Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Monday, November 14, 2016

Letting the true me shine...

Letting the true me shine...

I originally posted this as a note on my personal Facebook, but I wanted to share it here as well.

You know... Ever since the Presidential Election, especially all day Friday, I felt awful. And I don't mean physically ill (puking after having garlic and pumpkin eggnog with spaghetti, notwithstanding); I mean emotionally ill.

I felt like I needed to ‘hide.’ Hide who I was; hide my thoughts, my feelings, my wants, my desires.

I felt like I was wrong... wrong to feel the way I do. I felt like I had no right to be scared. That even though I’ve seen and read evidence of the horrendous things that have been said for the last 12+ months and can interpret them, that I was seeing it wrong... along with millions of other Americans.

I felt attacked... like I needed to change my opinion just to suit others. I felt like I was on the losing end, so instead of ‘ruffling feathers,’ I felt like I was expected to just nod and smile politely, just to avoid fighting... Just like a ‘good woman’ does.

I felt afraid... afraid to post or share things on Facebook that I related to, for fear of being told to ‘stop believing the mainstream media.’ Fear of once again, being told that None of that will ever happen and that I need to do my research away from the ‘mainstream media.’ Fear of not even knowing what others would consider the ‘mainstream media.’

I even felt stupid... that even though I think I had a great education and I feel confident that I can clearly and cohesively interpret things I read/see/hear, that I wasn’t understanding them the way I was expected to.

and then... I felt ashamed.

I felt ashamed of being a Democrat. Ashamed of being a liberal. Ashamed because I am scared out of my mind that someone who is against EVERYTHING I believe in is going to lead the country for the next 4 years. Ashamed that I feel the way I do.

And most importantly, I felt ashamed of myself for letting it get that far.

Mommy didn’t raise me that way. Mommy would be SO upset with me if she was alive. She’d be scolding me for not standing up for myself. She’d be yelling at me for letting myself feel like I was bullied.

I sat and took a long look at things... No one else is letting their friends ‘control’ what they post. Why the hell am I?

I don’t need to ‘hide’ how I feel.

I’m not wrong for feeling the way I do.

I shouldn’t care whether I ‘ruffle feathers’ or not.

I shouldn’t feel afraid to post things I agree with. It’s MY wall; not yours.

I shouldn’t feel stupid, because I’m not. I’m smart and have a good understanding of most things.

AND I SHOULDN’T EVER FEEL ASHAMED OF ANYTHING!

I am proud of being a Democrat. I am proud of being a liberal. I am COMPLETELY scared out of my mind that someone who is against EVERYTHING I believe in is going to lead the country for the next 4 years.

I’m scared for my black friends. I’m scared for my Latino/Latina friends. I’m scared for my other foreign friends, which are too many to list. I’m scared for my female friends. I’m scared for my poor friends. I’m scared for my disabled friends. I’m scared for my LGBTQ friends.

I’m scared for America.

From now on, I’m saying WHAT I want, WHEN I want. It could be sweet; It could be so laden with swear words, it’d make a sailor blush. (Actually, I’d bet on that last one, truth be told) If it goes against what you think, TOO DAMN BAD.

Life is too short to worry about making others happy. You gotta make YOURSELF happy and the hell with everyone else.

And THAT is what I intend to do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Love with Food October 2016 GF box

Love with Food
October 2016 box

What is Love With Food?
Love With Food helps you discover new organic or all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!
November's box is on it's way, so it's time for the monthly post!

This month’s theme is ‘Love is Wicked.’ We show love for the important people in a lot of different ways, and sometimes it might come off just a little bit… wicked. Maybe you love to tempt your friends and family with irresistible indulgences like cookies or candy? Well, we think that’s the best type of wicked. So go ahead, be a little extra wicked this month with your Love With Food box… if you dare!

Again, this month’s box didn’t come with an information sheet, like the other Love with Food boxes usually come with. It just had a card with the paragraph above and a few other tidbits that really didn’t have anything to do with the snacks. While it saves ME time from not having to type the info, it makes it a bit hard to disclose all the dietary guidelines. Apparently, this is their new method, so I will try my best to provide what diets can have the snacks.
*It would be safe to assume these snacks are gluten-free only unless otherwise noted..


^^what I received^^

RW GARCIA 3 SEED SWEET POTATO CRACKERS
FROM THE BAG: RW Garcia 3 Seed Sweet Potato crackers bring something new to the table. Great with any topping - our nutritious ingredients include North Caroline Beauregard Sweet Potatoes (prized for their exceptionally sweet flavor), stone ground corn and a trio of seeds blended together to make a delicious gluten free cracker. Enjoy!

