Posted in review

Product Review! International Delight One Touch Latte (Caramel)

This post was sponsored by International Delight® as part of a sampling activation for Crowdtap. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
I’d heard about this stuff and seen commercials for it.  From regular coffee to latte in 5 seconds?  I didn’t believe it.  But I got a coupon for a free bottle of ot from Crowdtap, so I had nothing to lose.  It came in Vanilla, Mocha, or Caramel.  Well I love getting blended iced coffee drinks at the coffeehouse in caramel, so I bought that one.  Again, I didn’t have high hopes.
The next morning I got up and made my coffee.  The instructions on the One Touch Latte tell you to fill your cup 2/3 full, shake the bottle, turn it upside down, and press the button firmly for  seconds.  So I followed the instructions.

It worked!  It had the lovely frothy cream on top, and tasted wonderfully decadent, no additonal sugar needed!  The mom unit tryied it this morning with her coffee.  The only problem she had was she didn’t push the button down FIRMLY (they aren’t kidding when they say that) and it kind of oozed out and looked yucky.  She just poured another cup and tried again, and she loved it too!
So you get a coffeehouse quality drink in just a few seconds, for just a fraction of the cost, no waiting in line.  It’s a win!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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Posted in family

Things Have Been Busy….

I had promised myself I’d do better on updating, and then life punched me in the face.  A few years back, Sean Patrick Flanery (shineuntiltomorrow.com) wrote a blog post titled “Sometimes you just need a minute”.  It was about the death of his beloved dog, Donut.  Anyone who has ever lost a pet knows that pain.  But I didn’t lose a pet.

I lost my dad.

Before you send your condolences, I need to come clean.  I had no relationship with my father.  At all.  I hadn’t spoken to him in something like 10 years, of not longer.  He didn’t beat me or molest me or anything horrible like that.  He just never seemed to care much about me growing up.  My dad was a sports guy, baseball mainly, he played in the minor leagues until he tore up his knee.  I was not into sports, I was an academic child.  Did well in school, sang in the school choir, was even in a few school plays in elementary and junior high school.
He never came to even one performance.
He and my mother divorced when I was in college.  He eventually moved away to Denton, Texas, where we had lived when I was 20.

He had never taken care of his health, and I spent most of my life telling him he needed to or it would bite him in the ass, and it did.  He had open heart surgery several years ago, and a pacemaker installed.  He was an alcoholic that continued to drink, however, and his diet was horrible.
He was in and out of the hospital more times than I can even remember over the last few years, and in and out of ICU.  He started using a walker and a wheelchair.  His hygiene (never a strong suit with him to begin with) just totally went out the window.  He once questioned my mom (they still talked) about why my brother or I didn’t move down there and take care of him.
That right there is very telling.  He didn’t want to do things for himself, he wanted someone else to do it.

His doctors commended his decision to buy a treadmill.  My mom and he talked about it, and he said, “Even if I can only walk for a few minutes at first, maybe I can slowly walk a little more each day.”
When my brother and I went to go through his things after he passed, the treadmill was covered in dust, and had an end table on it.  He had bought a mini-fridge from a neighbor that he could keep right next to his recliner for the specific reason of keeping beer in it – so he wouldn’t have to walk 10 feet to the kitchen to get it.

He had flatlined previous times in ICU and been brought back.  This time when he went in for blood in his stool, he was refusing some treatment.  He flatlined and they gave him CPR.  They called my brother and he spoke to the pulmonologist who recommended that if dad’s heart stopped again, to let it go. He had a 73 year old heart that was bad and only had one working valve that was working incorrectly and backing up blood into his lungs. He was on a ventilator and unconscious, so the decision was on us, but he had been refusing treatment lately, so we thought maybe he was ready to go. We were supporting the decision to let him go if it happened.
A few hours later, the phone rang.  It was brother letting me know that dad was gone.  It was about 1:30 a.m. California time, 3:30 a.m. Texas time.

