Thursday, March 29, 2018

**REVIEW** AairHut A1 Mini Bluetooth 4.2 Wireless Headphone

I remember falling out laughing when Apple came out with what I thought of as those silly ear"pods". I still think they are silly but only because I 'm such a loyal Android user. As far as mini earpieces, I'm not laughing so hard anymore. I just tried this sweet little mini Bluetooth headphone from AairHut.



 Let's back up for a minute to look at the last two headsets I used and why I wanted something different.



This one wasn't bad, but one of the side pieces got caught in my coat and broke. As you can see, I tried taping it back together, but...




Ugh. I did like this when it worked and I was a fan of the necklace type earphones for a long time.  Best thing about these was the sound quality. Music sounded awesome and I could control the volume and skipping between tracks on the side panel. I was getting tired of the look of them though. Depending on your outfit, these are so obtrusive or they just look silly. I did get these at a discount to do a review of them. If I'd had to buy them, they would have set me back over 30 bucks. Ouch.



Horrible. This thing still "works" like new but the problem is that it sucked even when it was new for $11.99. It's so flimsy that using it is like dealing with a tin can and string. The earpieces never stay in the magnetized holders and the sound quality is just awful. What did I expect for 12 bucks you say? Well for just about 6 dollars more, I have the mini earbud that I am fast falling in love with.

These are really nice and may just have changed my mind about the type of earbuds I want to use from now on. Apple might have been on to something. Here's my assessment of these:

PROS

  • It was really quick and simple to pair this with my phone. The instructions are good (though in small print!)
  • I was able to connect this to both my phone and my laptop. I like this because I often talk to my little nephew via Messenger on my computer.
  • In-call sound is awesome and very clear. I wasn't sure what I expected, but this surprised me a little.
  • It's unnoticeable to the point of being invisible. On someone with the right hairstyle, this would be invisible.
  • The compact design is good. The earpiece, as small as it is, fits snugly and securely. Most importantly, this is comfortable so it doesn't make my ear sore.
  • The charging mechanism is just as compact as the earpiece. I can pop it into the USB port on my laptop and I don't even notice it's there. This is nice for when I am at the library or traveling. One less cord hanging out of a wall outlet.
  • The earpiece and chargers (yes, there are 2 chargers) fit into a nice little carrying/storage case with the extra coverings for the 2 additional ear tips that are included. The case fits into my jacket pocket or into my smallest cross-body purse.
  • The one-ear system is nice because I rarely ever used both earpieces of the other headsets anyway. I like to keep one ear "open" for other sounds around me.
  • I also tested the distance of this by walking into the kitchen, living room and bathroom away from my phone in the bedroom. I haven't measured and tested for the up-to-60-foot distance, but this already works as good as the 30 dollar headset.
CONS:
  • While the in-call sound is really, really good and the music sound is pretty awesome too, remember that you'll only get the music in one ear. The sound is actually very good and only lacks a little of the bass in songs.
  • When pairing this, I had to hold down the multi-function button and wait for the red and blue flashing. Because the piece is so small, I had to move my finger to see if the lights were flashing.
  • There is no Volume button on the earpiece so you have to control that with your phone. This is fine unless you walk away from the phone.
Here are some shots of the case. Like I said, it's nice and compact.



Like I said, I am kind of digging this one-ear system. The price of this was really good too for the quality. If someone in my family asked, I'd tell them to definitely get this one. It's right in price, sound, quality, and style.

Peace
--Free









DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the items in this post free or at a discount. I was not compensated nor was I required to do a blog post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

**REVIEW** Ancient Greek Remedy (best oil blend EVER) UPDATED

UPDATE: I sent a question to Greek Bliss about their foot balm and body butter. I heard back and they were nice enough to send me a code to try their foot balm and the soap. I will, of course, be doing reviews on those products asap.

*** *** ***


Almost exactly 2 years ago, I got to try this





It's Ancient Greek Remedy Oil sold by Bliss of Greece

I used it as a nighttime rest treatment, putting some on my neck and bosom to help relax me. The scent was very soothing and calming. I loved it. Then I packed it down with the rest of my many many oils when I got ready to move. When I got settled here in the new place, I didn't unpack all of my oils, just the ones I use on my hair or to clean.

