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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

**Seen & Sharing** My Homemade Small Load Washing Machine

Necessity might well be the mother of invention, but poverty is the daddy. And I know poverty.

I am single - which equals never enough clothes for a wash load until there are too many for just a couple of loads. Also, it costs a buck per load to wash (another buck to dry) in the building. Also, I wash and rinse by hand my kitchen towels often - like every three or four days - and have been looking for an easier way.

So, I've mentioned that we have a type of community table in the lobby in this apartment building. When we residents are getting rid of something useful, we put it on the table so that someone else can take it for no charge. A while back, I got a basket full of artificial flowers and put them into a vase as decor for my bathroom.






















I've given (and taken) cans of food, beverages, planter pots, clothing, and wall art. Recently, I went to the table to put out some tea bags and an old juicer (that came from a thrift store this summer). This is what I found:



I still have to figure out how to use the grill, but...




 ... that Bubba mug. Wow, what a find.

It was really dirty from use and unwashed buildup, so I cleaned and bleached it out, but I have no intention of drinking out of it. The reason I got it is because it's one of the biggest thermal containers I have seen. (By the way, I do believe that at 52 ounces it actually is the biggest.) I was just curious about it. When I looked it up on Amazon, I started getting an idea for how to use it.

First, though, I have to back up and tell you about a product I had on my Amazon Wish List (before they dumped my reviews and I dumped all my lists). It was a portable washing machine similar to this one. The price isn't bad on that thing, but I don't have the money nonetheless. So, this is what I came up with using all free parts: The mug, a kitchen scrubber with a long handle, my soap and bleach, and some calorie-burning elbow grease.




Of course, the Bubba I have 52 ounces so, of course, this washing idea is only for small loads. I was able to do four of my sink towels.



It might sound silly, but this is why it works for me:

  • The insulated mug keeps the water at a pretty steady temp. If I need to, I can close the lid and let items soak.
  • I can add bleaches and other cleaning things and not get as much splashing as when I use the sink. 
  • Uses no electricity (except or boiling water in the tea kettle).
  • A load of wash costs us a dollar and the water never gets as hot as I like.
  • I often have only socks or a few towels in between my bi-weekly loads of wash.
  • This is better than what I've been doing which is using the sink or waiting until wash day.
  • The mug is easy to clean and store.
The first time I used this, I was thinking how great it would be to have the same thing - insulated container with a lid - on a bigger scale, but we all know I don't have the mind power or energy to do anywhere with that idea.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful to someone or sparks a creative idea in their mind. Knowing me, this seems like a great idea now, but I'll be wondering tomorrow what the hell was I thinking!

Peace
--Free

Monday, October 29, 2018

**REVIEW** Boulder Rock Vape Pen

Vaping, like smoking, is for adults only. If you are NOT of legal age, this post has nothing for you! If you are a non-smoker, please don't start vaping. 


Of all the vape devices I have seen or heard of so far, this is the best value:



This pen costs only $8.99. That's it. That is less than the price of a pack of smokes back in Alaska. I got mine from the Electric Tobacconist because they are the fairest priced, efficient, and the most honest online shop I've found so far.

This Boulder Rock pen has a pretty sleek design and surprisingly sturdy for such an inexpesive item.


You not only get the vape pen, but also some juice. Okay, the juice is gross to me but that's because I do NOT like tobacco-flavored ejuice. And any freebie juice with a device is always tobacco flavored.



The best thing (other than for my health) about quitting cigarettes is not having to deal with the taste of tobacco. I find that I prefer the fruit flavored juices. Mango was a fave until I discovered this Strawberry-Apple-Watermelon blend. I just "lub" it.

Anyway, about the Boulder Rock Vape Pen...

My first impression was more "meh" than "yay". It took a few uses before I learned that I needed to draw longer on it to appreciate the juice. After getting spoiled to the tight mouthpiece on the JUUL and the Suorin Air that my SIL gave me, the Rock was very airy feeling. Now that I know how to draw on it (taking longer draws), I am starting to like it a lot.

