Review: Athena Menstrual Cup

— WARNING: I might talk about vaginas. Anyone who might be afraid of them should avert his or her eyes until my next post. —

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Tampons are awful. Let’s just admit that together. They’re uncomfortable, expensive, wasteful… oh, and sometimes they give people sepsis. Since I tend to get a little more than paranoid about such things, and I’ve been actively trying to get rid of pain related to my Dear Aunt Flo (I have an angry cervix), I decided a while back to extricate myself from the tampon game.

I was given an Athena Menstrual Cup to test recently. I’ve had menstrual cups before (Fun Fact: My first Internet-purchase ever was a Diva Cup), so I was no stranger to operating one. This post will not go into that. Instead, here’s an honest review about the buying and receiving process.

I was contacted by the company and they were fantastic to work with. They were prompt and I got the shipment immediately. Packaging was great, my cup was PURPLE (*swoon*), and it included all the instructions necessary to have a successful cup experience (read: prevent scaring the neighbors while your gardening due to sudden gushes of blood and attracting bears, like womenfolk on their periods tend to do).

My only issue was that *I* was a complete doof and forgot to check to see if I had ordered the right size. You see, women vary, especially once they’ve given birth. I ordered the one for mothers, rather than those who haven’t had that experience, yet. Oops. So now, I just have an awesome cup for the eventuality of spawn. Can’t beat that! I’ll be ordering another in my size, soon. It’s just too easy to use and I’m too cheap/love nature too much to buy stuff that I’m just going to contaminate and throw into an ocean. Instead, I’ll get back to plotting the production of very evil water balloons with my childhood friends, Rachel and Lindsey.

I hope I’ve helped you in the quest to liberate your vagina. ❤

~ Meg

I received this as a promotional review from Athena. While it is encouraged that you shower me with gifts and stuff, all opinions remain my own.

Strange Aloe Behavior and a Sunburn DIY

Confession: I’m the first person to kill an aloe plant. I lean toward nurturing my plants too hard and aloe just doesn’t dig that.  I get it, I was a teenager once. Before I know it, any recently acquired aloe plant has turned brown and has started liquifying before my eyes.

This year, once I saw that it had started to brown and wilt, I took off the salvageable leaves and put it off into the corner of the garden to die.  I neglected it so hard that I forgot it was there for a few… weeks.  Oops.  Evidently, that was the best thing for it, since now it’s doing this crazy thing where new shoots are coming out from random places.  Good sign?  I have no idea, but the shoots are a lovely shade of green that I’m feeling pretty good about.
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Obviously, I deal better in things that can be coddled into cooperation, like tomatoes or orchids. Aloe is an enigma to me.

What did I do with all of my aloe leaves? I stuck them in the freezer and forgot about them until I horribly sunburned myself.  As I said in my recent review of rosehip seed oil, I am the Queen of Sensitive Skin — I really need to get on that JPEG.  Since it’s pretty much summer here now, I’m usually pretty wary about leaving the house without some form of SPF (sunscreen, hat, giant umbrella that shades the area of a small duchy).  Last week, we went to Mike’s company picnic and it was a cloudy day, so I idiotically thought I’d be okay without using my usual skin cancer prevention protocols.  WRONG. I was crispy within half an hour. Rookie mistake.

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I came home and immediately took my aloe out of the fridge to make the following concoction:

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Ingredients:

-1-2 Aloe Leaves Worth of Guts
-6-8 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oils

To make this mixture, I put the drops into a measuring cup.  Then I slice length-wise into the leaf and open it like a book.  Scrape the guts (there’s no better word for it) into the measuring cup, mix well with a fork or in a blender, and you’re ready to apply it.

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The utter gloriousness of this mixture is that it keeps well in the fridge and isn’t sticky on application. You know that gross blue stuff you buy from the store that makes it disgusting to touch anything or wear clothes after you apply it?  You’re not going to get that from this treatment.  It absorbs and cools your skin quickly without all the trouble of running around the house naked and blue. You can also add lavender essential oil to add an even higher degree of soothing ecstasy on your torched skin.  This is the first time I haven’t peeled from a burn like this, so there’s that.

Thankfully, since I may have found the secret to keeping aloe alive this summer, I will have more to hand just in case. At any rate, I refuse to leave the house without sunscreen and my giant hat for a long time.

Do you have sensitive skin or burn easily?  Have you ever kept an aloe plant alive? Let me know your secrets!

~Meg

I received this as a promotional review from InstaNatural. While it is encouraged that you shower me with gifts and stuff, all opinions remain my own.

