Tuesday, August 27, 2019

If Your Heart Is Hurting

This is normally something that I would post on my other blog where I discuss things of faith. I strongly felt today that it was something I needed to post here. What I want to say, I want to say to those who may not be Christian.

I've been struggling for years with my own depression. Anyone who deals with depression and anxiety can tell you want a battle it is. It's the kind of thing that can drag you down to the very bottom of your strength and will to live. If not for my faith, I would not be here, I can promise you that. I would have committed suicide years ago. This is why I always pray so hard for other people who deal with depression. I don't know how they make it through from one day to the next if they have no faith in God. Today, I have been thinking of all the other people out there who may be hurting and feeling lost.

I'm not going to preach to you. I'm just going to tell you that, no matter what else you may believe, you are loved. You are loved deeply and completely.

You aren't going to to find relief from your pain in drugs or sex or money or fame. You aren't going to find what you need in yourself. What you have is the absence of knowledge that you are loved. You need to know and understand why and Who loves you.

I know people like myself who most of the time look perfectly happy and content. There are people who look like they are handling life just fine. Some people - those I know and those I don't - have what the world thinks of has the keys to happiness. There are three keys: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. A lot of people have everything but the key to hope. They keep busy and active and have lots of people they could be around if they wanted. They are, some of them, very successful. At the least, they are likely looked upon as someone who "has it all". But those people who have everything but real hope are some of the saddest people who've lived.

You've heard it before and you will hear it again that "God loves you" but that doesn't mean anything unless you have a reason to believe it. It's hard to believe when we don't get a lot of logical reasons to believe. It's frustrating to have people giving you their "thoughts and prayers" and telling you that God loves you when they don't give you a reason to believe that there is a God. If anyone would like, I'd be more than happy to pray with and for you.

I'm no scholar or Bible teacher but I would like to share some links with you to people who do a good job of giving reasons to believe. I hope that these help you and I hope that, no matter what, you find hope. The links are below.


  • Learn the Bible in 24 Hours is not a learning of the whole Bible, of course, but it is a nice overview for someone who wants to understand why they should respect the authenticity of Scripture. Chuck Missler is a wonderful teacher, unlike most Bible teachers, he doesn't come from they typical seminary/Bible college background. He was a business executive and had more of a tech background.
  • Dr. Jason Lisle teaches how the Bible is confirmed in math and physics. His approach can be a bit scholarly but I admire his ability to make complex subjects accessible to the laymen. This link is to just one of his videos. 
  • There are many, many video and audio resources online of the Dr. Walter Martin debates. He was able to always be loving and kind when comparing Christianity to other religions. Because everyone wants to know why Christianity is the one true religion. Here is the link to a large playlist of some of Martin's debates. He died years ago so these videos are quite old but still, of course, relevant.

UPDATE **REVIEW** Walmart Beauty Box Classic Summer 2019

UPDATE - The one product I wanted to come back and do an update on is the Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Strip. I will write the update in red down below by the product photos.

It sure seems like it's been a while since I posted a review about a Walmart box. I think this was the last one way back in January. The best thing about the Walmart box is the five dollar price. I've gotten quite a few of these quarterly beauty boxes - 5 now that I go back and count. I've been getting them since June of last year. I will have to scrounge up some of the past reviews and link back to them at some point. Anyway... This is the Classic Summer box I received the other day:

While the samples were as good as usual, I was a little disappointed that there was no theme for this box. With the Ipsy boxes (which I no longer subscribe to) there was always a theme and always a bag to carry the items. Walmart did send a bag once and other than the big old ugly Walmart sunburst logo, it was kinda cute. Oh well. Let's talk about what was in this box. I will go in order of fave to least fave:

Blistex Lip Conditioning Serum - This was pretty awesome. I do think that you're supposed to be able to use it alone and go, but I apply my regular lip balm on top of it. The serum is very creamy and has the consistency of a rich water-based lotion. It softens and smooths and I feel that it's helping my lips but the balm effects don't last long enough for me. I've been using it after doing my morning lip scrub (wiping all that dryness away with a baby wipe!). I like the tapered dispensing tip. Best thing about this is that Walmart actually included the 0.30-oz size in this box. You can get a chance to really test it out. Nice. ($2.96 online)

Let me just say right here that I really didn't want to have to admit that I could use an eye cream like this. But.

I don't know yet how well this works (it's only been a few days), but kudos to Walmart for including this full-sized $18 0.5 fluid ounce tube of RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream Treatment. I've heard good things about RoC and I do like the way this hydrates the area right around my eyes. I've been using it at night only because I'm nervous about how the sun might affect my skin with a  Retinol-based product on it. Because of the slightly thin texture of the cream and the instructions to apply it in dots, this tube should last a good long while. ($17.95)

This is way too much
for one application

Since I am one of those women who has never had to shave a lot, razors last me forever. I do tend though to buy cheap ones. It's nice to have this BIC Soleil Sensitive 3 Blade Women's Disposable Razor. I've used one before and then I go back to my cheap ones for budget reasons but, every time I try one of these, I love how nice they feel. By the way, the moisture strip on these razors are the best part but they do tend to get gunky after a while. I tossed one out a few weeks ago after it had been sitting in the shower for a while and it was icky. These come at a good price for a pack of 3 at $5.97. This single one will last me for at least a couple of months. Thank goodness for naturally hairless legs!

Now, for my 2 least favorite samples...

UPDATE: I rarely have to do this with a product that I rate so low. HOWever... I was going through my bathroom cabinets the other day and ran across this again. For some reason (maybe that reason was those black-heady bumps on my nose!) I decided to give this a try because, why not?

I have to apologize for not giving this product a chance. Unlike the old strips that I used to pull out the blackheads and little hairs from my nose, these are so much better. For one thing, these don't stay in the plasticized form in which they are applied. Instead, once dampened, they melt into a kind of paste. When I was ready to wash these off, I could feel a slight exfoliating action. The product had melted into a literal gentle scrubbing paste. I am so impressed. There was none of the painful snatching away of the strip. My skin didn't feel violated and stripped raw. When I finished rinsing away the product (using a kind of exfoliating, rubbing motion), the skin on my nose felt clean and smooth without being completely dried out. I applied a bit  of moisturizer and was good to go.

Bottom line: this should be up in my top faves and I will definitely look into picking some up the next time I am in the store.

There's nothing wrong with the Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Pore Strip to Facial Scrub I'm sure. Except for that long name that nearly winded me. I personally just don't like any kind of pore-stripping product. I used to. I used to use this type of thing all the time until I realized a couple of things. One: not all of those little dark hair-spot things on the nose are actually blackheads. Two: these strips work at pulling those things out but they leave my face incredibly dry. Probably because they ripped out those skin-nourishing black things... At any rate, for someone with actual blackheads, this might work really well. Walmart only included one strip in the box and I'm okay with that. ($12.89 for 14 strips)

I get really excited whenever I see a perfume sample. I L.O.V.E. fragrances. The last one I sampled was You by Glossier and I can't wait for someone in my family to gift me a bottle. ~hint hint~ Well, I was really excited when is saw that Walmart included a sample of a Silhouette in Bloom by Christian Siriano and that it was a nice amount (2ml). I remember way back when he was competing on Project Runway. Now that his talent is being celebrated by the celebrated, I'm thrilled for him. And I just about hurt myself opening this perfume sample. Sadly, heartbreakingly, this did not live up to even my lowest expectations.  This is not a horrible fragrance but it does smell really cheap. And don't get me wrong - I shall always love me some Charlie and Emeraude. What I mean about this one is that it has a chemical-plastic under-scent. It's just like no thought at all was put into the fragrance. It reminds me of one of those dollar-store "perfumes" that the girls used to get us for Mother's Day when they were young. I remember having to sit at work all day smelling like I'd tried to mask pissy pants with room spray.  To top it off, this scent doesn't do anything nice with my body chemistry. I don't even like the look of the bottle that's pictured on the sample. Also, now that I look at the price, I realize it's way too high for the "Barbie Doll" smell. Ick and Yikes ($38.89) I would rather spend forty bucks on a 1 ounce split of something nice than for a whole bottle of this. Sorry, Christian. (He don't care while he's over there, rolling in his money!)

Maybe the black & purple
ones smell better???

So there you have it. Once again, Walmart has put out a better box than those that cost twice or three times as much. Basically, for five dollars, all you're paying is the shipping and handling. The RoC sample more than paid for this one. If I had liked the Silhouette fragrance, I'd have really hit the jackpot. By the way, I think I will try mixing that scent with some other fragrance to see if I can make it work. ~shrug~

If you are interested in subscribing to the Walmart Beauty box, it has its own page where you can do so.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Strangers Listening

I talk to myself. I don't mean that I mumble every now and then when I stub a toe or something like that. I mean that I have whole conversations with myself. Sometimes I'm talking about something I did ("Why the heck did I buy that plant? I've already killed two of them. That's five dollars I could have spent on some flour or some more tin foil. I am out of tin foil, aren't I? I think I used the last of it the other day. Let me go look. I might have some more in the pantry. Oh, man, I need to straighten this pantry up..."). Sometimes, I am praying out loud or just bargaining with God ("I really am trying to be a nicer person, Lord. Please help me to deal better with my anger." Or, "One of these days, I'm going to run into a wall and do more than give myself a knot on the head. Oh, Lord, please don't let me die from something so stupid. If I have to die, let it be from doing something heroic - or just let me die in my sleep. And please let all my laundry be done and the house clean when it happens. And let me be wearing my good PJs and not have my hair up in twists and a satin scarf.")

You might think I'm just being funny, but I am so serious. I talk to myself so much that I have to tell myself to shut up. Not only do I have those random conversations, but I also talk my way through my writing. I come up with whole pages of dialogue for my characters this way. There are times when the characters are being particularly hilarious and I make myself laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm not sure whether that might be entertaining or just frightening for anyone eavesdropping. And it's the potential eavesdropping that I want to post about today.

I have an Alexa device. I have the Echo Dot. I got it a couple of years ago during a Christmas sale. I don't use it every day. Sometimes, I don't turn it on for weeks at a time. Usually, I use it for listening to music or audiobooks when I'm cleaning or doing other chores around the house. (Even when I use it, I always deactivate the microphone by pushing that one button on top.) I have used it once or twice to call my brother to see if I left my cell phone at his house or in his car. Now that I also have a landline, I don't need the Dot for that. I used to say that if I got very sick and couldn't reach my phone, I'd have Alexa call my family. Of course, then I'd have to put up with all their "I've fallen and I can't get up jokes" for the next ten years... But, like I said, I sometimes don't turn the thing on for weeks. My best friend leaves hers on and uses it for almost everything - finding recipes, checking the weather, help with spelling, setting reminders, and asking random questions. But back to the eavesdropping.

When I read somewhere a while back that Alexa (or Alexa employees) could be listening in even when you hadn't voice-activated it, I got worried. Not worried that it was listening to my solo conversations but that it was listening to me while I had guests or was using the phone. That's just rude. I'm pretty sure that someone somewhere is always watching and listening to us, but I brought Alexa into my home, so it needs to have some manners. I didn't know whether the nosy thing was "training" when I had the microphone deactivated or not. So I searched around and found out how to opt-out of the setting for Alexa "training" itself by listening to me.

For a couple of weeks, I assumed the whole problem of Alexa listening in was handled. Then I was watching one of my favorite YouTube channels where the host brought up why she will never bring an Alexa device into her home and I felt kind of stupid. This host mentions that even her 10-year old son realized early on that Alexa has to always be listening. Otherwise, how does it know when you are speaking the activation word.

Someone, please tell me right now that I'm not the only idiot who never thought of this. Please.

Here's the thing, even without an Alexa device, I don't think that we are free of strangers listening (and looking) in on us. I have a friend who is very computer literate. As soon as they were commonplace, he taught me to always cover the camera lenses on my PC and phone. I always have, though I don't know that it does any good. I'd never done anything about the microphone until recently.

My best friend I and talked about the privacy issue a long time ago. We had started to notice something after we had talked on the phone with someone or even had a conversation in the privacy of our homes. Maybe you've noticed it too? Have you ever had a conversation - not on the computer - and then when you go online, there are advertisements for things you talked about? I can't remember when my friend and I first noticed, but we have had this happen a lot. Usually, we are talking about food (me) or clothes (her) and then the next time we are online, we will see some very specific brand or product that we mentioned. In one of my email accounts, ads run all along one side or the in-box. For instance, I've been on the phone with my friend, talking about a recipe that requires, say, puff pastry and all of a sudden, I will see ads for that very thing. Or we can be discussing some kind of item we want to purchase - like a chair or couch - and, boom, there's an ad for one.

Just in case you think my friend and I are just a little bit nuts (we are, but...), this has happened with other people. I've had a couple of people have this happen. The bestie's sister is aware of it too. My friend and her sister will be in their home talking and see that same kind of thing happen. I was talking with a neighbor - standing at the door at least 10 feet from my phone, computer, and television - talking about one of those meal delivery services. She had gotten some coupons and was offering to share them with me and a couple other neighbors. I declined and thanked her and we chatted for a few minutes before she left. I went back to the computer where I had been blogging and when I checked my mail there was one of those ads. For the next several hours, everywhere online I went, a lot of the advertisements were for different meal delivery services. Now that is just creepy.

Remember that I mentioned the microphone on my phone? Well, I recently went in and checked over all the permissions for the different apps I have installed. I disabled the phone and camera access for all of them that I could. I now only turn those permissions on temporarily as I need them.

I know that people say we are living in the age of the 'smart' home and we have all these so-called 'smart' devices. I just think that the smarter the devices get, the dumber we become.

I'm getting to be so paranoid. I realize that I gave away most of my privacy a long time ago just by joining into social media and blogging and email platforms, but I still want to retain as much control as I can. As far as talking to myself, well, that's never going to change. And it's not something I do because I'm single and turning into a plant-lady-is-the-new-cat-lady. I have always talked to myself and I have driven husbands and roommates crazy doing it. My best friend does the same thing and she says it's because we like talking to intelligent people. Now see, that's why she's my best friend!


Saturday, August 24, 2019

**REVIEW** Etereauty Trave-Sized Facial Cleansing Brush

(This is for those vendors who have been sending me their products unsolicited: I will NOT review your items on Amazon because of that site's most recent review policies. However, because some of you are so persistent, I will post reviews of your product(s) here on the blog. That said, this post is a review of one another of those products.)

So, as always, when I get one of these unsolicited items in the mail to review, I wanted to ignore it.

Then, I kept looking at it on the day when I was going to be doing my weekly facial. Normally, that only involves using a really gentle homemade mask of oatmeal, honey, and coconut oil. I let this mixture sit on my face for about 5 minutes before I wet my fingertips in a bowl of water and massaged everything in, and then I rinse and moisturize.

That's it. Simple. But I noticed that this cleansing tool comes with a silicone brush. It looks soft. I took it out of the case. It is soft. Okay.

So I decided that this would be one of those items I would review here. I still won't post anything on Amazon because that's against the rules. However, here is the product link. Now, let's do this.

  • It is compact enough to tuck into the corner or a suitcase (or even stow in a backpack).
  • With fresh batteries, it's really powerful.
  • The silicone head feels wonderful as a facial massager
  • Easy on-off switch
  • Ergonomic and easy to grip
  • Does require batteries (that are not included)
  • Easy to run down batteries. I think I got full-power use for about an hour and a half's use (spread over a week's time).
  • The pumice is too much, IMO, for use on elbows and knees, and not strong enough for foot calluses or heels.
  • The price (again, IMO) is a bit high. There are too many similar devices with good reviews that are cheaper.
Despite the negatives - which really aren't awful - this is a decent facial device. Even for people who don't travel, it's useful. Having a plug-in option would be awesome.

Thank you, Etereauty, for letting me try this.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

To All the Vapes I've Loved Before

Okay, I have been promising for a minute to do this post. Now that it's been a year since I went cigarette-free, I thought it was a good time to sort of showcase my vape collection. Some of these devices I won (yay, me) or were gifted (because people were glad I quit cigs) or that I gifted myself (with money saved from not smoking). I have to say that I do NOT miss smoking even though I sometimes miss the smoking rituals. I do like vaping. I can vape without nicotine and I can vape without stinking. I dig it.

I know that there have been a lot of news reports of the dangers of vaping and, honestly, I agree with others who think the problems come from outside "normal" vaping. People who are using juices from any and everywhere might be getting bad additives in their eliquid. Also, a lot of folks are vaping weed and who knows what else. It's just like with the stories of people hurt by exploding devices. Usually, those are situations of people improperly using vapes or amateurs improperly using specialty devices meant only for the experienced. You will not soon - if ever - see me using something I had to build and set up myself. No thank you, ma'am. It took me a week to get comfortable just choosing juice to put into an easy-fill, off-the-shelf device.

These are the devices I love and what I think of them now that I have more experience vaping.

First, let me say that after I wrote this post, I realized that I forgot to mention the device that I tried and went back to cigarettes. This was probably 5 or 6 years ago when ecigs were getting to be really popular in Alaska. I wanted to quit (again) and a friend went to the corner cigarette store and bought me a Blu device. I was so hopeful. Then I tried it. Ugh. That was the worst ever experience of my life. I didn't understand why people preferred a "vape" over cigarettes. I stayed on cigarettes until I moved here to Iowa. I saw the friend of a friend vaping away on a tiny ecig. I asked if they really liked it and I told them about the Blu. They let me try their device (I think it was an Aspire or something similar). It was decent. It didn't make me cough or feel like I was inhaling sandpaper down my throat. That's when I knew that I could find an alternative to cigarettes. So...

The Juul was my first. I loved this thing. I was able to give up cigarettes with it. The vape was just as strong of a nicotine hit as the full-flavor cigarettes I smoked except the flavor and scent was Mango. How I loved the Mango pods. However...

Juul pods are so expensive that I wasn't saving any money. Also, eventually, Juul stopped selling the Mango pods. I rarely use the device anymore. The replacement and refillable pods I've found just are never as good as the original Juul pod.

I had one or two other small cheapo devices like that amazing $9 Boulder that I eventually gave to my SIL. She loves and still uses it. I wanted something that gave me the flavor of the smaller pod Juul device. I was seriously over cigarettes at this point. Enter the Smok Veneno. Wow. This thing scared me a little at first. My nephew had to show me everything from how to fill it to how to change the coils. I still to this day never mess with changing the wattage except from up to down! I do love this though. It's a workhorse and it can handle being dropped (a couple of times) and tossed into purses and backpacks. I can also switch out tanks with the Caliber. I really do love this and will have til it quits on me.

After the Veneno, things get blurry as far as which device came next and when. Because I won or was given a couple of devices, I would pay it forward by giving them to someone else trying to quit cigs and wanting to try vaping. I at one time had at least 2 devices similar to the Boulder. Those went to friends and neighbors and I hope they helped them. As for the rest, here are some that I still have and I link to any reviews I might have written for them.

This is the Aspire PockeX. I have learned that I'm not a huge fan of the smaller and less powerful mouth-to-lung devices out there. Even though MTL mimics smoking a cigarette, I have gotten used to direct to lung vaping since I don't use high nicotine (or, sometimes any nicotine) and like the clouds and flavor more than anything. I hope that made sense!

Overall, this PockeX is great for "ladylike" vaping. It a nice device for slipping into the purse or pocket for trips to the store or when you are around people who might not vape. I have literally vaped right in front of people who never noticed because this device is so discreet. However, I never got a lot of flavor with this. 

Pico Baby
 This little beauty is the Eleaf Istick Pico Baby 25W Kit. It's one of my favorites as far as how it looks. It's just cute and discreet and stylish. And it was under $15 believe it or not. It's a nice vape - much more powerful than you'd expect for such a tiny device. It didn't come with extra coils and I always burn through them quickly.

But when I say this device is tiny, I mean just that.

So, there's the cute, tiny Pico Baby and then there's the big brother...

The Pico Squeeze is a squonk device. Listen, I had zero business getting this thing! I didn't understand what a "squonk" was. Now I know. Thank goodness I have a young (young adultso don't freak out) nephew who was once so into vaping that he built his own devices (whatever that means). He came over and set everything up for me and told me to call him whenever I need to do anything more complicated than filling the juice reservoir.

I don't use this one often - because of my nephew's instructions - but when I do, it is awesome. I can't really describe how much more smooth and defined flavors are when using a squonk. Just freaking superb.

Now, believe it or not, between winning devices, getting them as gifts, and finding sales, I don't spend nearly as much money on vapes as I did on cigarettes. With cigarettes, I was sometimes going through over a pack of cigarettes a day. At the time I was in Alaska, a pack cost over 9 dollars and sometimes as much as 10 and change. Crazy habit. Now that I vape, a $7 bottle of
ejuice can last me 2 weeks or more. Of course, I don't use fancy juice. I also have found places like the Dollar eJuice Club. Mostly, I use VapeWild juice that I can find at Electronic Tobacconist (and skip the crazy shipping or club fees). So I do like finding devices that are no longer brand new on the market. Once the new device craze wears off, I can snatch up a 40- or 50-dollar device for 15 to 20 dollars. Don't believe me? Go back and look at what I paid for some of the devices compared to what they cost several months before my review.

Anyway, it did take me a while to learn what kind of vape experience I like. I'm not into a lot of bling-bling or alterable parts and stuff. I just want something that's decent-looking and gives a nice flavor. Okay, I do like my vapor too! Once I settled into my vape groove, I was more careful about falling for all the hype every time something new came out. And I was really happy with what I already had in my collection.

Then, because I remembered the joys of the Juul, I wanted to see if there was anything just as good. I especially wanted a more "able" device than the Juul - more affordable and definitely refillable. And along came the Uwell Caliburn.

I didn't immediately love the way it looks. The Caliburn is so much fatter than the Juul. As soon as I vaped the device I forgot all about the Juul. The one and only thing that Juul has on the Caliburn are those high-nicotine pods. I think that's what attracts newly-quit smokers. You get such a good taste and a super-hit of nicotine with Juul. But then you start to learn about things like salt nic and refillable pods. Yeah, no need to spend all that money on Juul pods.

Finic 20
I am now best friends with the Caliburn. Like the Pico Baby, it's small and discreet.  Because it's narrow and flat, it's nice to have when you don't want to carry a purse. This is a good pocket vape.

Another device that I wasn't immediately thrilled with is the Finic 20 from Voopoo. Since I won it in a giveaway, I was willing to get used to it. And I have to admit, it's a cute little device. When I was given a choice of 3 devices, I chose to wait a month for this one mainly because of the colors and design.

I had to use this for a few days and figure out that I could not only vape cigarette-style but also do DTL vaping. Then I was happy. I don't use this all the time but I like it.

I can't believe that I'm just now mentioning one of my fave devices. Well, it's my sort-of-fave. The first one I got went wonky and I had to fight my way through getting it replaced. Tedious. But so worth it because this thing is AHmazing. Behold the Voopoo Caliber.

Oh my my my! How I love this thing. It's beautiful and a vape- monster (if that's a thing). The one reason I use this mostly at home and don't pack it around is that it's freaking solid. It's too fat to tuck in a pant or skirt pocket and too heavy for a shirt pocket. I don't mean to say that it's crazy-heavy, but it's just a bit much for tucking away anywhere, in my opinion.
Uwell Whirl 22

No worries though. Just like the Pico Baby is the kid sister to the Pico Squeeze, I did find the adopted kid sibling to the Caliber. Adopted because it's got a different mother.

That's the Uwell Whirl 22. How cute is it? For a $20 device... I'll say that if I could, I would have paid twice that. It's not as powerful as the Caliber, of course, but it's a nice substitute for taking around on the go. It's smaller and much lighter in weight.

 Look at them together. Just kind of amazing that I found something like the Whirl. It's one of the devices that I liked the minute I got it.

I'm just now discovering that, for some reason, I never did a review of the Smok Priv V8. Huh. Well, I will have to do that. For now, here is what it looks like and I can tell you that it's another device I was a little slow to fall in love with.

There are some pros and cons with this one and I promise to do a short review soon.

The Innokin Endura is one that I started out liking and then... things have been going downhill. I listed the pros and cons when I reviewed the device but those negatives have become very annoying. The other day, it tipped over again and then started leaking. When I tried to see what was up, the whole top part fell apart. So... yeah. That thing was too much trouble to fill and then, with the constantly tipping over, it just went into a drawer somewhere. At least I got an extra drip tip that fits a couple of the other small devices...

You can probably tell that I tend to like Smok devices - even though I don't know if I'm pronouncing Smok correctly. I say "Smock" but some other people say "Smoke". Whatever. Maybe because a Smok was my first serious device after the Juul, I feel comfortable with them. I will say one thing though: When Smok gets it right, they nail it, but when they get it wrong...

The Smok Infinix was a device I raved about for a long time. Then, recently, I could hear light hissing after I finished taking a hit. I changed to a new, clean pod and the same thing happened. I'm going to have my brother or nephew take a look at it the next time they are over. Ugh

By the way, in a battle between the Infinix and the Caliburn, the Infinix gets its butt kicked. For flavor, vapor, and reliable hits, the Caliburn is the champ. Also, next to the Caliburn, the Infinix looks and feels a little cheap.  I have to admit right now that Uwell and Eleaf are becoming my favorites. Sorry, Smok.

Looking at this list, I'm thinking that I have a lot of devices! In reality, it has been a year since I quit cigarettes and with contests, giveaways, and sales, I haven't done too badly. If you didn't believe me when I told you how long juice lasts me, just look at how much I accumulated over a 4 month period. I won't be buying juice again for a very long minute...

I took this photo 6 months ago for a post and I still have about 5 full or nearly full 30ml bottles and I think I still have all of those 10ml bottles.

So, if you didn't doze off somewhere before this, I might as well tell you about a fun app I've signed up with called Vaffle. It's social media for vape enthusiasts. I am not that into it yet because it's not very user-friendly. However, it is an awesome place to look at very cool and unusual devices. I love that part.

By the way, here is a post I did about some of the shops I frequent. And remember, I am a broke cheapskate so...

I hope you had fun looking at the different vapes and, hopefully, reading some of the linked reviews. And remember, as a vaper, be cool, not annoying.


I think this young man in underappreciated

The Age of Ugliness

Normally, I don't blog about politics or race. When I did in the past, it was just childish venting and when I realized that, I stopped. This post is not meant to be childish or petty but it will involve some venting. And I am posting it asap.

Today I experienced something ugly at our little neighborhood market. Let me back up and explain the current social temperature here in this town. I am in Northern Iowa and, for such a Trump-centric voting base, I have only rarely run into people acting like Trump at his worst. I think that the Trump voters here chose him for the same reasons anyone chooses a candidate. They wanted someone who represented them and their interests. I have my own opinions about whether or not they chose correctly, but, oh well. My point is that I don't think there are a lot of Steve King type people around where I live. The people here are decent, civil, and as worn down as the rest of us by the economy and various social stresses.  That said, I know that, like anywhere, there are people here with hate in their hearts. There are also people with their own stories and circumstances that have nothing to do with hating other people just for the sake of hating.


So, basically, up until today, the only kind of ugliness that I've had directed at me was the time I accidentally ran over a woman's heel with my shopping cart. She turned around and gave me a look that was screaming "Nigger" in at least 5 different languages. Here's the thing: had I not run into her, she probably would have never given me a second glance.

When I was at the store today, the man in line behind me didn't just hate me - he wanted me to know that he did. He went out of his way to let me know. I only happened to notice him because I glanced back when I out the little bar on the conveyor belt so he could load his groceries separate from mine. I could feel the laser of nastiness he was sending my way so I openly turned and looked him in the eye - you know, the way you do with vicious animals and human bullies. Oh! Man! He glared at me and fixed his mouth as if he wanted to spit on me.

I tried not to let this get to me and I finished checking out without changing my expression. (Okay, I already have resting bitch face, so I had to work a little to look slightly less bitchy.) The clerk is a young man who knows me and he watched this whole thing like he was worried something was about to pop off. 

Here's the thing, I don't engage with ugliness unless I'm forced to physically defend myself. That kind of thing hasn't happened since I was a teenager and had a lot to learn about social graces. I wasn't worried that this situation was going to go beyond the man's visual assault. He's an angry man and I don't know why. I do know that I'm an easy target for his anger. I'm black and female with nappy natural hair. In that man's mind, I probably look like every person he's supposed to hate for ruining his vision of "making America great again." You know, 'great' like back when the Klan galloped around in the night, holding up their Christian faith as a shield against (not for) everything our Savior taught. Our Savior and their Savior - that Jewish rabbi who died on the cross and is the Christ in 'Christian'...

The thing about hate is that it's not always backed up by reason or logic. It's usually not even directed at the right target. It's just this mask that some people wear to hide their real fears. I can disagree with someone without hating them (or their demographic). Hate is a poison that stops discussion and debate and the rational exchange of ideas and opinions. Hate allows people to be ignorant without shame. Hate can also be a tool that people use to divide and conquer.

Of course, all this ugliness wasn't born when Trump was sworn into office. He didn't invent hate any more than Hitler invented anti-semitism. You see where I'm going here?

The one thing that irritates me most about the past election and this current president is the backing and encouragement given to Trump by the evangelical Christians. I too am a Christian, so I want to speak on this. Yes, he's supported Israel and he claims to be pro-life. For some of us, that gives him carte blanche to crap on the rest of anything resembling moral decency. The other irritation is the whole 'MAGA' thing. As if every decent person in this country has not been a part of trying to make and keep America great. As a woman who cringes every time the president opens his mouth to say something horrible and divisive, I don't think greatness is the goal.

Very said & very true

So that's my rant. I don't want to go on because ranting doesn't solve anything. The best thing I can do is to keep praying for everyone so that, when the time comes, we will be able to heal and come back together as brother and sister citizens. That's going to be most important for people like me and the other broke and disenfranchised folks - you know, like that dude at the store.


Monday, August 19, 2019

**REVIEW** Uwell Whirl 22 Starter Kit

This is a post about vaping. If you are not the legal smoking/vaping age in your area, this post is NOT for you. I don't encourage or approve of underage use of adult products.

Since it's been (almost) exactly  1 year since I gave up cigarettes...

Yay me

...I was just thinking the other day that I needed to do a total recap of all the vapes I've used. First, though, I decided to do this review of the latest device.

I put in for a money card giveaway so long ago that I forgot about it. Instead of being sensible and buying vitamins or something, I got this from over at Breazy:

That is the Whirl 22 25W Starter Kit by Uwell. Let me tell you something. This thing... man, is it good. I cannot believe that this is a $20 device. And I'm a little mad too because I have other devices that cost two and three times and they aren't as decent. The starter kit came with the usual extra coil and a replacement tank glass (a bubble style).

Something I want to mention immediately is that most shops are lauding this as basically (or only) a mouth-to-lung device. That's so wrong. This can be used as both MTL or DTL. As a matter of fact, I use it primarily direct-to-lung. But anyway... Here are the pros and cons.

What's to like:
  1. By shopping around, you can find it priced affordably. This was $19.99 (with a free shipping code) at Breazy.com. They were sold out of most of the colors but, at the time I shopped, I got one of the last rainbow/iridescent shades. (NOTE: when I checked yesterday, they were down to the black shade. Just now I checked and they are sold out. You can request an email notification for when they are back in stock.)
  2. It's a really beautiful and shiny device. "Whirl" is embossed along the side. At least, I think that's what it says... 
  3. It's extremely lightweight and easy to hold onto, but it doesn't look or feel cheap. It's small enough to fit into a pocket and it won't weigh down fabric.
  4. It is a top fill device.
  5. The device charged fairly quickly out of the box (where it might have been partially charged) and took about 15 minutes to get to full charge.
  6. You do get a bubble tank in addition to the pre-installed straight one.
  7. I love that this has a smaller/narrower drip tip. (I found that my Smok Priv V8 tip fit the Whirl.)
  8. This has nice airflow adjustment levels. I like being able to open the flow for direct-to-lung vaping. For people who like mouth-to-lung (like with a cigarette), the flow narrows down very nicely for that.
  9. I don't vape constantly and the fully-charged battery on the device lasted an entire day (about 10 hours) and was only getting low enough to matter a couple of hours into the following day. It does vape well at mid-battery level, but the very best is when it's fully charged. And for a 25-watt device, it vapes beautifully.
  10. The flavor with the new coil was marvelous. I tend to use sweet dessert-flavored juices in all my vapes. The Vape Wild "Snickerdoodle" juice in the Whirl was probably the best it's tasted so far. That surprised me.

What might bother some folk:
  1. Can be as much as $40-50+ if you don't shop around.
  2. It's a fingerprint magnet. These are very shiny devices. That matters to some people (not me). I suggest choosing a color that doesn't show prints so much. On this rainbow shade, I have to look close to see prints that would show up a lot on a solid color. Also, the "Whirl" that's embossed on the device is really shallow and kind of hard to read. I don't know, it could read "Idiot" for all I can tell.
  3. Some people like heavier devices because they think it makes them feel more expensive. Personally, I like the size and weight.
  4. The fill holes are small and a couple of my bottle tips were too fat. I think I will prefer using a needle top dispenser to keep things clean.
  5. The charging port is on the bottom. I hate that. Also, you cannot use the vape while it's charging.
  6. The base and tank cannot be used with any other device. They are made for each other. If the top breaks, you can't use the battery base. I haven't even swapped to the bubble tank because the installed one is on very, very tight and I don't want to break it. Also...
  7. The Whirl 20 has an outer metal cage protecting the glass tank. Smart. This Whirl 22 has the metal cage inside the glass tank. Why? No clue.
  8. With a sweet juice (the kind I like) the coil flavor started to wane after a couple of days. It still worked well but it's not going to be like the one in the Voopoo Caliber that lasts really well for at least a week before the quality goes down. This might last longer with a less sugary juice. I don't know.
One other thing I had trouble with initially was opening the tank to fill it. The lid was extremely tight and as you can see, it's quite narrow and can be hard to get a grip on.

Yeah, you have to unscrew the
skinny piece there

After the first couple of times, that got easier but I still wish the top was one of the roll-open kinds like the ones on the Voopoo Caliber, Smok Priv V8 and Smok Veneno. Sometimes, it's the little things.

All in all, the Whirl has too many positives (especially at the $20 price) for the negatives to matter much. And it comes in a nice range of colors.

sapphire blue, silver, black, gold, rainbow/iridescent,  purple

 Because I'm no expert on product specifications, I copied this from Breazy for you:

Product Features:  (w/highlights)

Dimensions: 22.2mm x 117.5mm 
Tank Capacity: 2ml
Integrated Rechargeable Battery: 1600mAh
Construction: High-Quality Stainless Steel 
Unibody Design
Quartz Glass Reinforcement
***Maximum Wattage: 25W***
Voltage Output Range: 3.0V - 3.8V
Resistance Range: 0.5ohm - 0.7ohm
Single Button Mechanism 
LED Indication Light
NiChrome Element: 0.6ohm Whirl Coil 
MicroUSB Charging Port 

Package Includes:  

1 x Whirl 22 Starter Kit By Uwell 
1 x Replacement Quartz Glass
2 x 0.6ohm Whirl Coils
1 x Pack Of O-Rings
1 x Drip Tip Cover
1 x Micro USB Charging Cord
1 x Instructional Manual

Because size does often matter with vape devices, I compared this to the Caliber (which is heavier and longer):

Can you tell I have a color preference?

I watched a couple of videos that compare the Whirl 22 against the Whirl 20. From what I understand, the main differences are in the tank cage (Whirl 20 has more protection) and fill methods (Whirl 20 is a more cumbersome bottom fill device). Two reviewers said that there was zero difference in the flavor. Of course, the Whirl 22 has a bigger battery so it will last longer.

This is a great device and had I known about it, I would have gotten one long ago. I would even have been willing to pay a little more than I did because it's such a good vape.