Stepping Out Part II

Date Wed, June 4 2008

You might want to lavish some special attention on your feet, especially as warm weather invites us to don our peds with oh-so-revealing sandals and heels lest you become like many celebs whose lack of foot care becomes infamous online. I kid. Obviously, paparazzi aren’t busy following all of us around to snap pictures of our feet faux pas.

In reality, I am not a fan of sandals or even open toes shoes because I don’t like my feet. Partly due to the fact that feet look, well, just weird and partly due to my feet having stubborn calluses as a result of many years running around outside barefoot.

However, I am always looking to remedy the latter issue and I’ve used several foot care products in the search of the “one” that will leave my feet silky soft and smooth. I’ve also foot files, buffers and pumice stones along with various lotions to achieve varying results.

Sometime before I happened upon the Sally Hansen Callus Remover, I tried Avon’s callus buffer, the predecessor of its Foot Works Electronic Callus Smoother with Interchangeable Heads. This was a little machine that looked much like a miniature drill with flat, metal bits instead of, say, a phillips. I didn’t find that the buffer did much at all, even with a head for rough, medium and light calluses. It might have even worked better as a personal massager if I hadn’t been so grossed out by the fact that it had been on my feet!

However, the modern version has only 1 head for the toughest calluses, a pumice head for medium and a nylon brush for gentle cleaning. I still suspect traditional pumice would be more effective than nickel and steel but the new Foot Works Electronic Callus Smoother seems like a worthy upgrade!

Before stepping out.. Part I

Date Tue, June 3 2008

You might want to lavish some special attention on your feet, especially as warm weather invites us to don our peds with oh-so-revealing sandals and heels lest you become like many celebs whose lack of foot care becomes infamous online. I kid. Obviously, paparazzi aren’t busy following all of us around to snap pictures of our feet faux pas.

In reality, I am not a fan of sandals or even open toes shoes because I don’t like my feet. Partly due to the fact that feet look, well, just weird and partly due to my feet having stubborn calluses as a result of many years running around outside barefoot.

However, I am always looking to remedy the latter issue and I’ve used several foot care products in the search of the “one” that will leave my feet silky soft and smooth. I’ve used both Sally Hansen Extra Strength Callus Remover Gel and Avon Foot Works Sloughing Cream as in-the-shower treatments along with Avon Foot Works Intensive Callus Cream with mixed results. I’ve also used foot files, buffers and pumice stones along with various lotions to achieve varying results.

Both Avon and Sally Hansen are big names in the make up and cosmetics industry and are relatively affordable but are usually seen as a step above drug store cosmetics.

Some years ago, I had been using an Avon product which may have been the Sloughing Cream or its predecessor and I was happy with it. However, I ran out and just never got around to purchasing it again. In the meantime, I forgot about foot care or simply used a pumice stone. I happened upon the Sally Hansen Callus Remover in a store and decided to try it out. It was far different from the pumice stones and sloughing creams which were actually physically abrasive. Sally Hansen Extra Strength Callus Remover Gel promises to “erase deep, thick calluses, instantly exfoliates & smoothes, leaving feet silky-soft & supple” not by physical abrasion but by chemicals.

I thought I’d give it a try. The super slick, clear gel is to be applied to (dry, I suppose) callused skin for 1 minute then washed off with soap and water. I did so. I saw no results. Absolutely nothing. However, I did manage to spill a small amount on my hand when first checking out the product which resulted in an unusual rash; it didn’t make my skin any smoother or softer.

This product might be worth a try in conjunction with a foot file or pumice stone but if I’m going that route, I’ll stick to half the work and just use the file or stone itself. I’m tempted to lay the blame on my super-callused feet (which my husband has compared to “bullet proof” and “steel”) but even a customer with slightly callused feet has bad luck.

I like other Sally Hansen products but, if I were you, I’d pass on this one.

Sniffin’ Out The Best

Date Sun, June 1 2008

I, like most people of the modern world, use deodorant. I cannot say, without doubts, where I land on the scale of odor; however, I do know I sweat an awful lot, especially compared to other females so this may lead to an increase in odor. I also know that I prefer to be dry, clean feeling, and pleasant smelling.

I’ve tried a lot of drug store brands when it comes to deodorant and am still in search for the perfect product: nice smelling, long lasting, and invisible. I haven’t quite found it (in fact, I am waiting for my current deodorant to run out so I can try something else) but I’ve had varying degrees of success with several products.

