Thursday, May 23, 2019

Creative Photography- Combining Techniques

In this post I will review two techniques I have talked about in previous posts and give tips on how to combine them to create some fun and creative photographs.

Lensball

A lensball is a fun way to break away from the normal photos and get a bit creative. Here is a photo I took of a friend photographing the St. Louis Arch,  I took his photo through a lens ball that was sitting on a tripod next to him.
On this post Crystal Photography Ball , I show you basic techniques on using a lensball.  These basic techniques are the first steps in creating the combined technique you see in the introductory photo.

                                                              

Textured Backgrounds

Whenever you want the background to be different from your photo it is quite simple to change backgrounds in Photoshop.  Some backgrounds I make myself and others I get online.  Whichever method you choose, the tips in this post will help you to change your background. Photoshop Texturing Techniques
The photo above is a shot of an African daisy put on a textured background.

Combining Techniques

Now for the fun and creative part. When you take photos with a lensball first of all the photo is upside down and second the background just never seems to look right. At least mine usually doesn't.  I was contemplating this problem when I thought about my textured background technique I love to use and decided I could apply it to my lensball photos.  Here is a photo I created using these combined techniques and then the steps I followed to create the photo.


  • First I took a photo of my new Dipladenia plant and edited it in Lightroom.  I saved the photo on my desktop.
  • Next I took a photo of the same plant using my crystal photo ball.  I put the photo ball stand on a table right next to the plant and focused my camera on the plant image inside the ball.  I brought the photo into Lightroom and inverted the photo so the image in the ball is right side up.
  • Next I opened the first photo in Photoshop.
  • With the first photo open I clicked on File and Place Embedded in Photoshop.
  • This brought the ball photo into photoshop covering the original photo.  I then used the Lasso tool to outline the ball and I clicked on Create and Mask in the top bar.
  • Now I used the slider to get the effect that I wanted.  I used the transparency and the feather sliders.  I next clicked done.
  • Now I click on the little square mask symbol at the bottom of the layers column and again moved the sliders to get the desired effect.
  • Finally I used Save As and named my file and saved it as a JPeg file.
I do this procedure as second nature now, but it took me a lot of practice before I got any results that I was happy with.  I wish you much fun and success in your quest for Creative Photography.






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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste: A Review

A Toothpaste for Sensitive Gums

Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste: A Review
Photo © B. Radisavljevic
It's hard to review a product as ordinary as toothpaste.  I'm not one of those cheery TV promoters that gets really bubbly about everyday household products. I use them and when I like a product, I keep using it.

I have difficult teeth with deep pockets in my gums that need special deep cleaning every three months. The process of brushing my teeth often leaves me with bleeding gums around my worst tooth.  In the past few months I have tried many different kinds of toothpastes.

A Search for the Right Toothpaste


I used to use The Dirt regularly for a long time. It's a toothpowder which I reviewed about a year ago here. I didn't get any new cavities during that year, but my gums started bleeding on and off near my problem tooth as the deep pocket got harder to clean. So after I ran out of my last order of The Dirt, I decided to try the sample packs of toothpaste my dentist was giving away.

First I tried Colgate Enamel Health Fresh Mint Flavor. I really enjoyed its cool flavor. Like The Dirt, it was supposed to strengthen my tooth enamel and polish my teeth. But also like The Dirt, it it did not address bleeding gums. Still I went looking for it on Amazon because I really liked the taste. When I got to Amazon I discovered Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste in the suggested products. I started comparing ingredients.

What's Different about Dr. Gingiva Toothpaste?


Colgate Enamel Health's active ingredient is sodium fluoride. The active ingredient in Dr. Gingiva is stannous fluoride. According to the Oral B web site information, of the two, only stannous fluoride protects against tartar buildup, gingivitis, erosion, and sensitivity. It also protects the teeth against plaque buildup by keeping plaque from sticking to the teeth. It keeps the bacteria that cause gingivitis from breeding in your mouth.

Another thing that made me want to try this was the addition of Chinese herbs that also addressed gum health. It's flavored with spearmint -- my very favorite mint, so I was pretty sure I would like using it. The customer reviews were almost all favorable, so I went ahead and ordered one package. I could have gotten a sale price by ordering four before June 15, 2019, but I wanted to be sure I liked it first.

My order came three days ago. Dr. Gingiva agrees with my mouth so far. I like the taste. My teeth feel very clean. So far my gums are not bleeding, but only time will tell if that lasts. They didn't bleed every day before -- only sometimes.

I do want to share two other things you should know. First, there is a warning that your teeth may take on a slight greenish tinge that a dentist would be able to remove. So far that hasn't bothered the reviewers.

