Blog Archives

The New “You ARE Loved” Site and Brochure!

A month ago, I made a post about Toxic Shock Syndrome and a site called “You ARE Loved” who promote education about TSS. They had a nice little site before, but recently, they have redesigned their entire site with a slick and intuitive layout. They also acquired a domain name so I would like to take the opportunity to provide a link to their new site:

http://you-are-loved.org/

The site is dedicated to the blog owner’s daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz, who last year passed away from TSS.

The authors and contributors of the site also put a lot of work into a TSS brochure they have made and over a twitter discussion, I was happy that they would allow me to share this great piece of work, in hopes that if even all our efforts would help save just one potential TSS death that it will be worth it. Whether it is your friend, sister, daughter or even mother, your knowledge about TSS may very well be that separation between life and death for them.

Please take time to read and pass on the brochure here:

http://you-are-loved.org/files/2011/06/YAL-TSS-Brochure.pdf

I’ve just added You ARE Loved to my blog’s link and if you’re a blog-owner yourself, you should too!

A Tampon Without An Applicator (O.B.)? DIRTY!

So my entry title is what I’ve heard from many of my girl’s who have taken my advice to switching or trying non-applicator tampons. Namely in Canada, I believe O.B. is the only “mainstream” brand that has tampons without applicators, although there are “side brands” – particularly organic manufacturers – who make non-applicator tampons. I’m sure people wonder where they get such an unusual name for a tampon manufacturer, but the letters O.B. is an acronym, “Ohne Binde German for, “without a pad” (or rough equivalent), so now that it makes sense, it’s a very fitting name. Of course being the menstrual enthusiast that I am, I am actually quite ashamed to say I took little note of this tampon brand until it was introduced to me by one of my ex’s – name withholding obviously.

A tampon is a tampon, however, just the minor difference (well, minor in my mind) between inserting a tampon WITH an applicator and WITHOUT an applicator has struck fear into even some of my elite-tampon using girls. I remember when even introducing O.B. to my god-sis, she blinked at me blankly when I told her that you just “use your fingers to push it up” – rather than pushing the bottom of the tube to feed the tampon up the vagina. She did try using them, but unfortunately, they were confiscated (yes seriously, by her mom) and she still said she preferred using an applicator because it removes the “ickiness” of possible contact of her fingers with her vagina or menstrual fluid. Honestly though, I would assume that following general hygiene that one would wash their  hands before and after handling any feminine hygiene products (or obviously even after just going to pee/poop), so the idea that one may come in contact with their own vagina or menstrual flow makes my mind spin a little. In fact, good insertion techniques with a non-applicator tampon is probably more “clean” than having to withdraw a blood-smeared applicator and risk any strands of menstrual flow or clots from falling out during the applicator withdrawal.

It’s probably quite obvious that the environmental footprint for an applicator and non-applicator tampon is very different. Non-applicator tampons are generally sold in smaller boxes (physical size) and individually wrapped only using a film-type wrapper. Applicator tampons are usually individually wrapped with a plastic wrapper and also the cardboard or plastic applicator itself generates additional waste. While cardboard is indeed recyclable, you have to wonder, how many people really separate their tampon applicators from regular waste? I can say that out of all my girls or women I have ever talked to, they just ditch their cardboard applicators along with the regular garbage. Since the sizing for applicator tampons is larger (even the compact ones sold by other brands), the boxes they come in are also larger as well.

In my opinion, O.B. tampons are SUPER CUTE. Well, not that it matters from a usage perspective, but making a cool-looking tampon can have its appeals. Or wait… maybe it only appeals to us menstrual lovers, LOL! Also, don’t forget that an applicator can sometimes cause injuries. Because many tampons have flanged ends for the applicator tip, it can catch on skin causing some major owies. Also particular to women who are just learning to use tampons, stabbing themselves with the applicator DOES happen. With an O.B. tampon, because you are more attuned by a fine-motor skill (your fingers), you have full control of the direction and movement while inserting the tampon. Don’t forget that assuming you are practicing general hygiene, using your fingers to insert the tampon is a clean alternative to introducing a foreign object such as cardboard or plastic into the most intimate area of your body. Although I’ve had debates with women on whether it’s “faster” to insert using an applicator or without one, I for one must say that it’s a lot easier to insert a non-applicator tampon since it requires less “unpakaging”, “preparation” and “fiddle-time”.

