Friday, May 30, 2014

Good and Too Good

My Acer Iconia A500 tablet died. Yes, it was over 2 years old, but I was too sick to use it for the first year. In total, I used it all of maybe 10 times - less than 5 or 6 hours. (I was gonna take a pic of mine for the post, but it won't stay on long enough to see anything other than a really pretty black screen.) This is what it should look like:

We'll see if we can fall back in love
My niece has the exact same tablet, but she at least got more use out of hers before it started doing the same as mind: not charging. At all. Not with the wall cord or with the car adapter. Acer, by the way, makes sure that you feed their bank by not allowing the tablet to use any other charger but their brand.

I'm thinking of having the battery checked out, but I'm leery of replacing it only to find that it's not the problem.

Meantime, while my niece and I were bad-talking Acer, she sent me a link to a site she heard about: nomorerack (which I first read as "No Mo Re-Rack"!)

So, I go over there and do a search for "Tablets" and... lose my freaking mind!

I'll trade my Acer for all three, please!
Then I calmed down because I remember what we all should remember: "It it looks too good.." and all that. Checking them out a bit online, I find that all that glitters is sometimes not gold, diamonds, or even good cubic zirconia.

Yeah so that's the "Too Good" part of my hunt. The "Good" part might be this site:  Deal News.

A more realistic view
That sounds more real-world. Then again, though I had a bad customer service experience with NewEgg, I went over and took another look. (This is where that brick of an Acer came from...)

Realistic and do-able. Maybe.
I'm in limbo right now. I don't even know if I want another tablet. They're useful for packing around in the purse but, since I can't afford to add it to my phone's plan, I have to pray upon a wi-fi connection when away from mine at home. Maybe this is one of those things that I just want more than I need.

If anyone hears of any really super-duper good deals, let me know.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We Went for a Little Drive, My Buddy & I

This little guy is too hilarious. We spent lots of "car time" together yesterday. Our family puppy, Shadow ("Saddow," in DJ-speak) was attacked by a big dog running loose. We had to get him to the vet.

Do you know what it's like to sit in a car with a 2 year old for over an hour while he talks your ear off?

It was pretty fun.

"And then I told Shadow not to cry..."

"I lost my train of thought. How do you open this apple sauce thingie again???"

"Oh! And I forgot to tell you - I'll be driving us home today."
"No you won't. Looks like you've had waaay too much apple sauce, kid!"

"What do you mean, I don't know how to drive yet?"

 Hopefully Shadow's badly bitten leg will be okay... I'm not so sure about the waiting room after Hurricane DJ.


Mama just told him he has to stay right there on the bench with her!
Now you know why he and I went out to wait in the car!

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The "I'm Gonna" Shopping List

I'm so fickle sometimes.

As I was writing out my list for my next shopping trip, I found last month's list. And made myself giggle.

This is last month's list (with its notes):

  • Granola (organic, bulk)
  • Grapes (for the hydration and late-night snacks)
  • Berries - raspberry, strawberry, blackberry. (If on sale. For my smoothies. This month is going to be smoothie month.)
  • Prune juice (to make prune pops & to add to smoothies)
  • Cereal (the usual: Honey Bunches, Quaker Squares. When I'm tired of grapes & instead of chocolate.
  • Only one jar of Vanilla Caramel Creamer. (Gotta cut back on the coffee!)
Okay. I pretty much stuck to the shopping list, but what I did with the items is a whole other story.

I made cookies with the granola and ate the whole pound of grapes during a Netflix night marathon of "Nightmare Next Door". (Gave myself a serious case of "bathroom runs" and made a solemn vow to stay away from the prune juice for a week.

I did use the berries for smoothies. Mostly. Then, since I had no grapes left for snacking, I finished off the berries - all of them - in two days.

The creamer lasted all of three and half days. (Did you know that vanilla caramel creamer is yummy in vanilla chai tea?)

I ate cereal a few times, but I was still pretty cleaned out by the grapes and I heard that the cereal might have the same effect. I still have most of both boxes left over.

Besides the laxative effects grapes have on a grape glutton, I learned that it's very easy to justify making a store run for just one chocolate bar to go with the last of the peanut butter in a jar. I also learned that I really don't like organic, plain granola unless it's in a cookie.

This month's list looks like this so far:
  • Grapes (but just half a pound this time)
  • Just two jars of Vanilla Caramel creamer.
  • Apple juice to blend with the prune juice (just in case I get around to making those pops)
  • Two chocolate bars (to save myself the gas money of midnight store runs)
  • Some more of that delicious vanilla chai tea (because I'm still cutting back on coffee!)
  • Some frozen yogurt (to go with the berries I get on sale)
~sigh~

I should just start shopping meal-by-meal. The way I'm going now, I'm just feeding my fickle belly.

