Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 5

So far so good. No symptoms since day 1 even thought I had cheese pizza for dinner two nights ago (bad girl, I know). Last night bumped up the dose to 3 sm scoops. Still no problems. Tonight will be my first dose of the L scoop... oooooo, ahhhhhh. We shall see. It is, of course, tough to tell if its working since you're strictly told to avoid dairy during the program. But I suppose I'll just have to be a good girl, (more or less) follow the directions and see where we go!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sad Day

I don't know how many of you ever heard Randy's "Last Lecture" either on Oprah (the abbreviated version) or on You Tube, but if you haven't yet, I would strongly suggest it - a link is at the bottom of this article. It is one of the few things I can call truly eye opening in my lifetime. He will be missed by so many.,0,269570.htmlstory

Sephora Product Binge Review - 3rd Q, '08

Since I am a self-admitted Sephora junkie, (check out this blog post for confirmation) I went on my quarterly Sephora binge this week and bought a few things. As I’ve learned through the years Sephora could market dust bunnies and make them sound like this season’s “must have”, so for the benefit of… well probably no one really… I figured I’d review the things I bought, things I loved, and things that are going back from whence they came…

Imju Fiberwig Mascara: This mascara is said to be all the rage in Japan. It supposedly contains tiny fibers so that when you apply its like little hair extensions for your lashes. I’ve tried every mascara from Chanel Interminible (Splendora’s “Best Of” pick), to Bad Gal (Sephora’s “Best Of’ pick) to good ole Maybelline pink-n-green. Imju claims its like “liquid false eyelashes”. I dunno about that. Its good but not great – and definitely not “false eyelash”-esque. It did make my lashes look longer, but certainly not thicker. Overall I’d stay with either Bad Gal Lash or Maybelline “blackest black”. But still, I’ll keep it and I give this one a B.

Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner: So far so good though today is the first day of use. It does NOT come with a liner brush which is a small complaint and if you use more than one color of liner ever (I alternate black and brown depending on the day and the shadow) I’m not exactly clear how to clean off your brush since this stuff is waterproof. I like that it stays in place quite well but doesn’t have the hard edge of a liquid liner. And they claim that it will even stay on the inner rim of the lids – a tough thing to accomplish but necessary for the perfect evening smokey eye. This one gets a B+ but by 8:00 tonight if its still around I’ll move that to an A.

Laura Geller Lip Stay: I got this once as a “deluxe” sample and loved it so much that I decided to buy some “real sized” ones in different shades. I had the “pout” so I bought the “pucker” (a goldie/apricot) and the “holly” (a burnished red). This stuff stays on but doesn’t require a million re-applications of the top gloss like the cheap department store “all days” do. In fact I rarely ever re-gloss more than once a day. Also the department store brands tend to make my lips “peel” and then I chew them to shreds. This doesn’t do that at all. I tried the apricot shade this morning and its starting to get a little chalky, but I think that’s also just part of the color (more of an old fashioned frost than a shimmer). This one gets an A.

Dior DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation: I’ve had my eye on this foundation for a long time. It comes in an “airbrush” (i.e. aerosol) can and you spray it on your face. I pulled it out of the box, read the instructions (hold it a bit away from your face, close your eyes and spray in a “Z” pattern starting at your forehead). First, the coverage is thick and chalky. It also didn’t disperse well so I could easily tell where it was and where it wasn’t, requiring blending or touchups. If I wanted to manually apply foundation I would have purchased a traditional bottle for much less – the idea here is to get a matte airbrushed look. In addition, I ordered the second lightest shade, Cameo 202. I use Jergens self-tanning facial moisturizer every morning and am naturally not fair skinned to begin with. Holy orange-pink mask batman. IF I would ever buy this again I would most definitely get the most fair shade and hope for the best. However I seriously doubt I’d give this another go. For the steep price tag ($60) it doesn't deliver. Its going back. This one gets a C-.

Tarte Natural Beauty Cheek Stain: I have used a bunch of different cheek stains from Benetint to Revlon’s Pinch Me stain. I never did love the Benetint despite is popularity… too watery and too hard to blend. I always needed a damp makeup sponge to make it work. I *loved* the Revlon but it has been discontinued as a seasonal item (wahhhh). So I tried the Tarte cheek stain gel stick. LOVE it. Easy to put on, easy to blend, long lasting, natural sun kissed look – love love love. This one gets an A+!

