Politics was a sport in my family. Mum was liberal (truly Independent, as she’d hop, skip and jump, based upon rhetoric) and Dad was Conservative. I spelt liberal with the small l on purpose–it’s more an attitude. Dad’s? He’s Mr. Card Carrying Ask No Questions. My maternal grandmother was diametrically opposite Dad. It made for a wonderful comparison / contrast. I think it’s good when there are varieties in a family; it shows you a clearer microcosm of the world you’ll be in when you move out.

I was REALLY a weirdo kid (still weird): I took up the Independent party’s mock election campaign at my primary school on 1979. Yeah. Weird.

What’s sort of funny is I’ve been less apt to follow politics since Bush II was elected. I don’t say re-elected because he was not elected in the first place. When he was actually elected was the last election I sort of well, overly paid attention to–not counting some local ones.

Why I say it’s funny that I stopped following politics is:

Hillary for America

I signed up to volunteer for Hillary for America!


I’m not sure what they’ll need. I have one friend who stuffs envelopes (has volunteered since the 50s). Another friend has walked neighbourhoods to see if homeowners give permission to put up  signs. I live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, along a county road where several houses fly Dixie. This is the Midwest but nobody told them or they slept during class. There’s a snowball’s chance in Dixie they’d like a Hillary sign.

Maybe what I needed was a break from following politics to miss it, to want to feel like I am a part of something. I’m excited. I hope to learn a lot and to be proud of my contribution.

crafty, dried bouquet in repurposed bottle arrangement

My beloved daughter from another mother is getting married next month. Her colours are gold and red. I made these for her home. I wanted it to reflect her nuptials, if she should like to have a display of keepsakes. Otherwise? Hey! Christmas is coming and the décor’s partially there!

Flora: rose buds, Queen Anne’s Lace and Pampass. They are mostly Gold with a little Bronze for depth.

The bottles are done in multiple coats to create a texture and effect.

The ribbons are red and metallic gold with filigree.


review, November Ipsy Glam Bag

As ever, if you choose to subscribe to Ipsy via my referral link, I get 250 points, which is about 2.50USD worth to buy stuff from their site. Do NOT feel like you are pressured. I want you to use my reviews as a help. However, if you are subscribing anyway, may as well throw free money my way. 

Peptide Polish

Erm? Okay, can we all agree that nails, like hair, are dead? I’m a Scientist and I don’t see how peptides are going to help my nails — maybe the cuticles but use a cuticle oil or good moisturiser or something. Seems gimmicky. That said, It’s aiight for a polish. I sort of like the colour, though in the preview it looked nacre. This would only be that if my heredity were from a climate much closer to the equator. I popped one coat on top of the white nails to show it on.

Make mine Matte: mattifying primer

No complaints but my lurve is Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Pore Minimising Primer

Eyeshadow Crease brush

It’s decent. I only ever have 2 complaints (maybe 3) about makeup brushes:

  1. some have horrendous fallout
  2. some are scratchy
  3. some stink even after repeated washes and vinegar rinses

Can’t complain about this one. It’s cheaply made but I don’t mind that at all. One of my favs is a Maybelline ‘mop’ brush from again, the 80s, that just keep lasting. It doesn’t have to be expensive for me to like it.

  1. Dark grey eye liner pencil

What a POS. I have paid 2 for 1USD for eyeliners of this quality as a teenager in the 80s. No thanks.

Woolly Bully: now that’s a volumising brush!
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

I’ve used this in the past and loved it then, though my fav (where I return again and again) is Mally. This mascara goes on easily (more liquid than thick) and curls the lashes better than most but it it meant as a volumising mascara. Well, I guess with its name, it’s aiming to do both and it does.

My one complaint is if your eyes tear (my allergies have been bothering me), it RUNS. Oy.

The Glam Bag itself and its contents  

I love this bag! It’s more of a fabric than last month’s vinyl. I adore the design but I’m a scifi and science-lover. I am not a Star Wars fan but I assume that’s what prompted this choice. The zipper is plastic but works well. I assume if you over-stuff, it may break. I currently put all my fav eyeliners and eyeshadow sticks in!
November’s shiny pink envelope.

Hope these reviews help! Sometimes I have a lot more to say but this month, I didn’t. It was pretty straight forward. If you found it helpful, please click ‘like’ and / or leave a message with your favs! (or warnings!)

review, ‘Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel’

I got a bunch of deluxe trial sized products (not from ipsy) and will work through most of them for you! This is Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling GelTo get this size, you’d pay (going by the link) 15USD not counting shipping! In my opinion, give this one a pass.

The positive:

My skin does not react to it! I can react pretty easily to things.

This is an ODDBALL product! The idea of a peel or a resurfacing agent is usually physically abrasive (which I think technically this is?) or chemical. Or both.

The directions say to apply to clean, dry skin in a generous amount and rub in circles.


The negative:

My skin does not react to it! I can react pretty easily to things.

Immediately, it sort of pills up? It doesn’t tug, it doesn’t hurt but I’ve used it DAILY for a week and I find it does NOTHING.

I expected when it didn’t ‘do’ anything the first day, that after a few uses it would start scorching me or something. Nope.

Not only has it not helped with blackheads or pore-size (pores don’t change size but if they’re VERY clean, you notice them less) or certainly not ‘firmness,’ which is apparently the point given the name. In fairness, even in my mid-40s, I don’t need help with firmness.

I know if something is doing well..something for or against me. This? While it looks interesting as it’s pilling, it seems to do nothing. At all.

Save your money. If you have EXTREMELY sensitive skin and can’t tolerate chemical or physical ‘peels,’ maybe give this a try. It might be for you.


Bedazzled Christmas Collar

I made this for Herr German Shepherd Mix. I pawed through a disused desk and found a Bedazzler and sequins. One of the kids had a ball making collars for her dogs and I thought that was a dandy idea!

She favoured gold (works for me, I prefer silver or COLOUR). I picked out the small green and red. I was going to do a tree outline or other design of a Christmas theme. It ended up that I 14 and 6. This seemed great for the way the numbers work out!

The best way I could get him to settle was on my lap. He doesn’t like cameras but really doesn’t like phones!

review, BEST fitness programme ever: ChaLEAN Extreme (Burn Circuit progress)

I have been a Chalene Johnson fan since I bought TurboJam off TV in the 90s, baby! I loved the music. I loved her humour and verve. When I became aware that you could buy TurboKick DVDs (actually meant for fitness instructors!) and PiYo (now a BB joint), I started buying THOSE. They were not meant for prime time, let me tell you. Nevertheless, great workouts!

When I heard about ChaLEAN Extreme, I threw my money at the site. That was in 2009. Later, I bought TurboFire, which was the uber version -Chalene didn’t pick me up in her SUV  of TurboJam / TurboKick. To most people, this is jargon and I may as well be speaking Klingon. Let’s call it TurboBat’leth.

Turbo Bat'leth

Turbo Bat’leth


Thanks for stopping by.

I followed what was stated in the programme and part of that was not jumping on a scale every hour, which was how I’d spent years doing as a liftimer at WW.

I took measurements and ran them monthly through 3 different methods to cipher body fat, then found the mean cos I’m a Scientist.

I did only CE during my first round. A ’round’ is 3 months long, broken into 3 Circuits:

Burn – Push – Lean

To my horror, at the end of my 1st round, I weighed exactly the same.

To my pleasure, I dropped more than 6 sizes.

Sign me up!

Why did I not continue this wonderful programme over the years? I have fitness ADD.

