Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner; my review – HaliPawz

I recently had the opportunity to review the Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner.  I had tried the Latisse in the past and was curious about how Revitalash compared to it and did it really work.

Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner tube

Let’s start with what Revitalash really is.  Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner is just what it says it is.  It is an eyelash CONDITIONER.  The company claims, by using it daily, you will have healthier-looking, luxurious lashes as a result.  It was formulated and designed specifically for healthier looking lashes.  It was designed to enhance NATURAL beauty.

Latisse is only available through a prescription.  It is for people who grow inadequate eyelashes or not enough eyelashes.  It helps to grow more hair in the area it is applied.  It was discovered purely by accident.

Back in 2001, Allergan developed a medicated eye drop used to treat ocular hypertension. In addition to successfully lowering eye pressure (the only treatable risk factor for glaucoma), many patients using this medication experienced a side effect — they began to grow longer, fuller and darker lashes.

Latisse is FDA approved, but it has some complications associated with it as well.  Even on their website they warn you about the following

May cause brown darkening of the colored part of the eye which is likely permanent. LATISSE® may cause eyelid skin darkening which may be reversible. Only apply at base of upper lashes. DO NOT APPLY to lower lid. Hair may grow outside the treatment area. If you have eye problems/surgery, consult your doctor. Common side effects include itchy and red eyes. If discontinued, lashes gradually return to previous appearance.

Even with those warnings, I have to admit, I wanted to try Latiss so I had a doctor I worked with at the time write me a prescription for it.  The pharmacy at Sam’s Club had the best price on it, and I took it home to try it. The instructions where a little complicated.  You had to use a new applicator each time for each eye.  I started out doing it correctly and lasted about 2 – 3 weeks, but then I would forget, or I wouldn’t have the time.  Eventually, I just stopped doing it all together.  I did not have any of the side effects mentioned, I applied it correctly, it just became too much of a pain just to have nicer, longer, eyelashes.

Fast forward to recently when I had an opportunity to try Revitalash.  My first thought was, NO THANK YOU!  Been there, done that!  The person I was talking to stopped me.  He listed to me complain about Latisse and promised me this would be so much easier.  He said I would love it.  I reluctantly agreed to try it but in my mind I thought….this is going to be a waste.  FULL DISCLOSURE…..I was given the sample for FREE.  Now he knew I was already going to be against it and didn’t have high hopes, but I want to make sure it is documented I did not pay for the sample.  While I was waiting for the sample to arrive I googled some before and after pictures.  I tend to not believe before and after pictures all the time because I believe they can be photo-shopped too easily.  The pictures always seem to be on perfect faces!  My face isn’t perfect.  I’m overweight, I’m blotchy at times without makeup.  I knew without a doubt I would take REAL pictures to show the difference if there were any.

Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner Application Directions

When the product arrived, I read the instructions.  Seem’s pretty simple.  Of course, when I was starting out, I was so careful.  I would use some OCuSoft Plus Lid Scrubs to clean both eyes, wait for that to dry, and then apply the Revitalash.  I set an alarm on my phone to go off at 10pm each night, so I wouldn’t forget to do it.  As time went on, I realized I was making it too hard for myself.  Now I have the tube in my toothbrush holder.  I step out of the shower, I apply the Revitalash, then brush my teeth.  The lashes are dry by the time I’m finished and I can apply my makeup as usual.  It takes maybe 20-30 seconds to apply it the way I’m doing now, so much easier then when I was doing the Latisse.

When I started, my eyelashes were ok. They weren’t horribly short, but I think every female wants longer, fuller lashes.  If I can get longer, fuller lashes without dealing with fake eyelashes, I would be happy!

Eyelashes at the beginning before using Revitalash. February 2016

Over the months of using the product, I went out of town a few times and was pleased with how easy the Revitalash travels.  I just threw it in my makeup bag and kept the same routine, hop out of the shower, apply the conditioner to my lashes, then brush my teeth.  I always kept it close to my toothbrush, even while traveling.  There was a small time, around June where I didn’t do the Revitalash for about 3 weeks.  It was right before I switched to putting it by my toothbrush, I would just keep forgetting to use it.

Here are some pictures over the months…..As you can see from the splotchy makeup here and there and the mascara remnants, I did not use any filters on the pictures or touch them up in any way unless I indicated as such in the picture.Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 993

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 0990Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 0998

 

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 1327

March 31, 2016

March 31, 2016

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 1303

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 4333

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 4335

July 28, 2016

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 4362Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 4320

 

July 28, 2016 with mascara

July 28, 2016 with mascara

July 28, 2016 without Mascara

 

 

October 11, 2016

October 11, 2016

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5080Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5064

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditionerEyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5067img_5125

 

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5007

There was a filter used on this picture

Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5113Eyelashes after using Revitalash Advanced eyelash conditioner 5118

In every picture where you see the words “with mascara” I was careful to use the same type of mascara so the pictures would reflect true changes.  I used:

VOLUM’ EXPRESS® THE FALSIES® BIG EYES® WATERPROOF MASCARA

.  They have a different brush for the lower lashes and the upper lashes.  I am not the neatest when it comes to applying make-up, as you can see from the pictures.  I get the mascara blotchy at times, but I do try to be careful.  I found this mascara to be easy to use and had a nice effect when I used it.

 

Overall, I have to say I have been very happy with the Revitalash Advanced Eyelash conditioner.  I believe it does make my eyelashes longer, fuller, and I have noticed I don’t have as many falling out.  They feel great.  They seem to hold the mascara better when I do use it.  If you want longer, healthier, fuller eyelashes, available WITHOUT a prescription and without any of the negative side effects, I would recommend trying this.

If you do try it, let me know what you think about it!

