Rant on Comcast/Xfinity Wednesday, May 24 2017 

I’m cool as a cucumber, calm as a gentle stream. I don’t get road rage—I’m the most patient driver on the road. I rarely get rattled caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s or rambunctious grandchildren. I really am typically easy-going.

Until I had to deal with Comcast/Xfinity.

Working with them after my recent move turned me into an angry person I didn’t recognize. One day, I even lost my temper and was nasty with reps. My blood pressure rises just thinking about them.

There were problems with the cable. A second TV didn’t work, and I was repeatedly told there was something wrong with my equipment. All of it magically failed overnight while moving. Actually, after a visit, the technician said the error was on their end.

Most frustrating were all the phone issues.

  • Comcast said I’d have the same phone number I’ve had for 30 plus years. It was originally issued by Illinois Bell, so that tells you how long I’ve had it. After several HOURS on the phone with Comcast, and a week later, I was told the temporary number they issued me will be my permanent one. It happens, they say. Even moving only 2-3 miles from my last home. Had I been told of the possibility from the beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted so many hours dealing with reps who repeatedly told me it would be another 24-48 hours. I would have waited to print “Just Moved” postcards to include my new phone number.
  • It took ten days and multiple calls to get a rep to update my online info so that I could see my account online.
  • I had no voice mail for 16 days. The prompt said my number was unavailable.
  • Caller ID continues to identify me by someone else’s name. Yesterday Comcast said they aren’t responsible for that. It is the slow processing of the providers of those I call, such as AT&T.

No doubt, all this rambling and ranting sounds familiar to many of you as you’ve had the same experience with carriers. They aren’t life-threatening problems but still, intensely irritating, particularly because of the waste of time. I lost countless hours that cost me work and pay.

And it’s been unnecessarily stressful. All reps were pleasant as they read their scripts but few could reason beyond their prescribed steps. It took multiple contacts before anything was resolved.

I guess it is the sign of the times. I moved 8 times with my previous number with AT&T and it was as simple as lifting up the phone in my new home to find it all working. But today we deal with too much technology, too little employee training, and the fact that these providers are so much in demand they needn’t care how the consumer feels.

I apologize for the rant. As you know, I strive to write positive posts, so perhaps I can assist you with your next move by warning you. Perhaps if I’d known all of this was likely, I would have taken it more in stride.

Socks, Please Santa Thursday, Dec 15 2016 

 

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The snow glitters in the blowing wind. Trees and decks and shrubs and ground are dusted in sparkling white snow. So pure, clean—and deceivingly inviting. The temperatures are frigid today, and so are we the moment we step outside.

It looks like we will have a cold winter this year in the U.S. Midwest and North, so we might think about adding socks to our list for Santa and purchasing a pair or two for someone in a homeless shelter. We’ll all endure the winter so much better if we do.

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Women’s fashions aren’t always thoughtful of what we ladies must endure. Live through a number of seasons and we encounter countless summers and winters when we are dressed for looks but not comfort. I know I’ve had too many summers when I was dressed too warm and too many winters when I could have had a few more yards of fabric on me!

A positive trend this winter season are knee and above socks. They’ve been out of fashion, and difficult to find, for many years. We have them back in full swing right now.

Neutral to an array of fun designs are available. We also have leg warmers again. I tried a pair yesterday, and I was amazed at how much warmer I was without the cold air penetrating my jeans. They were only $7 at Marshall’s, but the cute socks are more in the $15-$20 range.

(Why not check out my website or author Facebook page?)

 

Know GMO Monday, Jul 18 2016 

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The more options science offers us, the more concerns we have in regards to ethics, health, and safety. Those concerns often create emotionally charged camps with opposing viewpoints. Such is the way with GMO products.

GMO, the acronym for Genetically Modified Organisms, and GE, the acronym for Genetically Engineered, refer to living organisms whose genetic material has been manipulated through biotechnology. Genes are isolated and added to cells in a laboratory to produce desired traits in new cells, altering the DNA.