I don’t care how wonderful anything is, I have to try something else. After 3 rounds (9 mos) of CE, I did P90X (1 round, which is also 3 mos) and Insanity (which is 2 mos?). I also bought p90x2, which I didn’t like and never finished one round. I got other BB programmes (the funniest name being Brazil Butt Lift) and honestly don’t think that I finished a single round of anything else til p90x3. Then I romped way down a rabbit hole of kettlebell / RKC (and even more stuff).

Then the other story of a few over-training injuries which required dire medical attention. Finally, I stopped doing anything.
That, I could stick to.


CE is for men ‘and woman’  but for the ladies (cardio bunnies who have been raised on a mantra of ‘I don’t want to bulk up’), the difference in CE to many other programmes is:


The methodology is to move slowly, very slowly. I, in fact, am so focused that I’m moving slower than the video, usually 2-3 reps behind them. That’s not because I’m a Heroine but because I’m FOCUSED. Some moves require balance and they all require that slow movement, so I’m counting not only reps but a sort of beats or pace. I’m focusing on breathing in the right places. It’s more than my brain can handle. When Chalene says, ‘Okay, you’re on your 12th rep…’ I usually grunt back, ‘CHARlene, hang ON already.’ That’s what I call her when we argue.

Dr. EvilYou reach failure by the target rep. That’s when if somebody offered you a million dollars, you couldn’t lift the weight (no cheating: in good form and at slow pace) another time.

Depending on which Circuit, that’s 12 max or 8 max. You are allowed to fail by 10 (w/ 12) or 6 (w/ 8) but that’s not because you want to but again: ‘1 MILLION dollars…’

I have an additional ‘level’ where I (don’t tell ChaRlene) reach failure and then take 2 quick breaths, then eke out another rep. It’s only 2 extra pants but that seems to allow me to get ONE MORE TIME!!! In my own guidebook, I mark a symbol (me flipping her off*) to denote that I honestly can’t move up in weight. Don’t even try it. Go get a drink of water and towel off, little lady.

*It’s not me flipping her off. It’s a bold m-dash in my guidebook and I used an asterisk here.

On a few exercises, you’ll do an Extreme Set. It’s like a drop set but instead of dropping weights, you just do the 10 second break before doing more with the same weight.

That’s pretty much it.

not my dog but you get the--

not my dog but you get the–

Here’s the deal, I did great cos I was following the programme and clean eating. This month, I have done perfectly with working out but not so muchly with eating. It shows. I’m not having a significant drop in size. That said: I am STRONGER and more FLEXIBLE. I have more STAMINA due to the cardio (anaerobic) workouts. My back hurts less. My posture is better. I can pick up my 55lb dog like a puppy (I do this at least once a day and couldn’t before) and hold him. He thinks it’s AWESOME. It’s funny for everybody else!

Here are my comparison / progress reports from my guidebook. The weights will not look like much but we’re moving SLOWLY, remember (and if it says 18#, that’s 2 eighteen pound powerblocks)! The important thing is that I progressed with everything but ONE EXERCISE.

I was starting my last workout for the month today when I was stopped to go fell a tree. And that including lugging around log chains. Log chains aren’t regular chains. Also hauling limbs from an 80′ tree or removing tractor parts, etc. isn’t the easiest thing, let alone taking down steel fencing that I then hauled across a pasture. I was winded and my shoulders were feeling pretty tired. I immediately came in and started working out without recovery. I may have felt a little stronger had this not occurred but ranch life is ranch life.

Burn Circuit

Burn 1 – Week 4 lb (#) – Reps / Week 1 

sumo squat w/ hip lift: emoticon 15# – 12Reps / 12# – 12Reps
lunge w/ posterior fly: emoticon 9# – 11R / 6# – 10R
push-up w/ leg lift: emoticon 2 TOES (10 knees) – 12R / 12 knees – 12R
dead lift w/ posterior fly: emoticon 9# – 10R / 6# – 10R
lunge w/ core rotation: emoticon 18# – 12R / 12# – 12R /
bench press w/ leg lower: emoticon 15# with resistance band on legs – 10R / 12# – 12R
squat w/ side bend: emoticon 18# – 12R 3X / 12# – 12R 3 eXtreme
fwd lean lunge w/ posterior fly: emoticon 9# – 12R 3X / 6# – 12R 3X
chest fly w/ hip lift: emoticon 15# – 10R 3X (knee press ups) / 9# – 12R 3X

Burn 2 – Week 4 lb (#) – Reps / Week 1 

sumo squat w bicep curl: emoticon 12# – 12R / 6# – 10R
lunge w tricep extension: emoticon 9# – 11R / 6# – 10R
dead lift row: emoticon 15# – 12R / 12# – 11R
sumo squat w overhead tricep extension: emoticon 15# – 12R / 12# – 12R
dead lift w reverse row: emoticon 15# – 12R / 12# – 12R
bowler’s lunge w row: emoticon 15# – 12R / 12# – 11R
bicep curl w abductor balance: emoticon 9# – 12R 3X (w band) / 9# – 10R 0X wo band
fwd lean lunge row: emoticon 15# – 12R 3X / 12# – 12R 0X
triple-threat pushups: emoticon 3 toes 9 knees 3X knees / 10 knees 0X

Burn 3 – Week 4 lb (#) – Reps / Week 1

sumo squat w overhead press: emoticon 9# – 12R* / 9# – 10R
lunge w calf raise: emoticon 18# – 12R / 12# – 12R
squat w lateral raise: emoticon 9# – 12R / 6# – 12R
lunge w frontal press: emoticon 9# – 12R* / 9# – 12R
squat w calf raise: emoticon 18# – 12R* / 12# – 12R
sumo squat w delt raise: emoticon9# – 12R / 6# – 12R
squat w overhead press: emoticon 9# – 12R* 3X / 9# – 10R 2X
lunge w lateral raise: emoticon 9# – 12R 3X knees / 6# – 12R 3X
sumo squat w calf raise: emoticon 18# – 12R* 3X / 12# – 12R 3X

I’m chuffed to start Push Circuit after tomorrow’s cardio and yoga, then a rest day! My next ‘close’ goal is to finish the Push Circuit as neatly as I did Burn. Obviously, Lean Circuit follows but I’m focusing on ONE MONTH at a time. I think that I overwhelm my brain by thinking of 3 months. Let’s do ONE and then see?

(And you know my eye is on the BB version of Piyo, damn it.)


Eiffel Tower France Peace

recipe, Thanksgiving All-in-1 Crockpot Dinner

I grew up cooking,at a very young age, for the family on a daily basis. One thing I didn’t do was use a crockpot (AKA slow cooker). I only ever used them for keeping soup or chili hot at a party.

But they’re stupid-popular and hey, for those who don’t know how (or want) to cook a Thanksgiving Dinner (by the way, roasting a turkey is dead-easy–really), this is a great idea!

All the flavours with less stress?

Everything you need is here. 

review, theBalm Shady Lady Volume 2 palette

A gift!

Thought I’d swatch for the kids playing at home. Here are the shades:


Shadow / liners are dry then wet (obviously!). Basically, if you start at the top-left and ‘read’ as if the colours were words in English, the 1st 5 are shadow / liners. All of the pans are frost, the 1st 2 with additional glitter. 
For reference, I was born redheaded with pale, warn undertones (veins are green).

Direct sunlight:

Indirect, natural light:


Apologies for the oddball spacing!

The middle / running along my forearm is #1 – #5 shadow / liners, to maximise comparison dry / wet.

I tucked #6 on its own next to the blue & green.

#7 – #9 are on the other side, #7 next to green, #8 next to taupe and # 9 next to the brownish-maroon and purple colours.

I’m a massive theBalm fan. While there are some products I haven’t loved, I have regularly grab their shadows, blush and lipsticks — and generally recommend their palettes, particularly the ones with multiple products as it’s fun to try a variety of items at once. 

