Monday, 10 February 2014

Sleep Right Dental Guard

Sleep Right No-Boil Dental Guard

 Do you grind your teeth?  I do, and as a result I often suffer from aching jaws and teeth, and experience frequent headaches.

About six months ago, with work becoming increasingly stressful and the issue of me clenching and grinding my teeth became apparent to me, I headed online to research what I can do to resolve the issue, or at the very minimum reduce the impact the tension was having upon my teeth and facial muscles.

I didn't have to carry out too much of an online research before I discovered the website for the product Sleep Right No Boil Dental Guard.

The website taught me a bit about mouth guards - I was a complete newbie about mouth guards and the like - and I soon learned that purchasing a fitted dental guard via a Dentist was likely to be well out of my tight budget and that other 'off-the-shelf' dental guards required messy boiling or other heat treatments in order to mould the mouthguard to suit the individual's mouth.

The Pro's
* No need to boil
* Easy to clean
* Light weight design and flexible plastic
* Adjustable to gain a tailored fit
* Product purpose matches need

From viewing the images on the website alone, the Sleep Right No Boil Dental Guard looked easy to use as well as appearing as though the person could wear the guard discretely and without much disruption to being able to speak. Priced at $49.95 for the Dura-Comfort model, which although the priciest of the different models appeared the most suitable for my needs. With a huge sigh over my needing to purchase such a product, I purchased the Dental Guard via the company's website the following day after waking up with my jaw clenched so tight that I found it painful the moment I released the tension by opening my mouth.

I didn't have any problems or hassles with purchasing the product, and delivery was quick considering the product was coming from overseas.

That very first night, I was keen to try out my new Dental Guard. By this time, my jaw, teeth and gums were in a state of constant dull ache, and my teeth had loosened from all the clenching that I was powerless to prevent happening as I slept.  I spent an hour or two that afternoon just fiddling around with the adjustable part trying to get the fit 'just right'.

Although I intended to wear the Dental Guard, I didn't get to.

For starters, no matter how I adjusted the dental guard, I just could not get it to fit against my back teeth the way they were supposed to while keeping the connecting band that wraps around the front of your bottom teeth. I could either get the band to sit comfortably, but the bitepads felt wrong, or I got the bitepads feeling right but the band didn't sit or feel right.

While the guard was in my mouth, I started drooling - excessively. This caused the already slipping around dental guard to slip about inside my mouth even more so, irritating me.  The only way I could gain peace from the guard slipping around was if I clamped down strongly on the bitepad. This seemed counter-intuitive to me: I had purchased this product to help me eliminate my clenching problem, not continue this problem. 

The band and bitepad were thin, and at the rate I was going as I sat on my bed that afternoon just trying the dental guard out while awake, I worried that when night came my super-clenching strength would cause me to chew through something so thin and 'pliable'.

When I went to bed that night, I was determined to still give the product a try - I really wanted and needed to give my poor mouth a break. So I didn't care about the increased saliva levels that comes with wearing it, settled on a compromised adjustment for the band and bitepad so that both felt 'a little bit wrong' rather than one feeling completely wrong while the other felt just right, and I settled myself down.

But I could not sleep.  The Sleep Right No Boil Dental Guard felt too loose in my mouth, and although my clenching was cushioned, so I wasn't getting any of the pain and ache I had been experiencing, I just could not sleep for one reason: I could trust that once I fell asleep the product wouldn't slip out of place and become a choking hazard.

Every time I relaxed my jaw even slightly, the product slipped around or popped out. The only way I could keep it securely in place was to clench my teeth - hard.

I tried a couple of times over the next few weeks to use the dental guard, but I never gained any trust for the product - actually, as the product 'loosened' up a bit, I actually lost even more trust that it wouldn't become a choking hazard for me.  So now the product simply sits in its little casing 'unused' (except for the trying out while awake).

In the end, I just purchased Sunrider Calli Tea 'Sleep', to relieve how stressed I was feeling, and within 3 days of drinking this wonderful herbal tea was back to get peaceful sleep - and surprised I hadn't thought of this as a solution much earlier! ** for more information about Sunrider click here**

Other people may end up with a different experience when using Sleep Right No Boil Dental Guard, as I have read that there are other sizes of the product (which may be more suitable); but I'm not prepared to waste any more of my money chasing a 'fit'.

