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!






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!

reviews: 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:

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.

review: Sound pOp bluetooth speaker

I wanted something to listen to podcasts from my phone when I take a shower. It would be nice if it were water-resistant but mostly, it just had to work and be small enough to tuck away easily and loud enough to hear above the ventilation fan and shower running. Not asking much, eh? -no plans on taking it in the shower but wanted it to be humidity-safe and splash-safe as a plus!

I ended up getting this cheaper than Amazon but Amazon’s way cheaper than TigerDirect. I used but as you know, those deals come and go. -woot as in ‘I scored!’ cos you get great deals but have to get in there and well, get it, before they’re gone

I love it! It’s loud enough (and I have tinnitus, so the shower and fan running creates a problem with that) and as an oddball bonus: sticks to the vanity mirror when in use. I stow it in the vanity when not in use. It also offers mic/ speaker for phone calls. I haven’t used it for that yet and don’t think that I will but it may be a plus for others.

Did I mention it’s loud? Jeez! And I was worried it wouldn’t be cos it’s small and feels like a chew toy. I did notice ‘noise’ whilst listening. It’s not ‘speaker hum.’ The main podcast I listen to uses Skype, so I think it’s just amplifying that noise — you know what I’m talking about? I don’t know what it’s called. The problem is with the podcast but I guess when I listen through headphones, either my tinnitus removes it or my brain has adjusted to not paying attention. Well, with this speaker, it’s proportionate with spoken word. Again, that’s not the speaker’s fault but for some reason, it bothers me more over speaker than headphones.

Sound pOp specs

Sound pOp specs

review: Tabasco Chipotle and Jalapeno Sauces

Et toi! Allez!

I’m bringing that in because -it’s fab?!?! when I start thinking about Tabasco, -I drool I start thinking about Louisiana and then I think about some bon zydeco!

Back to that famous pepper sauce from Avery Island.

tabasco sauce flavours

I grew up using the original version – Spike was a big fan. I knew that they came out with others over the years but never tried them because why muck with perfection? Well…

-she’s going to say it

Variety is the spice of life.

I tried the green (jalapeno) version and OMG. Firstly, I love jalapenos. We raised them and pickled them and blahblahblah. It’s quite mild compared to the original. I love the taste, though, and use it a little or a lot, depending on what I feel like.

Recently, I purchased their chipotle (smoked) version and OMG. Yes, I love chipotle peppers, too. We haven’t raised them but this has such a lovely taste, too! It’s obviously smokey but to my surprise, quite mild. FAR milder than jalepeno! I ended up using about 1/4 of a bottle over a large plate of food because I couldn’t stop.

I’m not a sommelier, but to me:

  • original is hot and tart and smokey
  • jalapeno is mild, not smokey and zingier  – perhaps more vinegar?
  • chipotle is extremely mild, very smokey and the most ‘saucey’ — they’re all called sauce but they’re more like additives; this could be a dip IMO (but it’s thin)

tabasco gallon contestI paid a visit to the Tabasco site before typing this up (to skive that photo) and they’re running a WIN A GALLON EVERYDAY IN 2013 contest.** I entered, of course! Let me tell ya, a gallon? I’d choose chipotle right now and I’ve already proven that I can drink it.


* one week til mon anniversaire.

** I entered via email but they also have a FB ‘buy in’

review, Louise’s Granola (Paleo, Gluten free)

-I got free stuff to review!

Louise offered to send me a package of one of her products en lieu of a review.

I happily consented.

Louise’s Foods sells via their website. It’s similar to PaleoKrunch or Kind and BareNaked.

I far prefer Louise’s.

…And not just because I got it free! I received one package of:

Louise’s ‘Chia-nola’ Cinnamon Raisin

loose Louise's granolaIt came in a zip-top, resealable envelope for freshness (see link above for their site’s items).

Each bag contains 9.5 servings of 30g (about 1/3C) dry.

When I first opened the bag, this incredible aroma wafted up. Listen, cinnamon is a friend of mine and this is rocking it!

The best part is the flavour! See very bottom for press release. I’m also stoked that I’ve eaten it for four days with zero reactions/ symptoms. 

I have a sweet tooth, don’t get me wrong. I eat sugar but when I’m choosing something healthy, I do not want the level of sweetness something like PaleoKrunch (even their Berky was too sweet) or even Kind bars. Hey, I like them but when I eat them, it’s candy. I love candy and if I choose candy for breakfast, I’m pretty much guaranteed a crap-day of eating as I’ll be hungry in 90 minutes. Ain’t gonna have that here!

