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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.


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^^

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Kosher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Still loving the variety in this month's box. I like how I got lots of snacks that are good for me.

**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

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 candles. 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 technically 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.

^^Actual item^^

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).

Great way to safely 'burn' candles or wax melts without running the risk of a fire hazard.

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

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.

Nice, solid backpack that provides MORE than enough protection for your laptop

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

aLLreLi M515BU 4000 DPI Wired Gaming Mouse

aLLreLi M515BU 4000 DPI Wired Gaming Mouse

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.

Solid, but affordable gaming mouse that does the job without all the bells and whistles of the more expensive brands/models.

**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.**