Monday, May 30, 2016

Saving Money Everyday with Free Products

A couple of years ago I responded to someone saying "you don't ever get anything for nothing" by posting what I got, for free in the mail, each and every week for about five months. By then I figured I may have convinced them that they were wrong.  Today I've decided to show you the free products I am using daily, in my regular routine. 

I got the shampoo and conditioner from BzzAgent.  I was using Pantene products before but I really like the new Expert line, and find the Age Defy is perfect for me.

 It gives my hair body and shine, and I definitely see an improvement in my hair since I've started using it.  I'll be buying more when this is gone.

The body moisturizer I use came from Yves Rocher, as a bonus when I ordered something else.  It's a full size tube, instead of a tiny packet sample they often send, and I can tell you they will make their money back on me as I think it's the best body lotion I've ever used.

When it comes to my face, I start with Vichy ProEven Dark Spot Corrector (the white tube in the picture), which I got from Chick Advisor. They sent it to me to try. I was then supposed to write a review on the product, and how I liked it.  The time frame I was given was not enough to really see the difference it made in my age spots, so I had put that I likely wouldn't buy it.  I've now changed my mind, and cannot imagine starting my day without it.  I particularly like that I can use any of my regular products over top of it, and it's still effective.

I have a jar of L'Oreal Age perfect that I used daily for a while.  I got it when Glow Magazine chose me to take part in the You Tried It program.  I do like it, but now that the weather is warming up, I may do without moisturizer for the time being, or switch to a lighter formula.

Yves Rocher BB Cream was also sent to me as a bonus.  I've been using it for the past couple of years and so they knew it was something I would like.

I have a tube of the Vichy ProEven Night formula (the blue tube in the picture above)  which was sent to me in error, when they meant to send the previously mentioned product. I use it as part of my evening routine, when I remember. I love the texture of this product, and if I were actually just going to use one of them, this might be the one I'd choose.  It's a clear gel and spreads easily.  You can, if you wish, even put it on thicker for a short period of time, to get the effects more quickly.

For a night cream, I'm still using the StriVectin that also came in the Glow box of things to try before you buy.  I loved this stuff immediately, and checked out the price of it, shortly after I got it. It's really expensive, but it's lasting a lot longer than I'd expected, so that may substantiate the cost when it comes time to replace it. It does something magical to my skin.

Many manufactures offer free products.  All it takes is a few moments to sign up to the various sites, and then jump on the offers when they arrive.

The latest parcel to arrive is from Sample Source.  While some of the samples are....well, sample size, not everything is.  I'm currently testing out the Pronamel toothpaste, from the Sensodyne people.  I do like the way my teeth feel nice smooth after I've brushed.

The VH sauces are good too, as long as you realize these pouches are made for two servings. That's actually perfect for us. I noticed some people got more than one, as their family is bigger than ours.

You can't go wrong with Brookside Chocolate either, though this particular bar has almonds in it, so I'll have to give it to my hubby. He'll be pleased to test that out.

I used the coupon for a free box of Catelli SuperGreens yesterday.  I got Rotini and will make some sort of pasta salad to eat in all this heat.

I'll have to fill out a short survey about how I liked each of the items Sample Source sent me, and whether I've bought more or not. I find that well worth the effort, since I've discovered several things that have become family favourites through Sample Source that I may never have known about otherwise.

Anyway, I think you get the idea.  You can get along quite well using free things if you take a moment to go looking for them.  What are you waiting for?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Evolution of a Computer Addiction

I've had a computer longer than most people I know.  I had one long before Windows appeared and used to go online by using the National Capital Freenet on a dial up system. There was no high speed internet back then. You clicked a button, and you waited.  

I found I liked to get into conversations with others, and joined several forums on Freenet. Then I discovered the Bulletin Board Systems, and found there were several BBSs within my dialing area. I joined many of them, so that if the line was busy trying to get into one, I could just dial into another one. To me, a BBS was more fun than Freenet, as often others were online at the same time as I was, and the conversations flowed much more quickly.

I still joined groups based on subjects of interest to me, and got online daily to read and respond to what was being said.  I made several wonderful online friends in those old days, and have kept in touch with many of them ever since.  They have helped me learn things, solve computer problems, and other problems and have occasionally even sent me interesting and valuable stuff by snail mail.

I spent time with these virtual friends every day, and if the conversation got really lively, I spent more time than I likely should have.  You have to remember, that without high speed internet, if I was online, nobody could reach me by phone.  At some point I did get a handy little application (before apps were even spoken of) that let me know if someone was trying to call in.  

Eventually a Windows based computer opened a whole new world to me. I still liked being social on the computer, but I found lots of other interesting things too.  I signed up for newsletters, and later contests, surveys, coupons and samples.  I opened separate e-mail addresses so that my requested "junk mail" didn't get mixed with my personal correspondence. In those days though, people did have a tendency to pass on a lot of jokes by way of e-mail, so there was still lots of junk in my regular inbox too.  Thankfully, most people have stopped doing that, now that we have Facebook.

Facebook used to be a simple thing, much like Twitter is today. You went on and made a statement, or a comment about your day. There were no pictures, no jokes or news items to pass on. There were also no companies using it as a way of interesting you in their products.  Now, of course, everything can be found on these social media sites, and others as well.  I don't really need my newsletters anymore, as most of that info gets posted on social media, but I've tended to hang onto them, anyway.  There is so much on social media that I might miss something, after all.