The other thing you should know is that the reviewers are very motivated to give positive reviews. The company offers a reward of two free tubes of toothpaste, including tubes of their other brands -- Teagrance for bad breath and LMZ Herbal for toothache treatment. The customer chooses. So keep that in mind when you read the reviews. Of course, if one doesn't like the toothpaste, one probably wouldn't want more of it -- even if it's free. My offer came with my order. I did not receive any free toothpaste. I paid for the tube I'm reviewing here. Instructions for reviewing the product on Amazon came with my order.

Disclaimer: This product has not been proven to prevent or cure any disease. If you need oral health advice, be sure to consult your dentist or oral hygienist..





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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Secrets In a Bottle Cozy Mystery Review

Delightfully Quirky Cozy Mystery

great dane
Great Dane A Cozy Pet In Secrets In A Bottle
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I had the pleasure of reading Secrets In A Bottle the other day and wanted to give it a review today. Written by independent author, Shelly West this Cozy Mystery is her debut novel and the first book in the Whodunit Antiques series. 

Abigail Lane lives in Boston with her Great Dane, Thor. She despises her job but can't afford to quit. One morning her mother calls with a cryptic message telling her that her Grandmother is in the hospital and Abigail needs to go deal with it. 

Cramming her large dog into her VW, Abigail drives to the seaside town of Wallace Point to meet the grandmother she has never known. Her mother has refused to tell her anything about her family over the years. Abigail hopes her grandmother will live long enough for her to finally meet her and hopefully find out why they have been kept apart for so many years. 

Arriving at the hospital, Abigail finds her grandmother in a coma. Many of the townspeople are surprised to learn that Mrs. Lane has a grandchild. Abigail is taken to her grandmother's antique shop Whodunit Antiques to stay and help run the business while her grandmother recovers. Apparently her grandmother had tripped over a dead body that seems to be missing now. As the story progresses Abigail also hears of the history of the quaint little town and a long feud between a whaling family and a family of pirates. 

Do you want to find out more? Well, then run on over and grab your copy of this engagingly fun cozy mystery! Ms. West has created a wonderful little town filled with interesting residents for you to get to know. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and look forward to reading the second book in the series, soon. I think you will enjoy this book especially if you are a fan of cozy mysteries like I am.



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Monday, May 20, 2019

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing on Review This!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was such a beautifully written story that I am having difficulty moving on into any other books. The wait list for this book at the library is long. More than one friend insisted that I read this story. The editorial reviews are glowing. The hype is not wrong. I'm considering reading this story again, only a couple of weeks after finishing it - the story was that captivating. I can't stop thinking about Kya and the marsh life that surrounded her.
"Marsh is Not Swamp."
"Swamp water is still and dark, having swallowed the light in it's muddy throat."
Kya is a young girl, living with her family in a remote shack in the marshes of North Carolina. She is still very young as her broken family disintegrates and disappears. Initially, her explosive father remains and her survival skills begin to develop as she learns to navigate the moods of her father and the moods of the natural world. Beginning at age 6, we watch as the decades of Kya Clark's life unfold. Near the beginning of the story, with the exception of the gulls she feeds, she is completely alone. 
"Hands to her mouth, she held her head back and called "Kee-ow, kee-ow, kee-ow.' Specks of silver appeared in the sky from up and down the beach, from over the surf"
"Crying and screeching, the birds swirled and dived, hovering near her face, and landed as she tossed grits to them. Finally, they quieted and stood about preening, and she sat on the sand, her legs folded to the side. One large gull settled onto the sand near Kya."

" 'It's my birthday' she told the bird." 

The townspeople of Barkley Cove are aware of her. They call her "Marsh Girl". Collectively, they consider her a dirty oddity; literally an untouchable as a mother shields her child from contact during one of Kya's limited trips to the grocery store in town. 

Truancy folks tried to enforce school attendance. Mrs. Culpepper was able get Kya to attend one day, a difficult day, of school; the only positive experience being the chicken pie served at lunch. But after that day Kya decided to never return. And Kya, like any being attuned to living in the wild, was able to disappear each subsequent time Mrs. Culpepper arrived at the remote shack. 

Tate is a young local man. Kya knew him as her brother Jodie's friend. But her brother is gone.  Even so, Tate has been nearby and his quiet and gentle way of being allows them to form a tenuous bond.

Chase is the town hero - the Barkley Cove football star and the guy who got all the girls. If there are any stereotyped characters in this book, it is Chase. But then again, we've all known this guy, haven't we? And what girl who is alone and lonely, and who is becoming an adult, doesn't fall for the practiced charms of a guy like Chase at least once?