(I’m also a fan of their mint clay masque.)

Mary-Lou-Maniser is something I wear every day as highlight shadow and sometimes for its actual purpose :)

As you can see, the bottom row (palette) are warn-neutrals, which are for natural or day use (doowutchyalike). One note: I’m very pale, so that shimmering white may be a bit much for medium to deeper complexions.

The 1st 2 of the top would probably be best wet, as liner. I mention this from experience with various eye products with glitter…it seems to do best when held in place with at least wet application, best with liner-sealant. Your experiences may not match my own.

The ‘rest’ seem great for lid or transition but of course: PLAY!

November Ipsy Glam Bag Preview: chuffed!

The October Review is here, in my fantabulous form of blathering: giving both too much information and not any hard science. It’s a Specialty.

Since I’m new to Ipsy, I didn’t realise how different Glam Bags could be–their contents. I was sort of disappointed when I saw a couple of items that I’d rather have had in others’ reviews.

This month, I got a preview and I hope they didn’t get my hopes up because everything looks awesome!

Requisite link bait: if you subscribe via that link, they give me 250 ‘points,’ which equates to something like 2USD towards products purchased on their site. It’s ain’t the best deal in the world. Do not feel obligated. I’ll let you know if I really want you to do something. I’m honest like that.

I’m assuming the galaxy motif is due to the new Star Wars film. I’m a massive Trekkie and Browncoat. I do not care for SW for the same reason The Matrix wasn’t my thing: too damned religious. If I want to get Biblical, there’s one in every hotel nightstand and I’ve got three in my flat.

(If you’re thinking that I’ve completely gone insane, that happened years ago. Start googling; my film degree is not without merit, unlike my opinion which is ya know, as good as yours or anybody else’s. Back to the preview. Come on OPINIONS!)

My November 2015 Ipsy preview









Spaced-out bag? Of course this is a preview but from looking at it, it looks extremely cheaply made (see last month’s review) but IT’S SO FUN!!!

Crease brush? YESS

Travel mascara for my purse? YESS

Nacre nail varnish? YESS

Pore minimiser/ primer? YESS

Eyeliner? Well…I have a drawer full of eyeliners and even like some of them. Why not another? 



recipe, bowl of meat and veg soup (mussels, meatballs & jicama, turnip)

I have these chicken meatballs that I bulk cooked and to be honest, they needed to get eaten!

Last night, I thawed pre-steamed (frozen) mussels.

I made a pot of soup today, using some frozen ‘mixed veg’ which were cooked. I had some jicama that was not as good as usual. It was too dry and fibrous. I like jicama but I dunno. Maybe it wasn’t ripe enough? We don’t grow them and I’ve only had good ones, so I don’t know the issue.

I also had some sweet potatoes and when I was thinking of putting in the jicama (only eaten them raw-plain or in salad) in with the soup veg, I thought, ‘OOO! That sounds like sweet potatoes would go with jicama!’

I seasoned coconut oil with basil, salt, pepper and then recalled how much I love lemon & basil, so I also added lemon peel to the oil.

I diced the jicama into cubes and left turnips in larger dice (both are white and since jicama in soup was new to me, I wanted to be able to tell them apart). I added them in 1st and later the mixed veg, then after tossing in the oil and spices for some time, I covered it all with chicken stock, added a bunch more garlic and then had the bright idea to add cilantro.

I KNOW! It’s madness! I tasted along the way and kept changing things as I went.

Oh. I didn’t want to futz with dicing sweet potatoes, so I baked them in the microwave whilst doing all of this other stuff. I them peeled and diced them, adding to the now boiling stock and veg.

I let that cook til Ozarks-appropriate (everything’s OD) and tasted.


I mean, yeah, sweet potatoes but REALLY sweet. I added about 1T of McIlhenny’s Tobasco GREEN (jalapeño). Didn’t do much. While I love spicy, I didn’t want that for now, then remembered the lemon peels and cilantro:

I added lime juice and lemon juice. That did it!

I do love to use a lot of spices but this ended up sort of meandering from flavour to flavour. Pretty crazy but it’s VERY good!

I quartered the meatballs and put in about 3oz mussels, then ladelled hot soup over.

Filling and good for you!

Dias de los Muertes / Day of the Dead

I don’t celebrate this in the ‘proper’ sense every year. Typically, I do it the year following an ‘important’ death.

It’s an incredible celebration; part of life is death. When those we love shed their meat suits, we don’t stop loving them and their love for us didn’t go away.

You can feel it, can’t you?

Tonight I spent about an hour with watercolours, Sharpies, metallic markers (the places that look blurry or choppy–apparently they don’t like a flash) and good old Crayola Crayons:)

This is going on my altar when it’s dry. I may do another, there’s time.

(My fav’s the gold teeth!)

review, if you want YOUNIQUE makeup, you want to buy it from Lauren!

Lauren is an IRL friend whom I call ‘daughter.’ Obviously I think she’s fantastic!

YOUNIQUE is probably best known for their fibre mascara (Google and you’ll find oodles of YouTube videos of reviews and / or sellers).

I do not sell YOUNIQUE nor do I sell anything. I write reviews, warnings, recommendations and recipes. Sometimes other sundries!

Lauren is a respectable lady who is intelligent, hilarious, creative and a neato person to hang out with for days on end.

If you’re interested in buying YOUNIQUE, buy from Lauren! 

She’d like to welcome everyone to her LaUnCh PaRtY! It ends 1 November at midnight, so get all your shopping done by the end of Dias de los Muertos, people.

Here’s a YOUNIQUE photo she recently posted:

See what a doll?

You can email her here OR visit her YOUNIQUE page here.

Word: pieces<whole

Important message for Caregivers or ya know, Codependents (of which, I am both).

review, ipsy Glam Bag October 2015

If you subscribe to ipsy and use this link, they give me ‘points’ which is equal to nothing unless I order a product off their website, which would be a couple of dollars discount. No pressure cos I do reviews to help YOU!
 Referral link bait.


indirect, natural light on top of a 15″ mbp for reference

Ipsy is a subscription service much like Barkbox (dog treats and toys) or Wine Of The Month Club.

Probably the biggest difference is that it’s 10USD (includes shipping) and is largely ‘deluxe samples’ with occasional full sized items.

With the nomenclature ‘Glam Bag,’ you can guess it’s beauty products. Where its cousins like Birchbox rely on mostly drugstore brands, ipsy is geared towards department or spa brands. I doubt you’re going to find my fav Sisley products in one but you can get theBalm, which is a personal crush, and I got a new-to-me theBalm deluxe sample in this package. W00t!

You also get a cosmetic bag each month, hence Glam Bag.

This one is kinda fun in that it’s Gold Lamé on one side and…

Patent Black ‘pleather’ on the other. As you may expect (I certainly did), the quality is not great. I don’t think that I would ever put this in my handbag, no matter how cute. What I will do is repurpose and in this case, it will be a gift containing the mascara deluxe sample from IT Cosmetics shown below.

Let me talk a little about that mascara because I hate it, I’m angry about it and I want to complain, though it’s not ipsy’s fault.

IT Cosmetics has rather a lot of buzz the past 3 years so so. I tried several of their products and have never been happy, save one (which I don’t care to be nice about cos I’m on a roll).

This mascara, I bought out-right and pitched. It was very, very stupid of me to not read the ingredients.

I am allergic to jojoba oil. If it sneaks onto my face, I get these immediate, horrible cysts. After using this mascara, I learnt it makes painful sores on my eyes–like inside and under, from the lashes. I had to go to the ophthalmologist and get steroids.

