Monday, December 28, 2015

Ne J'adore Pas: AdoreMe Review Update

I wrote a review for Adoreme.com previously. You can read it here. At the time I loved the matching sets, gift boxes, free gifts and gift cards and the no hassle return policy. But I also began to notice some things that placed me on the fence about the subscription service. Beginning January 1, 2016 I will be permanently cancelling my VIP subscription to Adoreme.com

Price Bait and Switch

When I first signed up I was told that the regular price for sets was $39.95 no matter the size. But if I chose to pay for VIP, I would only pay $29.95. Instead, as a 38DD I was charged $49.95 for almost every single set I ever bought.

Size Unavailable

If you're any level of a "D" cup, you're completely out of luck. The same is true for an "F" cup. There are other sizes that are never in stock but they aren't within my range. One day, I decided to wait up for Eastern standard time to log onto my showroom and to see if my size was available. Fourteen seconds after my showroom was updated, my size was out of stock. That's impossible if it were ever in stock in the first place. Every month for the passed 6 months my size was either out of stock or only available in styles I already purchased.

Style Lie

They tell you they have hundreds of styles in stock. But they don't tell you that each color variation is considered a style. In some cases, the same bra and panty set will be available in black with one name then in yellow in another name. The only difference between the two sets is the color. So after about one year of purchasing a new set every month in the size that's closest to mine since mine is sold out, I basically had all they had to offer in my lingerie drawer. That's when I began to purchase corsets, pajamas, and costumes.

Quality Plummeted

Originally, every item I purchased was excellent quality, lasting longer than my Macy's and Victoria's Secret bras combined. But over the last year and a half, that's not so true. The lace shreds even with hand washing. Bows, jewels and other embellishments fell off in shipping. The worst was when the one convertible bra that could hold my heavy, full breasts arrived with a broken hook. After one month of use, all of my underwire bras were stabbing me with exposed wire, my bra straps were shredding and breaking and the panties where unraveling at an alarming rate. No one feels sexy with "holey draws".

Customer Service

At some point, I downloaded the Adore Me App. The app failed to notify me that I had forgotten to either make a purchase or skip the month. So I had a store credit waiting for me for months, but I was unaware because the app was malfunctioning. When I attempted to have the money refunded, the customer service rep acknowledged their error but required me to email another department to explain to them why I deserved a refund after the 30 day time limit. They just admitted it was their fault and that they were aware the app had malfunctioned but still I, a customer for almost 3 years, had to prove I deserved a refund. That was the final straw for me. I used the last of the credit to make one more purchase so that I could cancel. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using the coupon code for $5 off. If I cancel the membership, I forfeit my money. If I don't, I can pay more money for lingerie that doesn't fit to use up the $5. Or I can send an email to prove my value as a customer for a measly $5 refund. After being ignored by their "are you worthy" refund department, I decided it was worth the $5 to permanently be rid of them. But as I called to cancel, they told me I have to wait until my final purchase arrives, which for the first time in 3 years, is a week late.


I enjoyed having matching bra and panty sets in my size. I loved having comfortable and sexy pajamas. But I don't like the constant bait and switch tactics with the price, and their customer service reps make you feel like the fool for ever signing up in the first place. Thank goodness Macy's has improved their selection and lowered their prices below those of Adore Me.

4 Ideas for Unwanted Christmas Gifts

Its the week after Christmas and you have at least one gift that you don't want. Perhaps it was a cheapo Secret Santa gift or a gag gift from the White Elephant party at the office. Or maybe it was too personal of a gift from someone who has boundary issues. Maybe a family member didn't know you as well as he or she thought they did and bought you something so far removed from your personality, you can't wait to get rid of it. No matter the source of the gift or its flaw, you want it gone. Here are some tips.

First of all, make a note of all the gifts that you and your close circle are returning. You don't want to buy them something they don't like for their birthday or next Christmas because you weren't paying attention. Second, don't bother with returns the day after nor the week after Christmas. The shelves won't be restocked until January and by then, there will be a whole new sale.

Gift Cards

If you were fortunate enough to either receive everything you needed or not need anything in the first place, you may be returning gifts. Instead of buying more stuff you don't need or really want, ask for a gift card. You can use the money again at a later date or, give the gift card to the person who's gift you returned. That is my favorite way of re-gifting. You can give them the card for any holiday or birthday leading up to Christmas the next year, so long as its a non-expiring card.

Charity

If the clothes you received aren't your style or size, consider giving it to charity. My daughter got a bike from Toys for Tots this year and an even bigger and better bike last year from the Boys and Girls club. We re-donated the brand new bike from Toys for Tots to a foster child at her school. She also received a free GORGEOUS puff coat from a school lottery. Her grandmother bought a similar, far more gorgeous coat for Christmas, something we didn't know until that day. So she kept grandma's coat and donated her free coat to a homeless child. My son did the same with his coat. He also received a pair of name brand jeans, so he donated a pair of jeans he was outgrowing faster than he could break them in. My daughter received new boots that were a size too small. Boot season is almost over here and she already has three pairs. She donated the new pair. Purses, bags, shoes, coats, hats, gloves, toys, all can be donated to those who are so quickly forgotten after the holidays are over.

Sell it

No receipt, no tags, no return? No problem. List it on Ebay, Amazon, or any one of the plethora of garage sale apps on your phone. Use the money to pay your bills that may have piled up during the holidays. You could also have a garage sale along with all of those clothes that you thought you'd fit into by the end of the year. Don't have time to wait for a sale? Pawn it.

Repurpose it

Earrings can upgrade a pair of shoes. Necklaces can spruce up a lampshade or make a great curtain draw. Jeans make trendy skirts and the sleeves of hideous sweaters make fantastic legwarmers. Dishes can be painted, glued, and bedazzled to make wonderful decorations, If you like the fabric of a garment but not the garment, use it to make another garment. Daughter received an ugly doll? Re-style her hair and clothing for a one of a kind original creation.





Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kindergarten Sight Words: Level 2

Before beginning level two of sight words, your child should have mastered level one. Mastery as defined by my child's school district involves being able to say the word presented to them in three seconds or less without sounding them out. The child should also have mastered the alphabet, counting to 100, the sound each letter makes and should have a beginner's working knowledge of dipthongs, digraphs, and silent "e". Mastery of level two is measured the same as in level one, however, your child's teacher may still encourage sounding out words, so long as during the testing day, they know the words on sight. You can copy the list of level one sight words here.


Level Two Sight Words

again     oh
all         one
away     our
behind   out
does      over
down     put
find       some
from      there
give       under
goes      very
good     want
has        would
her        your
his        who
how     what
make   where
many   when
new     why

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kindergarten Sight Words: Level 1

I tried to make a regular habit of writing posts on this subject but my first kindergartner was very advanced. He went from kindergarten to first grade in 3 months of school. At one point I had to home school him to wait for the school to catch up to his level. So basically, I didn't have any kindergarten info to share. Now I have a daughter who is in kindergarten. And though she is an amazingly fast learner, she is not at the accelerated level as her older brother...yet. Her speed seems to be in reading and writing, while her brother was advanced in math. Perfect reflection of their parents. As a result I just might be able to maintain a regular blog post to help parents of pre-k kids prepare their little ones for kindergarten.

The following in a list of sight words. In case you don't know what they are, they are words that must be instantly recognized on sight. In kindergarten here in California, a child is not considered proficient in the sight words list unless they can read the word in three seconds or less, without sounding it out. Again, they must read it on sight. If your child is in a daycare center or a preschool, they are already being exposed to these words. Be sure to find books on their level that include as many of these words as possible.

Make flashcards out of these words to practice. Also keep a checklist of these words to keep track of which words they know and which words they don't know. Practice every day, wait three seconds before telling the child the word. Once a week, using a checklist, have the child point to the words they know and call them out. Put a checkmark next to the words they get right. They should have the words memorized within three months.