Reminded me of a sesame cracker I was addicted to as a teenager. I am NOT ashamed to say I ate the whole bag in one sitting. I really didn’t taste the sweet potatoes in the crackers either, nor did I taste the chia or flax seeds.
My gums were a bit sore after eating these, but that’s because a piece of cracker JAMMED itself into my gums. YEOWTCH!!
I also received a recipe card with this box, which I will be posting on my recipe blog soon.
TASTE: 9.5/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free

GARDEN OF LIFE RAW ORGANIC PROTEIN in VANILLA CHAI
The directions on this say to mix with water, but I had a feeling this would not have tasted very good with water, so I cheated and used straight up cow’s milk. It still tasted disgusting and I ended up being nauseous while running my monthly errands.
TASTE: 2/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free, Soy Free

LANCE’S GLUTEN FREE PEANUT BUTTER BITE SIZE SANDWICH COOKIES
FROM THE BOX: You can always count on Lance to provide great-tasting, high quality snacks for you and your family.
We are proud to offer Gluten Free Sandwich Cookie Bites, little bites of deliciousness for when you are looking for something sweet and satisfying. Each mini sandwich starts with real peanut  butter spread between delightfully baked gluten free cookies to create a wholesome and flavorful snack.
Free from gluten and egg, you and your family will love Lance Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies.

These tasted just like Ritz Peanut Butter Sandwich crackers. I’d be hard-pressed to tell a difference. Only thing I didn’t like with these were some of them were haphazardly put together. Cosmetic issue, I know. But that was my only issue with these.
TASTE: 9/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free

RUNA CLEAN ENERGY SPARKLING GUAYUSA BEVERAGE in ORANGE PASSION
FROM THE CAN: Clean Energy in how we describe what Amazonian hunters call the “mental strength and courage” they get from drinking guayusa, a super leaf that has naturally occuring caffeine, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
These compounds in guayusa give you sustained and focused energy. No harsh chemicals. No  feeling burned out later. Just organic, healthy energy from a leaf, not a lab.
Get the energy you want now without sacrificing how you feel later. Not all energy is created equal -- keep yours clean.

Judging by the ingredients on the can, I was picturing a carbonated fruit juice drink. This was NOT the case.
This was completely disgusting. Thinking it was just my taste buds because I’m not one for low-sugar/no-sugar drinks, I had some other people taste it and they said the same thing; it’s nasty. It almost tastes like the fruits they used were rotten. We poured about half of it out.
TASTE: 1/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Organic

BEANITOS WHITE BEAN CHIPS
I got two flavors of these chips: Sweet Chili and Sour Cream, and Garden Fresh Salsa.

SWEET CHILI AND SOUR CREAM
Take a Fritos Scoopable chip, fill it with sweet and spicy chili, then drop a small dollop of sour cream onto it; you have the flavor of this chip. VERY yummy, but a bit hot for me. I took one for testing, then gave the bag to Mama Melissa, since these are diabetic-friendly.
TASTE: 9/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Diabetic

GARDEN FRESH SALSA
I could really taste the salsa seasoning on this. It actually felt like I was eating a chip with salsa on it. The tomato flavor really shines through with these chips. Again, I took one for testing, then gave the bag to Mama Melissa, since these are diabetic-friendly.
TASTE: 9/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Diabetic

PAMELA’S BAKING AND PANCAKE MIX
FROM THE PACKAGE: Wake every morning to light and fluffy pancakes made in no time! Quick, easy and delicious with 8 whole grains per serving, use Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix to make all types of delicious baked goods!

Considering there are 4 grams of sugar in this mix, and the diabetics I live with like to keep their count to 3 grams per item, I’m not entirely sure we’ll make this.
What I really like about Pamela’s Products is their support of national and regional non-profit Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Autism Support Organizations. The last one is important to me, since I have HS friends whose children have Autism. Those organizations need all the support they can get.
TASTE: UNKNOWN
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Kosher

TESSEMAE’S ALL NATURAL ORGANIC LEMON GARLIC DRESSING & MARINADE
I usually don’t do salads… at least not the ones here. (Sorry, I don’t do strawberries and bananas with my lettuce and tomatoes. Not happening) I may see if I can add this to a chicken salad,
TASTE: ?/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Organic, Non-GMO, Dairy Free, Diabetic, Vegan

KETTLE BRAND MAPLE BACON POTATO CHIPS
FROM THE BAG: In Salem, OR, we re-introduced native plants to our 2-acre wetland & have watched wildlife return, including a family of herons.
We planted 5 acres of native tallgrass prairie, now alive with a variety of songbirds in Beloit, WI.
Our national promise -- Non-GMO Project Verified
Gluten Free
No Preservatives
0 Grams Trans Fat

I usually shy away from kettle chips, because they are normally too hard for my teeth. But I ‘bit the bullet’ for the review… and I was pleasantly surprised.
I really don’t taste the maple flavor on these; I thought I tasted barbeque sauce, then a heavy taste of bacon.
If Lay’s or Wise made these, I’d gladly eat them more often, since those brands seem to be softer.
TASTE: 9.5/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Non-GMO

WALKER’S GLUTEN FREE PURE BUTTER SHORTBREAD
I love shortbread, so this was a happy surprise. And Walker’s brings me back to my childhood, when Mommy would order gifts from Figi’s and these would be the ‘Free Gifts.’
However, these cookies have a strange taste to them. I’m not sure if it’s the butter wasn’t completely fresh or if the absence of gluten alters the taste, but I wasn’t a huge fan of these.
TASTE: 7/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegetarian

BROWN & HALEY ALMOND ROCA BUTTER CRUNCH TOFFEE
I was very skeptical about trying this, because I remember Butter Toffee can be very hard on the teeth, and I was afraid of this bothering my oral issues. While it hit the sore spots, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It tasted just like regular butter toffee.
TASTE: 9/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free

BIXBY ORGANIC CRAFT CANDY BAR in DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SEA SALT
This reminds me of a Baby Ruth with dark chocolate. I really liked the peanuts in the bar itself.I didn’t like the dark chocolate, but I never did like dark chocolate to begin with. I ate about half and tossed the rest.
TASTE: 5/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free

AWAKE ENERGY GRANOLA BAR in DARK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL
This was EXACTLY like a Quaker Granola bar. It was absolutely DELICIOUS. Even though it says it has dark chocolate in it, I didn’t taste the normal bitter dark chocolate taste. I think the caramel covered the taste well. I may pick some up the next time I go to Walmart.
TASTE: 10/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free

SALTED CARAMEL SQUARES BY TAHANA CONFECTIONS
Good friends offer advice and words of wisdom. Real friends come over with caramel, cocktails, glitter, duct tape, catsuits and a plan.
We believe in the power of glitter, cocktails, catsuits, and, most importantly, friends and caramel. So before you go back to ruling the world, make sure to treat yourself. You deserve it.

I got these last year (ironically, ALSO in the October box), and the review can be found here: http://www.thecpchick.com/2015/11/love-with-food-gluten-free-box-october.html
Visit us at www.tahanaconfections.com and save 20% off your order. Use coupon code LWF2016 at checkout.*
*One coupon per purchase. Offer excludes Caramel of the Month Club and gift certificates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Expires 06.30.17

I really don't see disabled people having a problem eating these snacks, barring any chewing/swallowing issues. The hardest thing I see would be opening the box and the individual packages.

The Love With Food Gluten-Free box has merged with Taste Guru. Please visit this link for more info.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Still loving the variety in this month's box. I like how I got lots of snacks that are good for me.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Friday, November 4, 2016

Marble Finish Ceramic Electric Jar and Tart Warmer

Marble Finish Ceramic Electric Jar and Tart Warmer

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
This 2 piece warmer has a removable top dish and 36" power cord with built in on/off switch. Power light lets you know at a glance when the warmer is on. Use the dish to melt your favorite scented tart or wax potpourri. Remove the dish and place a jar candle on the heating plate to release the candles fragrance. Candle warmer measures 4 1/2" diameter x 3 1/4" high. Heating plate measures 3 3/4" while the dish is approximately 1 1/4" deep. Uses 20 watts of power. Gift Boxed.
Growing up, I LOVED scented candled. Mommy and I would always light candles around the Christmas season, to give our trailer the 'Christmas Tree' scent, since we used a fake tree 95% of my life (I've only had a real tree ONE time in my life, and that was Christmas 1989).

On one of my trips to visit Mama Melissa (where we now live), I bought Mommy a HUGE jar candle in her favorite flower scent, lilacs. The smell from this candle was SO intense, it easily filled our 14x70 trailer with the scent of a lilac field.

Mama Melissa and I like to burn candles as well. I personally like having the scent of the candle filling the room/house, and watching the flickering and dancing of the flame is a stress reliever for Mama Melissa. This is one of the reasons why I reviewed the Jackpot Candle about 15 months ago.

However, her father is EXTREMELY paranoid about burning candles anywhere except right in front of him, so he can watch it at ALL times. So, we're not allowed to have a candle in our computer room... even though we set it right on our computer table within eyesight of one of us at all times.

Enter the Marble Finish Ceramic Electric Jar and Tart Warmer.


ITEM HERE

What I really like about this is the fact you can use it two different ways. You can either buy the wax melts and throw them in the dish or you can remove the dish completely and set actual jar candles on the hot plate. Mama Melissa and I used the hot plate method when the Jackpot candle burned too far down to safely light with normal matches.

I personally didn't care for using the dish with the wax melts, because using wax melts seems very wasteful. We were only able to get 2 or 3 meltings of the cubes before they no longer had scent to them. Considering most wax melt packs have 6 cubes in them, I'd need to buy at LEAST 4 packs to make it through a month. That's expensive.

The thing I see most disabled folks having trouble with is the power switch. It's the disc/dial style, which can be hard for most people with hand disabilities to work. I would have liked a rocker-style switch, one that doesn't take too much effort to push in either direction. The power cord is 3 feet long, so it will easily be long enough to go behind most furniture.

This would be a great Holiday gift for an older HS student or college student who loves the scents candles have, but aren't allowed to actually BURN candles.

This is available from Amazon for $19.88 (other colors available).

FINAL THOUGHTS
Great way to safely 'burn' candles or wax melts without running the risk of a fire hazard.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As Photobucket is 'down for maintenance' right now, Photos will be added when I can login to the website**

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaBloPoMo postings...

NaBloPoMo postings

In place of NaNoWriMo I'm trying to do NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) postings. However, due to the 3rd being the day I get my Disability check, I am physically spent and did not have time or energy to prepare a post for today.

