Thursday, September 29, 2016

My September Glam Bag ( a bit late )

So I just realized that I didn't do a review for this month's Ipsy glambag! *oops!*  

I was looking at my app this afternoon and, while browsing the "rewards" for this week, I realized that I failed to review my goodies for September!


P.S. I'm not a big fan of the actual bag this month :/ But shhh! 

Now on to the products...

Epice Restorative Toner
Not gonna lie gals...I didn't know what the hell the purpose of a "toner" was before I received this--so I Googled it. Hahahaha! Apparently, it's to replenish and revitalize your face after washing and help minimize the appearance of your pores ( if you didn't already know ) And you know...I kinda-really-like this stuff! I have been using it after washing my face every night and, although I haven't seen any real difference yet, I feel like my face is cleaner and the scent is wonderful! After using this product, I think I'm going to add a toner into my nighttime regimen from here on out. Thanks, Ipsy!

Dr. G Daily Safe BB Cream in Fair
I bought a BB cream from CoverGirl to try out and I hated it. But this stuff I love. I haven't checked the price of a full-sized bottle yet but if it's not too insane, I will be purchasing some of it. The coverage is phenomenal and could easily be worn with nothing else and still look fantastic. If my skin clears up enough, I'd feel fine walking around with just this on my face. My only gripe is that small 5 ml tube that you receive in the bag only seems about 1/4 full and you barely get a few uses out of it. I literally have to beat the damn thing just to get a pea-sized amount. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way...!

Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara
By far, my favorite mascara that I've received in one of my bags. I AM sick of getting mascara every. effin. month. but I really like this one. The tube is a little weird and it took me a minute to realize how to open it, but I love the brush...I love the formula...I LOVE this mascara!

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
After using Paul Mitchell shampoo, this mask for about 10-15 minutes AND a hair serum last week, my hair was BOSS ( but then I went to bed HAHA! ) But alas...I don't have the patience for deep conditioning my hair. It's a great conditioner for someone who takes the time and, well, cares...but I do not. I've already recommended it to one gal pal and gave her the discount code. Hopefully it works out for her!

DLS Eyeshadow in Teaser
My skin tone carries pink hues. This eye shadow is a yellow. This color does not look good on me. Maybe if I use it as an accent color, it won't be so bad. But I put it on my lids ONE time, and it just was not for me. The shadow itself stayed on nicely and the formula seems nice, but this shade...yeahnaaaah. Not for me, Bazzel...not for me.

I'm hoping for bigger things in October's bag...but we shall see. I guess we are only one day away from the release of the newest one ( oh man, I AM late with my post! ) I'm eager to see if they will make a cute Halloween-themed Glambag for it! :) Oh, the curiosity!!!

Again ladies, if you're interested in joining ALL that is Ipsy and wouldn't mind getting a fun little gift in the mail each month, you can follow the link here and sign up directly. When you do so, you earn us both points to use later for extra goodies in your bags! 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

...I'm Sorry

I wish I could always tell you why I am sad...but I can't. Sometimes I don't really even know the reason. Is it the weather? Did something happen? I. Don't. Know. 

And if anyone is to be frustrated by this fact...it's me.

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. Has this happened before? Hell yes. Will it happen again? Fucking right it will. But do I know why? Nope, not really. I had zero energy to do anything today and it all started as soon as I opened my eyes.

If you don't suffer from depression, you may think I'm just "making excuses". If you do suffer from depression, 1) I am SO sorry, because it fucking SUCKS, and 2) you feel me. When asked why I would be feeling depressed this morning, my only answer was simply "Because I have depression..." 

Nothing triggered this lack of motivation to get out of bed. No event happened between the time I closed my eyes and the time I opened them to cause this feeling. I just woke up sad. Do you understand how much that just sucks?! To feel so fucking sad and not know why? If you don't, well, you have no right to comment on my life or feelings.

And when you start your day off with this feeling, it only seems to go downhill from there. Even if you don't want it to, it feels like everything just contributes more to the sadness...

Those who have never experienced these feelings don't fully grasp the hold that this mental illness has on its victims. I made a comment about being "crazy" to my boss and he said, "Jenn, you're really not that crazy" But if he spent even half a day in my head, I bet you he would be whistling a different tune. 

And it's hard...when you have people who love and care for you in your life...and they can't understand the magnitude of the situation. You'd never want them to. It's a horrible thing to battle every. single. day. To try SO hard to smile when all you want to do is cry in a corner...and half of the time, you don't even understand why you're feeling this way in the first place.

It's been since Friday that I started to feel really *down*. I truly don't know why. It may be lack of sleep. It may be lack of exercise. But when you're tired and sad, it's hard to drag your ass to the gym even when you know you will feel better in the end. 