I was very conflicted about all of it.  I think he was ready to go, just tired of hospitals and being sick and going through all of that.  On the other hand, I was mad that he “gave up”.
My brother and I ended up going to Texas for 5 days and taking care of stuff.  His apartment was a roach infested mess.
The worst part is that most of my dad’s stuff ended up in the trash.  A neighbor lady took all of the meat he had in the freezer, so I was glad that didn’t go to waste, as well as some canned goods. She also took his recliner and a small shelf unit. An old friend of his came by and took the TV (a nice one, wish I’d been able to get it home), DVD/CD player and all his DVD’s, and came back the next day to take his treadmill (again, wish I could have kept it), and helped take some of his other things to Goodwill (usable clothes, walker, wheelchair).
I got sick because of course I did, so after that first day, I was useless, and could only lay in bed at the hotel exhausted.  My brother had to take care of the rest of the stuff.  I felt bad, but I was so sick.  It was not a good trip.

They did his cremation this past Sunday, and on Tuesday, his ashes arrived.  I put them in our storage, because having them in the house creeps me out.  We are going to scatter them up in mountains near where he used to go hunting, but we have to wait for the snow to melt.  In the end, I also had to sell my diamond earrings to a friend just to afford to put an obituary in the paper for him.  Didn’t those used to be free?

There is something very upsetting about the fact that most of my father’s belongings went in the trash, most of his paperwork just went through the shredder, and his body is reduced to ashes.
Your life just goes in the trash.

So…yeah.

Sometimes you just need a minute.scattering-ashes

 

Posted in review

Silk Protein Nutmilk Review

Review time!
This post was sponsored by Silk as part of a new product sampling activation for Crowdtap, I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. All review comments are entirely my own.

I received a voucher for a free half-gallon of Silk Protein & Nutmilk, either regular or vanilla. The mom unit was nice enough to go pick it up from the store for me. When she got home I looked at it. It was original flavor but it was actually expired! (This was no fault of the Silk brand of course, but a major fail on the part of the grocery store!) Luckily, we only live 2 blocks away, so she went back an exchanged it. When she came back, I noticed she had gotten vanilla instead of regular. I was a little nervous, I admit. I have used plain Silk before, and liked it, but not flavored.
I went ahead and made my coffee and oatmeal for breakfast and decided to use the Vanilla Silk Protein& Nutmilk in both.
What a great surprise!
I usually sweeten my oatmeal with a little bit of honey, but the Vanilla Silk Protein & Nutmilk sweetened it without it being cloying. Having it in my coffee made it taste like a fancy vanilla coffee drink from a coffeehouse. Now I’m thinking of trying it in place of milk for pancakes and making vanilla pancakes! Mom likes it too!
In conclusion, I would give this 5 stars, two thumbs up, an A+ !

 

Posted in review

Unsponsored Review – Otezla

So this is another sort of review, but unsponsored.  I’m doing this to hope to help people.

For those of you reading this who know me, you know I have psoriasis.  I have fought with my skin since I was 14 years old and it first popped up.  I’d get patches of it here and there.  There wasn’t much I could do for it.  Smelly creams, sticky ointments, and useless diets (to rule out “food allergies”) were what I dealt with.
When I was 19, a dermatologist told me that the best thing for it would be UV light, specifically a tanning salon.  He did not make this recommendation lightly, reminding me that this was dangerous with a risk of skin cancer, but since nothing else was working, I could give it a shot.
To my surprise (and happiness), it worked!  My mother (who also had it – it’s hereditary) also tried the tanning salon, and also had it work for her.  We were ecstatic.  We would usually buy a tanning package of something like 30 tans and go once or twice a week.  And the results would last for months, sometimes even a year.  I was so happy to have normal skin again!  I tried to be careful of how often I tanned, and not overdo it.
I tanned off and on for several years.  When I stopped, my skin stayed clear for a VERY long time.  Then, in college, it flared up.  I found a local tanning salon and bought a small package – I didn’t really want to tan a bunch of times…I was a goth, I wanted to stay pale!
This time…it didn’t work.  At all.  I talked to the owner of the salon, and he said that over the last few years, tanning bed lamps had changed.  They were now “safer”, but possibly less effective on psoriasis.  What was I going to do now?