For those who may be interested in switching or exploring the use of a non-applicator tampon (or if you’d just like to educate yourself), here’s one of those O.B. pamphlets that are included in every box of their tampons:

O.B. Tampon Instructions

O.B. Tampon Instructions

You can click the image for a better resolution pictures and to see the text better!

You ARE Loved: Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness

I have been struggling to come up with topics to write about, or rather, maybe just unmotivated, hah… however, I decided to go today and write on a topic that I’ve been meaning to write and post for a while. Toxic Shock Syndrome is known for many tampon users, yet, how knowledgeable are we about TSS to help us make an informed decision for the good of our health? I’m not here to necessarily debate whether I think tampons are a “good” form of feminine hygiene product, but today, we will concentrate on TSS alone and while there may be references to tampons, I’m neither “against” them or “for” them.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus

So what is toxic shock syndrome and like many infections, the name “doesn’t sound good already.” TSS is potentially fatal and caused by a bacterial infection which is usually associated with tampon use. There are multiple viruses which may trigger TSS, however, the most common one for tampon-related TSS infections is called Staphylococcus aureus. Despite what has been said and the belief that TSS only occurs in women who use tampons, this is not true. In fact, men and women are both capable of being infected with this bacterium and tampons are not the only cause of TSS. TSS has surfaced since 1980 and even after 31 years, women are still dying from tampon-related TSS. We may not think much of TSS, because there is very little publicity on it and with enough taboo around menstruation, people are not open to aptly speak about menstrual/feminine hygiene related deaths. It takes a very brave woman (Lisa Elifritz), the owner of You ARE Loved to raise public awareness about TSS and tell a very personal story about the challenges she faced with TSS in the death of her daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz.

TSS infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus can occur in a healthy individual and usually show through flu-like symptoms, particularly with high-fever exceeding 38.9 °C (102.02 °F), along with low blood-pressure, confusion, vomitting, diarrhea, weakness, coma and in more severe/terminal stages, multiple organ failure. Tampon related TSS symptoms also include a typical skin rash which is characterized as being severely painful at the site of the infection. TSS can be managed if discovered soon and with proper treatment, recovery occurs usually in 2 to 3 weeks. However, because of the destructive nature of the bacteria and TSS, death can occur within hours of the onset of the symptoms. Treatment within the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is necessary for full supportive care, along with antibiotic treatment and toxin-reduction drugs.

Reported TSS cases dropped off rapidly after 1981 when 40 women died of tampon-related TSS and stayed “under the radar” for many years, until the fear of tampons begin to taper off. Tampon-related TSS struck fear in many women at the time, however, as girls begin to get their periods at younger ages in this generation, more of them are opting to use tampons and thus, exposing them to the causative bacteria at a younger age and also increasing the likelihood that they may be candidates for bacterial growth leading to tampon-related TSS. The triggering point for attention towards TSS was in a controversial testing of a tampon usable for an entire menstrual period called Rely by Procter and Gamble (P&G) in 1978. The tampon would, by design, be able to last an entire period without leakage or replacement and is said to be capable of absorbing almost 20 times its own weight. After several reported cases of TSS in menstruating women, the spotlight turned to tampons as the cause and eventually the product was pulled off the shelf.

People under the ages of 30 are less likely to have the antibodies to fight off Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, making individuals more susceptible to contracting TSS. Even the most diligent individuals such as Amy Rae Elifritz can be infected by this bacterium, despite regular changing of the tampon, alternating of menstrual products and using the lowest absorbency necessary for the menstrual flow at the time. While detection of TSS symptoms might be more obvious while menstruating, TSS can also occur any time within the menstrual cycle and menstruation does not need to be present, as bacteria may take time to build up or if chemicals/materials are left behind in the body, such as leftover rayon fibers from a removed tampon. Because symptoms of TSS are too much like the common-flu and become deadly in a very short period of time, it’s so hard to determine whether or not it’s necessary to seek medical attention and of course, most people would not want to be too aggressive in thinking they have TSS every time they get some flu-like symptoms. Nevertheless, some would argue that because of the severity of the infection, it’d be better to be on the “safe side.”