My next therapy session is on Saturday. I'll be talking to my counselor about these feelings. Probably by then, I'll be feeling better; that's how depression works--it comes in waves. 

It's also hard to fake optimism even when you really just want to feel better. But, for legitimate-blogging's sake ( and not just making this another pathetic diary entry ) here are a few of the tips I try to follow in ATTEMPT to defeat the blues:

1. Try to remember that a few bad days do not equal a bad life. You are NOT your depression. You HAVE depression. You FIGHT depression. Depression does NOT define you. 

2. Do something out of the kindness of your heart for someone, unexpectedly. Bringing joy to someone else can help elevate your mood and make you feel good about yourself.

3. Do not stress eat. This is why I am fat. This is why I'm depressed about being fat. Stress-eating does nothing but worsen the situation. Drink some tea; chew some gum. Do something to take your mind off of eating just for the sake of eating.

4. Start a project that will keep your mind occupied for a little bit. Try not to do something that will stress you out further; something like using an adult coloring book is a good route.

5. Maybe start doing yoga or meditation. I, for one, am not really into this...but many people swear by it.

6. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant that more people need to invest in. Sure, I'm in a funk and didn't end up going to Zumba tonight ( even though I know I would've felt better afterward ) but logically I know how much better I feel once I sweat out some of the stress and get lost in the music for even just an hour. And yes, sometimes it will take everything out of you to just make it to the gym...but do it when you can, at least.

7. ...and if you don't make it to the gym, don't get angry with yourself. I'm not saying that this should be your constant excuse, but if you beat yourself up for not going to spin class one night because the sadness is too much...you're just going to make matters worse.

8. Tomorrow is a new day. 

9. Surround yourself with people that maybe can't sympathize but who do empathize...and that love you no matter what.

10. And of course, there's nothing that a nap can't cure.

For any of you who may feel like I use my anxiety and depression as a crutch, well, I pray for your sake that you never have to deal with the aspects of mental illness that I do. Depression is not for the weak: it leads many to self-harm and suicide. Those who battle mental health issues are some of the strongest people I know, including myself. It's something you fight to overcome every day. It's a constant battle of logic and the uncontrollable. 

So, I am truly sorry that I cannot tell you why I am sad...but it's only because I don't know why. 

...and there's nothing you can do to help, aside from simply just loving me despite...




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Get Well, Grace!

The depression has been strong with *this* one lately, so I'm sorry that I haven't blogged in a bit. 

I don't think many people follow my blog which is fine...I do it more for me rather than anyone else ( plus I don't do it for pay so I don't get sponsorship or anything of that sort ) But I have something to ask of the few people who just may read this.

My new friend Ellen of Ask Away blog shares many similar viewpoints that I do. One, in which...is her love for her animals. She doesn't want children; I'm still on the fence but wavering more towards 'no'. She's more about animals and not about people; me too. She's opinionated; so am I. She's frugal and smart about money; I'm in the same boat. We have a lot in common.

But back to the 'love for her animals' part...

Recently, Ellen took her 9 year old chihuahua Grace to a neurologist after speaking to her vet about what she thought were anxiety attacks. At this appointment, the neurologist stated that Grace was showing signs of a spinal issue but to know for sure, they would need to do an MRI.

Any pet owner knows that vets are not cheap. The MRI for Grace cost around $4500. I know about half of you are gasping about the price tag...but when you have a 9 year old dog that is healthy and still could have another 9 years of life, and that dog is your baby, you do what you need to do. And what she NEEDED to do...was get her baby that MRI.

Not many people have $4500 just laying around ( and, if you do, well, eff. you. Haha! ) But when you are left in a position where you need something like this to know how to help someone you love, you do what you have to.

The MRI showed that little Grace has a spinal disease called Intervertebral Disc Disease. Pretty much, she has herniated discs in 3 of her tiny little vertibre and when they flare up it's very painful ( and dogs can't really show pain like humans can ) 

So, to help with the cost of this expensive MRI and potential treatments to help keep Miss Grace comfortable, she has set up a GoFundMe account for anyone who can find it in their heart to help someone who loves their baby SO MUCH but also cannot put themselves in financial ruins over expensive vet care. 


Her goal is $6500 and she's already met over 2/3rds of it. So now I'm asking you: if you even have $1 to spare, it helps. Every cent counts! 

If you know me at all, you know how much I love Lola. She is my everything; my one true love. I talk about her all the time, I sing songs with her name put in them, I snuggle with her every single night, I take her with when I go away overnight ( usually ), and I would do anything for that little dog. She has been there to snuggle with me when I've cried. She's been through numerous moves. Through bad relationships. Through lost friendships. She is what kept me going for so. many. years. If I was in Ellen's shoes, I wouldn't know what to do: I could never afford to do what she had to do, but I also would have to do it. I couldn't NOT do it. The little animal who loves me unconditionally, never once has judged me, who RELIES on me to provide for her...she is my child. And if it were me, damn STRAIGHT I would swallow my pride and ask for the kindness of strangers if it meant that my baby would be able to live a pain-free, quality life. 