Peace
--Free

**REVIEW** Insta Natural Youth Express Age-Defying Moisturizer

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Insta Natural Youth Express Age-Defying Moisturizer is certainly one of the most natural I've seen.

with a pump applicator
Here is a partial list of ingredients:

Botanical Hyaluronic acid;
blend of Vitamin C,
Vitamin B5,
MSM,
Cocoa Butter,
Green Tea
and Cucumber Distillate;
Aloe Vera,
Coconut oil,
Jojoba oil,
Sunflower oil,
Rosehip oil,
Flaxseed oil,
Avocado oil,
Lemongrass,
Evening Primrose

It's "98%" natural. There is Cetyl, Ceteayl and Stearyl alcohols and various ingredients listed that account for the other 2%.


The first two things I noticed as I read the labels: 1) Product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which may increase skin sensitivity to sun, and 2) Despite those other 2% of the ingredients, product is safe to use around the eyes.

(By the way, I like that the label included a warning for anyone possibly allergic to tree nuts.)

At the first application, I felt that it was a bit heavy for my skin - sort of weighty and sticky. After a couple of minutes of massaging it in well, I liked the feel much better. It feels nourishing and gives my skin a slightly (very slightly) tingly sensation.

My skin feels hydrated, as promised, and it also feels very toned. After a moment or two, it's as if my body heat worked with the product to let it absorb into my face so that the initial "weighty-sticky" feel dissipated completely. Any dryness was certainly gone.

I did some scanning research of a few of the ingredients and noticed that they are supposed to be excellent for skin care and hydration. And, of course, I am crazy about the "mostly natural" thing.

I like it, but I will only be wearing it to bed. My skin is one of those sensitive types and I live in a place where we get something like 18 hours of sun during the summer. Sunscreen use is advised.

You can use the link at the beginning of this post to get the product at Amazon, or you can visit the InstaNatural website here. Note the 100 Days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Nice.

Peace
--Free

**DISCLOSURE NOTICE**
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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

**REVIEW** Black Radiance Complexion Perfection

This is Complexion Perfection Liquid Foundation from Black Radiance*.



Let me start by saying how nice it is to use makeup formulated (by shade and balance) for black skin tones. Even though I think I got a shade that is a bit darker than my own, it still looks better than when I get a shade too light for my tone.

First thing to love about this product: the brush applicator. Second thing: how the brush applicator is set up.

 


That the removable applicator brush comes with its own cap cover is handy in a couple ways: It's detached from the makeup when not in use, and I can toss the covered brush into my handbag without worrying about smears. Nice.

What do I love about the foundation? Everything. Namely:
  • Goes on very lightly and evenly. 
  • Blends in perfectly with my skin tone (women who can buy makeup almost anywhere take this for granted).
  • Is not sticky or heavy - and it doesn't smear at the casual touch. (This is a big deal with dark makeup.)
  • My skin did not feel or, more importantly, look made up. It just looked, well, "perfected". No chalky/ashy look & no greasy shine.
By the way, this was not a freebie. It was a gift from someone I adore who watches my Gift List and, when he knows I'm feeling unloved, he surprises me like this. (Thanks, P. Gifts or no, you are very special!)

Now that I have found this foundation, I need to check out more things from Black Radiance. I'm just super-excited to find makeup that works for me - without adjustments or excuses.

I've been checking Amazon for more of the Black Radiance products (because I have a trial Prime membership) and will let you know if I decide to order some of their other items. Like these: 

That "Warm Berry" is gonna be mine

~sigh~ a BB cream for me. Finally.


Don't even get me started on the eyeshadows...

So in love with that eye palette!
Oh! I almost forgot the most important thing: Price. Both the eye palette and the BB cream runs around $5 each.

I'm in with makeup again. (I'm going to be contacting my local Walmart and Walgreen stores because, as of now, they are not carrying the items in Anchorage.)

Peace
--Free

*This is a new product so I didn't see it on their website but, trust me, it's gorgeousness.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Breaking Up's Not Hard to Do

A fave G-Plusser recently posted something that stirred some great comments on dating. What everyone seems to agree on is that we all need better maps to navigate the scene. Those maps aren't found on Google, apparently.

My hopes of ever finding decent companionship are two-faced. I long to be with someone (until I remember some of the ones I've been with). I think that we all sort of defeat ourselves when it comes to meeting people. We're so spoiled by the possibilities that we don't settle for realities.