Do not begin sight words for your children until they can recognize each and every letter of the alphabet in capital or lower case letters. The child should also know exactly what sounds each letter makes. Beginning sight words before this mastery will frustrate your child and create unnecessary difficulty.

Kindergarten Sight Words Level 1

a          and     they
I          are      this
at        can
do       for
go       see
he       she
is        the
it        was
me     you
my     have
no      here
of       like
to       look
up      went
we     with

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dairy-Free Baked Cornbread


So, I still have no milk and now I've run low on eggs. So I experimented with this dairy free cornbread recipe. My children like it better than the regular cornbread recipe. It's softer and they could taste the sugar better. We served it with beans. 

Ingredients 

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal (Alber's works best)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbs water
1/3 cup oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 
Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into greased muffin or cake pan 
Bake approximately 15 minutes checking the center with a toothpick.  

No Milk Pancakes


I ran out of milk and my children wanted pancakes. I got this recipe from a friend of mine but made some alterations. The pancakes were soft and fluffy. Better than my regular recipe with milk. 

Ingredients 

2 tbs melted butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of water
1tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
4tsp baking powder
2 cups of flour

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. RESERVE 1/2 CUP OF WATER. Whisking vigorously, add the dry ingredients. While adding the flour, add the last 1/2 cup of water. Use more or less water depending on how thick or thin you want your pancakes. Mix batter until it is ribbon like. No lumps. Let sit for 5 minutes before cooking on a hot griddle. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Responses to Excuses for Celebrating Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in America. Millions of people are home giving thanks for things, people and situations for which they could and should be giving thanks on a daily basis. Unless you are a retail worker, you are home with family that you haven't seen or missed all year. You're eating some sort of foul, fish or ham. You are being gluttonous in food consumption before rushing out to the stores to be gluttonous in seeking material possessions for the same people you don't want to see again until next year.

So why are you doing this? Why are you celebrating a holiday that means nothing more than surrounding yourself with undesirable people and consuming more food in a day than a homeless child has consumed this month? Perhaps I should make clear to whom I am posing such a question. This question is for everyone except for French Americans, English Americans, Italian Americans, and Spanish Americans. By Spanish I mean having ancestry that originates from Spain. We all know that Thanksgiving is a lie. Yet, this lie has been told in our schools for centuries. We all know that celebrating Thanksgiving is like celebrating slavery. So why do we do it? It would seem that there is always an excuse for celebrating the genocide of the Native people. Where does that leave decolonized people like myself? What do we say to those who insist on celebrating the genocide of our people? I don't have all of the answers but here are the answers you may want to try when faced with these common excuses.


Indians are dead so what's the big deal?

Natives are not dead. Though many tribes are extinct, many more are still surviving. This is why you should not only end the Thanksgiving tradition but also stop teaching about us in the past tense form. You should also stop teaching the false brotherhood born from the first Thanksgiving.

It's only one of two times of the year when I can get together with everyone in my family.

If you require a genocidal holiday as an excuse to bring your family together, you have bigger family issues to resolve. A turkey dinner won't be effective.

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving. We gather and talk about what we're thankful for in general.

So, you use a genocidal holiday as an excuse to do on one day, what you should be doing on a daily basis? Perhaps you should revive the tradition of Sunday dinners around the dinner table to fill the void of not celebrating Thanksgiving.

We praise the Lord, Jesus Christ on Thanksgiving. We thank him for all that he has done for us.

Christianity was forced upon Blacks, Natives, Asians, Mexicans and many, many more people. It was done so by way of slavery and torture. You should not be praying to a Christian God at all unless you are a descendant of the people who forced it upon your ancestors in the first place, like the French, Spanish, English or Italians.

I stand in solidarity with Native Americans but Thanksgiving isn't bad anymore. We've changed what it means.

Did the N-word change meaning and cease being painful because we used it more? Did the R-word? How does time or frequency of celebrating the holiday suddenly turn it good? How can you stand in solidarity with Natives if you are perpetuating the cycle of intergenerational trauma every time you celebrate the holiday?

Not gonna lie, I just really love the food on Thanksgiving.

Then serve it all month long. The food you eat isn't Thanksgiving food, its fall food. All of this food is seasonal. So make those dishes every Sunday until you've had your fill. It will bring your family to the table and you get your mac and cheese fix.

Know any more excuses that need responses? Comment below or Tweet me @theredhousewife. Also follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why Celebrities Should Stop Apologizing For Racist Comments

Lately it seems like there's a new celebrity every week that makes the mistake of uttering a racist comment. Just as frequently there also seems to be some underground video or audio recording that ousts a celebrity as many as ten years after the comment has been made. Like clockwork the shamed and ostracized celebrity will release a statement through or often written by their publicist explaining away their choice of words and apologizing for having uttered them in the first place. Unlike the general public, I see no need for the theatrical production that is the public apology. Personally, I think racist celebrities should just stop apologizing for their comments for three main reasons.

1. They Don't Mean It

A forced apology is a false apology and that in itself is insulting. The fact is, no matter the circumstances surrounding the comments, the person who uttered them meant every word. I may not like what was said. I may be offended, infuriated, and disappointed. But an apology is something that is meant to be expressed in situations of sincere regret. But what exactly are the celebrities regretting? Do they regret their opinion? Do they regret that their opinion hurt my feelings? Do they regret that something that was meant to remain private has been released to the public via TMZ or some other paparazzi medium? Unless the celebrity truly regrets what they said, I really don't want to hear an apology because they don't mean it. It would be better for them to become enraged with whomever recorded them or exposed them in the first place, that person who blackmailed them and violated their privacy. That, I can understand and accept.

2. You're Allowed To Be Racist

As quiet as it's kept, you are allowed to be racist. It would be an unpopular choice and you are sure to find yourself surrounded by people who truly believe that violence is in fact the answer. But you are allowed to be racist. Your beliefs are your beliefs. As long as you are willing to accept the consequences of making your socially unpopular beliefs public, I have no problem with a celebrity being racist. Celebrities apologize because they don't want their record sales to go down like John Mayer when he claimed his penis was a white supremacist when asked how he felt about his black, female fans. People were livid but I wasn't. If John Mayer doesn't like black women, that's his prerogative. I know plenty of black women with black supremacist vaginas. Don't apologize for your own preferences. I don't like undercover racists. I like to know what I'm dealing with at all times. I don't like finding out after I've spent money on an album, movie, or some other merchandise that the actor, singer, or artist doesn't like people like me. An apology for comments like John Mayer's tell me that person is embarking on a campaign of deception to cover up their true feelings just so they can get my money. I'd rather deal with the unapologetic racist.

3. Everyone Is Racist

Just because people don't want to admit it, doesn't mean it isn't true. We're all guilty of saying something racially insensitive when we think no one is recording. We all have our stereotypes about other races. The sooner people can accept that no one is perfect, the sooner we find ways to end the stereotypes. I also don't see the point in apologizing for a comment made many years ago that your side chick decided to record like Hulk Hogan, Donald Sterling or Mel Gibson. People change. People say things that they no longer agree with a decade later. People also say the most evil things they can think of to say when they're angry. Think about a person you know that is in a toxic relationship. Think about the cruel things they say to each other when they are trying to hit below the belt. Celebrities are not exempt.

If you're going to apologize, there is a way to do it. Take Hulk Hogan for example. I didn't like his apology. Saying he grew up hearing that word as a reason for why he did it, didn't apply to the recording that was released. That's something you say when you use the n-word as a term of endearment or in an attempt to appropriate hip-hop culture. In Hulk Hogan's situation, he clearly was an angry father looking for anything to grasp as a justification for being angry. I don't think he has a problem with black people but I do believe he really doesn't want his daughter to be with anyone who isn't white. Again, that's a preference he's entitled to have, although it would inevitably make him a social pariah. Hulk Hogan should said, "I apologize for the pain my comments caused. I was an angry father back then and I really needed to vent my frustrations. I did so under the belief that I was with someone trustworthy, who has clearly to be anything but. I do not have a problem with the African American race. But if given the choice, I would prefer that my daughter date within her own. It is a culture with which I am familiar and therefore more comfortable supporting." More people would have been understanding and could probably outright identify with that same statement.

