My dog has fleas! Safe products to kill, repel and control fleas

no fleasFleas have not been a problem around here for several years. But recently my dog started scratching like a maniac, and that could only mean one thing. My dog has fleas!

The ugly truth was confirmed when I ran my fingers through his fur and felt gritty flea dirt. Also known as flea poop. Also known as my dog’s digested blood. Nasty! Those fleas gotta go!

In the past I’ve used poisonous flea medications, flea bombs and noxious yard sprays. They became ineffective as the fleas became resistant. I stopped using those nasty chemicals and found safe flea treatments that really work.

The war against fleas requires a comprehensive plan to get rid of them and prevent new infestations in the house, yard and on the dog. I put together a new system that knocked out those fleas fast. Here’s a breakdown of what’s working for us.

Safe and effective flea control

Indoor treatments: flooring and furniture

Fleabusters orthoboric acid powder for flooring of all types. I had used this a few years ago on my old carpet. It worked so well I only had to apply it once.

Fleabusters keeps fleas away for years

Fleabusters keeps fleas away for years

It works by lacerating their nasty little bodies to make them die from dehydration. It kills fleas at every stage, from eggs to adult. Also works on other bugs like ticks, mites, ants and roaches.

To apply, you sprinkle it on the carpet (or hardwood, tile, etc.), work it in with a broom then vacuum the excess after 24 to 48 hours. Make sure it gets into all the baseboards, cracks and crevices where flea eggs end up.

I spread this on my carpet then applied it to my mattress and couch, two areas where my dog loves to sleep.

Fleabusters will keep working for at least a year or until you clean your carpet. Then you have to reapply after the carpet dries.

Check out this video showing Fleabusters powder being applied to hardwood floors, carpet and furniture.

Indoor treatments: flooring, furniture, bedding, pets

Vet’s Best flea and tick home spray. This natural nontoxic spray, made from peppermint oil and clove extract, kills fleas on contact. In two seconds or less they’re dead!

Doesn’t leave sticky residue anywhere. It’s only active when it’s wet. After it dries there’s no residual killing effect. Leaves a fresh clove scent for a while.

I sprayed this on areas of the carpet where my dog likes to lay to instantly kill fleas until the Fleabusters worked its magic. I sprayed it every day for about four days, vacuuming in between.

And I sprayed it on the bedspread.

Vet's Best flea and tick home spray

Vet’s Best flea and tick home spray

I also use this on my dog if I find a flea on him because it’s easier than trying to catch them. I go through his fur with my hands and if I see a flea, I hold it down with my fingers while I grab the spray. Then just one little squirt and BAM, it’s dead.

Outdoor treatment: all surfaces

From the same people who make the incredible flea and tick home spray, Vet’s Best has a flea and tick yard and kennel spray. Also nontoxic and made with peppermint oil, clove extract and sodium lauryl sulfate.

You simply attach your hose to the bottle, spray then let dry. The 32 oz size covers approximately 4500 sq ft. It’s also supposed to be safe for plants.

As an added benefit, it kills and repels mosquitos.

Flea control for the dog

Garlic tablets

The goal is to keep fleas from jumping on your dog by making him less tasty to them. The best way to do that is to give the dog brewers yeast and garlic tablets.

I had been using this one brand that worked extremely well for a few years until they changed their formula. The new formula was responsible for this latest outbreak of fleas. So I found Nutri Vet brewers yeast tablets that were well reviewed on Amazon. They have to be taken for a while before they’re fully effective.

Nutri Vet brewers yeast and garlic

Nutri Vet brewers yeast and garlic

After a couple of weeks using the pills I saw improvement but there were still too many fleas so I switched to raw garlic.

This worked great and the only downside is the slight inconvenience of preparing raw garlic every night. I have to chop it up, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and give it to him right away. The amount for his size is ⅔ teaspoon.

Now, he doesn’t like to eat the pills or fresh garlic so I put it in some peanut butter and down the hatch it goes!

After a couple of weeks the fleas were gone so I started to alternate raw garlic with the tablets. He gets the pills three or four days a week and that’s working well.

Flea comb

I had never used one of these before but I got one to use while waiting for the garlic to kick in. Not only is it much faster than manually picking off fleas, it’s also easier to remove flea dirt.

The key to using a flea comb is to have a dish of water handy that has a splash of soap in it. The soap allows the fleas to sink to the bottom and drown, otherwise they can float around and sometimes crawl out.

Flea comb

Flea comb

I prefer using the flea comb dry because I don’t want flea dirt to dissolve on my dog. When I pull the comb through his hair and find a flea, I put my thumb on top of it before it can jump off. Then I hold it above the dish and flick the flea into the water. I also pull out the hair and flea dirt and put that into the water as well.

When I’m finished, I just take the dish and flush the contents down the toilet. Easy peasy.

Safe flea control is possible and highly effective without harmful chemicals

Well there you have it—a detailed plan to eliminate fleas safely and effectively in the house, in the yard and on the dog. We went from this…

To this…

dog happy no fleas

Finally things are back to normal!

Ahhh, now that’s a happy dog. Peace once again reigns supreme in the Makara kingdom!

I hope you find this information helpful. Please comment below if you have any tips to share about safe flea control treatments that worked for you.

More info

Garlic for dogs: poison or medicine?

Expect miracles? Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry review

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil and soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil and soap

We always hope for miracles from our beauty products but how awesome is it when you find a company that actually promises them.

I’m talking about Swell Skin, manufacturer of sea buckthorn berry oil and soap. And results are guaranteed or your money back.

You are not only guaranteed a miracle, you can expect one overnight. No need to wait weeks or months.

Fantastic, right? That’s what I thought so I decided to put their products to the test.