Louise’s Granola (‘Chia-nola’) has the perfect amount of sweetness! I was a little worried since it had raisins and stevia but there must be an incredibly small amount of stevia per serving because it’s just lovely — certainly not too sweet.

I recommend this product:

a) tastes nummy and is nutrient dense with no fillers

b) it’s quick (not having to make it yourself) and healthy for breakfast or snack

c) for Celiacs and those who have issues with digesting ingredients in most packaged products

…and it’s ‘Paleo,’ if that’s your thing!

and that's breakies!

and that’s breakies!

I ate my first serving soaked overnight. It’s was fantastic! I’ve eaten subsequent servings prêt-à-porter. I use soya milk, which is not Paleo -there’s a health reason for me but you can use whatever you normally use. Just pour and pour-over or soak!

Nutrition info.

*** see following for press release ***

Why Louise’s Granola is Different (and Better)

For too long, food manufacturers like Kellogg’s and General Mills have sacrificed your health for cheaper ingredients and higher profits. They have loaded their products with sugars, preservatives, and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

We know that you want something better. You want a breakfast or snack that is both convenient and delicious, but one that is also nourishing for your body rather than toxic. Here’s how Louise’s Granola does just that:

• No Processed Sugars. Our Granola is sweetened only with raisins and a very small amount of stevia. The result is no sugar crashes, more sustained energy, fewer sugar cravings, and a more nutrient-dense meal.

• Nutritious Ingredients. Our Granola is made from Superfoods like chia seed, almonds, coconut flakes, and pumpkin seeds. These ingredients provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fats that nourish your body.

• No Toxins and All-Natural. None of our foods contain any preservatives, chemicals, or other toxins like gluten, all of which can wreak havoc on your body over time.

• Delicious. We enjoy our Granola with Coconut or Almond Milk, but many of our customers love it with yoghurt or by themselves.

Reviews, Très Bon Prix and save $10 at Sierra Trading Post on me

not me but incredibly LIKE me from hair colour to beehive but I did this in the NINETEEN EIGHTIES cos I was a BOSS

not me but incredibly LIKE me from hair colour to beehive but I did this in the NINETEEN EIGHTIES cos I was a BOSS

I grew up in the days of Aqua Net. At some point, I started making money and buying Sebastian Shaper (before Shaper Plus) but do not put it passed me to try something like Citrus Shine-I don’t think they make this anymore or they don’t carry it here I really don’t care so long as it doesn’t smell as bad as Aqua Net did and does the same job (or better, this is respective to how you use it)

My personal favourite is Paul Mitchell Super Clean Spray but there are times when I’d rather spend shekles on something else. Enter TRESemmé.

that's mine, right there!

that’s mine, right there!

I can’t swear by all of their crap but they have a lovely low sulfate shampoo for damaged hair (mine’s often problematically frizzy and always fine but thin, not dense). I have used a far more dear product for almost 2 years now but I give much props for uber-cheap yet decent TRES. I also adore their el cheap anti-humidity hairspray at under 4USD.

My other great deal, if you don’t mind something less than high quality is a pair of work trousers, perfect for me in summer. They are unlined but the fabric is thick enough to not show cellulite (look, these are things women have to think about or not, if they don’t care). These are entitled ‘stretch’ but they’re not like most ‘stretch’ clothing I’ve worn (there’s nothing in this world like a snug, stretch pair of cords…I don’t care what anybody says, they’re like pyjamas but you get away with wearing them in public!). Specs say 98% cotton, 2% spandex, so don’t expect Spanx.

They are wash and wear but as anything, washing will fade and since these are less than primo, that’s going to start sooner than later. Of course wash in cold water and of course hang to dry. Nevertheless, for me, at 10USD they’re a nice enough pair of trousers for work in the hot summer! I’ll add, when I got them, I had an additional 40% coupon. MWAHAHAHAHA

I’m a rabid Sierra Trading Post shopper.

If you use this link, you get $10 off and I will, too — but only if you use THIS link. ‘Lily Loves STP.’

If you don’t want to, rock on. Just saying, my first purchase with them came from a friend’s link and I’ll take an additional $10 off anything, thank you very kindly.