So how can one mitigate or avoid the risk of TSS? With over half the reported TSS cases being attributed to tampons, it is a reality, not just a myth. For those who have never bothered to heed the warning of tampon pamphlets, here’s a rundown with some of my input and additional tips offered by the You ARE Loved team:

  • Use the lowest possibly absorbency to handle your menstrual flow
  • The higher the absorbency of the tampon, the greater the risk of TSS
  • Change tampons frequently and look for signs of any tampon remnants which might be left behind (such as shredding as you withdraw)
  • Avoid using tampons overnight
  • Tampon-related TSS bacteria require 8 hours to dissipate, therefore, use other products whenever possible throughout the day
  • Tampons are NOT meant to absorb discharge, vaginal fluid or ‘just-in-case’ situations; Tampons should only be used when menstruation has begun
  • Tampon choice should allow for comfortable insertion and removal, such as being saturated enough to remove easily and comfortable enough to put in. Forcing a tampon in or out may cause minute scratches in the vaginal wall, giving the bacteria an entry for further infection
  • Be hygienic and wash your hands before touching your vaginal area, including clean-handling method for your tampon
  •  Remember to remove the last tampon of your period
  • Do remember that as “very rare” that tampon manufacturers may want you to feel about the use of tampons associated with TSS, it is a very serious and real risk
  • Consider alternate menstrual products, such as sanitary napkins (pads), sea sponges, menstrual cups or natural tampons (usually made from cotton, non-bleached and not composed with rayon)
  • Don’t let TSS-risk slip you over time; Just because TSS hasn’t affected you yet, it doesn’t mean it never will

So what do you do if you believe you or someone else you know has been compromised or showing symptoms of TSS?

  • If using a tampon, remove it immediately as this eliminates the source of the bacteria infection
  • Seek medical attention and alert the emergency operator and/or emergency crew that the illness may be toxic shock syndrome related
  • Avoid using tampons in the future as reinfection is a high possibility

Certainly in the future if I have a little girl, I would certainly give her the choice of using any menstrual product she prefers. Nevertheless, should tampons be her choice of products, I would make sure to educate her on proper tampon handling and hygiene, along with ensuring that cotton tampons are purchased over conventional rayon-based ones. If each and every one of these women fallen can make the world aware of TSS, then at least their deaths will not be for naught.

I would recommend anyone who is interested in learning more about TSS and the story of the Elifritz, please visit: http://www.you-are-loved.org/ and also considering making a DONATION to their cause (due to the site design, I cannot directly link to the donate section).

Lady Case – Home Dispensers for Feminine Hygiene Products

Found some cute little dispensers for the bathroom for dispensing pantiliners, pads and tampons! Very cool and not only does it serve a great purpose, it adds to the tidiness and discreteness in keeping menstrual products at your fingertip. I’ve never tried one of these out, but I’d certainly hope if it is marketable, that it is built with quality assurance and that it is backed up by the company. When bebe and I get our own place, I’d love for her to have something cute like this, although since we both stock up, this will only hold enough for “immediate” use and we’ll still need a separate closet to store the excess. Come to think about it, I might just prefer that bebe leave all her stuff out in the open 😆 Well still, the Lady Case is a pretty innovative and fun product 😀

I’ve also attached links to the official website and manual for those who are interested in knowing the details about these products, including the loading guide, dispensing usage and various mountain instructions.

Here’s a video-introduction to the Lady Case product line (by Style Litech Ltd.):

LadyCase™ Tabletop & Wall Mount Home Dispensers

The LadyCase™ feminine hygiene product dispenser discreetly and hygienically stores and dispenses sanitary napkins (pads), panty liners and tampons, preventing them from becoming exposed to dust and other contaminants. A space-saving
revolutionary system, its special design mechanism dispenses a single clean, dry sanitary napkin (pad), panty liner or tampon with just the touch of button.

It conveniently mounts on the wall or may be placed unobtrusively on any bathroom surface for a clutter-free bathroom.

Discreet, intimate and compact, LadyCase™ is the perfect solution for storing and dispensing feminine hygiene products at home.

  • refillable and has its own indicator window
  • simple to clean
  • multiple dispensers can be combined into a single dispenser for several types of feminine hygiene products
  • made of recyclable plastic
  • suitable for all brands and sizes of sanitary napkins (pads), panty liners and tampons
Lady Case - Pantiliner Dispenser

Lady Case - Pantiliner Dispenser

Lady Case - Tampon (with applicator) Dispenser

Lady Case - Tampon (with applicator) Dispenser

Lady Case - Tampon (Non-applicator) Dispenser

Lady Case - Tampon (Non-applicator) Dispenser

Lady Case - Pad Dispenser

Lady Case - Pad Dispenser

Lady Case - Pantiliner/Tampon (Non-Applicator) Dispenser

Lady Case - Pantiliner/Tampon (Non-Applicator) Dispenser

It seems like they’re doing wholesale and there’s a few eBayers out there who are selling singular or smaller number of units at a time. For those who are interested in a business-venture or would like to try out their products, you’re welcome to look it up on eBay and other purchasing-sources. Here’s the company info:

Style Litech Ltd.
8A Shualei Shimshon, Kfar-Saba, 44391, Israel
Tel: +972 52 2321134
Fax: +972 77 8121131
sales@ladycase-dispenser.com

Rexall – U by Kotex Tweens

So the U by Kotex “tween” series has finally hit Canadian shelves as a couple of my readers have asked me about them. They are also on-sale this week at Rexall or their chains.