Promising airbrushed skin in 24 hours

Now what is it we’re supposed to see after just one application? The company claims that 90% of skin’s needs are met within the first 24 hours. As to what it’s really supposed to do, this is what they say:

“Sea buckthorn oil has a reputation for softening lines, plumping skin with moisture, healing skin inflammation including acne, rosacea and many more serious skin conditions.”

Founder Kelli Klus goes on to say, “Regardless of my skin’s occasional challenges, age, sun, infections, spots, acne, rashes, redness etc. the products work immediately to heal each and every one of these problems.”

They sum it up by promising airbrushed skin.

swell skin miraculous?

What will Swell Skin do for me? Putting it to the test

Now I’m fairly happy with my skin’s texture, hydration and elasticity. But I do have a few brown spots, hyperpigmentation and sebaceous hyperplasia (SH) bumps that I’d like to see go away. And occasionally I get keratosis pilaris (KP) on my face.

I took before and after photos (something that’s lacking on their website and on 99.9% of outside reviews).

I decided to test these products for either one night or one month. (One month if the overnight miracle did not occur.) And at the risk of becoming lopsided, I used them only on the right side of my face and neck.

Excitement was building as I prepared to use Swell Skin soap and oil for the first time. Would I really see overnight results?

I prayed to the god of skin miracles. Oh magic sea buckthorn berry, please take away my brown spots and bumps!

Using the sea buckthorn berry soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry soap

The bar weighs 2.25 ounces. The ingredients are sodium palmate, sodium palm kernelate, water, glycerine, cocos nucifera oil (coconut oil), hippophae rhamnoides oil (sea buckthorn oil), aloe barbadensis leaf extract (aloe vera), astragalus membranaceus root extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), palmitic acid, sodium chloride, tetrasodium etidronate, tetrasodium EDTA.

The soap felt cool like mint and has minimal lather. It has a mild, pleasant smell.

Afterwards my skin felt very clean but not dried out. I was surprised to see it removed virtually all of my makeup. None of my other cleansers can do that.

Using the sea buckthorn berry oil

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil

The bottle contains 100% pure sea buckthorn berry oil and is listed as .05 fluid ounces. That’s INCORRECT and I’m surprised nobody’s caught this big boo boo.

The actual measurement is .5 fluid ounces, or one-half ounce, which equals one tablespoon of oil.

And to prove that I poured my brand new bottle into a tablespoon. The picture is below.

Bottle contains 1T oil, or .5 fluid ounces, not .05

Bottle contains 1T oil, or .5 fluid ounces, not .05

Moving on from that.

The oil has a faint smell, like some type of grain. It looks a bit orange and it feels like…well, oil. Yes, it feels like oil, it looks like oil and it does not completely absorb into the skin. It did not, however, turn my skin orange.

Expecting an overnight miracle. Did I get one?

The next morning there was still a little bit of oil on my face and neck. And I had only used a small amount. But it was easily rubbed in to reveal the fact that my skin looked exactly the same as before.

No miracle for me. The experiment continued for 29 more days, only using the products on the right side.

My results after 30 days

So here’s what happened. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

There was no overnight miracle.

There was no miracle after 30 days.

I see no difference whatsoever. My brown spots and SH bumps remain.

During the course of the trial period I did get a couple of pimples and also a couple of KP spots on my cheek. The pimples did not go away any faster. There was, however, faster healing with the KP, drying up in about five days.

My before and after photos

Forehead before (L) and after (R)

Forehead before (L) and after (R)

Eye before (L) and after (R)

Eye before (L) and after (R)

Cheek before (L) and after (R)

Cheek before (L) and after (R)

Airbrushed skin? I think not. 

Conclusion and final evaluation

Sea buckthorn soap

The soap is very good at removing makeup, better than any other cleanser I’ve ever used. But it didn’t make my skin look or feel any better. I would recommend it for being a very gentle, effective cleanser.

The bar will last me for many months.

Sea buckthorn oil

The oil might be soothing if I had irritated skin which I don’t. It left my face a little oily in the morning. The only condition it seemed to help at all was the KP which I mostly get on my body. However, it’s too expensive for me to use on that and I would not repurchase.

After using it for a full month, I still had half a bottle left. If I had used it on my entire face it would have lasted one month.

So is this is a miracle product or hype? My verdict: Hype.

Buy the soap if you want a good cleanser but forget the oil.

If you want to see how well Swell Skin worked on someone with acne, please check out this video. It’s the only review that I could find that actually has before and after photos.

For more information about Swell Skin, visit their website.

Have you used Swell Skin sea buckthorn oil or soap? Please share your experiences below.

Olaplex fixed my fried bleached hair

My bleached, damaged hair

My bleached, damaged hair

What looks like cotton candy but feels like straw? My hair after being bleached from brunette to platinum.

My silky hair was so damaged that no amount of conditioners, oils and serums could tame it. Every time I brushed my hair, my lap was covered in little broken bits. I wished I could rewind the clock to go back in time to when my hair was soft and smooth. Well guess what. I discovered with Olaplex, you can go back.

Yes, Olaplex really does work. It’s a three-part system. Parts 1 and 2 are meant to be used in the salon during chemical processes but can also be used as a standalone treatment. Part 3 is to be used at home for ongoing maintenance.

I got the three-piece kit and did the standalone treatment myself at home which is as easy as putting conditioner on your hair. Anyone can do it, and you should do it yourself because you’ll save a lot of money. I’ll get into the details later and show you my before and after photos.

Before I went ahead and plunked down $100+ for a kit, I had a few questions that you may have as well. Here’s what my research uncovered, in brief and simple terms, to answer the most commonly asked questions about Olaplex.

The most asked questions about Olaplex

What is Olaplex?

Olaplex is a compound called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Its purpose is to repair bonds in the hair that are broken during chemical processes. It was invented by chemists and patented.

It comes as a three-part system, labeled as #1, #2 and #3. The same ingredient is used in each part, with #1 having the highest concentration of the active ingredient and #3 having the lowest. Number 1 is called a bond multiplier, #2 is called a bond perfector and #3 is called a hair perfector.