I was given a tablet for Christmas a few years ago, and can now get online as soon as my eyes are open in the morning, without even getting out of bed. I check the weather, the news, my e-mail and Facebook most days, before even having breakfast.  Are you getting the picture here?  That's the time when I used to read books or magazines.  I still do, but I've already proven that I accumulate reading material faster than I can read it.  Maybe that wouldn't be the case if I wasn't on the computer as much.

I've occasionally admitted to being a computer addict.  I feel disconnected when I'm on vacation, away from the internet (though that doesn't really happen anymore as the tablet goes with me).  I'm also overwhelmed by how much e-mail piles up when I can't get at it on a daily basis.  Mind you, I'm not talking about personal correspondence.  There's actually less of that now that most people I know share their lives on Facebook and such.  Somehow, just trying to keep up with what's coming in could take all day, so I have to turn the darn thing off and go do something.

I'm not saying I don't have a real life.  I do.  I have lots of social outings.  I spend time with Real People most days.  However, with the knee problems I've had this past year, I've spent even more time sitting in front of a screen than ever before.  Sitting, of course, is dangerous to our health.  I have scheduled regular walks, when the knee allows, and now, of course, it's gardening season, so I'll be outside doing that too.

I do need to find the time to weed not only the garden, but also what arrives in my e-mail.  I get entirely too much of it these days.  Even just going through what has come in and deleting things I don't have time for that day takes more time than I'm currently willing to spend.  I've got to step away from this machine.  I have so many other things to do, and I don't move as fast as I once did.  I need to recapture some of the time I spend online.

Excess screen time has snuck up on me.  At least I don't have a smart phone.  I don't want to be constantly connected online like so many people are today.  It was bad enough when I caught myself about to  check the tablet recently when I actually had real company.  The gadget dinged and while I'm rather hard of hearing, she heard it and asked what made that sound.  "Oh," I said "something has just arrived on the tablet."  A few minutes later it dinged again and once more she was curious as to what that little sound was. I flipped open the cover and showed her that new e-mail had arrived and mentioned that it would make a different sound if someone was actually trying to chat with me.  Once I had it in my hand I found it much harder to ignore.  That's when I understood the draw cell phones seem to have on people, even in the middle of a conversation.  No, I don't want to get that bad.

I've now chatted with you about this problem, and how it came to be.  I need to find ways to reclaim some time, but I'm not willing to go cold turkey.  Computer use may take up too much of my time but much of it is enjoyable, educational and even productive.  I would love to hear from any of you who have found ways to reduce your online time, or even just tame the influx of e-mail.  Give me a hand here.  Tell me your stories.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Forever Young..........At Heart, at Least

I had a milestone birthday this week.  The government considers you a senior citizen when you turn 65, but we all know you aren't old at that age. Turning 70, however, somehow makes me feel a little older.

I wanted you all to picture grandmothers from your family albums.  Not digital pictures, but real photos from long ago. Mature women used to look older than they do now, I hear.  I wanted to point out my generation isn't aging as fast.  But when I stopped to think about it, those women didn't have today's modern conveniences, and basically wore their bodies out doing things we can now push buttons to get done.

I'm going to show you pictures from my own albums.  I can't show you my own mother at my age, as she never made it this far.  My grandmothers though, both made it to about 86.

My father's mother would definitely present the picture I had in mind to show how much the aging process of women had changed since then.  The thing is, she had a stroke, and spent years in a wheelchair, in a hospital before nursing homes.  She could get up and walk behind the chair, and go play cards with other resident patients to pass the time.  Later, when moved to a home, the facilities didn't permit her to move around as much. Sitting ages your body. Not trying to move ages you faster.  Lack of interaction ages the mind.

My other grandmother had cancer, and the treatments she underwent were life changing, but she wasn't one to let that stop her.  She lived another 20 years just because, as my Mother put it, she was too stubborn to lie down.

So, as I thought of all this, I came to realize, there may have been reasons why the women looked older back then.  Hard work, illness, and lack of mobility can all manage to wear on us, and age us no matter what year we were born in.

My Mom often wondered when I'd dress my age, and I tried to tell her I was.  The way we dress has changed over the years too.  And while I would never feel comfortable wandering the streets in pajama bottoms, or leggings like some my age would, I probably wear jeans more often now than at any other point in my lifetime.

I discovered in my early 40's that who you were in your youth never really changes much as you age. You may gain weight, grow wrinkles and change hair colour (on purpose or not) but the being inside that body is still the same.  Our spirit stays young and we don't see ourselves as old as we are. We just feel the same as we always did, but we notice those around us are aging.  Have you ever gone somewhere and looked around and thought that the others there were old, only to have to face the truth that they were the same age as you were?  That sort of thing has been happening to me for the past 20 years!

I was out playing ball with my grandsons last week.  They had a couple of tires stacked in my driveway, and we were basically shooting hoops.  I know one of my grandmother's would happily have been out there with us, if it had been in her time. I guess that means we aren't really aging less quickly now, we're just healthier.

I've mentioned that I have acquired a knee problem this past year.  My mind still had me thinking  I was young enough to go on with life as I always had, but Mother Nature has a way of slowing us down, ready or not.  So, while I was happily out playing with the kids last week, a little visit to the knee specialist this week has me limping terribly at the moment, and probably looking rather decrepit to the kids. Like I said, you age when you can't move, and you age fast. Excuse me while I get up and do what I still can.  Like my grandmother, I'm not ready to lie down.  I'm going to try my best to outrun aging, even on a bum knee.