the solid for the compact). This Cloud perfume is so quiet that it practically whispers. I couldn't even smell it a minute after spraying it. So, while the perfume would be, IMO, a waste of money, the hair and body mist is a go. It is stronger and longer-lasting. There is no need for the perfume.
    • Whipped Almond - (Notes: Sweet Milk, Almond, Iris, Sandalwood.) My least favorite of the sampler. I smelled only almond and sandalwood - mostly almond. While not for me, I could see someone liking this if they are into the drier smell of the almond/sandalwood combo. I didn't get any floral notes. Also, this was very faint. I have not tried the mist.
    • Sparkling Hibiscus - (Notes: Bergamot, Hibiscus, Champagne Bubbles, Cashmere Musk.) Even though this is not my kind of scent (too playful and "bright"), it's a fun one. For someone who wants the vibe of a floral mimosa, this is the one. It's really interesting. I didn't get anything very cashmere-like about it, but bubbly and citrusy, yep. Cyndi Lauper (from her "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" days) looks like she'd wear this.
    • Coconut Palm - (Notes: Coconut Wood, Vanilla, Salty Accord, Incense, Amber, Musk Milk.) This was very forgettable, so much so that I had to go back and try it again to write this review... I expected coconut at the least and maybe some vanilla. I was thinking tropical and sweet but I just got something that reminded me of an old Avon perfume (and not one of the decent ones) from about 20 years ago. It was more incense than coco-amber. ~meh~.
    • Vanilla Bourbon - (Notes: Bergamot, Jasmine, Apple Blossom, Madagascar Vanilla, Sandalwood.) Ding, ding, ding, ding! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Out of the entire kit, this was my favorite. Every note comes through - even though the apple was very weak. And that is fine. The vanilla is a not-fake-but-truly-rich one and it goes perfectly with the sandalwood. And I normally don't love sandalwood because it reminds me of incense. Not this time though. I also get some of the bergamot but it doesn't drown out the sweetness of the 'nilla. I liked this one so much that I got a full-size perfume and even sprung for the mist.
Now, the Mix:Bar brand is styled that way because you are meant to mix and layer the various cocktails (of scents). Clever, right? I think it must be a Target brand because that's where you can find all of them. (You can find some of them on Amazon, of course, but I would stick with Target for the real deal. Too many iffy sellers and you cannot return most perfumes to Amazon...)

Vanilla.
+
Bourbon.
While I didn't love all of these, for the price, I can't say anything bad about this line. Well, maybe that the longevity isn't great, but did I mention the price? This is a great buy for someone who wants to smell nice but can't spring for the pricier scents. Go look up the notes for your wish list fragrance then try subbing it with one of these until you can get something else in the $50 to $150 range. We can't all have big budgets. Each of these is pretty much a dupe (or good substitute) for more extravagant brands.  

I haven't tried any other than these 5 scents. I'm sort of tempted to try the Wood Elixir and I've heard nice things about the Glass Rose one but I'm going to stick with the Cloud Musk mist and the perfume and mist of the Vanilla Bourbon. They mix nicely and the V.B. brings out the best in the Cloud. The Cloud also works really nice with Britney's Fantasy. Who knew?

I suggest trying one of the discovery kits. Everyone has different body chemistry and skin type. What doesn't work for me might turn out to be your favorite thing.

Peace

--Free

Thursday, June 16, 2022

**REVIEW** Experiencing Zenni Optical (UPDATE)

Another update will be coming shortly. I am getting another shot at getting these dang glasses! Stay tuned...


**UPDATE**

Someone from Zenni did get in touch to tell me about their return/credit-refund policy. And they told me to try wearing the glasses until I adjust to them (?). Uh, nah. I'm good, sis. 

Here's the thing: I paid 20 bucks for the glasses. They didn't work out for me. I'm not going to spend money to return them for a chance to get another pair of glasses. The glasses didn't work because of a flaw (possibly of mine) in the process. You have to be pretty careful about measuring in order to get a useable pair of glasses. If I only had mild vision problems, I'd try again but I don't want to make my vision worse by trying to save some money. 

While not ideal, I think I will stick to using OTC reading glasses on the days when I am resting my eyes from the contacts.