Carginia Cambogia, my experience with it -HaliPawz

I am trying to lose weight.  I was at the doctor’s office, stepped on the scale, and was saddened by the weight they were recording.  I had gotten off track and it wasn’t good. I’ve always been overweight. Sometimes it bothers me, most of the time it doesn’t but this time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to do something NOW. I really needed something to help me kick-start my weight loss. I had read about Garcinia Cambogia before but honestly, I thought it was a gimmick so I brushed it off. I went back and started doing more research.  It seemed to have mixed reviews. One thing that seemed consistent in all my reading is the purity of the product really made a difference.  I looked at the product at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart but it was only 50% pure.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have been using Amazon more and found a product that claimed to be 95% pure and had a 4 star rating based on over 1600 reviews. I decided to dig a little deeper about this product.  Let’s face it, they couldn’t buy that many positive reviews. It was worth reading a few of them.

I was pleased with the reviews, found them to be credible, and decided it would be worth the $20 to try it. I spoke with a co-worker who decided she wanted to try it as well, so we ordered two bottles.

The day I placed the order, I decided to start watching my caloric intake before the product arrived.  I logged into the My Fitness Pal app and updated all of my information. It calculated my daily allowance of calories at 1732 based on my current weight with a desire to lose 2 lbs per week with a sedentary lifestyle.  I decided I was going to start realistically and then any exercise I did would just be a bonus.

About 2-3 days after ordering, I received an informative email telling me how to get the most out of the product.  It stated to take 1-2 pills 45-60 minutes before eating on an empty stomach. Of course, my skeptical mind thought….oh sure, just a gimmick to get me to buy more because my “month supply” just turned into a 15 day supply if I wanted to “Maximize” my results.  I decided it didn’t matter, I was going to follow their instructions and track my results.

The product arrived and I started taking it on February 24, 2016. The bottle looked just like the pictures.


The capsules were fairly easy to swallow. The only complaint I have is, since they are gel capsules, they sometimes seem to lodge themselves in your throat and you have to drink 2+ glasses of water to get them down.  This doesn’t happen all of the time and I can’t explain why it happens sometimes and doesn’t others.

I knew I was stopping at Chipotle for dinner so I didn’t really eat lunch that day.  I had a handful of cashews with sea salt for lunch.  I needed extra calories because I wanted to be able to have chips with my dinner!  I took 2 pills in the parking lot, went in to order dinner, then headed home. To be honest, I didn’t notice a lot of difference.  I ate my normal Chipotle meal. I was full when I was done, but I usually am. (Side note….I LOVE Chipotle and could eat it 1-2 times a week…am I the only one who wishes they have a “frequent diner” type card?)  To be fair, I had only waited about 35 minutes because I didn’t want my food to get cold.

The next day, we had a meeting at lunchtime and we were having Panera.  I ordered a salad along with some Macaroni & cheese.  I took 2 capsules 45 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start.  It ended up starting a little later, so I was closer to the hour before I started eating my salad.  I finished my salad and started on the macaroni & cheese.  I couldn’t even eat half of the first container! (Panera puts the to go Mac & Cheese in 2 containers). I was shocked.  I closed it up and put the two containers in the refrigerator.

After the meeting, I went back to work and had no desire to snack on anything during the afternoon.

Over the weeks, I tried diligently to keep my calorie count under my daily goal. I tracked every mint, every tootsie roll, etc. I still drank my Coke, I stillate my Chipotle and chips, I would still stop at Culvers….but I also cooked more at home, made smart decisions to balance my calories for the day.  I would have 1 day a week where I wasn’t as careful and would have about 2000-2200 calories but I would also have days where I only had 800 calories.  For the most part, I stayed around 1500 calories.

Some things I noticed during those times….I didn’t have cravings.  I wasn’t starving, even on the days I did the lower calorie counts.  I would balance the number of pills I took based on the size of the meal I was going to eat.  For example, if I was going to sit down and eat a full size meal, I would take two pills, but if I was just going to run through McDonalds and order a Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap, I would only take one. I do have to say, if you need something quick and tasty, those are one of the best 350 calorie items.  They are tasty, they are filling.  You can also order them grilled for a few less calories.   I think by balancing the pills, planning my meals, I was able to maximize on the effectiveness of them.

One day in particular was especially evident.  I had been taking the pills for 3 1/2 weeks and noticed some pleasant changes:

Saturday March 19, 2016

I spent the day with friends at Horsefest in Springfield, MO. I took my pills but I did not take them while I was there due to time constraints with meals and just not planning efficiently. I had also decided I wasn’t going to track my calories for the day. Here are a few things I noticed.  I wasn’t in the back of the pack struggling to keep up with my friends.  We went down a flight of stairs to look at some vendors and I noticed when I climbed back up them I wasn’t winded or felt like it was a struggle to do so.  Does this mean I am gaining more lean muscle like it claims? I’m not sure. What I do know is I felt better about myself and my movements.

We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (you can read about a previous experience here) and yes, I ate a few of the rolls. I said I wasn’t keeping a calorie count for the day, I was out with friends and I wanted to enjoy myself.  The interesting thing is….I wasn’t able to finish my steak dinner! I took about half of it home. In the past I would have ate 3-4 rolls AND finished my steak.  The less meat consumption was even with me not taking any pills all day, so it is obvious my stomach has shrunk slightly. Even with the additional calories and not taking the pills, I only gained 2.2lbs from the day before.  I will admit though, I had a difficult time losing those 2.2 lbs.  Seemed to take me 3-4 days.  Makes me wonder if it would have been that difficult if I had taken the pills before eating that large of a meal.
Here are the results after taking for 4 weeks (28 days) exactly.

14.6 Lbs lost

2.5 Inches lost in my waist

1 Inch lost in my hips

0.4 Inches lost in my neck (no clue why My Fitness Pal tracks the neck but it does)

Now, those changes aren’t overwhelming, by any means….but they were done simply by taking the Garcinia Cambosia and watching my caloric intake on a track designed for 2 pounds of weight loss per week. I wasn’t perfect with that track. I probably had 6 cheat days, including one where I drank a can of Coke and ate 5 Girl Scout caramel delight cookies….and let me tell you, they WERE a delight! But I paid for it in the calories that day!