Again I ask...even if you have $1 to spare...please visit Grace's GoFundMe page HERE. This isn't a "fundraiser" for making effin potato salad or jumping in a cold river just for the hell of it; this is to help a fellow human being with the financial burden of taking care of her furbaby. 

Donate for those unloved animals that have lost their life due to neglect and abuse...that no longer have a voice and never had the opportunity to be loved so much by someone....

Donate for those who simply cannot have children and have pets to fill the void in their hearts...

Donate for that childhood pet that you loved SO much and were heartbroken when their time had finally come...

Donate because someday ( but I hope not) you may be put in this situation and may need a little bit of help from the kindness of friends and strangers alike...

Again: www.gofundme.com/getwellgrace. Donate. Share on Facebook or other social media. Spread the word. 

Thank you in advance!




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Just Can't Win

I am a perfectionist and a people pleaser.

This is a horrible combination.

I strive to do the best that I can at pretty much everything. Isn't that what you should do? But sometimes, it can be quite exhausting. I'm in the process of working on this in therapy. When you are so consumed with being perfect 24/7, even the tiniest thing can tip your canoe over.

Plus, what if your best isn't up to par with someone else's standard? Then you're left between a rock and a hard place.

I often find myself in this position. I work hard, I try not to gripe too much, I try to balance my jumbled thoughts and just...do whatever the job is at hand. I also try to not let other's words and actions discourage me, but, sometimes it's harder than it may seem.

I see it as, if you do too much...people make it seem like you're stepping on their toes. You may go ahead and do something that you know needs done because you have the time or you want to take the burden off of someone else...only to find out that they only saw it as you were making more work for them. Or that you're kissing ass. Also, in situations like this, it often leads to too many hands in one pot. Everyone is "trying" to help and just bumping into each other in the process. Thus making more work for everyone and pissing each other off in the process. 

But then, if you shy away and put on the brakes, suddenly you don't do enough. You're deemed lazy. You're accused ( verbally, or internally ) of pawning things off on others and simply being unmotivated. I have a hard time focusing on things. I'm big on using lists and forming the steps to take to reach a goal. And I don't feel like I should have to race to do something just so someone won't do it first. Then you run into the prior issue: stepping on toes.

So how does one "win"? How do you avoid making your peers mad at you? 

How do you stop caring about what people think of you?

I honestly have the utmost envy and full respect for those who can walk through life not giving a fuck what others think of them. Being able to live a life so carefree and blase is only a pipe dream for me. 

I'm so consumed by what others' opinions of me are and how they will affect my life in negative ways. I've been down this road before. That's why I also think the worst of every situation. If it has to do with something important in my life ( ie. livelihood, living arrangements, love life ) that makes it even worse. The only person who should cause negative harm in my life is me; not someone's opinion of me or what I do.

I've learned that you don't fuck with someone's job, spouse or family...plain and simple. But I've had people who have done all 3 to me. Once bitten, twice shy...it contributes to your lack of trust in others.

The constant fear of the rug being pulled out from under you.

Logically, I understand that you can't make everyone happy. But emotionally, I just want everyone to be happy with me. And it's an unattainable goal. It's a game that I will never win. 

So all you can do is go out there, giv'em your best and just hope that your true will can shine through enough that people can see that you try. It may not be what some people deem "correct", but maybe others do......

PS. This was more of a diary entry than a useful blog. Sorry guys! :( Maybe next time? 


Monday, September 19, 2016

#luvmyframes

I was debating on whether or not to write a serious post today. I decided against it. So instead, I'd like to say that I was the August winner of the #luvmyframes contest at America's Best and I won a $250 voucher! :)


I've been a loyal customer of America's Best in Harrisburg, PA for years now. If you know me, you know I like a bargain...and if I can save money, I will try my damnedest. Years ago when I didn't have any vision insurance, I'd finally checked out America's Best after seeing their commercials. It seemed too good to be true: two pairs of eyeglasses and a free exam for $69.95. But it was true! And no tax! 

Now of course, you can upgrade the package: if you want more expensive frames, you can pay a little extra. And a few times a year, they have their Designer Sale where the cost of 2 pairs of higher end glasses are a little less. But for someone with single-vision lenses and no insurance, it can definitely save you a lot of money on glasses ( or even contacts! )

Well back in March I had gotten an eye exam and picked out new glasses. And of course ( like most girls ), I took some selfies and posted them on Instagram. When I hashtagged 'americasbest', I decided to take a look at other people who had also done so, and that's when I saw #luvmyframes. So, I decided to also use the hashtag. I mean, what did I have to lose? I already was going to be vane and post the pictures anyway...may as well add one more hashtag to my already 51512188784. 