I love the way it charges - and the way the charger end is protected with a cap. The cap stays firmly on so I'm not worried about losing it. When I am charging the pen, it sticks straight out from the port and doesn't stop me using other things plugged in next to it.





















It's such a great size for tucking into the purse, pocket, or backpack pen compartment. It's larger than the JUUL (but cheaper) and you can see how it stacks up size-wise to the JUUL ($40) and the BLU ($20):



As you see, it's the biggest "pen" of the three, but then you have to come back to that price. In spite of the fact it's larger, it's still not huge or unwieldy. When I compare it to other things that I carry in my tiniest bag, it's a very modest size.




 And I haven't even mentioned the biggest advantage this has over those other more expensive pens.

The pod on the Rock is made to be refilled. You don't have to hack it like with the JUUL and BLU (which is totally doable - even with or without an accent).







<<<<<<<
That top part is the pod that holds the ejuice.


That soft, white plug is removable so that you can easily refill the pod. Bonus point: the hole is large enough for most eliquid bottle nozzles or droppers. To me, the fact that the Rock is made to be refilled makes it triple worth its value.

 Because most vapers don't go through a lot of juice when using pen pods, if this pen lasts only for a few 30ml sized bottles, I will have still gotten more than my money's worth. For the record, a 30ml bottle of juice lasts me about 2 months and I have not paid more than 10 or 11 dollars for a bottle of juice. Let's now compare the pods for the JUUL and the BLU.

  • JUUL pods hold  0.7ml and the pods come 4 to a packet that cost around 15 to 20 dollars per packet. 
  • A BLU pod holds 1.5ml each and a pair of pods runs around 10 to 12 dollars.
  • The Boulder Rock has refillable pods that can hold 1.5ml  and you can buy more pods for around 7 dollars a pair. 
So... for the price of a BLU pod, you can get the Rock pen and some juice. (We don't even need to discuss the JUUL situation.) Also, JUUL doesn't have a nicotine-free pod option. BLU has nic-free pods and, of course, you can easily fill the Boulder Rock with whatever strength juice you want.

All that is a win, win, win for Boulder Rock, in my opinion.


If I have to nitpick and think of one negative of this pen it's that I don't get as much of the flavor from the juice as I do with the JUUL and the Suorin Air. If pitted against the BLU, I'd say that the flavor intake is the same but the BLU has a much tighter air draw. Also, I did hear one reviewer mention that he's lost the cap that covers the USB port. I don't have that problem because mine happens to fit fairly snugly.

If someone I know decides to give up smoking for vaping, I would definitely tell them to bypass the JUUL and start with a Boulder Rock. Vaping takes getting used to and, while it's much cheaper (and as far as I know, healthier) than cigarette smoking, you can spend a lot of initial money just finding your groove with it. If I had started with this instead of the JUUL, I would still be vaping and out a lot less money.

To sum up the positives of this device:

  1. Costs less than a pack of cigarettes (in most places) and is almost as cheap as some disposables
  2. Good quality in spite of the cheap cost
  3. Lightweight but sturdy
  4. Convenient size
  5. Easy to charge (and has a cover over the USB)
  6. Made to refill & easy to refill
  7. Pods hold 1.5ml of liquid
  8. Extra (empty) pods are also inexpensive
  9. Has a good airflow
  10. Produces a good amount of vapor
  11. Button operated so you don't waste power accidentally when stored
  12. Charges fast and the charge lasts a long time (haven't timed it, but I have gone at least 6 hours between charges)
  13. And, once again: the price, the price, the price


I have to tell you guys how much I love not being a cigarette smoker. I'm excited that the next time I travel to visit family I won't have to worry about the stink, mess, and inconvenience to others, and the potential fire hazards that come with smoking. With my health issues, smoking cigarettes scared me in more ways than one.

This Boulder Rock vape pen is on my gift-giving list for the holidays. I know more than a couple of people who have been trying to ditch cigarettes. These pens are going to make the best gifts ever.

Peace
-Free

NOTE: Because I don't want to encourage kids (or non-smokers) to vape, I am not including product links in this post.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

**REVIEW** Orimerc Feet Self watering Wick Cord for Vacation Self-watering Planter Pot

This is a copy of the post from my other blog (Banned by Amazon). Until that blog starts getting more traffic, I will be mirroring the posts here.