Olaplex is free of silicone, sulfates, phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, and is never tested on animals.

Why should I use it?

Because it mitigates the damage done during a chemical process. While the bonds are being broken during bleaching, Olaplex #1 is repairing them at the same time. Not all of the bonds are repaired during this step so #2 is used right after the chemical process.

How can you use it to repair hair?

Besides using it in a chemical service, you can also use it to repair damaged hair as a standalone treatment. If the hair is really damaged, you can do a treatment using #1 and #2. After that you can use #3 once a week for maintenance and to repair ongoing damage done to the hair.

What’s the difference between Olaplex and knock off brands?

All the knock off brands only coat the outside of the hair and mask the damage. They don’t mitigate or repair the damage. Olaplex is the only product on the market that can actually reconnect broken bonds in the hair shaft.

Will I get any benefit from using #3 even if I don’t get my hair colored?

Yes, it’s good for everyone. When Olaplex was tested on virgin hair, the hair sample that was treated had more shine and felt softer to the touch than the original untreated sample. It had an overall healthier appearance than the control sample.

Are the effects of Olaplex permanent?

According to the manufacturer, the reconnected bonds will not break again unless compromised by additional thermal, mechanical or chemical services.

My experience with the Olaplex standalone treatment

Olaplex traveling stylist kit

Olaplex traveling stylist kit

I ordered the Traveling Stylist Kit which contains one bottle of #1, two bottles of #2, one bottle of #3, along with an instruction card for standalone treatments and for use with chemical processes.

I did the standalone treatment following the instructions on this card:

Olaplex standalone treatment instructions

Olaplex standalone treatment instructions

Here are some pictures taken during the first treatment.

It’s important to note that, contrary to what Kim K has said, sleeping with the product in your hair is not necessary nor more effective. After the product dries out it stops working, therefore the maximum time to leave it in your hair is 30 minutes. No further benefit will be gained by leaving it in longer.

Step by step Olaplex video tutorial

This brief video shows how to do the standalone treatment. When you do this at home by yourself, you should put a towel around your shoulders because the first part is very drippy.

My hair before and after Olaplex

My before and after photos are a little different from most people’s. The before photo shows my hair after flat ironing and with serum, and it still looks like a hot mess.

The after photo is my hair without any heat styling, oils, serums or conditioners. With flat ironing it looks even smoother but I wanted you to see it in its raw state.

After the treatment my hair was so soft, I couldn’t stop touching it! And the breakage—gone.

My evaluation of the claims made by Olaplex

I did the standalone treatment twice the first week, followed by weekly maintenance treatments of #3 for the next two weeks. Then I didn’t do any more treatments for six weeks.

During that time I only washed my hair once a week and used the flat iron once a week on the lowest setting. I let my hair air dry, something I was unable to do before using Olaplex because my hair would turn into a puffball.

My point here is that I did not do a lot to damage my hair, but after six weeks with no treatments it started to break off a little bit more. So I started doing weekly maintenance treatments again.

While my hair’s strength improved dramatically following treatments, it was never quite the same as before being damaged by bleach. And the restorative effects were long lasting, but not permanent.

Olaplex is the most remarkable product and I don’t want to be without it. It’s allowing me to keep my hair long while the bleached part grows out. The kit I got will last many months and I will definitely repurchase once it’s gone.

Update after using Olaplex for a year

It’s been nearly a year since I started using Olaplex and I wanted to show you how great my hair is looking now. It doesn’t break off in little pieces any more when I brush it and it’s gotten longer. So let’s take a look at some pictures.

one year using olaplex

Ten months of using Olaplex. Styled with flat iron.

I only do a treatment every month or two and I still have quite a bit left from the kit I purchased. I’ts definitely been worth the money!

Additional information

To find answers to more questions about Olaplex, please visit their education center.

To buy maintenance treatment #3 directly from the manufacturer, please click here.

For a more technical evaluation of the product, please read this report.

Please add your comments

Have you used Olaplex? What do you think of it?

 

Bleaching damaged hair the natural way

herbs rosemaryThere’s a fairly new natural way to go blonde and so far it’s been a well kept secret. So secret, in fact, that even after I learned the name of the product I had a hard time finding any information on it. Now I’m going to expose this “secret” as I share my experience getting my overprocessed hair bleached the O-way (Organic Way professional salon products).

If you want to learn how my hair got so damaged, please read how I went from brunette to platinum.

Discovering Oway

I was at a crossroads with my hair color. After four bleachings I was left with yellow hair which is not at all what I wanted. My choices were to cut it and bleach it again or leave it long but yellow. I didn’t want to do either of those and went looking for another solution.

I started reading about how Olaplex can restore damaged hair and allow it to be safely bleached further. My plan was to keep it long and try to bleach it to the right color using Olaplex.

Turns out there’s just one salon in my area using it, but the stylist I asked for was the only person in the salon not using it. Instead she had just switched to all organic, nontoxic, plant-based hair color products—Oway. She convinced me to give it a try.

Oway is the world’s first ammonia-free, cruelty-free line of hair products with certified biodynamic, organic and fair trade ingredients. It’s great for people with sensitive skin. Sounds good, right?

Watch this video to see where the products begin—on biodynamic farms.

Bleaching my damaged hair with Oway organic bleach

Here are before pictures of my level 9 yellow hair.

First I went down to the salon and got a strand test on my hair to make sure the bleach would work. It did. My hair didn’t break off and it got lighter. So I came back in a few days for the full treatment.

My stylist did heavy foils using Oway organic bleach. She did the roots with 20 volume and the ends with 9 volume. On the second batch of bleach she used 30 volume to catch up with the first part. Unfoiled hair got balayage with 9 volume on the ends to bleach the yellow.