Jumpin' is the owner of a marina gas station. In an era where whites and blacks had separate schools and his family lived in Colored Town instead of Barkley Cove, Jumpin' did not have any pre-judgements about the child Mr. Clark had left alone. Kya found Jumpin to be an unlikely friend, mentor, and advisor.  Over time, Kya limits her shopping and bartering to Jumpin's store and avoids town altogether. When tragedy happens - Chase is found dead - Kya's solitary world in the marsh and the civilized world of town collide. Was it an accident or was it murder? And did that wild Marsh Girl, that Swamp Rat, kill the most popular guy in town?


"Tutored by millions of minutes of alone, Kya thought she knew lonely" 

Sometimes I read the book then watch the movie. Sometimes I watch the movie and then read the book. In this case, I highly recommend reading the book first. I can't imagine that a movie - even produced by Reese Witherspoon - will do this story of coming of age while surviving in the marshes justice. 

Ms. Owens knows how to write. Her descriptions of the natural surroundings paints a picture that is easy to imagine. After reading the book I felt as though I had spent the summer at the beach. My review does not come close to conveying the beauty of her prose and her ability to transport you to the location. I encourage you to read a sample of the book and decide for yourself if this is a story you'd like to lose yourself in.
"The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh's moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog. The palmetto patches stood unusually quiet except for the low, slow flap of the heron's wings lifting from the lagoon. And then, Kya, only six at the time, heard the screen door slap."


Photo Credit: The photo was taken by and is the property of Dawn Rae and was taken in the marsh at North Point State Park, Baltimore, MD.



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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews
Fairies are so enchanting and the coloring books gathered here on this page are lovely. They will please both the children and adults in your life who love to color. They will not just please your child but will also let her develop her imagination while she has fun coloring the drawings. Some of these books will keep the user occupied for hours; others for a lesser time frame.

Any one of the coloring books on this page would be a great idea for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers or even for birthday party favors at a fairy themed birthday party. There is bound to be a faerie coloring book here that your child will love and there are even some here that you will love. If you're giving one as a gift, be sure to include a box of crayons.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book


The first book shown here, Fairy World: Stained Glass Coloring Book, is a Dover Little Activity Book. It's a cute little book with thin pages that is recommended for individuals who are between the ages of Kindergarten and Grade 5. The pages are thin so that when you hold them before a light source, the light shines through, giving a stained glass effect.

As a Dover Little Activity Book, it is indeed a small book and not a full-size coloring book and it only has a few images. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware of the fact and don't expect a full-size book.  It's also very affordable at just under $2, making it perfect for those stocking stuffers and party grab bags. Click here to find this Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book from Amazon.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring BookGarden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book

Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book


Darcie May has created this second beautiful Dover coloring book with fairies nestled among the garden. Once again once they are colored in you can take them to a light source and the stained glass will come to life. Beautiful and bound to be a huge success.

The Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book is suitable for children over 6 years of age. It has 16 pages done in black and white on parchment paper. Click here to find the Garden Fairies coloring book online.

Amy Brown Fairies Coloring BookFlower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book

The Amy Brown Fairies Coloring Book


Amy Brown has been painting fairies for more than 20 years. Her artwork features detailed illustrations of fairies. Whether you are a little girl or a grown-up girl who is interested in fairies, you will enjoy this fairy coloring book, which is suitable for children of all ages. It has twenty one-sided pages that measure 8.5 by 11 inches. Click here to find Amy Brown's coloring book on Amazon.

Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book


Your youngster will learn her alphabet and the names of 24 of the most popular flower fairies as she colors in the beautiful pictures presented in the Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book, which features the artwork of Cicely Mary Barker. This book has 24 pages and is recommended for children from Kindergarten age to Grade 2.  Click here to find the Flower Fairies Alphabet coloring book on Amazon.

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

The Fairy Fashion colouring book presents pretty fairies dressed in the height of fairy fashion. Your fan will love spending time bringing these images to life with color. There are also plenty of cats, squirrels, birds and their friends keeping them company.

The artwork in this book is by Scott Altmann. The Amazon customer reviews bounce around a bit so make sure to check them out before you buy. Many of the issues are with varying tastes for the style of the illustrations.

The Fairy Fashion Coloring Book is recommended for individuals 5 years of age and up. It is a Dover Coloring Book and has 32 pages. Click here to find the Fairy Fashion coloring book on Amazon.

Do you believe in fairies? Do you like fairies? What about coloring books?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Fairy Reading:


Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review
A lovely family-friendly movie about fairies.

Were The Cottingley Fairies Real or Fake?
In 1917 in Cottingley, Yorkshire, England, a pair of young ladies named Elsie Wright (16) and Frances Griffiths (10) believed that there were fairies in their garden...

Abby Cadabby: Create A Sesame Street Fairy Gift Set

A Few Fairies on eBay
Discover a few select fairy-themed items in my eBay store, Treasures By Brenda.