You can find the deal on page 14 of their flyer, bottom-left corner and looks like the clipping I have in the following picture:

U by Kotex Tween Pads $3.99 @ Rexall

U by Kotex Tween Pads $3.99 @ Rexall

And of course, it is NOT only the UbK tween pads that are on sale, it includes their pantiliners and tampon lies as well. $3.99 is not CHEAP, just cheapER than usual.

All the difference I see in this is strictly sizing and design (and I don’t mean structurally, by design, I mean simply the “look” of it)… and if you don’t want something that small, don’t even bother trying this out if you’ve already tried the regular UbK pads. Unless I hear differently from readers or my girls that there’s something BETTER about this pad than the UbK pads, I’m not going to test/review it just for the sake that it has cute little flowery designs on it 😛

Honoured by the SCA Hygiene Matters

Girl with Libresse feminine care product in her jeans pocket - SCA

Girl with Libresse feminine care product in her jeans pocket - SCA

A few days ago, I was deeply honoured to be listed at an official SCA site. I have always felt touched when fellow bloggers have linked to my site or when people republish (with credits obviously) my articles and such. Even being recognized by tweets, groups or individuals truly bring merit to the taboo of menstruation which I am trying to fight down. Suffice to say, this time, being listed by a worldwide company is truly an honour and privilege! Although I’m not sure how long it will be up before another site succeeds my site, just getting the chance to have my site recognized by a reputable feminine hygiene (and other things) manufacturer just makes my heart melt!

Honestly, I wish SCA had a larger presence here, I’d totally be buying their products. You know, it’s not a matter of them bribing me or giving me this opportunity to appear on their site, but the fact that they’re not discriminating against males who are as interested in making PERIODS a openly-discussed subject. I’ve noticed “some” companies in Canada do not encourage or promote the idea that males should be involved in such a subject. They can make claims all they want, but their real public stance is that periods are “for female only.” In an age where people want equality and to be free of discrimination, I should have as much of a right to participate in the promotion of menstruation and feminine hygiene as much as a female should. Furthermore, these companies should be reminded that I buy their products as well and REGARDLESS of my uses for it, I am a paying and decent customer who should not have my gender played against me. Naturally, I do not menstruate or require feminine hygiene products, but certainly, I should be able to speak and give opinions on matters.

SCA Hygiene Matters - Men In Menstruation

SCA Hygiene Matters - Men In Menstruation

I’d like to express my deepest thanks to SCA (or well probably only one person made the decision, LOL) for giving this blog an opportunity to show up on a “big name” site and without further ado, everyone, please go check out some of these great SCA Hygiene links:

Now… if only SCA would bring some of their awesome feminine hygiene products to Ontario, that’d be WONDERFUL! >_< I’m stuck with the damn “big 3” right now here, arg!

Speaking of which, the Senior Advisor Hygiene at SCA, Rolf Andersson is MALE 😀 Yay.

I also noticed on the side of thier page that says…

So how many voices does it take to break a taboo? During a 28 day run starting on International Women’s Day March 8th, we want to find out. Let’s join together and break the taboo. It’s easy. Just say it. Period.

That makes me sad… what’s going to happen after? 😦

I don’t want it to end just like that… Period. 😆 If it were up to me, I’d want my bebe to have her period 365 days a year! 😀 Of course she’d kill me if I told her I thought that, haha.

If only I could find a reasonable way of buying their products somewhere without paying massive shipping fees or something, bleh. Look at this awesome new product that I could be testing right now!! =O Maybe I should pursue that feminine hygiene career that everyone has always been encouraging me to… harhar!