I will have a post on the 4th... I hope to aim for 2 posts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Woman's Express Laptop Backpack

Woman's Express Laptop Backpack
Pink Polka Dots

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The Woman's Express Backpack is specifically designed to comfortably carry your laptop and give you the extra room that you need for your books and accessories. This backpack is incorporated with Superior SafetyCell™ Computer Protection Compartment. The Exclusive 'Wireless Security Shield™' protects Bluetooth enabled devices from SPAM, hackers and viruses. Additionally it is built with a pocket for files or magazines with EZ-access ticket sleeve. It fits easily in any overhead rack or under any seat. In addition, this backpack features interior organization pockets, computer sleeves and hide-away water-bottle for enhanced functionality. With heavy-duty Duraflex™ fittings and Cool-Mesh™ ventilated back panel, the Express Backpack is suitable for mobile professionals always on the go.

Fits Laptops of Screen Sizes up to 15.6"
One of the reasons I like using laptops is the portability of them. There are some days when Mama Melissa's parents leave the house, we need to babysit the house. If I was using a desktop, I'd have to leave whatever I'm working on and go downstairs. This leaves the work undone until WAY later... which puts me back even FURTHER than I already am. Using a laptop allows me the freedom to just take my laptop downstairs, relift the lid, and pick up right where I left off.

However, being disabled, it isn't always easy to just pick up the laptop and carry it downstairs. When I was a teenager or even in my early to mid 20s, this wasn't really an issue for me; I had better mobilty and I could walk down flights of stairs one-handed. But since about the age of 30 and on until the present, my mobility has gotten worse, to where at one point I was going down our flight of stairs on my rump, simply because my legs wouldn't cooperate with me. I have been able to bring myself back to using my legs to go down the stairs, albeit backwards. But this involves using both hands on the railing, which leaves NO hands free for carrying things, unless they are in a bag of some sort.

Enter the  Woman's Express Backpack in the Pink Polka Dots design.


^^Stock photo^^

Mama Melissa let me order this using her Dell account, when I was using the Dell Inspiron 15 laptop. The Inspiron would NOT fit into the Laptop Carrying Bag I bought last year. While it's not a super heavy machine, It's heavy enough to where I was not feeling confortable lugging it up and down the stairs in a normal school strength backpack. I'm now using a Acer Chromebook 15, which weighs considerably LESS than the Dell Inspiron, but I still would not feel at ease using a normal school strength backpack to carry it.


^^Actual item I received^^

What I like most about this backpack is how roomy it is. There are two pockets on the outside, one on each side, which are large enough for power bricks/power adapters. The right pocket also has a smaller mesh slide-in pocket, convenient for keys or other small, easily losable items. On the top, there is a pocket with a passthrough opening, which is big enough for a set of headphones and a music device (iPod, generic MP3 player, discman, etc) or little odds-n-ends. There is also a large zipper that goes around the entire bag, which gives access to the main compartment.

Looking inside the main compartment flap (which I will add photos for tomorrow) we have a mesh pocket, which is useful for small things you need quick access to, but still want to keep private. If I was to take this bag out and about, I'd make this my 'First Aid Pocket.' Things like a roll of antacids, chapsticks, bandaids, OTC meds or even a blood sugar testing machine or asthma inhaler would fit great in here. Next, we have 4 slanted pockets, which would be good for papers only; travel tickets, passports, itineraries, maps, etc. I'm not even sure manila folders would fit in these pockets. Next to them are 3 pen loops.

Going to the main compartment itself, we have a pocket for up to a 15.6" laptop, with a nylon strap and Velcro to hold the laptop inside the pocket. I think I would have rather the strap have a snap or buckle closure, as Velcro tends to wear out quickly. On top of the laptop pocket are two smaller pockets, big enough for CDs in envelopes (although they may be a tight fit), flash/thumb drives or even a small external drive. Under those two pockets is a third mesh pocket, great for USB/Lightning cables or power banks. Any files/folders/documents can just sit right in the open area between the pockets and the zippered flap.

The shoulder straps are made with ample padding to them, giving cushion for long usage. There is another mesh slide-in pocket, which is supposed to be for a water bottle, but the elastic around the opening doesn't give much. The straps are fully adjustable.

While this is designed for up to 16" laptops, I was able to fit Mama Melissa's Alienware 17 R3 gaming laptop into the laptop pocket, but obviously was unable to close the nylon strap over it. It also fit in the open area with ease. Anything over 17.3" would not fit.

I really don't see disabled folks having too many issues with this backpack. The zippers work well; no snags or loose zipper teeth.The main problems they may have are feeding a wire through the headphone hole and sliding a laptop into the laptop compartment.

If you plan to get someone a new laptop this year for the holidays, make sure to add this to your gift list for them as well. It's a bit pricey, but the protection it gives will be a welcome addition for them!

This is available from Mobile Edge for $59.99.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Nice, solid backpack that provides MORE than enough protection for your laptop
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

aLLreLi M515BU 4000 DPI Wired Gaming Mouse

aLLreLi M515BU 4000 DPI Wired Gaming Mouse

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
With the Super driver included in the aLLreLi Wired Gaming Mouse, you can customize the performance of the gaming mouse and automate key functions in your favorite games. Record macros for each of the six buttons and execute movements with just a click. The wired USB gaming mouse includes a total of Six buttons that you can program to perform specific tasks in your favorite games. All 6 buttons are available for programming, so you can set up custom button configurations for five different memory mode.