Fairy Coloring Book








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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review of EltaMD® and Colorescience® Mineral-Based Physical Sunscreens

Photo of my favorite EltaMD and Colorescience mineral physical sunscreen products
I’ve known for many years that it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection whenever you go outdoors, rain or shine. (I didn't learn about the importance of applying SPF indoors as well until this year.)

When I was 20, I found out the hard way that you can get burned even on a gray, cloudy day. A friend and I had planned a day at the beach to do a little tanning. (In our defense, that was in the 1970s, when people were much less aware of sun damage than they are today. That, and we were young and foolish and more focused on our looks than on our health.) The day of our beach outing turned out to be cool and heavily overcast, but we were determined to get some color. So, we put on our bikinis anyway and lay on our towels, shivering, for several hours. We were both fair-skinned and soon discovered the error of our ways. By the next morning we were as red as lobsters! That full-body sunburn was so painful that I had to go to my summer job bra-less all that week (ah, the good old ‘70s!), wearing only the loosest dresses I could find so the least material possible would touch my roasted skin.

Four decades later my dad developed skin cancer late in life, thanks to his years in the Navy during World War II. So, I’ve become pretty obsessive about wearing SPF 30 or higher every day.

I apply a physical sunscreen from EltaMD® to my face, neck and hands every morning a few minutes after finish applying my skin care. Then I use a Colorescience® brush-on powdered mineral sunscreen every two hours to make sure I'm protected throughout the day from damaging UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) ultraviolet rays, as well as from the HEV ("blue light") emitted by screens from mobile phones and other digital devices, including TVs.

Sunscreen With Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection Is Your Best Anti-Aging Product

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in human beings. But Wearing sunscreen protects not only against skin cancer but also against wrinkles. People often mistake my age as being 20 years younger than my actual 65 years, and I attribute my youthful looks to a combination of luck (good genes) and faithful use of sunscreen. Using a well-formulated, safe, high SPF mineral sunscreen daily will do more to prevent wrinkles than any other beauty product.

The American Cancer Society advises using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection. Sunburn is mostly caused by UVB rays, which can damage skin cells' DNA directly and are thought to cause most skin cancers. If you have fine lines, wrinkles or hyperpigmentation (brown spots or patches), blame them on UVA rays. They also cause damage to skin cells' DNA, cause them to age prematurely and are thought to play a role in certain skin cancers.

The last letter can help you remember which ultraviolet rays your skin vs. age your skin: A is for Aging (UVA) and B is for Burning (UVB).

Moisturizers with SPF Don't Protect Nearly as Well as Physical Sunscreens

Many people look for moisturizers and makeup with SPF to avoid applying both a moisturizer and a sunscreen. But leading dermatologists say that's not a good idea.
  • Moisturizers are designed to soak into the skin to restore moisture balance and, depending on the product, to deliver ingredients deeper into the skin. But the purpose of sunscreen is to form a protective shield on top of the skin. The safest and most effective sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that form a physical barrier against damaging UVA/UVB ultraviolet rays. 
  • The FDA regulates sunscreen as a drug. Since they require a certain amount of SPF in a formula to  and in order to meet the agency's requirements for effectiveness, there isn't much room for other active ingredients. With a moisturizer, between using such a small amount (compared to sunscreen) and the dilution of the SPF by the moisturizer, you're effectively getting less significantly lower SPF protection than the number on the packaging.

The Dangers of Using Chemical Sunscreens  

Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen on your face, neck, hands and any other exposed skin all day, every day, except when you’re sleeping. They also recommend physical mineral-based sunscreens that rely on zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide for sun protection, sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV light instead of chemical sunscreens that penetrate the skin and absorb UV light. Another advantage of physical sunscreens is that, unlike chemical sunscreens, they provide protection immediately.

Recently, a preliminary study by the FDA found that the active ingredients (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) in four popular chemical sunscreens were absorbed into the test subjects’ bloodstreams in higher concentrations than the agency’s threshold of toxicological concern. And the EWG (the Environmental Working Group), which publishes a highly respected annual sunscreen guide that grades products on safety, currently says both oxybenzone and octinoxate are chemical UV filters with "high toxicity concerns."

It's Hard to Find Physical Sunscreens That Look and Feel Great

Since that time, I've tried many physical sunscreen products over the years, from drugstore brands to fancy Sephora buys, in my quest for one that:
  • Provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection
  • Doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t cause breakouts
  • Doesn’t feel or look heavy or chalky
  • Contains zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide
  • Doesn’t leave that ghoulish, slightly iridescent white cast typical of high-SPF mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide. 
Until a few months ago, none of the ones I tried met all my requirements,. Then, finally, I found my "holy grail" facial sunscreen!

EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen

EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 is water-resistant for 80 minutes, oil-free (so it doesn’t break me out) and, because it’s tinted and uses transparent zinc oxide (along with titanium dioxide), it doesn’t leave that awful purplish-white cast on my skin. After putting moisturizer on my dry skin, I let it soak in for a couple of minutes before applying the sunscreen to my face. This tinted version evens out my complexion like a sheer BB cream for a my-skin-but-better look on days when I go without makeup. It also works perfectly as a primer under my sheer foundation. In fact, I first learned about this product from a well-known makeup artist on YouTube who says it's her favorite primer!

The beautiful formulation make it feel more like skincare than a mineral sunscreen, so I actually enjoy using it every day. It costs more than a drugstore sunscreen, but after trying more than a dozen physical sunscreens that failed to meet my requirements, I’m happy to pay the price for one that does everything I need it to and also doubles (triples?) as a BB cream and a makeup primer.

I wear light-medium foundation colors. If you are Asian or African-American, you might prefer EltaMD® UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, which has a darker, warmer tint as well as hyaluronic acid for hydration. If your skin is fair, you might want to try EltaMD® UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44. Although the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in this untinted formula make it white when applied, some reviewers claim the whitish cast goes away after a few minutes. I have found that the best way to apply untinted mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is to apply them in two thin layers, rubbing each layer in very well.

Note: EltaMD® has many other facial sunscreen products, including two clear, untinted sunscreen formulas. I was sent a sample of UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (untinted version) and it's quite lovely. (The company's product names can be confusing. For example, how can there be a tinted version of a "clear" sunscreen?) Unfortunately, only the three products I mentioned above are 100% physical, chemical-free facial sunscreen formulas. The active ingredients in all the others, including the two clear, untinted facial sunscreen formulas and the SPF 31 lip balm, contain chemical (octinoxate) as well as mineral (titanium dioxide) UV filters.

A Less Expensive Option for Medium Skin Tones

Before I discovered EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 earlier this year, my everyday sunscreen was Australian Gold® Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion. It's a very good sunscreen that meets most of my criteria. The finish is a bit too matte for my dry skin and the tint is a bit darker than my skin tone, so it's not ideal for year-round wear. But I still wear it sometimes in the summer to give my complexion a bit of that healthy, warm glow, especially if I'm going to the beach. And it's inexpensive enough for me to apply to the exposed skin on body as well as my face, neck and hands.

HEV (Blue Light) From Digital Devices Can Damage Skin As Much As – Or More Than – UVA and UVB Combined

High-energy visible (HEV) light (AKA “blue light”) is emitted by our mobile phones, computers, TVs and other digital devices. Many of us are in front of some type of digital screen for much of our day (and evening). A recent study found that HEV light can cause as much skin damage as UVA and UVB light combined (eek!). Fortunately, a few sunscreens block HEV as well as UVA/UVB light.

SPF Needs to Be Reapplied Every 90 Minutes, All Day Long

Sunscreen becomes ineffective within 90 minutes of being exposed to air and light, so it needs to be reapplied frequently throughout the day. But very few people actually do that unless they're sunbathing, since carrying around a bottle of sunscreen everywhere you go and reapplying it every couple of hours isn’t really practical for most of us – especially if we’re wearing makeup.

Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 Makes It Easy To Keep Your Skin Protected All Day 

I was delighted to discover Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50. It’s a powdered mineral sunscreen that comes in a convenient, portable tube of powder with a built-in brush. Thanks to the company’s proprietary EnviroScreen™ Technology, this do-it-all powder protects against UVA, UVB, HEV and IR (infrared) rays and also environmental pollution! It's available in four shades to suit a range of skin tones.

How to "Prime" the Built-In Brush With Powder and Apply Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50

The first time you open it, remove the cap, push down the sleeve that protects the bristles, remove and discard the rubber band, slide the sleeve back up over the bristles and re-cap the tube. To use the product, first hold the tube with the cap facing down and tap it forcefully against a hard surface a few times (tap it 5-10 times the first time you use it) to move some powder into the brush. Remove the cap, push down the sleeve to expose the brush and flick your finger across the bristles to make sure the powder is flowing. (If not, re-cap the tube and tap the cap a few more times.) Then, swirling the bristles across your skin in circular motions, apply the powder to your face and neck for 60 seconds. Done! Then I apply the powder to my hands and any other exposed skin.

Note: This brush-on sunscreen powder gets rave reviews on the Colorescience website. On Amazon there are quite a few critical reviews complaining about the dispensing mechanism, but I follow these directions and have never found it to be a problem.

The Delicate Skin Around Your Eyes Needs Protection, Too!