Not all people have my experience. Obviously. Zenni is a hit with several people I know, My niece loves ordering from them and I think she now belongs to their little "club". 



 Welp. I finally took a chance and ordered some glasses from Zenni Optical. I didn't jump in blindly though.

One of my nieces has ordered from Zenni - more than once - and has been happy with her purchases. And Walmart ticked me off the last time I went in for an eye exam.

The doc was nice enough - very nice, in fact. My problem is with the pricing of frames and glasses. For a simple pair of prescription readers, I was looking at paying at least $100 for some simple (and ugly) frames. For around $49 I could get super simple and hyper ugly frames. (Yes, there are cheaper frames but only if you want Dollar Store quality.) Then there would be a charge for the lenses. And, of course, they want to hype the add-ons. So, let's say $150 minimum for some readers.

I was already a little heated that I had to call and have them mail me a signed copy of my prescriptions. I wasn't wearing my contacts when I walked out of the store so I didn't notice that the script for the contacts or glasses was signed.

Anyway.

I have a year's worth of contacts (my script is good for 2 years) but I like having glasses to wear while taking a break from contacts. So in order to get a decent-looking pair of readers without having to take out a personal loan, I decided to give Zenni's a try.

The prices are great but the ordering process is... oh boy.

You have to know how to read your prescription. Really. I didn't even know that my pupillary distance wasn't automatically listed on my script. No. Back it up. I didn't even know there was such a thing as "pupillary distance". 

Pupillary distance (PD) measures the distance between the centers of your pupils. (from Zenni)

I was at another doc to get my eyes checked for problems with the sarcoidosis. I got one of the ladies up front to do the PD measurement for me. That was the easy part.

Back on Zenni, I had to figure out and/or choose:

  • whether I had single or dual PD numbers.
  • width and or length of the frame, bridge, lens, and temple arm.
  • what type of material I wanted. There were just too many choices,
  • what shape - oval, aviator, blah, blah, blah.
I just took measurements from my old glasses and tapped out on getting into the details. I decided to just browse through the available square-shaped frames - sorted from lowest to highest price. Trust me, that whittles down the list of choices to fool with.

Finally, I found this pair -

Plain and simple but not too ugly. I think I'm getting some sexy librarian vibes. Or maybe just sexy old lady vibes. Whatever. The only people who will see me wearing these are my neighbors (who can't see too well anyway) and anyone at Walmart on the days when I go there without my contacts. Oh and...


...there's that price I just didn't expect. 

With shipping & handling, I paid less than 25 bucks for a (hopefully) decent pair of readers.

So what about bifocals?

If I decide to go back for bifocals - and I am thinking about it - the price came up to just under $80. But that was high-index progressive lenses with anti-reflective coating.

That's not bad considering I'm getting frames and lenses. And I am sure that there are codes to be found online somewhere to shave a few pennies off the total price. 

What's the bottom line of the ordering process?

It can be tedious. The worse thing is that once you have something in your cart, it's very tricky to make adjustments. I started out with the $80 pair before I remembered that I am seeing 3 doctors and a dentist in the next few weeks. The out-of-pocket costs can nickel and dime a sister in the poorhouse. So I decided to change up and just get readers for now. Well, that was insanely difficult to do. I had to totally back out of the cart and start all over again.

I do like that I can store more than one version of my script. I now have one for bifocals and another for the readers. Now when I go back to order the bifocals, I can pull that up and place the order.

The waiting game
  • June 6th -  I ordered the glasses. I was talking to a nurse at a doc appointment and she raved about the cute Zenni glasses she was wearing. She told me about the rewards program they have and now I am just too excited.
  • June 9th - I got an email informing me that the glasses are "being manufactured". There is a link to check the status but the link takes me to a Rewards tracking page. The Order Status (when I locate it) is shown to be "Manufactured/En Route to Distribution Center". That is a little confusing. Are they saying that the glasses have been made and are now about to be shipped to me?  I do some googling and learn from a Zenni Tweet that it means that "the glasses have completed production and are on the way to our shipping center". Okay. I'm getting excited. Or anxious?
  • June 10th - I am starting to doubt my choice of frame. I went with something similar to the sunglasses that look good on me. However, reading glasses aren't darkly tinted. Maybe I will just look like a super-nerd and not the sexy-nerd type? Oh boy. I am starting to overthink this...
The Plane! The Plane. They're here!