So I consider inches lost and pounds reduced to be a win. I am continuing with the Carginia Cambosia.  I am getting ready to spend a week in Orlando, going to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World where I do not plan on watching my calories as closesly as I have been, but I do plan on continuing with the Garcinia Cambosia.

I have also recently read that they work better when you pair them with Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract which I have decided to order from Amazon.  I did see some at Wal-Mart where the percents were too off, so I will be trying them while I’m away but won’t share my true experiences until I have tried the strong, purer, product.  I will be sure to share them.

I do want to say at the time I am posting this, I have currently lost 19.8lbs.  I wish it was more, but again, for only taking a little over 4 weeks and not including any major exercise, I am pleased with the results.
Have you personally tried Garcinia Cambosia? Have you tried the Green Coffee Bean Extract?   I would love to hear your experiences, both good and bad.

 

When your voice goes from falling on deaf ears to being heard; a review of the movie Suffragette – HaliPawz

I am guilty of not thinking a lot about the rights I have as a woman.  I know there are countries where women do not enjoy the freedom I have here in the United States and I feel for them but I have never really truly thought about what the women before me went through in order for me to have the rights I enjoy today.  I received an email telling me I had passes to the screening of the movie Suffragette at the Alamo Drafthouse.  I always enjoy having a reason to go there so I looked up the back story of the movie.  It was based on a true story and about women fighting for the right to vote.  Sounded interesting so I was looking forward to going.

My day got away from me at work and I almost decided to not go because I was late getting home.  I changed into some jeans and a sweatshirt and headed out, hoping I would be able to get a seat still.  (When you get passes to a screening, it is first come, first seat, so if you arrive late, you might not be able to get a seat).  I didn’t think it would be an “in demand” movie so I figured I would get a seat, I was just hoping it would be a decent one.  Sadly, there were a lot of empty seats.  I say sadly because the movie was good.  It was better than I expected.  It moved me.  It made me appreciative of what I enjoy today.  It made me think back to that time, to a time when women had no rights and it truly made me realize it wasn’t about the right to vote, it was about the right to be free to speak, to think, to have a voice when your voice fell on deaf ears.  While the movie was set in England, the lack of respect was not limited to England, it transcended throughout the world.

When we live in a time where courts give such a huge preference to the mothers of children, even when the mother isn’t really fit to be a parent, it’s hard to imagine a time when women did not have that luxury.  A time when a child could be taken from the mother with no one thinking anything about it.  If the father didn’t want the mother to be part of the child’s life, he had that right, because the courts saw the child as his property.

It went beyond the fact that women worked harder than some of the men and only made a third of what the men earned.  It showed the bosses had the right to treat the women any way they wanted.  Not only did the courts look the other way, but husbands would even look the other way, because the money was needed for the household.  It was OK for the women of the poor to work and be treated in such a horrible way, but not OK for them to want a voice, want a say.

Women had no rights in prison.  They could be arrested for “unlawful assembly” and be detained for weeks, months, even years without proof.  If they were viewed as “trouble makers” they were watched and arrested with little to no actual proof.  Barbaric measures were used on them in prison with no one thinking twice about them.

Girls as young as 12 could be married.  Once they were married, they had no rights or any say in anything that happened to them, to their property, to their money, or even to their children.  It did not matter if they married rich or were working woman poor, their rights were non existent.

Carey Mulligan, who plays Maud Watts, a wife and mother who had no desire to be a Suffragette but was pulled in and became a voice when she started to see the true reason behind the movement.  She did a great job of drawing you into the film, into her character.  You felt her pain, you felt her sadness, you felt her loss when her world was crumbling around her.

All of the women in the movie did an amazing job.  It was raw, it was moving.  They had a story to tell and they told the story.  There were moments you laughed.  There were moments your heart broke.  It isn’t a movie about emotional highs and lows though.  It was about helping the audience connect to the story, to get immersed in the story. Meryl Streep, who plays Emmeline Pankhurst has a small part, but her part shows the length, the strength, the depths these women were willing to go to in order to get their voices heard.

To understand that these women were peacefully protesting for 50 years before they took more radical measures as the movie showcases was so surprising to me.  I never knew how long of a fight women fought for the rights we have today but then to think about the fights that are still happening when it comes to wage equality and position equality within some companies.

So, while I went to watch a movie to write a review, I left with a new understanding of history.  History that affects me directly.  History that affects women all over the world directly.  I have always been a supporter of all people having equal rights.  I have said over and over, as long as a person isn’t bringing harm to themselves, children, animals, or others, then they should have the same rights as the person next to them.  It isn’t until everyone accepts the equality measure that this world we live in will truly be equal.

I encourage you to go and see the movie, it isn’t a “feminist” movie, it is a movie about passion for what is right, passion for justice.  I think everyone can walk away with an understanding much clearer than the little bit we learned in history class.

The Fight is definitely not over.

Coke with Lemon, Lemon with Lemon, Lemon with Peppermint…fun with Giambri’s porous candy sticks – HaliPawz

I love social media when used in the right way.  I saw a story on Facebook a few weeks ago about a Baltimore, Maryland treat consisting of a lemon and a peppermint stick.  I had never heard of this!  It sounded interesting.  A social media win, telling us about a local treat I might not have heard of had it not been for Facebook.  I began a search to explore more about this delicious sounding treat.  It seemed pretty simple.  You take a lemon, slice off about a 1/3 from the top, put an x in the center of it, and insert a porous peppermint stick.  Of course, the most difficult thing about the instructions is finding the porous peppermint stick.  This isn’t the same as a candy cane, as they are made differently.