Here are a few reasons why I have missed out on some potentially wonderful relationships:

  • People I meet don't come air-brushed  to perfection. Some of them are not "tall enough"; they have bodies not like those seen on posters at the gym; their teeth don't sparkle like flourescent beams of light; and they don't all have a full head of beautiful hair.
  • For some reason, I sometimes expect way more of potential partners than I expect of myself. It's not like I'm rolling in dough (or even rolling the hottest car) while I'm trying to estimate his net worth. It's a mystery to me why I want to find someone of genius intellect when I can hold a decent conversation with a well-read college freshman at best. (Hell, I was too lazy to worry about how I structured that last sentence!)
  • If the guy is too handsome, I assume he's arrogant (or maybe a serial killer).
  • If the guy is too nice, I wonder about his motives.
  • I am an idiot (sometimes).
I could go on, but I was beginning to bore myself. Basically, I think that a lot of us don't realize that all the time we've wasted looking for Mr. (or Ms.) Perfect, is time we haven't spent with Mr. (or Ms.) Right.

Our Honda want to meet a Mercedes; our Old Navy wants to meet Ralph Lauren. 

When I'm out and about, sort of "scoping" for eye contact, I find myself looking for more than I have to offer. It's when I'm eating my dinner alone - or lying in a bed with that empty spot next to me - that I get very "real" in my desires. That's when I just want someone decent and good.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, May 25, 2014

**REVIEW** Dead Sea Mud Mask

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

This is the second product from Pure Essential Minerals I've had the chance to try.



While the hair treatment didn't blow me away, this face mask did. I love it! (And, men - this is not a girls-only product...)

I don't usually do well with face mask type treatments. All the ones I've tried in the past (not many) have left my skin too dried out or, worse, broken out. I even hated the way they seemed too tight when drying. I have been wanting to find a good facial treatment though and I'm super glad I gave this one a try.

As with the other product from Pure, this one gets lots of kudos for the ingredients. Here they are in order (with my inserted links to info):

  • Dead Sea Mud
  • Organic Shea Butter
  • Organic Sunflower Oil
  • Organic Aloe Vera Juice
  • Organic Vegetable Glycerin
  • Organic Jojoba Oil
  • Hickory Bark Extract
  • Organic Calendula
  • Filtered Water
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Eucalyptus Oil
Nice.

The label says that the mask draws out "impurities, toxins and excess oils." The minerals are supposed to stimulate and improve blood circulation. I couldn't wait to see how it played.

The smell when I opened the container was mild, but got lots stronger while I was applying it to my face. It's really strong, actually, but not unpleasant. I guess that's the Eucalyptus and Xanthan Gum.

The directions instruct to let dry for 5 to 10 minutes so that your skin gets full absorption of the minerals. I left it on for a full 10 because I wanted it to be completely dry. It does tighten as it dries, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. (The scent at this point lessened and became very soothing/relaxing.)

Rinsing it was fun. Next time, I will do so in the shower! It's nice when you do as instructed and sort of massage the mask off with wet hands. I could feel a slight exfoliation going on. It rinsed a lot easier than I expected.

The best, best, best part? How soft and clean my skin felt. There was no gritty, filmy leftover ickiness. You know how when, sometimes after washing your face, you can feel a dryness set in while you getting to your moisturizer? There was none of that. I took at least five minutes leaving the bathroom basin and getting back to my room to my face cream because I had stripped off my robe to rinse my face. 

It's been 20 minutes (at time of typing this) since I dried my face and neck and applied moisturizer and I'm noticing something: I had the mask on my face for the full 10 minutes, but put a little on my neck as an afterthought for the last 3 or 4 minutes. Right now I can feel a pleasant tingle on my face but not my neck. This is a really subtle sensation that I almost don't notice if I'm not thinking about it.

I really cannot wait until next week when I can do another treatment. If I notice anything else, I will let you know.

By the way, I got a nice little surprise gummed to the lid of the jar:

Freebie, freebie! Gimme, gimme!


You can get the code when you buy product! :-)
You can find this product at Amazon, but first check out the Pure & Essential Minerals site for more product details and a possible discount.

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, May 24, 2014

***REVIEW*** Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil

I got this sample in the mail recently.


I got Deep Nourish formula
(for dry/damaged hair)

Search Google & Facebook
for a sample

I was pretty excited to try it because my hair has been growing out recently (good thing), but sometimes looks like a dried bush. I've had the chance lately to try out a new shampoo and, thank goodness, it worked well because this oil (as a pre-shampoo treatment) did nothing for me.

This might be some good stuff if I use it as an overnight treatment with a cap. I didn't have enough in the sample to try it more than one of the other 4 ways the packet suggests using it as: an ends finisher, blow-dry protector, conditioner booster or overnight leave-in.

