If I could only pick 3 natural products…

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Someone asked me this question, due to my extensive collection, “what would you keep if you could only have 3 natural products to use?”

I thought about this for a bit, and I guess I’d have to say, the top 3 that I use the most often. (Now, I am picking my top 3 “raw” items, as I could go on and on about different soaps, bodywashes, scrubs, masks, products, etc. but these are the bare-bones items that I get the most use out of)

1. Jojoba oil. Pure, golden, jojoba oil. I love this stuff. I use it as a face moisturizer, as well as a cleanser sometimes. I put a little on the ends of my hair when they’re dry. I rub it into my scalp as a pre shower treatment. I use it on my legs after shaving, and on my dry elbows in the winter. It is great for my super sensitive skin, absolutely zero irritation. I even put it on the delicate skin around my eyes with no problems. Hell, I even use it as lube with which to stretch my ear lobes (I recently went from 8G plugs to 2G plugs and it works like a dream). Also great as a massage oil, and I mix certain essential oils into it as it is a great carrier oil. It’s not terribly expensive, and so versatile, that it is definitely my #1 pick.

2. Tea Tree Oil. Now, I love me some essential oils. But if I am limited to selection, tea tree is top of the list. I dab it on unsightly whiteheads and pimples. I rub it on my boyfriend’s scalp to get rid of his dandruff. I use it to clean EVERYTHING in my house (no joke, I have a spray bottle filled with vinegar, water, tea tree oil and lemon essential oil, with which I clean ALL surfaces from the sinks to the hardwood floors) and as an added bonus, because I live on the west coast and mould is a real problem here, I use it to kill said mould and mildew in a natural, easy, 1 step whammee! It is also anti-fungal, so I have used it on my dogs paws when they are itchy and red as well. Awesome stuff, just smells a little strong.

3. Baking soda. Yup. Cheap, no-name brand is good enough for me! This stuff also has a multitude of uses for me. I mix it with water and use it as an exfoliating scrub on my face and entire body. I soak in it in the bath, or soak my boyfriend’s stinky feet in it. I sprinkle it into smell shoes and garbage cans. I put a little dish of it in my fridge to absorb odors. Sprinkle it on the carpet, wait 20 mins, and vacuum it up, natural deodorizer. Put some on a cloth and it will scrub your sinks, bathtubs, etc. clean as new. Add some to the kitty litter box. The list goes on.

So those are my top 3 natural, raw products. They are versatile, useful, inexpensive, and oh so handy.

*Bonus notes: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down a clogged drain. Follow with 1 cup white vinegar. Voila. Home made drain-o. Works like a charm.

*Bonus bonus notes: I thought of this to add along with the sprinkling baking soda on the carpet to freshen a room – I take the filter out of my vacuum cleaner, and put about 10 drops of essential oil on it every so often. Then, the whole time you vacuum, the delicious scent will be wafting around the room. My 2 favorite combos for this are 7 drops orange oil and 3 drops clove oil; or 5 drops lemon oil and 5 drops ginger oil. Mmmm Mmmm.

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A new discovery… Natural Bentonite Clay !!!

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Hello all – I wanted to share a quick note with all you natural beauty junkies out there about a new (well new to me) discovery – Natural Bentonite Clay!

MMMMM yes this stuff is the bomb – it is found online at amazon.com, as well as at most natural / health food stores. I got mine in the bulk section of what I like to call my local hippy store ūüôā

It looks pretty much exactly like this.

This stuff is super simple – it comes in powdered form, though you can also buy pre-made masks made from bentonite clay, but I find that it is cheaper and less irritating to just mix it myself from the powdered form. I take a small bowl, and put about 1 heaping teaspoon of the powdered clay in, then add a splash of apple cider vinegar and a splash of water, and mix with my fingers. Add a little more vinegar/water, in small amounts, until you get a consistency that you feel will spread easily onto your skin. Starting with a clean, dry face, spread an even layer on, avoiding the delicate skin around your eyes, and let it dry. Some women use it down their neck and jawline also. I found it takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes to dry out, depending on how thickly you spread it on and how warm your house is! You will feel it tightening up on your skin, and I have very sensitive skin so I even felt a little uncomfortable while it was drying, but I am used to that. Once it has completely dried and been on for at least 20 minutes, wash off gently with lukewarm water. Sometimes I use a very sopping wet facecloth to help remove it.

This mask will draw impurities and pore-clogging dirt, oil, left over makeup, etc. out of your skin. I noticed that right after removing this mask, some parts of my face were VERY red, almost looked sunburned. Mostly in my problem T-zone. Later on in the day, I had several new whiteheads and small eruptions on my cheeks, chin, and forehead. I dabbed these with tea tree oil before bed, and exfoliated my face in the morning. Overall, it left my skin feeling softer, pores looking a little tighter, and obviously pulled some nasty gunk to the surface. I would recommend doing this mask NOT right before a big event, but at least 1-2 days in advance, so that any redness or eruptions have a chance to calm down and heal. This is an amazing, inexpensive, completely natural facial mask, and aside from redness, did not bother my super sensitive skin. Right on!

BEAUTY SECRET! These 2 products are my all time favorites! If I could only take 2 things with me on a trip, it would be The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector, and EOS lip balms!

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These are my two ultimate favorite products, of all time. And that’s certainly saying something, considering that I am a product junkie and I expect the best, and don’t settle for less. That is why I try out so many different products, because if I am not satisfied with one, it is on to the next. There are not many that make the cut. But these are 2 of my ultimate must-haves.

1. The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector 100 mls for $20 (I would like to note that I have never actually paid $20 per tube of this – it goes on sale VERY often as it is so popular, and usually you can get it for $10-$15. When it goes on sale for $10 I usually buy 2 or 3 to last me)

Click for enlarged view

Now this product is called a hand protector, and says it is for dry- to – very dry skin. I would call it a thick hand cream, and I would say it is for any skin type. I work in health care, which requires me to wash my hands VERY often, with cheap harsh soap provided by the companies I work for. This wreaks havoc on my sensitive delicate skin, making my hands crack, cuticles peel, and nails split all from being so dry and rough. It’s awful, and it honestly makes it hard to use my hands sometimes, especially in winter. This hemp hand protector is truly a life saver, and let me tell you, I have tried dozens, probably actually at least a hundred different hand creams, cheap to ridiculously expensive, and none come close to how amazing this stuff is. When you squeeze a little onto your hands (and yes I really do mean a little, we are talking less than a dime sized amount) you can see how thick it is coming out of the tube, almost like butter. Also, fun fact, it is bright green! When you rub it in you notice it has a very light hemp scent. Some people dislike the smell of hemp – I urge you to GET OVER IT in this case because 1. the cream works so well that it could smell like poop and I’d probably still use it and 2. the scent actually fades almost immediately. Within half an hour you cannot smell it at all. I find also that even with my very sensitive skin, this causes absolutely no irritation, which is again unusual for me. I really cannot say enough about this product, and I think that everyone who works in health care, food service, works outdoors, even just enjoys gardening etc. should really give it a try. It comes in a smaller “travel” size tube as well, 30 mls for $10 (again this goes on sale every time the larger tubes do so if you don’t want to spend much to try it out, wait for a sale, or better yet, just go to a Body Shop store and use one of their sample tubes!) I also feel the need to mention that there is a whole bunch of other Hemp products from the Body Shop that I would really like to try, next time I have some extra money to spend on my self I am going to pick up a few more items once a sale hits. Stay tuned for reviews on all of those too! ūüôā

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5. Only because the smell is a bit off. But totally worth it and it goes away very quickly.

2. EOS Lip Balms!!! (Fun fact – EOS stands for “Evolution of Smooth”)
These lip balms are 100% natural and 95% organic. They are made of great ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. Some offer SPF as well. Some other things I like are the fact that they are free of gluten, parabens, and petrolatum.
They come in a wide variety of flavors, such as strawberry sorbet, summer fruit, sweet mint, and honeysuckle honeydew.
The stores in my area have a limited selection, so I have only had the pleasure of trying out the Summer Fruit and Honeysuckle Honeydew flavors. Both of them are absolutely fantastic. There is nothing fake about these lip balms, and you can tell that right away. They smell delicious, like actual real fruit not artificial scent, and they glide on your lips so smooth, with no waxy feeling or flaky lips left behind. These leave your lips so soft and smooth. I have seen prices ranging from about $2.50 each on sale to about $4.50 each regular price, and anywhere in between, depending where you buy. Average about $3.50 each. I find it is totally worth the price, and again these are items I stock up on whenever I see a sale happening, because I know I am never NOT going to need them! I have been using the Honeysuckle Honeydew one at work 5 days/week for the last 2 months and have barey made a dent in it. The only downside I’d say, is the shape, doesn’t really fit into a pocket very well. I don’t carry a purse, so that’s a bit of a bother for me. But I leave one in my car, one on my bathroom shelf, and one at my station at work, so that I never have to go far without it! I’d really like to see them make a few that are tinted, as I do like a bit of pink or red on my lips from time to time.

Overall rating out of 5 stars: 5!

*REVIEW – some Mario Badescu Products

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I have heard a lot about the NY based brand Mario Badescu, a skin care line. They always have those ads in the pages of Cosmo magazine for their zit-zapping “Drying Lotion” bottles.

All photos are taken from their website http://www.mariobadescu.com and are their property.
Image at 1 oz for $17, it must be good if people are still buying it right?? Imagine buying a 1oz shot of alcohol for that price.. I would laugh in the bartender’s face!
Anyways, the drying lotion is something I did not try. The list of things I tried is as follows:

1. Seaweed Cleansing Soap. 8 oz. $12.

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This seaweed face wash.. well.. it is ok. It does have bits of seaweed in it. It is bright green like the picture. It smells very strong, sort of like aftershave and laundry soap combined? I don’t really know how else to describe it. All the products are pretty strangely scented. I found this scent to be a little more on the unpleasant side for me, and so strong. I ordered online, so I could not smell and touch things before hand.. I doubt I will ever do that again. As for its claims: cleansing, gentle, exfoliating, non-soap (I know right? The name of it says soap.. but apparently it doesn’t have any soap in it), and light makeup removal.
Cleansing – yes
Gentle – sort of, it still leaves my skin a bit dry
Exfoliating – not that I have noticed at all
Light make up removal – no, didn’t even take off my mascara – not waterproof mascara either just plain black.
Overall rating out of 5 stars: 2.5
Pros: somewhat gentle, doesn’t irritate
Cons: smells bad, and very strong smell, leaves my skin dry, doesn’t remove makeup

2. Kiwi Exfoliating Face Scrub 4 oz for $15
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This is probably the only product of all of these listed that actually smells good! It smells like a delicious strawberry-kiwi smoothie of some kind. Mmmm!!! Now this product has real kiwi seeds in it, and also bits of seaweed, and natural Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) which are all supposed to contribute to the exfoliation experience. Unfortunately this product, aside from the delicious scent, is completely useless. It does not exfoliate at all. In fact, just to get some use out of it, I brought a small dish of coarse sea salt into the bathroom and I mix it with this scrub to make it actually exfoliate my skin. Really not impressed.

Overall rating out of 5 stars: 1
Pros: smells nice, rich & thick
Cons: does not exfoliate, does not improve skin quality, waste of money

3. Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion (I don’t know why they call it that… It is a toner) 8 oz for $15
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Now for the toner – this toner claims to give you a healthy, refreshed glow and to brighten skin and reduce discoloration, as well as gently clearing congested pores.
Ummm how about no… My skin is not brighter. I still have major blackheads, everywhere. It reeks of dandelions. Luckily the scent fades quickly. It also claims this is appropriate for oily, dry, and/or sensitive skin. False. It leaves my sensitive/dry skin dry and sometimes even a bit flaky. Overall I find it also quite useless.
Overall rating out of 5 stars: 1
Pros: None
Cons: drying, stinky, does not lessen blackheads or brighten skin tone

4. Flower and Tonic Mask 4 oz for $18
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How refreshing… ONE product out of 5 actually works. This Flower and Tonic Mask is actually quite nice. It is pale robin’s egg blue, has a light flowery scent, not overpowering (for once), and actually does some of what it claims!!! Wow!!! It claims to remove bumpy and congested skin, clean pores without drying, and reduce irritation. The directions say to leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse off. I find 5 minutes is about how long you can leave it on, otherwise it all begins to flake off and blue powdery bits are dusting everywhere. After rinsing it off, my pores look visibly minimized. I still have bumpy congested skin, and blackheads, but I think that this mask is slowly helping some areas, especially my cheeks. It does not dry out my skin, and it does not irritate.
Overall rating out of 5 stars: 4
Pros: minimizes pores and helps blackheads a little, scent is pleasant and not overpowering, works alright and quickly, doesn’t irritate or dry out sensitive skin
Cons: doesn’t work as well as I would like, for the price, doesn’t reduce bumps.

5. Hydro-moisturizer with Vitamin C 2 oz for $18
Hydro-Moisturizer With Vitamin C
I don’t really know what to say about this moisturizer. It is alright. It claims to give you luminous, soft, radiant skin. Well, 1/3. My skin is soft, yes. Radiant? Luminous? Hardly. I guess overall it is not bad, it doesn’t stink, in fact it has almost no scent. I am disappointed that it contains parabens, one of the few of these products that does, and for the price I would expect better from it.
Overall rating out of 5 stars: 2.5
Pros: doesn’t stink, makes skin soft, doesn’t irritate
Cons: doesn’t live up to its claims, too expensive, contains chemicals I don’t want on my body

I also received some free samples, they always give 3 free samples with each order so that is nice. None were worth mentioning except for the Drying Mask – meant for acne-prone skin/blackheads etc.I found it to work fairly well, it brought a lot of eruptions to the surface of my skin, and drew out impurities, however the smell was so strong and revolting – overpowering smell sort of like burnt plastic or burnt hair and just made me gag so badly that it would never be worth while for me to buy it no matter what the positive effects.

My overall rating for Mario Badescu based on these products:

out of 5 stars: 2.2
This is an average of all my above ratings. I actually kind of want to rate it even less due to the high cost of each product, plus shipping, plus taxes… just ridiculous. They could have done a lot better. I doubt I will ever buy one of their products again.

A huge factor for me, I mean of course the main factor being performance, but secondarily – the smell, or should I say stench, of most of these. Nearly unbearable. And I am really not that picky about scents. Anyways, I am pretty sad that I wasted so much money on these products, and I hope that I can prevent some of my readers from making the same mistake! I highly advise that if you have the option to buy any of these in-store so you can smell and sample them yourselves, that is really the only way to go.

 

The truth behind “Care Homes”, “Senior’s Homes”, “Retirement Homes”, or whatever you want to call them.

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I am a Residential Care Aide. This is also sometimes referred to as a nursing assistant, nurse’s aide, care aide, RCA, HCA, Home Care Worker, Community Support Worker.

I have worked for a variety of companies, private and public. I have worked for facility homes, private group homes, senior’s care homes, as well as assisted living condos, and in people’s own personal homes.

I am going to reveal to you some of the awful things I have encountered. I am doing this in the hopes that 1. if you have a loved one in a home, you know what to look out for and can have a real behind the scenes look. 2. as an eye-opener for those thinking of moving their loved one into a home 3. as a statement on the way health care in BC is administered and managed. 4. To show the dangers of PRIVATIZATION of health care. Contracting out health care to private, FOR PROFIT companies is truly horrendous and disgusting and not acceptable. The Government should be ashamed of themselves.

Disclaimer – I am not, and will not, reveal the care homes I have worked at, nor my last name, nor specific location, so please do not ask. I can’t afford any legal battles. These are my personal experiences and may or may not reflect the quality and type of care that some people may have encountered. None of my patient’s names or family names are included for privacy.

I am not quite sure how to approach this subject, in an organized manner. I am simply going to being listing things that have come to my attention. If you have any questions or want clarification, please feel free to write in the comments and I will get back to you as best I can.

 

1. Private, for-profit senior’s home.

-The people do not matter. This is absolute. Neither the seniors living there nor the staff matter at all to the private care homes that I have worked at. The only thing that matters? MONEY. Bottom line. They will pay employees as little as possible, buy the cheapest care products for their patients, skimp on anything they can, and the food… I wouldn’t feed most of it to my dogs. I would certainly never eat most of it my self. And yet was required to feed it to these poor souls.

-One care home I worked at, the cost for 1 month of living there was well over $5000.00. For that the seniors got a small room/furniture, disgusting food, a forced schedule run by the nurses in charge, little to no choices or autonomy over their lives, little attention and interaction, ONE bath or shower per week (and if they refused or were too difficult they were skipped until the following week – horrid and disgusting), pretty much being bathed with janitor’s liquid hand soap for their hair and body, unless they or their family provided their own products, limited time in the bath of less than 30 mins – we were usually pressured to do it in half that amount of time.

-Do not bring/have anything valuable in a care home. Ever. Some employees WILL STEAL. There are a few in every shift that cannot be trusted. Please note – most of the staff are honest, hard working, caring people, doing the best they can. But a few rotten apples spoil the bunch. And there are always a few. Any electronics,¬†jewelry, even nice clothes/accessories, WILL GO MISSING. ESPECIALLY CASH. Sometimes families will leave the senior with a wallet loaded with bills. This is so terribly unwise. Cash will go missing, or also, senior’s may hide it or stash it somewhere in fear of it being stolen, and then forget where they put it, or have it sent to laundry/thrown out by accident, etc.

-Also note – the rate of dementia is rising, and the rate at which health care providers can handle it is very low. We are not well trained or well equipped to deal with severe dementia/alzheimers cases. Seriously. They are extremely difficult, and no matter what a facility tells you, I have yet to see one that can properly handle these types of people. It is extremely sad and pathetic that their reward for working all their life is confusion, fear, and being treated like this. Alzheimers/Dementia patients can wander into all areas of a care home, including into your loved ones room. They can take items, they can hit other seniors, they can abuse and assault, they can sneak into rooms while others are sleeping, take food, eat food that is spoiled, eat from the garbage or toilet (YES this has/does happen – it is not their fault, they DO NOT know what they are doing!!!). Some dementia patients try to bathe in their toilets, try to eat things that aren’t food IE eating cream for a rash, drink mouthwash, eat/drink cleaning supplies, etc. Sometimes they also have serious problems with hoarding, I have found hoarded items such as old food, used diapers (YES almost all of them wear diapers, even if they don’t want to or need it they are almost always forced to), used/other people’s toothbrushes, hairbrushes, bras, undergarments, pillowcases, band aids, medical supplies, medications, other people’s dentures… the list goes on and on.

-Accountability – there is none. I have seen / heard nurses and care staff flat out lying to family members. Or misinforming them. Or making up stories or reasons for this and that. Or ignoring problems, brushing things under the rug, etc. Go to your superiors/bosses and tell them of the issue? Any issue? I was brushed aside, told it was not my business, told it would be handled (and it wasn’t), told I needed evidence and to go get some then come back (what am I a detective? ) and generally made to feel that as long as no family members found out what happens behind closed doors, that the management did not care.

-products: when you are a for-profit company, money is the bottom line. The diapers they used were essentially the same quality as a plastic grocery bag stuffed with toilet paper. Someone would urinate in their diaper and it would be left on for hours, soaking wet, stinking. Daily occurrence. Any personal care products, if not being brought in by family members or bought by the seniors themselves, was extremely low quality, like cheap dollar store quality at BEST, usually worse. NONE of it I would ever use on my own body.

-Staffing – OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID is really all I have to say about that. Management absolutely did not care about their staff. If you were sick, tired, sore, injured, NO ONE CARES, GET BACK TO WORK was the attitude. They would not care if you had just worked 12 days in a row, if you were ill, or having personal problems, or anything. As long as they had a worker there to fill that spot in the schedule you could be on your death bed for all they care. This is dangerous. And sad. Seniors are not getting good care from someone in this situation. They are not getting proper attention. THIS IS NEGLECT! So much neglect.

-If there is not enough staff on, or they cannot get someone to fill a sick-call etc., then whatever staff do show up, still have to do all the work, while missing one or more persons. This is extremely taxing, and means that people are not getting the care that they need and deserve. The seniors are rushed through everything from waking to bathing to dressing to toileting to eating etc. And not getting close attention.

-There. Is. Feces. EVERYWHERE. Almost all of these seniors are wearing diapers. Sometimes being left to sit in their own mess for hours at a time, whether due to staff shortage, staff laziness, staff being unobservant, etc. Sometimes seniors with dementia/Alzheimers will touch their own feces, or other peoples, play with it, even eat it. YES MANY TIMES I HAVE SEEN THEM EAT IT. THEIR OWN OR OTHER PEOPLES. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. And they do not have enough support/supervision. None of the seniors wash their hands regularly. Housekeeping does clean and try to keep up, but with same a dozen housekeepers and over 200 residents, good luck. They also sometimes will overflow their toilets, throw their poo, smear it on walls and linens and furniture. I have found residents covered in their own diarrhea rolling around their beds or the floor or chairs etc. I have found diapers filled with feces stuffed into drawers in their rooms, or cupboards, hidden away for who knows how long. 

-The food – if you can even call it food. It is disgusting. Mass produced. Does your loved one have allergies? Sensitivities? Vegetarian? Vegan? Celiac? Lactose Intolerant? Once they are in a care home, all of that is basically disregarded. The food is revolting. I would not eat it. I would not feed it to my dogs. They repeat the same menu usually monthly. Little to no variety. Little to no nutritional value. Disgusting, stinking, cheap meals.
Examples: Seafood pie (unidentifiable, rotten fish stinking goo inside a pie crust), a lunch of a small sandwich on white bread with only margarine and plain ham slices, with some canned beets and tomato slices. A stir fry dinner which looks like Mr. Noodles topped with inedible chewy beef strips and some peas in a mystery thick sickening brown sauce.
Not to mention contamination – Food Safe is a joke in these places. Also, other residents at the same table (they all eat together in a mess hall basically) can freely touch and eat each others food and drinks, again all with unwashed hands …

-Staff who use threats and / or intimidation to make seniors do what they want ie force them to take a bath if they don’t want to, or to eat, or dress, etc. Staff withholding things such as meals or medicine for the same purposes.

-Staff power tripping/hierarchy. IE a nurse who is the team leader acting superior and control freak to staff who are “lower” than her. Nurses who have more seniority refusing to do certain tasks or to see certain residents who are more difficult or “gross” or ill. Picking and choosing what they want to do and pushing less¬†desirable¬†jobs onto us lowly care staff.¬†

-Resident favoritism Рif one little old lady is sweet and kind, and one is grumpy and surly, which one do you think gets better care? Faster response time? Gets their care and meals first? Gets their pain medication first? 

-If a senior has children or other family members who come visit, and who are in charge of their care, the family member’s attitude and actions also dictate the seniors care in many cases. The family member is rude? Demanding? Demeaning? (And yes, many are, I have been treated like an absolute piece of garbage, like a servant, by visiting family members on many¬†occasions¬† however I have also been treated with kindness and respect by many as well)

The senior will possibly suffer due to an unpleasant family member. They may receive lesser care or be moved to the bottom of the priority list. A family member who is too demanding will get nothing more than rolled eyes and empty promises. A Family member who micro manages may even have their visiting hours limited or supervised.

The bottom line is – trust your gut. If you think something is not right, then it isn’t. Keep a close eye on your loved ones. Visit often. Bring them things they need, ie toiletries, food, clothing, diapers, makeup. They certainly won’t get the best of it from the care home, if they even get it at all. Watch closely for signs of abuse. (bruises, flinching, dirty fingernails, stench/foul body odor, weight loss, confusion, sadness/depression, isolation, the list goes on)

Find a nurse who you trust and communicate respectfully with them. Every team has a good nurse or two. Communicate directly with the nurse who is directly in charge of the area that your loved one lives in. Not the “head nurse” or “charge nurse” – they DO NOT know the daily goings-on and will rarely be able to “get to the bottom of ” any issue. Build a positive relationship with staff, and treat them with respect, and a little compassion – most are over worked, tired, running ragged, and doing their best. If one stands out, say so. If one stands out for negative reasons, say so. Record staff names and positions so you know who is looking after your loved one and when. Keep track of personal belongings, but know, that things WILL go missing ,it is inevitable, and do try to be reasonable about it.
One of the best things I have ever seen family do for their loved on – the family made large signs ¬†on posterboard, outlining the seniors preferences, foods they liked, clothes they liked, helpful hints, tips and tricks, everything they could think of to help the staff care for their loved one better. They also brought in some of the seniors’ favorite foods and treats, makeup, and bath products, so that everything needed was there in the room. They came tp visit often, and they even asked what good times were to come and visit.

(Good times – afternoon, 1pm to 5 pm.
BAD times – early morning, anything before 10am, because we are trying to get everyone up and dressed and fed breakfast, noon-ish, because we are trying to feed everyone lunch, and after dinner time, because we are trying to bathe/give medications/settle for sleep. Unless you are willing to help out with your loved one ie. feeding them lunch or supper then PLEASE don’t come and hinder us at these times if at all possible. We already have enough to manage without the addition of family members and friends)

Anyways, I know this is a bit disorganized, I apologize, I kind of just let it all fall out onto the page as I thought of things. I may go back and edit to make things more clear and concise at a later date. Again if you have any questions or comments please feel free to share them in the comments section. 

Here is a cute way to decorate and scent your home! SO EASY!

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This is a DIY I recently did, very quick and easy, and attractive and smells good ūüôā what more could you ask for!!

Now I love having a vase of fresh flowers around, anytime, any place! However, this is not always possible, in the months when my garden is not blooming, I sometimes do not feel like I want to spend money to buy flowers which last only about a week or so.

Instead, I found a different way to spruce up my living room! 

What you will need:

-small vase (glass, ceramic, metal, whatever you have, or can find at a thrift store – there’s always tons)

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-incense (about 10 sticks +/- depending on the size of your vase)

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-some ribbon or string if you like

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(ADDITIONAL¬†DIY – betcha didn’t think of doing THAT with all your string/yarn ,did you?? So easy as well, just bore a small hole – I used a large nail and a hammer, placed the lid upside down over a piece of old wood, hammered the nail through, then pulled it out. Made a perfect sized hole. Just be sure to smooth down the edges so it doesn’t tear or fray your string/yarn.)

Here’s how easy it is – place incense into the vase. Tie string or ribbon around the mouth of the vase. And ta-da! You have a lightly scented, attractive looking little decoration for your bathroom, bedroom, living room, rec room, wherever! And it means you always have some incense handy to just grab one out of the vase and light it up!¬†

*TIP – keep an incense burner near by the vase to have a holder for the lit incense always at hand.

* MINI REVIEW – some Chagrin Valley products.

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Since my last posts about Chagrin Valley shampoo bars, I have tried a few different products as well.

-Neem and Tea Tree shampoo bar

-Chestnut Henna Shampoo Bar

-Whipped Squalane face mousse (face cream)

I am going to post a mini review for each, quickly listing pros and cons and need to know info.

-Neem and Tea Tree shampoo bar – Used on body and hair. Found it to be very drying on my skin and my hair. Cleaned my skin adequately, nothing special really, did not clean my hair very well. Smelled like tea tree oil. Scent did not last. Probably would not recommend for anyone with dry and/or sensitive skin or hair. Didn’t clean my hair well enough for me to consider it a shampoo.

-Chestnut Henna shampoo bar – smells ok, not great but not bad, did not use on my skin, only on my hair. Stained my tub with dark brown goo that was hard to clean off. Had little to no effect on the color of my hair. Didn’t clean hair very well. Would not recommend.¬†

-Whipped Squalane facial mousse Рdeceptively small container (has a false bottom so it almost looks like you are getting double what is actually in the jar), smells very plain which is ok with me. Very rich despite it being whipped. Very oily. I found this to be useful only as an occasional night cream. WAY too oily for day time use, all my makeup would slip right off, no matter how little of the cream I used and how well I rubbed it into my skin. If you put it on at night you will have to wash your face fully in the morning, which is a huge waste of time for me because usually I just wash my face with hot tap water and a wash cloth, no facewash, because in the morning I have no make up and grime to remove seeing as all I did was sleep, on clean pillowcases. I have dry/oily/combination skin, way more on the dry side, and even with dry skin I found this to be way too oily and rich of a cream for anything really.

Make your own Natural Vick’s Vapo Rub! CHEAP! EASY! AWESOME! DIY!

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Ok everyone – here is a really quick DIY that anyone can make, with only 2 or 3 ingredients, a jar, a spoon, and about 5 minutes.

What you will need:

-Aroma-free Coconut oil (cooking quality is ok)

-eucalyptus oil

-peppermint oil or menthol

(menthol is a little harder to come by but it is derived from peppermint oil)

-a small glass jar with a lid 

How to:

Take a few tablespoons of the coconut oil (for those of you who don’t know, coconut oil is fairly solid at room temperature, more like butter consistency, but melts beautifully as soon as it touches your skin) and place into the glass jar.

Add about 5 drops each of eucalyptus oil and peppermint/menthol to the coconut oil. Mix well with spoon. Lightly inhale above the jar to see if you feel that the scent is strong enough. You will want this to be a very noticeable scent, not quite enough to make your eyes water though. When you smell it, it may even make your nose run a little. 

If you feel it is too weak, add a few more drops of oils, small amount at a time, until you have reached the desired scent.

If it is too strong, add more coconut oil to dilute the scented oils.

Put a lid on it, and voila, you have your very own vapo rub, safe for children, adults, seniors, etc., and a great natural home made way to help with colds, sinus problems, allergies, and stuffy noses in general.

*TIP Рif you are really congested, boil a kettle of water, pour into a large bowl, put a teaspoon of this vapo rub into it, place a towel over your head and your head over the bowl, and breathe deeply. Have some tissues on hand! 

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*REVIEW* Carol’s Daughter Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Pudding, and Co Wash

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“Black Vanilla” Line – $46 for a trio pack of Shampoo 8 oz, Conditioner 8 oz, and a”Hair Pudding” (some type of deep conditioning product) – all VERY SMALL bottles.

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“Hair Milk” Line – Co -Wash – 1 bottle – $18 for 8.5 oz. (VERY SMALL bottle)Image

All photos taken from Carol’s Daughter website and belong to them.

I was drawn to these products because they are paraben and sulphate free, and seem to be a sort of cult favorite. These products to the best of my knowledge originated in the USA for African women’s hair, and have evolved to include many different products for different hair types. My hair is¬†Caucasian¬†(British/Scottish) light reddish brown, fine, oily roots, dry ends. So overall this may not have been the right product pairing for me, but from reading the reviews and ingredients etc. I decided to give them a try because they made many many promises of lovely, shiny, smooth, manageable hair.

NOT.

I was sorely disappointed in every. single. item.

First of all, their shipping cost did not include the cost of duty etc. into Canada from the States, resulting in my order costing me an extra $19 on top of an already hefty bill for the products, taxes, and shipping. Their shipper was useless, couldn’t find my house, created no end of hassles for me, and delayed my getting the package for almost a full week later than I should have. So we are not starting out on a good foot here from a consumer’s perspective.

When I finally got the package, I opened it with delight, and was let down yet again – these bottles are TINY people. Like take any drugstore brand bottle of shampoo/conditioner, and this was about half, or a third, of the size. FOR LIKE $18/BOTTLE? This better be liquid gold! As such ‘I had high expectations for these products to work wonders and be fully worth the cost. I mean they had to be? Right?

I opened the bottles, excited to see what the deliciously named “Black Vanilla” would smell like. They should have named it “cheap dollar store coconut”. It doesn’t smell like vanilla at all. In fact it reeks of cheap false coconut scent. At least it was mild enough that I figured the smell would rinse out and not last in my hair. The Co Wash was even worse… The only way I can describe it is a mixture of the smell of old grannies and baby powder. And extremely strong. I almost choked on the smell.¬†

Nonetheless, I decided that for all I had spent in time and money on these products, that I should definitely give them a try. 

I will outline them each one by one:

“Black Vanilla Shampoo” – did not clean my hair. Left my roots oily. Left my hair smelling less-than-clean, like I had slept on greasy hair over night, even after freshly washing. It did however give me a little more shine to my hair and softness.¬†

“Black Vanilla Conditioner” – very mild conditioner. Didn’t even begin to tame frizz what so ever. Little to no slip. Left a bit of shine and softness.

“Black Vanilla Hair Pudding” – I literally noticed NO difference in my hair after using this.

“Hair Milk Co Wash” – reeked, left my hair greasy and ends dry, in fact I would say it left my hair in worse condition than it was before I co-washed with this. It was more greasy at the roots and more dry at the lengths/ends. So essentially this was stinky and useless.

Overall rating out of 5 stars: 1.

Pros:

Slightly softer hair, slightly more shine, gentle, no harsh ingredients or chemicals.

Cons:

awful scents, did not clean hair, did not leave hair more manageable, WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, small size bottles, shipper was awful, customer service responses slow, taxes/duty/shipping WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.

The bottom line: I will not buy from Carol’s Daughter again, nor will I recommend their products. The cost is ridiculous for a very mediocre product.

 

I got my eyebrows threaded!

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On Wednesday evening, I went to a lady’s home-studio and got my eyebrows threaded. This was my first experience, and I was a little nervous, as I’d only ever had waxing or plucking done to my brows before. I wondered how my extremely sensitive skin wold react, how my pain threshold would be, and how long the appointment would last. Not least of all I also wondered about how the final results would look. I hate looking fake, I just like having the stray hairs around my brows “tidied up” and shaped a little.

When I arrived, my first judgement was the woman who was answering the door – her brows looked really nice. She was a clean cut middle-aged East Indian woman with lovely hair and makeup. She was very friendly and nice, and welcomed me into her home studio right beside her front door. Perfect location! We went over how I wanted my brows to look, and she seemed very competent.

I laid down on the reclined spa chair she had, and she placed a lamp right by my face to light up all the hairs. She took some thread, and dove right in.

My initial reaction was: OUCH! Haha. The little thread grasps and pulls out hairs from the root, similar to waxing, only without having to trust someone to smear hot wax onto your delicate eye-skin and then rip it off. (I have had several awful experiences getting my brows waxed, multiple times at different locations having my skin ripped, having wax dripped into my open eye, having my brows reduced to a thin line of uneven hair, mismatched brows, being outright burned by the wax… Lets just say I am not going down that path ever again.)

So it did hurt a little. It seemed like I was lying there forever! Time seemed to pass slowly with a little small talk, however at the end of the appointment I realized the total time I was there, from arriving, greeting, payment, and the actual threading, was less than 15 minutes.

My eyes watered profusely, makeup was definitely a little worse for the wear after that. Also an interesting thing to note is that you do have to “help” the person who is threading your brows, by tugging the skin around your eyes taut with your own hands. Not that I minded at all, just something different from waxing that I thought I should point out.

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This is essentially what it looked like when I got my brows threaded, however that is not a picture of me, it is an image I found on Google Images to show the idea of it.
In the end, I was used to my whole forehead/brows/skin around my eyes being so red and swollen after waxing – again, sensitive skin, curses…- but with the threading I only had slight redness that was easily covered with a little face powder. The lady recommended I put a little ice across my brows but I was not going right home after so I didn’t get a chance to do this. She also recommended not to put any harsh chemicals/cleansers on my face for several hours following the threading. I only use natural products and oils on my face so this wasn’t a problem for me.

Overall, I found this to be a positive experience. My brows after looked absolutely amazing – I told her they looked like Natalie Portman’s eyebrows! And they so did! The pain was a bit more than waxing during the appointment, however I think next time I will take a couple Advil/ibuprofen half an hour or so before my appointment and then it will take the edge off. The lasting pain that I was used to from waxing, having red, sore, swollen skin for hours after the appointment, was totally not there. Slight stinging feeling for about an hour afterwards, but that was nothing compared to after a waxing appointment. I was also assured that, as you come a few more times to get your brows threaded, that you will become more used to the feeling and it will cause you less and less pain/discomfort as time goes on.

Furthermore, threading can be used all over your face, many places offer threading of the eyebrows, upper lip, chin, and cheeks, or package deals for a combination or whole face. I am sure this is great for those of us later on in years who may have some extra/unwanted facial hair due to menopause and other hormonal changes or imbalances.

Some people say that threading is unsanitary because a piece of the thread is held in the threader’s mouth. I have to say that the lady who did mine used only her hands, not her mouth, and even if she has put one end of the string into her mouth to grip it like an extra hand, its not like she then rubbed it all over my face or into my eye or mouth or anything!! So I personally would not see a problem with this.

The bottom line: Yes I will get my brows threaded again. Especially for the price- the lady I went to charges $10 for your first appointment, and $5 for following appointments. Compared to about $18 per appointment for brow waxing, SIGN ME UP! ūüôā Threading all the way. Great results, less pain in the long run, more natural (it’s only a piece of thread, how much more natural can brow shaping be?? ūüėõ ), less chance of injury or damage to my skin.

I also like that there is less chance of spreading any skin contaminants/disease through threading because each piece of thread is used on your face and then thrown away. Waxing can have contaminated wax by the esthetician “double dipping” into the wax pot, and many other reasons which I am too lazy to list right now.

So anyways, I really found this to be a great way to manage my brows and they looked really nice afterwards.

Have any of you tried threading vs. waxing? What did you think of it?

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