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A Morning in Paradise

It's still dark outside as I sit in the tiled kitchen and listen to the waves rolling lazily onto the beach. The gentle susurration of the surf mutes any noise I create as I slink about heating water for organic tea. My only illumination comes from a wrought iron chandelier, one of the many charming attributes of my parents' beach condo in Puerto Vallarta.

I'm patiently awaiting the dawn, when I can venture out onto the sand for my seaside morning walk. I type alone, since the rest of my family still lies wrapped in peaceful slumber. I myself spent a somewhat fitful night of getting used to a new bed and looking at my watch - "is it time to get up yet?" - whether through excitement of waking up for my first full day in paradise or habit, I'm not sure.

Although I'm eager to start my day, I can't help but feel the inherent peacefulness to this place, as if the sweet nature and laid-back ways of the Mexican people have soaked into the shore itself, or maybe it's the other way around. It's at once a calming and invigorating realization that no matter what fortunes the day may bring, they'll leave me feeling rested and happy.

By minute increments the surf, sky and beach are becoming visible - sunrise is approaching. It's time to wake up the muscles with some exercise...and, speaking of waking, the family is slowly stirring. The day has "officially" begun!

Goofy Dog

Golden Loving a Cushy Bed We're still doggy-sitting my parents' goofy Golden retriever, Tesa (until tomorrow). Mom went down to Puerto Vallarta in the beginning of February, and Dad followed a week later. Since Daddy-o was working long hours, they didn't want to leave Tesa in her kennel all day, so I offered to take her.

Golden Retriever Playing with German Shepherd I figured she and Zada could wear each other out and since we're already exercising one high-energy dog, what's one more?

Of course, we figured out quickly we couldn't leave them alone together while we were at work - even with Tesa as company, Ms. Z still decided to chew on stuff and be naughty :)

Golden Retriever on Her Back It went swimmingly - the dogs get along well, and settled in as roommates immediately. Tesa does have a few proclivities, some of which we've been working on:

  • Barging through any open door she sees
  • Charging up the stairs regardless of the placement of OUR feet
  • Taking off after any woodland creature which catches her eye
  • Begging for food
  • Making weird noises and contorting into seemingly uncomfortable positions

This last one is amusing, to say the least. I'm going to try to get her on video - or at least my point & shoot camera's video option - before we send her off, because it's rather humorous listening to her and Zada play "racecar" style. I can't even describe it well but they lie down on the floor and chew on each other's faces while whining in synchronized pitches that is hilarious to behold.
Golden's Upside-Down Smile She also likes to hang out on her back - which is odd, since being upside down normally makes dogs extremely sneezy - and with her soft, mooshy Golden skin it turns her countenance into a frightful-yet-funny display of teeth and wrinkles.

All in all, tho' I think she had fun at Auntie Sarah's, something tells me she'll like to get back to her country-dog existence! Zada will certainly miss having her playmate around :)

Free Trials for Acai

Here's a follow-up to my 'research' on the Acai product free trials. On January 20th, I ordered a free trial of the Acai Noni Burner, which I received a week later and have been taking every day since. Give or take, anyway :) Oh, but so far I've only taken it once a day (wanted to acclimate the tummy).

Since I took the liberty of ordering a different free trial yesterday for Nature's Best Acai & Total Cleanse, I realized I hadn't given myself a reminder to cancel the Noni Burner.

I keep receipts and usually save confirmation emails so I had no trouble finding the website address to check up on the terms. Of course, after the 16th day of the trial, they start billing $79.95 per month for every subsequent bottle of pills they automatically ship.

I wrote an email but then also noticed I could cancel right from the site ( When I attempted to cancel, a chat box popped up and an 'agent' asked if she could assist me. I told her I wanted to cancel and she looked up my account. Before I could even tell her WHY I was cancelling (I ended up telling her "vitamins make me nauseous; this one's no different...sorry!"), she said they'd hate to lose my business, so could she offer me the bargain price of $39.95 per month?