Depending on the price of it, I might use the coupon and pick some up for my sister (so I can borrow & try again!) next shopping trip.

Now, I just spoke for how this did with my hair. For someone with a different texture, I'm sure this would be a nice finisher. Any good combo of oils is great for hair ends. (A lot of people seem to like it.) This oil did have a pleasant feel to it (not sticky at all), and it comes in 3 formulations - for dry/damaged, frizzy/unruly, and color treated. I got the first one and should have tried the second type. Hah.

If this is like most Garnier products, it will be reasonably priced and work fairly well. I like most Garnier hair products. If you get a chance to try it out, I hope it works for you.

Peace
--Free

Friday, May 23, 2014

**REVIEW UPDATED** Morocco Argan Oil

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

This Morocco Argan Oil: restorative hair treatment mask is a product by Pure & Essentials Mineral.


A promised when I reviewed this the first time, I had my niece try it to see if someone with a different hair texture would have a better experience. She tried it and the results were a disaster.

She experienced a "fried" hair texture after rinsing. We thought that was bad enough, but it got worse. When her hair dried, we noticed that some of it was literally broken off. Her edges are the worst, and it looks as if she got something toxic in her hair. 

Needless to say, she is not happy with the results. Where I originally thought that my coarser hair texture was the reason for my poor results, it seems that my hair resisted some of the damage better than someone with 
naturally straight and finer hair.

 I cannot recommend using this without performing a strand test.


When I received this from Amazon and opened it up, I saw that there was some leakage. Since the product itself was smeared around the lid, I assume that the lubrication caused the lid to loosen during shipment. ~shrug~ I can't tell how much of the product leaked out because it had kind of soaked into the packaging, but the jar wasn't nearly as full as I expected.

This is what the photo looks like on Amazon:



The product was down more than an inch and a half when I opened the jar for the first time. I didn't take a pic right after opening, so the best I can show you is what it looks like after one treatment (where I just dipped in my fingers a few times to apply to my hair):

I didn't use dang near half a jar...
Anyway...

OVERVIEW: It is a great restorative treatment. It did not soften my coarse/dry "natural" hair.

After one treatment, I can say that, for me, it works well enough. It did condition my hair, but didn't satisfy my concerns for how I like my hair to feel. It does not have the "slippage" that I like for my natural hair. Once I rinsed it out (after close to 15 minutes), my hair did not have the softness or "slick" feeling that my regular conditioner provides. I checked the ingredients and think I found the answer to the lack of slippage. (More on that in a moment.)

One big plus: it didn't make my hair feel weak or fragile so I assume the restorative part is valid. It's just that I'd prefer something with added softening properties. I had to resist re-conditioning with my usual brand (because I didn't have time this morning!), so I let it dry to see if I could tell a difference then. I couldn't tell a difference in my dried hair either. I'm going to have my niece try it out because she has very thick and straight "mixed chicks" hair. I'll let you know how it goes for her.

I'm not knocking this product at all. It just doesn't work for me by itself.

For the big pluses ++ (and the reason I will give this a grade of a B):

  • Comes with a 30-day guarantee (and I only had 1 treatment)
  • Ingredients listed in this order: organic argan oil, aloe barbaderisis (organic aloe) juice, organic castor oil, pro-vitamin B5, hydrolized wheat protein, cocos nucifera (organic coconut RBD) oil, vegetable glycerin... And a few more that didn't twist my tongue too badly.
  • Though it didn't give me the softeness I was looking for, that might be because of the ingredients.
*Back to why I won't give this a bad rating: The ingredients are not exactly what I look for in a softening product; they are what I look for to restore damaged hair and that is exactly what this product is promoted to do. For myself, I might use as a strengthening pre-conditioner to a final softening conditioning. Still, I think that my niece is going to fare better with it as a solo conditioner.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
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, May 22, 2014

**In Depth REVIEW*** Nature's Best Vitamin C Serum (PART II)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. Okay, here goes Part 2 of this review of Nature's Best Vitamin C Serum.

First, let me say that I like the glass dropper that came with the serum because it keeps me from wasting any of the product. My next favorite thing: my moisturizer seems to work better when applied after the serum. You guys know how I am about my moisturizers!

Let's pause a moment

Before I give you my opinion, let me say here that I wouldn't use this product if I were not at the age I am. If you are young, I don't recommend using anti-aging products. Also, no matter what your age, before using anti-aging products, you should try regulating your nutrition and water intake to see if that is what your skin really needs. (By the way, I have already done these things. I am just at an age when I do need something to help my skin retain the moisture I get from adequate water intake and good nutrition.)

