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Friday, July 31, 2015

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS -- Just Ask

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS

This week's video is something I'm a strong believer in...


If you see a disabled person seeming to need help, JUST ASK! We won't bite... we may nibble though. But only if you're into that sort of thing. Haha.

Seriously though, don't take over and do it. Just ask if we need help.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TECH TUESDAY -- Omni Swipe

Omni Swipe

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Omni Swipe allows convenient access to your favorite apps, contacts, settings, and incoming notifications using just one hand.

Just swipe from your screen's bottom left or right corner on any screen to instantly open a customizable radial menu that keeps what's important and most useful to you always within a thumb's reach. Unlike other accessibility tools, Omni Swipe stays hidden and out of your way until you swipe it into view to use it.

FEATURES

★ Unobtrusive: Omni Swipe only appears when you want it to, and disappears when you're done, never covering or cluttering up your beautiful desktop.
★ Intelligent: Omni Swipe cleverly anticipates and organizes your apps based upon importance and your past usage behavior.
★ Interact: Get your latest notifications without having to swipe down the notification bar, and keep your most important contacts as well as their various contact methods convenient.
★ Light-weight: Omni Swipe is small at less than 1MB large, and optimized to provide a clean and smooth user experience.
★ Favorites: Add and arrange up to 9 of your favorite apps to always be within your reach.
★ Toolbox: Customize which commonly-used shortcuts and switches can also be accessed with a single swipe. Easily switch on/off your flashlight, wifi, rotation lock or adjust your screen's brightness. Keep your Android fast and responsive with the memory-cleaning speed-boosting "Booster" tool!
★ Themes: Omni Swipe includes a variety of colorful themes to match your desktop or personality, with exciting new themes coming soon!
The other day, I was watching a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Jonathan Morrison... The Best Android Apps & Games (July 2015). He mentioned this app as one of his favorites, so I downloaded it to my Tracfone to test it out.

and immediately fell in love with it.


Omni Swipe shown on a LG Optimus Fuel Tracfone
Shown in the Purple theme

Before I found this app, I had a folder on my home screen for all my 'Package' Apps... UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. I also had cluttered folders with numerous apps. While it was convenient, it got to be confusing to remember what folder had the app I was looking for.

This makes it so much easier. I can just swipe my finger in from the left or the right of the screen and right there are all my favorite apps. I also like I can access the Settings from the 'Toolbox' tab. If I open an app not in my Favorites, I can find it in the 'Recent' tab.

You can also set Omni Swipe to show you notifications in the corner with a colored dot. I could see this being handy on the lock screen, but MOST of us get notifications from the swipe down menu at the top of our screens.

Another setting Omni Swipe has is where you can activate it even from the lock screen. From what I see (and it could be a setting I have wrong), this doesn't work the best. I can never seem to get the app I select to actually open. It seems to just unlock the phone.

From the 'Toolbox' tab, you can access the app settings, where you can change the theme, what apps are in the Favorites, what corner you swipe from and even how much of the corner is 'swipeable.' I set mine to cover half of the screens in the corners, so it's easier for my spazzy hands to swipe.

The problem with that, and what most disabled people may have problems with, is the higher the coverage area is, the more apt they are to activate it within other apps. I always seem to activate it when I'm trying to scroll in the UPS Mobile app. This can become frustrating in larger phones, if your fingers don't reach the middle of the screen or in games where the game play nears the corner edge of the screen.

One of my main disappointments with this app is that you can only have 9 apps in the Favorites tab. I use about 10-12 apps heavily, so I had to make choices as to which apps went into the tab and which stayed in folders on the home screen. I would have liked to add all my heavily used apps, even if the icons were smaller.

My other disappointment with this app (and this could be user-fault) is the lack of themes. I see only two theme color choices, Purple (default) and Blue. If I could figure out how/where to get more themes, this wouldn't be a problem.