Each gamer has their own unique preferences when it comes to game sensitivity, which is why the aLLreLi M515 gaming mouse lets you choose the DPI that’s right for you. Choose from five DPI levels that are pre-installed on the M515 gaming mouse: 1000, 1750, 2500 , 3500 or 4000. When do the DPI shift, there are 5 adjustable breathing LED light such as Red, Blue, Green, Purple or Yellow.

The aLLreLi M515 High Precision Gaming Mouse is a state of the art gaming mouse that will change the way you game forever. Ergonomically designed, the M515 gaming mouse allows you to play for hours without experiencing cramping and fatigue in your fingers and wrists. The optical technology featured in the M515 gaming mouse ensures a smooth roll over the desktop, and the nylon braided cable with anti-interference magnet ring prevents creeping to guarantee that every move you make is one that you intended.

Ready to transform the way you game and dominate the competition in every scenario? You need more than just skill to make it to the top of the leaderboard and earn every achievement. You need the right gaming mouse to improve your response time and allow you to focus fully on the game, and the aLLreLi M515 High Precision Wired Gaming Mouse is that perfect solution!
A few years ago, a friend of mine told me about gaming mice. Up until that point, I thought gaming mice were JUST for gamers, not for average computer users.

But after ruining 3 ‘run-of-the-mill’ mice in one year with HEAVY graphic designing, I finally gave into my friend’s advice and got myself a gaming mouse. However, I didn’t do my research, and I ended up getting a cheap, off-brand model, which broke just as quickly as a normal mouse.

Then I was using Mama Melissa's wireless gaming mouse by another no-name company and while it worked well, I hated the fact I had to keep AAA batteries on hand, when 95% of my other battery operated gadgets took AA batteries. I also had another weighted gaming mouse by Sentey. While it still works, I put it up because I wanted another wireless mouse.

However, when aLLreLi offered me a chance to review another of their gaming mice, I JUMPED at the chance. This is the second gaming mouse by aLLreLi I have reviewed. (The first mouse I reviewed from aLLreLi can be found here: http://www.thecpchick.com/2015/12/allreli-8200-dpi-high-precision-laser.html)


^^Closeup of the mouse^^

Where this mouse differs from the High Precision mouse is the DPI. This one only goes up 4000 DPI, which is much better for me.


^^Mouse illuminated^^


^^Mouse illumination demo^^

There are 5 'colors' of DPI settings;
Green - The default DPI. Perfect for me.
Purple/Fuchsia - A little fast for me, but I tend to bump myself to this one when playing timed Pogo games.
Yellow - Faster response time than the Purple setting. Manageable with concentration. The lights look more orange than yellow.
Red - One of the more responsive DPI settings. I can’t really use this one.
Blue - The top most responsive DPI setting. Completely unusable for me. This would be good for MMO shooter games, like the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare franchise.

Another difference between the High Precision Gaming Mouse and this gaming mouse is the shape, which actually is a plus. On the High Precision Gaming Mouse, I was CONSTANTLY hitting the DPI button on the High Precision Gaming Mouse, causing me to go to another DPI setting, which is one of the reasons I stopped using it.. With the M515BU gaming mouse, the DPI button is ‘recessed,’ so I have to manually push it to select the DPI setting.

I really don’t see disabled people having too many problems with this mouse. It’s USB-driven, and pretty much plug-&-play, as far as basic mouse operations and DPI selections go. There IS a Windows driver needed to program the additional macros buttons, which are available from the aLLreLi website or using the included CD. I didn't need the drivers, since I use a Chromebook and there is no need for drivers.

I really like aLLreli’s mice. They are of GREAT quality and really hold up over the test of time. Only thing I wish is aLLreLi would make wireless gaming mice. I personally prefer wireless mice, especially when using a laptop. However, Any of the aLLreli brand mice would make a great holiday gift for the techie or gamer on your list, without breaking your gift budget.

For even more info or to purchase this mouse, please visit the aLLreLi website.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Solid, but affordable gaming mouse that does the job without all the bells and whistles of the more expensive brands/models.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Friday, October 28, 2016

Buck Wild Tortilla Chips

Buck Wild Tortilla Chips

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Bold snacks.
Exciting snacks.
Unbelievably good snacks.
Snacks with real ingredients like whole grains, seeds and cheese.
That's what we believe in.
And that’s why we snack the path less ordinary.
Growing up, I always ate Doritos when I wanted a tortilla chip. Nacho Cheese was the ‘go-to’ flavor until 1986, when the Cool Ranch flavor came out. Since then, I’ve sampled many of the new flavors when they eventually made their way to BiLo Markets in PA and now, our local Shurfine stores.

Eventually, for a while, I had to give up eating Doritos/tortilla chips, since they weren’t playing well with my oral issues. But now that the issues are resolved to the point where I can eat them, I was VERY excited when Buck Wild agreed to send some samples to me for review.