I went back to Facebook for a minute and a suggested page (based on my search of the lemon stick)  was for Giambri’s Quality Sweets.  I had never heard of them, so I went to look at their page.  They sold the porous peppermint sticks, but in addition to that, they were featuring their porous lemon sticks.  They advertised putting these sticks in a lemon, just like the peppermint sticks, or in iced tea or your favorite summer drink.  It started me thinking…..I LOVE LOVE LOVE a nice cold glass of Coca-Cola with a lemon wedge, I started drinking it this way when I visited Germany and it’s how I’ve ordered it in a restaurant ever since….how would the porous lemon stick taste in the glass of coke?

I emailed Giambri’s and asked them if they would consider sending me a couple lemon sticks as well as a couple of peppermint sticks for me to try and then write about.  I was thrilled when they emailed me back stating they would! After giving them my address, I patiently waited for them to arrive. I liked that Giambri’s uses natural flavors.  It appears to be a candy that works for people allergic to other candies.

The first thing I noticed was how well packaged the product was. The black paper with their company sticker is a nice touch.  It’s like a present waiting to be opened!  In addition, the sticks are wrapped in bubble wrap, packing peanuts fill the box, and there is an single use cooler pack at the bottom to keep them in premium quality condition until they arrive at their destination.  I’m sure it also helps cushion the sticks.

Candy, dry ice

Giambri’s Quality Sweets packaging with label

porous candy

Giambri’s Peppermint and Lemon Stick

The sticks themselves were a little shorter than I envisioned.  The description says they are about 4″ long, but until you see them, you don’t quite know how long that is!  The color on them is vibrant. They looked fun!  I was excited to try them!

The first thing I wanted to try was a glass of Coke with the lemon stick.  As I am at my mom’s house right now, I went on the search for the perfect glass.  I didn’t take the size of the stick into account because I ended up getting a glass too tall.  I think, if I was to have them in the future, I would maybe use a wine glass or champagne glass.  I think it would work better.

Glass of Coca Cola with Giambri's Lemon Stick for a straw

Glass of Coca Cola with Giambri’s Lemon Stick for a straw

When I took the first sip, it was a little difficult to get a sip through.  As I sipped slowly, I noticed the cola started flowing through the stick easier and I could taste the lemon more.  The lemon flavor was very rich, without being overpowering.  As you can see, the glass is tall, so the stick fell down into the soda after a few minutes.  When I pulled it back out to continue using, the stick was pretty sticky!  Since I was at home, I didn’t care; I just re-positioned it, washed my hands, and kept using it.  It made a great straw.  I decided to let it sit in the coke for a few minutes to see what happened.  The stick started to break down.  It broke in my lips when I went to take a sip again.  I ate that part and just pulled the stick up to keep using.  Within minutes, the stick broke up and I wasn’t able to use it anymore.  While the flavor was great and it was a fun way to get my lemon flavor with my coke, I think the acidity in the coke was too much for the candy straw.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Would I try different beverages?  Of course!  I could imagine using the stick to drink lemonade, pink lemonade, even my favorite alcoholic beverage; Kinky Vodka and Lemonade would taste great with the stick.  I could see using them as straws when hosting a fun, adult summer party.

Next try was the Lemon with the Peppermint stick, also known as “Lemon Sticks”

Giambri

Lemon Stick; Lemon with Peppermint Stick

As I mentioned earlier, it’s pretty easy.  You cut the top 1/3 of the lemon off.  I rolled the lemon on the counter with my palm before cutting, to make the lemon a little juicier.  I cut a small slit in the top of the lemon, right in the middle, then inserted the peppermint stick into the lemon.  I squeezed the lemon just a little bit as I sipped on the stick. Wow was I not ready for that taste!  I am sure glad there was no one with a camera near me.  I tasted the sweetness of the peppermint stick and the tartness of the lemon….but I did not think they blended well at all!  OK, surely I did something wrong. I double checked all of the sources and nope, I did it exactly like it said.  My mom asked me how I liked it and I handed it to her to try.  The face she made said it all!  Perhaps our Midwest palettes are not meant for this famous treat.  I was through the lemon pretty quickly so I decided to try another one.  Maybe it was just the lemon.  Ummm, nope, not the lemon.  It was not good in my opinion.  The funny thing is, I kept trying it!  My mom tried the second lemon and she felt the same way.  They were messy.  The peppermint stick got extremely sticky.  The lemon juice fell down the side.  I had a couple of napkins under it, but I just didn’t feel like it was a fun, tasty treat.

My mom had the great idea to try to add just a little sugar to the lemon.  What did it hurt?  I went and took a teaspoon of sugar and placed it around the peppermint stick, letting it fall down into the lemon.  It was actually better!  Is it still a treat I would seek out and pay for?  No.  It just didn’t work for me like it does for so many others.

Next I’m on to the Lemon Stick with the Lemon.  I’m pretty sure I’ll have to try it first without sugar and then with sugar because I’m anticipating a similar reaction.

Lemon with the Lemon Stick 

I was prepared for this one.  I had a few ideas and some trepidation.  I wanted to love it because of how much I love lemonade, especially carnival style lemonade, but I was concerned I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.  I had my lemon ready, preparing it the same way, for maximum juiciness, cut the slit, inserted the lemon stick, and prepared to drink.  It was good.  Not the “dance around the room” good, but the two tastes mixed ok. Adding my Plan B, I had another lemon with just a drizzle of sugar over it ready and waiting.  I inserted the stick in that one one really liked the flavor.  It was the best of all the worlds.  It had the grittiness of the carnival lemonade, the tartness from the lemon, and the sweetness from the candy stick.  

Lemon with Lemon Stick

  I was very happy with the result as far as taste but, again, it was messy.  It was difficult to get the juice out. If you squeezed it slightly, then the juice ran all down your hand. The stick doesn’t stay in place after a while or you find yourself swishing it around like a straw to get more juice, which results in a sticky mess or breakage. 