PRODUCT LINK: Feet Self watering Wick Cord for Vacation Self-watering Planter Pot
PRODUCT ASIN: B07FS6TRXJ
MANUFACTURER: Orimerc
SELLER & LINK:  Orimerc


SELLER REVIEW (4 stars for customer service)



(I have to update this Seller Review. I contacted the seller to tell them that the wick cord still had not arrived as of this past Sunday - 10/21. I received a very sincere apology and was immediately refunded the entire price and told to keep the wick when it arrives. The seller told me that they contacted the Postal Service and was told that the shipment was late due to high volume and low staffing. Whatever the case, I appreciate the seller making an effort to remedy my inconvenience. I have to give this seller a 4-star rating for their customer service. What you see about the seller in the next paragraphs is what I wrote prior to their contacting me.)

When I ordered this, I didn't realize it would be shipped from China. I don't mind getting items shipped from China, but I like to know it beforehand. For one thing, you will have a much longer shipping time. For another, tracking is a pain in the tail.

Anyway, I ordered this on October 3rd and I just saw on the Amazon page today that this will be "arriving tomorrow". So, yeah.

While I can no longer submit reviews on Amazon, I am still able to give Seller feedback. If the product is as expected, the only thing I have to say about the seller is that shipments from China should be very visibly flagged as such.

NOTE: The product arrived on the morning of the 22nd.


PRODUCT REVIEW & PHOTOS: (5 stars SOLID)


Why I wanted this: I wanted this because I'm trying to plan for when I need to be away from my plants for any significant length of time. I already have the timers and some of those inserts that are meant to slowly water plants.  I will be reviewing - or re-reviewing older orders like these in separate posts. The wick cords are supposed to be a better method. So... let's review.



In addition to the 200 feet of cord that I ordered, the shipment included 2 gift packs of cord made for smaller sized plants. That was a very unexpected and pleasant addition!





The smaller cording doesn't look much different from the thick cording but it feels different and does seem like it was easier to use in my smaller potted plants.


This is a shot of how the water levels went down from 11:43 to 12:00 - using time stamps on camera - with the wick watering my Peace Lily (which is a very thirsty plant).

Bottle almost full at 11:43
I forgot to pre-water the plant.




She drank a LOT of water in 15 minutes!

PRO:
This cording does work and it works well. I have to admit that I am a little surprised at how well this works. You can see from some of the photos and times how fast the water levels dropped. That's probably because I didn't water the plants as well as I should have done before inserting the wicks. No worries. Once the plants did get enough water, they stopped pulling in more.

The one thing you have to figure out is how to level your water containers (higher or lower than the plants) so that your thirstier plants get more water while the less needy plants get a little less. I'm starting to test different levels so that I am set for when I leave. For now, I have the plants in their usual spots in the living room; when I leave for more than a few days, I will put them all in the bathroom on the shower floor. That will make using a wicking system simpler because I can leave larger pots of water and have them raised to the various levels needed for the different plants. That also simplifies using the plant lights and timers since everything will be enclosed in one room.

What I like most about the wicking cords is how easy they are to set up. I am even considering doing a little experiment using the cords along with the "watering devices" I didn't realize are called hydro spikes! LOL. As you can tell from my review, I wasn't in love with relying only on those.

I have no major negatives to relate about this wicking cord. As a matter of fact, I will feel very comfortable using them (alone or with the spikes) whenever I have to be away from my plants.

Another huge positive about this cord is that it's priced really well for the amount and quality of the cord. This soaked the water right up and was working from the start.

Okay, there are no major negatives, but...


CON: The printed instructions were pretty detailed but a little off-putting because I have cognitive issues. Can't blame the seller for that, but since I do better with visuals I watched this YouTube video (water wicking method starts at 01:35 mark)



Bottom Line: Though this item shipped from China and I was frustrated with the late arrival, the seller followed up with a lot of concern and courtesy. I have gotten other things from China that didn't arrive lightning fast, but not so slowly. This makes me believe that, like the seller explained, there were some uncommon postal/shipping problems. At any rate, because of the price and quality (and customer service), I will order from Orimerc again.