The other day, I was looking for my black pepper essential oil and found the Greek Therapy Oil in the box. Oh, joy! 

Now as some of you know, I've been losing weight on the intermittent fasting regimen. Anytime I lose or gain weight, I take special care of my skin. I will use a lot more moisturizer until my weight stabilizes. In the past few weeks, I've been going extra heavy on the body lotion. Last night though, I went back to the product page and looked up the Ancient Greek Remedy's product page. I remembered how much I liked it but wanted to refresh my memory about the different ways it could be used. This is the full product description with my highlighting notes:


Ancient Greek Remedy Oil is made of 100% PURE Blend of Organic Sweet Almond, Cold pressed Olive, Lavender and Grapeseed oil with Vitamin E, VEGAN, GLUTEN and GMO FREE. Multi purpose moisturizer packed with hair skin and nails vitamins, promotes natural health and beauty solutions which are superior than any single oil. each one from the 4 magical oils is a source of unique Vitamins and antioxidants that together create the ultimate solution all for your health needs.

OLIVE OIL is full with anti aging vitamins and hydrating squalene, making it superb to use as firming body oil for smooth and even skin tone. reduces facial dark spots, promotes healthy soft and beautiful hair, help thickening thin hair, good for wavy, curly, straight & afro hair.

LAVENDER Oil is one of the most well known essential oils in aromatherapy, benefits include its ability to Reduce anxiety and stress, migraine and headache relief, improves sleep apnea, prevent pregnancy stretch marks, Stop chronic scalp itch and cure dandruff, Effective treatment for skin discoloration, Acne scars, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, alopecia, seborrheic and atopic dermatitis.

ALMOND OIL is rich in hair and Skin care Vitamins includes, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc, which explains why its a favorite massage oil and great for firm skin, optimal for treating hair loss and damaged hair, best natural toenail and cuticle Softener.

GRAPESEED OIL due to their nutritional and medicinal properties grapes been used in many home remedies for centuries. GrapeSeed Oil provides lasting moisture for rough hands, feet and cracked heels, tighten loose skin, frizzy hair and healing flaky scalp.
I was wasting this by only using it to rest better!

I want to share a little note about something in the product description. Somewhere is mentioned something about a "fine mist" spray bottle. Unless the design has changed since 2016, the bottle does not have any kind of a "mist" spray. The oil comes out in little squirts which seems normal since it's too thick to "mist". I just wanted to point that out.

Of course, now I am using it all over. When I twisted my hair last night, I put some of this oil on my scalp. I also used some on my feet. To moisturize my body, I mixed this oil in with some of the other carrier oils I have. I can't afford to waste this. 

I'm kicking myself for not having used this on my feet and torso before now. The oil made my skin feel like silk. I had always just slapped some on and went to sleep and I was a little worried that the lavender would be overwhelming for all-over use. Not a problem. The lingering scent is very mild, maybe because I mixed it with other oils. I do know that I will be using this every single day until I get down to my goal weight. And I will keep using it on my feet - which is the one place my psoriasis attacks. 

When it comes to using things on my face, I don't normally go with anything scented. I did test this on my face (concentrating on the blackhead-prone nose area) and was happy there was no irritation from the lavender. I like it best though on my lips first thing when I wake up. After I brush my teeth, I wipe my mouth and it feels better for having had the oil on it.

At the time that I first got this oil to review, I didn't have to buy it. I had gotten this and another soothing oil and the other one was good but very, very pricey. Thank goodness when I checked, the Greek Remedy oil has a better price. Currently it's at $14.99.

One final thing: if you decide to order this and, like me, want to get 2 bottles, you have to make separate orders. For some reason, the seller won't allow you to order more than 1 bottle at a time. I have submitted a message asking why this is and I will let you know when I find out.

In the meantime, you can go over to the Bliss of Greece page to learn more about their other products. The Buy links direct you to the products on Amazon.

Peace
--Free


Monday, March 26, 2018

**REVIEW** Flora Bloom Probiotics for Women

This is a definitely a post just for us women. Guys, you have been warned...

There are certain issues specific to us females. We tend to deal with things to do with our feminine health and hygiene that aren't always fun to talk about. But let's go ahead and talk about them now.