The processing time was about the same as for regular bleach. There was no burning or unpleasant smell.

After she washed the bleach out, she used a permanent dye as toner, level 11, shade 17. She had to rinse as we went along because the ends grabbed the color fast.

Here’s a video showing how to color hair with Oway products.

After bleaching and toning with Oway organic hair products

And this is the wonderful result—lighter, brighter hair without having to cut it.

The entire experience and the price were comparable to services I had done before with harsh chemicals.

Afterwards, my hair felt pretty silky. If I’d only known about Oway before, my hair wouldn’t have gotten damaged in the first place.

So if you’re thinking about going blonde, I urge you to check out these products. Ask your stylist to give them a try. Why bathe your scalp in toxic chemicals if you don’t have to?

My experience with Oway was a success because it allowed me to go one shade blonder without cutting my hair. I’m very happy about that. However, I’m still left with damaged hair from prior treatments. I gotta say, Olaplex is still on my mind. Stay tuned…

For more information about the entire line of Oway professional salon products, and to find an organic salon near you, please visit this link.

Related posts

Brunette to platinum to ?

Review of Redken platinum ice for toning yellow hair

Olaplex fixed my fried bleached hair

Review of Redken platinum ice for toning yellow hair

redken shades eq platinum ice 09vSee what happened when I used Redken Shades EQ platinum ice 09V to tone my stubborn yellow hair. Here’s a hint: it was a disaster.

But first I’m going to answer the most asked questions about this product, and then I will go on to the review along with my before and after photos.

Most asked questions about Redken Shades EQ demi permanent color

What does demi permanent mean

Demi permanent means that it will only deposit color on the hair. It will not lighten hair, just change the tone of hair that’s already been lightened.

How do you mix it

You have to use a Redken Shades EQ processing solution along with Redken Shades EQ demi permanent color. You mix them at a 1:1 ratio. Using 2 oz of each would be enough to cover most hair.

How to use Redken Shades EQ

Apply the solution to clean, damp hair using a hair color brush or applicator bottle.

How long do I leave Shades EQ on my hair

Leave it on the hair from 5 to 20 minutes. Watch the color develop and rinse out as soon as it turns the right color.

How long does the color last

Supposed to last up to 24 shampoos.

My experience toning yellow hair with Redken platinum ice

Starting out my hair was level nine yellow blonde and I wanted a silvery blonde color. Salon toning looks good for about a week and then my hair goes back to yellow. And purple shampoo, the holy grail of many, doesn’t do anything because my hair is too damaged from bleaching to hold color.

My yellow hair before toning with Redken platinum ice

My yellow hair before toning with Redken platinum ice

I started searching for a more permanent solution and that’s how I found Redken Shades EQ platinum ice 09V. You can see from the swatch what a pretty color it is, icy but not too gray. To me it looks like it has taupe undertones.

redken shades eq platinum ice 09v

Redken Shades EQ 09V platinum ice

I put 2 oz of platinum ice and 2 oz of processing solution into an applicator bottle and shook it up. The mixture starts out watery and then turns into a slightly purple gel.

I put it all over my hair and massaged it in as if I were shampooing my hair. I piled all my hair on top of my head and watched and waited. Ten or 15 minutes in, it turned into this purple color. I should have washed it off then but didn’t since my hair is resistant to color.

Redken platinum ice after processing for 20 minutes

Redken platinum ice after processing for 20 minutes

So I bravely waited the full 20 minutes. I was going to get rid of that yellow no matter what.

As I was rinsing the mixture out of my hair in the shower, I could see it was no longer yellow. Mission accomplished!

I dried my hair and discovered it had turned a strange purple brown color—not even close to the platinum ice swatch.

after redken platinum ice

After toning my hair with Redken platinum ice

Now I desperately hoped that it would wash out fast. And here’s the good news for people who like the color they got, it stays in a very long time. Of course that was bad news for me.

The next washing I brought out my harshest shampoo and scrubbed and scrubbed my hair. About half the color came out. The next time, a little more came out. Finally by the fourth washing it was pretty much all gone. It lasted a month through four vigorous washings with my cheap Suave shampoo. I only shampoo once a week.

Oddly enough, as the color was fading it retained that purple brown hue. It never did fade to silver, or platinum or anything resembling ice.

And I’m back to drab yellow hair.

Redken platinum ice pros and cons

The pros

It’s easy to use
The color is long lasting
It made my hair feel soft

The cons

Well, don’t do what I did and leave it on too long. And make sure you pick the right color in the first place. I think I would have gotten a better color by mixing 09V platinum ice with 09T chrome

Related posts

Brunette to platinum to ?

My magic shoes for broken ankle recovery

vionicWhen I became full weight bearing after broken ankle surgery, my physical therapist told me to get some orthopedic shoes with laces for good support. Not having anything like that I went online and found these amazing Vionic venture women’s mesh athletic shoes.

My left foot and ankle were in constant pain, especially the heel, and I felt I needed extra cushioning there so I paired them with Tuli’s heavy duty heel cups that I already owned from a prior bout with plantar fasciitis.

Together, these are my magic shoes which help me walk without limping and make it easier to do my ankle rehabilitation exercises.

Here are more details on what to look for in an orthopedic shoe and why these Vionic shoes work well for me, as well as cleaning instructions to keep them looking like new.