I had forgotten all about the hashtags, until a few weeks ago I had gotten a DM on Instagram from myamericasbest stating that I was their August winner and to send them my mailing address. Lo' and behold, a few days later I received a voucher in the mail!

I went to their store about a week and a half ago and picked out my new frames. I decided since I had this voucher, it was a perfect opportunity to get prescription sunglasses! So after much searching, I settled on a new black pair of glasses and a pair of sunglasses. It was also the Designer Sale so I picked something I would've never bought with my own money. I still spent about $75 out of pocket ( it was extra for the polarized lenses :/ ) but that's chump-change for what I got. 




I definitely splurged, but I got two pairs of RayBans. Sorrynotsorry. It wasn't so much the name, though; I thought that I was actually going to get off clear with this purchase. I didn't take into account the extra cost for polarized lenses. Seriously the entire stock of sunglasses were RayBan and I hated every single pair but this one. But hey, I won a contest...I got $250 off...so I said "fuck it".

If I would've just gotten the sunglasses, I still would've paid over the $250, anyways...

So two things I walked away with:
1) Always try. If there's a contest or something that interests you, it never hurts to try. Of course, be careful of scams but seriously...what do you have to lose?
2) Instagram can be more beneficial than just getting 'likes' and compliments. You can win. free. shit.

The contest is still going on, so anyone who is an America's Best customer with a valid prescription can enter. 


Also, honestly, I would recommend them. I really do think you save a lot of money by going there--and they carry from high-end to low-end, so you can easily get a pair of nice, name-brand glasses and then a pair of crap-brand and only pay a little over $100. Even stupid eye insurance isn't that good!

Check'um out: www.twopair.com ;)

...#foureyes

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mine, mine, MINE!

In life, there are numerous opinions, from where you should get your lunch to who you should vote for as president. Social media and real life alike are flooded with differing viewpoints. Sometimes...it can be quite overbearing. Stubborn people can also make it quite exhausting. I, personally, tend to shut down when others make me feel like my opinions and input are not valued, and it made me think about good ways to deflate a possibly volatile situation.

Don't get visibly angry.
Let's say that your doing a project with a classmate, and this classmate pretty much takes over the entire thing. They want the board this color with this information by these sources and, well, that's just that. 

No.

Take a breath, think through your thoughts, and express what you need to express. It is not okay for someone to think their way is the only right way because, it's not. But try to not get angry. When you lash out, you say things without thinking them all the way through. Then, instead of getting your point across, you simply just exacerbate the situation.  

Sometimes, it's more a person's fear of change that makes them feel like they have to take charge for things to be "correct". It's not a good excuse in my opinion, but I understand it. No one LIKES change...but who is to say what people need to change, and what people don't...?

Walk away from the situation.
When someone wants me to do something "their way only" or wants to battle me on "why my opinion is wrong", I get pissed. I do. I feel like it's an insult to my intelligence and my ethics. I don't like that.

So you know what?

I've learned to just walk away. Sometimes you just need a moment to regroup, give yourself a little pep talk, and just keep on keepin' on. 

If they aren't your boss or your teacher or someone of higher authority, who the fuck cares? You just do you and fuck the haters.

Unfollow them.
This one is more of a social media example, but true just the same.

I have a handful of people on my Friend's List that have very...strong opinions, we'll say. And I don't hate them for it. But, sometimes it can be a little much. You don't want to completely unfriend these people, but you also don't want your entire feed flooded with their presidential candidate and views on homosexual marriage or abortion. 

Simply click "unfollow". That way, you can still maintain an internet friendship with others without being bombarded by their constant opinions.

And, if necessary, delete them.
We've all had to do it at least once. 

Trolls.

There's always a least one troll out there who has to second guess you on every little thing you write. Making it a point to pick out "errors" and make you second-guess yourself.

Just press delete.

These people are not worth your time, your effort or another thought. They live to argue. They may not even believe in something but still want to fight you on why what your saying is wrong.

Internet trolls are the fucking worst.

If you need to block them, so be it. Do whatever you have to do to be happy and drama free. No one is better than anyone else out there; we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. If it is someone's goal in life to argue with everyone around them...you don't need that type of negativity in your life, yo!

Real, respectful friends with listen to your opinions and, even if they don't agree with them, they will respect them. Good classmates, coworkers and peers will show you that your opinions DO matter and may actually help improve something that is already in motion. 