Most developed nations, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, either significantly restrict or ban the production and sale of GMOs. They consider them to be unsafe.

But, according to the FDA, GMO/GE foods are as safe as non-GMO since all must meet the same food safety requirements. The FDA also states that the practices of selective breeding and cross-breeding have been in existence for thousands of years with the same intent of creating more flavorful crops with higher yield and resistance to insects and diseases.

Foods from GMO plants were first introduced into the U.S. food supply in the 1990s. Today, cotton, corn, and soybeans are the most common GMO crops. In fact, 93% of all soybeans, and 88% of all corn planted, are from GMO seeds. Other major GMO crops include potatoes, squash, apples, and papayas.

Anti-GMO activists, who refer to these crops as “Frankenfoods,” argue that GMOs may cause environmental damage and health concerns. The non-profit organization, The Non-GMO Project, describes GMOs as living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated through genetic engineering creating “unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that do not occur in nature.” In addition, they say that contrary to public belief, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

Instead, The Non-GMO Project claims that there is evidence that GMOs do result in health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmer’s and consumers’ rights. And there is great concern that  GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance. This results in increased use of toxic herbicides like Roundup, and the emergence of super weeds and bugs which require even more toxic poisons to extinguish them.

Since as much as 80% of conventionally processed foods contain GMOs, The Non-GMO project advises reading labels carefully. They offer the example of raisins that may be packed with a small quantity of oil which could present a high-GMO risk.

However, the ability for consumers to clearly identify products containing GMO ingredients is another dimension of the argument as companies are not required to disclose this information on labels (except in Vermont). A bill that recently passed will allow consumers access to this knowledge through some type of hidden labeling such as a “QR-code,” but this won’t happen for several years.

(The FDA states that GE/Genetically Engineered is the more accurate term. I use GMO in this post because it is more commonly used.)

(Have you seen my posts on Mary K Doyle Books and Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore Guerin or my Facebook author page? I also have a Facebook page for each of my books with information specific to that title.)

The Essence of Nature Saturday, May 14 2016 

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Lavender for sleep. Peppermint to keep alert while driving. Tea Tree Oil to disinfect. I’ve used essential oils since the early 70s, but now they are my go-to-source for nearly every need.

Young Living’s Purification eliminates odors in the trash can. Thieves cleans and disinfects counter tops. Lavender soothes burns. Peppermint keeps ants away. And the lovely fragrance of diffusing jasmine makes me happy.

Pure essential oils are concentrated compounds that have been pressed or distilled from plants. They do not have a fatty or oily component. They are called “essential” because they carry the essence of the plant or plant part they are made from.

Essential oils can be diffused, and some used directly on the skin or even ingested, if they are of high quality.

I was drawn to essential oils more recently because I sought a more natural pain remedy. I’m allergic to most prescription and over-the-counter ones. I also am trying to eliminate as many chemicals as possible. Essential oils have offered me many options for all of this.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

(Have you seen my posts on Mary K Doyle Books or my author Facebook page?)

Time for Lunch? Monday, May 2 2016 

In a perfect world, there’d be no laundry. And believe it or not, it may be the way of our, albeit, distant future.

As reported in the journal, Advanced Materials Inerfaces, researchers in Australia have discovered a way to embed minute flecks of silver and copper within cotton fabric. When exposed to light, the metal particles, called nanostructures, release bursts of energy that degrade organic matter on the fabric in about six minutes. The particles are invisible to the naked eye and don’t change the feel of the fabric. Nor do they rinse off in water.

This process is in the early stages of research. Studies have yet to determine how long it will take stains, such as ketchup and wine, to degrade in natural sunlight and if odors can be eliminated.

I don’t know about you, but I do laundry nearly every day. I’m already planning what will replace all that time I spend sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging, and storing laundry. Maybe we can finally meet for lunch.

