Thursday, October 30, 2014

**REVIEW** Oleavine Konjac Facial Sponge (for skin)

I'm going to go ahead and say right now that this Konjac Sponge from Oleavine is about to be a trend in face-care products. Even though the word "Konjac" makes me think of computer hacking, I am pretty hyped about this sponge.

Looks like a pumice stone, right?
Feels that way -  until wet.

Very thick and, well, sponge-y
(The string is for hanging & drying)

Why do I like this so much? Well,for one thing, like most folks I like the way my skin feels after a good exfoliating scrub but hate the idea of abrading it with razors or other harsh tools. (Maybe that's just me, but didn't your skin crawl a little at the word "abrading"?)

Before I got the chance to review this sponge, I'd never heard of anything like it. I wanted to try it out because I like the idea of cleaning my face without too many soaps and additives. I definitely like the idea of using something as gently as a sponge.

After my first use, here is what I like most about the Konjac sponge & why I think it will be the next beauty trend:
  • Easy to use. Just rinse & wring, then massage your skin with it.
  • Clean. No need to add soaps, oils or other cleansers.
  • Sensitive. Does not scrape at the skin the way most exfoliating/scrubbing products can do.
  • Affordable. In the $10 price range on Amazon. It's supposed to be replaced every 2-3 months.
  • Can use on your face or all over your body if you want.
If you just want to try this out, know that Oleavine offers a 100% money-back guarantee and they encourage customer feedback, which is always a good thing.

Since I tell you guys way too much about myself, I might as well let you in one the one super-annoying beauty problem I have: blackheads. Right on the tip of my nose. I am always tweezing and scrubbing at those pesty little things. The blackheads were the first thing I checked for after using the sponge. They are mostly gone, no tweezers or scrubs required.

Oleavine has other sponges (with different properties), but this particular sponge is infused with Bamboo Charcoal which contains activated carbon and minerals. According to the product box, this will purify the skin and draw out anti-oxidants.

I can verify that when I didn't have to use as much of my facial moisturizer after I treated my skin with the sponge. I guess because I had cleared away some of the dead skin that was blocking my face cream. Not sure, but I like the overall results.

Add to that the fact that these sponges are natural, eco-friendly and bio-degradable and I think even more people will want to give them a try. For the super-concerned folks, these sponges are not tested on animals and are vegan-approved.

I had a question about whether or not I needed to remove my makeup before using the sponge. Someone else asked and received their answer on the Amazon page. The answer is that, basically, you don't have to remove makeup beforehand. Some folks use the sponge as the remover. Nice.

One thing I will point out: in my case, I have sensitive skin and I can tell that I will only be able to use this on my face maybe once a week. I plan to use on my lips and other less sensitive areas of  my body more often. My knees and elbows? Oh, they are going to get a daily treatment!

You know your skin better than anyone so I will only recommend that you use the sponge just as often as you would use any other exfoliating product. At least, until you can tell how your skin will react. I noticed that it doesn't take a lot of massaging of the facial area to get good results. I went over my face twice when once would have been fine. I could tell when I noticed a slight sensitivity in one spot. I'm guessing that the natural state of your skin (oily, dry, or combo) will be a factor in how often you can use this. That makes sense because, according to the labeling, this product is supposed to be especially effective for "oily and acne-prone skin".

Like I said, I think this is going to be the new beauty trend, but it's one I can say I like.


P.S.: By the way, "Konjac" is the name of the fiber used in the sponge. Once I did a quick search, I found quite a bit of information online about this fiber and the various ways in which it's used (and some hazards of eating the fiber...)

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

Monday, October 27, 2014


This has been a pretty busy day for me, but I had to stop and post this review because I am so pleased with the towels I received from SO pleased.

my camera is horrible so...
...This is a better photo from the product site:

Yes, they are that thick and soft
Someone needs to invent a "feel-o-vision" camera so you could tell how soft and thick these towels are. Seriously. I have bath mats thinner than these towels and not as absorbent.

The towels I received are 900 grams per square meter (referring to the density of the towel), which puts them in the "luxury" category. Because this towel is so absorbent, it will take longer to dry, but, boy, it feels so good against the body. With the bath towel, I just felt like I was being hugged. I wish I had one of those towel heaters in my bathroom.

Now, I'm no heathen. I've lived well at times and enjoyed some very nice things in my life. I know what luxury towels feel like. I also know what cheap towels and nice towels and so-so towels are like. I even know what expensive towels can be like when they don't live up to those ridiculous price tags. I've bought those towels and thought the price had been worth it  (even when I had to put some on layaway once just so I'd have nice stuff for house guests). Now that I've felt these towels, I'm kicking myself because they are actually affordable. (All this has to do with the fact of why the owner started this business. You should go and check out the company profile on their site.)