It angers me that SCA products are available in Canada AND even have Canadian operating presence… nevertheless, the only two SCA brands here are Tena (Incontinence products) and TORK (Cleaning/Home bathroom products). Offices/plants exist in Oakville and Drummondville in Ontario too… shame that they should break into the pad/tampon business here too. 😐

SCA Libresse Night Towel

SCA Libresse Night Towel

“Sales” Might Not Be Worth Buying Into

You may wonder what I mean by my entry title, but you will after reading this! I was talking to one of my readers and she mentioned a few pads that she asked me to take a look at and one of them got me interested. I had been hunting for sales for a week already since it would appear that my supplies at home are running low and it’s time to switch it up a bit. With her recommendation, I decided to follow suit and had already been scrounging my e-flyers and deal-sites online to see if I can find myself some upcoming sales. On Thursday night, I still did not find any store that had good sales (most stores have their “flyer week” start on Friday or Saturday, but display their ‘upcoming’ week deals by Thursday).

I was a bit frustrated, given that I’ve been back in Canada for 2 weeks already and haven’t even noticed any decent sales on pads/tampons. I understand that the whole O.B. Ultra fiasco may have put everyone into a high-alert situation, but come on, they already pulled the O.B. tampon sales right out of the flyers now, because usually they get included in the same sales as Carefree Liners and Stayfree pads. Oh, speaking of the whole O.B. Ultra tampon shortage, feel free to read about it here: http://www.chatelaine.com/en/blog/post/23534–why-these-tampons-will-cost-you-79-99

O.B. Ultra Tampons - Discontinuation shocks the world!

Pulling a well-known tampon off the market is like taking well-known condoms away from guys!

Anyways, off this whole O.B Ultra tampon situation because there’s tons of sites covering that already. So as I was getting annoyed at the fact I’ve been trying to find sales for several weeks already, I decided to look up some manufacturer coupons right off their sites, rather than relying on clip-outs or store-sales. So then I found a new coupon since their old one expired. If you’re an existing or potential user of Stayfree pads, feel free to checkExclusive $2 Off Coupon for Stayfree Maxi Pads this out: http://stayfree.ca/sampling/en/coupon.asp — although I believe that THIS coupon is only usable in Canada and participating stores. Please note that the expiry on the coupon is March 31, 2011.

I was quite happy, that is, until I read closely at the use-of-coupon terms and conditions. One of the key terms state that, “Not valid in combination with any other offers. Offer only valid on regular-priced STAYFREE® products.” and so after reading that, it set me back a bit since “regular priced” pads are usually quite expensive. So I continued to mull around and then my reader told me about Walmart, being one of the cheapest place to find pads/tampons (or well, mostly anything) at a reasonable price when other places don’t have them on sale.

As I was checking the flyers once again Friday morning at work, I did notice that Shoppers Drug Mart had Carefree/Stayfree (yep that’s right, no O.B.) liners and pads on sale for $2.99. Unfortunately the sale didn’t start until Saturday though, so I frowned. I was bored at work and still trying to think of where I can get myself an awesome deal, I decided to print out 4 of the Stayfree coupons (wasn’t meant to be greedy, but more of the fact every 8.5 x 11 page fits 4, so I don’t like wasting so much space) and just keep them in my car whenever I see a chance to use it.

It dawned upon me what one of my readers said. She did say that Walmart tends to be a good place to buy cheap products when other stores are selling them at (higher) regular prices, so I thought I’d do some research. Of course Walmart’s online site is a bitch and I couldn’t find the price of Stayfree products for some reason, so I decided to go there since I live less than 1km away from one. The reason why I was interested in going to Walmart is to see their “regular price” because that means I’m eligible to use the coupon. Since SDM had them on sale for $2.99 already, the coupon would not be valid under the clause. When I reached the feminine hygiene aisle and spotted the Stayfree section, I was happy to see it was $3.93 and doing a quick head-math, it would mean I’d be able to acquire a pack for $1.93 after the coupon deduction!

Stayfree pads @ regular price paired with a $2 off coupon!

Stayfree pads @ regular price paired with a $2 off coupon!

==MAJOR INTERRUPTION START==

As I was looking at the receipt more closely, I just noticed they applied HST to this purchase. As I recall, only the GST portion (5%) is supposed to be taxed on feminine hygiene products! The 8% PST portion should’ve been exempt or an “instant-rebate” should’ve been applied. Those Walmart fuckers charged me 31 cents more than they were supposed to on the tax! Yes, I understand that taxes are usually calculated on the pre-coupon prices which is fine, but the total tax should’ve only cost 20 cents!! I should take the receipt back and bitch at them, or report them to the government for incorrectly charging me, but they’re lucky it’s only a few cents or they’d never hear the end of my wrath!