Guys - I warned you. Go away.

As women, we know what it's like to deal with vaginal issues. There's odors and discharges and infections and, in most case, none of this has to do with our cleanliness. It all originates from inside. Diet, aging, hormones, stress, and other issues can be the cause. I know that and you know that. What I want is a solution.

In the past, I would try to eat yogurt for my overall vaginal health and I'd drink cranberry juice to combat UTIs that I got from taking certain medications. I like yogurt but I don't eat enough of the healthier types.  I don't particularly like cranberry juice. There are cranberry tablets, but they don't take care of all the other, um, feminine issues that a good probiotic will - especially a probiotic formulated for women. That's why I wanted to try this product:




This is Flora Bloom from Intimate Rose and I've been looking for something like it for a while. And, right up front, let me point out that they offer a No Questions Money Back Guarantee. Now, here is what the Flora Bloom is for and how it might help:

  • If you have any digestive and urinary concerns, or 
  • Bacterial vaginosis.
  • This supplement will help to regulate those vaginal and digestive conditions,
  • It will restore the pH and help control vaginal flora (to reduce odor).
Note that Flora Bloom does not contain wheat, gluten, soybeans egg, fish/shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts. The capsule shells are both vegetarian and kosher.

Remember what I said about my using cranberry and yogurt to combat certain feminine concerns? Take a look at the ingredients in Flora Bloom:

(NOTE: Those links, by the way, lead to the USA.gov site search page. This is so you can look at some informational resources for yourself if you, like me, are not a medical professional.)

I started my tablets today and am happy that I have the chance to try them out. Once again, you can give them try and if you're not satisfied, there's that no question guarantee to get your money refunded.

Peace
-Free







DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products in return for a fair and honest review. I don't receive any compensation for any sales or other product proceeds. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My First 24-hour Fast

Today is the beginning of my 4th week of intermittent fasting. I've done really good and am taking off the weight pretty painlessly.

**Before I get to the fast, let's talk about my motivation.**

The IF is wonderful and something I have found that I can live with for life. Although there was recently one HUGE bump in the road. That was when I got rid of my old, cheap analog scale and switched to a more accurate digital one. Before I got the new scale, my readings were way off. I was counting that I was down 11 pounds until I went to the doctor and they weighed me. The nurse told me that was no problem because if my scale was off, it was still reflecting my weight loss - just with a different set of numbers. Wrong. The old scale was not only off but it was giving me different weights every time I stepped on it in a 20-minute time span. Yes, I finally tested it that way.

With this new scale giving me more consistent readings, I realize that I am just now down 7 or 8 pounds. When I thought I was down by 11, I was eating a little more loosely. Now I know that I need to take my daily calories down a bit. Still, I am really pleased with the photographic results:


posted these back here





















I dug out the same top and pants to take this photo just now:

3/25
3/25




















Day 20 looks and feels great.

Now, the fast...

It is about 2pm here and I have to wait until 6pm to reach my 24-hour fasting goal. Here is how the day has gone so far:
  • Woke up at about 7:30 because I had a rough night sleeping. We had a really big surprise snowstorm and the street plows have been busy. I think that the scraping and whirring of motors kept me from sleeping well. 
  • 7:30 is not that early, but it's way too early when you remember that you aren't going to be ingesting anything but your meds, water, and plain tea until 6pm. 
  • I kept myself busy cleaning and taking out the garbage until about 10am, then I started feeling anxious and a little light-headed. My usual time of breaking the 18-hour fast is about 11am. I think my stomach has a better clock that my brain does.
  • To get past the initial cravings for coffee with cream, I drank a big glass of water and made a cup of Raspberry Zinger tea. 
  • At 1pm, I started wondering if doing a 24-hour fast was such a good idea. What if it set off some of my medical symptoms? What if I was doing more harm to my body and immune system than good? What it- Never mind, the craving passed. I told myself that I was doing good things for my body and that I might be healing myself by making better food choices and fasting.
  • At 1:30, my brain fog seemed worse than usual, but my fatigue was lessened. I still felt a little bit light-headed and my already bad balance seemed more "off" and shaky. I decided to sit down and do this blog post. I don't want to waste this temporary reprieve from fatigue. (If fasting helps the fatigue, I will definitely do it more often!)
And here I am.