It is June 16th and the glasses have arrived. So. What do I think? First off, they are cute as heck and everything I wanted. The completely match the online photos.


Lenses so clear they're invisible! 

The packaging was cheap (but so is the price, right?) but the glasses were well-protected in a hard casing. Also, there were a lot of those rulers for the next time I have to measure the PD...



They even look cute on me (and mine is the only opinion that matters!).

I miss being able to smile!

I love everything about these glasses. 

Except...

I can't see with them. I can see better - but not great - at a distance. I cannot see well enough for reading. These were meant to be my reading specs when I am resting from wearing contacts. 

The glasses are just the tiniest bit off in every way. I think the prescription is just a little bit off. Off enough that everything looks obscured by a heatwave. It's very frustrating.
Summary

I have written Zenni just to let them know what issues I am having. I told them that I won't be applying for a refund. As I understand it, I can get a 50% credit back to my payment method or a 100% store credit. I paid 20 bucks for the glasses, folks. I'm not sure I care that much at this point. I might ask for a store credit and go for the same glasses with some input from someone at Zenni.

So, there you go. If the prescription had worked, I would be ready to spend at least $100 at Zenni. The frame quality on this pair is lovely and I can't say enough how much I like the frames. But the prescription didn't work. I can find a really good pair of non-prescription reading glasses for $20 that won't give me a headache.

Keep in mind that my niece and someone in one of my doctor's office raves about their Zenni glasses. Maybe I just need to try again another time?

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

**REVIEW** Fantasy Intimate Edition Eau de Parfum (from Britney Spears)

 This is the other of the two fragrances I bought for my birthday:


You already know about the first fragrance from my previous post. I love, love, love that one but I have to say... this one is also getting to be up there with my top 5 of the past several years.

As with all my fragrances, I always want to see what Frangrantica has to say. For this one, as with the Cheirosa ’62, Fragrantica listed some of the accords I love the most.

 


The only thing missing for me on that chart is the caramel. However, I can actually smell a little of it in the actual perfume. This is the "pyramid" of notes for this one:

The very first time I tried the perfume, I was not impressed. As a matter of fact, I really regretted buying it. It was, I thought, too candy-like and "young-ish" for me. Of what smelled slightly grown-up, I got too much citrus (lemon?) and something flowery that I never like in a perfume. 

I hate when I blind-buy a fragrance only not to like it. I don't have money to play with like that. So I was upset with myself. (But I have to say that the bottle is super cute. From the online photos, I thought it looked cheap and toy-like, but, nope. It's glass and heavy enough to use as a weapon.)

Now, I'd had a fresh shower that morning and had used one of my lotions without paying attention to which one it was. I have several lotions and creams and oils that I use, depending on the weather. It's really humid this past week so I haven't been using my heavier moisturizers. When I checked, I realized I had used some Palmer's. Palmer's lotion has cocoa butter in it and you definitely smell that ingredient! I realized that this might have thrown off the Fantasy perfume.

I waited a couple of days before giving Brit-Brit's fragrance another try and, in the meantime, I just enjoyed some body mists. (And, oh, yeah, I lied about getting only two things for myself so I will have to tell you about the other things later...)

After my next shower, I remembered to go fragrance-free with the moisturizer. I used some of my fragrance-free Neutrogena oil. I love that stuff for these hot and humid days. It's light and silky-feeling without being greasy. 

This time Fantasy was everything I wanted. It hit all the vanilla and amber highs that I like and had just enough "powder" scent to make me feel super-feminine. It's light enough for daytime wear but I think that it could be used for date night if I, you know, felt like dating.

The longer I wore the perfume, the more I loved it. I'd put it on around 8-ish that morning and by the time I had my second coffee at 10, it was doing something new. The sharpness of the citrus had died down and the vanilla and that caramel I'd sensed were showing up and showing out. Nicely. 

Damn! I smelled so good I wished I did feel like dating! Someone else needed to experience this grown-woman sexiness. I went out of my apartment - as I try hard to do as little as possible - to return something to the building manager. As soon as I was in her office, she did a double-take. "Ooo, you smell good, Ms. Trudy." (Note: She is the only one around here who notices things like this. She's young enough to still have a good sense of smell and sight.) So...