I paid $49.95 (plus postage and handling) when I ordered directly from the company website, but the company also sells the product at a significantly lesser price of $19.97 via

My Rating: 1 star - I wish it had of worked for me, but it didn't.

I hope you found this review helpful. Please leave me a comment below.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

PC SoftwareReview: yWriter5

For those of you not familiar with me, I am an aspiring Novelist.  I have been working on writing a novel with the aim of one day becoming traditionally published when I have a story worth submitting.

I first stumbled across the program yWriter a number of years ago, and although I downloaded the free program for novelists, I never got 'into it'.  The program had all these screens, and well, it just looked too confusing to give it a try; so I never re-opened it, and wasn't sorry when that computer ceased working, and I needed to upgrade having forgot all about that program.

I wrote using Microsoft Word, and although it could be a 'pain' flipping forwards and backwards through such a huge document, I developed a system for myself and managed to complete at least one (unpublishable) manuscript. The trouble was, I had more than one storyline in mind, and when I started losing interest, getting bored, or experienced a drying up of ideas for the storyline I was working on, I simply moved onto another storyline.

My computer hard drives became littered with novel folders, manuscripts and notes, so that often when it came to the actual writing of the scene I wasted a lot of time trying to track down notes, and half the time had to re-write what I still remembered. My system sort of worked and suited me for as long as I've been writing novels (which is about thirteen years, way before I discovered yWriter the first time).

So I plodded along, never appreciating that I could complete my novel more easily if I just looked at yWriter and persevered.

But a few days ago, having successfully having completed 23,600 words during November (which is National Novel Writing Month), I found it really hard going 'connecting the dots' of my current storyline because I have spent a lot of time making false starts with the storyline trying to find the right starting point.  The middle and ending, which I had been a couple of years ago, so clear in mind about how and when and why the story would end that way back then, was now a distant memory because I had spent far too much time, and hundreds of story note documents later, away from 'knowing it'.

I had hundreds of notes and 'key scene' moments written in many different documents, and, because this particular storyline still holds my interest after five years of working on it, I figured what I really NEED to do is grab all those snippets, get them into order in the manuscript, and then, systematically start at the beginning and connect the dots and rewrite until the first draft of the manuscript was fully completed. THEN, and only then, could I go back and rewrite, and rework the story and my words (I really enjoy rewriting).

I don't even know what prompted me to search for novel writing software, but I must have done (either that or I just stumbled upon it by chance - which is probably more likely) and I came across Simon Hayes free yWriter software all over again. I downloaded it, having forgotten all about how confusing I had once found it, and then opened the program.

My first reaction was, once again, one of 'this program is too confusing', but for some inexplicable reason, I became determined to at least try to work out how to add the first chapter of my story into it.  And within seconds I realised, it wasn't difficult at all, and actually, this program might be the solution to my problem (that I didn't fully realise I had).

It wasn't too hard at all to work out once I created a new project, added some blank chapters and scenes, and I soon discovered that if I clicked on the scene 'master' it opened up a dialogue box, and I could not only add the actual manuscript, but there were also places for me to add notes about characters and locations and items and general notes and a whole gammut of useful things.

I started off slowly, just playing with the program really not fully understanding or appreciating the gem that I had just downloaded, by breaking down my first chapter into its individual scenes, and before long, started adding the scenes that I know I haven't yet written but will still need to write.  Suddenly, my scenes were starting to come together in the story's chronological order - which my own brain doesn't give it to me in - and I was starting to bring order to a whole lot of chaos, and I saw the benefit of using the Character notes, and Location notes, and adding Items.  And from there it was a quick jump to having chopped out the no longer portions of Chapter 2 and 3 in my Word document (which I had been putting off doing because it meant I had to reread my manuscript instead of pressing forward).

Seeing how 'full' the first three chapters looked in yWriter, I really wanted to see the rest of my novel and how it would pan out, so I started going through all those hundreds of Word documents, and copying the useable content and dropping those golden-nugget tidbits into the rough order that they might appear in.

Not happy with the 'structure' of calling the chapters 'chapters', I recreated and renamed the chapters so there were only 12 in total:
Act I B (meaning Act I Beginning)
Act I M (meaning middle)
Act I E (Ending)

Act 2 B
Act 2 M
Act 2 E

Act 3 B
Act 3 M
Act 3 E

For each of the Acts, I then created the maximum number of scenes allowed by the program when creating in bulk (20 - though you CAN add more individually) so that they were there and ready for use.

Then, each of the used scenes, instead of just giving it a short title to identify what is happening (e.g. Discovered item Missing) as I assume most people would do, I renamed the scenes to the chapter is appear in the manuscript i.e. Chapter 1 - Discovered item Missing, Chapter 1 - Upset by what this Means, so that the menu clearly listed however many scenes appeared as that one Chapter. (And if I didn't know what chapter it will be in because I am not up to that yet, I stuck with my naming convention and just used the ? to replace the number - this will allow me to change the order of the scenes if necessary without having to go to a whole lot of fix up).

I named them this way because just sometimes the exact positioning of that scene, although clear in my head as being necessary, wasn't obvious even using yWriter exactly where it sits until I get up to writing that part of the manuscript in its entirety.

Actually, I am so impressed now by how EASY the program is to use, I encourage ALL writers to try it.

I can honestly say that when I first started writing novels I would have found the program unhelpful if I had of worked out how to use it - because I wasn't up to that 'stage' within my writing. I developed a system, unique to my own style (as all writer's are encouraged to do).  But my novel writing has gone up a level or two over the last thirteen years, and what used to work for me no longer does. I didn't know how to change my system to make it better, but I instinctively knew that there did have to be a better way.

Now that I have more than a couple of characters, now that my stories have become more complex, I needed a system that could help me manage it - and yWriter is doing just that.

And writers, it is FREE to download, no strings, bombarding advertising or viruses attached. Simon Haynes, the author of the Hal Spacejock series used his other skills in creating software to help serious authors manage their writing projects. And he has done a fantastic job in giving us what we want/need in a novel writing program! He only encourages you to register the program IF you want (I've already messaged him to let him know I will doing exactly that as soon as I can afford to do so!); as a Novelist he has been exactly where I was yesterday in needing a cohesive project managing tool so he can get on with the job of actual writing.

So, no matter where you are on the novel writing journey, I encourage you to download and register a copy of yWriter - because anyone serious about getting published, will reach a point where they need to use yWriter to make life easier for themself.

Oh, and a little tip: I created an extra 'Chapter' which I renamed 'Scenes to be Sorted' - this way I can quickly type up any notes or thoughts that I come up with about my storyline, and then work out where it fits later, without having that worry in the back of my mind trying to work it out first so I can just get it out of my head.

Rating: 5 Stars
Price: FREE, but you can register it if you wish

To get your FREE copy of yWriter, just visit Simon Haynes website or click this link. And while you're there, please drop him a note expressing your appreciation for providing us writers with the program with full use for free - and let him know you learned about it from me.

Please note, I am NOT associated with Simon Haynes or yWriter in anyway, and will not receive any affiliate commission or any other payment for referring you to his website or the yWriter program - I have written this unsolicited review because I am happy to share good resources and my positive experience in using the product with my readers.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

App Review: FaceYourManga Avatar Creator

Yesterday I had so much fun creating avatar's using Cute Avatar Creator, that today I went looking for something a little more 'humanly realistic'.

At first I downloaded the free version of Face Your Manga Avatar Creator, and had great fun easily creating a less caricature avatar in the likeness of myself.  But after successfully creating something that I was rather proud of, I stumbled upon the restrictions of the free program - I could save the image but I couldn't save it to my iphone camera roll so I could use it later, I couldn't email it, or share it on facebook.  Pretty much the only way I'd be able to view it again was in the free Face Your Manga app - and what fun or use is that?

I decided to find the paid version to see how much it cost, and I ended up quite surprised that it was AUS$1.99; so I bought the app immediately, which removed the advertisement bar covering the top of the avatar's head that you are working on, and immediately gave access to all the 'save' features, including saving to camera roll, sharing on facebook etc.

In the paid version, I then re-created the avatar I had made using the free version earlier, and then went on to have a bit of fun trying to avatarise my children - one of the avatar's is spookily a very good likeness of the real deal (hint: she is wearing red glasses).

This has been a fun and easy to use app.  It is priced at $1.99 (Australian dollars).
Where to purchase: iTunes store

Rating: 4.5 Stars - Again, the program is too addictive that I found myself wasting time playing than doing housework, and points do have to be taken off for the addictive-distraction element!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

App Review: Cute Avatar Creator App

Want to have a bit of fun?  Then I certainly recommend you give Cute Avatar Creator an hour or two of your spare time.

I was browsing through the iTunes store in search of a Logo maker when I came across this little freebie, and I ended up wasting away an entire afternoon creating a couple of avatars of myself and people I know.

Check these out...

This one loosely represents me.  My hair is in a similar face-framing bob, my hair is yellowy-blonde, I wear 'uncool' glasses, and I usually have a goofy-looking smile on my face.
At first I put on an academic's graduation hat, because that is how a lot of people see me (even though I never went to university), but I later found the princess crown and well, yeah I'm 'royal' enough to don one (even if only in an avatar).

This goofy guy represents my son (though, shhhh, because he doesn't know that!)  He recently came home talking about joining the army now that his policing aspirations didn't pan out. My son is very, umm, precious, about his hair.  There is no way he would survive being in the army and not being allowed to keep his well-maintained mop.

And then there is this one, which I turned into a Meme:

 Hidden behind the 'N' of "Neaky" is the number 4 of the red basketball outfit. My youngest daughter, affectionately nicknamed 'Neaky' not only plays basketball, but her team jersey is red, white and black exactly like the avatar's!  On top of that, my daughter's player number is 22, which adds up to 4 (2 + 2).  Neaky can give death-stares to people when she isn't happy about something, and from that family and friends have often said, "Oooh. Don't mess with the Neaky" which simultaneously pleases and further infuriates an infuriated Neaky.  

So there you have it - all the proof you need that the app can be addictive fun that causes grown adults to embarrass their teenage children and waste half a day playing with an app instead of being responsible and doing housework.

Rating: 4 stars - I had to take a point off because I really needed to spend some time doing the housework!
Where to purchase: Apple iTunes Store

Update: Cute Avatar Creator only has the one type of oversized eyes to choose from (but in a range of colours).  It got quite boring having the same look for every character, so went in search of an app that could do (and achieve) more!

A Natural way to replace sugar

App Review: Invoices2Go Plus

I recently gained my first regular client for my business, and it came time for me to issue an Invoice so I could be paid.  I have been using a very basic Accounting cashbook program, and one of the features that is absent is the Invoice, so I headed online to find a suitable Word or Excel invoice template that I could personalise.  After hours searching, I didn't really find anything I liked, when I struck upon the idea of checking to see if there is an App that I could use instead.

And I found one straight away, Invoices2Go Plus.

Invoices2Go has the professional consultant - like me - in mind.  You want to issue a fully professional looking Invoice, adapt it to suit your needs and be able to print or email it while you are out 'on-the-road' rather than having to wait until you get back to the office.

The surprise for me was that Invoices2Go Plus also included Receipts2Go, Calendar2Go, Statements2Go, Sign2Go, Scan2Go, Maps2Go and BAS2Go - a whole lot of business convenience for busy consultants on the go (in hindsight, the 'Plus'), and, even more surprisingly, the app is so easy to use! (Which is great for the not so fully tech savvy consultants like me too).

I quickly set up my client to be billed, added the rates and services offered, added a convenient Paypal button as well as more traditional methods for business to business payment of accounts due, accidentally marked the invoice paid and easily was able to correct my mistake without hassle.  Here are two screenshots that I took of a Sample Invoice that I created for this review:

I'm actually rather confused that Invoices2Go Plus - packed with so much useability and convenience - is free, and that Invoices2Go costs $10.49 to purchase.  I had a quick look at the paid version versus the free version, and on the surface, I can't see any difference in features.