I made an appointment with a dermatologist.  My skin was slowly getting worse.  We tried some new ointments and they worked – at first.  Then they just stopped.  My scalp was awful.  It flaked all the time, making me look as if I had a severe dandruff issue.  I had to use tar shampoo (Neutrogena’s T-Gel), and it only worked sporadically.  I took a trip to Denver….and my skin cleared up.  The reason was that the place I was staying at had “soft” water, while my city in California had “hard” water.  Although they sell things to “soften” your water, we lived in an apartment, not a house, thus we had no access to the water heater.  After I came back from Denver, it was fine for a very long time.  I had a boyfriend in San Francisco, and the water where he lived was soft, so I think showering there when I spent the night helped.

We broke up, of course, and over the next few years, my skin slowly but surely went out of control.  I saw my dermatologist again.  He prescribed Taclonex ointment, which worked for a while.  Then he put me on Enbrel.  I started taking it, and my skin went haywire.  I had plaque psoriasis, yes, but my body broke out like crazy.  I ended up with giant red splotches over 95% of my body, some as large as 2 inches in diameter.  They itched so badly.  I would wake up form scratching myself in my sleep.  It crept across my body like an unwelcome shadow.  Then I started to get one on my face.  No.  I was in tears over it.  We called the dermatologist and he had me come in.
He had me take off my shirt took one look at me, and said, “This shouldn’t be happening!”  He took a small sample (painless) off of my back, telling me, “Let me check something, I’ll be right back.”  He walked in a few minutes later with a smile, telling me, “This isn’t your psoriaisis.  The Enbrel is an immune suppressant.  You have a non-contagious fungal infection on your skin.”  He gave me a prescription to clear THAT up.
It was fine after that!  I gave myself shots regularly (it was a stat dose pen, super easy, even for someone afraid of needles).  When the Enbrel started to lose it’s effectiveness, we moved onto Humira, also a stat dose pen.  I also went to Pennsylvania for a few months, and they had soft water as well, so it was a double whammy of good for my skin.  I came back home, and the Humira lost it’s effectiveness, so I went on Stelara.  Instead of an injection every 1 or 2 weeks, it was once every three months.  My dermatologist’s office was near to my home (since this was a regular syringe), so I would go there for my shots.  (Also, my dermatologist had years before STOPPED CHARGING ME, because he is an angel and I mourned when he retired).  I was on Stelara for a few years.  Unfortunately, all those years of taking immune suppressing drugs was taking it’s toll.
Having no immune system meant I always got sick.  Someone would start coughing at the other end of the train car I was in during my commute, and I’d get sick.  Having no immune system meant I didn’t just get a cold: I got tonsillitis, or a sinus infection, or a throat infection.  That meant missing work to see a doctor and get a prescription.  I missed a lot of work, and it cost me jobs.  People like to say, “They can’t fire you for being sick!”  They can, and they do, and it happened to me.
I started to look for an alternative.  I saw an ad on TV for Otezla.  I was a little worried on the side effects, particularly depression, but I had to try something else.
I am finishing up my first month on it, and I cannot recommend it enough! One pill twice a day, and NOT an immune suppressant!  The only possible side effect I have noticed is that if I take them too close together, I WILL get a migraine, so I make sure to take one when I wake up (usually before 7 a.m.) and one with dinner (around 6 p.m.).  No more sticking myself with needles, no more getting sick if someone sneezes within one mile of me.  And I have not had an issue with depression.

So yes, Otezla.  If you have psoriasis it can be horrible.  They call it “the heartbreak” for a reason.  You do NOT have to live with it!    There IS something that will work!  For instance, for my mom’s scalp psoriasis, she rubs coconut oil into her scalp before bed twice a week.  She puts a little shower cap on her head, sleeps with it, and washes it out in the morning, and it has done wonders for her (plus her hair is wonderfully soft).  If one thing doesn’t work for you, don’t give up, try something else.  Find a dermatologist who won’t give up!  Mine refused to give up even after I was ready to “just live with it”.  You don’t have to.  Below are photos (not me) of people on Otezla.  What a difference the right med makes!