The main reason for even starting on IF was to lose weight and see if it helped me feel better than I normally do. So far, I am losing weight. I still have brutal bouts of fatigue and brain fog, but I notice that my mental state is better. Isn't the human body an amazing thing?

I just told my niece that I plan to try doing a fast at least twice a month. Depending on how this all affects my fatigue, I want to talk to my doctors about working my way up to an even longer fast a couple of times a month. Maybe a 30-hour fast? 

Wouldn't it be amazing if in my efforts to lose weight and just generally feel better turn out to eradicate at least some of my sarcoidosis symptoms? That would be like an answer to my prayers! I can't wait to talk to my doctor about my IF results so far.

One tip that I would like to pass along to anyone thinking of doing a 24-hour fast: pick the right time of day to start. I think that I will start any future fasts at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. That way, I can keep busy with appointments or cleaning until bedtime, then I can start eating again the next day at a reasonable time. Because I start back eating tonight at 6 and then start my regular fasting period at 7 or 8pm, I will have to really work at not overdoing the calories. Or maybe I won't be tempted to glut? I will find out.

My niece is a breakfast eater so I was warning her to time her fasts to fit her lifestyle. Breakfast is no problem for me because I can't even stand the smell of food in the morning.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has done a 24-hour (or longer) fast. Did it improve your mental state or ability to think more clearly? Did it make you feel better or worse? I want details - the "skinny" if you will. 

I will definitely blog the next fast that I attempt.

Peace
--Free


Saturday, March 24, 2018

**REVIEW** Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste

I will try different kinds of toothpaste because I have sensitive gums and... I'm getting older so my teeth give me problems. I really like the Closys brand paste and that's what I've been using for a minute. The other day though, I got to try this:

Notice the addition of baking soda
It's Desert Essence's Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste. (As if you can't read for yourself.)

Neem.  ಠ_ಠ

My first thought was, Ugh! No way, no how, no suh. I have some neem oil that I use on my hair as a deep conditioner and on my plants to kill pests. The stink is probably what scares the plant pest away. Neem smells the way I imagine skunk booty would smell like after a meal of beans and cheese. I mean, I don't know, but I'm just saying.

Thank everything in the universe that this toothpaste smells nothing like the neem oil that I have been using right out of the bottle. What a relief. Y'all know that when I review things, I will tell the truth, no matter how ugly (or stinky that truth might be).

The verdict on this toothpaste is that I not only like it but I really, really like it. The taste is pleasant and the smell... the smell is awesome.

It took me a minute to get used to the foam because Closys doesn't foam at all. I think I missed the foam. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The one thing that I did worry about was how far down the list of ingredients were the tea tree and neem. They are way down almost at the end...

Sea salt has benefits

But once I used the paste, I realized that it may be a good thing not to have more of those two ingredients. I think the taste would be too overwhelming. Tea tree oil is strong and Lord knows neem oil is very strong. Also, neem has the most bitter taste I've ever touched to my tongue. If the smell reminds me of something I can only imagine, then the taste is what I would imagine wormwood would be like. It's some nasty and special kind of bitter. It's a bitingly bitter taste that you can't wipe off your tongue or wash away. It has to just wear off. I know this because I accidentally transferred some from my finger to my tongue when I was treating my plants.

I want to mention one of the other ingredients in this paste: sea salt**. It's right there at the very end of the label but that's okay with me because sea salt is an abrasive. One of the things it's supposed to be good for in dental health (other than the abrasive/cleaning effects) is that it is a natural source of fluoride. Notice that there is no other fluoride in this toothpaste so... yeah.

Anyway, the toothpaste tastes good and works wonderfully. After one use my mouth felt so fresh and my teeth were smooth-clean. I don't think that I will use it for every brushing because it does work so well. I plan to alternate it with the Closys. This toothpaste might be like the Thieves Toothpaste I tried and could be too much for constant and every-day use.

By the way, not only does this make your mouth feel fresh and clean, but it seems to have some whitening effect. Of course, I will have to use it for a while before I can swear to that, but I'm sure that the baking soda has something to do with it. You can tell there's baking soda in there because there's no grit at all.

