01.07.15

Product Review - InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:03 pm by otherdeb

I have a couple more InstaNatural products to review, since they seem to like sending me samples.

Today’s is Youth Express Eye Serum.

I was surprised on opening it to find that it was a pretty pink, rather than the usual clear fluid. Like the other InstaNatural Eye product I’ve tried, it has a rich, silky texture. It also absorbs quickly, and doesn’t feel like I have a ton of goop on my skin. It works well under my favorite moisturizer. It did perk up the skin around my eyes, making it look less puffy, so that made me very happy. It had a nice scent, probably due to the passionflower and citrus elements.

This is another product that I would recommend to those who need a bit of help around the eye area - whether they are 20, 40, or older.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

01.01.15

Product Review: InstaNatural Premium Enrichment Cellulite Cream

Posted in Reviews at 5:00 pm by otherdeb

InstaNatural sent me another fine product to review. I like the feel of the cream, and massaging it in was fun - self-pampering is a good thing. This product is odorless, too - which I always find to be a good thing. It feels good on my skin, absorbs well when massaged in, and is not sticky or goopy. The combination of retinol, caffeine, cocoa butter, and shea butter make this a fine product for improving skin texture, which is the main reason I was interested in trying this product. Additionally, as it dried, it seemed to form a little protective coating over the skin, making it look firmer. I note that I tried this product for two weeks, and have seen enough of an improvement in my skin that I plan to continue using it going forward. I would definitely recommend it to others, just for the skin tone and texture results.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

12.24.14

A Luxe Cream for Daily Use

Posted in Reviews at 5:37 am by otherdeb

I tried this moisturizer recently, as part of a package of products I received from InstaNatural. It was Like most moisturizers, I applied it to clean, damp skin, and it had a luxe, silky feel to it. It absorbed quickly. It did keep my skin moist over the course of the night, so it did its job. I would recommend this for night use, rather than day, unless you plan to use it instead of makeup during the day.

It’s recommended for normal to oily skin, even though it contains both shea butter and jojoba oil. It also has Vitamin C, Retinol,and Hyalauronic Acid, along with green tea. I also note that it did, over the course of a week, smooth a lot of the rougher patches on my skin, which was a nice plus. I recommend it, with the caveat that it does have a slight green tea scent, so if you have issues with scents it might not be for you.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

12.22.14

InstaNatural Age-Defying Retinol Serum: An Interesting Skin Care Product

Posted in Reviews at 4:15 pm by otherdeb


I must admit that I was a bit put off by the scent of this product, but I had agreed to try it so I did. It only took a few drops to cover my face and neck, and the product absorbed easily, without leaving me feeling like I had put a ton of goo on. It was easy to apply - just put a few drops into my hands, and massaged them over my face.

It worked well both at night on a clean face and under makeup during the day. I like that it has anti-oxidants, too. After a few days’ use, my skin looked smoother and brighter, so I would have to say the serum delivers on its promises.  I would definitely recommend it to women over 30, who are looking to retain the texture and elasticity of their skin.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

10.26.14

Almost Perfect, as far as Eye Care Products Go

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:22 pm by otherdeb

Okay, the products I received to review here were from Sano Naturals: Their Vitamin C Serum + and their Vitamin C Eye Gel +. Both products sat lightly on my skin, which was a pleasure compared to most eye care products. Both products worked, in that they left my skin feeling and looking better than before I used them.

These products are colorless, and absorb easily. The only point where I disagree with the manufacturer’s claims are that, rather than being odorless, both products had a slightly cucumber-y scent; not unpleasant, but not odorless. Again, I felt that the lightness and easy absorption of both products far outweighed the slight scent. The products applied easily, and a little went a long way, which is always good in these budget-conscious times. Overall, I recommend these products for regular use.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

10.18.14

THE GIANT AND THE DWARF - A Book Review

Posted in Book Report at 2:21 pm by otherdeb

I recently received copies of Dov Yanai’s THE GIANT AND THE DWARF to review. The story idea itself is interesting: in carrying his young sister, who is a dwarf, a boy becomes psychically enmeshed with her, until he can no longer put her down. He goes through an inner quest to understand both her and himself, and in doing so, reduces the burden he has taken on.