If you're interested in trying this app out, This is available from Google Play for FREE. NOTE: You will need to be on Android 4.0 or higher to use this app.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Great time-saving app to access your most commonly used apps. Just needs a few tweaks and it'd be perfect!
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

Monday, July 27, 2015

MOBILITY MONDAY -- Phantom Fit Resistance bands


Phantom Fit Resistance Bands

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The Secret Of Getting a Toned Body Without Clunky and Expensive Exercise Equipment Or A Gym Membership

Workouts can be such a hassle. If you're not running to the gym every day before or after work, you're trying to find the motivation to do an intense workout on your home gym.

Resistance loop bands are the best solution because they: 
- Are perfect for physical therapy exercises all the way to intense workouts
- Works flawlessly for arm, ankle, and leg workouts
- Are separated by resistance level to meet your needs
- Are extremely durable and long-lasting
- Are lightweight and portable
I really wanted to have photos for this review, but my cameras are on the fritz right now. I need to look into getting a decent camera setup.

Anyway, with having CP, I know I need to exercise to keep my joints lubricated and my muscles flexible. The best workouts for me are low-impact... swimming, adaptive yoga and stretching. Even walking is a no-go anymore.

When I was in the local hospital's physical therapy program, the therapist gave me some latex exercise bands to work with, and they helped a lot. I have one from a Tylenol freebie a few years ago that is the same premise as the ones from the hospital and I really like it. It has the right amount of resistance for me.

That being said, I was quite excited to get these bands for review. Sadly though, for me, they just didn't live up to my needs.

I'm NOT saying they are terrible, because they aren't. But for the exercises I need to do with them, they aren't efficient enough.

There are 4 bands in this set, each having a different level of resistance. Let's take a look at them.

LIGHT
The light band, which is a blue color, is almost paper-thin. It has less resistance than the one I got from the Tylenol promotion. As I was doing my leg exercises, I was afraid I was going to snap the band. It also rolled and bunched against my legs, pulling at the hairs. Can we say YEOWTCH??? I think this would be better suited for a child to stretch with or someone who has ZERO strength.

MEDIUM
Now, this was the sweet spot for me. This band, which is red, was the right resistance for my legs and I didn't feel like the band was going to snap into pieces, nor did it bunch up or roll. This was my favorite and most heavily used of the bands.

HEAVY
The heavy band, which is green, was the worst one for me. It felt very stiff. I'd say the stiffness level on this was about on par with a vacuum cleaner belt and was a complete CHORE to work with. It was nearly impossible to do my exercises with this band.

X-HEAVY
Ironically, I could use the X-heavy black band better than the heavy band. The resistance is on the same level as a machinery belt (lawn mower or car engine), but is still stretchable. It doesn't roll at all. When I did my leg exercises with this band, I could REALLY 'feel the (good) burn' in my legs, but it didn't complete wipe out the strength I had. If the medium or the Tylenol band becomes too easy for me, I could see myself moving to this band.

This set also comes with a black nylon storage bag with a pull string and a 'push-clip' stopper, the kind you need to push in or together to move. I'm blanking on the proper name for them. The problem is, once the bands are unpackaged, they don't lay flat anymore.

The disabled person's level of strength will determine how much trouble they'll have with these. I personally think these would be better for arm exercises. I had a hard time using them for the leg exercises I need to do. If the person has better stability in their legs, they may be able to use them better.

This is available from Amazon for $12.99.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Better aimed for arm exercises, but still get the job done.
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.**

Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW -- Alternative Baking Company cookies

Alternative Baking Company cookies

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Welcome to Alternative Baking Company, Inc. (aka cookie heaven), where you will find 13 of the best cookies in the galaxy! And this is just what our loyal cookie lovers say (don’t even get us started.)

We have two lines of cookies–original and gluten-free. Our original cookies are made with organic wheat flour and are sweetened with fruit juice and organic unrefined cane sugar. Each cookie is entirely vegan and altogether delicious. You will never find any dairy, eggs, hydrogenated oils, or artificial ingredients in any of them – that’s our guarantee to you.

So whether you’re an earth-friendly eater, a parent who just wants healthy treats for the kids, or a health-conscious professional, we’ve got the cookie for you.
As you can tell, my house is a sucker for snack foods. They don't last very long around here. We were excited to get a package of all 9 flavors made by the Alternative Baking Company for review.