But then, I'm not a celebrity publicist.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Zodiac At A Glance: Virgo


Virgos are born August 23-September 22nd

Leo/Virgo cusps tend to be extroverted and energetic. They have very sunny personalities and radiate positivity. People love to be around them.

Virgo/Libra cusps tend to be more moody and easily infatuated. They are more flirty and sexual than other Virgos.

Almost always a Virgo's favorite color is some shade of blue. Of course, there are exceptions.

The Good

Workaholics - No one has ever referred to a Virgo as lazy. They put in the time and dedication that is required to get the job done right. This can also be a bad thing. A Virgo man may not realize how desperately he is missed at home because he is perfectly content to work overtime.

Independent - They are self-starters who don't need much assistance with anything. Partly because they are so intelligent to begin with, and partly because they learn by trial and error. But don't worry, if they need help they will ask. Also, don't be surprised if they take off on their own to attempt your instructions before you've even finished your sentence. They like the satisfaction of having done the task themselves.

Humorous - Next to Geminis they are the funnest of the zodiac. They are extremely playful and light hearted. They love to entertain and make people laugh. They are as silly as they are studious. Perhaps this is nature's way of keeping them balanced.

Meticulously Organized - Virgos are completely reliable. They are usually the ones keeping everyone else on track in meetings, at work, at home managing the budget. As a result, they are always ready for the worst case scenario. Preventable conflicts rarely occur in their lives as they meticulously plan for as many outcomes as they can.

The Bad

Bossy - Virgos tend to be control freaks. This is partly how they plan for the worst case scenario. Being studious can make them into know-it-alls who feel the need to manage other people in the workplace. This drives them to be overly ambitious in their climb up the corporate ladder.

Cheap - Virgos are always willing to spend top dollar on themselves but can be horribly cheap when it comes to others. Again, they are planning for worst case scenario. They are holding on to every penny they can just in case. They are also known for keeping your change when you send them on an errand.

People Pleasers - Virgos are often described as two-faced. The reason is they want to please everyone. They want everyone to like them. They will go out of their way to appear more intelligent and more trustworthy than they are. In an attempt to seize leadership, they will quietly gossip about the boss behind his back and then use everything they've gathered in that conversation to their advantage while they suck up to that same boss. In a confrontation they immediately take a neutral stance but when it is over they will approach the person the most agreed with and offer support in private. They also have a habit of taking credit for ideas that are not their own if they feel their position is being challenged by another.

Hoarders - Virgos are notorious hoarders when they are unhappy. It begins as planning for the worst but gets out of hand when they are depressed and becomes a problem. Collecting memorabilia can quickly become an expensive nightmare.

Sex life

Virgos don't typically initiate the sexual relationship. They like to feel as though everything is happening to them when it comes to love so that they aren't actually taking any risks. Virgos tend to be more attractive than their mates for this reason. If a man comes to the Virgo woman and professes his love he had better have his house in order first. If he does, she will let him into her heart and reciprocate whatever he sends out. She will never go above and beyond what he has placed on the table. She will treat her romantic partner as her equal. The same is true in bed. She will not likely turn him down for sex. If he's down, so is she, but he has to make the first move.

Best match

Capricorn - both are meticulous planners with a passion for finer things. Neither likes to take risks but the Capricorn tends to be more traditional in gender rolls. Both are frugal and love spontaneous laughter and passion.

Taurus - A Taurus will work like a, well, bull for anyone who provides the proper motivation. Virgos are excellent in management and know how to speak to sensitive people. Beware of being overworked by the Virgo however. And the Virgo should make his or her loyalty to the Taurus very plain to see.

Worst match

Leo - You can't have two kings ruling over one kingdom. Virgo will try too hard to control the Leo. Leo will boss and bully the Virgo. Leo will make the Virgo feel insignificant and worthless without even trying.

The Natural Hair Trojan Horse

The natural hair revolution has boosted the self confidence of millions of African-American women. There are less products on the shelves that portray European beauty and more products that portray a natural, ethnic beauty. Many black actors are finding they no longer need to wear a weave, wig or treat their hair with relaxers to book auditions. In fact, some like Viola Davis have been applauded for returning to their roots. But there are some myths that are persisting due to the booming natural hair revolution.

Myth
Natural hair is easier to style than relaxed hair.

Fact
It actually takes about the same amount of time to maintain natural 4c hair as it does if it were relaxed. After washing both natural and relaxed hair, the decision to blow dry is optional. Both require that moisturizers be applied almost immediately. But natural hair should be braided or twisted to prevent tangling and hair loss. Relaxed hair need only be wrapped. The time saved after a shampoo for relaxed hair is made up upon styling, as some form of heat is needed to style it. After natural hair has been braided or twisted one could wear that as their style or undo it in a matter of moments, and they are ready to go.

Myth
Natural hair products are cheaper.

Fact
Natural hair products are more expensive than products for chemically treated hair. This is especially true now that the natural hair revolution has become widespread. Natural products typically involve pure coconut and other oils which can be very expensive. Sulfate-free and other shampoos from companies like Shea Moisture, Carol's Daughter, Kinky Curly, and Mixed Chicks are twice the price as a bottle of Pantene or Suave for as little as a quarter of the amount. One can reduce this cost by using vinegar or other homemade hair care products.

Myth
If I go natural, my hair will be beautifully curled.

Fact
Unfortunately, this is what has caused the natural hair revolution to go into overdrive. People who are caught up in the good hair/bad hair stigma are jumping at the chance to appear to be mixed race or racially ambiguous. Having natural, curly hair would achieve this. But if you have 4c hair, your hair will not coil over the same as a person with 4a hair. No amount of anti-frizz or anti-shrinkage products will achieve this effect. Braiding is required for waves and twisting is required for curls. In some cases, perm rods are necessary.

Myth
People with natural hair don't wear fake hair.

Fact
This is one of the biggest myths to come about for natural hair. Most people you see with natural hair have worn, or are wearing some form of hair extensions. This is because of the awkward grow out phase. People see others with the shoulder length, trademark fro and take the plunge. But it takes time to achieve that level of hair growth. So out comes the Brazilian weave hair and half wigs.

Myth
Natural hair has finally made all black women equal.

Fact
Actually, there is just as big of a divide amongst black women now as there was in the 80's when the natural hair revolution was here last. Black men still go for the "light is right" black woman with the silkier curly hair over the darker skinned black woman with 4c hair. White Americans emulate mixed race women with silky, curly hair as well. The dark skinned black woman is however finding more acceptance in the workplace but she is also finding that she is often told her hair is messy while her light skinned or mixed race, fellow natural haired co-worker is being marveled at.

Myth
The natural hair revolution is putting Asian hair companies out of business.

Fact
We all know that the push to support black owned business has seen a backlash against Asian beauty supply store owners. After all, Koreans are the biggest suppliers of the world's hair extensions. Black Americans are willing to get loans to afford the skyrocketing costs of purchasing someone else's hair. So, some have come to reason that by going natural those stores are going out of business. This is false. Korean store owners aren't dumb. They didn't get rich selling weave hair. They got rich providing the black community whatever it is they demand. In the early 2000's BeyoncĂ© dyed the bottom half of her hair pink. Weave stores everywhere stocked extensions of the same style in mass quantities because everyone wanted it. When Mary J. Blige hit the scene with her trademark strawberry blond hair, the shelves were stocked with boxes of coordinating hair color. Go into a beauty supply store now and you will find afro kinky and Brazilian hair stocked to the ceiling. Not everyone is willing to cut off all of their relaxed hair to accomplish the natural look the natural way. Also, some women have caused so much damage to their natural hair that they can never go without extensions again. Which means, Asian beauty supply businesses will never lose money.