Thank you. Thank you very much, Britney boo. I hope that you find all the love and happiness you yearn for, you darling lady.

By the way, the perfume lasted well into the evening. I think I stopped being able to notice it around 7 or 8 that night. Not bad. Just like with the Cheirosa '62, I will start spraying some on my clothes if I want them to last even longer.

Buying this fragrance by Britney reminds me of something. Some years back, when one of my older nieces was visiting, I had asked what she was wearing. She is not big on perfumes and usually sticks to body sprays. This time, she smelled luscious and it could not just be a simple body spray. She looked a little embarrassed and, as if she were admitting to a crime, she whispered, "Jessica Simpson. It's called 'Fancy'."

What is up with these formerly teeny-bopper hotties? How are they killing the game with these amazing fragrances??? I love the idea that they are capitalizing on their celebrity to enrich themselves without becoming has-been jokes. 

I checked (yes, Fragrantica) to see who or what is behind Britney's perfumes. The parent company is Elizabeth Arden and there are at least 6 perfumers working on the scents. Simpson is with a different parent company but also works with several perfumers. (Guess which perfumes I will be putting on future gift lists?)

Back to this Fantasy fragrance...

I have now worn this solo for several days but I have also paired it with the Solinotes Vanille (which was a total disappointment by itself) and also with some Eos Vanilla Cashmere lotion. Fantasy elevates the heck out of the Vanille. I'd been wanting to toss that odorless mess in the trash at one point. Now I will keep it because it creates a sweeter vanilla scent when combined with Fantasy.

Now, the Vanilla Cashmere lotion is the strongest scented lotion I have ever used. Ever. If you ever wanted a vanilla scent without buying a perfume, this is your groove. It's lovely and, pro tip: it really does remind me of Donna Karan's Cashmere. Truly.

About 7 bucks 
worth every nickel

The lotion though did not pair well with Fantasy. The lotion's scent was kind of trying to outshout the vanilla in the Fantasy. The combination had me smelling like a food fight between vanilla custard and lemon-nilla pie. I like dessert scents but this one was just a bit too much.

Oh well.

Anyway, as I said, I had added this perfume to my top 5. And my top 5 for the last 5 years? They are, in no set order:

  1. Lalique (I've only ever tried a sample because, you know, my budget🙄)
  2. Fantasy Intimate Edition
  3. JHAG Not A Perfume (usually at the very top of the list)
  4. Glossier You (the solid, not the bottle which never lasts more than 5 seconds)
  5. Cheirosa '62 (this is another new favorite & I actually would prefer the Cheirosa '71 if it came in a perfume instead of just a mist)
Back in the day, I had a couple of "signature" scents with Shalimar (the vintage because the stuff from the past 10 years is, in my opinion, garbage) being the all-time Number One. The Flori Roberts Gold fragrance is no longer being made, but I loved it so much that I once thought about having a reproduction done by one of those formulating houses. This is back when I was making good money though.

Oh, and remember when I said I lied about only getting myself two gifts? Well, I used some of my gift card gifts (?) to get a couple of other fragrances. Technically, I didn't buy the gifts but, since the cards are from Visa, I suppose I could have bought something a little more necessary. But it's my freaking birthday month!

Using my Target cards, I got a Mix Bar Discovery set of perfumes. I fell in love with 2 of the scents so I used the card balance to get full-sized bottles of the hair and body mists in Cloud Musk and Vanilla Bourbon. And I liked the Vanilla Bourbon sample enough to get a full bottle of the perfume. 

I haven't used any of the Mix Bar items enough yet to fully review them. I can say that I do love something about both scents. I will do a post when I've had more time to use them. I'm wondering if I will be adding to or rearranging my Favorites list???

Speaking of celebrity fragrances, when I was telling a family member about loving Fantasy, she mentioned that I will just have to try Mariah Carey's Dreams. She swears it's right up my alley as far as the notes. I checked Fragrantica and she's so right.

When my birthday month is over, I will get back to buying only necessities. For now, I'm having fun. 

Peace
--Free

Y'all, This Popcorn Popper...

Snacking is problematic for most of us. I found my safety snack: Popcorn.

