Stevia Sweetleaf Sweetdrops

I mention occassionally that I am a diabetic. The same tendency to try out lots of different hardware and software carries over to how I deal with being diabetic. It’s a post for a different time, but I’ve tried a wide range of insulin delivery mechanism, meters, and lancing devices looking for the optimal (for me) combination.

SweetLeaf Sweet DropsOne area that I’ve spent a ton of time sampling is sugar free beverages. I ran across a company called SweetLeaf that makes stevia based sweeteners. Unlike most other stevia products, SweetLeaf doesn’t use erithritol or any other sugar alcohols – which is important to me because I don’t tolerate any sugar alcohol well.

One product in particular I was interested in was their line of Sweetdrops – organic flavored stevia drops – that you can add to club soda. I ordered two of their flavors, cola and vailla cream, to give them a try. To my delight, both flavors were fantastic and neither had the somewhat bitter aftertaste a lot of stevia sweeteners have.

I’ve been using 16 ounce bottles of club soda, which takes about two droppers worth of flavoring. I haven’t figured out how cost efficient SweetDrops are, but it sort of doesn’t matter to me because I have been looking for an organic sugar free flavoring for what seems like forever, so I’m a convert.

If you’re looking for a soda alternative that doesn’t have artificial sweetener, you’d be doing yourself a favor trying SweetDrops.

Writing on Chromebook Part 2: MasterWriter

I am a Chromebook owner. Not a proud one, just an owner. I wrote a while ago about trying to do screenwriting on it and came away nonplussed. But there was a fair amount of interest in the subject and I find myself frequently trying out new tools, so I’ve decided to write about Chromebook friendly tools when I come across them.

Which leads me to something called MasterWriter. Lately I’ve been writing some poetry and have turned to my trusty thesaurus and a number of word rhyming tools to get me through my couplets. I received a promotional code for MasterWriter and decided to take it for a spin.

It’s not really a screenwriting tool, but it is a general creative writing helper with a heavy emphasis on assisting with song writing. For the purposes of my mini-review, I’m ignoring the song writing based features. The main functionality of the tool is finding the right word, be that a rhyme, synonym, or the name of a proper place or person. Most of that functionality can be had for free from a variety of websites, but MasterWriter does a pretty good job of presenting the information in a very clean, straightforward way. But what makes all that word finding useful is the ability to collect and add words to your projects, be they poems, songs or anything else.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.48.20 PMFor my poem writing, I’d being using a spreadsheet (yeah, I know, the irony) to compose, collect words, and count syllables. It works, but it’s not the greatest tool set and you have to jump through a few hoops to make it work across laptops and mobile devices. MasterWriter is fully cross platform via browser, but you do need an internet connection. You can have as many projects (in my case poems) as you want and each project gets it’s own bank of words.

Overall, I really liked MasterWriter’s interface and toolset. The word hunting tools are the best I’ve used across any website or app. But MasterWriter doesn’t come cheap. Monthly plans are $9.95 with discounts for annual buys. Considering I will be lucky to make $10 off of my poems, I have a hard time coughing up a credit card for this particular service. But if you have the money and want a great multi-platform tool finding just the right word, it’s worth checking out MasterWriter’s free trial.Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.46.43 PM