It is important to understand that going natural is not meant to be worn as a badge of honor. Women are judging each other based on who has the better curl definition or who's hair is nappier or silkier. Women are putting down women who chose to chemically treat their hair because the stereotype is that she is still trying to be white. People go natural for different reasons including, healthier lifestyle, finances, and social acceptance. Don't assume that every black woman with a natural prefers to be called "sistah" or is afrocentric. If you decide to go natural, be prepared to love and accept yourself for who you really are and not who others perceive.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Familiarity of the Amazon.com Workplace Scandal

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Amazon.com is one of the worst places to work. Upon reading about the conditions that made the employer so horrible in the first place, many Americans found they weren't learning anything new about the retail giant. Many working American could recount their own horror stories from their current and former employers. The CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos seemed shocked and appalled at the negative reviews that current and former employees gave his company. The New York Times quoted his response which included “I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either.” But how could he not? There were so many detailed, horrendous complaints. Those however don't even account for the many complaints employees choose not to disclose for fear of retaliation. Although it is true that because some people are unhappy with a company, does not mean that the company is necessarily one of the worst. The concern is what made those few complaints about which we read, sound so horrible in the first place. One woman complained about her job dedication being in question simply because she had a baby. This is both misogynistic and discriminatory. I'm sure any Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) will tell you, where one person has experienced discrimination or harassment, there most certainly will be another.

Before we paint Amazon.com as the devil of all employers, consider the number of large corporate organizations there are. Bank of America regularly receives awards for being one of the best places to work for women with children. Yet, many of the women terminated from employment were reportedly terminated for issues directly related to motherhood. Women found themselves terminated for tardiness, even if they were a mere 1 minute late, and absences in excess of 7 days. Bear in mind that a child who has contracted the chicken pox or the flu may be out of school for up to two weeks. Multiply that by more than one child, and you've lost your job before the first child has recovered. Yet, this is an organization that has been awarded for being the best employer for people with families.

Owens Valley Career Development Center, a tribal TANF organization prides itself on helping the Native American community become self-sufficient. They often offer "safe spaces" for employees to vent about issues that need to change to help the organization better achieve it's mission statement. "Safe spaces" are intended for employees to speak freely without fear of retaliation. However, the moment a member of tribal council is offended by an employee's honesty, they are terminated for "at-will" reasons. Over the past year there have been over 200 isolated complaints of sexual harassment, bullying, nepotism, public drunkenness, theft, and welfare fraud that resulted in whistleblowers being reprimanded or terminated. What many non-employees do not know, is that as a tribal entity, OVCDC is not bound by the labor laws that bind all other non-tribal companies. Many employees have complained that they never received their full final paychecks, have been wrongfully terminated, and have been barred from re-hire. There is no recourse for these people as tribes are sovereign nations and govern themselves. So even though you were interviewed, hired, employed, and even fired on non-tribal land, you as an American citizen are not protected by the United States labor laws. This is one of many reasons the State of California suffers such a high unemployment rate. Yet this organization is revered as one of the most successful tribal TANF organizations in the country.

This takes me back to my initial question. How could the CEO of an organization be so unaware of the atrocities taking place in their own company?

Bottlenecking

We all know there is a chain of command when filing a complaint against an employee or making suggestions regarding workplace or policy improvements. But what if the person to whom you are to direct these concerns doesn't send that information up the chain of command for their own selfish reasons? Several employees at OVCDC reported that they were reprimanded and saw stellar employees terminated for speaking out about policies and procedures in what was supposed to be a "safe space" free from retaliation. Members of tribal council reportedly did not like hearing about grievances for the first time in public. Rather than resolving the bottlenecking that prevented this information from getting to them in the first place, they allegedly chose to reprimand the whistle blower for saying anything at all. In the end, employees say that the issues where never resolved, the employees who caused the bottlenecking and caused other employees to be disgruntled in the first place remained employed, and the whistle blower are now collecting unemployment. All of this happens on a level that all but excludes the involvement of the CEO.

Bank of America employees reported that after filing complaints about harassment or bullying from their supervisors they found themselves being written up for offenses such as being late by 1 minute, being 1 account below their sales goal even though they were the top seller, and the style of their nails. By being written up, an employee may not transfer to another banking center or be promoted, no matter how petty the write up is, or willing the next supervisor is to overlook the write ups. All a supervisor need do after frivolously writing up an employee is request permission to terminate which is always granted when a write up is involved. None of this information will reach the CEO.

Bottlenecking is a result of policies designed to streamline minor issues without them having to take up the time of corporate level employees. The CEO is paid the largest salary but they don't necessarily do the most work. Lower level supervisors are to resolve ground level issues. Human Resources is designed to resolve employee issues that may result in litigation. More often times then not, the resolution is termination under the at-will law. No employee issue should ever reach the CEO with Bottleneck Polices in place. The television show Undercover Boss was a success because CEOs could talk to their ground level employees first hand and improve their company's image. This show circumvented the Bottleneck Policy that is so popular in the corporate world.

What Can I Do?

Every month I am asked about how to file a complaint without losing a job. The answer is, don't. When it comes to employment remember that you are free to quit at any time, though you may not be able to afford to do so. This is the attitude that you must always assume your employer will have. They don't always want to hear the truth. Sometimes they know the truth and have no intentions of making changes. They don't always care that you are being harassed, they do care if you are a litigious liability. No matter what they tell you, they want you to do the job for which you are being paid. You are not being paid to improve the company for which you work. If you want to see a change, work somewhere else, or start your own company that holds higher standards. If you make it your mission to stick to your job description, you will find longevity in your career. Very rarely is innovation adequately rewarded.

Even though you may not complain, document everything down to dates and times. You never know when you may need it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Super Lice: How To Fight It

According to the Southern University Illinois, a species of what has been dubbed "super lice" has appeared in at least 25 states. This species of lice is resistant to over-the-counter treatment products. It has been recommended that should your child acquire lice, you should seek a prescription from your healthcare provider. The news of this new "super lice" is very disturbing. It's back to school time and the last thing you want to hear is that there is an outbreak of resistant lice. First let's dispel some of the myths about lice in general.

Myth

Having lice means you're dirty.

This isn't true at all. The cleanest, healthiest homes have become infested with lice. All that is needed is a living, human scalp to transport lice. Depending on how long the person has had lice, the nits will jump from one head to another. Think for a moment, you sit on sofas, movie theater seats, naptime at daycare, gave baby a piggyback ride. It is very easy for lice to jump from one person to another.

Myth

You have to delouse your dogs.

This is also false. Dogs and cats do not carry or transmit lice.

Myth

You have to use Rid to get rid of lice.

Not true. In fact, this is part of the reason that the "super lice" exist. Like all pests, if you use the same chemical treatment repeatedly it will become ineffective. This is either because they learn what to avoid or because they evolve and become immune to the treatment. Rid is expensive but is the most popular and recommended over-the-counter treatment for lice. But it isn't the only treatment.


Alternative treatments for lice

Tea Tree Oil

Another myth about lice is that African Americans can't catch them. This myth is rooted in some fact but is ultimately false. At the time this myth emerged, the general populous of African Americans used African hair oils and a product commonly known as hair grease. The main ingredient in these products, Tea Tree oil. The other popular ingredients are coconut and lavender oils. Tea Tree oil is a great disinfectant and it repels lice. This is why African American children rarely catch lice. Apply it directly to the scalp or add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and use daily to repel lice.

Lavender oil

It was reported less than five years ago that an entire school was so infested with lice, that it had to be shut down temporarily. They could not get a handle on the outbreak. But they learned that the "hippie" parents previously ridiculed by the PTA were the only ones not afflicted. It turned out, the parents that everyone laughed at had been treating their children's scalps with lavender oil regularly. The lice did not like the lavender oil and were moving on to the other children. The other children had used OTC treatments for lice so frequently, the lice became "super lice" and resisted the treatments.

Vinegar

Like tea tree oil, vinegar is a disinfectant. It kills and repels lice.