Chemical sunscreens shouldn’t be used near your eyes, so for many years, sunglasses were my only sun protection for the delicate skin around my eyes. That’s why, even though I have no wrinkles on the rest of my face, I do have crow’s feet.

Fortunately, it’s fine to apply physical mineral sunscreen around your peepers. Most days, I just apply my EltaMD® UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 around my eyes as well as the rest of my face, neck and hands. When I’m wearing makeup, however, I prefer to use Colorescience® Total Eye™ 3-in-1 Anti-Aging Renewal Therapy SPF 35. This mineral-based sunscreen and eye treatment, a favorite among beauty influencers, provides skincare benefits as well as sun protection. It reduces puffiness, hydrates, tightens, serves as a peach-toned color corrector when worn under concealer and adds a nice brow bone highlight. (One well-known Youtube beauty influencer mixes it with her concealer.)

As a bonus, Colorescience® Total Eye™ 3-in-1 is also an eye shadow primer. (After applying any eye shadow primer, I always dust my lids and brow bone with translucent powder before applying my eye shadow to minimize creasing and make blending easier.)  And it can also be used at night as an eye treatment, although I don’t use it for that.

Even though it's spendy, you only need a very small amount for both eyes. And, since I only use it when I'm wearing makeup, a tube lasts me for quite a while.




Wear Sunscreen Indoors as Well as Outdoors, in Rain, Shine or Snow

It’s important to wear SPF 365 days a year, both indoors and outdoors. While UVB rays are strongest midday (noon to 2 pm) and can be blocked by glass windows, the UVA rays that cause our skin to age prematurely emit at the same strength 24/7 and penetrate glass. So, you are exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays even if you’re inside a building or car.

Helpful Articles on Protecting Your Skin Against UVA, UVB and HEV light

American Cancer Society, "What Is Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation?"
Allure, "Sunscreen Tips: This Is When and Where You Should Be Wearing SPF"
Forbes, "How Sunscreen Chemicals Can Get Into Your Blood"
EWG (the Environmental Working Group), "The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens"
Byrdie, "Ask a Dermatologist: Are Moisturizers With SPF Actually Effective?"
DERMASCOPE, "Fact or Fiction: Skin damage caused by HEV light may be as harmful as the damage caused by UVA and UVB light combined."


EltaMD and Colorescience physical sunscreens reviewed by Margaret Schindel.



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Friday, May 17, 2019

Aveda Tea Reviewed

 Aveda Tea Reviewed
Aveda is a name we normally associate with cosmetics, skin care and hair products.  However, did you know that Aveda also offers a fabulous organic tea?

Several years ago, my daughter gave me the gift of Aveda tea on Mother's Day.  I was hesitant to try the tea.  I thought there was no way a cosmetic manufacturer could possibly offer a good cup of tea.  After all, there are companies who have excelled in tea production for decades.  Wouldn't they be a better source for a great cup of tea?  Well, those were my thoughts until I actually tried a cup of Aveda Comforting Tea.  

Aveda Comforting Tea is easily my favorite herbal tea now! 


Aveda Comforting Tea ~ A Lovely Cup of Tea


 Aveda Comforting Tea Bags - 20x1.8g/0.06ozCheck PriceAveda tea is made from licorice root and peppermint.  I admit, hearing "licorice" turned me off at first.  It made me think of licorice candy which I am not fond of eating.  But, since it was a gift from my daughter, I wasn't going to be a jerk and not try it that Mother's Day long ago.  After all, she was standing there saying "Mom, you have got to try this tea!  You are going to love it!!!".  Well, she was right!  (of course)

Besides the delicious taste, there are several other reasons I would recommend the Aveda tea.

  • No Sugar Needed
  • Caffeine-free
  • 100% Organic 
  • Drink Hot or Iced   

Aveda tea is "my one weakness".

Won't you join me for a lovely cup of Aveda Comforting Tea?  You won't be sorry.


Note:  You may have recognized the phrase I used above, "my one weakness" as a quote from Lark Rise to Candleford.  Dorcas Lane uses that descriptive phrase several times in the movie which always makes me laugh.  She seems to have many "one weaknesses" and I guess I do too!


Related & Relative Articles


As you may already know, I am not the only tea loving Contributor on Review This Reviews!  



Manatea Tea Infuser and Mug Gift SetManatea Tea Infuser and Mug Gift Set
The Manatea Tea Infuser and Mug Gift Set is really cute - I love the casual look of the mug and the 'go with the flow' inscription


Why drink peppermint tea? As well as being delicious this tea has a myriad of health benefits.

Looking for good medicinal teas? You can't do much better than Lifestyle Awareness teas. Here's my review after trying them.

There are many great hot tea blends and hot tea recipes. It is often hard to choose a favorite hot tea, so we simply must sample them all!