All 9 cookies
(L to R) Top Row: Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Decadence,
Middle Row: Outrageous Oatmeal Raisin with Walnuts, Peanut Butter Persuasion, Luscious Lemon Poppyseed
Bottom Row: Cookie of the Season -- Ginger Snappin' Raisin, Explosive Espresso Chip, Colossal Chocolate Chip

Let's take a look at each of the flavors. These are in the order seen above.

Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice
Ever eat a Little Debbie Pumpkin Delight cookie? This tastes EXACTLY like them. This was my absolute favorite of the cookies we received for review. I actually was sad when I finished mine, they were THAT good.
TASTE: 10/10

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Take peanut Butter cookie dough and add chocolate chips to the mix, then bake them. You have this cookie. I really liked the fact that there are actual peanuts in this, along with the chocolate chips. That made the cookie all the better.
TASTE: 9.5/10

Double Chocolate Decadence
This was a bit overkill on the chocolate for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate, but this was just WAY too much for me. If you like Death By Chocolate ice cream or Chocolate fudge, this cookie will be right up your alley. But it was just too rich for me.
TASTE: 6/10

Outrageous Oatmeal Raisin with Walnuts
Surprisingly soft and chewy for an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. Love the walnuts in this… gives it a bit of a crunch. Even Mama Melissa liked this flavor, and she ABHORS anything with oatmeal.
I found it to bit a bit heavy on the nutmeg. It tasted like they lost the spice shaker in this cookie, or at least in this batch.
TASTE: 8/10

Peanut Butter Persuasion
Just like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, just add peanuts to the peanut butter cookie dough and bake. You have these cookies. Very soft and chewy, even with the peanuts in it.
TASTE: 9/10

Luscious Lemon Poppyseed
If you took a Lemon Meringue pie, added poppy seeds to the lemon mixture and then turned it into a cookie, you’d have this one. I liked the way the lemon and the poppyseed flavors played off of one another to give this a unique flavor.
TASTE: 9/10

Cookie of the Season - Ginger Snappin’ Raisin
This is a special, time-sensitive flavor. Tasted like a chewy Ginger Snap. The raisins were an added bonus to the flavor. I’m not a fan of Ginger Snaps in general, but the flavor was good.
TASTE: 7/10

Explosive Espresso Chip
This was my least favorite flavor. I usually like things with a ‘coffee’ flavor, but this was just awful. While chewy and soft, even the espresso beans, it left a taste of burnt, stale coffee in my mouth. I ate about half of the cookie before giving the rest to Mama Melissa, who didn’t mind the taste.
TASTE: 4.5/10

Colossal Chocolate Chip
Tastes JUST a soft Chocolate Chip cookie. The chips were really flavorful in this cookie. Best way to describe this is a larger, vegan Chewy Chips Ahoy.
TASTE: 9.5/10

These were the original variety. The company also offers a Gluten-Free variety.

This is available from the Alternative Baking Company website for $13.50 per 5-pack. NOTE: There is a 3-pack MINIMUM to order.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Yummy cookies without all the processed junk... YES PLEASE!
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.**

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TASTY THURSDAY -- O! Fudge Subscription Box

O! Fudge Subscription Box

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Featured Flavors
Every month holds new flavors to explore! We'll feature classics like Cookies and Cream or Peanut Butter, but we'll also have some quirky fudge like Root Beer, Pistachio, or Salted Caramel! Explore new flavors in each month's box.

Choose wisely.
Each month's flavor selection is a surprise for every subscriber, but you get to choose what kind flavors to receive. Play it safe with the Classic Box and get familiar flavors to enjoy, or go wild with the Quirky Box and find new favorites! Can't decide? Get them all in the Medley Box!

Enjoy now and later. 
Each 2 ounce cup of fudge comes in a resealable container with a spoon for immediate sweet tooth satisfaction.