Now, on to the review of this particular product:

Am I noticing a difference in my skin? Some.

It's been just 8 days (and the guarantee is for after 45 days), but I can tell that my skin is less dry at the end of the day and first thing in the morning. Before this (especially in the summer), I sometimes would apply a bit of moisturizer during middle of the night bathroom trips. I hate for my skin to feel tight and dry.

I have some age spots (as you can see), and I can tell that they were not as noticeable after using the serum for just over a week. Also, my forehead lines seem to be fading (and I almost can't tell I have them once I apply my face powder).

The best way to tell if an anti-aging product is working is to ask someone who will be honest with both praise and criticism. For me, that "someone" is my sister! She says that she can tell a little bit of difference after this week. She said my lines seem "softer".

I'll take that.

For myself, I really like that I am seeing any results. I'm not seeing drastic results, but I am seeing more than I have with other products. And it's only been 8 days. I've tried other anti-aging products that didn't work at all - not even after months of trying them out - or that, if they do work, I'll never be able to afford to find out. I'm going to keep using this to see what happens in a few more weeks. (Then I'll do Part 3.)

Best of all, this is a simple and easy product to use. It doesn't take add a lot of time to my regular daily facial cleansing and moisturizing routine - which is a good thing because, otherwise, I might not bother to use it!

So, yep, this is something I would recommend to my "peers" (notice I didn't mention ages!) for a couple of reasons:
  1. Excellent customer service
  2. Product is not outrageously priced
  3. It lasts a long time
  4. It comes with the no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.
Here is what my forehead lines looked like on the 14th:

On the 14th

On the 14th
Here is what they looked like this morning:

Today (8 days)
Catch you up on the latest when I check back in another few weeks.

Peace
--Free

**DISCLOSURE**
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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

**REVIEW** Dead Sea Mud Shampoo (by Adovia)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

You guys know that I am using Tomoson.com to get products to review. You should know this since I've talked about it here a couple of times. This post is a review of a shampoo I recently tried.

7.4 oz for around $23.00
Adovia's Dead Sea Mud Shampoo was a nice surprise for me. For one thing, I didn't know if it would work very well on my coarse and nappy natural locks. For another thing, I didn't expect that the first two ingredients listed would be water and water. Yep. There's the demineralized water first and, second, the dead sea water. It makes sense to me that the first water used has all it's minerals removed since the second water (dead sea) has its own unique properties. In addition to the 2 waters, the ingredients include Vitamin E and Chamomile.

I have coarse hair that visits in the neighborhood of 4b/4c. It's coarse and dry and can be wiry. What I wanted from this shampoo was the "soft and flexible" part mentioned in the advertising.

Did I get what I wanted? Let's see:

After wash & air-dry with regular brand
As you can see, this is what my hair looks like after a wash and air-dry with my regular shampoo (which I won't identify except to mention that it's from a main retailer and is for dry hair). I did not apply conditioner or products because I won't be able to compare before-and-after wash and condition results until I receive the Dead Sea Conditioner.

After wash & air-dry with Dead Sea Shampoo
Even though I had a little more lighting for the "after" pic, you can still tell that my hair doesn't look nearly as thirsty. This is with no conditioner or after-care products applied. I just washed and air-dried. (By the way, it took very little product for my short-to-medium length natural hair.)

Is this shampoo worth the price? Yep. And you guys know that I live for a budget. One reason is: it worked so well on my hair. Another reason: because it takes so little for a good shampoo, it will last longer than the current brand I'm using. (I had to get out the calculator, but the math worked out.)

My first thought was that I needed to share this with other women who wear their hair natural and unprocessed. I know that a common complaint among "naturalistas" is dry hair. This is why we use the softening and moisturizing products we do.

I not only got what I wanted, I got more than I expected. What I mean is, the shampoo also seemed to act as a detangler. No kidding. (One note: shampoo is ultra-slippery so make sure to cup your hands while dispensing so you don't lose any down the drain.) I actually didn't expect this to work this well on my hair. I figured I'd be telling you guys how well it could work for less coarse/dry hair. So, I am really happy about this one.

This doesn't mean that I am not going to continue using my usual products for styling and moisturizing, but it did show me that this shampoo is non-stripping and non-drying. I can't wait to get the conditioner to try it out for my after-wash. When I do, I will be posting, so watch this space. (FYI: You can get the shampoo via Amazon or Cleopatras Choice.)

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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sugar: Crazy, Sexy, Cruel

After prowling the internet and talking to friends (online and in real life), I returned the Truvia that my sister bought for me the other day. Almost everything I read and heard about Truvia (except from the Truvia site) made me think of that crazy robot on the old TV show that would wave its arms and warn: "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!"