That said, I am going to love using Invoices2Go Plus - I've already added my own logo and emailed my the first of (hopefully) many invoices (and payment receipts) without having to be tied to the office.

Rating: 5 stars
Where to purchase/download: Apple iTunes Store

Sunday, 8 September 2013

App Review: Mag Light

One of the frustrating things about getting older has been my deteriorating vision.  At first, I just needed reading glasses, but as time continued to tick on, I've had to update to stronger glasses; and now I am unable to see clearly at all without them.

But even with glasses, I find a lot of food products labels have font sizes that I just simply cannot read; and on a number of occasions I have had to ask one of my children, or shop assistants, to read 'the fine print' to me.

A couple of nights ago, I was home alone and frustratingly struggling to read the label of a food product so I could determine how it would affect my blood sugar levels (yes, I have diabetes and need to be careful with my food intake), but no matter how hard I tried holding it out as far as I can, or bringing it as close as I could, angling it in 'this' light and 'that' light, I just could not make out what the carbohydrate count was - is that a 3, a 5 or an 8? So, to be on the safe side, I was forced to opt not to eat the product because I could not determine what carb exchange it would convert into.

The problem is only going to get worse as I get older, not improve - and like that night showed, I won't always be able to rely upon other people with the perfect vision of my youth to read it for me; so, I headed to iphone's App Store and checked out a couple of free magnifying apps.

The first one I tried was iMag - a free download which allows you to magnify at 2x the magnification, but you have to purchase to be able to get higher zoom.  The trouble was, I tested it out on a book cover, and the supposed 2x magnification actually appeared as smaller text than the original cover, and I had trouble getting the camera to gain a clear picture.  How the app would help me when it just wasn't up to the task I don't know, so I deleted the app within a few minutes, glad that it had been free and I hadn't wasted any money on it.

The second app I downloaded a couple of days later - another free app - was Mag Light. This app was more what I had hoped to achieve!

The Mag Light app has a sliding bar so you can easily adjust the strength of the magnification (zoom) - but what was also quite helpful is that it also turns on the iphone's light (also adjustable by sliding bar and an on/off button) so you can brighten up dark text on a dark background (nearly impossible to read normally) - and you can take a photo snapshot of the magnified item.

With this app, I headed straight for my fridge and was soon able to easily read the label of the product to work out that it IS okay for me to eat (yippee!) - and, because I don't actually have a torch app on my phone (like my children do), I can just use the magnifying app as an emergency source of light if I really need to - you know, to go and check the fuse box when your house loses electricity but all your neighbours are still powered up - that sort of thing.

Anyway, for a free app, it has already proved itself useful, suitable and 'a keeper'.

Rating: 4.5 stars
Not perfect, but does a great job

Thursday, 5 September 2013

App Review: Ebay

You'll probably think, 'what's the big deal' if you're an old pro at this, but last week I joined Ebay and listed my very first (eight) item(s) for sale - and had great fun doing so.

Today, I received 'push notifications' alerting me that one of the eight items - a book - sold. I found out that an item had sold when I received the notification advising that payment had been received, and sure enough, when I went and checked my emails, I had a number of emails effectively advising me that I had sold 1 of 8 items, and that the buyer of the item sold had already paid, and it is now up to me to post the item.

I used the mobile app to list and monitor my items, which was so much easier for me to use and understand than when I tried a few years ago and had to use the website.

Actually, what I loved about using the app was that it had a barcode scanner and it 'auto-filled' about 6 of the 8 items with the right category and description, making my job so much quicker and easier - which is why I tested out selling 8 items instead of just the original 1 planned. For someone who had never used Ebay before - to buy or sell (yes, I know, what planet have I been living on) - I didn't spend any more than about ten to fifteen minutes following the steps needed to getting your listing to go 'live'. It was this ease of use that had me going 'Oh, I may as well list these other items.'

Anyway, now that my kids are all grown up and are no longer in need of some of their childhood toys and other items - many of which are in near perfect condition - I'm going to have a bit of fun waving goodbye to the items that will find a lovely new home, while simultaneously 'tidying up' my own one.

Happy Ebaying (for me at least)!

Rating: 5 stars