==MAJOR INTERRUPTION END==

So ya, I realize after all this, I could’ve told my story in a paragraph of something, but the point I’m trying to make is just to remind people that sometimes we’re blinded by the allure of seeing things “on sale” because as you can see, with a coupon, I ended up getting a much better deal (even after being ripped off, lol). To make the most economical choice, you have to weigh whether the sale is better WITHOUT a coupon, or better WITH a coupon, even buying it at “regular price”. However, I should also note that there are some coupons (like Brandsaver/Save.CA) that don’t have this restriction, so make sure you read carefully all the coupons/deals you use to ensure they abide to the store/coupon policy! And so, for $2.44 total, I got myself a wonderful pack of…

Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads

Disclaimer: I did not get the bonus pack, the picture is JUST for reference

Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnights!

I’ve experimented with these before, but it wasn’t until one of my readers informed me that they changed the pad a bit and added rear-wings (similar to the ones I displayed in previous reviews of pads I bought in Hong Kong) – so after hearing that, I certainly had to give them another shot to let them redeem themselves! Not only that, but she also said she really liked them, so heck, never hurts to revisit a pad I haven’t tested in so long. Who knows, maybe it will surprize me – and it sure did! However, lets leave that for the review later.

So there you have it folks, make sure you take some time to do some quick math and consider whether just shooting for the sales or making use a coupon (or both if you’re lucky) will net you the BEST pad/tampon shopping price! The world has changed a lot, so don’t forget that not only can you clip-out coupons from the paper/flyers, in-store/on-shelf rebates – but that you even have online/printable coupons as a resource! I have heard of some places that refuse to accept printable coupons, so make sure you check the store’s participation level ahead-of-time or if they give you a hard time, speak to one of the supervisors/managers of the store! A couple dollars here and there may not seem like a lot, but your wallet or credit card statement will notice the difference!

If you have any comments or hints for fellow readers, feel free to share!

‘Always Me’ – New P&G Women’s Mobile Application

Lookie what I found today on the news 😛 Looks like I’m going to have to download it on my iPhone and see how good it is 😀 But… I’m too tired right now, so enjoy the article and I’ll update on it later with what neato (or non-neato) things I find! 😆 I’m telling you though, I still do rather like the customized calendar that I built for myself, haha. The below article is an excerpt of the original information from a website and I am not the author of it…

It’ll be pretty interesting to see what menstruating women think of this!

New P&G Women’s Mobile Application Turns Focus to ‘Always Me’

P&G Always® Brand Co-Creates Customized Period and Ovulation Application with the Help of Experts

PR Newswire

CINCINNATI, Nov. 9, 2010

CINCINNATI, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Always, the leader in feminine protection, just launched its Always Me™ mobile application – a comprehensive and unique period and ovulation tracker. The application was designed with input from a select group of women-focused Web site editors, bloggers and female health experts to help satisfy a fundamental need for women.  Not just a standard period and ovulation tracker, the Always Me application is a personalized, on-the-go application that helps women manage their cycles and offers timely support and advice.

“A key motivator for us was the reality that while all women establish daily routines and different ways to manage their monthly cycles, they are also looking for solutions to help make their lives a little easier,” said Courtney Schuster, Always Global Brand Manager. “In an age where our phones connect us to our family, friends and on-demand content, we created the Always Me mobile app to help women stay connected with their bodies in a current, customizable way.”

Throughout life, a woman will inevitably have questions regarding her monthly cycle and want to have that information instantly at her fingertips. One of the unique features of Always Me is a personalized question and answer function to address any personal or intimate questions that she may have.  Consumers can submit a question related to their menstrual cycle, and a health professional will provide a timely answer within 24 hours.  Now available for free download in the Apple iTunes Store, Always Me features the following:

  • Comprehensive, interactive tracker and calendar to help manage a woman’s period/cycle
  • Personalized, expert Q&A function for users to submit private, personal questions
  • “Shop Always” button for discreet, immediate and direct online purchase of Always feminine hygiene products from one’s mobile device as well as a store locator
  • Reminder notifications for anticipated arrival of period or ovulation
  • Tips on topics ranging from how to better manage one’s cycle, health matters, exercise, etc.
  • Compatible with the iTouch™, iPad™ and iPhone™

As part of the co-creation process, P&G provided a preview of the application to key influencers, including OB/GYNs, female cycle experts, women’s media and bloggers.  Influencers reviewed the application to test functionality and provided comments on their user experience.