Simple Healing Mask: Rosehip Seed Oil

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I had a stressful two weeks in the middle of this month. For a lot of people, crappy sleep and work stress shows itself on your face after a few days.  I am no exception.

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See that?  My broken out face?  That’s where my new mask concoction comes to the rescue. This mask is ridiculously simple to make and apply.  All it takes are 2 TBS of honey and 6-8 drops of rosehip seed oil. Pour in the honey, add the drops, and mix well.  A lot of the recipes call for yogurt, but dairy makes a lot of people break out worse than how they started.  Since I am the Queen of Sensitive Skin, I left out the yogurt element.

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I used a popsicle stick to apply it.  A clean finger works, too, if you aren’t swimming in popsicle sticks.  I use them for labeling plants, so I always have plenty.  Make sure to avoid your eyes and the inside of your nose — this is purely for external use only.  You should end up with looking like this:

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There will most likely be some unflattering drip-action going on, so keep a paper towel nearby and don’t wear anything you plan on wearing for the rest of the day.  You will want to lick your own face, but please refrain from doing so (the struggle was real).  Remember, this is for external use only.  You’re also going to want to avoid hungry bears for the foreseeable future. After about 20 minutes, use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe the mixture off of your face.  Rinse the cloth with hot water (the honey will dissolve easier this way), and go over your face again until all the honey is gone.

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The verdict? Not only did this make my face super soft and not greasy at all (like other oils might), it immediately calmed my skin enough to speed healing along.  The above picture was taken right after I cleaned off the mixture, but hours later, I could tell a real difference in how my face was acting.  Less grease is a big deal for me.  Not to mention that my face didn’t immediately become inflamed. This has my Queen of Sensitive Skin Seal of Approval.

Here are a few of the reasons why you might want to try it out:

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I plan on incorporating the rosehip oil into a nightly routine, probably using just the oil diffused in some water right before bed.

I recommend this oil from Leven Rose if you’re in the market.  It’s organic and made by a company that actually cares about what they are doing/how they are treating their customers.  I have nothing but good things to say about this oil.  Like I said before, it’s got the Queen of Sensitive Skin Seal of Approval.  I probably need to make that JPEG after this post.

Have you incorporated any essential oils into your routine lately? What’s your favorite?

~ Meg

I received this as a promotional review from Leven Rose. While it is encouraged that you shower me with gifts and stuff, all opinions remain my own.

+LifeGuard Portable Charger

I get things in the mail to review from time to time.  This is the first one I’ve kept in my purse.  That’s a pretty big deal.

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This little device can magically serve as a charging port for smart phones, cameras, mp3 players, and gaming devices.  As for me?  I pretty much just use it for my phone.  I needed it once and got a full charge out of it.  It seriously filled my heart with joy.  The biggest thing for me is that they included a lightning cable that’s compatible with my iPhone.  It’s also got a cable that can fit Mike’s phone.

It literally brings together the separated Android and Apple houses.  Wow.

Other than charging my phone, it’s small enough for me to stick in my purse and not notice it clanking around.  It’s small, lightweight, and unobtrusive.  This has Future Backpacking Trip written all over it.

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I really can’t find anything bad to say about it.  They sent me a hot pink one, which makes it really easy to spot in my purse or in a backpack.  It comes in tons of colors, though, so that’s easily avoided if you don’t like hot pink.

If you are tired of being chained to a wall in an airport or are about to go on a distance hike, I highly recommend grabbing one of these before you leave.

I received this as a promotional review from +LifeGuard. While it is encouraged that you shower me with gifts and stuff, all opinions remain my own.

Essential Oil Review — InstaNatural

I was super excited to get these essential oils in the mail from InstaNatural.  Do you know how difficult and expensive it is to distill the oils yourself?  Enough to make me look into attempting it only once.  Ha!  Maybe I’ll save that for when I retire and have a proper shed for it.

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I went basic and got bottles of peppermint and lavender to try out. I’m pretty pleased with the InstaNatural company itself (small biz, organic, small batch, quality-driven, lack of multi-level scheming), and I definitely love what’s come of my use of these oils.

Can I also mention that the retail on both of these bottles from InstaNatural (4 oz or 120 ml) was less than $40, when the same from Young Living would have cost me just under $60 for 1/8th of the amount (.5 oz or 15 ml). That, in itself, sold me.

So, how did I use these oils?  Well, I used the peppermint in a diffuser when I was borderline sinus-infected and it worked like a charm.  I used the lavender on a burn I got from the oven a few weeks ago and as a scar soother (it can fade scars over time).  Later on, I plan on using them in making soaps or shampoos, when I can find the time.

Since these are concentrated oils, I usually diffuse them with water before I use them, and that will definitely be the case when I turn them into products.  Most of the negative reviews I saw, which were sparse, were due to the strength of the smell of the oils.  Since oils are distilled into a concentrate form of what the actual plant would smell like, well, it’s going to be strong.  Kind of like hitting a field of lavender plants with a lawnmower and then taking a deep breath.  That’s my only warning.  Diffuse it or it will be strong and possibly irritate your skin on contact.  Because SCIENCE!

All in all, I plan to get more products from InstaNatural, sheerly because they impressed me with the type of quality you get for what you pay.  They’ve got a vast array of products that I’m going to check out and maybe review for you guys in the future.

Do you use essential oils?  Where do you get them?  What are your favorites/what do you suggest?

This is a sponsored post. I received this product in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback. All products reviewed on this page were sent to me complimentary from InstaNatural, via Tomoson. 

The One Where I Finally Get a French Press

Sometimes, I review stuff because it has to do with things that I love.

I can sincerely tell you that I love coffee and would like to spread the wealth.  So, here’s a review on the Francios et Mimi glass French press.

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I’d never used a French press before, but once I got over the learning curve, it was worth it (I may make a video of it once I’ve gotten the hang of it). The coffee was freaking delicious.

Something that I *did not* know was that you really should use coarse ground coffee for this.  I thankfully did research before I got into this and found out that finely ground coffees, usually used in filter brewers, gunk up the filters in a French press.  There’s also some science on brewing and flavor that you can look up, too.  It makes sense, but this post isn’t about me regurgitating facts on coffee to you.

All in all, this French press was pretty sweet sheerly for the fact that it holds 50 oz.  Ever had a morning where you think that no amount of caffeine could ever be enough? This beast could tackle it.  It’s also not as clunky as my Keurig and even better for hosting guests or if the power goes out.  Don’t be intimidated and give it a shot. Go here if you’d like to buy this one.

Also: 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.  If you can’t operate a french press, that’s probably your own problem.

Review: Zombies, Run!

Since I’ve started running again, I’ve been looking for ways to hold my attention while I do it.  When I lived in West Virginia, I had a favorite trail I would frequent and made a game of PR-ing (or beating my personal record). Since I’ve yet to find a close, unpaved running trail without a thousand people on it, I’ve been using my local lake trail or my apartment complex’s treadmills.  While I enjoy that I have a lake so close to me with a trail, it’s paved and it is constantly covered in people.  At any given moment on a random sunny weekday, you’re going to be dodging actual hordes of people/bikes/strollers.  And then there’s the treadmill. Sure, I can sometimes get the one with the TV, but…

BO-RING.

So, I’ve been trying to find ways to liven up my running experience.  Holy crap, Zombies, Run! does that. It’s an app for your phone that take you through a post-apocalyptic storyline while tracking your movements to allow you to interact with it. You can collect supplies and artifacts while evading zombies.  It’s a pretty cool idea, but with a couple of glitches if you don’t precisely follow a certain protocol.

My run started on the treadmill.  I powered up the app and started to walk.  I’d heard from others that it’s preferable to pace at a walk because you have to move 20% faster to get away from any zombies you might encounter. Since you can switch from GPS to a pedometer tracker, I thought that a treadmill trial would be appropriate.

Wrong. I was immediately caught by zombies. What happens when you are caught is that you drop an item to distract them.  Since I’d only gotten two items by this time, I thought it would be best to try the app in real life with the power and magic of GPS.
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Then, I learned that you don’t run when they yell for you to run.  Instead, you run when the music starts or when you hear warnings.  So far, that has worked for me. I need to play with it a little more to figure out the sweet spot.  I made the mistake of switching from walking to running too early, resulting in a vision of me going full speed on the trail, running for my f***ing life. I guess that’s the point, right?  But since I had just gotten back into running and was really out of shape?  Well, I got caught by zombies and had to drop something again.

I’ve been running low on RAM on my iPhone for a while now.  Consequently, when I tried to pause it to catch my breath, it didn’t save it where I was.  Instead, it skipped to the next part of the mission.  I am not quite sure if I picked up an important piece of the game or not because of this.  Is this a common glitch?

Other than not knowing when exactly to run or how to save the game properly, I love the idea of this app.  I wouldn’t categorize it as a running app — more as a game, or even an interactive audiobook. I think that once I am better attuned to how to use it, it will be a bit better for me.  All in all? It’s a fun experience and definitely breaks up the monotony of running for me. I’d recommend it if you have problems with entertainment during a run.  I do not recommend it if you intend to be super serious about it.