Before I go on about the towels, let me say something about how this company shows that it values customers. As you can see, they take customers and service serious. I think that they offer such wonderful service and satisfaction guarantees because they know they have quality products. Why else would they offer a 125% cash guarantee?

I could go on and on trying to describe these towels to you, but I think they best way to convey how happy I am with them is to tell you that I will be getting some more to give as gifts. I'd better,  or else my sister is going to steal mine! Like me, she can't get over how soft and pampering they feel. Also, we both thought at first that they were larger in size than the average face, hand and bath towel, but I think it's just the thickness that gave me that impression.

As far as price: I've paid so much more for towels that are not anywhere near as plush as these. I think these are affordable enough to have a set for your own use and another for special guests. And I know that guests will be impressed. Matter of fact, don't put them out for guests. They might steal them.

At the time that I am posting this, I notice that there is a sale going on at the site. Time to get some Christmas gifts checked off my list.


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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

**REVIEW** Dot & Dot Packing Cubes

In all the moving I've been doing lately, I find myself living more out of my suitcases than I like. I'm an organizer by nature, so I've been struggling to keep things in order until I have lot of storage space to work with. (Of course, the more storage space I have, the more stuff I buy to store. #AmItheOnlyOne)

Since I have been traveling as if I actually have lots of money (but don't), when I saw these Dot and Dot Slim Tube Packing Cubes on Tomoson, I literally jumped at the chance to review them. Jumped because I have storage problems and because I'm forced to live so frugally that I first judge things based on use and affordability. (Well, okay - looks also matter. No use having something you can use and afford if you don't want it seen by nosy people.)

thought they were stackable

not stackable but cute
These run in the neighborhood of about $7.50 each, I jumped so fast at my keyboard that I almost spilled hot coffee on my laptop. Thankfully, my laptop is safe, so here is my review:

The first thing I noticed when I looked at the online photos was that the cubes looked stack-able. I thought that, even though they arrived separated as 4 individual bags, that they might interlock in some way. They don't. They are separate bags (or "cubes") with sturdy zippers and nice little fabric tote handles.

Here they are, empty and right out of the package,

empty & roomier than it looks

view from the top

the handle is stitched on tight

nice mesh to see what's inside
I like that the cubes are made of fabric (and pretty good fabric at that) because plastic would not have been as flexible when I want to squeeze in just one more thing. The cube that I stuffed, just to see if the fabric or seams would give way, held up to the challenge. Nice.

Part of the cube is netted so it's easy to tell what's stored without having to dump out the contents. Unlike another storage bag I've used, these have really good zipper pulls (and are attached with thin cords) that don't threaten to slip off. Just because some of the things I store in my luggage can leak (makeup, lotions, etc.), I often use plastic baggies. The problem with that is that the baggies eventually break down from  - usually at the closure. The only thing I would like more about these cubes is if they were waterproof. In the meantime, I am still loving them. I keep my baggied items inside these just because its nice to have something so uniform and attractive.

and the zipper pulls that won't pull off
There are really no "Cons" I can point out about these storage bags. I wish I had gotten to try the waterproof storage too. For now, I use the ones I have to organize what's in my luggage. When I'm more settled, I know that I will like using them to organize things in my bathroom pantry and drawers.

Once I used up this first set of packing cubes, other uses for them occurred to me:

  • To use as what frequent travelers call "go bags" to keep makeup, undies and other personals at the ready for short trips away from home. ("Go bags". Doesn't that sound all "Criminal Minds" of me?)
  • As storage for the various things we keep in our cars. Even when I am in a place of my own, I tend to use my car as a second residence, keeping spare everything in the back seat. This is Alaska. It's always good to be prepared. 
  • For storing documents (such as passports, bankbooks, etc.)  that you don't want to leave in obvious and open places. These bags can be hung from a hanger in the closet between clothes.
  • For traveling with kids. You can get everyone their own color to identify their items when packed in one suitcase or while staying away from home. Matter of fact, you can use this strategy to identify family member items around the house for toys, bath items, etc.
The storage options come in different sizes of cubes, folders and other organizers.

my tag shows the sizes and the waterproof bags I want
The particular cube set I have comes in 10 different colors. I think I want to go for the red and the black sets. You can get more information and purchase the bags here. Check out Dot & Dot Travel here for their other organizing solutions. I think parents will be interested in the stroller items that I thought would even be handy for bikers and such. Just an idea.