*

(Have you seen my posts on Mary K Doyle Books or my Mary K Doyle Facebook page)

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Your Business Your Way Sunday, Apr 3 2016 

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My husband, Marshall, was a born pitchman. He easily could entice customers to happily empty their wallets on the products he showed them. He often said that he loved the challenge of sales because it is a profession that has no limits to your income.

If you enjoy sales and are interested in building your own business, consider joining a movement to bring safe products into the hands of everyone. Become a Beautycounter consultant and your income is only limited by your earning desire. Put in a handful of hours a week for some fun money. Make it your career, and you will earn a very comfortable living on our generous compensation plan. Some of our 11,000 consultants earn as much as 6 figures.

Once customers try our products, they’re hooked. They not only return to replenish the products they use, they’re eager to try others. Beyond the assurance of being among the safest available, these products perform fabulously. Our line is continuously increasing and appropriate for babies to adults. And we have cosmetics for the look you want from everyday to runway.

Beautycounter is a thriving three-year-old company that covers the United States and Canada with a mission to offer exceptional personal care products without known toxins and dangerous chemicals. Believe it or not, this is not the industry norm.We have chosen to ban the use of more than 1,500 ingredients deemed even marginally unsafe.You can see our entire product line and list of ingredients here on our site.

Contact me if you want to have your own business, be a part of an important mission, offer amazing products, and enjoy the camaraderie of a friendly and fun team of peers and mentors. I love this company and am happy to tell you more!

©2016, Mary K Doyle

 

Spiralized Wednesday, Mar 30 2016 

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Stand too close to me, and you may get Spiralized. My new toy is a Mueller Spiral-Ultra 4-Blade Spiralizer. It was a bargain on Amazon at $28 for the 8 in 1 spiral slicer, pasta maker, juicer, and mandolin.

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The gadget sure has helped me add more vegetables to my diet. And dinner never has been easier! Cucumbers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, squash, white potatoes, and onions are transformed in minutes from whole vegetables to beautiful streams of deliciousness.

Baked, fried, or boiled, everything cooks quickly. Just add a little olive oil and seasoning or a sauce of choice.

Firm fruits and vegetables spiralize and slice best. And cooking needs a gentle touch. Boiling the “pasta” is really a brief parboiling or it turns to mush.

Some of my favorite spiralized dishes are:

  1. Baked thin spiralized sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of olive oil and coconut lime seasoning.
  2. Roasted sliced and seasoned potatoes
  3. Spiralized zucchini sauteed in a dash of olive oil with pine nuts, crushed garlic, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

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My only complaint about the Mueller Spiralizer is a lack of instructions with the product. After several nasty cuts from the very sharp blades, I found a good YouTube video on how to use it. I also have since purchased their cookbook which has instructions, guidelines, and some interesting recipes. The print is large enough to see without reading glasses but the few photos are only in black and white.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

One Less Contaminant at a Time Saturday, Jan 16 2016 

DSCN3524The average woman uses at least 12 products a day on herself. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, sunscreen, foundation, blush, eye makeup—the list goes on. More than 10,000 chemicals are used in the cosmetic industry in products such as these, 90% of which the FDA has never assessed for impact on long-term health. In fact, the U.S. has not passed a new law in more than 75 years regulating ingredients used in skincare products and make-up.

According to the FDA website, “It’s against the law for a cosmetic to contain any ingredient that makes a product harmful when consumers use it according to directions on the label, or in the customary or expected way,”

However, they also state, “Under U.S. law, FDA does not have the authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to submit their safety data to FDA, and the burden is on FDA to prove that a particular product or ingredient is harmful when used as intended.”

Nor do companies need to disclose their ingredients. For example, “fragrance” may consist of anything, natural or synthetic.

In other words, “Buyer Beware.”