If you are interested in plants, please check out photos and info about my green collection over at The Planted Earth.


Peace
--Free

Friday, October 26, 2018

About Vaping - Nicotine vs Tobacco

WARNING: This post has to do with vaping. If you are under age, please know that I do NOT encourage smoking or vaping for minors and this post is not intended for you.  I don't encourage nicotine use of any kind for anyone. This post has to do with my personal experience as I attempt to stop using nicotine.

I've been vaping for 3 months (or almost 3 months, I can't remember) and I'm hearing a lot about those who are against it.

Before I started vaping - while I was still unsuccessfully trying to quit tobacco for the umpteenth time - I tried to check out a lot of information about it. I'd had friends, both online and in real life, tell me that switching to vaping is the only thing that got them off tobacco. I first thing I wanted to look up was the difference between nicotine and tobacco. Basically, it's as summed up here:
Nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco-derived products. Tobacco is the plant that contains thousands of potent chemicals, one of the main chemicals being nicotine. (source)

I knew that a lot of the harm of smoking came from all the things (other than nicotine) that's in cigarettes. I figured out that vaping provided the nicotine smokers like (or crave) without the intake of all the harmful stuff in cigarettes.

Okay, so I know that it's not good to be addicted to anything, but I also know that there are a lot of other addictions that aren't demonized. There are people who are addicted to alcohol or sugar or caffeine or salt or fat.

Some anti-vape folk claim that their concern is that kids might be tempted to vape. Kids have always been tempted to do everything they aren't supposed to. Going back to the sugar, caffeine, salt, and fat -  the first two being readily available and potentially harmful - I don't see the FDA or any other entity banning (yet) any of those things from kids.

Another thing mentioned when it comes to kids and vaping is that "vaping might be a gateway to smoking". That is so silly that I laughed when I first heard it. I can understand if people were to claim that vaping would lead to nicotine use, but I don't think that anyone would choose smoking cigarettes over vaping to get nicotine. I worry about kids vaping too - if nicotine is harmful. I don't want kids to pick up a bad habit but, how do you stop anyone from that.

Anti-vape folk are talking a lot about how the flavors used in vaping juices are what attract kids. So, is that like the fruity flavors in sugary, carb-laden foods attract kids? Is that what they mean? Or like alcohols flavored to taste like cotton candy or caramel apples? Like that?

Personally, I think that one of the worst products out there are those energy drinks that so many people love. There are some serious dangers associated with those things and yet they are openly sold - no I.D. required - in every grocery and convenience store in the USA.

Before vaping, there was cigarette smoking. A lot of underage people smoked. Parents were educated and advertising laws were passed and the rates of underage smoking declined. Also, I'm not convinced that teens are rampantly turning to vaping for the nicotine. I do know some teens are vaping marijuana. As a matter of fact, the very first time I saw someone vape, it was a 30-something year old with weed. Blew my mind.

There are some things I just don't understand when it comes to the conversation on nicotine use:

  • If nicotine is the problem, why aren't smoking cessation patches/gums/etc demonized?
  • Is nicotine a problem? More of a problem than caffeine or sugar?
  • We all now know about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but is nicotine by itself a problem?
  • Why aren't more studies being done on the effects of vaping?
My take on the whole vaping versus smoking issue is that vaping obviously works to get people away from cigarettes. Isn't that a good thing?

Since I have quit smoking, I feel a bit better and I definitely breathe better. Vaping - whether using a nicotine or nicotine-free juice - helps with my anxiety and depression. Smoking cigarettes helped with the anxiety but I hated the way it affected me physically. I also hated stinking of the smoke. I wanted to quit so badly, but both the cravings and my mental state would pull me back. Vaping has changed my life.

There are a lot of articles online about the so-called hazards of vaping, but I found one that at least looks at the pros and cons of info from some studies. Just like with other news I've read about vaping, the "negatives" are always somewhat conditional or underdefined. Like I said, I think there need to be more studies done before everyone bashes people who switch from cigarette smoking to vaping.