Looking ahead, P&G has plans to expand the mobile application to include a wide range of useful information and tips for various aspects of a woman’s life, including skin, hair and beauty care – areas that can be affected during a women’s monthly cycle. Always Me will continue to evolve as a resource for women, and consumer ratings and feedback will influence upgraded versions.

About Always

Always®, the world’s leader in feminine protection, offers a wide range of feminine pads, wipes and pantiliners designed to fit different body types, period flows and preferences.  The Always line of feminine products includes Always Infinity™, Always Ultra Thins, Always Maxis, Always Pantiliners and Always Feminine Wipes.  Please visit www.always.com for more information.

Added 12/03/2010: WOW! I found an excellent review of the app, so I’m just going to direct everyone to such a wonderful write-up instead of writing my own! Drop by http://mediaegg.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/proctor-gamble-target-women-via-mobile/ I’m very happy to have bumped into this blog and entry 😀

How To Use a Pad and Tampon (Youtube Videos)

Ok so for a while, I haven’t posted much period-related things. I did however, find about a month ago (ya, that’s how long it takes me to recall to post something) a couple of videos I found on Youtube by jdomakeup on some great information for girls and guys on how to use pads and tampons. I thought it was wonderful because there’s some good use of anatomical reference (she used the word vagina instead of some stupid alternative) and gave a good overview on how to effectively apply a pad or insert a tampon. To be honest, there’s not really too many informative videos out there like hers, usually they include girls doing stupid things like slapping pads on their foreheads or giggling while they demonstrate a tampon insertion into a bear.

I can understand that particularly for younger girls, talking about their periods and feminine hygiene isn’t the most comfortable of subjects, but it’s equally bad to see girls doing it and giggling like little schools girls. If you’re going to make an educational video about something, then let it at least be semi-professional. There were some things said in this video that I disagree with, but the video is pretty successful at communicating the basics of pads and tampons. I say disagree instead of wrong, only because it would be one opinion versus another – which everyone is entitled to. The big thing about this which appealed to me, or maybe I shouldn’t say appeal… but rather, impressed with is this is an Asian girl speaking about this. It’s not a matter of me acting as if Asian girls aren’t allowed to talk about their periods, but if you’ve followed my blog, you’ll know that menstruation particular to Asian culture is a extremely taboo thing and suffice to say, it is not spoken of, let alone broadcast on Youtube. I’m too shy to show my face on webcam, otherwise, I’d absolutely love to do something like this on tampons, pads and alterantive products as well! Perhaps one day when I can poke one of my sis’ or girl-friends to be the on-cam face and spokesperson, then I’ll write up a script and provide all the stuff for a demo, haha.

The reason why I singled out this author and her videos out of so many others, is that it’s truly practical information, that your “average girl” or “curious boy” would find of use. While maintaining a decent sense of humour, it doesn’t remove her creditability of the information. When there is too much laughing, you just can’t expect people to take your seriously – yet she is laid back and well composed. Furthermore, she takes care in thinking about the viewers and helping people understand the concept of usage by demonstrating the pad placement and wings usage on an actual pair of panties which gives a visual cue.

What always wins the most points with me is that a woman who’s comfortable with discussing her own body. In the videos, she does go into a bit of detail about when she started her period, how long she’s had it for, some of her opinions and reflections on anecdotal experiences. I think it’s particularly important for viewers to feel the connection to the broadcaster before they can immerse themselves into what he/she says. I definitely don’t want to go into dissecting each portion of the video which I disagree with (hell, there’s probably stuff on my blog that’s incorrect too), because really, this is a superb video with all-the-best-intentions. For guys who have read some of my previous guides on pads and tampons and still don’t understand the concept, the video will really help you out and the light-bulb will flash over your head!

A small portion of the video also goes over pantiliners, although not as in-depth as pads and tampons since those are the foundations of most feminine hygiene products out there. In the video, she uses Always Super Maxi Pads with Flexi Wings, Kotex Lightdays Pantiliner and Playtex Sports Regular Tampon. I actually haven’t seen a Kotex pantiliner in a while, ever since most of my girls either stopped using them or switched to Always. I try to ween most my girls off them because in all reality, I would assume most girls wash their panties anyways, so even if you get some gunk in them, it’ll come out in the wash! Now blood withstanding, a bit of arousal fluid and vaginal discharge won’t even be noticeable after the laundry is done. And even in the worst case scenario, there’d be a very limited number of people who would ever see those panties anyways!

Anyways, I’ll leave everyone with these 3 videos which I encourage you to watch, even if you already know how to use a pad and/or tampon! There’s just something awesome about an Asian girl talking about pads and tampons 😛 WOOT for her!