Once I was frustrated with the running lemon juice and the sticky candy, I quickly made a glass of carnival style lemonade with ice, sugar, water, and the two lemons I had been trying to drink, put the candy stick in it, and drank it that way. YUM!!! If only those sticks were a little longer, I could have had a nice tall glass of lemonade using it as a straw! Instead, I used a wine glass. It worked! 

Now, to talk about the candy separate from the lemons. My favorite, by far, was the lemon stick.  It has such a rich lemony flavor that is authentic.  Too many lemon candies leave you feeling like you are eating candy. With Giambri’s Lemon Stick, you get a smooth lemon flavor; how is that even possible??? It is! I can honestly say I will order these again just to have as candy and probably more Coca Cola straws! I just wish they were longer for that! 

The peppermint stick is good.  It we hadn’t been in such a crazy heat wave here in Missouri I probably would have made a cup of hot chocolate and sipped it through the stick. I love peppermint hot chocolate.  I have not jumped on the iced hot chocolate bandwagon so I may purchase some peppermint sticks in the winter to try.  The peppermint flavor was bold. It was a nice flavor. I was disappointed I didn’t like it with the lemon, but it’s not for everyone.  I’m not a peppermint alone type person too much, so I don’t know if I would go out of my way to purchase them. If you like peppermint candies, I highly recommend trying these. 

My favorite, between the two, is clearly the lemon. What I can say based on my experience with them and the quality I tasted is they ARE quality! I would guess any flavor purchased would be true to the flavor, would hold up well, and would be a fun treat for all ages. 

I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on their experience with Giambri’s or the lemon stick phenomenon. Leave me a comment. 

Thank you again to Giambri’s for letting me try your delicious candies! I will be ordering more lemon ones soon! 

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Hyundai Elantra, my latest Hertz Rental Car – HaliPawz

As my summer with mom draws to a close, it was time for me to head back to Kansas City, Missouri from Port Huron, Michigan. I rented a car from Hertz like I normally do. I wasn’t as happy this time about the rental price, but that is another story. I had picked the group “Toyota Corolla or similar” and ended up with a 2015 Hyundai Elantra.  I have some question about the Elantra and the Corolla being in the same class, but Hertz, like any rental car, is never specific enough to give you an true answer and it wasn’t so far off that I feel like complaining again to them.

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Let’s talk about this car for a minute. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that it is a nice looking car. I’m really more of an SUV/truck person in general, but I do appreciate a decent looking car at a good value. The car has a nice sleek look to it. When I got in to drive away, I was impressed with the amount of legroom when you put the seat all the way back. I’m 5 foot 10, so plenty of legroom, especially for a long drive, is very important.  I still don’t like how low it is to the ground, like I mentioned in a previous rental review, but again, I’m used to being higher up in my mini suv.

Headed to my moms to pick up my luggage I didn’t have a real chance to check the vehicle out, as it is a straight shot on a normal road. The brakes were crazy intense though! I barely tapped them and the car jolted to a stop!

When I start loading the luggage, I was impressed with the amount of trunk space there was. I am not the neatest packer, especially on car road trips. As long as everything can shove in the trunk I am happy! Because of this, I appreciate ample trunk space. I fit my suitcase, a duffle bag, a baby gate (for the dogs), a 30 pound bag of dog food, two tie outs, the dog’s travel bag, my laptop bag, a pair of shoes, some miscellaneous small bags,  and a big Sam’s Club thermal tote with some food in it.

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Hyundai Elantra Trunk filled with stuff

Since it’s a rental, I covered all of the seats in sheets and blankets.  Filled the dogs water cooler and put it in the back, on the floor.  Loaded the dogs up and we were on our way.

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

The backseat must not be too bad, because Bella was not as restless as she was on the trip six weeks ago in the rental car. She only wanted her head out the window for about two minutes and then settled in on the seat and fell asleep. Zipper crashed in his normal place on the floor of the backseat.

When I first hit the expressway, I was a little concerned as the car seemed to want to sway back-and-forth quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so I wasn’t really sure what caused it. All I knew was it was going to be a long drive if it continued. After a while, I began to think maybe it was me, because it seemed to get better as we drove along. There is an interesting feature I found on the car, you can choose what mode you want to drive it. The options are normal, Sport, and Comfort. I’m not going to lie, I played with it a few different times on the road, and I honestly couldn’t see that much of a difference. The steering wheel might be a little tighter in sport mode but it was very minimal.

I have to drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri pretty down pat. I usually know where I’m going to have to stop, I know when I’m a third of the way, I know when I’m half way, especially when I’m doing the drive overnight. As I was crossing Michigan, I was on the phone and realized that I had already been on the road about four hours and the gas tank was still at half a tank. I couldn’t believe it!  I made it all the way from My mom’s house, to Kanake, Illinois before I had to stop!  It wasn’t because I needed gas, it’s because my bladder gave out before the gas did. It only took 10 gallons to fill it back up and we were back on the road. I noticed I still had 447 miles to go until I reached my home, and the car was saying I had 417 miles to empty. Had I waited another half an hour, I would’ve only needed to fill the vehicle up once for a 12 hour drive! That is pretty impressive. In looking at the gauges I averaged about 36.8 to 38.4 miles per gallon.  Not too bad.

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Hyundai Elantra Gauge showing 36.8 mpg

Hertz, Rental Car, Travel

Notice the angle of the edges on the driver’s seat of this Hyundai Elantra

As I have mentioned before, I am not a small woman. The seats were not the most comfortable in my opinion. The edges kind of dug into my outer thighs a little bit so I found myself shifting a lot. Perhaps if I had a vehicle with power seats, it might have been a  little better because I could have raised them up a little, but I doubt it. I found myself sliding down in the seat quite often and then having to shift myself back up. It’s just not comfortable when you’re wearing a pair shorts! Another complaint I had which I have often in cars, is the position of the center armrest and the side armrest; there is no comfortable way for me to rest my arm on it while I’m driving. They were both way too low. I found myself bringing my left leg up and resting my arm on it while I kept my hand on the steering wheel.