Popcorn is something I can have as much of as I want. Thank Jesus. I can even have a little bit of sea salt or some popcorn seasoning with it. When I want (but can't have) chips, crackers, etc., I substitute popcorn.

Eating popcorn is not the issue now. Making it though...

I was using the Ninja for a while. I can cook just about anything in that magical appliance. However, popcorn takes a long time and it tends to scorch the pot. I needed some other way to fix my snack - an easy and quick way. I found the solution with this 10-dollar thinga-ma-jig.



The concept is that you put in some kernels, put on the cover, and pop this into the microwave for a few minutes to get what you see in that picture above.

Well, that didn't happen because that picture is a promotional, eye-teasing lie. My popper did not fill up to knock the lid off. The lid is made to sort of suction down and trap heat. That's kind of how it helps the kernels pop so fast. So, yeah-nah, that photo is for seller purposes only, apparently.

What I do get is a nice bowl of popcorn in about 6 minutes.


Trust me, that is more than enough popcorn for 2 or 3 people on Netflix night. I will make up a bowl and set it next to me while I pay bills or return emails. It keeps me from reaching for another, less-healthy snack.

By the way, I tried using this popper oil-free and that was a total bust. Almost half the kernels were left unpopped and the ones that did pop were bland as cardboard. I did see reviews on Amazon that said the popcorn turned out great without any oil so I guess it depends on what you like.

I always use either about a quarter tablespoon of salt-free butter or a couple teaspoons of olive oil. If I use butter, I put it in first and then sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of kernels on top. Using oil, I put the kernels in first, then the oil. I stir it all around to make sure the oil coats the kernels. I always add my salt or butter seasoning last. Sometimes, I don't add any seasoning.

You have to figure out how much time your microwave needs to work with this. My microwave is about 1000watts and it takes about 4 1/2   to 5 minutes to pop 3 tablespoons with butter or oil. Keep your eye on this while popping though. I walked away once to answer the house phone and let the microwave go over by a few minutes. I singed the popcorn badly.

Once I learned to use this contraption, I was in love. I have popcorn almost every day now. Some days, all I eat is popcorn. I like this thing so much that I am going to be buying more for Christmas presents this year. Kids love popcorn and this way they can have a snack that is a lot healthier than what they will get pre-made.

Oh, and this is a cheap way to snack. I can get a large bag of popcorn at the local market for about a dollar. Those packaged pouches of buttered or otherwise flavored (and not as healthy) popcorn can run a 50 cents to a dollar per pouch - even for the store brands. So this popper has paid for itself a couple of times.

If you like popcorn, look at getting this or something like it. There are various sellers online. The one I have is the Korcci Microwaveable Silicone Popcorn Popper and it cost just under 10 dollars when I got it. I'm sure that there will be some on sale during the holidays.

I'll go ahead and pop out now. Hahaha

Peace

--Free

Friday, June 10, 2022

**REVIEW** SOL Cheirosa ’62 Eau de Parfum (from Sol de Janeiro)

It's my birthday month so I am going to be getting spoiled. I already got myself 2 things I've been wanting for a while - both are fragrances. The first one is this SOL Cheirosa ’62 Eau de Parfum that I got from Sephora.

This is the $26 8ml bottle

I started wanting this ever since I tried a body mist from the brand. Then I read about it over on Fragrantica and really had to have some. This graphic about the scent from Fragrantica is as if ripped out of my dreams of the perfect fragrance.

My 2 faves right at the top!

Here are the notes found in the fragrance. Now that I think of it, apparently, I only ever pay attention to the base notes of a fragrance...

Anyway.

You might think you have never heard of the Sol de Janeiro brand but you probably have at least heard of their famous Bum Bum Cream. I'm pretty sure that any female having a "hot girl summer" has heard of this cream. 

It's been many years since I was even interested in having a hot girl summer. About 5 years ago, my post-menopausal body ensured I was having very unpleasant hot girl winters though... I just got past that stage of life but I do still love to smell great. And this perfume loves my body chemistry.

I've never tried Bum Bum Cream but I've been told that it smells a lot like this perfume. I was also told third-hand that the perfume came about because of the popularity of the cream's scent. 