Other essential oils:
Cinnamon
Peppermint
Olive
Almond
Coconut
Neem

Removing Lice

The key to treating your child for lice is removing them from the scalp. The scalp is their food source. You will need a lice comb to comb out the eggs and the nits. Focus around the back of the head and near the ears, though they could be anywhere. Use a shower cap to suffocate full grown lice. This makes it easier to catch them and remove them. Add a few drops of oil to the lice comb rather than applying it to the hair. Combing out the nits is a slow and careful process. The oil soaks into the hair too quickly. Apply it to the comb instead as needed. Use any shampoo when done, but add some tea tree or lavender oil to it. The same as with OTC treatments, monitor daily and repeat the process.

Wash clothing or bedding in hot water or add bleach to kill any lice. For items that can't be washed, place in a bag and seal for 2 weeks. It will suffocate the lice, and they will have no access to food. Lysol Disinfectant Spray can be used on the mattress.

There are several websites with recipes for the home remedies for lice. Here is one of them.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back To School Shopping On A Budget

It's that time of year again when children go back to school and stay-at-home parents can finally gets some free time. But before your children can go back to school, you need to replenish their wardrobe and purchase the list of supplies your child's school has undoubtedly sent to you by now. But what if your budget isn't flexible enough to afford what Americans spend an average of $300 per child on? Here are some money-saving tips.


 Currently there is a sale at Famous Footwear. Buy one, get one 50% off. Famous Footwear has always been my go to place for name brand athletic shoes. I found out that Foot Locker back to school sales are on leftover styles from the summer. At Famous Footwear the style are fall fashion so you won't be stuck with all white sneakers when the weather calls for all black. This saves you money by not needing to buy shoes again the coming winter. The sales reps are more helpful in finding the right fit. There's nothing worse than spending money on new shoes and having to replace them a month later. Joining their rewards program will save you an extra 15% on your bogo sale. I was able to buy $200 worth of youth sized Adidas and Converse for less than $100. When buying school shoes, don't try to get the coolest looking shoes. Go for the most versatile. All black shoes are a must. For my daughter I bought her a pair of boys Adidas in all black and a pair of girls Nike high tops in pink and gray. For the most part, her shoes will match every outfit. This saves so much more money.

Don't bother spending money on shoes at Target. They fall apart within days of purchase. The soles of the shoes are often glued on with a weak adhesive. Payless shoes are made to last longer. Not flopping shoe soles there. But the quality of the outer shoe is weak. The "leather" shoes peel, ripple, and images rub off with minimal effort. The shoe will last but will look run over in a month. There is one shoe that holds up well, Champion sneakers. I recommend purchasing them for a child that will be participating in sports.

Backpacks are another big expense. A basic Jansport backpack (the undisputed king of all school backpacks) can cost anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on the style and the store sale. I truly recommend sticking to this brand and no other. I still have mine from college and high school. They are virtually indestructible. They also come with a lifetime warranty. Every parent needs that. But don't spend extra money on the Hello Kitty and leopard print styles. One of the joys of owning a Jansport is decorating it your own way. Better to give your child the plainest version of the backpack with a pack of sharpies and a couple of rolls of decorative duct tape.

But if you miss the store sale and need one now, refer to Facebook. There are groups that are just for posting things you want to sell. People are selling the stylized versions of the backpacks for around $20. It really is a good buy new or used. Whatever you do, don't buy character backpacks. Children go through phases. Remember when Disney's Cars was all the rage? How about the remake of Cinderella? Does your child still want that gear you dropped all of that money on? Also, character backpacks are not meant to last. I bought my son, a die hard Batman fan, a Batman backpack shaped like the chest plate of the Batman costume. Halfway through the school year, the bottom had fallen out and the zipper had disappear. Not to mention it was difficult to spot my child in the sea of Batman backpacks. I handed down my old Jansport backpack and it shows no signs of wear. It does however have the Bat symbol etched onto it.

Check your community organizations for backpack giveaways. Churches, tribal organizations, boys and girls clubs all have some type of giveaway this time of year. Some school districts also have giveaways.



Despite all the hullabaloo about the non-gender specific signage in Target, it remains the best place to buy back to school clothing. Remember that with a Target gift card, debit, or credit card, you receive 5% off of your purchase. You also get a coupon in the mail for a $5 gift card if you spend $50. Target school supplies remain on sale through September, in case you need more time to figure out what you really need. How irritating is it to buy everything on the list the teacher sent home before summer only to be told the classroom provides everything? It happened to me last year.

Target is notorious for their $10 denim sales. This is the biggest reason to go. Target jeans last longer than the jeans from The Children's Place. They also have the lowest prices on the basic clothing pieces, solid tops, leggings, etc. Old Navy also has a fantastic denim sale. They last just as long as the Target brands in fact. But I chose not to purchase them simply because Target came with a 5% discount and a $5 gift card. That left enough money for some pencils and notebooks.

Don't waste money on character specific folders, notebooks, pencils etc. Your children will outgrow them, trade them, lose them and your money goes out of the window. Buy them a pack of stickers and let them go to town. Wait until school starts to buy binders and notebooks. Many classrooms provide these things.

Some other money saving tips:

  • Go to Costco with your friends and family. Divide up your shopping lists and share the bulk products. I bought bulk binders one year, my friend bought pens, another bought notebooks. For the price of the binders, I got binders, pens and paper. I saved money.
  • A way to make money is to put your warehouse store membership to work for you. Buy in bulk and sell to others at a price lower than other stores, yet higher than the unit price you paid.
  • Raid the office. You know those office supplies no one likes or uses but your boss can't send back? Ask if you can "donate" them to neighborhood kids who need school supplies.
  • Hand me downs are fantastic. Go for the denim, the sweaters and the coats.
  • Have a closet party for your kids. Bring last years school clothing and supplies and let the kids take turns taking what they need for this school year. Or, the parents can do this while the kids have a play date.



Thursday, July 30, 2015

When The Other Woman Contacts You

One of the most devastating things a wife can hear is that her husband has had or is having an affair. She has to consider breaking her vows in return by leaving or choose to stay. She wonders has he fathered children, is he leaving, does he have an STD? Her entire world can be shattered by such a revelation. Just as a woman is learning to cope with the betrayal of an affair, she may be contacted by the other woman. If you find yourself in this painful situation, here are some things to remember:

1. Let her do the talking - Understand that when the other woman decides to confront you with the affair, she is there to tell all that she believes you don't know. Let her do it. If your decision is to leave your husband, this information may be useful in a divorce. If you plan to stay you may want to know the details of the affair so that you know what to look for if you suspect it again. Listen to what she says happened just in case you learn something new about your husband he has been hiding from you. demand details. Ask for dates, times, locations, the story of how they met. Don't just question her about your husband. Question her about yourself. What does she know about you? Does she know what your children look like? Does she know what school they attend? You need to know these things in case the person confronting you is mentally unstable.

2. Abandon all trust - Remember, this woman is not your friend. She isn't confessing in order to help you. Ignorance is bliss. She is telling you because she is selfish and wants to clear her conscience. She also may want to seek revenge against your husband for ending the affair or not being truthful about his marital status to begin with. Her mission, whether or not she realizes it, is to destroy what you believe to be a happy marriage. Assume all that she says is a lie and is said with ill intent and malice. She has already proven herself to be untrustworthy by engaging in an affair with your husband. She will research your spouse and use the information she obtained to make the affair seem more involved than it actually was. She will also try to minimize her fault in the situation. Don't fall for this tactic.

3. Surrender no information - She will want to know if you knew about her. She will want to know if you and your husband are planning children or are making any other plans. She may ask if you two were separated or divorced. If this happens, she is doing two one of two things. One, she is sizing you up as competition. She wants to know if you have what it takes to take your husband back. Two, she is trying to find a way to end your marriage for sheer vengeance or to get rid of you so she can be with your husband. Don't answer questions about your marriage. Make her answer all of your questions. If she attempts to back out of answering questions, remind her that she came to you with news that she has taken part in the destruction of your marriage. Take the tone of "you owe me." If she didn't want to answer questions, she shouldn't have come to you.