So.

I went back to the store where my sister bought the Truvia to exchange it (opened, missing two sachets, and with no receipt) and.... They were really cool about it. They let me get a box of Stevia in the Raw, which was actually a bit cheaper, so I got change. He-ey!

Ingredients: Dextrose, Stevia Leaf Extract
First off, I have to say that I really did like the taste of the Truvia. It was the most un-artificial-tasting artificial sweetener I've ever tried. Not that I go around trying lots of artificial sweeteners but, when I've been desperate, I've tried Splenda and Equal. Ick. I just cannot stand that metallic-sugary aftertaste. There was no nasty back taste with Truvia. Matter of fact, I liked it so much, I just knew something was going to be wrong with it!

When I was looking into the Truvia, I kept running across information that made Stevia sound as if it was the safer alternative to other no-cal/low-cal sweeteners. Once I got the Stevia home, I started seeing information that makes it sound like the little imp brother to the big brother demon that Truvia seems to be.

I'd look at one thing and cringe, then I'd see something else and relax a little. Here's how this went:

First, I read about the dextrose that's in the Stevia in the Raw (which is what I got), but then I realized that dextrose is in so many things that it must not be any more awful than the air we are forced to breathe. (And, to be honest, this Stevia only has the dextrose and none of the other 3 mentioned additives.) Matter of fact, the worst thing WebMD had to say about Stevia was the bitter taste.

Dextrose doesn't sound any more awful than a lot of things I expose myself to by walking out of the house everyday.

If dextrose is really awful for every single person who eats food, why is there such a reference as "Best Sources of Glucose (Dextrose)"? And why would honey (listed as one source of high dextrose) then not be considered dangerous?

So, right now, until I see my doctor, I'm not going to worry about the dextrose that is in this Stevia in the Raw that I went through the trouble of obtaining. (Okay, I am a little concerned that the dextrose in products is likely from GMO corn, but it's tough to avoid GMO products already. It's not like I'm snorting or mainlining this stuff. I don't even know what "mainlining" even means, by the way; it just made me sound all tough.)

And let's get back to the Stevia.

When I saw what LiveStrong had to say about one of the possible side effects of Stevia, I had to stop myself from running out and buying up every box I could find. Did you see that part about "decreased appetite"? Man... bring that one right on! Maybe next time I go shopping, I'll check the health food store for some straight, no additive Stevia. Skip all the GMO crap, right?

With the Truvia, I did feel good about leaving it alone. With the Stevia in the Raw, I kind of feel like most of the negatives I've read about are due to people's strong beliefs about any type of food. I know and respect vegans for their dietary restrictions, but I'm not giving up meat.

One last thing: the Truvia was in a way cuter package.

Peace
--Free

Monday, May 19, 2014

***UPDATED REVIEW*** Tomoson

A while back, I did a quickie review a site (Tomoson.com) that works well for two groups of people: 1) for bloggers/social networkers who like trying products (for free) and creating social buzz about those products,  and 2) for businesses wanting feedback on and buzz about products.

Now that I have been using Tomoson, I can give you some more info from a blogger p.o.v.:

  • Applying to review a product is super easy. Basically, you browse through the promotions available. You can even do a category view:

lotta choices
  • The more social reach you have - by platform (ex: Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and sometimes based on how strong your reach is (ex: Google blog rank) - the more product choices you have. However, I am happy to say that some promos are open to almost anyone. (I'm still building my Facebook reach, dangit!)
  • The variety of products is fantastic. There are toys and books and even furniture. Yep. 
  • The process from applying, being approved, to receiving the product, has been lightening fast so far. 
  • You get to communicate directly with the supplier via a message system.
  • You get to rate not only the product, but also the business.
  • Your (as a reviewer) are rated. Your ratings are based on your reach, authority and engagement. It's nice to watch your score rise, in a Klout-like way.
  • You can view your status for every promo you've applied for. Also, the messages between you and the businesses are saved. You can sort the messages various ways as you follow-through a promotion.
  • If you're like me and need to organize things to keep information straight, every promotion is tagged with an ID#. You can sort your reviews by application date, title, status, and so on.
  • You will appreciate the sorting system because, once again, if you're like me, you're going to be trying a lot of products.
  • It's fun and easy and more productive than just reading about some new product.
  • You get a "due date" for each review which helps keep you on track.
  • You can be honest!
I have not had any negative experiences with the process so far. Right this moment, of 14 promotions I've applied to, I have been approved for 5 (and pre-approved/accepted for the others), and I've received and started reviewing 2 of them. (You might have seen part one of the 3-part review I'm doing for Nature's Best Vitamin C Serum from Mystelic.)