I was fortunate enough to receive 5 of their 6 flavors for this review. Let’s have a look at the flavors.


^^what I received^^

ROASTED TOMATO HERB
The roasted tomato seasoning is pretty outstanding. But it’s the silent H in herb that will really sneak up on you.

Reminded me of a tortilla chips dipped in either marinara or a heavily-herbed spaghetti sauce. I could really taste oregano on these, but it played superbly with the tomato flavor. Neither one overpowered the other.
TASTE: 8.5/10

JALAPEÑO JACK
Real jalapeño. Real cheese. No faking it. If Jalapeño Jack was an action movie star, he'd definitely do his own stunts.

If you’ve ever had the Lance’s Captain's Wafers Jalapeno Cheddar Sandwich Crackers, then you pretty much know what these taste like, just crunchier.
Where I think they differ from the Lance’s crackers is these chips have actual bits of jalapeño is the actual chips. These make the chips even HOTTER than the sandwich crackers. I usually shy away from things with jalapeño peppers in them, because they make my acid reflux have flareups, but these were SO good, it was worth it to have a fiery throat!
This was my favorite flavor we were sent!
TASTE: 10/10

GARLIC SEA SALT
A kiss of garlic. A hit of salt. That's like surfing a wave of salty garlicky goodness.

Vampires need not apply here! I really couldn’t taste the sea salt on these chips; I mainly tasted what I thought was a garlic Italian salad dressing. I normally don’t eat garlic straight, since that’s TOO much of a garlic flavor for me, but this has JUST enough garlic flavor for me to be delicious!
TASTE: 9/10

SEA SALT
We’re not saying Sea Salt Tortilla Chips make the world go round, but we’re not not saying it.

Now these I COULD taste the salt on… and boy, were they loaded! Not saying that’s a bad thing, but these chips tasted JUST like a saltier version of a Tostitos plain tortilla chip. In all actuality, If I were to take a blind taste test between plain tortilla chips, I don’t think I could tell these from Tostitos chips.
TASTE: 9/10

CHEDDAR CHIPOTLE
Cheesy. Chippy. Smoky. Spice. Say it three times and you might just start an epic party. But don't say we didn't warn you.

I’m not even sure how to describe these. They tasted like a Spicy Nacho Dorito chip dipped in Cheez Whiz/Ragu Cheddar cheese sauce, just without the drippy mess Cheddar cheese sauce makes. I really liked these as well. I think this was my 2nd favorite flavor we were sent.
TASTE: 9.75/10

As I said above, My personal favorite flavor was the Jalapeño Jack flavor. Mama Melissa also liked the Jalapeño Jack flavor the best.

One thing I like a LOT with Buck Wild chips is that they are diabetic friendly. With Mama Melissa being considered pre-diabetic, she is watching her sugar intake. All the Buck Wild chips we sampled are under the 3g of sugar Mama Melissa will allow in her foods, with most of them have less than 1g of sugar. Two flavors, Sea Salt and Jalapeño Jack, have 0g of sugar in them.

The biggest problem I see disabled people having with these is actually opening the bags. I took scissors to the bags, because I was NOT going to even try to open them the typical way of just pulling the seams apart. These chips seem to be softer on the teeth than Doritos, which is a plus for those with chewing issues.

Buck Wild Snacks also makes popcorn in 4 unique flavors:  Chipotle Cheddar, Roasted Garlic, Caramel Bourbon, and Smoked Butter.

These are available from most Starbucks and Walmart stores nationwide. Please visit Buck Wild's Store Locator to find a store nearest to you.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Yummy tortilla chips in a variety of flavors sure to please everyone!
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

My thoughts on Windows 10

Windows 10

Usually, this is where I put the Product Description, but since this is a WELL known product, I don't think I need to.

I make it well known I use a Chromebook. It's simple, it works when I need it to, and it has state-of-the-art security (and one day here, I WILL be doing a review on this system).

But, for the longest time, I was a Windows Fangirl. My first Windows system was a Packard Bell desktop with Windows 95 on it. It worked enough for the school essays I had to do during my Senior year, and it was fine for Internet access through AOL.

My next system was a Gateway Select 900 desktop with Windows ME installed, and it was purchased for me through OVR for a 'college course' I was taking, and the Win95 system would NOT handle the software I needed to use. Most people had infinite amounts of trouble with Windows ME, but that system was still working WAY past the EOS (Rnd of Support) date in 2006. Truth be told, I only pulled the hard drive and tossed the tower, because it was outdated and not upgrade-able.

I then migrated to Windows XP, and stayed there until 2014, when the XP desktop I had crashed so hard, I had no choice BUT to move to Ubuntu.

I moved BACK to Windows earlier this year, when Mama Melissa got herself an Alienware gaming laptop, and I took her 'old' Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop, which runs Windows 10.

And that is when the troubles of Windows 10 began.

As I said before, I used to be an AVID graphic designer. I was self-taught for the majority of techniques I can do. One of the downfalls of going to Ubuntu was not having a program I truly enjoyed, Adobe Photoshop. Sure, there is GIMP, but it's not the same. So, when I returned to Windows 10, one of the FIRST things I did was try to install my copy of Adobe CS3 Master Collection.

and it was a bust.