In contrast, the new company, Beauty Counter, excludes the use of 1,500 questionable or harmful ingredients in their products, 1,400 of which are cosmetic ingredients banned in the European Union but not in the U.S. Beauty Counter has a rigorous screening process to ensure the highest safety level possible. More than 80% of the ingredients in their products are organic, natural, or plant derived. And they believe in transparency, naming all ingredients included in every product.

This new company is continuously monitoring their products and adding new ones for the whole family. They have so much more than just make-up.

As I wrote in the previous post, my goal this year is to eliminate as many toxins in my life as possible. I don’t expect to avoid everything, but even changing a handful of products will reduce the toxins with which I pollute myself and my environment. Not only do I want to eliminate these chemicals in myself, I want to leave behind a safer world for my children and grandchildren. Our planet is toxic enough. I don’t want to contribute to the contamination any further.

For these reasons, I started using Beauty Counter products as a consumer and was so convinced of their purity as well as effectiveness, that I am now a consultant. (See my website at: beautycounter.com/marydoyle-brodien)

You can find more information about Beauty Counter on my website, especially at the very bottom of every page under FAQ. You also may place an order on that site.

If you are interested in ordering products or becoming a consultant and would like to chat about it, please contact me. I’d love to share what I’ve learned about this fabulous company.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

No Need to Compromise Safety for Beauty Tuesday, Jan 12 2016 

The day I’m on my deathbed, I’ll scare anyone observing me to the other side before me. Without make-up, my face is nearly invisible and I have this crazy hair that dances in every direction if not flat ironed into submission.

I’m one of those women who won’t leave my house without makeup, and I also use lotion from head-to-toe. I’m too vain to show the real me in public. But I do admit that slathering all those chemicals on day-after-day does concern me. I have enough health problems. I don’t need to pollute myself further.

However, there are safer products and ways of checking how yours rate on the safety scale. Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products where you can look up the safety of a product or ingredient. The database provides safety ratings for tens of thousands of personal care products.

Skin Deep lists a hazard rating and a data availability rating for products and ingredients. The hazard score is on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest hazard. A 1-2 score is believed to have low hazard, 3-6 is moderate, and 7-10 is rated high. The data availability rating reflects how much scientists know about an ingredient’s safety.

If you own a product that is rated high on the hazard list, it’s suggested that you do not dispose of it down the drain. This adds to the growing concern of water pollution. Tossing it in the trash is not ideal but considered a better option.

You can find extensive information on the EWG’s Skin Deep site about products and ingredients. Try it out for yourself. Enter the names of your shampoo, conditioner, make-up, and skin care products into the search bar. You may be quite surprised at what’s in your favorite products.

For safer skin care products, check out Beauty Counter, products that work beautifully without compromising safety.

(Information gathered from EWG’s Skin Deep)

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Relief with Essential Oils Monday, Dec 14 2015 

Days like today are typically painful head-to-toe. I have fibromyalgia, and the low air pressure literally weighs heavy on me. I’m sensitive to prescription pain medication and aspirin, and am allergic to anti-inflammatory drugs including Naproxen and Ibuprofen, so I look for alternative ways to deal with the pain. A warm shower and the stretching of yoga and other low-impact exercises are helpful. I’m also getting relief from essential oils.

I mix a few drops of an essential oil called Panaway into a dollop of coconut oil and then massage it into the bottom of my feet and my most painful spots. When used before bedtime, I can sleep comfortably through the night. Without it, on my bad days, the weight of a bed sheet causes pain.

Essential oils are highly-concentrated, distilled or cold-pressed plant products. They are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They’ve been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, well-being, and food preparation. There are over 200 references to aromatics, incense, and ointments throughout the Bible.

Panaway is a 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil by Young Living. This company uses only unadulterated essential oils. Their distillery is the largest and most technologically advanced in North America. They state that their Seed to Seal® process preserves the integrity and potency of essential oils through every step of the production process.

If you are on prescription medications, or have health problems, check with your doctor before trying any of the oils.

You can visit the Young Living site here.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

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