Lady Speed Stick 24/7 Antiperspirant/Deodorant, Satin Pear claims to provide “24/7 non-stop” protection for your active life. This stick deodorant is affordably priced in the $3- $4 range and easily purchased at any drug, big box or online store. The pear scent is pleasant but perhaps a bit too sweet for me. I feel it would be better as a perfume or lotion and that the scent doesn’t seem clean or “serious” enough for an effective product.

Not to worry, this product is not effective and I can only lambaste its lack of quality. Although the package claims that “micro-absorbers” will absorb sweat and prevent odor, it simply does not. After no more than an hour or 2 using Lady Speed Stick 24/7 Satin Pear, I felt unclean, wet and could smell odor.

It also leaves those unfortunate white marks on your clothing, something that doesn’t bode well with my mostly-black wardrobe.

On the other hand Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry, Wild Freesia provided hours of protection; although it didn’t last 24 hours, I only needed to apply it once a day and I’d be set until bet time. This deodorant had a clean and pleasant scent that was not overpowering or too sweet.

Although the similarly priced Lady Speed Stick, Wild Freesia surpasses the other stick deodorant easily in both those categories, its claim to provide “no white residue” falls short. Unfortunately, there is still residue.

When it comes to Satin Pear I feel no need to express lenity; the product is poor, failing to do what it advertises but tries to cover it up with a pretty scent. I would forgo Satin Pear for Wild Freesia, a product which has longer protection and a clean scent. However, comparing both products by their signature claims (non stop protection and no white residue), both Lady Speed Stick, Satin Pear and Lady Speed Stick, Wild Freesia, respectively, both fail to live up to the promises. I would look past that concerning the Wild Freesia as nearly all deodorants which claim to be invisible fail to be so and still praise this product’s redeeming qualities; however, I cannot do that for the other. If you are on the market for a deodorant and clarity is not a requirement, go for Lady Speed Stick, Invisible Dry Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Wild Freesia.

Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser

Date Thu, May 29 2008

Unfortunately, I’ve had to go through a lot of brands and formulas for face wash. Since my teens, I’ve had acne that has persisted but never has been consistent. While I’ve never had horrible breakouts, I always seem to have at least 2 blemishes, if I have any. Although my acne is now the ‘adult’ type appearing usually on the chin rather than adolescent forehead acne, it can still be frustrating.

I was intent on buying a new cleanser after the one I had been using seemed to have stopped working so well. I have never been a fan of Neutrogena products as they seem chock full of chemicals, so I skipped those. Unfortunately, the BX didn’t offer than many other options so I looked in the Clean & Clear section, which I often use. In fact, the cleanser I was looking to replace was Clean & Clean (though it wasn’t meant to fight acne).

I settled on the Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser in a pretty purple tube.. It boasted a grand 10% active ingredient (benzoyl peroxide) and I hoped that it would live up to the name and have continuous effects on my skin well after the washing.

There isn’t much one can say about these types of things. There’s no assembly and no parts; either Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser works or it doesn’t.

It works. Probably due to the high concentration of active ingredient. Most cleansers seem to have only 1 or 2% active ingredient and Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser contains 5 – 10 times that amount. Benzoyl peroxide is also an alternative I’ve only seen in this product this far; Salicylic acid seems to be the preferred active ingredient in most acne cleansers. I must say, I think I’m a fan of benzoyl peroxide now.

My face cleared up quickly and, although I’ve had a blemish or two since, I haven’t been faced with oily skin in the morning either or any big break outs. Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanse) seemed to start working immediately; making the switch usually doesn’t show results that fast. I even stopped using my face wipe pads which I would use in addition to cleansing my face in the shower.

Beware that this does have quite a strong chemical smell. It would probably work great to clear up a stuffy nose; some days it seems to burn my mouse and nose. It’s something to use sparingly but, really, just a small dab of the creamy Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser should suffice to wash one’s whole face.

If you’re looking for an effective acne-fighting cleanser without a prescription or high price tag, head down to your local drug store and pick up Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser.

I’m Cole and I approve of this product!

Epson Stylus CX7400 Color Printer

Date Fri, May 23 2008

I am really excited to be discussing the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer not just because I really like it but because I finally have a working printer and what’s more is that I can use it with my digital camera’s memory card to directly access and printer photos without needing to use my computer!

We picked up the Epson Stylus CX8400 at a local store. I had been looking at it and chose it mostly for 4 reasons: it’s sexy and black, I can print directly from my memory card with it, it functions as a scanner as well and it was priced reasonably. Although I would be using is mostly as a document and photo printer, I occasionally will use these functions as well.