For some reason I don’t seem to like the cruise control on this vehicle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I was constantly tapping my break and shutting it off and then driving with my foot on the gas again. I hit a little bit of rain at one point in the drive, and the vehicle handled it pretty well. I had control of the vehicle at all times.

***A little safety tip… Never ever ever use your cruise control when it is sprinkling, raining, snowing, icy, etc.!  It is not safe.***

Okay, back to the review!

The headlights were weird. I know that sounds strange, but I had difficulty figuring out if my lights were on or not!  I drove at least an hour and a half to two hours with just my parking lights on until it got dark enough for me to realize I didn’t have my actual headlights on. What threw me off was it looked like they came on automatically because the dashboard lit up a little differently when I got dusk but it didn’t look like any lights were on the outside so then I flipped the switch and saw a slight change on my dash and what I thought were lights on the car but then, like I said, it was only my parking lights!  Oops! Oh well I eventually figured it out.

The mirrors on the side are very nice, they are a good size, and the driver side has a little mirror insert in the upper left hand corner so you can see the road from two different perspectives.

The gauge lighting is nice, you have a clear indication of your fuel, you can toggle between your trip Miles, your miles per gallon, how many miles to empty, what your average rate of speed is, and how long you have been on this trip. It was easy to reset each one of them when I  started my trip. As I am a huge fan of the color blue, I was happy to see that most of the lights on the dash were a nice navy blue tone. Accented with white or a lighter shade of blue depending on which one you were looking at.

The steering wheel has a nice assortment of gauges on it including your cruise control your emotions to go between the different styles of driving, your trip information and you can quickly reset it from your steering well. I was surprised to not see any radio controls on the steering wheel, not sure if that is an option that can be added on different models or not.  The one thing I found weird though was that the controls were all on one side, so when you’re driving at night, it just didn’t look symmetrical.  If you have a case of OCD, I’m sure it would annoy you a little!

It has a sunglass holder up near the roof along with nice lights that are easily accessible and easy to turn on for the interior, I know they’re easy to turn on because Bella‘s big head turned them on more than once when she decided to walk around a little bit and try to move to the front seat!  I said try, because she wasn’t successful, but she did hit the light!

You have a 12 V plug along with a USB plug and in auxiliary plug all at your fingertips. The USB plug is a very nice touch. There is a small area to the right of the plug to put a few things. I put my Bolle` sunglass case in it though and it pretty much filled up the area, so it isn’t very big. The center armrest also opens up for additional storage, but I don’t like to put things in there for a rental car because I don’t want to forget them.  There is another 12v plug just off to the right so a passenger could also plug something in.  I forgot to look to see if any were in the back seat or not.

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

All in all, even with being uncomfortable seats, for a rental car on a long trip I would definitely choose it again if given the option because I loved the gas mileage and how little I spent on gas for the trip. I just need to either lose weight, or make sure I’m wearing jeans the next time! LOL

Both Zipper and Bella were able to fit their head out of the same window when we were closer to home!

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Bella and Zipper sticking their head out of the rental car Hyundai Elantra

Hertz, Hyundai, Elantra, Travel

Bella and Zipper happy to be home after 15 hours in a car. You can see the water cooler on the floor behind them.

Would I purchase the car?  No, it would be too uncomfortable for me long term, but for one or two people (or skinny people) renting a car, it might be a good choice.

I hope this review helps you! Share your comments and thoughts if you have this car or have driven one?

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Can Glucosamine and Chondroitin help the severly arthritic? – HaliPawz

Sam's Club

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my mom has been down visiting me for a while again this summer.  Being a writer, my schedule is a little more flexible than my siblings and I try to make sure she has a good time while she is down here.  My mom has suffered from arthritis for as long as I can remember.  Of course, as she has aged, it has become worse.  She now walks with the assistance of a walker, a motorized scooter for long distances, and is in pain almost all of the time.  As a daughter, I hate knowing she is in pain.  I am always trying to research ways to improve her life and minimize some of the pain.  At the stage she is in, most things I read says there is nothing to help her other than pain management.  There were some studies that showed medical marijuana might help, but she was not willing to even consider that and I don’t think my siblings were too keen on her trying it, so I kept moving.

Back in 2013, I started working with a new trainer for my horse and Luke would have “clicking” sounds when he worked.  My trainer said I should put him on Glucosamine and Chondroitin and see if it helped.  Within a month, the clicking was gone.  Of course, some say it was because I was working him on a regular basis so he was stronger, minimizing the clicking.  I believe it had something to do with the Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Because I had hurt my knee when I was younger, I decided to try the supplement for myself after seeing it work with Luke.  I’m not great at taking medication, I often forget, but I did notice my knee didn’t hurt as bad when I remembered to take them.  I purchased them at Sam’s Club because they had an Instant Savings on them and I have the Plus membership, so I saved more money at that time.  I liked their Simply Right brand because it didn’t contain a lot of the fillers, just the glucosomine and chondroitin along with vanilla flavoring to make it easier to swallow.