However it came to be, I'm glad for it. This perfume gives off tropical-sugary-powdery vibes with a caramel lift. It's a versatile scent and can be worn for a day out or for a date night. I wear perfumes almost solely for my own pleasure so I wear this any time I need a mood lift. It makes me feel like I've been out in the sunshine even when I've really been holed up inside avoiding people.

I already have been using the Cheirosa '71 Hair & Body Fragrance Mist that I got from Amazon a while back. I love, love, love that fragrance. I like the scent of it even more than I do this '62 Eau de Parfum. The '71 is more caramel and honey-like than this one. They are both of the sun-kissed tropi-floral type but... the '71 is just sweeter and more brown-sugar-y in my opinion.

This perfume lasts longer than the mist. That sounds like a no-brainer but not all perfumes have staying power and not all body mists are weak. Usually, my skin acts like baking soda because it tends to soak up and neutralize fragrances no matter what concentration. I've griped about that before and I thought I was going to be stuck using only oils like those from Kuumba Made. Those are nice but they are very one-dimensional.

In addition to the longevity of this, I like that it's noticeable without being 'loud'. It starts off being strong enough for someone about 3 feet away to smell but it calms down fast. I think it took about 10 minutes for it to go from really sweet and fruity to a nice delicate caramel-vanilla fragrance with some faint powder. You'd have to be standing next to me to notice it. I love that. 

I like this enough that I would love to get the larger bottle one day. Maybe next year? Right now, I can tell that this little 8ml size is going to last a while. It truly only takes the smallest of a spritz to get a nice effect. I did a small spritz on my wrist this morning to test it out and about an hour later, dabbed my throat am bosom with a touch of it. That was about 6 hours ago. I can still get a whiff when I bring my wrist near my nose. I suppose I could always spray my blouse if I want it to stay above a whisper.

$78 for 50ml

So, yeah. I am happy with this fragrance. I like it enough that I will always have it on a list to get more. As I said, it was one of 2 birthday gifts from myself. The other was a bottle of ~wait for it, wait for it~

Fantasy Intimate Edition from Britney Spears. Yes, chile. Leave Britney alone!

Before you turn that snooty nose up, let me tell you: Brit Brit slapped her name on a nice fragrance. I will be reviewing that tomorrow.

Peace

--Free

Life Is Only As You Make It

 Don't think that I am trying to say that life is easy or that every problem is manageable. I'm not talking about the horribly and hugely awful things that can happen. Trust me. I have had some horrible and hugely awful things happen in my life and dealing with them has not been easy. There are times when I really relate to Mahalia and I do wonder how I got over it all.


What I'm talking about are the small hills that I can make into mountains. When it comes to that, I am practically a structural engineer. 

Yesterday, I was mad because I was craving pizza. A while back, I would have just called up Azzolina's or Casey's - even a take-and-bake from Aldi's was making me drool. 

But.

I can't just indulge my pizza (or burger or taco or Chinese or fill-in-the-fast-food blank) cravings like I used to. Because of my sarcoidosis and my age and my complaining kidneys, I have to watch the phosphates, potassium, sodium, oxalates, and blah-blah-blah... It's a wonder I am allowed to eat anything!

If you have never seen John Pinette go off about having to give up gluten, do your funny bone a favor and go check that out. John felt about giving up gluten the way I feel about giving up what I call pho-pot-so-xalates.


Unlike the late and wonderful Mr. Pinette, I can have gluten. As long as it's not in whole wheat form. I now make entire meals from toasted French bread with olive oil, garlic, and a little parmesan cheese. That's actually all I had for lunch yesterday and it was so glorious I had no need to eat dinner. If John could see me, he'd be so jealous because not one gram of my bread is low-carb, praise the Lord.

Now, this is how first-world selfish I am at times. Scrounging my fridge and pantry, I was in mid-gripe about not being able to just have a few slices of pizza when I realized how blessed my life is. My pantry was so full that I was having to move things around just to see what all was in it. And my fridge? That thing is so loaded that I can't clean it because I don't want to unpack all the goodies in there.

I had to stop and chastise myself. Then I went back into the pantry and found some of those little mini pizza crusts from the Mama Cozzi line. I had some of the meal-prepped pre-measured packs of ground beef and cheese and seasonings all ready to go. 