Finally, I want to address a couple of things about the ingredients:

  • This does contain something called carrageenan (which I had never heard of) about which there have been concerns. From what I can tell, this ingredient is "plant-derived' and okay in the toothpaste because it is, of course, not to be swallowed. And that is mentioned on the label.
  • Tea Tree Oil can be toxic if ingested. Once again, this paste is not meant to be swallowed. I would suggest not letting a child use it unsupervised and for adults to be careful about swallowing. For children, even a small amount of tea tree oil can be hazardous.

If you wanted to try a neem toothpaste but were worried about the taste or smell, this one will make you happy on those concerns. Just be careful about swallowing - and that goes for any toothpaste.


Peace
--Free


** I will soon be doing a post on the various "natural" ingredients/items that I personally like using for health and beauty needs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

**REVIEW** Mesh Laundry Bags Set of 6

I just got this set of mesh  laundry bags by Poliyu to review and I already like them quite a bit


The zippers are made to stay closed and to last

The mesh is stronger and not as prone to ripping or wearing down as a lot of laundry bags.

Now, I've used laundry bags before to separate and protect certain items when I wash. Mostly, I like not having the hooks on my bras tear into or snag other clothes. Also, it's really nice to be able to keep all my socks together since I otherwise lose about 3 socks per a load of wash... But I've found other uses for my laundry bags:

  • Separating items when packing luggage,
  • Tucking dirty items away from clean ones when traveling or packing, and
  • Sorting and separating clothing items in bedroom drawers.
This may sound odd, but I actually separate my laundry items when putting them in the hamper. That way I'm good to go when I don't want to do all my laundry but need to do bras and socks or bedding items. I think what I like most about this set is that there are various shapes and sizes. You can get creative with which items you put into which bags. I'll use the bra one sometimes for socks and tights:





This one is going to be good for when I do bed linens. I can separate my pillowcases and shams from the large sheets and duvet covers. Nice.

Keep in mind that you can use these in both the washer and the dryer.

The price is dang good. I've seen similar or higher prices for fewer bags in sets. Here is what you get in this set for a price that is currently less than $12:
  • 19.5" x 23.5" - will fit a jacket/coat or sheets
  • 15.7" x 19.5" - for sweater, blouse, pants
  • 11.8" x 16.7" - t-shirts, lingerie, scarves
  • 11.8" x 16.7" - delicates/silks (same size as above, but different mesh style)
  • 6" x 7" - can fit 2 bras (I fit 4 non-padded bras)
  • 8" x 8" - undies and socks

So if you haven't tried using laundry bags or are looking for quality ones at a good price, this is the
set. Once again, this is the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077MDPHQH

Peace
--Free








DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the goods in this post in exchange for giving my fair and honest opinion.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Intermittent Fasting Day 12 - Progress Report with Photos!

This takes a lot of courage, but I did say that I would update y'all on my Intermittent Fasting progress. Here is the first of the photos.

Day 12 - Down 10 Pounds



I know that 10 pounds is not a LOT when I have another 40 to go, but when I was able to get into one of the pairs of Vanderbilt jeans that I'd had to put in the back of the closet... Boy, did that feel great! And the thing is, I know that I put the last 30 of these pounds on gradually so that's how I will have to get them off. It wasn't long ago when I was wearing the Vanderbilts on the plane ride here to Iowa.


People, I am so happy with this eating lifestyle. Okay. Maybe not so happy at about 10:30 when I'm watching the clock and waiting for the hands to hit eleven so I can have that first cup of sweetened caffeine.


I will do an update again soon. I can't wait until I have reached my goal and can do one big collage.

Peace
Free

P.S.: Thanks, My Fat Secret. You are an awesome app!

Friday, March 16, 2018

**REVIEW** Fat Secret Weight Loss App

Well. For me, MyFitnessPal is over, done, and out. Finito. I deleted it from my phone and if I could block it, I would. I have found a replacement app that I love.

Welcome to my life, Fat Secret!!! ❤❤❤

Let me post some screenshots so you can get an idea of how useful the app is, then I will go into Pros and Cons. Let's start with the phone app, which is how I use Fat Secret the most.
*********



That up above is what the page looks like when you are inputting your food diary in the phone app. This is the page I use the most.

The photo below is the bottom of the food diary page. This is where you can see a summary so you can check your progress of how many calories you have left before you hit your threshold for the day.






The bottom photo shows a cumulative "report" of how many times you've eaten something. 



The photo below is another view of progress. It breaks down the days by caloric intake. It's a nice glimpse to let you know how your days are breaking down. My daily calorie limit that I set for myself is 150 so I can tell that the closest I came to that was on the 15th.  I wasn't finished logging meals today which is why the 16th looks so low.



I like the idea of having photo and scanner capabilities within the phone app. Users can (and I did) take photos of their meals for the day they were consumed. Also, you can look up nutrition info for foods in your kitchen by barcode. Most of the items I scanned came up as is. In cases where my item wasn't found, I was able to search a list of similar items. Once, I couldn't find my exact brand of chicken breasts. It was store brand. I quickly found a brand that had the same info as that on the label of my chicken. Cool.

By the way, you get the option of sharing or not sharing your stuff with other members. If you want to share your food photos but you don't want to share your weight tracking, fine. If you want to share with the Public community of Fat Secret, you can - or you can choose to only share with your Fat Secret "friends". That brings up another point: you can choose to follow other community members. You can also join groups and give kudos to other people's entries or shared info. I'll get to that in a moment when I move on to the web app/site.




This photo below is a beautiful thing. When I first saw it, I assumed it had something to do with a paid version of the app. No, no. The app is totally (as of this post) free. The My Professionals section is for inviting, say, your doctor to peek in and see how you're doing. I'm not sure how it works, but I will test it when I see my doctor next - if she wants to sign up and do this. Very handy.



The Recipes section is pretty cool. I have submitted 2 of my recipes and am waiting for Admin approval before they are posted. So you see that you can brown recipes and get some ideas for your meals. 



What's especially cool about the recipes is that you get so much information when you look them up. For example:




When I submitted my recipe, I had to input the ingredients, prep & cook times, and list the steps to take to cook the item. The app fills in the nutrition information based on the ingredients listed. I love that.
Let's say, you kind of like that recipe for Chicken Tostadas but you maybe want to keep browsing. Well, look how helpful it is to see even more recipes using chicken breasts.




Remember what I said about sharing or not sharing? In the phone app, you can find the options on the Settings screen - and you can get to the Settings the usual way.





There are also options for setting reminders, allowing comments, etc.




 You can even choose a color scheme for the phone app.




Now, moving on the website app,  you will see why I prefer using the phone app.


This is the page I land on for "Home" and I don't like that. What I want is to get to MY stuff. This page starts you with what seems to be everyone's activities. 

When using the website, I have learned to go straight to the right-hand sidebar with the green highlighted My FatSecret. The sections there will get me to my stuff. Not to be selfish, but I'm happy to see what everyone is doing but this weight loss is my weight loss.






You can see your "calendar" by a list view or month view. This is the "list" view:






And this is the "month" view.




I talked about being able to add recipes. Apparently, it takes a while to get them approved by Admin and, I guess until they are approved, you can't add your submitted recipes to your cookbook.



So, this Fat Secret is kinda nice, yes? Very much so. Now, Pros and Cons.

PROS

  • The phone app is wonderful and much easier to use than the web app.
  • The site is fun and interactive if you like being in a community for the support.
  • The database of ingredients is pretty right on so far
  • It's motivating to have a weight tracker within the app
  • The scanner for looking up ingredients and nutrition info is very helpful and easy to use
  • The phone app info syncs well with the website if you need to switch back and forth
  • The support team is very responsive to questions when you contact them

CONS
  • The web app (site) is not nearly as good as the phone app
  • The phone and web apps both take some getting used to. The features in the web app are not always easy to find.
  • It's not easy IMO to copy and paste individual foods from one days meal to another.
  • I have yet to figure out how to save my favorite foods that I will be adding on a regular basis
Listen, overall, the phone app is dang near perfect and since it happens to be what I use the most, I'm happy. Some of the issues I have with the website may be due to being a newbie. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon.

Every little bit of motivation helps when you are making lifestyle changes. Fat Secret is going in the right direction to being perfect.

By the way, as of today, I am down 10 pounds since March 5th when I started Intermittent Fasting. I'm taking selfies to share in a slideshow or something once I have reached my goal weight.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What the Heck Happened to My Fitness Pal?

So... I went over to MyFitnesPal after about a year away. Boy, does it suck now! I used to love that app. I used it for all twelve of my diets! LOL

Seriously though, it really seems so different now. I couldn't put my finger on what seems changed, but I went looking for another app to replace it and saw a Reddit post that had the same complaint. Seems that MyFitnessPal has been bought out by UnderArmour...




Well, there ya go. I don't know how I missed that logo change. It's all up there and in our face.



 In case you missed who's in charge now... And we all know that I love (but can't afford) all things UnderArmour.

MyFitnessPal used to be very easy to use. I could scan items to get my calories, set up my regular foods to get to quicker, and even communicate with other users. Today, I didn't get past trying to add some new foods. The calorie counts were wrong for the first 3 items and when I tried adding the bread, the app didn't recognize slices as a unit.

I gave up and tried an app that I saw mentioned in that Reddit post. It's called Fat Secret (yeah, bad name) and it's pretty similar to the original MyFitnessPal. But it is new and there are some annoyances that will probably get fixed as time goes by. I don't have the patience. I need to get started logging my meals and keeping track of these calories.

I think I love this one!


My niece and I texted about the Fitness Pal situation and she said that she hasn't bothered using that app in ages. Huh. So I guess I'm not the only one unhappy with it. She told me that she uses the Pro version of My Diet Coach. I checked out the free version and it's about the same as Fat Secret.

What I have decided to do is keep track of my calories using an Excel sheet. I just have to try to remember how to set up the page to do the math for me! I was never good at Excel when I was good at other things. Now I look at the page and my head starts to hurt.

My intermittent fasting is going great and doesn't even feel like any kind of a diet. The only problem I am having is tracking my calories. I've been undereating because I don't want to be a glutton like I was my first 2 days in.

This is today's meal that I'm fixing for 4pm. That's my best time of day to eat because I have started cutting off my eating at 7pm instead of at 8pm. I start my 8-hour eating window now at 11 in the morning. Much less time to wait for that first cuppa caffeine! I'm still trying to work out the best hours for me to live with and this is what I'm using to make sure I don't get brain-foggy figuring out the 16-hour fast window.

Anyway, folks, I'm looking for recommendations if you have any. Tell me what you think of all the apps I mentioned. Meantime, I'll just start tracking by pen and paper until I find some safe Excel sheets to download. If I find some that seem safe, I will post them the next time I blog about IF.

Peace
--Free

Monday, March 12, 2018

**REVIEW** 2 Products from the African Pride Shea Miracle Moisture Intense Line

The change in locations is doing a number on my hair. When I visited Northern Iowa a couple of years ago and stayed in a town just over 20 miles from where I now live, my hair loved the fall season humidity. I didn't even have to use moisturizing products.

Here in this little town where I'm just over 3 blocks from a lake, my hair has been in a different mood. I moved here in summer and between the natural heat and some mildly moisturizing products, my hair did okay. But this winter... Right now, I am struggling to keep my hair moisturized and soft without weighing it down. When I heard about the Shea Miracle line from African Pride, I was impressed, first, by the prices, then by the descriptions.

SHEA MIRACLE BUTTERY CREME

The Moisture Intense Buttery Creme (at $2.93 for a 6oz jar) is touted to:
Nourish & Soften Curls, Coils and Waves
Stretch & Elongate Curls and Kinky- Coils
Smooth and Tame Frizz



Sounds good to me. So let's talk about this Buttery Creme.

The first time I used it, I just put some on my hair without washing it or otherwise preparing it. It felt good going on. It was creamy and felt like it had good slip. I pulled it gently through from root to tip and let it dry. The hair that I applied it to looked good. It had curl and definition and it felt moisturized. Until it dried. The curl and definition were still there but the hair felt dry and slightly hard - or crunchy.

Ingredients sound good
If that had been the end of it, I would have just sprayed in some of my other moisturizers - maybe some Sta-Sof-Fro or Hawaiin Silky -  but that was not the end of it.

When I went to bed, it got warm during the night and I could tell my hair was sweating out a little bit. I figured that was okay, just more moisture. Wrong.


The struggle is the realest

Of course, when you wake up after a night like that, your hair will eventually dry. When mine did, it was SO dry. Not only was it dried out like tumbleweed, it had lost all the curl definition where I'd applied the Buttery Creme.

I wasn't going to totally give up on the product. I decided to give it another go by doing a co-wash first and then using the Shea Miracle Leave-In. I'll get to Leave-In in a moment.

looks/feels good on the fingers
So, I co-washed (using my Aussie Moist), then I applied some of the Shea Miracle Leave-In. After letting my hair air dry to a slight dampness, I applied the Buttery Creme to sections of my hair. Once again, the curl definition was nice. I then let it dry while I did some cleaning and blogging. After about an hour, the curls still looked good but the hair felt dried out.

I went to bed without twisting my hair. I usually twist it for styling about once or twice a week. Since I had the curl definition from the Creme and I felt it was too dried out to be manipulating it, I skipped twisting.

This morning, my hair had no curl definition and it was drier than ever. I had to leave for a medical appointment and didn't have time to do anything but spray apply a little bit of Hawaiin Silky. I thought that might alleviate the crunchy bush that was my hair. It did but only a little.

So, the Buttery Creme is something of a disappointment. I got 2 jars because of the price. Now I will have to try to add some other kind of oil to it just to use it up. It gives the curl that I like but that drying and matting are ridiculous! I'm going to have to rinse my hair in a few days and do a heat-cap treatment with some Aussie Moist to rectify this situation. I hope that works.




SHEA MIRACLE LEAVE-IN

As far as the Leave-In, it's only slightly better.



It's pricier at $9.50 for 16 ounces. This is the hype:
Intensely Moisturize and Instantly Detangle
Turn frizz to Smooth Curls, Coils and Waves
Nourish for Greater Shine and Softness
You've already heard my opinion of the product. The more I think of the price, the more I think of sending it back for a refund. If not,  I guess that it could work as a co-washing treatment. I can use it to loosen the dirt and oil from my hair, then use a touch of my Aussie Moist for softening. The Shea Miracle Leave-In is not as softening as I expected. I could tell from the way my hair felt prior to using the Buttery Creme.




Because I don't want to further dry out my hair, I will wait to rinse it free of these products. As of tonight, I am going to dampen my hair and twist style it using this product from the original Shea Moisture line.



The cap is all taped up because I brought it with me from Alaska. I try never to waste a product! I can't even remember how this worked on my hair before or if I just tried it on someone else's hair. There is barely any gone from the bottle. I figure it cannot make my hair feel any worse than it does right now.

I really wanted to like these African Pride products. I have used some other A.P. products and have liked them all but these two. Anyway, live and learn.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, March 11, 2018

This Kid Here

I already posted once today but...

One of the neighbors asked me the other day if I was missing Alaska. Answer: Nope. But I do miss this kid. She wanted to see pictures. Now I can't quit looking through my files.




This is him with a puppy that belonged to an older nephew. They could sit like this together for hours. Quietly.





I took him with me to the mall one day. While I was talking with a clerk, he found the sunglass rack. The ladies' sunglasses rack.


He loves taking our sunglasses - his mom's. mine, Daddy's. If you're looking for your glasses, just check with him.


A costume one Halloween. The most adorable Batman EVER.


One of his "thinking" faces when asked something.


His Godparents were in town and I went with them to get his hair cut. He loves his barber and I couldn't believe how still he sat for the session.



He cracks me up. One morning, I heard cartoon voices in stereo. This is how I found the little maniac.



I love, love, LOVE this kid. I had a chance to see him when he was visiting Arizona this week. I declined. I don't think either of us can take another goodbye this soon. I'm still getting over the last goodbye.


His mom got him this shirt and my heart melts every time I see it.


This is how we spent a lot of hours. Just sitting together. We'd read or watch one of his kid shows or just talk about this amazing world.


I miss my little guy.

Peace
--Free


**All photos in this post are copyrighted by me and not to be reused in any instance.**