I really wanted to like this book, but it needs serious editing. The story is nice, but we really don’t learn much about either character that will let them resonate with us. The telling is a bit heavy-handed, although that may be a plus with young kids — there is no way to miss the points the author is trying to make.

While this is clearly a mixed review, on the whole I would recommend this book for young kids — if it will be read by their parents, who can inject some life into the characters.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

02.15.11

It’s Been Way Too Long…

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:02 am by otherdeb

In the past year and a half, I have lost 77 pounds, gained back 40 pounds, retired from my job, become a freelance writer, lost my fiance (he lost his battle with leukemia), lost my oldest friend (he lost the battle to keep his lungs working), gained several thousands of dollars worth of yarn, (thanks to a wonderful newish friend who was destashing), completed NaNoWriMo and signed up for WriYe2011, signed up for the Year of Stash Socks 2011 challenge, survived the “Snowpocalypse” (there has been snow on the ground here in Brooklyn since 26 December 2010), had a bunch of opportunities open up out of having done NaNoWriMo that I never expected, and gotten back into debt thanks to my sister, the roomie, and my own poor choices.

So, here I go again.

Primarily, with regard to the weight and the finances, I feel broken.  I have been half-heartedly trying to get back on program, but it’s just felt like too much.  Until my pension kicks in (all $157/month, or so the union tells me it will be), I am dependent on the roomie and the writing.

I hate being dependent on others.  The ex has agreed to suspend my paying him back what I owe him until after my pension kicks in, which is very helpful, but I am afraid that I am going to have to apply for food stamps.  Part of the problem with applying for food stamps is that the city wants to know the income of every person in the apartment, and my roommate is unwilling to provide that information, so I either have to lie and risk getting caught, or do without something that could enable me to buy proper food for staying on program.  I have the papers filled out for free meds for two of my three prescriptions, but I don’t know what to do about the third, since it’s a generic.  I know that once I am more established as a freelancer, there is insurance I can get through the Freelancer’s Union, but it will cost me.

I am not feeling sorry for myself, here.  I am just catching up before going forward with this blog again.  Am I happy?  Mostly, but not entirely.  Am I moving forward?  Yes, but way too incrementally for my taste.  Am I going to survive?  Most likely.  I am not given to failing at that, after all.

The good thing is that the job stress is pretty much gone.  I no longer wake up dreading a two-hour commute to a job I had grown to hate because of the administrators (I loved, and still love, most of the kids).  I am building a good reputation on the site I am picking up clients from.  I am learning new skills that I will be able to apply both to the freelancing and to my personal writing.  I’ve sold two articles to an online writer’s magazine.  I am working on figuring out how to counteract the getting broken with regard to weight so that I can get back on track.

So, things are not looking too horrendous.  And there is progress.  I can see it with every article that gets accepted on a platform such as Associated Content/Yahoo!Contributor Network, and every pair of socks/scarf/hat/pair of mittens/shawl I complete.  Now, I just have to stop sabotaging myself in the areas of weight and money, and I can really soar.

12.26.10

I’m Ba-ack…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:06 am by otherdeb

Thanks to the efforts of J Spencer Love, this blog has been resurrected.

I’m glad to be back, and am looking forward to sharing lots of information in the New Year!

01.24.09

La plus ça change…

Posted in Perspective at 9:46 pm by otherdeb

My roommate was supposed to deposit her share of the rent into my bank account on the 17th. Given the weather, and that neither of us went out that weekend, she asked if it would be okay if she deposited it on Tuesday the 20th. Tuesday, she told me she hadn’t had time and would do it on Thursday, when she doesn’t have to be at work until 12:45 pm. Thursday night, I received an email stating “I didn’t get to the bank today–everything ached this morning and it took me a good 2 hours to get moving. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Yesterday she said nothing. I checked my balance this morning, and she had not done so. I asked her today (when she got home from work) what had happened. She claimed that when she got to the bank yesterday to take out the money, she found it had already been withdrawn by a creditor toward an old debt that she had forgotten about.

Fortunately, I do not have to write the next check until the first of the month. Equally fortunately, I am in a very different position financially than I was when she was pulling this on her mother on a regular basis.

I was able to remain calm, and we discussed it. She has agreed that if she cannot get to the bank with her share in a timely manner in future, she will get the cash out of her account and hand it to me to deposit. I also pointed out to her that this is just one reason that it is vital that she get her free annual credit reports…had she done so any of the last few times I suggested it, it’s likely she would have — at least — known there was an open account.

I think the worst part of it isn’t that it happened…I am familiar enough with all the dirty tricks collection agencies use to know that this is part and parcel of being in debt and in denial. To me, the worst part is that if she had not been so strongly afraid of looking the whole mess in the eye, this probably could have been avoided. Or, if not avoided, she could have ascertained whether or not she really did owe the money the creditor had taken.

While it pains me that the roommate is still in such a bad state, and while I am certainly not happy about this happening, the reality is that it underscores the progress I have made toward recovery.

01.23.09

Dealing with Collection Agencies

Posted in Recovery, debt at 3:39 pm by otherdeb

Okay. I know I have been talking a lot about getting rid of all my credit card debt. I also know that a lot of those companies that claim to negotiate down your debts, consolidate them into one payment, and pay your creditors on your behalf are full of, ahem, nonsense.

So.

Here is how I dealt with the agencies and paid off my bills.

The first thing is that I did not dodge their calls. When an agency would call, I would talk to the person, and see what they claimed I owed and who they claimed I owed it to. This is important at every step of the process, by the way, because collection agencies can sell your account to another agency, who will try to dun you for the entire amount. If you don’t keep an eagle eye on this sort of thing, you can end up paying much more than you really owe.

Then I grovelled. I explained to them my situation, and asked what kind of a plan we could work out. At this point, unless you can pay the amount in no more than two payments, don’t even ask about reducing the amount you owe. The rep needs to get to know you first. Seriously. Work out a plan and stick to it, with one exception: if, in any given month, you can toss more than the agreed amount at the debt, call your rep and arrange to do so as a one time thing.

Also, do not arrange for the money to automatically come out of your checking account. If one payment doesn’t go through, you will kill your credibility. Instead, set up a payment plan…most agencies will set up to either six months or a year of payment dates/amounts. When you have the money for the month’s payment, call the agency and set up the payment. You will have to give your account information each time, but — believe me — it’s a hell of a lot better than to have an automatic payment bounce.

After you have made several payments, you can start asking (each time you speak with the rep) how much it would be if you could pay the debt in full now, and how much it would cost if you could pay it in two payments - half now, and half the next month. At some point, that amount will be something you can do without giving up things like food, rent, and transit, (and it might even be lower than the amount you originally owed) and at that point you should pay that sucker off. Ask your rep to send you a letter stating that the debt has been paid in full, too. Generally, they will be agreeable to giving you one.

Now, I mentioned above that agencies can sell your account to other agencies, who might then try to dun you for the full amount of the debt.
I know this happens because it happened to me. I was about 3/4 of the way through paying one bill off, and the agency sold the account. Fortunately, my rep and I had created such a rapport that, when I called her and told her what the second agency was trying to do, she not only sent me sent me a written record of what I had paid the original agency, but told me how to pursue filing a claim against the second agency.

While paying off huge bills is not easy by any means, especially these days when you might be making significantly less than you were when you incurred the debts, it can be done.

Have you made a list of what you owe and to whom? Have you gone to annualcreditreport.com and gotten copies of your credit reports, so you can see what the reporting agencies claim you owe and to whom? Even though looking at the amounts in black and white can be scary, it’s really the first step in getting your act together.

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