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Posted in review

Tide PODS Plus Downy

Review time!
This post was sponsored by Tide PODS Plus Downy as part of a new product sampling activation for CrowdTap, I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. All review comments are entirely my own.

I’ve used Tide off and on in the past.  Unfortunately, with my uber-sensitive skin (and psoriasis), the harsh scents would leave me irritated and itchy.  However, I was always willing to try again if and when a new formula came out.
CrowdTap contacted me to try some samples of the Tide PODS Plus Downy, and hey, why not?  It was a new formulation (a pod as opposed to a liquid or powder), so maybe things would be different.  Also, nothing was getting the funk out of my workout tank top.  Seriously, I was about to get rid of it…if it didn’t get up and walk away on it’s own first!

I gathered up a load of laundry, funky shirt included, and grabbed a pod.  I considered grabbing two, but I wanted to see how much stink one pod could handle.  To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes.  I tossed in the pod first, as per instructions, tossed the clothes in (I was sure that funky shirt was gonna jump back out, for real), selected cold water (that pod was gonna have to WORK), and started it up.
Thirty minutes later, time to go in the dryer.  As soon as I opened the lid, I could smell how fresh everything was.  The package said the scent was “April Fresh”, and they weren’t kidding!  It smelled fresh and sweet, without smelling like chemicals or being cloying.
Since the pods included Downy, I decided to forego they typical dryer sheet.  I was seriously giving the Tide PODS no help whatsoever.  I even had two fleece sweaters in there.  Those things make static if you look at the wrong.
Forty five minutes later, I pulled everything out of the dryer and started to fold it.  Even though the fleece had a bit of static, it wasn’t anything like it usually is, even when I use a dryer sheet!  I was flabbergasted.  And then….there was my workout shirt.  I pulled it out.  Well, it was definitely softer.  Tentatively, I brought it up to my nose.  There was no one to call 911 if the stink on that shirt was still kicking like Bruce Lee.
It was clean.
And it SMELLED clean.
That was last week, as I wanted to see how my skin would react….no problems!  No redness, itch, or irritation!
No Bruce Lee kicks, no funk, no irritation, no kidding.

So to sum up: clean, soft clothes (even in cold water!), super fresh, no irritation.

WIN

Five stars, two thumbs up, and A+.  I would definitely recommend this.  Stinky, dirty clothes have met their match!

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Posted in review

Sensodyne Deep Clean

Review time!
This post was sponsored by Sensodyne Deep Clean as part of a new product sampling activation for BzzAgent I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. All review comments are entirely my own.
I have been using Sensodyne for a number of years now since my dentist recommended it. I have tried several different varieties that they have and they have all been….okay. They help with teeth sensitivity, and at my last few check ups, I’ve had no cavities, so yay! But I don’t know, they just never made my mouth feel “fresh”. So I got a sample of the Sensodyne Deep Clean gel from BzzAgent. I figured it would be “okay” like the other varieties.
I was wrong.
It is so much better! It tastes really nice, my teeth felt wonderfully clean, it still helps with the sensitivity and my mouth felt “fresh”. Even after I had something to eat, I still had that fresh clean feeling, and have never had that with another toothpaste. I used it morning and night for five days, just to be sure that it was just as good every day, and it is! I have found my new favorite toothpaste!
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Posted in review

ClariSpray Nasal Allergy Spray

Review time!
This post was sponsored by ClariSpray as part of a new product sampling activation for @BzzAgent. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. All review comments are entirely my own.
I really wanted to like this more than I did. I tried the ClariSpray for 3 days in a row. (The active ingredient in it is Fluticasone Propionate Nasal Spray, USP.) I used it at 8 a.m. every morning. Two puffs in each side, as directed. It promises 24 hour relief of nasal allergies. However, when I was getting ready for bed at 11 p.m., I was already congested again, and needed to take an allergy med.
I was hoping the ClariSpray would work as well as Claritin pills do ,even though they have different ingredients. I will continue to use it, though. It works great for the day: no sneezing, coughing, or itchy eyes. They also sent me several $3 off coupons, which is a great incentive! (They sent me so many, I passed some on to a friend!). But I will still need to take a separate med in the evening. So out of 5 stars, I give it three.
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