But there will unfortunately always be that collection of people that, no matter what, will always have that "my way or the highway" mentality. There's nothing you can really do about it. So, just try to focus on you and do/be the best you can! 

You matter. Your opinions matter. Focus on bettering yourself each day FOR. YOU. 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hook A Sister UP!

Living on my own since the age of 18 ( on my own meaning not with my parents ), I've definitely learned the value of a dollar and about saving money in any way you can. And sure, in my early 20s, I would have rather eaten cheap shit and been able go to the bar nightly to party with my friends than to worry about a "budget". But I still had those core money-saving values. Values that I still use to this day.

Each dollar saved counts. It's money you can use towards something more expensive you may want, or maybe just a little extra to tuck away into savings. It's always a way to balance your debt-to-income ratio and, of course, your weekly/bi-weekly/monthly budgeting. 

In this blog post, I want to just review a few helpful tips when it comes to saving money that have personally helped me in the past ( and present/future )

Seriously...GO TO CONSIGNMENT STORES
Goodwill and Salvation Army still have that horrible stigma that it's for "poor people". And sure, back when I was younger, I probably thought that, too. Growing up, my grandparents would take us to Gabriel Brothers EVERY YEAR to get school clothes. I never really knew what Gabe's was until I became older and could appreciate the sales. While consignment stores are full of clothing that has already been worn, Gabe's is more like a Ross; it's either overstock, out-of-season or slightly irregular, thus being deemed "damaged" by traditional chain stores. 

In either case, whether shopping consignment or lower-priced retail, it's a fantastic way to save money. You can find clothing, housewares, children's toys, etc at these types of stores...some of them in MINT condition. My favorite consignment store to shop at is Community Aid in Mechanicsburg, PA. I've found authentic Coach and Vera Bradley purses, nurse scrubs, NY&C brand tops, American Eagle/Hollister/Abercrombie sweatshirts and jeans...all in EXCELLENT used condition or even new. People can donate gently-used items or even items that were never taken out of the package. You have no idea the things you can find when you walk into a second-hand shop. It's sort-of like a treasure hunt in a way. Now of course, you must have the time and the patience to really search for the perfect-for-you items, but sometimes it can be WELL worth it. 

Consignment isn't just for the less fortunate anymore. It's for those trying to save a buck and budgeting wisely.

Use apps like Craigslist, Offer Up and local yardsale pages
I've found ( and also sold ) some great bargains by using these sites. Actually this week, I've made $75 selling old junk online that I would've made half that if I'd had a conventional yardsale. And I found a great bargain for a new, solid wood entertainment center ( the one I was deciding on at Walmart was almost $300 and probably not solid wood )...$100 for this: 


I purchased it from someone on the Offer Up app so, actually, I could have offered less and taken a chance. But it seemed like such an awesome deal that I did not want to pass it up and offered their full asking price. The Offer Up app is more like an "auctioning" page where people will bid for most things, even with an asking price. So if someone wants $75 for something but no one is willing to pay that much, it will most likely go to the highest "offer". It is very much like Craigslist but with a very user-friendly app and also, you can message through the site instead of having to give personal information like your phone number or email address. 

I'm a big believer that "one man's trash is another man's treasure", especially when it comes to big-ticket household items. I would much rather spend $100 on a quality piece of furniture that a previous owner took amazing care of than to go to a chain store and purchase a half-assed, particle-board piece of shit entertainment center for $300. 

It's not always necessary to buy name-brand foods
I'm not gonna lie: NOTHING beats Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. BUT...it is not always top priority to buy name brand foods constantly. I remember as a kid, my sister and I would be embarrassed if we couldn't have name brand food around our friends because we didn't want them to think we were poor. But as an adult, I'm constantly looking for the best deal possible on my food items. There are only certain stores I will go to for meat. I buy off-brand foods 9/10 times. One of my favorite stores to shop is Aldi! They carry a few name brand items, but their store is mostly their own store brand food. And I like that. When you aren't selling an overabundance of Kelloggs or Stouffers, you are able to cut costs on food for the consumers. And technically, if you do your research, you'll find that most Aldi brand food is manufactured by Trader Joe's! Soooo how about DEM apple's ( that are probably FROM Trader Joe's?? ) 

Don't be afraid to ask your friends or family
When I say this, I mean...if you move into a place by yourself and you have, like, nothing: no bed, no couch, no dishes, etc...do not be afraid to ask your loved ones if they have anything that they are not using just "laying around". 99% of the time, they do. The very first apartment I had on my own, I had my old bed from when I was younger, a couch that my sister's boyfriend gave me, a TV another friend gave me, a desk that was left by the previous tenant, and I was almost SET. Going from being taken care of by your parents to living on your own is a big adjustment but, with that, you need to realize that you do not need the best-of-the-best of everything immediately. Do you want to go broke trying to furnish your apartment, so much that you can't make your next month's rent? That's fucking stupid. Second-hand merchandise from people who want to help you is the intelligent way to go. Don't expect any of them to go buy you brand-new rugs and paintings and televisions and computers, but every little bit helps.