I just started applying for products on May 5 and I've already got a steady list of reviews to do.

I really can't think of any negatives about this site. Okay, maybe having a a personal calendar for each user would be nice, but... I made my own!

If you are already doing reviews, or like sharing information with your blog readers or social network groups, I think Tomoson's is actually better than other Word of Mouth sites. I still love my BzzAgent and SheSpeaks, but they don't have nearly as many campaigns available. With Tomoson, you are pretty much only limited by yourself.

(I'm going to have to ask one of the businesses how they like Tomoson. If I get information, I'll post, so watch this space!)

Peace
--Free

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Is Truvia a Good or Bad Thing?

I'm trying to kick another habit of mine: sugar.

This is going to be tougher than giving up smoking. Bear in mind that I said I was giving up sugar - not sweetness. Since my biggest sugar consumption is via my oh-so-very-necessary coffee habit, I am giving up the brown sugar I use. So... I have to find a substitute.

First up to try: Truvia. Actually, I'm now trying out the Truvia that my sister got for me. I put it in my coffee this morning and it was so good that I wondered why. Usually, I can't stand any kind of artificial sweetener. I hate the "bite" of the after-taste. Of course, I had to then look up some info.

Apparently the Truvia that my sister got me (because she thought it was the Stevia she's heard about) is not as good for humans as the marketing claims. I say "apparently" because I'm still scanning the online information that seems very anti-Truvia:

  • This says that Truvia is less than 1/2 percent of "something made from Stevia".
  • Of course, the Truvia site says this: "The best sweetness comes from nature. Truvía® sweetener is natural, great-tasting sweetness born from the leaves of the stevia plant." They make a claim of "from field to table" that I want to be leery of. This is a product associated, after all, with CocaCola.
  • WebMD wasn't much help; its article is from 2008 - when Truvia was making its debut.  The article wasn't exactly encouraging. I wish there was an update.
  • I'm a little bit worried about the "sugar alcohol" and the "natural flavors" in the Truvia ingredients. (One article noted that the FDA doesn't regulate the term "natural flavors".) I'm interested in the comments in this discussion. Apparently sugar alcohols are not really calorie free.
I'm going to finish the box of Truvia, then I'm going to try Stevia. Might as well get right to the source. For now, I am kind of enjoying the Truvia but, since it does come from CocaCola, I have a little bit of doubt that it's all that good for me. (Frankly, the more I read about Truvia, the more I'm considering returning it for some Stevia!)

I've got to do some more research. If I can't find a sugar-substitute that I like, I'm going to be a cranky girl. I can't imagine my coffee without cream and sug sweetener, and I cannot imagine giving up my coffee.

It's going to be a looooong couple of weeks!

Peace
--Free

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Good Moments, Bad Moments

: Stuck doing chores on a nice day because you put them off all week.
: Finding the 5 dollar bill you forgot in pocket of dirty jeans.

: Spending too much time on your hair because it won't "act right" (and you don't even want to go to job/party/family event anyway).
: Your hair looks fabulous and everyone notices.

: Having to go to the gym - when you'd rather be doing anything else - because you ate too much at the potluck/party/family event.
: Putting on a favorite garment and realizing that it fits the way it's supposed to.

: Having to plaster a smile on your face when you really feel like crying.
Good: Running into someone who's having a worse day than you and knowing your smiled cheered them up (or at least didn't make them feel worse).

: Waking up freaked out by that strange sound outside your window (after watching crime shows all evening).
: Realizing that strange sound is just a cute little squirrel playing in the leaves.

: That recipe you've been working on didn't turn out quite the way it did for Guy Fieri.
: Your finished dish might not look all that great, but it tastes awesome.

: That little skitter thing your heart does because some idiot on the road with you never learned to go the speed limit/use their turn signal/drive on wet or icy pavement.
: When you think of all the people who have been killed by idiots like that and you're not one of them.

: Finding out that someone you love a lot is sick with a killer disease.
: Having one more day, one more week, or even one more moment with that person. And cherishing it more.

(っ◕‿◕)っ♥ 

Peace
--Free

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Self-Marketing, Soul-Marketing

Recently, I've been making more of an effort to do more product reviews here. (You guys seem to like those posts most.) I've been looking for sites that work to connect bloggers to brands - I'll do a separate post about all that later - and I had a thought (it happens!) I wanted to share.

The internet has encouraged a lot of people to market their skills and talents; their opinions and perspectives. This is a good thing. I like hearing about everything (from cooking to makeup to learning) from people I might never get a chance to meet in person. I sure hope to become one of the people that other people want to hear from.