Right out of the gates. Depending on how important this little "diet" pill is to everyone, keep in mind you might be able to get it not only half-price; you possibly could haggle them down even lower.

Seriously, if this stuff works, I wouldn't mind paying $1 a day versus $3. Honestly, I've trimmed down a tad, but who knows if the Acai berry pills are the cause - I'm also working out and watching what I eat. Like right now - I'm watching myself eat 2 cookies :) - Sarah Bernierblog:"Todo el mundo sonre en el mismo idioma."(Everyone smiles in the same language.) - Sarah Bernier | SEM Specialist | Linnihan Foy Advertising, 612.238.3014 the ultimately lazy method - or time-consuming, however you want to look at it - to keep your networks up to date on all the boring stuff you're doing RIGHT NOW.
Social media is cool. But not Cuil.

Acai Berry Product Trials

In this day of Internet-driven life, the old adage "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) has made a switch to "caveat venditor" (seller beware). Why? Because we consumers are researching the heck out of multiple products, services and potential providers online before settling on which one is best for us.

But, scams still abound and for the unsuspecting, trusting or just plain ol' dumb consumer, the venditores can still win.

Take for instance all the hoopla about the amazing "new" wonder-fruit, the Acai berry. It grows in the Amazon and is evidently chock full of antioxidants ("they" say 2x that of blueberries, which is a lot, but beware...*), amino and essential fatty acids.

Sounds what's the catch?

For starters, these berries only grow in the Amazon - they need a tropical climate - so they're hard to come by. In fact, they're full of seeds, which means they rot quickly after being picked*. So, it's downright impossible to get the actual fruit here in the U.S. - unless they're in pill form. This means they're expensive.

Ok, no biggie. Any GNC or health market will have them on-hand, right? Not according to what "they" want you to believe! (However, GNC DOES carry plenty of Acai berry products, available either online or on the store shelves.)

Hence, the online craze. The 'net is FULL of free trials, low shipping offers, and endorsements by big names like Oprah, Rachael Ray and others.

That's all well and good (last time I checked, Oprah didn't have to worry about expensive vitamins) - but the tables have turned...caveat emptor, people! While I didn't get "caught," I'm sure there are many people who have ordered their 14- or 15-day free trial for this product, then have had to deal with receiving more product and of course being billed heavily to their credit card every month thereafter.

I read reviews and learned some about the Acai berry here, and ended up ordering Nature's Best Acai here. Of course I didn't read the fine print until AFTER I'd ordered. No biggie, I have 2 weeks to call and "cancel" my subscription, which is now in their database.

Along with the Acai pills I ordered some Colon Cleanse here - yes, I do believe in detoxification of the body - don't judge me, I'm getting married and I want to lose all of the stomach chub by any means possible :) I'll also have to call this company to cancel the trial - after reading up on the Acai I checked the terms of service on this site to get the information.

There's a reminder in my MS Outlook calendar to call and cancel BOTH trials...before I get billed the "super low rate" of ~$80 per month PER product. Yowzas.

Now, I can totally justify paying money for good products which have a better chance than most of elongating my life and making it a healthier existence: good bed, good shoes, good vitamins. But, some people might think that money can fall from the skies and that free lunches DO exist. For you, I'd suggest reading all asterisks before making a decision.

Keep in mind: just because it's endorsed by cutie-pa-tootie Rachael Ray and Oprah** doesn't mean it won't come back to bite your credit card. They certainly don't have to worry about $100 per month for berry extract :)

Another thing to keep in mind - so far it seems the FDA has NOT evaluated the Acai products. So, we circle back: caveat emptor.

*You can read all about acai fruit at Wikipedia and decide for yourself whom to trust...

**Again, after looking this up (other than on the numerous sites selling the products) I found out this isn't true. According to Wikipedia, each berry - about the size of a grape - contains one large seed.

***Also according to Wikipedia: "In late 2008, lawyers for The Oprah Winfrey Show began investigating potential claims against supplement manufacturers who suggested that frequent Oprah guest Dr. Mehmet Oz had recommended their product or açai in general for weight loss."