Not pretty. So, IT mascara can sail off the planet as far as I’m concerned. I don’t often have a bad reaction to mascara–just usually hate how they perform!

I recommend Mally Beauty Volume Mascara instead. That’s a link to QVC, where I wait til they sell it in the 6 tube multi-pack, where it ends up being something insanely cheap like 5USD a piece, making it cheaper than drugstore brands. Back to the Glam Bag…

I’d be less nasty about IT Cosmetics if it weren’t that I’ve had reactions to virtually everything I’ve tried (making sure of no jojoba in the others). It’s not meant for me and after about 8 products, I’ve given up hope.

Here are all of the items in October 2015.

I’m most excited about the full sized slanted Emite Make Up tweezers! My old Tweezerman (which looks virtually the same but in matte navy) has the paint coming off from years of love and the super pointy sharp edges aren’t.

I’m going to use these new ones for a while before recycling the Tweezerman tweezers unless I don’t like the Emite, in which case, I’ll pass the gently-used newbies to Sis. They seem like a perfect replacement but again, I’m giving them time.

As you can see from the complete package pic, I’m holding my next spazz product to try. J’adore theBalm and no, not everything they make works for me but it’s such a frequent winner, that I’m chuffed to try anything!

I am in love with this product, too. It’s a lipgloss-like product but with the coverage of a ‘tattoo lipstick.’ It goes on a bit wet like paint, which it basically is and I was careful to not purse my lips til it dried. When drinking from a glass, only a tiny smudge (not colour but a sort of oil mark?) was left. It indeed dries to a matte finish. This shade looked subtle/ neutral and I hoped that it held true. 

I am a super-fair person (born strawberry blonde, read: orange) with green veins (warm tone, not the typical pinky-redhead) and most neutral to pink stuff goes ruddy on me. This is a pleasant subtle colour, suitable for polishing off a professional look.


I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup (you can see some sneaky freckles) except for theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Committed (which is described as a pink shade). As you can see, it’s not cotton candy or fuchsia. I mean, look at the shot of it in my hand…it almost looks a bit bronze, which is I reckon how it held colour-fast even with my complexion.

I am so buying this! I’ve been wearing it in the pic for over an hour and that includes drinking a glass of water.

Fellow Balmbadiers will know that many of their products are multi-use. I’ve tried that type on my lips (and to be honest, prefer Urban Decay or Tarte for lipstick).

I’d held off of trying theBalm lipsticks because I’m fairly set on my favs for the last few years. 

This sample has changed my life. Okay, that’s incredibly melodramatic but it changed my opinion!

Who doesn’t like a good scrub? I’m totally open to trying any scrub but my conscience doesn’t like the ones with plastic microbeads due to them ending up in my seafood. I’m practical. What can I say?

The apricot kernel bits in Peter Lamas Exfoliating Pumpkin Scrub feel and act just like the so much cheaper St. Ive’s apricot scrub, which btw I don’t like except its scent.

While I do like the ingredients of PL scrub, its scent is of burnt vanilla sugar. That is a popular scent but it makes me want to be sick. It works as a physical scrub but nowhere near as well as the divine Arcona Cranberry Gommage, which I highly recommend to everybody in the world, including men. Men like it because it helps with ingrown hairs and general awesomeness. Just go buy that though it’s dear. It’s worth it. You can buy a smaller tube for less money. I’d prefer to buy a 5 gallon bucket.

If you like this scrub by Peter Lamas, you’ll get no fight from me. It’s fine. I used to regularly use some hippie brand that was pumpkin enzymes-only and it was fine. I have my Arcona and anything else would have to be better than perfect. ::shrugs::

Lastly, Eva NYC conditioner. They call it a masque, supposing due to its extremely unctuous quality. It smells strongly of argan oil (which I use 100% or in prepared products, so I’m used to it) and something that reminds me of Shalimar! That’s one of my mum’s scents and doesn’t matter unless you love it. Then give this a sniff, you may want it just for that.

It did a good job. I do COM (conditioner only method) and that is how I used my sample. I don’t think it could be considered a deluxe sample given the amount. I’ve received packette samples with as much product. My hair is FINE and THIN but kinky (which helps since it’s fine & thin!). Anyway, that’s my hair type, the scent and it did its job. I would not purchase this unless it was on deep discount because I’d rather have WEN.

I’m a  WEN girl and have been for years. I didn’t buy it by the gallon this past year due to finances (though it works out cheaper in the long run — if you like it and can afford to buy it that way, DO SO). I even switched to a cheaper alternative, which I also bought in bulk to save money. I’d prefer my WEN. 

(please, Chaz, can you spot me a gallon in like all flavours? LOVE YOU!!!)

Stupid unemployed, ‘over-qualified’ economy.

I know, right?

I’m reviewing products when I can’t buy conditioner? Well, let me tell you something. Maybe I paid for ipsy and maybe I didn’t. Maybe all those years of making plenty of money to buy a couple gallons of WEN a year and not blink means that I’ve got a bit of experience trying everything out there that interests me, so I know what a girl likes, mmmhmm?

Judge not, that’s my job.

The line-up, in case I’ve forgotten a name in this long epistle.
Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 3.50.35 PM

review, G & W Sausage Company

One of my mates told me about this place where he loved for several reasons. Now that I’ve gone, I love it, too!

My brother also went and cast a complimentary light. Both my brother and good buddy lived some years in Germany.

As G & W advertises, they specialise in Bavarian sausages.

What’s sort of funny, is they’re located on The Hill (little Italy of St. Louis).

They’re a tad hard to find because they are located behind a large car dealership but as you enter:

this door, you are greeted with:

Hello! Want a beer?

And they hand you a free tin of local beer. Since I have Celiac disease, I can’t have beer but I appreciate that kind of hospitality. Now, in case you’re wondering how you’d feel about this (as Midwesterners, we may feel odd about accepting a beer when we’re only going to buy 2 links of landjager) do not fret! They have a crazy amount of business! I was there in the morning, mid-week and easily 10 customers came in whilst I got my fab meat sticks!

By the bye, while not everything they have is gluten-free, the sausages OTHER THAN BEER-SAUSAGE is gluten free and me-tested, me-approved!

Summary: get thee to G & W if you’re a local or visiting!

I’ve also had the salsiccia, which is excellent. Brother’s fave is ‘morning sausage’ which isn’t American breakfast sausage. My father ate all the blood sausage or I’d have tried it :/

I’m sure it’s lovely as we’re Irish and accustomed to black pudding / blood sausage. Plus, dad ate it ALL?!?

Spectacles (Vision) Explained: ‘Near…Far!’

Okay, so now that we’ve covered what Near and Far means, let’s understand eye correction is for: Reading (near, arms’ length and closer) and Distance (far, further away than your arms, like driving or watching a tennis match). I’m going to interchangeably use Near/ Far and Reading/ Distance, respectively, as they are used by everybody, including doctors.

I was born extremely far-sighted. As one opthamologist told me as a kid, ‘You’d make a great forest fire spotter!’

It helped remembering since I couldn’t see CRAP to write or read…because I was able to see only FAR (far-sighted, see?). The opposite applies to near-sighted but you’d have to be terribly near-sighted for this 24/7 reminder to apply. Most people are only a little of either and limp along without eye-correction until they get a older, when they can only see farther and farther with ease. How many times have to seen a middle-aged person hold a menu as far away from them as possible to read?