Another thing to consider is that tobacco companies are not happy about people switching to vaping. Not just tobacco companies are worried, but "big pharma" could be shaking in their boots. I have to think about something the comedian Chris Rock once said about there being no money in a cure because the money is in the disease. Tobacco companies can at least get in on the game - and they have -sometimes, in a ridiculous way, in my opinion. I'm still shaking my head over that...

One other positive thing about vaping over smoking: I can vape inside and not inflict my vapor on anyone else. Smoking had to be done outside and was almost always offensive to someone.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Deleted Amazon Reviews

Just a reminder that, although Amazon deleted all my reviews when their robots went on a wild cleaning spree, I am just reposting (and adding to) them on my Banned by Amazon blog.

I am still doing reviews here on Being Free, but I needed a home for all the 300+ deleted Amazon reviews. It's going to take a while (okay, maybe even years) to get everything posted but these are the reviews that are up so far - or are scheduled to go up this week.


For your electronics


For your health




For your plants or crafts



And there are even more coming soon.

See you over on Banned by Amazon!

Peace
--Free

Saturday, October 20, 2018

**REVIEW** Target "October Eye" Beauty Box

The last Target Box I reviewed was the Summer Beauty Box that came out back in July. This is the October Eye box that was on their site a couple of weeks back. Actually, this was one of 2 boxes. I chose this over the one featuring hair and face care items. You have to check Target.com regularly to catch the new boxes as they come out or you will miss them.

I realize this is the "Eye" box, but I still get a little creeped out by all the strangeness:


This box (and the other choice) was $5 instead of the usual $7 that I have paid in the past. Maybe Target is trying to stay in line with Walmart and their five-dollar beauty box subscription? I hope so. 

This box features 5 items (the other October box had 6)


The theme is, "Hello Bright Eyes":


Lumify Eye Drops
I really like these eye drops. I wear contacts and this stuff not only helped the dryness but actually whitened/brightened my 57-year old blinkers. I will be looking for this in the store.




COVERGIRL Get In Line Liquid Eyeliner
I like having different eyeliners around. This one is not the thinnest I have, but it got the best brush - firm and thin. Love it.










This is a good brow tool featuring both a bristle head and a filling brush. My niece really loved the brush part. I use the bristle more. Nice touch to have covers for both ends.



Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
Just when I thought there was no way I needed another mascara... This one has the best ever brush head. It lives up to the claim of fanning and separating. I think it's due to the brush have short, firm bristles. I now pick this as my favorite ever mascara.












Last of all is the one item I have not yet tried. I don't want to open it until I have the time and energy to do a full beauty treatment - aka: Me Day.



 What makes me want to try these is that I recognize almost every single thing in the ingredients list:


And notice one more time, how clean this product seems to be...


 So, yep, I'm happy with this box. I love that Target seems to have come down from the $7 price. And, remember, the box price is all you will pay - no additional shipping and handling fees.

Peace
--Free

Friday, October 19, 2018

**VAPING** The Vuse Vibe Recall is Tedious

For those of you who have a Vuse Vibe Vapor Tank System - this thing:



- you should know that there is a recall on them. This is for the Original units - ones that came out prior to this October (2018). The one I had was from at least 6 months ago and I can't even remember who gave it to me.

The recall is due to "a small number" of complaints about the units overheating. The new and improved Vibes are back on the market this month.

This is the site with the recall info. You will find the reasons for the recall and a contact number.