Aveda Tea Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quality of Life Reviewed

How Finn and I View Quality of Life
I have been thinking a lot lately about quality of life—in particular, how you help others live it a few moments at a time.  When you are training a therapy dog for this work, it's natural to reflect on what makes a life more joyous and pleasurable.

I care about both sides of the equation—what brings light into the lives of those whom we visit and what switches it on for the light-bearers.  I am deeply committed to keeping Finn's light shining brightly in ways that take into consideration his overall health, happiness, and well-being.

These days, I find myself spending differently.  It may seem to those who see Finn being carted around in a new dog stroller or trailer that he is being coddled.  In fact, strangers who cross our path often remark that my dog is spoiled.

Finn Teaches Me To Pay Attention To Everything
Isn't that a funny word—spoiled—especially when applied to an animal who previously had almost nothing and who experienced so few, if any, of a dog's normal pleasures?  Those who know Finn, and the way we are forging a life together where his disabilities do not define or limit him, would never use the word spoiled to describe him.  After all, this is a dog who willingly engages in a ministry of caring that requires so much of him.

The things I provide for Finn are not what they seem.  Outwardly, they are mobility devices: things that allow for transport from Point A to Point B.  Far beyond that, his stroller, K9 Cart (wheelchair), and bicycle trailer are really transformers.

When we seek to lift up the voiceless, whether it be a stroke victim, or a rescue animal, perhaps the best we can do is pay deep attention to the nuances, to the glimmers of how they show us what brings them even temporary pleasure.  Mary Oliver, in her typical eloquence, expressed that attention is the beginning of devotion.

As for Finn, he demonstrates to me on a daily basis that his quality of life is wrapped up in mine.  Wherever I am, that is where he wants to be.  I feel the same way.  I hate to be separated from Finn for even an hour of the day.  Without the devices that minimize his physical limitations, and that maximize his strengths, we would have to be apart far more than either of us desires.

Living Large Along the Rio Grande
Our togetherness—our connectedness—is greatly enhanced by the things that allow our energies to be focused on living fully.  As we rode together along the Rio Grande yesterday, Finn and I were totally immersed in living undivided (ala Parker Palmer).  We were being for ourselves what we intend to be for others.

When I first purchased Finn's bicycle trailer, I promised to share more after we had had the opportunity to take it for a spin.  Here is the link to that initial post: 2-in-1 Dog Trailer.  I realize this is not a typical follow-up review.  I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy anything.

As I started writing today's post, and let my heart lead the way, what moved me were the intangibles.  In essence, this trailer represents more than the sum of its parts (or any features I might choose to extol).  It is freedom, it is exhilaration, it is movement in the direction of our dreams.

How we choose to spend our time and money is deeply personal.  Perhaps the most important thing is how we use what we have to offer up a simple, pure devotion.  We don't have to buy anything to do that, but sometimes there is great pleasure to be known in acquiring that which has the capacity to transform the moments that make another's life worth living.

Quality of life is different for each of us.  We can't define what that is for someone else, but we can divine what that is through our deep presence and the cultivation of a listening heart and spirit.  For Finn and I, immersing ourselves in nature is the way we cultivate a spirit of healing.  The beauty is that that spirit can spill over from one life to another.

It is always about beginning and becoming.  As we roll together along new pathways, this therapy dog team is discovering what it means to live and love wholeheartedly.  And, for us, that is true quality of life.








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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two of the Best Products for Alzheimer's Patients: A Product Review

dementia, alzheimers, help for caregivers, tools
Dementia and Alzheimer's are two very real illnesses of our day.   Memory starts to change and we are left with someone who might or might not have the ability to remember.  There are products that can help people who are in the different stages of this disease.  Memory and remembering things are two different sides of Dementia/Alzheimer's.  People that are affected sometimes remember things in the past, like they were yesterday, yet they cannot remember what day it is today.  Taking care of someone who is losing their ability to remember the smallest of tasks, can be terrifying for the person who can't remember and for the family of that person too! If you are a care giver, for someone you love, it is heartbreaking at times.  It's also really hard to come to terms with the changes that we see in the person we knew so well.

I have many friends who are in the same boat and we have found that simple tools can help the person who is having troubles with their memory.  This clock is one of those tools.  It has a nice look to it and will help the person see what day it is, what time and whether it's morning or evening.  A quick look and you are already one step ahead.  It may not seem like much to you and me, but the person who is having difficulty remembering will find this tool useful.  No more answering the same question over and over again.  What day is it?   What time is it?  etc.etc.etc.




Being able to figure out what day it is, seems like a reasonably easy task.  For Alzheimer's patients it is not easy at all.  This clock helps though.  With it's clear, concise display, there will be no doubt what day it is and whether it's morning or evening.  This clock also has the capability to set up to 5 different alarms.  These could be for medications, bathing, or getting ready to go out.  All of the possibilities will depend on your own needs.