I think of this online thing as "self-marketing". Some people are taking that idea waaaay too far. Think about it:

  • Where we once thought of celebrities as a talented group, now we have people becoming "famous" overnight for no decent reason.
  • Way back, oh say, five years ago, when I thought of Ebay and Craigslist, I thought "online garage sale". That was until I saw a story about someone putting their soul up for sale. (Their soul. Seriously.) The other day, I saw a story about a woman who was offering up her virginity for the highest bidder. Even worse, I think this has actually been going on for a minute and I'm just now hearing about it all...
  • Used to be that the only way for a non-actor to get on TV was: a) get on a game show; b) get arrested and featured on the news; or c) do something really positive and awesome - like have quintuplets or something. These days, we have so many reality shows that even media professionals don't know who to call "actor" or "actress" anymore.
Yeah, so...

When I think of all the mess that has become "entertainment" these days, I wonder if people are really willing to just go ahead and market their souls. They've sure stamped a price on everything else.

I think I will just stick to trying to market whatever life skills I've picked up. I won't tell you my most intimate bedroom secrets for a price, but I will accept your free samples in return for a review. Yes, I will.

Keep watching this space.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

***In Depth REVIEW*** Nature's Best Vitamin C Serum (PART I)

This is the first part of a 3-part review for Nature's Best Vitamin C Serum from Mystelic. I will do the second part of the review when I've used this product for about 3 weeks, then I'll do the third and final part in June - about three weeks before my birthday.

comes with a little stopper
to make application easier.
I'm pretty excited to try this for several reasons:
  • I've got a birthday coming up next month that starts with 5 and ends with 3.
  • I manage to do a lot of smiling, despite life & it's worries. And all that smiling is showing up in the corners of my eyes and around my mouth!
  • In the past few years, because of my illness and the meds, I gained 60lbs and have now lost 40 of those pounds. My face joined my body in the game and went from "elfin" and "aquiline" to "round" and "chubby". And that pendulum is now swinging back to the thinner version of me.
  • I've always had youthful skin and I really want to keep my face at thirty, even if my body insists on celebrating every freaking birthday...
  • You'll see why I'm trying the product when you get a look at the pics posted below!
Also, right off the bat, I like what that this product is vegan (even though I'm not!) and not tested on animals. Yay. Nothing had to suffer for my vanity. Another plus: read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post. Now, on to my pre-use expectations as I begin using today (note the date of post):
  • I want to see some change in skin texture (less dry, a little plumping).
  • A decrease in the wrinkling around my mouth and outer edge of my eye-line.
  • An overall better make-up free look to my skin.
  • Any improvement that I can get with the fine lines.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Directions are simple enough
I actually have heard of all the ingredients!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What the product promises to deliver (paraphrased): 
  • Clinically tested & proven to stimulate collagen, reversing the effects of aging.
  • Highest quality Vitamin C serum available on the market. Guaranteed to work.
  • Serum will remove toxins & create collagen, diminishing fine lines & wrinkles.
  • Organic ingredients make the product perfect for all skin types (dry, oily, sensitive).
  • Mfd in the USA by a top of the line FDA certified cosmetics lab.
Customers are advised to use the product for 45 days, then check for results. If not happy with those results, that's when that money-back guarantee kicks in. (I want to finish the review before my birthday, so, I'll give it 5 weeks. Close enough!) 

And.........Here we go!

These are pics of my face on this day, before I start using the product. I tried to do with and without makeup, before and after applying the product and my regular moisturizer (Anew). 

Ewwww... no makeup to hide the imperfections!

Not as bad in B&W! Note the smile lines at my mouth.
(Looking at the pic,I'm sure not smiling now!)

Better. Much better with some color,
even without makeup.

Ewww Pt 2! Hate the age spots.

All makeup removed from this area
to show mouth lines. Ugh!



This is with product and moisturizer,
 but no makeup.

Creepy eye! LOL
Lines & pores! Oh, my!

Forehead lines.
(Gotta do a dye job on the hair.)

MAKEUP! Yes!!! I should super-size this pic!

That right there, posting those closeup/no makeup pics? Sheer act of bravery! By the way, as far as how my skin feels - when I first applied it, I realized that it does dry fairly quickly. It goes on smoothly with a sort of slick feeling. When my skin dried, there was a very subtle tightness, which felt similar to when I use a toner product. Once I applied my moisturizer, my skin felt normal. 

Peace
--Free

***DISCLAIMER: I recieved this product free of charge to try for this review, but was not otherwise compensated.***