Recalls are great because you know that the company is at least trying to rectify problems. However... the process for this particular recall is as painful as passing a kidney stone. I was on the phone for at least 20 minutes with the rep handling the information. So, before you even put yourself out, let me tell you what the rep will be asking for and requesting that you do:

  1. A ton of verifying info of mine - name, address, phone number, birthdate. (All necessary stuff but it really just felt a bit invasive.)
  2. The code from the top of the unit. (Yes, I had to unscrew the tank and get a magnifying glass to see it.)
  3. The UPC from the bottom of the box. (Good thing that I'm that person who saves original cases and packing, right? How many other people do that???)
  4. RJ Reynolds will be sending me a mailer to return the original unit in. (That's fine and I don't mind.) 
  5. I have to take the packaged unit to a UPS drop-off location. (That part is a pain in the rear. I can't just drop this at the Post Office. Noooo... And if I ask for a UPS pick-up, I have to pay for that part.)
  6. Once the unit is received, it will be tested and checked over - which could take a few weeks - before I am sent a refund. Of twenty dollars.
Okay, so if I had been smart, I would have just cut to the chase and asked how the return would work. The rep and I would have saved time because, to be honest, I don't know that I will be making a special trip to a UPS drop-off for a twenty-dollar refund.

The whole finding a UPS drop-off bugs me (I live directly across the street from the Post Office), but here's my main peeve: RJ Reynolds is going to be doing a refund - regardless of how the testing of the unit goes. So why in the heck do I have to wait for their "testing" before they send the refund?

I don't know why they didn't just let me send in a photo of my unit with the UPC code, get my address, and send me the refund. I would have taken a ten dollar refund to cut through the hassle. Instead, they are paying someone to sit on the phone with customers for about a half hour for this runaround.

To be fair, I was so tired the whole time I was dealing with the rep that I didn't think until I'd hung up about asking if this was the only way to get a refund. Hindsight (and after a nap and some coffee) made me wonder what would have happened if I hadn't had the box and UPC code. 

Anyway, this is for any of you who might have a Vibe laying around.

Peace
--Free


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

**RECIPES** Brown Sugar Bread & Lemon Tea Loaf

I've been vaping to quit cigarettes and haven't had an actual light-em-up smoke for over 2 months now. Of course, I put down the cigs and started picking up anything halfway edible. That had to stop. Alas, I love food, whether I smoke or not, so I had to start sticking to good, wholesome meals and find a couple of sweets that aren't overloaded with calories. Here are my two favorite bread recipes that fulfill my sweet tooth. They are really easy and quick to make and they are sooo good.

This first recipe is one that I found on a lifestyle blog by this lady. I want her to be my friend. Do check out the site because, well, yum!

 I modified the original to include chopped walnuts and that's my favorite way to have it. This is her recipe and nutrition info.

Brown Sugar Bread (from Julie Blanner)
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 4 c flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c milk
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil

(I cut this recipe in half and add a tablespoon of organic chocolate powder and about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts)

DIRECTIONS
  • Grease 6 mini loaf pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat eggs, milk, and oil.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to wet until just moist.
  • Pour batter into pans an inch below to compensate for rising. Optional: sprinkle sugar on top.
  • Bake 40 minutes.
Julie notes that you can also make this in 2 - 1 pound loaf pans or cut the recipe in half for just 1 loaf pan and bake 50 minutes. That's what I do unless I am sharing with my brother's family.

This is not an overly sweet bread and when I add the nuts, I find it to be very filling and satisfying. I like it so much that there are days when I eat nothing else but this bread. The last time I made some, I did a large loaf for my brother's house and 2 small loaves - one for me and one for my neighbor who is always bringing me juice and fruits.



Speaking of my brother (the youngest, I mean), his favorite treat is the Lemon Tea Loaf that I make. The recipe came from a set of recipes my brother's MIL gave to me over a year ago as a sort of housewarming gift. To keep it safe while I was setting up the rest of the apartment, I put it in the storage cubby. And forgot about it. Unfortunately, I can't refer you to the easytobake.com site because it's now dead. The link I will give is to a similar online recipe that I have tried, but recipe below is from the Easy To Bake card.



INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c sugar (for the cake)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
DIRECTIONS


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Oil & flour (lightly) 3 5 3/4-inch x 3-inch pans 
  • Combine sugar and butter in large bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes on medium speed). Stir in eggs and lemon rind and beat 1 minute. 
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir this flour mixture and the milk into the sugar/butter mixture.
  • Pour batter into pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (35-40 minutes).
  • Set pans aside to cool slightly. Pierce tops of loaves several times with skewer (or piece of spaghetti!)
  • Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle slowly over the loaves (and holes) until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let cool another 10 minutes or so and remove from pans to cool completely.
I modified this recipe slightly by adding some lemon flavoring to the batter and then using much more glaze than indicated. My brother likes the tanginess of the lemon so, yeah.