ColorOn EyeEnvy – Smokey Kit, Rhapsodey in Grey Kit, Flaunt Kit: This was my main reason for my shopping binge. I got an email about this product. In a nutshell, its “stick on” eyeshadow. Yup. Its pre-put-together eyeshadow shades on oval “stickers” that you press on your lid, rub, set, and go! It comes in more demure shades up to something like the animal print set (cheetah, zebra, etc!). I was so enamored by the idea that I bought 3 sets. At $25 a set it doesn’t make these cheap. I was a little disheartened to find out when I got them that there are only 5 duos per set, however once I read the instructions I saw that one “oval” should be enough for both eyes (with the exception of a couple sets that have a specific “right” and “left” eye set up). I tried out the plumy-brown shade in the Smokey kit this morning. I know its something that I will just have to “get the hang” of, but I wasn’t as pleased as I’d hoped. It was hard to position the oval since it was nowhere near the same shape as my eyelid and the colors didn’t go up to the brow – they stopped just after the crease. So I was going to have to do some manual fill ins which goes against the whole idea of the product. Once I did get it on, it ‘stuck’ better than I’d hoped, but I discovered its not a powder, but a cream. That was unexpected. Not bad or good, just different. The instructions say to use your finger to blend the colors together. Unfortunately once I started blending the lighter cream color just disappeared. I ended up with almost one monotone shade of brown across my entire lid. I used a little of my own pink shimmer for the brow bone area and then “set” the look with the enclosed brush and clear powder. It’s stayed well so far, but is already creasing (4 hrs after application). I’m also disappointed with the lack of color diversity. I like my eyes to pop and these are not turning out how they did in the ad photos at all – especially for what is being billed as a “smokey eye”. For $25 I’m just not sure its worth keeping the other two boxes that I haven’t opened yet. I’ll try again this weekend with the rest of the smokey kit and if I get any better or if other colors are easier to manage I’ll report back. But for now due to the bland, overall color with no distinction, the creasing and the hassle, I’m giving this a disappointed C.

Ojon Ultra Hydrating Shampoo: I’ve looked and looked at Ojon products for months and months. The back story is intriguing (supposedly made from products indigenous to some tribe of folks known the world over for their hair) but I’ve noted it often says it is for people with long hair. Since the kiddo chop, mine is not so long. So I’ve held off. But as one of my sample choices, I got this shampoo. I could tell a definite difference in one use. The thing I noticed right away while rinsing is that it didn’t weigh my hair down at all… in fact it almost felt squeaky clean. I had to use my old Bumble and Bumble conditioner, so that may skew the results, but I’m a fan so far. Also, random note, I liked that the sample came in a lined papery packet instead of slick plastic one - easier to grab/open in the shower and seems like it would be greener. I don’t know if repeated use would build up and make my hair heavy but I’m willing to give it a shot and will probably be ordering a small sized shampoo and conditioner. So far, it’s an A.

Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess: This was my “free deluxe sample”. Not much to say about it since I really have a hard time thinking one bronzer is much superior to the next. It’s a nice color; not too overwhelming and not too “shimmery” – which I like. I’ll probably never use it much – I’m not big on “bronzers” but for someone who likes a gentle touch of glow I’d say this is a good choice. I do have to wonder if they sent the other color (Hotel Heiress) instead since it seems awfully dark to me but eh - just a comment - no biggie. Just due to my own indifference toward bronzers though I give this one a B.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 2

Just a quick update on my second day (last night)..

I ate:
Minute steak with garlic, mushrooms, ham, asparagus and swiss cheese.
1 8oz glass water with 1 sm scoop Lactagen
1 4oz container of Yoplait "whips" chocolate mousse

I'm happy to report that this time around, there were NO adverse effects. No bloating, cramping or gas. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 1

For those of you who don’t know (and I’m guessing that’s most of you) I am lactose intolerant. What that means is that my body no longer has the ability to break down the natural sugar (or lactose) that occurs in dairy. I manage the issue by taking a supplement called Lactaid anytime I have something containing dairy. It usually works just fine, but every once in a while it just doesn’t cut it. And I have to have it available at all times to take. And you have to take it with your first bite of diary for it to be most effective. If I fail to take the Lactaid or fail to take it at the right time what ensues is not pretty. It ranges from mild cramps and diarrhea to something akin to the worst food poisoning you’ve ever experienced.

Lactose intolerance has always been billed as “treatable” (i.e. supplements like Lactaid) but not curable. However recently, I found a product that claims to cure lactose intolerance in 38 days. Permanently. Forever. Cure. Its called Lactagen. Ok so that sounds pretty attractive, but like any good cynical lawyer I had serious doubts. First, why isn’t this product being touted by the press at large if it really is the first known cure to lactose intolerance? Second, what do they have to back up their claims? For the steep cost ($150) I wanted more.

Well I did my research and looked at some (supposed) independent reviews (on, on various blogs and on an occasional website) and found that most people who tried it seemed to support it. Most did claim to be able to eat dairy with no ill effects. And I did find one study that also seemed to support the claim of the makers of Lactagen (but there were caveats that it was not a long term study and that there was a chance a varying strict regimen of yogurt could do the same thing). Finally, there was the 6 month, money-back refund offered by the company. So I signed up.

I’ve decided to post my progress here. While I won’t blog about it daily, I will mark milestones along the way and will keep up even after the 38 days on my status. Hopefully either way it will help people who are LI become more educated about this new product.

My Lactagen came last night and when I opened the package I guess I was a little underwhelmed. The “guide” was a 3 or 4 page handout and the Lactagen itself was a small canister of ultra-fine white powder. But I read through all the materials (which I will say was actually nice it wasn't a small treatise) and, since you take it with dinner, decided to start right away.