4. Investigate her motive.- Just because someone tells you she's slept with your husband, doesn't make it a fact. Some women see married men as a good catch. If he's a good husband to you, he'll make a great one for her. After being turned down by your husband, she may want to come to you to find another way to get to him. Some women will go out of their way to convince you that your husband has been with them to break you apart. That leaves him available for her. Maybe she too is married and has been discovered having affairs with other men, or attempting to coax your husband into one. Either way, she is in danger of losing her husband while your husband stays happily married. She will want to even things out by destroying yours, even if it is all a lie. Remember, you cannot trust her.

5. Require proof - No woman has zero proof that she's been with a man. Somewhere she has text messages, FB messages, pics, something that can prove she's been with him. If she refuses to provide proof, you've uncovered her motive. Ask her questions only someone who's been with him would know. What size is his penis? Does he manscape? Does he have tattoos? Ask trick questions. If your spouse has no tattoos, ask what tattoo does he have on his back or stomach, some place she should have seen it. If her answer is anything other than, "he doesn't have a tattoo", she's lying. Match dates with his work schedule or bank card activity. If you catch her in a lie, do not confirm it. Remember, reveal nothing. If you let on that you've caught her in a lie, she will simply learn to tell a better lie to cause more confusion.

6. Remove her from your marriage - Regardless of her motives, her goal is to destroy your marriage. It matters not that she knew, or didn't know your husband is married. What matters is, she knows now. She has the option of completely ending the affair and never going near your husband again so that you can move on with your marriage. But instead, she chooses to tell you about it in hopes that you will leave him. So don't give her any information about your marriage. She doesn't deserve to know if you're separated, pregnant, your sex life is good or bad, or how many years you've been together. She may even ask you what you're going to do now that you know about the affair. That too is none of her business. Think about Jay-Z and Beyoncé. We all know that there was something going wrong in their marriage. But because neither person ever publically confirms or denies anything about their marriage, even when there's an elevator video, no one knows what is going on in the marriage of one of Hollywood's most public couples. Should you choose to forgive your spouse for a verified affair, the last thing you want is for everyone to know it happened in the first place. People will look down at you and assume you are a doormat. Some women will assume that because your spouse has already cheated on you, he will willing do it again with them. The world is filled with unscrupulous people. Keep your marriage private, even when it may be falling apart.

Your decision to forgive an affair or not is a personal and private one. It is not to be shared with anyone, certainly not the other woman. Remember that the other woman is the enemy no matter what lie she believes your husband told her. She is a threat to your marriage and cannot be trusted. Do not end an entire marriage on the word of an immoral person, but also, don't be blind to evidence that is being revealed right before you. Infidelity is a matter to be resolved between a husband and wife, not a wife and mistress.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Entrepreneurial Nightmare: When Family & Friends Don't Support You

 
 
The decision to become an entrepreneur will ultimately be very rewarding. As a California resident I have found that "at will" employment, though designed to prevent indentured servitude is being abused to wrongfully terminate the employment of thousands of people. Many companies mislead employees into believing that if they report matters such as sexual harassment, or offer solutions for opportunities for improvement, they will be valued and even rewarded. This deception has left many employees disgruntled or unemployed.

Self-employment places you in charge of your career. You directly effect change in your community as well as set, and maintain your own workplace standards. As an employee one may be required to complete trivial, meaningless tasks, the reasons for which they may never learn. As a business owner, every task you assign or complete is an integral part of helping your business succeed. But what is an entrepreneur really? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so." The fact that half of the definition is taking financial risks is crucial. It is this part of the definition that isolates entrepreneurs from their friends and families.

The Decision

Once you have made the decision to become self-employed, you immediately begin planning. You carefully choose your industry, your approach, and your degree of involvement in the day-to-day operations. Typically, a person is already unemployed or is a homemaker when this decision is made. An open schedule becomes an opportunity to capitalize on your free time. Your family may see things differently.

People don't seem to care how you came to be unemployed. They care about how hard you try to obtain another job. From day one you are expected to begin and maintain an intensive job search. Even if that takes months and you fail, you are expected to accept substandard, underemployment. You may try to explain how your entire paycheck would go to daycare making the job useless, but you are still expected to accept deplorable working conditions rather than remain unemployed. As an entrepreneur, you know this line of thinking is ridiculous and unproductive. You've figured out that the same time investment can be used to lay the foundation for a long term, successful career.

Your family members prefer the security and stability of gainful employment over self-employment. Self-employment is risky. But no matter how many hours you work for another company, at least some pay is guaranteed. Some income is better than none. So when you tell your family that you have made the decision to start your own business, what they really hear is that you've chosen a life of instability. Your family members don't want to support a decision they believe does not contribute to your stability and well-being.

When explaining your decision to your friends and family, do so as you would in a business meeting. Explain the need for such a business. Validate your findings with citations from extensive research. Don't just print information from Google, Bing or Wikipedia. Provide projected profit and loss reports. Provide realistic timelines for your business goals. If you want your family and friends to see you as a business owner, behave as one. Always remember that you need, if not want their support. You should never stop working to earn their support. You don't get to involve your friends and family in your fundraising while ignoring or not allowing their constructive criticism. They are invested in you both emotionally and physically. Don't reduce them to mere financial devotion.

The Fundraising

No matter the industry you've chosen, your business will need funds. If you have a non-profit, the fee to turn it into a 501(c)(3) is expensive. If you are a for profit company, you need investment capital to produce goods or services. Strangers will not contribute to your entrepreneurial venture. There has been a lot of buzz about crowd fund sites. Sites like Indiegogo call upon strangers to be benevolent and make donations to your business. But the reality is, more often times than not, people are funded by donations from their family and friends. Your family members are already of the belief that you should be working for someone else. They are worried that your business venture will fail. As a result, they are reluctant to provide financial donations or support. Where will that leave you? What happens to their hard earned money? Should your business fail, not only will they bear the weight your own disappointments, but also they will be less likely to invest money in your next attempt at self-employment. There is a great amount of trust involved in supporting an entrepreneur and even more trust once money is exchanged between friends and family.

Crowd funding sites are the most popular form of fundraising. They are also the source of bitterness and frustration. The best way to advertise your fundraising campaign with a crowd funding site is to share a link to it on social media and email it to all of your contacts. But most of your social media connections and email contacts are friends and family. Basically, crowd funding is a high pressured way to ask your friends and family for money. Not only are they apprehensive about giving your business money, but now they feel their relationship with you will be defined by whether or not they contribute to your fundraising campaign. Each time they see the link reposted on their wall or in their newsfeed, or emailed to their inbox, they wonder what will happen should they choose not to donate. They begin to dread your phone calls or texts for fear of the possibility that you're going to bring up the fact that they haven't contributed yet. Remember, that your friends care and your family loves you. But this does not obligate them to support your business financially. It's uncomfortable. And sometimes, they don't want to tell you "no". It is possible to support someone without having to do so financially.

The better solution is to seek volunteer assistance from friends and family rather than ask them for money. Ask them to circulate flyers to assist with your publicity, to answer phones one day a week, to help package goods, etc. Utilize their current business to your advantage and consider it the equivalent to financial support. Ask your friend who works at an office supply store for free business cards or discounts. Ask your cousin who works at the post office to help you with postage or delivery. Your caterer friend may be willing to cater a lunch meeting where you will meet with potential investors. Involve yourself in your local Chamber of Commerce. Every knows someone who can provide you with what you need without actually giving you cash.

Establishing a Customer / Client Base

The most difficult part of starting a retail business is establishing a customer base. Most products or services are improvements upon existing products or services. This means your product or service isn't very unique and is automatically faced with competition before you open for business. You have to convince faithful customers and clients, that what you have to offer is better in quality and value. You also have to compete with the burgeoning DIY Revolution. Search engines return countless results for recipes for homemade cleaning supplies, restaurant recipes, techniques for crafts and repurposing. No matter how great your product or service, there will always be someone attempting to replicate what you've created for a lower cost.