Incognito Samples Are Here!

For those who have read one of my previous reviews and hypes about Incognito pads, found rarely in Ontario – you’ll be happy to know that this Quebec-grown company is now spreading their influence outside of their local province. The sample looks really cool as it gives a variety of products for you to test, including pantiliners, ultra thin pads and tampons – along with a pamphlet. Included is also a tin carrying case which is similar to the Kotex Luxe lines found in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. Although the sample itself is for young-women as their “First Period Kit”, it’s still a great way for post-menarche women to test out a new product that may lead you down to exploring and switching to some of Incognito’s great products!

Better jump on the offer and get your free sample today! From the last update of my previous entry, Incognito now has TWENTY NINE (29) products, ranging from pantiliners, ultra thin pads, maxi pads, tampons and feminine cleansing cloths. Unlike most of the “brand-name” pads in North America, a few of their products not only act as a form of menstrual protection, but is also capable of dealing with light incontinence and one for maternity use.

Although it has been a while since I’ve bought and tested any Incognito products, it has definitely proven to have a lasting, positive impression – everything from the innovative channel designs, elastic side-guards, body contour, comfort, absorbency and of course, affordability! Incognito may still be rather evasive in stores, but I’ve read that it can be purchased (outside of Quebec) at Walmart, but have yet to verify this. I’m not a big fan of Walmart myself, but I’ll make sure I put it on my “to do” list and check it out. However, Giant Tiger stores do stock Incognito and their prices doesn’t make your head spin.

I also found a coupon that doesn’t expire until the end of this year! I’m not sure how many stores will take these printable coupons, so better find out ahead of time or if you’re willing to take a shot at it either way. I have not verified whether this coupon is accepted and whether it’s usable outside of Quebec… so if you find something out, please let me know.

For your convenience, the $1-off coupon is provided above, however, I recommend you check out their awesome new site anyways! The official company coupon can be found here.

I have to say, while their site isn’t as interactive and engaging as other large sites hosted by Always/Tampax or Kotex – I did read through many of their sections and enjoyed the layout and content of it, short, simple and yet, effective. The “floating box” they have on the left side that changes with each section/refresh cycle gives some new insight on every page you navigate through, including the ability to “add a comment” to a particular pop-up or even “love” the information (probably to simulate the LIKE button of Facebook). The Q&A sections need some work as it could use a bit more info and all.

The biggest thing you will probably notice is the site (in my opinion) hasn’t been fully converted and some things still appear in French, in their English version of the page. For the most part though, all main body content has been changed, but some title texts haven’t. Nevertheless, I guess they have all the right to still honour their native language! Under the personalized tools section, there’s also a simple period calendar to help you predict your menstrual cycle. It’s a bit unfortunate that unlike other tampon makers that they didn’t include any pictures to understand the concept of tampon insertion as it can be a very foreign thing for girls who’ve just started their period and don’t understand how it works. I understand information like this will probably be included in the tampon box as well in the usual fold-ups, but it’d be nice to have something like this on the website as well for a “one-stop shop.”

For those who have access to a Giant Tiger, give Incognito a shot! Poke around some smaller stores, home-grown shops and MAYBE even Walmart and you never know what you’ll find. I can’t imagine that Incognito hasn’t become popular yet given their great products and as my dedicated reader Andie says, it’s “made in Canada” and that’s important in helping our economy and local manufacturers 😀

Recently, I’ve noticed in my eBay updates that there are more and more sellers offering sanitary napkins from other countries, particularly from Asia. I’m happy to see this and perhaps one day soon, shipping of those pads from those countries won’t be super-expensive. I’ve seen some shipping prices down to $4.99-6.99 which isn’t all too bad, however, you never know if you’re going to get nailed at customs so it’s best to buy them in smaller quantities. The last time I wanted to get some Laurier and Sofy pads shipped from Malaysia and Kotex Whites from Hong Kong, it was like $20 shipping for a $3 pack of pads, lol, talk about nuts. I was like, “Are you kidding me?” … especially when the item is not exactly “heavy.” Still, I understand something traveling half-way across the world is not cheap, but surely, there needs to be some economical options!

On a final note before closing for the night, I do believe Costco has jumbo boxes of Playtex Tampons (84) regular or super coupon for $3.20 off from the original price of $15.59 – or $12.39 post-coupon. I actually only know one girl who uses Playtex, so I guess not many of my girls will benefit from this, but have to be fair and spread the news anyways!

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