My magic Vionic shoes

My magic Vionic shoes for my “bionic” ankle

What to look for in an orthopedic shoe after an ankle fracture

  • Proper fit
  • Flexibility
  • Arch support
  • Cushioned comfort
  • Good traction on the sole
  • Lightweight

Why I love my magic Vionic shoes

  • These shoes are made true to size with a little extra room in the toes. I ordered my correct size and there was still plenty of room for orthotics which I highly recommend to anyone with foot pain.
  • The sole is flexible, allowing the foot to bend properly while walking.
  • The footbed holds the foot in proper alignment and is removable for cleaning. Good support is crucial when learning to walk without limping because the foot is weak during the rehabilitation process. The footbed comes up higher on the side where the arch is and that’s where I feel it stabilizes my foot to keep me balanced through each step.
  • The shoe is cushioned lightly in the footbed and more heavily padded around the opening. It feels like a little pillow around my sore ankle.
  • The stretchy mesh fabric keeps feet cooler and more comfortable. I also like that the tongue is sewn in place, making it a little easier to get on.
  • The rubber soles have little ridges on the bottom for good traction.
  • With the shoe being so lightweight and properly padded, I can wear them all day and practically forget I have them on.
  • Finally, they’re just cute and the bright pink color I chose makes me happy!

Cleaning my magic shoes

Getting ready to clean my magic shoes

Getting ready to clean my magic shoes

Instructions for this are lacking so I had to do some digging and learned that they can’t be washed in the washing machine or soaked in water. That presents a challenge when you end up with mud all over your shoes like I did one time. So what I did was to let the mud dry and then brush off as much as I could.

Then I used an enzyme cleaner solution that I mixed from powder and placed in a spray bottle.

Biokleen enzyme cleaner

Biokleen enzyme cleaner

I saturated the shoes with the solution and let them sit in the sink for about 20 minutes.

Spraying Biokleen on my shoes

Spraying Biokleen on my shoes

After that I scrubbed gently with a scrub brush, rinsed with water and put them in the sun to dry for a while.

And voila, they look like new again.

Related posts

Broken ankle recovery: learning to walk again

Rehabbing my broken ankle

Broken ankle recovery: one year later

Little known treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

sebaceous hyperplasiaLong before I knew what it was called, I’ve been suffering with sebaceous hyperplasia. I didn’t know what those bumps were on my face. They weren’t pimples, they weren’t warts and they weren’t moles. It was only after seeing the dermatologist last year, and another failed treatment, I learned the condition is called sebaceous hyperplasia.

The good news is that it’s not dangerous in any way, but having a lot of bumps on your face is frustrating, annoying and often embarrassing. The frustration gets compounded when you seek medical treatment and what is proscribed is more suitable to acne, which this is not.

Sebaceous hyperplasia (SH) is inflammation and multiplication of cells inside the oil glands. The cause is unknown.

You can’t get rid of it by any conventional means—squeezing, freezing with liquid nitrogen, using electrocautery, Retin-A and other exfoliants. I’ve tried it all, except for the electric needle.

With squeezing, you can sometimes get something out but the bump soon returns to its original size.

With liquid nitrogen, it’s hit or miss, expensive and can cause scarring.

Retin-A simply doesn’t work and I believe it’s bad for the skin in the long term.

Then one day I found this interesting video for the Skin Classic machine. I knew this was the answer I’d been searching for.

Watch how Skin Classic gets rid of SH and more

How it works

Skin Classic uses high frequency to heat up the sebum which causes it to instantly come out of the pore. The needle doesn’t actually penetrate the skin. A series of light taps are used around the bump.

That being said, this is not a cure because there is no such thing for SH. You may still have new bumps appear, but the ones you are treated for will not return.

Other skin conditions improved by Skin Classic

Besides SH, these skin irregularities can be successfully treated:

  • keratosis pilaris
  • broken capillaries
  • blackheads
  • cherry angiomas
  • skin tags
  • milia
  • some hyperpigmentation

What it was like getting the treatment myself

To find a practitioner, I filled out a contact form on the RNfaces website.* They referred me to the OC Spa & Wellness Center in Huntington Beach, CA. There you can either get spot treatment or full face treatment down to the cleavage area. I went for the latter since I had quite a few spots.

*Until further notice, you need to call RNfaces directly for that information at 719.859.0707

Normally they clean the skin, then steam it, followed by microdermabrasion and last, the Skin Classic machine. I didn’t want microdermabrasion so my esthetician skipped that part.

During the treatment there’s a small amount of pain involved, but it’s nothing compared to getting liquid nitrogen. Every time she zapped a spot, I thought “ow, ow” and then it was over. It only lasted about one second. After that, there was no more pain or discomfort all the way through the healing process.

Besides getting rid of the SH, she also did a couple of skin tags, a cherry angioma and a dark hyperpigmented spot.

Right after treatment

Right after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Right after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Afterwards, my face was a little bit red and irritated looking. The next day scabs started to form and in the following days, they became more and more obvious. I felt like my face was covered with polka dots. I couldn’t really hide it with makeup so I opted to stay at home for the next week.

There was no picking of scabs allowed and I was very careful when I touched my face.

Followup visit

You’re supposed to return in 7 to 10 days to get any spots that might have been missed the first time. Some can get overlooked in places where the bumps are clustered together because the skin starts to get irritated and it’s hard to see what’s been done and what hasn’t.

I went back after seven days but I recommend waiting ten days. Waiting longer is better because at seven days there was still some irritation and a few spots were missed. I will have to go back again one of these days for another treatment.

Ten days after treatment

Ten days later most of the smaller scabs had fallen off. The larger ones took another month to heal.

Evaluating the results of Skin Classic

It took about four to six weeks for my face to completely heal, with the largest spots being the longest to heal. None of the bumps that were treated returned. One deep spot on my forehead left me with a slight indentation which took several months to fill in.

The skin tags and cherry angioma were also gone for good. The dark spot, however, lightened up considerably but did not completely disappear.

One year after my Skin Classic treatment

My skin looks much better than it did a year ago. I’m very happy with the results.

after skin classic treatment

One year after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Conclusion: I highly recommend Skin Classic

Finding this solution was a dream come true. I thought I was going to have to live with those awful bumps for the rest of my life. I’m still amazed by how well it worked.