Far away history:

three stooges b a bayDue to being extremely far-sighted from birth, I wore spectacles since I was two years old. I didn’t need them often because mostly, I ran around the ranch doing things that didn’t require reading or writing. In school, I had to wear them inside but not outside because inside, you’re looking at a desk; however, you frequently had to look at the blackboard back then, which is why I was put in the front row…but I was extremely far-sighted, right? Why would I need to be CLOSER to the blackboard? You may already know the answer but I never did til yesterday! **

As we get older (remember the menu-reader from above?), we need more help with Near. The solution for many is Progressive Lenses. They do a sort of hour-glass shape correction in each lens. The uppermost half is for Far (distance) and the correction bends/ blends down through a narrow channel (again, think of the hourglass) as it works its way down to the very bottom in a small area for Near (reading) correction.

I’ve tried Progressive Lenses. They don’t work for me, not because of the ‘dizziness’ that most people observe but because I couldn’t see near or far. I’ll share how this was explained to me:

I PEER at the same place through for Near and Far. With Progressive Lenses, that’s the narrow channel of the hourglass, where not only the area is tiny but it’s the bendiest area of severe blending, so it’s neither Near or Far.

My situation is COMMON. It’s why some get one contact for distance and one for reading or surgery on one eye, not the other. The only reason that I’ve done neither is that I have an health issue that doesn’t allow for contacts and surgery isn’t able to correct ENOUGH for my level of need in either way.


Two pair, one correcting distance and one correcting reading and I have to physically switch spectacles.

It isn’t fun. It’s because Medicine hasn’t figured out a way to allow me to see. If you see somebody juggling specs in public, ease off. One day it may be you or somebody you love. If it’s me, say hello!


** I went into the optometrist yesterday with a conundrum: I had 2 pair of specs, which I couldn’t decide which worked better! They were different prescriptions, though. One was from some years ago and the other was from October-last (October is my birth month, so it’s my mnemonic for ‘check your eyes’).

He did the little tester thinger to get the RX off both of them and then proceeded with my exam. He explained with great detail but I wish he’d simply stated:

When we correct for Near, some distance is lost.

When we correct for Far, some reading is lost.

This is why as a student, my correction (totally needed!!!) to read a book on my desk or to write was for Near but it took away from my natural ability to see Far (the blackboard). Hence, I had to sit closer to the blackboard to see it and read from a primer.



power tip, Clear iPhone storage space FAST on-the-fly

I watched this thinking that I’d know everything in this video from having iPhones since 2007. I was wrong!

There were no fewer than 3 methods to quickly ditch stuff that I didn’t know. I’m not saying that I don’t know how to delete but methods shown which would, in fact, work more quickly than what I’ve been doing. Well, colour me pink!

Here’s the how-to video. You don’t need audio but you will need to have vision, as the instructions are purely visual. Sorry for those who need accessibility on this.

warning: Regal Cinemas

regal cinema logoThis post is penned by Guest Writer Sheila. I have had the pleasure to be friends with Miss Sheila, in real life, for over a decade. She wants to share with everybody, not only her friends, her following experience at Regal Cinemas.  As a side note, she already expressed her concerns with the Corporation.

I have a personal connection to two of the cities that suffered movie theatre mass shootings in Colorado. While I was not with Sheila on this excursion, using life-long experience as a movie-goer, watching hours of coverage about these mass murderers and as an Ozarker who began shooting guns at age 3 (started with a .22)? What she says makes sense.

The following are her words.


Today, I was asked to allow the ticket attendant to search my purse “for security purposes” and because “it’s policy”.  The theory here is they are searching for weapons. 

#1.  If I were carrying a weapon, the “search” wouldn’t have discovered it.  A cursory glance in to one open pocket of a woman’s handbag would not reveal a weapon that was intentionally concealed.

#2.  My husband, right next to me, was wearing cargo shorts and was not asked to be searched.  I ask you, would he not have been able to hide a weapon in a pocket of he so desired?

The assumption here is only women carry weapons in to movie theaters?  Or… more likely, they concern is for the bottom line of the concession stand and that I may be carrying in my own food or drink.

#3.  I do not purchase from any concession stand anyhow because my standards for what I eat and drink are much higher than anything offered in a theater.

#4.  IF this is truly only a ploy to keep your income higher by forcing the issue so people who want even water during a movie are then forced to pay a ridiculous price for a BPA laden bottle of water, then SHAME ON YOU.

#5.  IF this is TRULY about “security”, then please explain to me, how many violent theater incidents have there really been, EVER, and how many of those were perpetrated by women, and how many of THOSE were perpetrated by ticket purchasing women carrying weapons in their purse?

This was a blatant violation as far as I’m concerned and I will be sharing this opinion with friends, family, bloggers and their friends and family. I do hope this “security policy” is discontinued immediately. 

If you are truly concerned about “security” then I suppose the only real option would be to install metal detectors at each entrance.  Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?  Nor does every woman being insulted and violated by PURCHASING a ticket to see a movie in your theatres.

#DEAL: Bath And Body Works, this weekend ONLY

Okay, so I used to buy B&BW stuff a lot and I got off the crack for a number of years, easy to do as they had discontinued my meth of choice…

Okay, so I started in with B&BW stuff again coz DEALS and found that I absolutely adore 2 scents. I’m not even telling you which ones. (Guess!)

I had filled my online trolley with feats of evil already but refused to purchase and boy, am I glad that I did for 3 reason:

  1. free shipping of 50USD, which normally I’d try to avoid but for…
  2. 20% off ENTIRE ORDER and
  3. Buy 3, get 3 and
  4. (I know that I said 3 reasons but this was a bonus) BOGO on the car scents thingers!

I ended up getting SIX of my favourite body creams, 1 new car thinger and 2 inserts all for 43USD!!!

I *know* that I just said over $40 and at first, you’re like: GRRL! Forty bucks for…but then my JOY is the 2 scents that I ended up purchasing (2 in the car thinger and SIX in the body cream), so I’m well pleased.

You don’t even need a coupon right now, it’s happening but just in case, proof:

Screen shot 2015-09-06 at 5.00.44 PM


Watch this space: Ipsy Glam Bag

Why did I do it?

I was on the waitlist from another blogger (thanks, anyway, M!) for Birchbox but then ran into so many people complaining about the contents that when they finally started (about one month ago) contacting me (after SEVERAL MONTHS) to let me know that my space was open, I didn’t bother.

In the interim, as people were complaining about Birchbox, they’d mention that they switched subscriptions to X. I’d google whatever X happened to be at the moment and normally didn’t like what I read.

Positive reviews are the most likely to put me off–this may seem backwards. Very helpful, DETAILED, positive reviews, I find, are more trustworthy than a brief snark from somebody who didn’t understand what they’d signed up for in the first place.

With my reviews, I share experience and complain because that’s sport in my family. Don’t like the way something turned out? At least you’ve got a good story.

I received invitations to ipsy and passed, most recently last month! This is due to TOO many word of mouth warnings but I started thinking about those New Beauty test tubes that I used to subscribe to and started missing them. Now, those ‘test tubes’ were pricier and had about 2/3 full size products, the majority of the balance as deluxe minis (2-4oz) and then a smattering of crappy, single-use packettes. OR WORSE: the swatch card? Oy. If you dare send me a swatch card, I will not buy your products based upon your lack of self-trust.

You can see how I’m rolling into this, right? Mmm hmm. We’ll see.

What did I do?

I opted for the monthly-cancel-anytime model because of the above.

For what did I subscribe?

10USD per month includes: shipping, a crappy little makeup case (judging from photos of the past year’s monthly bags — I’m old; I remember when a freebie makeup bag was freaking indestructible and leather, you handed that crap down), which they call your Glam Bag  and about 4-5 deluxe samples OR full sized items.

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 8.47.38 AM

More details?

They currently ship to the US, Canada and APO, DPO AND FPO boxes.

Apparently, there’s a Waitlist on Ipsy, as well, though it didn’t affect me.* I think they ran my credit card after taking their Quiz (supposedly to better tailor what they put in your bag but I don’t believe it…I reckon it’s all for demographics/ marketing purposes but if they happen to better choose my products, yippie-skippie).

I want to point out, when they say 4-5 deluxe samples OR full sized items, I’m assuming by deluxe samples, they don’t mean the test tube’s 2-4oz sizing. I’m assuming they mean it’s a tiny thing you can squeeze something out of rather than a swatch card/ packette. I keep beating this dead horse but I’m telling you children: in the good old days, you walked out of a department store carrying FREE bottles you could keep on a counter or place in a windowsill when you were done with the contents. THEY WERE ARTFUL AND MADE OF GLASS. Now? You’re lucky if it’s not 1 drop to .5tsp in a sealed plastic slip. Harrumph.

With Ipsy, you can earn points for signing up, for doing reviews and a few other things. One of them is if somebody uses your unique referral links WITHIN 24 HOURS (which ain’t much), you get points. I’ll paste mine here but don’t feel obliged to click it or sign up — as a matter of a fact, you’ll probably not do all of that within 24 hours. It’s asking a lot, Ipsy.


  • Maybe they’ve given up telling people they have to wait and instead, give you a start date. I was informed that I’ll be charged 1 October and can expect my first Glam Bag in mid-October, which is delightful as my birthday is the last week of October. Fun, fun! Unless there’s something that Angers Me and you’ll be the first to know.

review, SensatioNAIL Kit (at-home, DIY, gel nail polish)

absolute beginner

After paying 35USD (without tip) for gelle/ gel / shellac manicures, I bought my own kit at Target.

Let me add, I have only ever had TWO manicures with the product, so that means I watched it applied twice and removed once. The second salon experience (same shop) was BAD.

The 2nd application hurt (burnt my fingernail beds, which I later read in DIY tips & tricks means the product had been applied too thickly) AND started popping off on day 2. If I hadn’t been on the road, I’d have returned with a request to fix it.

I probably would never have had the courage to buy a kit had my second experience not been so terrible.

My poor cuticles came to BITS from the removal. I believe this meant that she used too harsh of a product or didn’t do something else correctly. You can see in the photo my cuticles are still fairly bad but that’s not from MY doings! They started poorly. The cuticle ‘lines’ are a bit off and that is my doing. They mean it when they say steer clear of edges.

Also, as I’m discussing the photo, the ‘highlight nail’ is an old fave from the 80s: a ‘coke’ nail! I know the kids do ring fingers but back in the day, your pinky finger meant you might party and who didn’t party in the 80s? I’m old and I like my throwbacks.

The kit that I purchased contained that coral. I went to Ulta and got 2 more polishes (they have to be meant for LED curing unless you’re going to do a ‘gelly’ sandwich*) in this steel shade and something called mink but it looks like a glittery, rose-gold. I haven’t used that yet. They were on clearance and BOGO, so yay! I purchased a 4USD bottle of acetone which *says* that it’s meant to not harm skin. I believe it because I’m ashamed to admit: after 15 minutes of removal tip-foil-soak, I had to do 4 fingers over (hadn’t made good contact with the moistened cotton) and while I was at it, did it for 20 minutes for a total of 35 minutes on those poor 4 fingers. They showed none the worse for it because they were not the fingers you see with cuticle problems (where the 2nd salon trip’s 10 minute removal TORCHED every cuticle; they had over a week of healing and frequent oil application).

I’m not going to pretend that I think any of this is good for your nails or cuticles. It cannot be. It’s basically EPOXY / resin. The removal is basically napalm. But…it wears much better than regular nail polish. I’m a huge fan of OPI but even with higher end polishes, I have to do my nails daily. My nails have always been thin and peel (which then breaks where it peeled or tears along that line). It’s probably due to autoimmune disease. I have never had acrylic nails (glued tips which need fills) because I’m cheap. I only tried this shellac method due to continued prodding of friends and family. There’s my History and Why.

I’m giving the product, especially for the price of 50USD regularly, TWO THUMBS UP. -that’s a pun!

The instruction card (there’s also a microscopic fold-out instruction sheet) told me most of what I needed to know but I also visited their website to watch how-to videos, which gave a couple extra tips.

Things I’ve learnt from DIY experience:

  • buy a ‘healthier’ acetone (not putting down SensatioNAIL’s product, I chose to get a nicer one since my cuticles were in terrible condition from the salon)
  • make GREAT contact with the moistened cotton, if doing a wrap removal, or you’ve wasted your time
  • dominant hand has greater precision but oddly, my non-dominant hand looks less neat — probably because I slowed down and was very, very careful (read: it’s not a race)
  • don’t waste money on primer (unless you want to) because all you need is alcohol
  • do choose lint-free cotton / wipes if you can afford it, otherwise you have to do lint-removal and not get natural oils on your nails in the process
  • think THIN coats
  • really, really, really avoid edges / cuticles
  • cap the nail (instructions state this and I was adamant about it and it seems to be doing the trick)
  • oil cuticles at least before you go to bed — I knew to do this from the start but do not skip this and if you have an issue, oil more frequently; hand lotion will not suffice

I’ll learn more as I practise but I’m dead-impressed with my handiwork for a first time out, especially since I only ever had professional shellacs twice.

There are many brands and while I wanted the Mally kit (love me some Mally Beauty!!!), I was totally iffy on doing this myself. I’m super-happy that SensatioNAIL not only was a much more affordable kit to TRY but also that it looks damned fine. I mean, look at that coral nail again. That’s 100% SensatioNAIL product. The steel is Red Carpet (with SensatioNAIL base/ top coat and primer).

review, Crown Valley Strawberry Cider

Comes in this attractive box of 6

Comes in this attractive box of 6

-painful for me to spell cidre as ‘cider’ but I did it!


I was at Dierberg’s for my produce and I’ll admit when I’m there, I like to browse aisles for D’s infamous deals :)

The cheapest cidre at the moment was this local brew.

I’d never heard of it but I’ve been to Ste. Geneviève many times in my life, of course!

Moi, j’aime bien des cidres bruts.

But let’s face it, I’ll try any cidre that hasn’t been contaminated by gluten -I’m Celiac after brewing! Between proximity to brewer, price and cidre, I put it in the trolley.

20140627-133450-48890671.jpg20140627-133450-48890318.jpgThe label says ‘semi-sweet.’ I don’t know to what they’re comparing but as a cidre-drinker, -hard / alcohol content cidre  it tasted ‘doux’ to me!

It’s crisp with effervescence and hits sweet first, then leaves sweet.

It’s so strawberry-y that you don’t get a cidre-flavour with a hint of strawberries. It tastes almost as sweet as strawberry soda — but not quite that sweet, of course. I’m going on about the sweetness because I think a lot of people would like that about it! Cidre’s naturally fairly sweet, even the dry -brut  styles but this would appeal to those who find most of them too dry to their preference.

Or if you really dig a strong strawberry flavour, try it!






review, warning: I threw out my Keurig maker

And you know how I loved it! Remember that sinus thing I’ve referred to having off and on for months now?

doge gross nasty blackSo Gross.

We have our own water supply (a mineral spring) which is hard water. I’m accustomed to descaling once a week (with white vinegar), which in addition to dissolving lime and calcium and what-nought, also kill 99.9% of everything you want dead (bacteria, mould, viruses or whatever).

You’d think that I’d be grand. Each week, when I leave the vinegar in for about 12 hours, then run it through, a few black specks come out. I  assumed that was bits of coffee (when the ‘my cup’ over-flows and sends grounds places you wish hadn’t). When I ran the rinse cycle, it came clear. Good to go another week, right?

This weekend, I decided to be completely nutso and use a solution of OxyClean (similar to washing salts), which I’d used many years in coffee makers to get them running smoothly and look like new.

What came out after 12+ hours made me almost puke. It was black and thick. It was not coffee grounds. In my horror, I grabbed a trusty gallon of bleach as in eau de javel. Straight on, bitches. Thick, black gunk.

I don’t mean in the bottom swirling around, I mean the whole cup. I ended up running an entire gallon of bleach and several cups of white vinegar and many water rinses through all weekend. It was My Project to Save the Keurig.

On Sunday evening (started Friday night), I gave up. It went into the rubbish bin.

Between runs of bleach and other chemical friends, I started googling. This is apparently a common problem for those, who like me, use the CRAP OUT OF THEIR MACHINES and it never gets a chance to go dry, daily.

Recall: I use white vinegar once a week. Even with some creepin’ crud, I’d think that would have won out, right?

Keep googling…

I can’t find an answer. Maybe if I’d used Clorox once a week? I don’t know!

I do know that switching back to my drip pot, with the same coffee, tastes like mud now. It’s flat and common. Even with poisoning me, the Keurig tasted better.

I also started googling what I could use similar-to but not spending $4000 on an espresso machine. I can’t find anything (even the Bunn and Mr. Coffee ‘with’ Keurig machines come back with reviews stating users preferred their old Keurig-Keurig machines) comparable. It’s this or you have to bump WAY the heck up in the clouds. So, I think that I’ll buy another Keurig but man, oh, man, I have to do better on airing it out. In fairness, I didn’t leave it open to air out because I didn’t think that I needed to do that! Nobody tells you to! They say to descale it every month or so and I was doing it weekly. I’m so bummed.

If you have a new Keurig, AIR THE MOFO OUT

If you have an old Keurig and think that you’ve got it clean, let some bleach sit in it overnight. Just check, please. Cos that is DISGUSTING and I’ve been poisoning myself for months. I’m hoping now that this is sussed, the sinus thing will finally go away! -just in time for spring allergies


review, Amazon/TurboTax refund deal (with bonus)

I got my refund deposit yesterday and the Amazon gift card for the amount I requested and bonus amount dropped today, just as promised!


review, My week with 5-htp

Summary: Glad it works for you.

I was getting the best sleep of my life (that I can recall) for 2 solid weeks, maybe a bit more, when I started 5-htp. Why would I try it?

Well, the best sleep of my life is still a couple hours under optimum and I tend to not sleep long but I’d been getting a chunk of 2+ hours a night, which is unheard of in my world — before 5-htp.

A coworker has been enjoying his dosing, so I googled and read about it, finding the two most common benefits are great sleep and better digestion. HELLO?! I’ll bite!

I took 6 days of my own pills and 1 I borrowed from the coworker, making 1 week of 5-htp.

The first dose was at midday and I slept for crap that night. The duration of sleep ‘sessions’ (between waking up and flopping around for 15 minutes or more) was 10 minutes to 20, totalling about 3 hours of sleep.

The next 3 doses were of my own pills and it was the same except I took it upon bedtime.

When I’d normally have taken the 4th dose (that night), I opted OUT. I was too damned tired. I slept very broken, as well, but got 5 hours out of it.

Yeah. This.

Yeah. This.

The next morning, I took a morning dose, reckoning that I’ve done midday badly, nightly badly and if anything would work, it was up to morning dosing. I slept for shite.

Not wanting to give up on less than a week, I took another morning dose. Slept for shite.

This morning, I gave the bottle of 5-htp to the coworker! I give up. 5-htp does the opposite for me from what it’s meant to do. This isn’t completely unusual for me. I’m a freak who can chug coffee, then lie down for a nap.

EDIT: as I commented to V below, my biggest reason for quitting – apart from obviously feeling TERRIBLE from lack of sleep is I’ve reached the hallucination point. Yeah. Don’t sleep long enough and you hallucinate. I did it. At work. I’m going to have a lie-down on my 30 minute lunch break and pray that I sleep!

2nd EDIT: see link below to amazon reviews and Ang’s comment. She doesn’t take it for sleeping, she takes it for energy!

review, Glutino Toaster Pastry & Glutino Rosemary Olive Oil

Glutino Apple Cinnamon Toaster PastryI seem to recall down-voting another Glutino product … they are HIT AND MISS, let me tell ya. In other words, they make some things I love. Love too much. -that means you rosemary olive oil crisps*

As with everything, taste is subjective, but these ‘toaster pastries’ are horrible.


I saw it advertised (in a sidebar of a webpage) and reminded me that I have the remainder of a box sitting in a pantry, waiting for when I’m desperate enough to try to doctor it up with oil and maple syrup (fat and sugar).

Let’s do a recap on gluten-free faux foods: They aren’t health foods. They are UNhealthy. If it’s processed and comes in a package, it ain’t food, let alone health food!

Food spoils in a day or three and its ingredients include only itself, ie: tomato includes tomato, calves liver includes liver, etc.

I don't know any of her songs but I love that she causes so much trouble!

I don’t know any of her songs but I love that she causes so much trouble! Did you catch that? Pop Tart?

Let’s begin: 5 to a box. Regular price 8USD but I got mine for 5USD (therefore 1/ea) fully-knowing that it wasn’t gonna be a Pop Tart.

I toasted it in a toaster oven, which in my old lady experience is the best to reheat anything — or make toast. I gave it its best chance.

The pastry is hard and crumbly but not in the crumble-crumbly happy Pop Tart or … Crumble way. Obviously, there’s no ‘dough’ taste. It’s sort of a pocket of wood that’s holding the goo inside.

The goo inside? How can you go wrong with cinnamon? That’s the only part that’s okay. The apple part? I’m not really sure how to describe it but it’s a bit like a very small amount of applesauce with cinnamon. This isn’t bad but encased in a deteriorating container of faux pastry detracts.

Summary: save your money. You can make something rather delicious with coconut oil and almond meal and a bit of honey. Although it may not look like a toaster pastry, these don’t either. The product is not accurately depicted on the box.

Get thee behind me Satan and don't push

Get thee behind me Satan and don’t push

With the negative reviews on some of Glutino’s products, I thought it’s only fair to drop in a word for my absolute favourite product:

Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers.

OMG. They are too salty and too delicious. They remind me of Wheat Thins before I got my diagnosis.

Hang on…

Dear Celiacs and others who’ve spent years avoiding all gluten: they taste like WHEAT THINS!!!!

Dear People Mucking About with Gluten Free When They Feel Like It or Mistakenly Believe GF Means ‘Healthy’: they’re salty, savoury and crunchy. They’re thick for a crunchy thing and will hold up to whatever you put on them but seriously, I don’t think you’ll put anything on them. They come pre-dressed. They don’t taste like Wheat Thins, though. -that’s only for us losers who don’t have a choice and don’t recall what things taste like — I have to defer to other peoples’ opinions when I say, ‘see! It’s like X!’ and they say, ‘erm, no it’s not.’

It’s 4 servings to a box, if you read the box. I’m lucky if I can make it two. It’s one of those things that I cannot stop eating til my hand is reaching for more, yet none can be found. Thank you, Glutino for the FREAKING AWESOME JUNK FOOD. -rosemary olive oil crisps, you can stuff the toaster pastries. See what I did there? Stuff? Toaster pastry stuffed with fruit filling?

* I call these crisps out of habit. They’re more like a thick crisp-ish thing.

review, Merlot Moonlight Radiance Night Cream

Regular readers will recall that I previously reviewed Merlot Skin Care’s day cream — my Holy Grail of moisturisers!

...and I won, too!

…and I won, too!

Michele from Merlot kindly offered a giveaway for my blog readers, which I ran back in November 2013. Shortly after, I received a full-sized Moonlight Radiance Night Cream jar to review. It was even gift-wrapped!

I’ve almost reached the bottom of this jar, so I’m here to report my findings — in other words, my opinions!

Appearance: white cream

Fragrance: hardly noticeable

Texture: ‘gelle-cream’

Size: 4oz

Best for: mature or dry and sensitive skin

From their site:

State-of-the-art peptides and natural grape seed antioxidants combine to effectively combat deep wrinkles, fine lines, and signs of premature aging. The powerful formula locks in moisture to keep skin feeling hydrated and healthy.

  • Works to visibly reduce and reverse deep lines and wrinkles
  • Promotes thicker skin and better skin tone
  • Works to lock in moisture overnight
  • Helps promote collagen formation and skin elasticity
  • Helps boost skin’s pH balance
  • No lanolin or mineral oil
  • Argireline helps reduce wrinkle depth
  • Matrixyl-3000 works to restore skin’s dermal area Argireline is a registered trademark of LipotecMatrixyl-3000 is a registered trademark of Sederma

It’s hard to predict how my skin will react. I always test on legs and inner arms for a good while. Then, I move to chest and neck. Finally, I’ll move to facial area.

I had zero negative reaction in the weeks that I tested on my legs and inner arms. I had zero negative reaction on my chest and neck for weeks. When I moved to facial area, our weather was fairly bitter-winter cold (below freezing), a great time to try a heavier moisturiser.

Moonlight Radiance Night Cream offered a great deal of moisture — a surge, in fact. It was more than I needed and why I recommend it for drier skin. It gave no negative effects. While I found it was ‘heavier’ in moisture, it wasn’t ‘right’ for my under-eye area*, which required more.

Overall: Positive!

To elaborate, I am quick to pass things along that I do not like or things to which I have a bad reaction. I have not passed Moonlight Radiance Night Cream on nor to I intend to pass along my remaining 1/2oz! Step away from my jar! I’m using it on chest and neck, which is the perfect place for my skin. It has helped heal redness on my chest (I’m extremely pale and summer’s sun reddens there).

While I didn’t take photographs (I didn’t expect this to happen!), it has improved the skin tone to where I don’t need to apply powder makeup to my chest if I’m wearing a V-neck. I’m ‘good to go.’ This is very cool! Thanks, Merlot Skin Care! 

As always, I’m happy as a clam to receive your products for my opinionated self review! Send me your stuff! :)

* Most moisturisers are not recommended for use near the eye. If a moisturiser has given me positive results and no negative reactions, I’ll try it in the eye area. Call me crazy. I put it on my lips, too. I’m a maniac. You and your doctor can decide what’s right for you. I’m too hard-headed to listen to anybody.

review, Merlot * Moisturizer *

Merlot Moisterizer.jpgI got a 1oz sample of this about a year ago. Reckoned it would do something horrible. Most moisturisers do. My skin has always been hyper-oily and still is into middleage.

There are a lot of claims on this jar…

Natural, SPF 15, anti-wrinkle, antioxidant, fragrance-free and something I can’t read right now. -said I’m middleaged

When I get something new, I’ve learnt to try it on my leg first, then the inside of my elbow/ wrist if it passes the leg test. I’ll then move to my neck and finally my face — when I’m being smart. Now and then. I go mad and slather a new product on my face, often leading to tears.

I used the careful approach to Merlot Moisturizer and had no negative reaction at any step. I’m now on my FOURTH 4oz jar! *

I highly recommend this product, obviously!

Here’s why: it’s gentle. I react to everything. One must change ONE product at a time and I mean no more than one a month, if you’re being careful. A lot of people try more than one product at once -who hasn’t been plied with samples or gifted a fun kit and dove right in? Guilty.As.Charged. or they don’t react badly to a product after a few days, so move to another. In 3 decades of skin care experimentation, prescription and OTC  I’ve gone over 8 weeks before finding something was screwing with my skin. Not to mention, our skin changes over time (not just ‘teen/ adult/ mature’) and with weather — most importantly: with what we’re eating!

woman drinking red wine

not me

Back to my Merlot.

It smells nice. Hang on! You said it’s fragrance free! It is but it’s got the Merlot grapes in it and it has a very soft fruity scent.

It’s light. Really light. Since I’m oily, I just put on one layer but it absorbs practically instantaneously. I’ve read reviews that say absorbs instantly and it never did. This does for me. What’s more, it’s the only moisturiser I’ve used that has SPF and doesn’t lay on my face like a skin of pudding. You know what I mean, greasy-faced-people.

It’s cheap. I’ve only ever paid 15USD for the 4oz sizes. That’s practically free for skin care.

Will it work for you? I don’t know. I was reading MakeupAlley’s reviews for Merlot prior to posting this review and people who say they have dry and flakey skin, acne, oily, combination…they all love it. Many call it their HG (holy grail). It is for my day moisturiser!

I’d have posted about it sooner but I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s like asking me if I drank water. I just do it. It’s a part of Me. –rlot

-While I received Merlot as a trial-sized, it was packed with another purchase from a different company. I’ve received no goods or services — or money — for this review. I’d be happy to receive the whole Merlot line of products to review, though :)


* This was posted November 2013. I’m happy to report that it’s STILL my HG moisturiser! I’ve purchased probably 2 more jars since this originally posted. I use lots of other products but this is my baby!

review, WARNING Beetnik Foods


“Bootin’ The Gluten” Gluten-Free Tasting Menu

In short: RUN AWAY!

Amazon Local offered a deal for Beetnik Foods: a GLUTEN FREE PACKAGE.

I’m Celiac, it’s hard to get gluten free foods that you didn’t buy and prepare yourself. This is something any Celiac would leap at: grass-fed meats and guaranteed gluten free prepared foods? Heck yeah!

Methinks not.

Methinks not.

Upon reading the packages warning that they were produced on lines that also contain WHEAT, I contacted Beetnik. I’m accustomed to people not understanding that gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains. I’m used to people not understanding cross-contamination. I’m NOT playing at some celebrity diet. I was born without the ability to digest this and it makes me very, very sick. I don’t get IBS. I have systemic responses that will lay me out for several days.

In my letter, I explained that I believed this was an educational issue. I wanted them to recognise the mistake, educate their workers on cross-contamination and I’d like gluten free replacements for the ones that were marketed as a GLUTEN FREE PACKAGE but was made on contaminated lines.

My desire was saving others from ordering expensive food they cannot possibly eat for their safety (and in hopes that Beetnik would correct this issue!).

Their response was that I should’ve read their site before ordering.

‘We go into detail here: http://www.beetnikfoods.com/faq/

We also state very clearly that we do not recommend our food to those with Celiac Disease.’

Here’s the page I ordered from.

If they were conscientious, a warning would’ve been included THERE. If not there, then on their own site’s page detailing the package, at least. In other words, if it’s not a mistake, it’s false advertising.

Let’s put it another way: if you’re marketing something as ‘PEANUT FREE PACKAGE’ — you can imagine, those with peanut allergies are going to get excited. So, they read the ad up and down, then they go to your site’s page and read it up and down.

Then buy.

When individual items in the package say, ‘processed on lines that also handle peanuts,’ can you imagine them feeling like this was dangerous? They may contact you and ask that you make sure your workers no longer include items that have been cross-contaminated.

Company response: The buyer should’ve known that PEANUT FREE PACKAGE wasn’t intended for them. If they’d dug enough through web pages for long enough, they’d have found that. Bad Consumer.

No, Beetnik, YOUR bad.