This is why having those closest to you as your initial customers can be beneficial. Consider the way a pyramid scheme works. You recruit two other people, who each recruit two others, etc. If you convince your family and friends to switch to your product or service, then their family and friends will likely follow. If you make your own jewelry for example, your family will buy and wear that jewelry to work, to a restaurant, to the movies, everywhere. There will be at least one potential customer who sees your jewelry and will want to purchase from you. This is how home retail begins.

Unfortunately, not all family and friends want to buy your product or service. They like what they have and don't see a need to fix what isn't broken. More importantly, if they don't like what you have, there will be uncomfortable tension if they were unhappy with their purchase. We've all heard the saying, "Don't do business with family." Imagine the holidays when that chair you built breaks or that dress you sewed didn't fit. You may be fully aware of the high quality of your work, that doesn't mean that everyone else is.

The solution if you have family that isn't ready to put their faith in you is to find out why. Hold a short presentation. Show them how the product works and for how much less than the original. Perhaps it isn't as cheap as the original. In that case, show them how it's value is higher. Let them give you feedback so that you can be prepared for questions and concerns from other potential clients. Attend expos, conventions, and boutique sales to showcase your product or services. Exposure is your best friend.


Remember, your family and friends love you. They want what's best for you. The idea of venturing out on your own might be terrifying for them. Listen to their concerns to better prepare you for potential difficulties in establishing your career. Entertain constructive criticism. Lastly, don't make your family and friends your personal lender or demand that they be the first in line for your product or service.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cantu Natural Curling Cream Review

I began using this product as it was recommended by friend of mine. She has fine hair with tight, deep waves. I have thick, coarse, curly hair that is always dry and frizzy. The only product that seems to work on my hair is pure coconut oil. The problem is, when my hair is dry and brittle, it makes my hair greasy until it soaks in. Depending on when I apply it, a lot of it rubs off before it can fully be soaked into my hair and scalp. Most troublesome is the price and the accessibility to it in the first place.

My friend was over for the weekend and began using it on her hair. It smelled divine and I wanted to know what it was. It was Cantu Natural Hair Curling Cream. Usually I don't take her advice on products because they leave my hair extremely greasy and perfumed but not moisturized. But I noticed that this product seemed to activate her waves. So I bought some for $5.99 at Target, to use on my daughter's hair. She has silky curly hair like singer Jordan Sparks on a recent Excedrin commercial. I applied it in small amount to her dry hair first. Her hair smelled great for days. It immediately moisturized her brittle ends and dry scalp. Her hair was shiny, soft but not greasy to the touch. But, it did absolutely nothing for her curls. I found I had to wet her hair to activate the curls first, them use the cream. But the cream prevented shrinkage while defining her curls at the same time. She even noticed the difference. She carried herself a little differently after I used it the second time.

I ran out of coconut oil one day and had to await my Ebay shipment. I was desperate and needed some of my daughter's hair cream. Again, my hair smelled great for days. It was greasy for the first day and a half. But by the third day it was no longer greasy. Also, my hair was no longer brittle or crunchy. It was so soft and easy to twist and braid. I have very frizzy hair. I found that the cream immediately curled my hair in the way that coarse curly hair often responds to water. Which for me meant immediate shrinkage. But I was wearing my hair in a peasant braid and later twists. So the style stretched out my hair. After taking down the twists to wash my hair, I found the pattern was better set in my hair. I didn't have to leave the twists in as long to set the waves. But I also found that the twist out didn't last as long. My hair began to shrink, so much so that the wave and curl pattern became pure frizz. My hair was healthier and beautifully repaired, but the shrinkage was a problem.

I will continue to use this product for my daughter. I will probably use it if I haven't been adequately moisturizing my own hair. I may even use it after shampooing to immediately moisturize it. But I won't use it beyond that for styling. I will stick with my coconut oil as it doesn't cause curl shrinkage.

Facebook Rules Everyone Should Follow



When it comes to Facebook, it can be difficult to maintain your grip on reality. It's so easy to click "like", "share", or "post" that we tend to dig holes for ourselves, out of which we cannot climb. Just one click and you could lose your job, spouse or endanger your own child. Daily, I see posts from people who are having internet battles with other people. Some are angry over real life situations and choose to vent about it online. Some are angry that their Facebook content has been displayed elsewhere by a once trusted family member. And some are disgruntled with the pettiest of issues known to man.

All of this is known to every Facebook user and has been for years. No matter how hard we try, we end up coming back to the social media site because, well, everyone else is still addicted to it. No one wants to write letters anymore. I tried it over the past year. It didn't last longer than a few months. But let's face it, Facebook is fun. There's all those funny memes, and silly quizzes and videos you really wouldn't want your boss to know you've watched. It can be a great marketplace for both buyers and sellers. So how can you keep from being caught up in the dark side of Facebook?

Don't approve friend requests for anyone you wouldn't want to have your home address. Think carefully on that sentence for awhile. You post about your favorite restaurant, your child's school pictures, your garden, your job, your car. With minimal effort, an investigative person could track down your location in just a matter of days if not hours. A simple search on a background check website will even narrow down your list of known addresses. I once caught a criminal who defrauded me out of hundreds of dollars with the use of both Facebook posts and a background check website.

Don't post pictures of anything you wouldn't want to appear anywhere else online. I have grown partial to secret groups on Facebook. That's where all of the dirty talk takes place without being placed in Facebook jail. But the reality is, if one person starts to "get into their feelings" about something you may or may not have posted to send a subliminal message, or about their crush liking one too many of your pictures, everything you've ever posted is but a screenshot away. Not all violations of privacy occur the same way. Sometimes, there is that friend or family member that is so proud of something you've posted that they share or screenshot your photo and post it on their page. You trust that friend or family member, not everyone they've chosen to trust. Just like that, your daughter's innocent first toddler bikini photo has made it to the mainstream internet.

Get a journal. No really, go old school with it. When I first left Facebook, I was left with the overwhelming desire to share everything funny or cute I had seen that day. It was the constant interaction that I craved. Unfortunately, posting was preventing me from leaving so I began writing in my journal every time I felt like posting. I had a journal full of Facebook posts in one month. This kept me from oversharing as well as gave me a visual perspective on just how much I put out there for people to use later to exploit me. Just write it down. If you aren't into journals, restrict your posts. Only post at the same time everyday and allow yourself one post per day. You may like as many posts and photos as you choose but don't share or post anything. When your posting time slot arrives, decide, of all the posts you wanted to share, which is still worth sharing or discussing. You'll find that those awesome memes weren't really as awesome as you thought, nor were they worth reposting.

So what if you've already done the things I said not to do above?

Delete friends. If you delete people that never should have been in your profile, you stop them from doing any further damage. You can't undo any access that they already had but it will end with the last moment they had access. Never tell anyone you are deleting them. Those purge posts you see every so often are a no-no. If someone wants to steal your pictures and do malicious things with them, they will definitely do so after a threat of deletion because they know the time to do it will pass. Long after you've deleted that person you will continue to find recent photos online because they harvested them after seeing your purge warning post.

Restrict access. Maybe you know exactly who can be trusted with access to your photos. If so, create a list of those people under "Restricted". Change your post and photo album accessibility to restricted, so that even if someone is in your friends list they cannot see your most treasured photos or personal posts unless they are in your restricted list.

Delete activity. This is my favorite Facebook function. There are times when I overshare. There are times when I become overzealous about a cause or a revolution. I look back on those moments and feel embarrassed. There are times when I check my notifications and see the "Today in the Past" feature. It makes me cringe that I was dumb enough to post some of that stuff. Now I use that notification to delete any record of that post's existence. If there are recent posts I need to undo, I go to the activity link and delete my activity. Just like that, unless someone already shared it, my mistakes are erased. I also use this link to keep my general activity to a minimum. If I have been flooding timelines, then I can undo this mistake by deleting my posts in the activity log section. I do this every week if I have time. Facebook makes you delete each activity one at a time. So you will learn to post a lot less if you begin regulating your activity log.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Downy Unstoppables Review

This review is for Downy Unstopables in Lush (the purple one).