What I can’t understand is why dermatologists are not getting Skin Classic machines to treat SH. Perhaps they have another agenda than providing the best solution for their patients. Just a thought.

For more information visit RNfaces.com or call them at 719.859.0707 to find a provider in your area.

Please note: I have no affiliation with Skin Classic, RNfaces or OC Spa & Wellness. I’m just a customer who’s trying to get the word out to other people suffering with sebaceous hyperplasia.

Don’t buy DuraCeramic by Congoleum

chipped duraceramic tile

Kitchen flooring is quite an investment and it’s reasonable to expect it to last a good ten years. So when our DuraCeramic vinyl flooring starting flaking off after only four years, I couldn’t believe it.

Then I remembered that the manufacturer, Congoleum, has a limited lifetime warranty on DuraCeramic. Unfortunately, trying to get them to honor that warranty was an exercise in futility.

I didn’t just get a bad batch of flooring. Lots of other people are reporting the same issues with DuraCeramic and also with Congoleum.

Update 2015: There is a class action lawsuit pending against Congoleum for their defective DuraCeramic product, failure to honor warranties and false advertising. For more information on participating in this lawsuit, visit Class Action News.

(The original article continues below:)

Congoleum claims this product is tougher than regular linoleum

box of duraceramic tile

This product is a vinyl composition tile, or VCT. It’s mixed with limestone which is supposed to make it stronger. The salesman even told us it was like a hybrid of linoleum and ceramic tile. It’s supposed to resist chipping and cracking, and comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

DuraCeramic is soft and dents easily

dents in duraceramic

There are dents in the floor where the refrigerator used to sit. This is pretty consistent with regular linoleum that hasn’t been enhanced with the addition of limestone. Again, this was pitched as being stronger and more durable than ordinary linoleum.

Near the top of the photo you can also see the floor is scratched.

Thin flimsy tiles

measuring duraceramic tile

These measure just under one-quarter of an inch thick. The material is soft, pliable and easy to drill through should the need arise. In fact, the tiles must be stored flat or they’ll warp. So far, more characteristic of linoleum than ceramic tile.

No, those aren’t paint splatters. It’s just the design wearing off.

peeling duraceramic tile

These white spots started appearing about four years after installation. At first I thought someone spilled paint on the floor. Then I realized the pattern was wearing off. For that to happen this top layer must have been microthin.

Now I’ve had a lot of linoleum flooring over the years, and this problem has never, ever happened. Most of the time it seems to wear like iron and only ends up getting replaced because you’re tired of looking at it.

Flaking tiles

Some areas are worn down further into the tile

worn duraceramic tile

The damage is not limited to the top layer in some places.

Four tiles are affected so far

This area by the sink is the worst

chipped duraceramic tiles

Here’s a short video of my damaged kitchen floor

I took this video with my camera and I apologize for the quality.

What happened to the lifetime limited warranty?

When it comes time to make good on their warranty, Congoleum doesn’t want to hear from you. I believe the technical term for it is “giving you the run around.” And should you think mine was an isolated incident, please feel free to read the horror stories you can find here:

Pissed Consumer Reviews

I first contacted the salesman about the problem we were having with the floor. He said he would file a claim with Congoleum and they would come out to inspect. But they didn’t come. Instead they sent the salesman to my house to take pictures a week later.

Two weeks passed and I didn’t hear anything. I called the salesman again and he said he would contact the manufacturer’s rep about putting in a claim and that they would call me the following week.

Eight days passed with no word. I called the salesman again. This time he promised the rep would call me in a couple of days.

Another week went by and I had to call the salesman yet again. He said he would call the rep, again. The very next day he came back to my house to take pictures because somehow the first set of pictures got lost.

Fifteen days passed and what do you know, I finally got a call from the Mohawk consumer affairs rep. She said the claim was in process!

Another two weeks went by and I called the Mohawk rep to find out what was going on. She told me I had to talk to the salesman about the status of my claim. He wasn’t in and I had to leave a message for him to call me back.

The next day, nine weeks after initially contacting the salesman, he called and gave me their verdict: claim denied. If I wanted the floor fixed I would have to pay for it myself at an estimated cost of $200 for a box of tiles and installation.

Well that was it! No way was Congoleum going to get any more of my hard-earned cash to fix their lousy floor.

In conclusion, DuraCeramic is a waste of money

If you’re looking for new flooring, steer clear of DuraCeramic or anything else made by Congoleum. There are lots of other choices for quality products made by companies with integrity.

As for me, I decided to invest my money on new flooring that will truly stand the test of time—porcelain tile! And the best part is, I don’t even have to tear out the old floor. The new tile can go right on top.

Why I love my Samsung Chromebook

my samsung chromebook

My Samsung Chromebook

A couple of months ago, I’d never heard of a Chromebook, but having had one for a short time, I can’t imagine ever being without it.

Now I’m not the kind of person who has to have the latest gadget. I proudly get by on the least amount of technology possible. So the idea of getting a Samsung Chromebook and leaving Microsoft Windows behind was really out of my comfort zone. But its sleek look, compact size and low price tag kept calling me.

Before making my purchase I read a lot of reviews, most of which were very technical. Not being a techie myself, I didn’t understand everything in those reviews. But one thing was clear—they were overwhelmingly positive. So I took a chance and I couldn’t be happier!

I saved more money by buying a used one

The new ones are practically dirt cheap at around $250. But when I saw a used “like new” Chromebook for about $65 less, I thought, what the heck, might as well give it a try. It was offered through Amazon Warehousedeals which had good reviews, and I knew I could return it if I didn’t like it.

The only thing I did give up buying a used one was the free 100 GB of document storage in the cloud on Google Drive for two years. This is in addition to the 5 GB that everyone can get for free. But I figured the 5 GB would be enough for me anyway.

I was so excited to unpack my new Chromebook!

unpacking my Samsung Chromebook

Unpacking my Samsung Chromebook

Inside the box are the Chromebook, power cord, quick start guide and safety instructions.