Oh, sure the programs OPENED, but they weren't usable. PS wouldn't 'parse' the pictures... I didn't even BOTHER with trying to use anything else. I even tried running it in 'Compatibility Mode...' Nada.

Okay, fine, whatever. Affinity Designer for Windows was due out soon anyway; I could wait.

Well, then The Anniversary Update (Version 1607) was released, and while it installed on my Dell Inspiron laptop fine, it messed Mama Melissa's Alienware laptop to the point of where it was completely unusable; the activity light would go nuts for no reason.

Now, I get it that Windows 10 'phones home' a lot, but this was almost a constant thing. The activity light would continuously be lit, even if she was just watching a YouTube video or simply reading her email on the web. A lot of her drivers were not compatible with Version 1607, in particular one of her graphic cards... which until I googled a solution, made her favorite game, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, completely unplayable.

But, Mama Melissa LOVES that system, so to make it SOMEWHAT usable, we installed Linux Mint 18. It had minor bugs, but at least the system was usable. The funny thing is, Linux Mint should not have even been able to be installed.

One day, Mama Melissa decided to 'recover' the Alienware to Windows 10 using the recovery USB stick sent to us by Dell. It recovered fine, but now we are at the point of where Version 1607 REFUSES to install, even after at least 3 additional 'recoveries.' The machine is stuck in a 'download-install attempt-failure' loop.

And this is where this reviewer has her issues with Windows 10.

Seriously, it should not be this hard to install an update... Nor should it be near IMPOSSIBLE to get ANY help from the company or in this case, companies!

I first went through Dell/Alienware for a copy of the newest OS, or at least a copy of what the system shipped with (Version 1511) and they basically told me all their USB sticks have the 'Base' build (Build 10240) and any subsequent builds/updates would be available through Windows Updates.

Here's the thing; I know Version 1511 (and Version 1607) is not a different OS; it's equal to a service pack. I understand this fully. However, If I had bought a system that came with Windows 7 SP1 from the factory, I'd expect the recovery media to have the same Windows 7 SP1 on the recovery media... Not just the Original Windows 7 release and I'm on my own to download the SP1 update!

Okay, Fine... I even asked Microsoft for a USB stick of the Anniversary Update. I was told to download the ISO file and try it that way. After explaining that we have TRIED this way as well, and it did not work either, I was told the only solution to the problem was to REBUY Windows 10.

Um, Excuse me? Why should I buy another copy of something I already own? No! I shouldn't shell out MORE money for something that was included in the HEFTY price of the computer!!

Microsoft then said to 'disable your Anti-virus software prior to installation.' When I replied that we were using Windows Defender, which is built into Windows 10 by default, I was THEN told that some '3rd-party anti-virus prograns do interfere with the installation.'

Really? Windows Defender is HARDLY a '3rd-party program,' especially when it's built into the system.

We even tried a 'Remote Access' through Microsoft Help. Neither browser would allow the remote connection.

Now, I'm not saying Windows 10 isn't a nice operating system. For some people, it's perfect... especially if you are heavily tied into the Microsoft ecosystem or you use programs that are reliant on Windows 10.

But there are too many things that isn't worth it.

Why does Microsoft NEED to call home so much? That is MY system. Unless I am having a problem with it, you don't need to know what *I* am doing on *MY* system. You don't need to know what files or what programs I have on my system. This is what you have the Windows Insiders program for. They can be the guinea pigs for new features.

I don't like the idea of needing to use a 3rd-party program to control MY privacy. I should be able to go right into the settings and disable EVERYTHING I don't want Microsoft to know about my system.

I also don't like the idea of Windows 10 telling me what programs I have to use. I have NO use for Cortana. I don't need a personal assistant helping me through my computing day. If I did, I would hire one. But there is NO way to fully turn Cortana off, so she is constantly listening/watching what I am doing... and no doubt, reporting my every computing move BACK to Microsoft.

At least with my Chromebook and the various Android devices I have used, I have the option to disable 'OK Google' from the settings. You can also disable Siri on iOS/MacOS devices from the respective Settings menu... So WHY is Cortana downright IMPOSSIBLE to disable on Windows without a registry hack?

And I surely don't appreciate Windows 10 telling me WHAT programs I should uninstall. It cracks me up that Windows 10 tells me to uninstall CCleaner, a program my household has used for years on EVERY Windows system we've owned, just 'to save space.' No, more like Microsoft wants my system to get bogged down with junk files, so I either pay for their 'help' to get my system working again or buy a newer system, and they will get a cut of the purchase price. Besides, a full install of CCleaner is not going to cause 'insufficient space' on a 1 TB drive.

Why do I NEED to sign in with a Microsoft account? If I wanted to be tied into your ecosystem, I'd use MORE of your services. Just go back to the OLD way, when a local account was default. It made things SO much easier. Furthermore, This should be a better visible option on the Installation/Recovery page, not just a 'Skip this Step' link in a really tiny text, that is easily missed.