As an all-in-one printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 does not necessarily need to be hooked up to a computer for some tasks. Copying and photo printing can be completed by using the controls on the top left of the unit as soon as the printer is plugged in and turned on. To scan or print a file from one’s computer, the printer must be hooked up which I did immediately.

On the outside, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer a great printer with a classy finish, a smooth and looking and easy to use control panel on top and, right above that a 2.5′ LCD screen to view photos which also shows printing status and intructions for the current task. I was impressed by the LCD itself but the fact that it tilts upward really makes working with this printer easier. Having to stand over the printer to go through photos is certainly not something I want to do but the tilting LCD screen lets me work with the printer while sitting down. Another plus of this is how neatly the paper loading tray and paper catching tray fold up. There never has to be any part sicking out in your way!

Unfortunately, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer does not come with a USB cord so I needed to purchase one which meant I couldn’t test it as a printer right away. Also, the port for the USB cord is unique in that, to fit most cords, one must unscrew and remove a panel, plug in the the cord, slip the cord through a hole in the panel, slide it back in and insert the screw again. I was a bit frustrated by this; why couldn’t Epson simply make the panel accessible to all cords without the extra step?

So, the first thing I tested this with was printing photos. I had never done this before but it was easy. There are several ports in front of the Epson Stylus CX8400 for different camera cards. I personally have an XD memory card but many others are supported

  • Compact Flash
  • Microdrive
  • Memory Stick
  • MagicGate Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • MultiMediaCard
  • xD-Picture card (Type-M & Type-H)

Several other types of memory cards can be used with adapters

  • Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • MiniSD
  • MiniSDHC
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • MagicGate Memory Stick Duo

Upon plugging in my memory card and pressing the button for “Memory Card” from the control panel and the printer took a short while to load all the photos; the LCD screen showers the status. Then I had the option to either View and Print Photos, Print All Photos, Print by Date or Print Index Sheet. Each option has a small description and most of them are common sense.

Printing an index sheet may be a function unique to Epson printers or it may be something most photos printers allow but I can see how it would be useful. It allows you to print off small thumbnails of all the pictures on a card, 30 to a page. Then, you can mark the photos you want to print, scan the index sheet and the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer will print them.

I cannot see myself using this feature much, however. Even with less than 500 photos on my picture card, I would need to wait for 16 pages to print. Furthermore, I’d rather save that ink for the actual photos! Plus, I think it would take just as much time, if not more, as going through all the photos (It seemed to take about a minute to print 4 pages before I gave up on it and canceled), which is one of my concerns.

There does not appear to be an option for viewing more than one photo at a time when working with a picture card. The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer only allows me to view 1 at a time so, to find the picture I want to print, I need to go through all of the pictures on my picture card. While this is slightly annoying with my older, smaller card, my current one has 700+ photos and I haven’t even filled it!

Unfortunately, the dates on my pictures cards are never right and I don’t pay attention to when I take photos, anyway. I don’t see myself using that feature of the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer. However, it could be useful to someone else.

It’s also unrealistic for me to print all my photos at this point. However, with a newer card with less photos or a smaller card, this may work great!

I had purchased a 100 pack of Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy for a reasonable price, slipped it into the loading tray and adjusted the feeder guard so all I needed to do was adjust the photo for printing after I located the one I wanted.

The Menu button allows me to easily change settings such as paper size and type, border, quality and date. When selecting a photo, pressing Display/Crop shows settings for zooming, rotation and portion of the photo to print. Of course, the ratio for my photos is 3:4 where as the ratio of the paper (4 x 6′) is 2:3 which means the photo needs to be cropped. However, this isn’t a large deal.

After zooming, rotating and move the guide, I’m ready to hit Okay. If I make a mistake, it can easily be undone by pressing Back. When the picture if perfect, press Okay twice then hit the Print button. It’s all really easy.

It does take a while to print photos but I can’t complain because the quality is extremely nice. The photos I have printed thus far all look much better than almost any picture I’ve taken with a traditional film camera! If you didn’t know

The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer promises to be smudge proof and scratch resistance and while the latter isn’t quite as true as I’d like, the photos are smudge proof which is probably good for someone like me! The ink is also apparently fade and water resistant and I even went to far as to mist a print out with water; the claims are true! I’ll have to wait and see how well the ink holds up to time but I have high hopes!