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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

For the Love of Glycerin

Recently, I've posted about hair care products that have not lived up to my expectations. During one of my product tryouts, I ran across information about using glycerin to improve some of the products that I won`t be able to return for refunds. Because I am a strange kind of person, I got curious about why glycerin was so recommended. I did a little bit of research.

According to much of the info I ran across on various sites (focused on everything from beauty care to healthcare), glycerin is like a do-all, solve-all kind of item. Of course, when I use the word "information", I'm talking about internet information where everyone is wise and wonderful and knows exactly what they are talking about. So I take it all with caution, a grain of salt and a medical hotline on speed-dial.

If lots of internet wisdom is to be believed, we should all be buying glycerin by the gallon because it can be used in just about every part of a normal person's day. I'll stick with the few things about glycerin that interested me:
  • It's great for adding not just to hair products, but it can improve lotions and soaps too.
  • Also (and this really surprised me), some people take glycerin orally to relieve constipation. 
  • Surprise again - Some people use glycerin to treat dry mouth and gum tissue problems.
  • Tired of being surprised, but some folks believe that glycerin can (when taken orally) encourage weight loss. (Maybe that ties in to the constipation relief?)
  • (NOTE: did you know that glycerin is sometimes prescribed? So don't just let the internet be your healthcare guide. Check with a doctor about anything you plan to use that could have a negative effect. I myself don't even like to breathe the air without a prescription!)

Anyway. This glycerin. Who knew it could be used so many different ways. And why the heck had I not heard all this before!?
I've used this before
& never thought about it
Since I am paranoid about believing even a tiny part of what I read on the internet, especially when it comes to my health and well-being, I'm super-cautious about ingesting anything without my doctors' approval. But I can't wait until my appointment next week to ask about trying oral uses of glycerin. In the meantime though, I'm sure even my docs sometimes wonder what the hell is going on with this hair of mine so I am already testing glycerin in my beauty products.

Did I mention that glycerin is a fairly cheap purchase? At least for now. Soon as everyone starts getting hot about it, the price is going to be jacked up like crazy. Just you watch for it. In the meantime, I paid too much and still, for just under 12 bucks, I was able to get a 4oz bottle each of "100% Pure Vegetable Glycerin" and a Rosewater Glycerin mix. My first test was on my skin. I picked my knees because, well... See I had been playing cars with my nephew. This means a lot of crawling around on the floor and getting all ashy-kneed in the process.


The pure glycerin is a thick-ish syrup-like substance that I expected to be sticky (based on some user comments at review sites). When applied straight, it does have a slightly tacky feel on my skin - like a thin coating of petroluem jelly - but it's not unpleasant or too noticeable. When applied with my body lotion, there was very little tacky-ness. I actually love the way it feels applied straight, no chaser. Another plus: no odor at all.
probably cheaper than my 4oz bottle...
The Rosewater glycerin mix is as thin as water. Directions are to shake well prior to use - I guess to distribute the glycerin. This is something that I will definitely be using on my face prior to applying my regular moisturizer. When I applied to my han
ds, there was zero tacky-ness. The rosewater (which is a scent I'm not usually wild about) is not over-strong or unpleasant. I actually  kind of like it because I was about to be testing this one on my hair as well.

To get a good idea of glycerin's moisturizing benefits, I wanted to make sure my hair was really clean and completely dry. I did a shampoo and rinse-out conditioner to get every strand nice and clean. Thanks to some of the other products I`d tried on my hair these past several days, the being dry as a bone part was no problem.

I tried the pure glycerin on a hank of hair on the left side of my head and worked it in real good. Without looking in a mirror, I did a "touch test". Wow. Big difference between the treated and un-treated hair. Lots of instant softness and the sort of bouncy feel I get with really good products.

Still not using a mirror, I treated a hank of hair on the right side with the rosewater mix. Nice enough, but not nearly as moisturized (by feel) once it dried.

Finally, I took a look in the mirror and... Both side looked lots better than my un-treated hair. Hair can definitely look as dry as it feels. My un-treated hair was about as crunchy as fresh potato chips.

Bottom line: I think that using glycerin is going to be good for my hair simply because the moisture retention will help reduce breakage. Also, I'll be applying both the pure and the rosewater mixed version to my scalp as well. And, because I can use less of other products, I won't need to wash as often (to get rid of their odor and buildup). Less washing, less drying out and handling.

I will have to report back on how this does on my skin over the longer term. I`m going to be using the rosewater on my face and the pure product on the dryer areas of my body. For the rest of my skin, I will add glycerin to the regular lotions I am currently using. What I can tell you right away from using the pure glycerin is that my hands didn't dry out every couple of hours like they normally do. Usually I am reapplying lotion after every hand-washing or time out in the cold. Love that.

If you are thinking of trying glycerin, I understand that it`s available (for reasonable prices) at most drug stores and chains. I happened to get mine at our local health food store just because I was in there to pick up some honey! Even though I will be able to stretch the use of a 4oz bottle for weeks and weeks (because a teensy bit goes a loooong way), I paid too much for such a small container, so... shop wisely. Also, just think of being able to maybe salvage some products by boosting their properties (and your lotions) with a bit of glycerin. I think this is money well spent. As far as ingesting the stuff.... I would check with a doctor first! I'm just saying and I'll keep saying it as long as there are people who believe everything they see online. 


**REVIEW** Adovia Anti-Wrinkle Facial Moisturizing Cream

First, let me tell you how much I like the previous products I`ve tried from Adovia. I adore their conditioner and shampoo (even though I never did get my promised free bottle of conditioner :-) 

Now, about this anti-wrinkle moisturizer: our weather up here in Alaska is getting dryer and colder as winter creeps up. My skin is not happy with that. Also, I have to point out that I have been trying some facial products with Vitamin C in them, so that could account for some of the effectiveness of this Anti-wrinkle Facial Moisturizing Cream.

love the Dead Sea minerals
The ingredients: Demineralized water & dead sea water, stearic acid, cetearyl alcohol. butylene glycol, propylene glycol & charmomile (anthemis nobilis) extract & algae extract & papaya (carica papaya) extract & aloe vera arbadensis gel, sweet almond (prunus amygdalus dulcis) oil, caprilyc/caproc triglyceride, glycerin, dimethicone, carbomer, benzoic acid, chlorphenesin, dehydroacetic acid, benzalkoinium chloride, urea, vetiver, myrrh (commiphora myrrha) extract, rose absolute, lactic acid, dead sea salt, retinyl palmate.

This does moisturize a bit, but it worked better on my neck and (man, how I hate using this word) "jowl" area.  ('Jowl'. Ewww, right? Who wants to admit to having 'jowls'? Sounds like I have a face like a hunting dog. There's gotta be a better word than 'jowls', but I'm  just  too lazy to go look it up.

Anyway ...

So the cream was fine on certain parts of my face but didn't moisturize my forehead and inner facial area  as well. I had to  reapply  it a couple  of time  throughout  the day - which  was  a pain because  it   meant  having  to  touch up  my makeup  also. To compensate  for the moisture  problem curing  the  day, I made sure to do a liberal  application just before bedtime . 

What I do like so much  about this cream is what I  like about Adovia products  in general: it has a nice faint smell, good ingredients and is mild on sensitive  skin. Also, the company  has good customer service   (money back guarantee  ) and good practices (no animal testing). You can check out Adovia products either here on Amazon or on Cleopatra's Choice. Be sure to look into the incentives they offer, such as free shipping on certain orders, samples and referral rewards.

Finally, another note about what may have  affected  my results with this cream: my skin is in flux. I have a product that I have used for years because it works really well for me. Every now and  then, I have to take a break from that product and use something else for a while. Well, right now, my skin is craving that product  - probably  because  of  the  weather. In another  month or so, I will probably be able  to  use this Adovia  cream with better results .

I'd  recommend  this cream for someone with  sensitive to normal skin and living in a climate not as dry as mine is.


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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lies, lies & more lies

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


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

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

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

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

Shame. Shame on me. 

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, October 13, 2014

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

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

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

Body Merry serums & eye cream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, October 04, 2014

***READING** The Lazy Intellectual

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't make me Google your ass!

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

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


Thursday, October 02, 2014

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

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

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

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

One thing to mention: I got this from Amazon (via my Tomoson membership), but when I checked the brand's site UNi (or UniPurity), I could only find information for their argan oil. Maybe the rose hip seed oil is a new product for them (?) At any rate, here is the info I pulled from the product page on Amazon:
NO ADDITIVES OR FILLERS. Imported and sourced from their natural environment in Chile, bottled here in USA.
Super fine, easily absorbent and does not leave behind any oil residue. Non-greasy and super light. Leaving your skin feeling soft and look radiant.
Multi-purpose oil for all skin types that promotes healthy skin and hair care. Use alone or in conjunction with other daily moisturizers. Treats winkles, scars, stretch marks, rashes, burns, acne, dry skin, dermatitis, age spot, brittle nails, psoriasis, eczema, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, dry and damage hair, and anti-inflammatory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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