My computer looked brand new, only the box looked like it had been opened and taped up again. The screen still had the protective plastic film on it and there were no marks anywhere. The pamphlets were in sealed plastic bags.

What I’m doing with my Samsung Chromebook

I’m on it a good 10 to 12 hours a day

At least ninety percent of the time I’m using my Chromebook to surf the web. I also check email, write online articles, edit photos and add products to my Zazzle store. A few times a week I watch YouTube videos or a TV program I might have missed.

Twelve reasons why I like my Chromebook more than my laptop

  1. Compact size. It’s small but not too small. Fits comfortably on the lap and is easy to type on.
  2. It’s light, weighing only 2.4 pounds. Why lug around a six pound laptop when you don’t have to.
  3. The elegant design. I like the streamlined shape and brushed silver finish.
  4. So inexpensive, as I mentioned before. I got tired of spending hundreds of dollars for a computer when they only last about five years anyway. Even if my Chromebook were only to last two years, I would still be spending less per year than with any other computer I’ve owned.
  5. Simplicity of use. It’s ready to go right out of the box. You don’t have to make backup disks which most people forget to do until the day comes when their hard drive has to be reformatted. And yes, that’s happened to me more than once.There’s no updating of Windows or any other software. Whenever I turn on my laptop, it always seems to be updating, updating, updating and I have to wait, wait, wait for it to finish. Then it restarts when I’m in the middle of something. Makes me wonder what was so great about Windows after all.
  6. Built in virus protection. As with the operating software, it never has to be updated and it doesn’t slow your computer down while working in the background.
  7. It turns on instantly, or four seconds to be precise. My laptop, on the other hand, takes forever to boot up.
  8. Documents are automatically saved when you use Google Drive. You’ll never lose data and you can work on your documents with any computer since they’re not stored on the hard drive.
  9. Super fast web surfing which allows me to get a lot more done. With my laptop I’m always getting the “Windows is not responding” message and the little circle that swirls around. Ugh.
  10. My Chromebook does not get hot even after several hours of use. My laptop can only go a couple of hours before it starts to overheat to the point where it just shuts off. That’s always fun.
  11. Built in webcam. Not that I was looking for this, but if I need one it’s there. My laptop doesn’t have one.
  12. Long battery life. Lasts more than six hours.

See how much nicer my Samsung Chromebook looks compared to my old laptop

The small size makes it more portable

samsung chromebook compared to my old laptop

Samsung Chromebook compared to my old laptop

Side by side you can really see the difference

My old laptop looks so clunky next to my new computer

side by side comparison chromebook and my laptop

Side by side comparison chromebook and my laptop

Nice clear screen with good resolution

samsung chromebook screen

Samsung Chromebook screen

The only thing is with the screen being smaller, text was a bit harder to read. But it was a simple fix to make the text a little larger.

Full size keyboard

A real keyboard is easier to type on

chromebook keyboard

Chromebook keyboard

Look what else I got

I got this hot case for protection when traveling

pink case for chromebook

Pink case for Chromebook

The hard exterior safeguards against damage.

Lots of padding inside and elastic to keep it from sliding around

chromebook case is padded inside

Chromebook case is padded inside

It’s a perfect fit. You can use it in the case when you’re on the go.

chromebook fits perfectly inside case logic case

Computer fits perfectly inside Case Logic case

Gratuitous cute puppy pic

my dog and my chromebook

My dog and my chromebook

These are my two great loves. They’re both by my side all day long, but only one of them doesn’t mind sitting on my lap. Can you guess which one?

Update: October 10, 2014

I’ve had my Chromebook now for almost a year and a half. I really am addicted to this thing. Wherever I go in the house, it goes with me. I use it in the kitchen to read recipes while I’m cooking. I even take it to bed and watch online TV shows until I fall asleep.

My old laptop only gets used occasionally when I want to edit photos or print something. Eventually I’ll get a cloud-ready printer when my old “traditional” printer conks out.

My Chromebook is still in great shape. The screen is intact. All the keys on the keyboard work. The case looks good. No scratches or anything. The battery doesn’t last as long as it did originally, but still will go about four hours. It never gets overheated even though I’m using it constantly.

I also wanted to mention that I had bought the two-year Square Trade warranty based on the fact that every computer I’ve ever owned has had something go wrong with it in the first year or two. But this is the first time EVER that absolutely nothing has gone wrong! Next time, I think I’ll skip the warranty.

This has been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made and I would definitely buy again!

Dog stairs for small dogs

dog sitting on dog stairs

My little pomeranian loves to cuddle up next to me at night, but at seven pounds he’s just too small to get on and off the bed by himself. So I decided to get him some dog stairs for small dogs.

After doing a bit of research, I found these Solvit PupSteps Plus Pet Stairs. I really like that they don’t take up a lot of space and can be folded for storage. An added bonus is they’re made in the USA.

Getting my dog Koda to use the steps was easier than I thought. I’ll share how I did it later on in this article.

Here’s what it looks like straight out of the box

No assembly required

unpacking dog stairs

When folded up, these steps can easily fit under a bed or in a closet.

All the contents of the Solvit Pet Stairs

contents of dog stairs

This shows the stairs in the open position, along with the remaining contents of the box: an instruction sheet, four stair treads and four nonslip feet.

The stairs only weigh five pounds and measure 23.5″ long, 19.5″ high and 15″ wide. Each step measures 15″ wide x 5.5″ deep.

Peel off the backing from stair treads and apply to steps

dog stairs treads

Nonskid feet applied to the bottom keeps steps from sliding around on slippery floors

nonskid feet on dog stairs

Stairs can be closed by pressing the small buttons at the top of the back leg

button on back of dog stairs

Properly positioned against the bed, the pet steps are quite stable

dog stairs next to bed

Training my dog to use his new stairs

scared dog on dog steps

Although Koda goes up and down the porch steps with ease, when faced with his new doggy steps he wasn’t too sure about them. I placed him on there and he just looked at me like “oh, HELL no,” then he scurried down. More persuasive tactics were in order.

Training with treats

using treats to train dog to use dog stairs

I got out the chicken jerky and placed little pieces on each step. He hesitated at first, trying to figure out how to get the treats without going up the stairs. But he got the idea and carefully made his way over the steps.

I did this a couple of times, putting jerky on each step. Then I did it with a treat on every other step. Finally I just put one treat on the bed and nothing on the stairs. When he was on the bed, I put a single treat at the foot of the stairs.

By this time he was practically running up and down the steps, all his misgivings forgotten in the quest for goodies. It was fun for both of us! And it took ten minutes tops.

Dating advice from the Millionaire Matchmaker, a book review

Patti Stanger reveals how to “Become Your Own Matchmaker”

matchmaker

Image credit: Amazon

By now you’ve probably realized you’re not going to find true love by sitting on your couch every night. What you need is an action plan, and that’s what you’ll get in this practical guide to dating, Become Your Own Matchmaker by Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger.

Her dating advice breaks down the process of looking for love into eight easy steps. You’ll learn where to find a date whether you’re looking for a millionaire or a regular joe, how to tell if you’ve got the right match, and how to get a proposal.

While Become Your Own Matchmaker is geared towards women, men can also learn how to pursue a woman and capture her heart.

patti stanger quote

Patti Stanger’s best advice on looking for love

Patti Stanger is a third generation matchmaker and the founder of the prestigious Millionaire’s Club. Through her many years of matchmaking she’s learned what men are looking for in a potential spouse and also what they don’t want. The book is full of tips for finding love with the right man and closing the deal.

In true Patti Stanger style, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything, giving you the good, the bad and the ugly truth about dating. You may not be receptive to all of her love advice, but she promises if you follow her eight easy steps you’ll be in a committed, monogamous relationship within a year. You’ll also be entertained as you read this step-by-step manual.

patti stanger monogamy quote

The Millionaire Matchmaker’s eight steps of dating

Love advice to be successful in the dating world

  1. patti stanger love quoteDating detox. This is the time to take a break from dating, pamper yourself and get into a happy place mentally.
  2. Mirror, mirror. Does the outside match the inside? Make sure your hair, clothes and makeup are flattering, and that you’re taking care of yourself through good nutrition and exercise. You’ll feel sexier and more confident.
  3. Make your own matchmaking map. Divide your dating efforts into three areas: online dating, personal referrals from people you know, getting out and about.
  4. Qualifying the buyer. Is he the one? Don’t waste your time with Mr. Wrong. How to tell if your guy is a keeper or if you should release him back into the wild.
  5. Adventures in dating. Have some ideas prepared for things you’d like to do on dates and also for light topics of conversation. Certain topics are date killers and should be avoided.
  6. First days of infatuation. The four phases of a relationship are outlined here. Honeymoon: The initial attraction. If the attraction goes beyond the physical, you’ll move into the next phase. Discern and decide: In this phase you look at each other objectively to determine if you’re going to be compatible in the long run. If not, this is the easiest time to end the relationship. Negotiation to engagement: By this time you should be thinking about building a life together. You should have met each other’s families and a proposal should be forthcoming. Engagement: Once you’re engaged, great! Now the work begins to prepare for the marriage which you hope will last a lifetime. Premarital counseling will help.
  7. Relationship reality check. You should both be deciding if you can live with each other’s faults. You should also both be trying to please the other. True love is about caring for the other person and not just thinking about what he can do for you.
  8. Negotiating the ring. You think he’s the one and he feels the same way about you, yet he still hasn’t popped the question. Now is the time for an honest conversation. Learn how to handle this conversation without giving a “marry me or else” ultimatum.

patti stanger quote

My critique of Become Your Own Matchmaker

Your chances of finding love should improve with Patti Stanger’s dating advice

Become Your Own Matchmaker does a very thorough job in laying out the strategies for finding love. Much of the advice is reminiscent of the dating guide “The Rules” from many years ago, only updated for our high tech world.

One piece of advice some women might bristle at is the idea of dressing nice and putting on lipstick before leaving the house. I just think this is good advice for any woman, whether or not looking for a man, to present yourself to the world looking your best.

My favorite tips from the book are Patti’s suggestions for where to go to meet men. A lot of these ideas were new to me.

Although unique, my least favorite and strangest piece of advice is to hand out bio cards to guys you like. (A bio card is the size of a postcard with your picture on the front and your profile on the back.) I can’t even imagine doing that! It just seems too aggressive and frankly I don’t think it would work.

I recommend this book even though a few suggestions are questionable and her credibility does suffer a tad since she’s never been married herself. (Doctors often make the worst patients but that doesn’t mean they can’t help other people.) Overall her dating advice is sound and you’re sure to get some good ideas no matter how experienced you are at dating.

Looking for love online

Visit these links to find dates and get dating advice

The Millionaire’s Club. Did you know women can join Patti Stanger’s Millionaire’s Club for free? Visit her site to sign up.

Patti Knows. Patti Stanger has a blog where she gives advice on love, astrology, beauty and wellness.

PlentyOfFish.com. Matchmaker Patti Stanger found her current boyfriend on PlentyOfFish.com. It’s the largest and I think the best free online dating site. All communication is free, no strings attached. What I really like about this site is that you can filter out people who don’t meet your criteria from contacting you. Check it out for yourself.

DatingAdviceGuy.com. This is an online dating advice blog by Brad Miller who found his wife on Match.com. And now they have a baby! His mission is to help singles find true love. His advice will help you become more successful and comfortable with using online dating sites. He also has a free 100+ page online dating guide which you can get by signing up at his website.