Let me begin by saying that I was against the idea of this product. I wash my laundry far too frequently for them to need a freshener that lasts for weeks. But then, summer came and I left a load of laundry in the wash. By morning it was mildewed. Even with rewashing, the smell was still there. Enter Downy Unstopables.

I have severe nasal allergies that, despite my organic remedies, require two, count them, two nasal allergy sprays to control. As a result, I use EOS organic laundry detergent. It's dye and fragrance free. I also don't use bleach. So there was apprehension about using a product that will have me sneezing all day long.

When I approached the product on the shelf at Target, there were red tags everywhere. A 19.5 ounce canister was listed at $8.79, regular price. But if I purchased three I would get one free. So I had to spend $27 to save $9. No deal. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have done just that. Not only would I have been able to sample all of the scents shown above, but I wouldn't have run out so fast.

Not only was the price too high but I there wasn't a way to sample the fragrance before you buy it. There was no "scratch n' sniff" so I had to guess by the name and the color which scent was gentle enough for my laundry, and which scent wouldn't have the men in my home smelling like women.

When I used the product for the first time, I fumbled with it. There was a lid inside the lid. It is clearly intended for freshness but in my home, lids come here to disappear or be eaten by dogs. The instructions were simple, sprinkle as much or as little of the product you prefer into your wash. There are lines inside the clear, colored lid. I had a small load so I filled it to the lowest line. I smelled nothing when it came out of the washer or the dryer. Perhaps my mistake was pouring in the product before putting in the clothes. I had another small load to do, so this time I poured it on top of the load. That was three weeks ago and the fragrance has not faded. My son had a night time accident but didn't tell me until the next day. So I really needed this product that day. This was a large load. I measured to the larger line and didn't fill my standard washer above the indicated mark. I could smell the Lush beads but the laundry still smelled like hard water and faint traces of urine. I washed it again without adding more of the product. I could still smell the Lush, but not as well.

I had another mildew incident. This time there was a load in the washer and a load in the dryer. I washed the first load by measuring the Lush up to the top line. I could still smell the mildew. I didn't bother to measure the product on the second load. I poured a full capful. FINALLY, I got a nice outcome. It was such a nice smell. It didn't aggravate my allergies. But I could sometimes smell the laundry when I entered the room. On a really hot day, when I forgot to wear deodorant (it happens), I could still smell the freshness of the product in my clothes.

I would buy the product again if it weren't for the price. You really do need an entire capful for each load whether large or small. But then again, I could only afford one fragrance. The others may be stronger. Each capful is about 2 ounces. After about 9 washes, the canister is empty. I know that Walmart has an Equate product like this for only $6.59 but I will never shop there. I recommend this product if you use a Free and Clear laundry detergent. That way, you're only adding it to certain loads of laundry like your own, or the linens for example. If you are using this for every load, you're wasting your money. It would be cheaper to buy the fabric softener.

Perhaps the invention of the Downy Unstopables Dryer Bar is on the horizon.

Zodiac at a Glance: Leo

Leo

Born between July 23 and August 22

Cusp

Cancer/Leo cusps tend to be a bit more moody, self-centered, and nurturing. Leo/Virgo cusps tend to be more organized, blunt, and intolerant.

The Good

What you see is what you get with a Leo. You will never wonder if a Leo is interested in you or not. They are forward if not downright blatant. They are nurturing, free range parents who will destroy anyone who threatens their children. They are the most loyal of the zodiac. They would never cheat on you unless you cheat first. And even then, they would be ashamed of having done so. They are masters at code switching and are capable of making a positive impression with anyone with whom they come into contact. They are extremely multi-talented. They are generous, helpful, loving, honest and sensitive. It is impossible to be depressed in their company. Although dominant, they prefer a more submissive love making style. Even when they are on top, they want you to take charge. Submissive does not mean they aren't aggressive. They fear no one.

The Bad

Leos have no reason to lie because they aren't afraid of anyone. This means they are brutally honest when they really should be more diplomatic. They are the royalty of the zodiac and they expect you to just deal with your reality and will lack compassion if you are having difficulty with coping. You will always know how a Leo feels or what one thinks because they won't shut up. Sometimes they can be so blunt and in your face, all you want to do is back away from them. Their light is so bright, it burns. They are so loyal, that they are easily made jealous. You must compliment them and only them. Remember, they are your king or queen, everyone else is beneath you. So charming, or flirting or cheating with someone else is a brutal insult for which you will never be forgiven. They are the "Jack of all trades and the master of none". For all their talents, they master none of them. They desperately need you to help them focus as a royal council advises the king and queen. Both male and females make great parents, allowing their children to be who they are, but are also helicopter parents. They are hands on to a point where they may homeschool a child or offer to teach at the child's school because they believe the teacher to be substandard. Even if she isn't. They can be too sensitive. Everything is potentially an insult, every action, every failure to act. If you want a lover to please you and only you, you may be frustrated with a Leo. A Leo woman on top is focused on herself and expects you to focus on her as well. Your climax is secondary. The same goes for a Leo man.


Best Match

Leo - No one understands a King like a queen. Equally yoked all around.

Aries - But only if the woman is the Leo. An Aries man will not cheat, nor will he tolerate it. He will guide her and let her shine at the same time. They are a power couple. Neither is forgiving of adultery. Neither will settle for anything other than success.

Cancer - But only if the Man is the Leo. A Cancer woman will submit to the Leo man. He will shower her with gifts, love, and affection. He expects her to stay home and care for the children and she is happy to play that role. Cancer is both dominant and submissive in bed, knowing when to take over in all aspects of their lives.

Zodiac at a Glance: Cancer

Cancer

Born between June 21and July 22

Cusp

Being born on the cusp means you were born on June 21 or July 22nd. You may embody some of the preceding or succeeding signs. Gemini / Cancer cusp may make you more moody than other Cancers. Cancer / Leo cusp may make you more self-centered or heightening your need to nurture or parent.

The Good

Cancers are great at keeping secrets, yours as well as their own. They are loyal to you, especially in public, even when you are wrong because they are very image conscious. They are protective of themselves, partners and family. They are very sympathetic and make the perfect shoulder to cry on. They are wonderfully supportive parents who put their children first. They have a healthy sexual appetite that may include being both submissive and dominant. Female Cancers make great allies as they will protect and support you by manipulating and destroying your enemies. The enemy of their friend is their enemy. Female Cancers also make great mothers and housewives. All Cancers are creative and emotionally connected to those around them. You will never feel alone with a Cancer.

The Bad

Although loyal, an unhappy Cancer will cheat on you. They don't like to be alone and will therefore set up the next relationship before leaving the one they're in. They will remain in bad relationships because to them, it's better than being alone. They are so secretive they will lie even when they don't need to do so. They keep clear lines drawn between friends, family and lovers because they don't want anyone talking or comparing notes. They are controlling, manipulative and territorial. Because they want to keep secrets, and keep you to themselves, and don't want to be alone. They are the most conniving of the zodiac as there is no lie they won't tell.

Cancers are also extremely lazy. They must be constantly motivated and gently coaxed into getting the job done. They must be convinced it was their idea all along. This laziness is what makes female Cancers great parents and housewives as they would rather stay home with the children than go to work. However, this makes Cancer fathers irresponsible. They expect the woman to care for the children and often check out of the parenting task altogether. Cancers hold grudges which causes moodiness. They hold everything inside, causing surprise fights over previously resolved issues.

Best Match

Capricorn - Equally manipulative, strong sense of family, secretive and responsible, image conscious.

Pisces - Equally manipulative, image conscious, spiritually and emotionally in tune.