For the first two days they suggest you take your dinner and dose with 8oz of yogurt. The containers I had only had 6oz in them so I figured that would have to suffice. The powder comes with two small scoops – one about an 1/8th tsp and one about a tablespoon. The guide shows you how many of each scoops to mix in with your water or juice (you are specifically told not to mix it with dairy, alcohol, coffee, or anything other that water, juice or iced tea). You start out with just one of the tiny scoops and work your way up, over 34 days, to 4 large scoops. The last 4 days are just working dairy back into your diet.

I mixed the one scoop into my water and was hesitant to drink. I’ve had plenty of health powders and potions that claim to be undetectable in water that make your toes curl. Lactagen claimed the powder would be tasteless or very slightly sweet. I’m happy to report I did find it to be truly tasteless, so that was nicely unexpected. They ask that you don’t have any other dairy with your meals while on the program (or at least limit it to one serving per WEEK) so that will be something I’ll have to be mindful of.

Last night I had:

  • ½ order PF Chang’s crispy honey chicken
  • Brown rice
  • 3 Crab wontons
  • 8oz water with 1 sm scoop of Lactagen
  • 8oz plain water

The handout was very firm in the point that there should be no side effects from the Lactagen whatsoever except in the rare case of someone “severely” lactose intolerant. In fact they mention that you should not worry about starting the program on a weekend or any special day. Because of that I was really bummed out when about 5 mins after dinner I began to feel the familiar cramping and bloating! It wasn’t horrid but severe enough that I didn’t want to go for an evening walk or even focus on reading my book. Happily I did not experience any diarrhea and the bloating and cramps lessened over the course of the next 30-45 mins (as I um..."released" the gas) to a place where they were not a big problem. However overall I was disappointed in the side effects. I am not severely LI; in fact I can have some dairy with no problems at all (cheese pizza, sour cream on a taco, cheese in my chili, etc). I have a friend whose husband cannot even have buttermilk brownies or he will get sick. So I wonder who else may have problems starting out.

I will say the side effects were not anywhere near enough for me to cease the program and I will be having “day 2” tonight. I’ll report back with regular updates! (I’m so investigative journalistic huh? I bet I win a Peabody for this). As the front of the hand-out says: Go Moo!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hey Daddy, Look At Me!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about hubby and I going to see the movie Wanted on opening night. The jist was that I was seriously annoyed by two particular parents… one who brought a weeks-old baby (along with all the paraphernalia - car seat, diaper bag, bottles, etc) and worse, a dad who brought his 10-year old daughter. Apart from it being too late for those kids to be out (9:45 showing) I couldn’t imagine how it was ok for a 10-year old girl to watch bullets come out of people’s bloody skulls in close-up mode; or, the real kicker, (tiny spoiler alert) watch one guy have sex with his best friend’s girlfriend on a kitchen table in a shabby apartment. How is that ok?

I ended up taking the post down after only a day. Quite honestly I just didn’t want to deal with all the “who do you think you are” comments that were likely to ensue. Oddly enough, just this week CNN posted a blog article about how inappropriate it was to take young children to see The Dark Knight. While the author did get her fair share of “who do you think you are judging others” comments, she also got many, many more supportive ones. I feel a little vindicated.

So this weekend hubby and I went to see Wall-E (without Coco – she’s still too young to sit through 90 minutes of just about anything right now). Its rated G and while it was a little late (movie ended at 9:30) I could understand it being a “treat” for the kids (like when my sister and I got stay up and watch Fantasy Island on the weekends). So there should have been nothing to get my hackles up right? Wrong.

In our row was a dad with his two girls. I am guessing they were about 5 and 8. He was sitting in the middle with one girl on either side of him (daddy seating is prime real estate, I’m sure). The problem wasn’t that – it was the daddy. He sat and did almost nothing else but play with his Blackberry. Whether he was doing emails, texting, playing a game, etc., I have no idea. What I do know is that two little girls just sat staring around the movie theater. To make it worse, for some reason there was nothing but a blank screen ahead – no commercials or stills. On the rare occasion that he wasn’t engrossed in the 2.5” screen of his phone, he just stared straight ahead not speaking to his little sideline admirers.

What these girls had most assuredly hoped would be a fun night out with dad had turned into a night at the movies with a bodyguard – there to make sure no harm came to the girls and to make sure they did no harm to anything else. (Which I will say to his credit, they were very well mannered). No more, no less.

C’mon dads. I know work is important. I know Wall-E may not be your idea of an engrossing movie-going experience. I know you’d probably rather be in the next theater watching Wanted. But your kids want to be right where they are… with dad, getting ready to watch an animated masterpiece. And that alone should be motivation enough to put the Blackberry away. You have to know that soon there will come a time when going to a movie with dad would be only slightly more preferable to getting a root canal with no anesthetic (this does change back btw but its a long time coming). Take advantage of making the special memories now. I doubt you’ll remember in a week what was on that Blackberry. But you could end up remembering forever the look on your little girl’s face when dad put it away and asked her what she was most excited to see about Wall-E.