Always look for sales, coupons and free shipping
Last one for today; never purchase things at full-price! The mark-up value is insane. We all know that it didn't cost that much to manufacture whatever-it-is in their big fancy warehouse where they pay their workers crap wages. Eventually, everything goes on sale. 

Look at Kohl's, for instance. Do you ever really LOOK at the MSRP?? It's very rare that the retail price at Kohl's is ever paid. Of course, this is to make you think that you're getting an amazing discount, which ALSO is not always the case. But when you take into account 15/20/30% off coupons on an already "marked down" item...maybe you have some Kohl's cash...maybe you have a Kohl's Charge that can get you an additional percentage off...maybe the item is on the clearance rack and marked down even more...well, that's the best time to buy. And that dress you may have fallen in love with 3 months ago.....it's now out of season, and probably sitting on a clearance rack where you'll be able to pay 70% less than what you would have when you originally saw it. Be conscientious of things like this when shopping. 

Coupons are wonderful. I use the Retail Me Not app for clothes and accessories and the ibotta app for food ( ibotta is more like a rebate page, though...it's not instant savings but you earn cash back ) 

And also, a rule of thumb for ME anyway, is that I rarely purchase things online unless they are running a 'free shipping' special. You're paying extra for the luxury of purchasing online--purchasing things you could easily drive 10 minutes to your local mall to get. A good thing about this is that when it comes to major holidays coming about, most sites will offer free shipping. I like to go to American Eagles website around Christmas to get gifts because they run a lot of free shipping weekends. So just check out your favorite store's websites periodically...sometimes you may be surprised by a free shipping day!

Money doesn't grow on trees, guys. Eventually, it DOES run out. No one likes living paycheck to paycheck, so you have to spend wisely to avoid it. And it's truly not that hard.

Try to make a few minor adjustments to your budget. Don't go HAM but a little tweak here and there. See what works and doesn't work for you. Every little bit counts!

 


Friday, September 9, 2016

The Heroin Epidemic

Heroin is everywhere. It's in our cities...it's in our suburbs...it doesn't discriminate against color or background. And it's scary as fuck.

I woke up this morning to read an article from the local Fox station's Facebook page, Fox 43. THIS is the photo that stared back at me ( WARNING! NSFW/viewer discretion advised ):


This photo was taken by the East Liverpool Police in Ohio. The man was driving erratically and almost hit a school bus. When cops approached the vehicle, the male told them ( bobbing in-and-out of consciousness ) that he was taking the already incapacitated female to the hospital before, he too, went unconscious. But the kicker: do you see the poor 4-year-old boy in the backseat witnessing ALL of this?!?! Both of these people literally look dead in this photo, while this innocent child sits in the backseat, unknowing to what is really going on. These adults could have killed this child, driving under the influence...and he's pretty much witnessing two people dying right in front of his eyes.

Apparently, both adults were giving multiple doses of Narcan and were taken to the hospital where they did survive: so to those of you who are offended by the image, they aren't dead in it. Even flushed of all of their color and turning blue, the Narcan did it's job and reversed the overdose. They DID survive...but are facing multiple charges.

But within those charges, they will surely lose custody of their child. And then that child, unless a family member steps up, will go into the system. And the system will have that child going in and out of families where "he just wasn't a good fit". Until that child is 18 and considered an adult and can make his own decisions. And the cycle continues. 

Now that's just, of course, a worse-case scenerio. But in either case, heroin is not only ruining the lives of those doing it, but it's also ruining the lives of their children. 

I was not personally affected by heroin ( aside from finding used needles outside of my old apartment in Carlisle ) but I have a close friend who dealt with it first-hand. Her husband became addicted to heroin. She stayed by his side for 2 years. She called me multiple times just upset and devastated because he was stealing from her, he faked a home robbery and stole the TV for heroin, he was draining their bank account, wasn't coming home at night, fucking other women. But she loved him. He was the father of her children. And she fought for 2 long years before she finally had the courage to give up.

You can't help someone who doesn't want help.

Heroin ruins families. It hurts children. It hurts relationships, romantic or friendship-wise. It hurts the community. And it hurts the person doing it.

No one just wakes up one day and says, "I think I'm going to shoot some heroin today"...it usually starts as narcotic pain pills. Street value for pills like this can get pricey, and with so many prescription regulations, it's becoming harder and harder to abuse the drugs. So in turn, people result to the cheaper alternative: heroin. And it becomes a downward spiral from there.

I truly don't know how we, as a society, are going to nip this epidemic. It's spreading to pretty much everywhere. I read an article last week that stated that a girl had been robbed and shot with a BB gun multiple times one block down from where I used to live. Dickinson College students reside in that city 9 months out of the year. People take their children and dogs for walks daily. Young adults attending the local bars nightly. And it's not even safe to do that anymore.

It's truly scary to see the reality of this drug and how much it hits home for so many people. And, although the photo above disgusts me, it's a reality that some people deal with every. fucking. day...

The full article that I read this morning can be found here

And if you or someone you know and love is a heroin addict, you can go to websites like this for tips on how to try to help them.

There is support out there for addicts and victims of addicts alike. Research and educate yourself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Breaking From Our Comfort Zone

I feel like a lot of young girls suffer with dependency issues. 

You meet a boy. He's "so hot". You want to be around him 24/7. When he's not around, it feels like you can't even breathe. You doodle his name all over your notebooks in class and you text him 924893284 emojis a night ( or whatever teenagers do these days: text, Snap, sext, what-have-you ) Everything is supermegaawesome and you're prettttttttty sure you're in love.

But then you start not doing certain things. You teeter from your friends, and you center all of your attention around this one person. You are so consumed by this person of the opposite sex that you feel the need to constantly be around them. You are emotionally dependent. 

...this is SO not healthy.

How do I know this?
Because I was very dependent at one point.

One of the reasons why I didn't go to college after high school ( aside from the money, of course ) was because my ex told me, "If you go to school, you're going to leave me for some educated guy"...and, in turn, it caused an argument and an ( almost ) break-up. But so did numerous other things throughout our mess of a relationship.

In high school, I didn't go to dances. I didn't spend time with friends. I was always worried about "what he was doing" if I was with friends. I'd constantly talk about him when he wasn't around, and I texted him and called him whenever I had the chance. I endured 5 and a half years of emotional back-and-forth until I finally said "I'm done!"

All because I felt like I couldn't live without this person.
All because I was afraid of being, well, alone.

Now, young girls...they think they know it all. We've all been there. I have a 17 year old sister that brushes off my advice constantly. To each their own: we all learn through our own experiences. But it makes me think of the little things that a girl can do to gain some self-esteem, independence and less fear of the word alone.

Get a hobby
Find something that you really enjoy doing by yourself. Maybe you like arts and crafts; make a scrapbook or learn to crochet. Read. Start a blog. Do something that lets your creativity shine and gives you some alone/reflection time. I used to be terrified of being alone and always needed someone around to feel secure. But as I got older, I learned that I really love being alone. And, when you have a hobby like this, you learn more about yourself. You learn patience and what really makes you tick. You learn what really grabs your interest and what bores you to death. Take time to learn about you and not worry about other people.

Go out to lunch or a movie by yourself
A big stepping-stone for me as far as independence was when I was finally able to sit down at a restaurant and eat lunch by myself. I recommend this experience to everyone. You can use your phone if it helps, but sometimes it's just nice to sit down and eat and not have to entertain anyone. I remember exactly the first time I ate alone: I was killing time until my appointment for an oil change and I stopped for sushi in town. I didn't want to get it, go home, eat and then go to my appointment, so I decided to eat there. And it was liberating! Now, I enjoy going to lunch by myself. Whether it be a break from work or a lunch and pedi with myself...I don't need to have another person around to enjoy myself. 

Don't base life-altering decisions on others
Do you know how often I kick myself for not going to college right out of high school? I regret it every day. My living situation was pretty boss: I only paid for my car insurance and my cell phone while he took care of bills. It would have been THE opportunity. But...he didn't want me to go. So I didn't. And I should've known, even at 18, that someone doesn't truly love you if they try to hold you back from bettering yourself. That's not love. And that's why I feel like learning independence and strength at a young age is so important...because I didn't. And I have lots of regrets because of it. 

If a boy tells you not to do something that you really want to do, do it anyway. Fuck him.

Always trust your instincts: 9 times out of 10, they are right. Read the signs and don't make excuses for people when the proof is as plain as day.

Push your limits and try to break from your comfort zone. I seriously used to be nervous to call the fucking pizza guy for a delivery. Just do it. And then each time you do it after, it will be a little bit easier. Then it'll be like it's nothing.

And, of course...most of all...learn to love and trust yourself. After all, you have to lay in bed with yourself every night.

...just a little friendly advice from a lady who's been through some stuff! :)


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Small Rehoming Fee

I've been working with a local rescue, Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance, for over a year now. Within this time, I've learned a lot about the "rescue world" that outsiders don't see. Some of these things are quite amazing and admirable, while others...are plain disgusting.

Rescues are usually female-based...so, of course, that comes with dramatics. Unfortunately, a lot of rescue then becomes a "popularity contest" and it's more about the drama than the animals. I mean, back in March a Chambersburg woman was charged for using $128k dollars of donated money for personal gain...literally stealing money from homeless pets.

That's their food.
Vet bills.
Toys to make their lives a little bit better.

But this isn't the point of my post.

Being linked to the rescue's Yahoo! group, I see a lot of shared emails between rescues. And being Facebook friends with fellow rescue gals, I come across a lot of "please share" posts. Within these posts are mostly courtesy posts for the rehoming of animals. I read a lot of these ( not all, but most ) and some that I've encountered have caused my blood to BOIL.

The reasonings as to WHY some of these people want to rehome their pet are absolutely absurd! So, I just want to bitch for a few minutes about the top ones I see:

Divorce
This one, I've encountered far too much lately. So you're married...you get a dog together...maybe have some kids. Then shit doesn't work out. You decide to split ways. Now, all of a sudden you need to "find your dog a new home". How do you think that this is okay behavior?! You don't go around rehoming your children now, do you? Not saying that dogs and children are the same, but dogs are not just there. Animals are living, breathing creatures of habit. Your human family is not just being uprooted, but your "furry friend" is, too. And sure, you may have a lot on your plate...and a pet is just another responsibility and stress...but why are you viewing them as such?! Lola has helped me cope with a lot in life. Having a pet around during hard times can actually be a blessing. Is there a fight over who gets the animal? If so, someone needs to step up and decide instead of saying "well, no one gets them then" because, that leaves another animal in a shelter that may not come back out. A month or so ago I came across a post for a 9-year-old Cocker Spaniel mix that needed rehomed due to divorce. That dog was a part of their lives for NINE. FUCKING. YEARS. Now, because of a life event, this so-called senior dog was being cross-posted left and right in hopes that he didn't end up in a shelter. Because, we in the rescue world know, most senior dogs go in...but they don't come out...

Moving
"I need to rehome my dog due to moving and not being allowed to have pets in my new place". I'm sorry, but this is no excuse. When I first got Lola, I was staying in a place that allowed pets. And each time I moved I made sure to find an apartment that allowed pets, because I wasn't going anywhere without her. And that's how it should be. But, clearly, it's not. It's not really that hard to find a place that allows pets. Whether it be higher end or lower end, usually you can find a place that allows you to bring an animal. You may have to pay a small deposit but, in the long run, that's a small price to pay to have your pet by your side. Well, at least for me it is. I think this is a poor excuse for people who just don't want to be responsible for their pet anymore. And yes, there are sometimes legitimate reasons as to why you can't keep a pet any longer: health issues, true financial hardship...but I feel like some people are far too quick to pass their pet off to the next Joe Shmoe.

New Baby
Yes, a baby is a responsibility. A big responsible. But, so is a pet. And you took that responsibility on prior to having the baby. So why now can you not deal? Why is it that when a little one comes into the world, all of a sudden the dog is "too much"? Maybe the dog is curious of the baby. I've seen posts about "the dog isn't dealing well with the baby". Why, because the dog is curious? Dogs don't usually go looking for trouble...and cats, they could care less. Let your dog investigate the baby ( supervised, of course ) Animals can experience jealousy. It's not that hard to spend a few minutes letting your pet know that you still love them. And do you know how valuable it is for kids to grow up with pets?! I for one ( if I ever have a family ) will always have them growing up with my first babies: my dogs.

Work
So, you work a lot...and you don't think it's "fair" to have your pet anymore. You've have this pet for 5 years already. You have 2 kids. How do you feel this is a valid reason to post a rehoming request?? What makes you so busy now that you can't possibly keep your pet any longer? This excuse is lame. If you are so busy, why did you get a pet in the first place? Now, if something happened in your life and you've had to take on 3 jobs and you barely have time to sleep, let alone spend time with your dog...that's different. Shit does happen. But don't use work as an excuse to rid yourself of the responsibility.

Thousands of unwanted pets die every. day. because of the idiocy of humans. Our excuses. Our neglect. Our abuse. Those senior dogs left in shelters for months because their owner moved/had a baby/divorced. Those puppies born to a mother in a high-kill shelter and never even having the chance to be adopted out. Puppy mills and breeders. Uneducated humans taking on breeds that they know nothing about and expecting it to just be 'easy'. 

Cats are pretty easy, but dogs take time and patience...and if you don't have the time and the heart to take that responsibility on, you shouldn't even CONSIDER owning a one. 

Stop the excuses, man up and realize that when you bring a pet into your home, they should be yours until their last breath ( or yours... )