I took the copy function for a test drive as well. After inserting the page to copy in the scanner, I selected the Copy button from the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer‘s control panel. There were options to adjust paper size, type and colour along with a few additional options. After adjusting until I was content, I pressed the print button and my copy began. I found the actual copying of a B&W document to print quite slow, as it seems is the case with this printer.

After purchasing a UBS cord, I was able to install the printer drivers and software. This process did seem to take an awful lot of memory and it hung at several places but installation completed without any major problems. Along with the drivers, the installation includes Epson Scan (scanning software), ArcSoft PhotoImpression (for photo editing), Arcsoft Print Creations (for making print projects like calendars), and software for monitoring the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer such as a users guide.

I tested the other functions. As a printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer worked well. The text document I printed was high quality. Oddly enough, the black and white document seemed to take longer to print than any of the other types of printing (photo, index sheet) and it was a bit jerky but it wasn’t anything that would bother me in the long run.

The scanning function works well. I scanned some comic covers for my husband and it was easy and the scan was high quality. The scanner itself shows where to line up the document clearly (bottom, right). The scanner warms up quickly and the scanning itself is much faster than any scanner I’ve used before. The only large issue I have is that the scanner itself is quite small; the width is only slightly more than a standard letter sized sheet so this won’t work well for some projects.

I’ve used the scanner with both Windows scanning utility and Epson scan, the software provided, which has several modes: Full Auto, Home and Professional. The auto mode crops the scan without showing a preview and automatically saves scans to the “My Pictures” folder so I prefer to use the Home Mode which lets me select the type of document, colour, destination (also where you change the DPI) and preview before scanning. Professional mode has more specific options which are beyond my need including document type and source, exposure, image type, resolution, and further adjustments like tone, image adjustment, dust removal, backlight correction, descreening et cetera.

To sum it up, this is a sleek looking printer with many functions I shall find useful. I was impressed by the memory card feature although it would be improved by an option to view several photos at once. For those who need a similar feature, the option to print an index sheet might work well. Photos printed with excellent quality! The scanner was fast and high quality and worked well with Epson Scan or the Windows Scanning Utility. Printing and copying of black and white documents took longer than I expected but the quality was, again, top notch! The ink is very durable proving to be smudge and water and, hopefully over time, fade resistant; however, the photos were not as scratch proof as I would have liked. The accompanying software is a nice touch for anyone who does not already have photo editing software and the monitoring and scanning software by Epson was functional withuot hogging a lot of resources.

Overall, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer is a great model for anyone looking for an affordable printer with extras. If you don’t mind waiting for high quality prints or paging through individual pictures, this might be the printer for you!

An oldie but goodie

Date Fri, May 23 2008

I’ve been a Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo user for some time. Unfortunately, my dandruff doesn’t help my love for black. Fortunately, Head and Shoulders is affordable and works without any negative side effects.

Some dandruff shampoos simply don’t do the trick (helping reduce dandruff) and some do but leave your hair dry or greasy or in another pitiful state. Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo, Classic Clean will reduce your dandruff and leave your hair feeling clean.

They recently added more products to the Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo line as well as upgrading the product design and I noticed something else. The classic head and shoulder received a scent upgrade, too. It smells much less medicinal (but I was willing to deal with that to get such great results!). In fact, I couldn’t figure out what smelled so great and refreshing the first day I switched back to head and shoulders but it was my hair! Many shampoos which smell great do a poor job at making your hair smell great for any amount of time but I was pleasantly surprised at how good my hair smelled after using this.

I recommend this product to any dandruff sufferers and, worry not, there’s no unfortunate side effects.

Make Money Online

Date Thu, May 22 2008

Every wondered just how to make money online? Look no further. I’ve written up a handy little guide on how to make money online here. Just a few snippets, if you’re interested.

Making money online is, at once, both easier to do than most think and harder. With the right tools, services, site set up, business or server, money can seemingly come rolling in. On the other hand, without proper resources or set up, it can be difficult to make a dime online.

– Make Money Online

Freelance work, sometimes known as contracted work, offers a way for business in need of services like taper, proofing, web design and programming et cetera the opportunity to advertise to potential freelancers.

– Make Money Without a Site

An increasingly popular way for every day folks to make money is by writing paid or sponsored blog posts which are often in the form of product reviews.

– Make Money With a Site

# Make money doing voice overs with Opuzz Voice and you may even hear yourself on the radio!
# Tutoring online can provide revenue with
# Arise and Working solutions pay people to give tech support via the internet and phone, right from their own home!

– Make Money Online With Miscellaneous Methods

Hop on over to find out how to make money online!