Everybody knows that I love a good deal and everybody knows that I’m a cheap bastard but these have been my happy cheap bastard purchases of late!

review: Kinnikinnick Doughnuts, Vanilla

I’ve watched people eat doughnuts all day long and for 2 years, it had NO effect on me because I know with 100% assurance a lick of one will have me DOWN for several days. I mean as if you gave me arsenic. It affects me systemically (not just intestinal stuff but fever, swollen joints, nausea/vomiting and then days of explosive diarrhea).

-are the new readers gone yet?

BUT a couple of weeks ago I found an EVIL creation: gluten free doughnuts by Kinnikinnic. I loved them.

Vanilla Frosted Cake Donuts

Vanilla Frosted Cake Donuts

Had I not gone without doughnuts for over 2 years (longer than the Celiac diagnosis because I would try to avoid doughnuts ANYWAY because they’re DOUGHNUTS), I may not be so impressed but…I have one thing to say:

get in my belly!

Where was I?

If I had those evil bastards, I would shovel an entire box into my bouche. Hell, I’m thinking about making a special run. ::sigh::

Kinnikinnick, you jerks!

‘healthy’ snack bars, a mass review

What a drag! I’m trying to find some ideas for the trip that don’t require refrigeration and can easily be portable, too.

I stupidly bought ThinkThin bars (one of each that Trader Joe had on offer) without reading the package. WHY AM I THAT DUMB?

For one, cos everybody in the WORLD has told me to try ThinkThin bars. They’re gluten free and I guess that’s why people suggest them.

Number one ingredient? WHEY. I can’t do dairy. I took one bite and immediately my tongue and throat started itching. Fifteen minutes later, they’re still itching and I’m having a hard time swallowing the phlegm it’s causing. NOOOO to ThinkThin bars!

Now, I’m stuck with 5 more EXPENSIVE pieces of allergic crap. I gave them away because I’d rather not go into anaphylaxis.

I bought 3 boxes of Larabars, too. STUPID. Gluten free and dairy free, how could I go wrong?

They’re disgusting. OMG. People who like them? Yeah. Put a nipple on a bottle of maple syrup or honey, you’ll love it. The 3 flavours are like eating squishy, sugary gelle (see nutrition data, bottom). Seriously, people? ::shudders::

Since they’re only disgusting and not allergens, I’ll eat them but I won’t like it.

My fruit and nut bars

My fruit and nut bars

I suggest my knock-off recipe that is FANTASTIC. Well, unless you love Larabars.

Then you’d better add a cup of Karo to the mix. When I said, ‘knock off,’ I meant after hearing people talk about Larabars, I picked up several at the store and read the ingredients, pretty much fruit and nuts. Bam! Made my own. They’re obviously not as sweet.

I’d make my own recipe but it must be refrigerated. Being that fresh, that natural means it spoils/starts growing things.

I take raw almonds with me wherever I go but that gets old.

kind barsThe Kind bars that I tried are okay but more like a candybar than something substantive that can be used when I’m hungry and will not be able to find proper food for several hours.

mrs. maysMrs. May’s Trio bars contain pistachios, which are the only nut that I know of which I cannot digest.

A lot of Celiacs, particularly long-misdiagnosed ones, have trouble eating other foods due to prolonged damage to our guts. I’m extremely lucky that most nuts don’t bother me! Bummer. Mrs. Mays are delicious (although also very sweet but more in the Kind realm, not Larabar realm).

An addendum, I’ve only used Mrs. May’s Trio bars. They have many other things on offer, including Sesame-based items. I just haven’t had the extra cash to try them — I bet they’re nice if I can tolerate that much sesame (never tested).

The other thing about all of these bars: even found at deep discount, they’re dead-expensive.

EDIT: my online buddy Carla couldn’t comment here due to work firewall, so I’m pasting what she said cos it may help YOU!

I like the “peanut butter cookie” Larabar, but don’t care for their other flavors at all. [It should be noted that I love sweets/desserts.] That said, I don’t buy them anymore. I’ve been really cutting down the carbs, and they’re full of sugar. KIND bars are pretty good, but again, full of sugar. I’ve not tried the others you’ve mentioned. The Think Thin bars I considered buying once but I noticed they have soy and sugar alcohols, so I’m not touching them.


Shrimp Scampi… PIZZA!

I had shrimp (posh) but wanted pizza.

shrimp scampi pizza

shrimp scampi pizza

  • Shrimp Scampi Pizza

  • Udi’s pizza crust *
  • sauce (whatever you use)
  • 2C raw spinach (raw)
  • 10 garlic cloves (raw)
  • 1T parsley (raw)
  • 3T basil (raw)
  • Sea Salt
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 1/4C shredded ‘Italian blend’ cheeses
  • Makes 2 servings

This was meant to be simple and quick. I couldn’t added other things but I was focused on: shrimp, garlic and non-dairy fat.

Toss all spices, salt, melted coconut oil and cheese in your Ninja or whatever food processor. Process into delicious paste.

Sauce-up the crust, scatter spinach, place shrimp and clump on the faux-pesto/garlic ‘butter’ paste. Bake til the cheese in clumps of delicious paste get toasty.

Fantastic. I was a right scary bastard for two days after!

• I’m cheating as this uses an Udi’s ready-made pizza crust (Udi’s makes top-notch gluten free bready-foodstuffs and is my favourite brand). I highly recommend them as the best of the bad ideas (gluten-free isn’t quite right and can often be very bad; Udi’s is a lee shore).

Hillbilly Wisdom: Get yer some liniment! Salonpas? Non!

I’ve heard so much love for Salonpas patches that I bought some the last time I was at Costco. (apparently the cheapest place for them)

I’ve had cause to use them several times and I’m wearing one right now.

It’s Absorbine Jr.* in a plaster.

I will never buy them again, even at the cheapest place in the world. A bottle of Absorbine Jr. is about 5USD and will last years. Throw-away plasters can be worn up to 8 hours (I’ve worn them longer) and then go into landfill. Why pay extra to make more garbage?

Absorbine Jr. is the company’s ‘human’ version of horse liniment. You may recall (here I go again, my favorite saw): I grew up on a working ranch.

We used Bag Balm (left it in the barn where we milked) for cow’s udders (bags) and horse liniment for horses and mules. We also used these products on ourselves!

It amused me greatly that the Flatlanders (non-Ozarkers) at work started talking about how great bag balm was for their skin issues. Who didn’t know? Well, what they don’t know about that stuff is what I don’t know about city stuff. I almost always go the wrong way down one way streets and avoid cities (driving). I’m like a lost three year old in the city! If you need me to sharpen your chain on the chain saw, I can do it.

That’s just one brand. I grew up using it, so I return to it. Deep Heat is another brand.

review: Steve’s Paleokits, Seasonal

paleokit seasonal packI’d never have gotten this without a special offer. It’s too expensive (for me) but the quality is amazing. If you make a lot of money or are independently wealthy? Stock up and donate some cash to send these out to kids, k?


There are ‘vacuum-sealed’ packages. Most are meat, nothing has gluten. I use the tag ‘paleo’ a lot but I’m not Paleo. At my best, I’m stricter-than-paleo. When I’m not, I’m sooooo not paleo.

This Seasonal pack (can’t say for others) is dried meat, ‘berky’ (dried berry-covered jerky) and chicken jerky. I haven’t eaten the Paleo Krunch ‘bars’ but I’ve had Paleo Krunch Cinnamon Swirl cereal. It’s amazing but it’s also like what I make, only I don’t use honey and cinnamon. It’s like they stopped food processing it before it got to the mush necessary to form into bars. And when it forms into bars you get: Paleo Krunch bars (see above).

The story behind Paleokits is this Steve feller coaches at-risk kids. He’d mix up dried meat, dried fruit, seeds and nuts for snacking and pass them out. They’re delicious but you really can do this at home. If you’re like me and don’t have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate in a low-temp oven and save a ton of money. It takes time, though, and it’s not vacuum-packed. My fruit and nut bars must be refrigerated and eaten within about 5 days or things start growing on them. It’s not much of a problem cos I’ll eat them all if given half a chance.

My overall review is: If you can afford it, buy it! If you can’t, make it!


I support this insert they included. I’ll rewrite it to Lily-Perfection below.

nutrition in 100 words

Eating Healthier:


Eat unprocessed food.


Choose food that grows,

nothing packaged or processed.

Support local farms when possible.


Vegetarians, skip the meat:

Eat animals, marine life, vegetables, nuts, seeds, 

and fruits. Eat plenty of healthy fats from 

 [grass-fed, not grain-fed] animals, fish, 

coconut, avocado, olives and cold-pressed oils.

Drink water.


Incorporate traditional, nutrient-dense food, 

fermented vegetables [like sauerkraut], organ meats,

and homemade [stock].

STAMINA: happy customer! Reformer Cord Resistance Info

stamina pilates reformer with rebounderI’ve mentioned my Reformer?

I like it. I recommend it to people who want something nice, not insanely heavy (folds and has rollers to move about the room if needed) and…under 500USD.

Elite, professional Reformers that cost $1500-$3000 use springs and have beautiful solid wood finishing.

I got the fanciest cord model that I could get (non-professional). Having used resistance bands from therabands in physical therapy to ‘ultra heavy’ P90X models, I know they can be compared with approximation to pounds. Yesterday, I emailed Stamina who makes my AeroPilates model, asking if I could get estimated resistance in pounds cos I’m a tracking fool.

The yellow cord tension is 10-16 lbs, the black cord tension is 16-24 lbs and the red cord tension is 22-34lbs. The minimum tension is measured at 15” of stretch, maximum tension is measured at 30” of stretch. As the bungee cord is stretched, it’s tension increases.

I hope this helps.

Good day,

Connie | Customer Service Representative
Stamina Products, Inc.

Woohoo! That’s great info! Thanks, Stamina!

Great customer service, especially considering my model is fairly lower-end. They treated me as nicely as anybody, which makes me want to share :)

You Are Your Own Gym (yayog)



Firstly, I did not read the book by Mark Lauren. I’m reading Bryn Greenwood’s “Last Will,” a George R.R. Martin book and a few non-fics right now. It takes a long time for me to get through any book but reading several at a time means longer!

BUT: I’m doing the workouts!

For TWO DOLLARS, I bought the app (after reading rave reviews). It’s on Android in Google Play and iPhone. Let me say (in case you haven’t clicked the Mark Lauren direct link), it’s about working out for strength USING YOUR OWN BODY and no equipment. Granted, I’ve used a towel, a chair and a table across two workouts but the idea is it’s no special equipment one needs to carry around with them or purchase.

Allow me to backtrack:

I was never athletic as a child or in school (almost never–at age 15, somebody handed me a shillelagh and told me to drive a heavy wooden ball past kids. -field hockey  My school didn’t have a TEAM but regionals tried to recruit me. As it turns, if you need a rough and tumble kid, one who grew up working on a ranch 4 hours a day for over 10 years is a good choice: push people out of the way? Try a holding a bull to be castrated or pitching 70lb bales of hay around!

Where was I?

I began working out at uni. I worked a job and was a full-time student. Nowadays, that’s like 12 hours a week. I had 28 credit hours one semester.  I didn’t live at home.

I’d spent my life working on a ranch, then suddenly SITTING ALL THE TIME felt WEIRD! I discovered that I love fitness. Sometimes I’m fatter and sometimes I’m thinner. Sometimes my health permits me to do what I want and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now, I’m not allowed to lift heavy weights. Just as I was getting ready to figure out some kind of theraband something (maybe fire up the old p90x discs), I stumbled across YAROG.

I’m super-impressed. For one thing, let’s say you weren’t interested in the guided workout programs:

  1. Basic (this is where I am; I can do more of somethings and hardly do other exercises, so it’s right for me now)
  2. First Class (intermediate)
  3. Master (advanced)
  4. Chief (only for elite)

-As always, nobody as yet has given me a thing for free for doing my reviews :) …I’d gladly accept it but nobody has. That’s the problem with running a non-business site, I suppose.

Where was I?

We were talking about how you’re not interested in 4 levels of guided (4 days a week for 10 weeks each) programs.

I’m doing Ladders. That means they show you (video) what to do, tell you to get ready, you do reps (the amount they told you to do), click “done.” Next, they give a rest countdown. I run in place during rests cos I’m ADHD. Repeat til the workout is done.

This is FANTASTIC because a) I forget where I am otherwise b) it’s easy to lose track of time between work/ rest sections. Ain’t gonna happen with YAYOG. It’s like having a coach doing any of the brain stuff, so you can focus on form.

But you weren’t interesting in that for $2.

Okay, they have custom workout timers. I’ve had a Tabata timer for ages (in iPhone years, that means 4 or 5). I guess I can delete that now…

  1. Interval Sets (traditional)
  2. Super Sets (power)
  3. 4 Step Ladders (endurance — this is what my basic wos consist of)
  4. Stappers (timed circuit training)
  5. Tabatas (HIIT, high intensity interval training that lasts 8 minutes with specified work times and rest times)

And ya know, if you’re just looking for something to do, there are over 200 exercises detailed and shown as videos for form/ instruction.

For $2. Sold! I’m all over this.

I’ve done 2 workouts:

My screen shot on phone chops off part of the detail since upgraded to iOS6–apologies. I don’t want to buy a phone so I can see all of something. The top that’s cut-off is chair pushups. You can see it says 1. I did 24. Learning curve.

Figured it out for the others! Those let me ups KICKED MY ARSE. Good grief! You can see I did more than they asked on the middle two. Again, I’m stronger in some things and not as strong in others. I’ll get stronger!

To mix things up, I chopped off the bottom of this one ::rolls eyes:: It was swimmers, a core exercise where you’re lying on your belly and lift your right arm and left leg, hold, then opposite for one rep. I did 33/ 36. It’s not that I’d reached failure but that’s a really uncomfortable position for me (I was on a thick yoga mat on carpeting) and it said in details to hold at top to make it harder–so I held them longer.
After this workout, I went directly outside and ran 1 mile as fast as I could. It’s considered steep hills/ trail running. It took 12:59. The voice on my Nike+ said 12:58 but the activity section added a minute. I try to give myself the least credit. :)

That was this weekend’s LiveFit Revolution Cardio Challenge: how fast can you cover a mile. I’m not very fast but that’s okay. I’ll say this: starting right after working the lower body was, WOT?!

Body Fat (and more) Apps

Fat2Fit: FREE

For Droid

For iPhone

Love it. Use it about monthly, when I take my measurements (which you may have noticed I report here!).

Fitter: FREE

For iPhone

“Fitter” only runs one algorithm for body fat percentage. This doesn’t impress me but I still always use it. Fat2Fit runs three algorithms for body fat percentage and both apps help track other stats.

I take my measurements with tape measure (the kind a seamstress uses). You’ll notice some methods for calculating body composition ask for different areas. It’s not going to hurt you to keep a record of all of these areas because things happen differently in various areas of your body.

My measurements last week showed an increase in my arms (which have always been a “heavy” area on me). You’d think that I’d freak out BUT many areas dropped. That’s why it’s good to have lots of data.

review: Glutino Genius White Sandwich Bread

Genius by Glutino White Sandwich Bread

“Have you ever imagined eating gluten-free sandwich bread that is so tasty you don’t have to toast it? Genius by Glutino White Sandwich Bread is just that! Absolutely light and so delicious it makes the perfect lunchtime meal right out of the bag!”


Let me put it this way: if I wanted to eat bread that tastes like this, I can make my own from scratch that tastes better (albeit, it’s crumbly…but I’m not paying the money for xanthan gum!).

What can I say that’s nice about it? If you put enough Earth Balance Buttery Spread or Nutella on it once toasted, it only tastes wonky. The texture is toast-like…

Where was I? I didn’t like it and I will never buy it again. I’m not trying to be hateful but that’s some gnarly crap to have spent time/ energy and fuel to try (of course I bought loads of things, not just this!). You can live your whole life without doing this to yourself. Don’t buy it even if it’s the only thing in your area. You can do better yourself.

Orgran Gluten Free Rice & Corn Pasta Tortelli

it’s like a sauna in here!

I got mine on special offer from I’d read a review about corn pasta that said nobody could tell the difference, so I bought three gluten-free varieties (all different brands):

  1. rice/ corn (this one)
  2. brown rice
  3. corn pasta

This was my first trial* of Orgran Rice and Corn Tortelli.

Got water boiling with a dash of salt and then dropped in 200g (half) of the pasta. When I checked at one point, it was too tough. Next time? Too done. Boo! It’s fine to eat, only as you can see some of the “doughnuts” are falling apart.

Unfortunately (and not a surprise) I’m reactive. I eat corn, although I know that it causes GI issues. In retrospect, making pasta (half-corn) with broccoli rabi (rapini) wasn’t the best idea. I have to be careful with my cabbage-family vegetables, too (common bloating). I can get away with a little of either but both? Corny+cabbagey=dumb!

I’m still eating it and it tastes great but I’m having GI repercussions.

Taste: B+

Reactivity:Bad, exacerbated by vegetable pairing.

* I will try the other half with something other than cruciferous veg!

** I tried this again, without any questionable other ingredient — it was fine. Just be very careful to not overcook it!

Final score:

Taste: B+

Texture: B

Reactivity: Little to none.