It took maybe 18 minutes to brown the meat and throw together a little pizza to bake up in the Foodi.

Stop.

Think about the last couple of sentences and ask just how selfish and ungrateful I can be. Let's see: 
  • I have enough food to prep meals a week at a time;
  • I have ground beef - 85% lean, no less! - when meat prices are crazy;
  • I found some pizza crusts in that overly-stocked pantry;
  • I have cheese and oil and...
  • ... a freaking appliance that does all kinds of amazing things.
Let's get even more basic and note that I have a roof over my head, a kitchen with water and electricity, and...

What was I griping about? I forgot because I was too busy counting all those blessings.

Anyway.

I ended up with a tasty little pizza that satisfied my cravings without throwing my nutrition scores out of whack.

I even had some olives for this treat


So I guess what I'm saying is that life can be as ~ fill in the blank ~ as I make it. I can be sad about what I don't have or rejoice in what I do have. I can give more of my time and attention to negative feelings or I can think about how I've gotten over so much already.

Losing loved ones didn't take keep me down. Losing my health - and my glorious figure 🤣- didn't take keep me down. Losing a husband didn't take keep me down. Losing my best friend didn't take keep me down. All these hurtful things knocked me down but just for a moment. 

Tomorrow is another day but it's not mine to claim. I can only live as if I have this moment because, well, that is all I do have. I choose at this moment to be thankful. And, now I am going to go make up another delicious bread plate.

Peace
--Free

Monday, May 30, 2022

Just Something Beautiful

 Saw this on Reddit. So beautiful. I could look at this all day. 


I have a niece and nephew who are twins. I've heard them say things like, "it's a twin thing". Now I totally get it.

Peace

--Free

Friday, May 20, 2022

**CROSS POST** That Sparkling Juice From Aldi’s…

(I posted this in my blog on CKD but... I know that a lot of people would enjoy this sparkling juice so I will share it here. The only person I've met that doesn't like this is one of my SILs. I think she has twisted tastebuds or something!) 


I know I have issues when something as simple as a beverage can cheer me up. Tonight, I ordered groceries from Aldi's just so I could get this deliciousness. 

Aldis Nature's Nectar
Sparkling Juices

I love this stuff so much that I want to dedicate this song to it.


Doesn't take much at all to make me happy. 

I tried this sparkling juice just once before and it was so yummy. The problem is, everyone else loves it as much as I do so it tends to sell out about 2 minutes after it hits the shelves. It's been on Instacart a few times since that first time but by the time I see it, every can is absolute ghost.

Tonight, I was in luck. I saw the juice while browsing Instacart for some pasta sauce and a few other groceries that I was only thinking about buying. Hah. I immediately threw together an order with that juice at the top of the list. When one of my favorite Instacart shoppers texted to say Aldis not only had that flavor but a bunch of variations, I told him to just grab what he could. 

The best thing about this juice is that it is not too CKD-unfriendly. As long as you don't go overboard... According to Cronometer, when I checked the minerals for one can...

(minerals) Nature's Nectar

Because the drinks are sweet, I find that I can drink half of one and save the rest for later. My sweet tooth has abated a lot in the past few years. Sometimes, I will empty the second half of the can into a glass of San Pellegrino - my other favorite drink when I'm craving bubbles and fizz.

(minerals) San Pellegrino plain

One can every four or five days is plenty. I haven't had soda pop in years and don't know how I ever drank so much Dr. Pepper and Coke. There are times though when I want something flavorful and bubbly. This juice hits the spot. It's sweet but not sickenly so. It's bubbly without having that irritating burn of some carbonated drinks.

Ever since my last thrilling doctor's appointment, I have had no trouble sticking to this eating regimen. It's keeping me healthy but, as the doctor reminded me, I can lighten up every now and then. She approved of my coffee drinks with the macadamia milk and she loves the Cronometer app that helps keep me on track.

Tonight, I am going to break my nothing-but-water-after-7 rule and have one of these drinks. I might even have a piece of cheese toast to go with it.

Peace

--Free


P.S.: By the way, when I couldn't find this particular juice a long while back, I looked for alternatives. I made the HUGE mistake of trying that over-hyped WTRMLN drink. All I can say about that is that it's great but only if you like the taste of rank watermelon rind water.