Why do the updates have to be so HUGE? Seriously, I'm wondering if my problems with Verizon this past weekend wasn't that they thought I was pirating movies and/or TV shows, with as much traffic was coming from my IP address and they capped me! An update should NOT be 4 GB+, especially if it's not an entirely new OS. Granted, Apple's newest OS, MacOS Sierra is 4.78GB in size, but this is NOT just an update, this is an entirely new OS.

If you're aiming for a 'seamless' experience, Why can't I use apps on my computers the same way I do on a mobile device? Let's take Instagram, which is one of Windows 10's newest app releases. For me, typing on a physical keyboard is 100x easier than a touch keyboard. So, why can't I upload photos from my Windows computer using the Instagram app available in the Windows Store? I can do everything the Windows Store app does right from the Instagram website!

In short, it's too big, too clunky, too intrusive and just not ready for major usage.  If you are on an older version of Windows that still has support, STAY THERE FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN. When your Windows version reaches its EOS date, either move to a Mac product or start looking at alternative OS options. There are MANY distrubutions of Linux or even Chrome OS devices.

If you still want to try Windows 10, This is available from Microsoft Store for $119.99 for the HOME version.

FINAL THOUGHTS
RUN! RUN AS FAR AWAY FROM THIS OPERATION SYSTEM AS YOU CAN!
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: No

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ADMIN POST: Again with the Internet problems...

Verizon Internet issues
October 2016 edition

And we're at it again!

My speeds are being ABYSMAL... AGAIN. It's been this way for the past 5 days. It's been a LONG time since I've had weather-related connectivity issues.

I pay for the 1.1-3 Mbps tier and after the last time we had a Verizon Tech out here (I posted about this visit here), we were actually getting OVER that. For the LONGEST time, we were clocking 3.4 Mbps downstream and 0.9 Mbps Upstream, which was absolutely perfect for the three users.

But last weekend (October 21, 2016) we had a rainstorm and the speeds crashed down to 2.2 Mbps downstream and 0.6 Mbps upstream, which still would been FINE...

EXCEPT...

they continued to slow down over the course of the weekend. As of this post, My MODEM page says 1.8 Mbps Downstream and 0.4 Mbps Upstream... However, my Speedtest.net extension says OTHERWISE...



So, where does that leave us?

Honestly, I don't know. We had a Verizon Tech out here on Tuesday (October 25, 2016) and he replaced some of the outside wiring, since he thought that might be the issue. However, That didn't fix it.

The tech NOW has to return sometime today (October 26, 2016) with another tech to try and fix it, since the first tech is stumped.

I personally DON'T think it's us. I think something happened at the remote site and we're getting the blame for it.

Whatever the case, I'm hoping to get these issues fixed SOON.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Practico Kitchen Bamboo Cutting Board and Serving Tray

Practico Kitchen Bamboo Cutting Board and Serving Tray

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Stop Wasting Time Looking for the Best Cutting Board

With all the choices out there for cutting boards or chopping boards, it's hard to figure out what's good and what isn't.

You probably have had issues with cutting boards that warp, split, or break only after a few times of use.

With Pratico Kitchen's extra large cutting board, you need not worry.

Here's why you should start using Pratico Kitchen's bamboo chopping board:

★ Premium Construction and Bamboo - Professionally manufactured and made from 100% premium Moso bamboo ensures many years of use
★ Large & Lightweight - Measures 18 in x 12 in x 3/4 in and weighs 3 lbs making it easy to use, store, and transport
★ Durable & Safe on Knives - Bamboo is stronger than traditional hardwood cutting boards and is gentle on knives
★ Great for Food Safety - Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial and because it is less porous, it prevents bacteria from forming
★ No Mess - Features extra large juice and drip groove lip which keeps fruit, meat, and vegetable juices on the board and not on your countertops
★ Versatile - Reversible surfaces allows you to use a chopping block, epicurean cutting board, cheeseboard, or breadboard
★ Easy to Clean and Maintain - Wash with warm water and soap and air dry. Periodically rub with mineral oil to prolong life
★ Lifetime No-Hassle Warranty - If anything happens to your cutting board, let us know and we will replace it
What are you waiting for?

Add the Pratico Kitchen Cutting Board to your cart now and start enjoying the benefits of bamboo today!
I really like this board. It's lightweight and easy to lift and handle, but sturdy enough that I wasn't concerned with it breaking easily. I found the tray grooves a great addition to the board, because any juices from the foods ran right into the grooves and away from the food itself.


^^What I received^^

The board itself was VERY easy to wash, and I haven't seen any sort of 'staining' as of yet, unlike my plastic cutting boards, which are very stained and WILL NOT come clean, no matter what I use on it.

I have not used this as a serving tray yet, but it seems elegant enough not to look out-of-place or trashy. It also seems sturdy enough for this purpose.

I really can't see disabled people having any problems actually using this. It's very lightweight, so it won't be a chore to lift or move. The most difficult thing disabled people will have trouble with is the outer plastic wrapping. It can be a bit difficult to remove.

This is available from Amazon for $22.99.

FINAL THOUGHTS
One of the better cutting boards I've used.  Good quality and solidly built, but still lightweight
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**