I also made this once and then put a twist on the serving method. I sliced the loaves very thinly then made sandwiches with a filling of cream cheese that I whipped with some lemon and sugar. My neighbor and I ate them before I took photos so... Guess I will have to make more and do an update!



This is what a loaf looks like. Next time I make some, I want to try freezing them for later. We will see how that turns out.




Peace
--Free

Thursday, October 04, 2018

**REVIEW** Curls & Naturals Leave-In Conditioner + Daily Moisturizing Serum

In a recent post, I told you all about texturizing my hair with a product from Biocare Labs. The texturizer is from BL's Curls and Naturals line. Since I was using the texturizer, I decided to give a try to a couple other items from Curls and Naturals. Let's go.

First up, this is the Leave-In Conditioner which is touted to also detangle.




The label tells that it contains shea butter and natural honey with silk protein. Here is the full list of ingredients:


I'm not up on all the no-no ingredients that some people know about, but I am glad to see that the silk, honey, and shea butter are not the last items on the list. Also, the fragrance is closer to the end and I notice that it's not very strong to the nose.

Now, while I do love the texturizer, I barely have a crush on this leave-in conditioner. For one thing, the moisture doesn't last once my hair dries. I've been using it the past couple of nights as a twisting cream. It doesn't dry my hair out or make it "crunchy" or hard, but it doesn't add much moisture that I notice. As a matter of fact, today, I had to spray in some of my SofSheen.

On the Plus side, I do feel that this adds some strength to my hair because I am seeing a lot less breakage while using it. Because of that, I will keep using it and just add some SofSheen when twisting or styling my hair.

I also have to mention that I have the coarsest, driest type of natural hair. I have vowed that the next time I'm in Arizona, I'm going to find someone to give me a Jheri Curl. My hair thrived with that stuff!

I am happy with how my hair looks after using the leave-in as a twisting cream. This is after the texturizer (and dye job) and before adding the SofSheen:




For those with a less coarse/dry type of natural hair, I think that this product is right up there with the pricier stuff. This will be one of the rare times that I prefer shoping the brand site instead of Amazon.

On the BL site, this 12-ounce bottle is $6.99 + shipping (Biocarelabs.com offers FREE STANDARD SHIPPING in the 48 states in the continental U.S. for merchandise orders $50 and over (excluding taxes). For shipments totaling less than $50, delivery charges are based on the weight, city and state. Our standard shipping option is ground services. Orders over $50 ship for free —no promotion code needed)

On Amazon, the same size bottle is $6.99 + $9.35 shipping. As far as I see, none of the Curls and Naturals stuff is Prime so...yeah.

Now, for the Daily Moisturizing serum:



The highlighted ingredients in this one are Shea Butter, Natural Honey, and Abyssinian Oil. It has a glossier look and silkier texture than does the conditioner but, like the conditioner, it's nice but not quite moist enough for my coarse hair. I have learned to add a little bit of the SofSheen when putting this on my hair right after washing. When I used it on dry hair (slightly dampened with a spray bottle), this was even less effective than when used on really wet hair.

The 6-ounce bottle is $6.99 plus shipping on the BL site. On Amazon, it's the same price but, like with the conditioner, it's a non-Prime item and the shipping charge is ridiculous.

I have to say that, while this is not a great match for my very dry, 4C type hair (not many products are), I think that it's worth trying for a softer type hair. If you want to understand just how dry my hair is, try using some SofSheen on your looser-textured hair. It would be way to heavy and oily. For me, it's perfect.

On the big Plus side, both these products really help the hair hold a curl. My twists were on point...

Here is a look at the difference in texture between the two products:

serum is more transparent
conditioner is thicker/whiter

In summary, I will say that Biocare Labs has good products at really good prices (except for the shipping) and is worth trying out. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends with hair as coarse and dry as mine.

Peace
--Free



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