Sam's Club

Fact Sheet Simply Right Glucosamine Chondroitin

Fast forward to earlier this year, my 4 year old Neapolitan Mastiff, Bella, was stiff every night after a fun afternoon at the dog park.  Don’t let her age fool you, she can run with the 1-3 year old dogs and hold her own.  She loves to play.  I didn’t want to take that away from her but hated to see her in pain at night.  I decided to try some Glucosamine and Chondroitin for her as well.  I ended up changing her food to a dog food with it built right into the food.  For more information on that, feel free to check out an earlier blog.  I also learned turkey neck bones have a lot of natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin in them and are good for dogs to chew on, but because I have another dog at home with food aggression, it was not an option.  I had purchased some dog treats with Glucosamine and Chondroitin built into them and it seemed Bella did even better when she had just a little more in her than what her food provided.  The treats were expensive though, so I hit the internet trying to find out if I could give her pills safe for humans.  It appears that, as long as you don’t use the ones with additional fillers and by products in them, they are safe for dogs.

Week 1 – We are at the first week.  While I told her she had to try it for a full three weeks before we would determine if it is helping her at all or not, I still wanted to see if she had noticed any changes as all.  It has been an extremely rainy time down here.  I think it has rained almost every day.  She said she noticed her hands haven’t been sore or swollen feeling.  This is pretty huge because she has actually talked to her doctor about her hands they would hurt so much the day before it rained.  He prescribed her some ultraced  to help with the pain and she hasn’t had to take one all week.  It’s too soon to tell if it’s due to the Glucosamine and Chondroitin or just due to the fact she is in a different climate and more hydrated than she is at home.  I don’t think she drinks enough water when she’s home alone, I make sure she has something to drink all day.

Week 2 – So, here it is, a full two weeks into my trial period and I ask my mom how she’s feeling.  So far, her hands have only hurt her one night out of the full two weeks and it has rained almost every day here.  I asked her how her shoulders were feeling and she said they don’t hurt, but they don’t normally hurt.  I was surprised by this comment because she is always complaining her shoulders hurt!  She has had surgery in them and has very little ability to reach over her head now.  I noticed she was reaching for a glass in one of my cupboards because I forgot to leave one down in the dish strainer for her.  I asked her if it hurt for her to do that. She paused and checked both shoulders and said no, it didn’t hurt when she reached up!  I thought that was a good sign.

We will finish the full three weeks and get final thoughts.

Week 3 – A full three weeks of the Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Not a lot of difference between week 2 and week 3.  Her biggest surprise is her hands.  She said they just don’t hurt.  I waited a couple weeks before finalizing this to ask her and she has decided to continue taking them.  Her biggest complaint is the size of the pills.  They are pretty big.  Is it a HUGE difference, and miracles happened?  No, but I know her hands have led her to take pain pills before, so if we can eliminate even that pain, to her, it appears to be worth it.

As I said, I know it has helped me personally with my knees when I take it every day.  If I start missing a few days, then it seems like it takes days for it to start working again.

My suggestion is, try it for three to four weeks.  See if you notice anything different.  You’re only out the cost of one bottle, but if they do work, the price is worth it!

Let me know about your experiences with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, I would love to hear other opinions, both good and bad.

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Quality Inn and Suites, Bloomington, IL – HaliPawz

As mom’s summer adventure with me draws to an end, we begin the fun task of getting her back to Michigan.  While it is only a 13 hour drive, I have learned it is better for her to stop half way to rest then it is to try to make it the whole way if we leave later in the day.  She had an appointment at 9:30 am on the day we were heading out, so I knew we would not get out until the late morning / early afternoon.  We ended up staying the night in the Quality Inn & Suites in Bloomington, Illinois.

Bloomington, Illinois is about half way so it is a good place to stop. As I have mentioned before, LaQuinta tends to be my first “GoTo” hotel. The LQ in Bloomington has disappointed me personally once before and then, on the trip down, we were reminded how horrible they are from an ADA (American’s with Disabilities) standpoint if you choose to stay in a non ADA room.  My biggest complaint with most hotel chains is they do not have ADA rooms with two beds. So any parent traveling with a child who may need this have to “throw a cot” in there or, as in my case, two adults traveling together have to pay for two rooms or if we want to save money and share a room, mom doesn’t get the benefits of the ADA facilities.  It’s fine for one night, but if it was more than one, we would probably have to go with a more expensive hotel chain or get two rooms.  I have written LaQuinta about this and was assured they were working to correct it and every location would have at least one ADA room with a roll in shower and two beds by the end of the year (two years ago) so clearly that has not happened.  Back to my dilemma for THIS trip….I needed a dog friendly hotel my mom could use.  The LaQuinta in Bloomington was out because their non-ADA rooms have a weird bathroom layout where the toilet is in a corner.  You can’t get the walker in there and the toilets themselves are extremely low.  She had difficulty getting up and without the walker to help or handles, it is horrible for her! I don’t understand WHY hotels continue to use the low toilets.  If they would just put ADA height toilets in every room, it would be easier.  I went through and switched all of mine to ADA height, even the ones my mom won’t use.  I love them!

But again, back to the review on THIS hotel……We ended up here because they advertised their dog friendly rooms and when I called, they had an ADA room with two queen size beds.  Worked for us.  I broke the review down into sections to make it easier for the ADA traveler, the Pet Traveler, the every day traveler, etc.

Rooms:

Our room was pretty spacious and I don’t think it was just because of the ADA portion. It seems like they would all be similar.  Sometimes in hotels in this price point and older styles, the rooms are a little cramped.  Not the case.  The rooms were clean, well laid out with the two beds, a desk, refrigerator, dresser, and a chair.  While the room was clean, I can’t say they are well maintained everywhere.  The dresser had two broken handles.  It had an older feel to it, except the shower! The shower looked like it had been renovated and were featuring Quality Inn’s “Q Shower” which includes a nicer shower head with multiple spray settings, premium bath amenities, curved shower rod for extra room, and a shower curtain with a sheer window for extra light.  The shower itself had a nice granite look to it.  You could tell it had recently been changed. I will address the ADA standpoints in a separate section towards the bottom of the post.

Q Shower at Quality Inn & Suites Bloomington, Illinois

Q Shower at Quality Inn & Suites Bloomington, Illinois


Q Shower Amenities


Breakfast:

The breakfast was pretty impressive for a hotel in this price point.