Made in Oklahoma.
O! Fudge Box features the small batch artisan fudge made by the mother-daughter team Imalee and Annette at their shop, Sweet Prairie Home Signature Fudge, in Bethany, OK. 
Growing up, I never really was one for fudge. I didn't even like Tootsie Rolls as a little girl. But I know taste buds change as you get older and I realized in my teenage years that while I actually do like Tootsie Rolls, it wasn't fudge in general that I didn't like; it was the chocolate flavors I didn't like. I loved the non-chocolate flavors like peanut butter and Maple Walnut.

So, I was very excited when the ladies at O! Fudge agreed to send me a box for review.

Now, I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of the entire set, because sweets don't last long in this house. But I received 5 2 oz containers for review. I'm going to review each flavor individually.

Limoncello
Mama Melissa claimed this one, But I did manage to get a spoonful of it for tasting purposes. It tasted just like lemonade. There was even lemon flavored sugar on top for a little added crunch. Mama Melissa and I really liked this.
TASTE: 10/10

Blueberry Cheesecake
I'm not really one for blueberry flavored things, but this wasn't too bad. It was on the very sweet side though. I tasted an equal amount of blueberry and the cheesecake flavoring.
TASTE: 8/10

Chocolate Amaretto
I never really ate anything with the Amaretto flavoring, so this was a new taste for me. I liked it, especially how the Amaretto masked the chocolate/fudge flavor. Not overly sweet either.
TASTE: 9/10

Cappuccino
I love coffee, and as an older teenager, every time I stopped at a gas station, I was buying a flavored Cappuccino, usually French Vanilla or, if they had it, Pumpkin. This fudge tastes JUST like a Mocha Cappuccino, if not a little less sweet.
Mama Melissa said it tasted like burnt coffee to her, but I personally didn't taste the burnt flavor. I do admit it was heavy on the coffee flavor, but it didn't taste burnt to me. Very creamy.
TASTE: 9.5/10

Peach
Peach is one of my favorite flavors. If I'm not buying lemon iced tea, I'm buying Peach flavor. Peach yogurt is my 2nd favorite flavor of yogurt. It's safe to say I like peach.
This has an... Odd flavor to it. Not saying it was bad, because it's not. But I'm not accustomed to strictly 'fruit' fudge. The taste was very reminiscent of the gummy peach rings. I like the fact that there are actual chunks of peach in this fudge. That was an added bonus.
TASTE: 9/10

These come in 2 oz resealable containers, with a plastic safety seal around them. They also include a small plastic spoon in each container. We had a bit of a hard time with the safety seal and I personally had trouble with the small spoons. I ended up using a normal spoon for my tastings. I could see those with limited dexterity in their hands having the same issues I did.

This is available from the OkieGoodies website starting at $10.00 a month. (Longer subscriptions are cheaper overall)

FINAL THOUGHTS
For someone who really doesn't like fudge, I thoroughly enjoyed this box. I only wish the containers were bigger.
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.**

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BEAUTY WEDNESDAY -- Brush-On Liquid Mineral Makeup

Brush-On Liquid Mineral Makeup

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
This Brush-On Liquid Mineral Makeup feels feather-light and silky-smooth, while providing ample coverage. The innovative "brush- on" applicator makes it so easy to apply and ensures that you're spreading the liquid foundation properly. No fingers or sponges needed. This air-tight tube with its attached brush makes it convenient to carry and gives you a water-resistant, all-day finish. The formula is actually so unique that your skin looks natural, yet better then naked. FACES Beautiful mineral makeup actually improves the texture of your skin and gives you a more flawless finish.
I usually don't wear makeup, because of my lack of saliva control. Whatever I put on my chin washes away when I drool, and I end up looking like a ventriloquist's dummy.

But, I have really dark circles under my eyes, and I wanted to cover them when I'm out and about. So I was really excited to get this makeup.


^^What I received^^

Sadly, none of the selfies I took turned out, but this is one of the EASIEST makeup items for a disabled person to apply. It comes with an attached brush, so all you need to do is squeeze the tube and swipe the brush bristles across your face to apply the makeup, then you can either use the bristles or your fingers to blend the makeup in. I love how smoothly it blends as well. It didn't take much effort to blend the makeup into my skin.

It gives long lasting, even coverage as well. I put this on in the morning and it was still on with minimal 'destruction' that night. It covers my dark circles very well, unlike some makeups I've used in which the under-eye darkness still shows through.

Seriously, The only problem disabled people MAY have with this is the cover that goes over the bristles. That's it. I had a little trouble opening it the first time I used it. Otherwise, NO trouble using this.

This is available from FACES Beautiful's website for $40.00.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Easiest makeup to apply and easy to blend... can't get much better than that!!
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.**

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

TECH TUESDAY -- Verizon DSL Internet

Verizon DSL Internet

Usually, here is where I put the product description, but most of us have had DSL at one point or another in our lives, even if it was at the local library. So, we all know what DSL is.

After having Time Warner's Road Runner out of the Binghamton, NY office in the late 1990's and early 2000's, I moved to an area where all we had was dial-up. And while that was FINE for the 1990's, it wasn't fine for 2003, especially after being spoiled by Road Runner's speeds.

But that's all that was available in my rural area, so I dealt with it until 2010, when Verizon told me that DSL was available at my address. Hearing that, I JUMPED on the offer.

I've been with Verizon for 5 years now and I can't complain about the service, really. It's fast. Sure, there are a few hiccups now and then, but tell me what ISP doesn't have issues.

So, What's the downfall of the company? To be honest, their customer service SUCKS. They do not listen to their customers at all.

I have a speech impediment. Listen to any video I've done on YouTube and you'll hear it. I'm getting more comfortable doing videos, but because of the speech impediment, I try to avoid calling companies at all costs. I prefer to do online chats.

The sad thing with Verizon is they either don't grasp the concept of people being hard to understand on the phone or they just don't care.

After having an issue this past weekend with a bad connection and abysmal speeds, I got in touch with Verizon Support through their Twitter page and told them about it. I also told them it was NOT on my end, because the speeds were great on Friday night. They were NOT listening to me at all. All they kept saying was it was on MY end and they NEEDED me to call to set up a tech call. I finally got it through to them that I DID NOT want a tech visit and even if I did call, the CSRs wouldn't understand my speech.

Whatever the issues were, they resolved themselves (or Verizon fixed them) about 4 AM this morning.

If your disability doesn't affect your speech, you shouldn't have a problem with Verizon; however, if you do have a speech impediment, be prepared to fight with them to contact you an alternate way.

Please visit Verizon's website for more info.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Love the actual service when it works. Just wish the company was a little more sympathetic to those with verbal disabilities.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

ADMIN POST: Internet issues..

I apologize for the lack of posts the past few days. I missed Saturday and Monday's post.

I'm having MAJOR internet issues that prevent me from getting anything done. My surfing speeds suck and my ISP and I are just not agreeing on where the fault is.

I'm going to fight with the speeds during the day and try to get some posts done. But don't hold me to it. I'm posting this through my Kindle, since that seems to surf better than my Chromebook, which is closer to the router than the Kindle.

Please bear with me.

Friday, July 17, 2015

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS -- Allergic to Sunlight?

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS

This week, I asked Mama Melissa to send me this video. It shows that not all 'disabilities' aren't easily or plainly visible.


Have you ever known someone with what people call 'an invisible disability?' Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

REVIEW -- Vitamin D Gummy Bears


Vitamin D Gummy Bears

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
These gummies are perfect for both kids and adults. All ingredients are 100% vegetarian - no gelatin, no gluten. It’s healthy, it’s fun, and it’s delicious!

✔ A fun and delicious way to get your daily Vitamin D.
✔ 100% Gluten Free and Gelatin Free. Made with natural flavors and colors. Contains no milk, egg or peanut or soy.
✔ Perfect for both kids and adults. Each ingredient is carefully chosen to help promote a healthy mind and body.
✔ A more enjoyable, yummier alternative to taking pills or dry chewables.
✔ Made in the USA, in a GMP certified facility. 
I am using this as a place holder for the Vitamin D Gummy Bears by Nutrabear. I am only doing this to verify and complete the tasks.

This will be edited soon


ITEM HERE

This is available from Amazon for $9.99.

FINAL THOUGHTS
WILL BE FILLED IN WHEN REVIEW IS COMPLETE.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes/No

**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.**