The second tool that I would recommend is an Erasable White Board!  



This Board is inexpensive and will give you a great place to write down all those appointments that need to be taken care of.  Doctors appointments, Dentist, going shopping, social times, all of them can be easily written on the board with dates and times so that there is no second guessing about where you are going and what you are doing.  Most Alzheimer's patients are still interested in doing things even though they can't remember at times.

These two tools will make life a little easier for the caregiver.  The clock is #1 and the white board for me is a great #2.  They are not cures, unfortunately there isn't one, but they are solid reminders for the mind that has trouble focusing from one minute to the next.  


Caregivers need as much help as possible when walking down this road with their loved ones.  In some places there are even social clubs where Alzheimer's patients can be taken and they can enjoy an afternoon with others.  These are supervised short term respites that caregivers need to recoup and get themselves back on track. 

In the United States you can find a local chapter of the Alzheimer's Society, where they offer advice, programs and support.  Anyone who is looking after a loved one with Alzheimer's needs all the support they can get!  Check it out at Find your Local Chapter.


In Canada there are also support groups and you can find them online or click on this link: https://www.alz.org/ca/dementia-alzheimers-canada.asp

Alzheimer's is a disease that slowly (or sometimes quickly) changes the ways we deal with our families as they age.  It is frustrating, upsetting, life altering (for everyone), and nothing makes sense anymore.  There is help to deal with this disease and the first part is knowledge and then tools to help you along the way.  The links I've included above have great reading material to help those who haven't yet been touched by this disease, understand it a little better. 

Caring for our loved ones as they age is a beautiful responsibility, but, with Dementia and Alzheimer's, there are extra burdens.  Help yourself and your loved ones by being informed and having the tools around to help you, help them.  

caregivers, dementia, alzheimer's, tools for people with dementia





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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Dawning Voyager Chronicles Book Review

Book One In Fantasy Fiction Series

elaria of the dawning
Maybe Elaria of The Dawning might look like this
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I would like to share another book review with you today. The Dawning is book one in the Voyager Chronicles, Prophecy Series. Written by Julie Embleton, a fellow Indie author, this story falls into the Fantasy Fiction genre and in the sub-genre of Sword and Sorcery. 

As a fan of many of the Fantasy Fiction authors, I was thrilled to find the work of Ms. Embleton to begin reading. She has done a marvelous job of creating a unique world for her story to take place in. I admire the people who can build a different world to tell a story in! Julie Embleton did not disappoint.

The world where Elaria lives is divided into nine realms. Well, actually there are ten but no one wants to talk about that tenth one; it's a bad 'un! It is possible to travel between these realms but not in a way that we are accustomed to. One would have to be Adorned in order to travel and he or she would also need to know where a gate was and have the Gatekeeper let them through the portal. The Adorned are people who either have some sort of magical gift or practice magic in some way. These people with the magic running through them would rather the Unadorned not be aware of their abilities. It isn't looked upon favorably. You will have to read the book to find out why.

A little about Elaria in The Dawning

Over a century ago, a prophecy was made. The Marked One was to be born. This child would be a ruler and would have unique and special Adorned gifts. Solomon, a sorcerer, is to teach this child, guide it, protect it and prepare it. He waits one hundred years or so for the signs that the Marked One has arrived.

Solomon is summoned to the realm where Lynan Castle sits to check on the newborn daughter of the King and Queen. Hidden away, the little Princess has the sovereign couple concerned. Entering the nursery, Solomon witnesses the beautiful baby spinning an object in mid-air and giggling as she does. Little Elaria is showing signs of magical power as an infant of only a few months old. Checking her for the mark, Solomon realizes he will be with this special child for a long time.

As Elaria grows and gets close to her 18th birthday, more of her gifts are revealed. Most of the story takes place around the approaching birthday and her becoming a co-ruler with her father, the King. You know me, I am not a fan of spoilers so I won't go much further in my synopsis. Suffice it to say, Elaria is a very interesting character who I think you will enjoy following as the story unfolds.

The Realms Are Different

Before Solomon goes to Lynan Castle he is in a realm that feels like modern day. Elaria lives in a realm that has more of a medieval feel to it. Modern conveniences do not exist in her realm. Travel is by horse and carriage, guards protect with swords, heat comes from a fireplace. You get the picture.

An Awesome Fantasy Read

I highly recommend The Dawning by Julie Embleton to all of you fantasy fiction fans out there! It was a wonderful book with engaging characters and the plot flows well. I am looking forward to reading book two in the series. I think that I heard that book three will be released later this year. Give this Indie Author a chance, I am certain that you will not be disappointed! 




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We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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