Three types of eggs; scrambled, hard boiled, and over easy (round to fit on a biscuit or muffin)

Waffles: Original and Blueberry. I would have preferred the spray to keep them from sticking, but not bad. Syrup was on every table. I appreciate little touches like that.

Biscuits and gravy (my mom, who is somewhat easy to please said they were so/so)

Fresh donuts

Bread, biscuits, bagels, and muffins

3 different types Cereal

Apples

Yogurt

Orange, Apple, and Cranberry Juice

Water

Skim milk & 2% milk

Plenty of peanut butter, cream cheese, jellies, and honey

Fitness Room:

They converted a room into a fitness room.  It has three pieces of equipment. Enough for you to get a decent workout in but nothing extensive. To be fair, I looked at it to comment, but I did not use it.

Swimming Pool:

It is an outdoor pool. I didn’t swim this trip, but saw others swimming. It looked clean, decent size.

A nice touch is it has a chair lift so anyone needing assistance into the pool would be able to utilize it with minimal effort.  Again, a surprise to see for the price point. Good ADA points there!  

Staff

The staff I encountered appeared pleasant, the associate working in the breakfast area was very nice. Asked if we needed anything more than once. A touch you don’t expect, but appreciate.  The night manager, Kevin, was great about helping me get the online rate even though I had to book the ADA room over the phone because the ADA room was not an option on the Choice Hotel app.  When I checked in, he hand crossed out the rate and wrote in the correct rate, the one he agreed to over the phone.  He wasn’t going to give me a copy of it at first but I insisted.  Without it, it would have been my word against his about the rate.  I am glad I did because sure enough, when I went to check out, they had charged me the higher rate!  I brought it to their attention and the two young men working the desk at the checkout had a heck of a time fixing it because they had already checked me out of the hotel.  They were extremely nice and worked diligently to get it fixed without making me feel like I was being a pain.  It was about a $20 difference.  They finally figured out how to get it corrected and were friendly and apologetic throughout the whole ordeal.  I had no problem waiting because their attitudes were GREAT! Even the staff I passed in the halls with the dogs were smiling and friendly.

Pet Friendly


Bella enjoying the comforts of the Quality Inn & Suites

They advertised themselves as being pet friendly.  Referenced their “pet friendly rooms” and they had a sticker on the door telling you to rate them on Bring Fido.  I think this set the bar high for me as to their pet friendly qualities.  As I mentioned, the room was pretty spacious, so it allowed the dogs ample room to play.  I was happy about that.  They needed to release some energy. When I took them out is when I had areas of concern.  The first is, NO TRASH CANS at the doors!  As a responsible pet owner, I pick up my dogs poop.  Everyone should if they travel with their dog(s)!  Other owners don’t want to walk in it.  I walked almost all the way around and saw one trash can at an entrance besides the main entrance.  There really needs to be more.  The next problem is the limited space to actually walk the dog(s).  There is very little grass around the hotel and where it was, it was extremely drenched, tore up with some tire marks, making it muddy.  My dog Zipper will poop or pee anywhere so he went on the rocks around a tree near the entrance by our door, but Bella is a little more selective and has to have just the right spot.  She didn’t even go to the bathroom the morning we were leaving.  She waited until we arrived at a rest stop and then went.  I know they can’t do a lot about the grass because of their layout, but they really need to add more trash cans!

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois

Zipper doing the “terrier roll” within minutes of getting into our room

ADA 

This is the ONE area this hotel is severely lacking.  They get the bonus points for having an ADA room with two beds, but that room doesn’t have a roll in shower.  That isn’t my real complaint though.  My complaint is that they slapped some side bars on a low toilet and some handrails and called the room ADA.  The toilet WAS NOT ADA height, so it was still difficult for my mom to get up and down on.  In addition, the bars were just tucked up UNDER the seat, not permanently attached.  My mom was starting to get up and the bar slipped out from the seat and lost support.  She could have gone down and been severely hurt!  They were constantly slipping out.  Another thing is that it narrows the width of the seat.  It didn’t affect my mom, but as I openly admit, I am not a small woman, so I felt like I was being wedged between the bars when I went to use the bathroom.  Another problem is there were NO towel bars or hooks within reach of the shower.  The towels were over the toilet so it was impossible to reach from the shower.  The other hook was on the back of the door, again, impossible to reach from the shower for ANY person. An ADA person would never be able to reach it easily.  I know those with disabilities are used to adapting to make things work, but it was disappointing the lack of attention the hotel gave this room.  They did the bare minimum to call it an ADA room

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois

Toilet seat in room with just bars hooked under the toilet seat. You can see the shower chair in the bottom right

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois Not ADA

You can see the distance between the shower and the towels with no bars, hooks, etc

The “bar” just slips out very easily. It just tucks up under the seat with nothing holding it there.

As I mentioned with the swimming pool, they do have an ADA chair lift to swim with though. I just wish they would take a look at their rooms and update them just a little more when it comes to being ADA standards.

OVERALL

If you are looking for a reasonably priced room in Bloomington with a great breakfast and a welcoming staff, I would recommend this location.

Traveling with pets?  Again, a nice place to stay, just be prepared to throw your pet’s poop away in your room or take a hike around the hotel!

Need a good ADA room?  I would have to recommend skipping this hotel.  I just don’t think they are where they need to be yet.  Hopefully they will take the steps to improve this over time and if we visit again, I will update this post if they do make changes.  Since we stop near Bloomington whenever I bring mom back and forth between Michigan and Missouri, I am sure I will have another chance at some point.

It might not be the fanciest place to stay in Bloomington, but when you’re saving your pennies and you appreciate the Choice Hotel line, this is one to consider!

Have you stayed here before?  Do you travel with your pets?  Leave your comments below!
If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz