Monday, November 20, 2017

You Do YOU, Girl ( or Boy )

"Don't do shit that makes you feel like shit!" - Mr. Black

"Mr. Black" is my friend Anthony, whom I became close to during my brief time living in Seminole, Florida. He is a fellow blogger ( Mr Black Talks ) and he also has his own podcast, in which I listen to regularly. 

Well, I was listening to The Love Examiner the other week and the segment was called Tis' The Season To Cuff. I was actually headed to Pittsburgh to see a friend when I was listening to the episode and when it was over, I thought "I need to blog about this"...that beginning QUOTE made me want to blog about this...

Self-care is an essential practice that needs to have more importance in our lives. 

Between work, kids, spouses, fitness, friends, family, pets--where do we fit in? 

Why do we deem it so important to be busy/with someone all the time?

So let's chat:

Tony talks about "cuffing" which is pretty much locking down a sig other for the holidays. This usually starts right after Halloween and can last until after Valentine's Day. As a society, we feel that we have to have a special someone to avoid awkward dinner conversations about our love lives, third-wheel dates with friends and cold, lonely nights ( at least up here in PA ) Usually it's nothing serious, just someone to bone for the holidays and bring around to functions. 

In the same episode, he goes on to discuss a list of things you can do instead of hitting up your booty call. A lot of the things listed could also be considered self-care. We need to learn how to not be lonely while being alone. 

We need to learn how to enjoy and lavish in our alone time.

Instead of trying to hit up the opposite sex, you have other options. Tony goes on to read his list from the blog post and these are a few of my favorites:

Go to sleep! 
Don't drink, don't think too much...just treat yourself to an early bedtime. Nobody needs to fucking know; it doesn't make you lame. Think of how refreshed you'll feel in the morning!
  
Learn a new hobby on YouTube
I've learned how to do many things by watching YouTube tutorials, including knitting and crocheting. It's a great way to pass the time, advance your skill set and keep your mind occupied.

Netflix binge
Dude, I'm in a relationship and still "Netflix and chill"...but when I N&C, I literally have sweats on, hair pulled up, blankets on with a cup of hot tea and Lola on my lap. Even before Nate, there are nights where I just sat on my couch bundled up and watching Netflix for hours. Some nights you just need to do nothing.

Go to the gym
Exercise not only makes you feel better but ( at least for me ) it redirects my brain. Why not do something productive to pass the time instead of waiting for a man to text you at 2 AM so he can get it in and get out?

I think he lists about 20 more alternatives, so if you'd like to read them all you can find them here.

But the thing that really got to me, and the origin of that quote, was when Tony was discussing going home for the holidays.

Look, not everyone has an awesome family. Sometimes siblings don't get along. Sometimes dad is a fall-down drunk. Sometimes grandma likes to preach the Bible and Aunt Suzy is way too prodding in her questions about your choice to have ( or not have ) children. For people like this, the holidays can be pretty dreaded. 

As adults, though, we need to realize that we can make our own choices. We shouldn't have to explain ourselves. We have the option to not do shit that makes us feel like shit. Even if that involves upsetting some people. Why make yourself feel miserable if you don't have to? Why teeter on a mental breakdown if it can be avoided?

Self-care doesn't always involve indulging yourself--it includes doing what's best for your own mental state.

...it includes finding something else better to do than wait for your booty call to hit you back. 

...it includes going to Jamaica on Easter because you can.

...it includes saying "no" when you really want to, because you're an adult and you have that option.

...it includes putting yourself first every now and then...


 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pop's Outlet

Until earlier this year, I had never heard of Pop's Outlet. My sister actually told me about it and sent me an event invite via Facebook for it. Apparently, though, it's been around for years.

My sister originally found it when she was living on her own in Dillsburg many moons ago. Yesterday was the second time that I went, this time with my friend and fellow thrifter, Mandy.

So what is Pop's Outlet?

I took this from their Facebook page:


Pretty much a shit-ton of people show up at a warehouse and get to look through dozens of boxes of "overstock" artwork, framing, lamps, bedding, throw pillows and furnishings. Like any other thrift store, you have to have patience and time because there's much to look through. Also, the crowds get fucking crazy. Last night we could barely walk through to see things, but she went again today and said that it wasn't as bad.

Pop's does this sale a few times a year. It's usually a Friday in the evening and then the following Saturday morning. By Friday, most merchandise is swiped but they actually unbox another entire load for the next day, so if you didn't find it on Friday you just may on Saturday. Mandy texted me a picture of a pug canvas she'd found and grabbed me that totally WASN'T there yesterday. So they pretty much re-stock a ton of other stuff for the second day of the event.

Last time I went was in April. Since it was my first time and it was so busy, I only got a few things: a large floral canvas ( $15 ), a chocolate lab picture for Nathan ( $3 ) and the two shell pictures for my bathroom ( $2/each ) But the canvas is HUGE and hangs in my kitchen now, so the price for everything...a whopping $22!...was quite a steal. Even at Ross, you're not really paying less than $10 for wall decor.

My spring haul!

This time around, I spent a tad more, but not much...$27. But my count was more. I bought a lamp for my bedroom ( shade/stand $10 total ),  a seashell picture ( $5 ), a picture for my bedroom that says "do all things with love" ( $5 ), a cute clock for the kitchen ( $5 ) and two unframed prints ( $1/each ) ONE IS EVEN A PUG! 

$12 ( the NYC map is for Mallory )

$10

$5

**BACKSTORY: I saw this lady had the cutest pug print from the table of unframed art. We were talking about how pug people are crazy and we are "crazy pug ladies" as I was searching through, desperate to find a copy of the print. Well apparently, she had found two and she was kind enough to give me the second copy! So that was my "good people still exist" moment of the day AND now I can find a pretty thrifted frame to put my $1 cute-ass watercolor pug puppy in**

I LOVE IT!!!!

So if you're interested in a bargain, especially on home decor, I recommend checking out Pop's Outlet when it comes back around. It's located in Mechanicsburg and is super easy to get to. I just recommend not bringing children or elderly, as it gets super crowded and very hot in the summer months!



 

 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Behind The Scenes: October Birchbox

I actually seemed to use all of my products BEFORE the end of the month ( for once ) And with two days to spare, here are my reviews for "Behind The Scenes": October's Birchbox...



Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

I was unsure what exactly this product was; a facial cream, a zit repair, iunno. Luckily, if the sample does not really have "instructions", you can view them on the app. They describe this cream as a "complexion cure-all" and I tried it out yesterday before applying my make-up. They tell you to use a dime-sized amount, but I feel like I didn't even need that much. It took a bit to dry before I could apply my BareMinerals, but it was light and smelled nice. Very faint scent but not that gross "unscented" smell. When I woke up this morning I had no new breakouts so all-in-all, I'm pleased with the product.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

The description states that it's "fadeproof" but I smudged it a few times. Maybe they mean that it stays as intense from application to removal, but I totally messed my eyeliner up when I wore it. Granted, it wasn't a great day and I was a bit emotional/teary-eyed, so it may just have been me. As far as application, though, it goes on bold and simple. I like an eyeliner that I don't have to go over a few times to get it a solid, thick line...and this eyeliner does the trick. One swipe and a straighten-up and I was good to go. Also, the sample is the perfect size to keep the pen stable and to do a good cat-eye.

Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance Pure Vanilla Eau de Parfum

I'm not really a fan of vanilla-scented stuff; candles, perfumes, lotions, etc. I feel like the scent of vanilla is far too strong in products like this--it's a scent that is just very hard to tone down. Although I don't really like the scent, I think anyone who DOES enjoy the scent of vanilla would like this perfume. It's not something I would purchase for myself, though.

OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil

I actually really like this product. Although I feel like it would be better to have in a spritzer instead of a squeeze, the scent is just enough, it leaves my tattoos looking bright and fresh, and it works well in the hair. I used it one morning to help hold down fly-aways, and then I rubbed the excess on my skin. I really like the mild scent and it dries very quickly. I'm really bad with moisturizing my skin and as I age, I really need to be more on top of it. I wouldn't mind using a body oil like this in my daily regimen

Milk Makeup Highlighter

The only product I DIDN'T use, I'm not much of a cosmetic connoisseur to care about things like highlighter. I don't really know how to use it, I don't truly understand it's purpose and I don't really need it. Although I will say that the "stick" seems to me like it would work better for application purposes, unlike some of the others that were liquids in a tube. I may just give this product to a friend.

As I continue my subscription, I've realized that I think I liked Ipsy better. Although I don't always have a purpose for the bags, I feel like the products were more selected for ME and weren't the same things over and over again. I like make-up samples far more than face creams and hair products for wavy hair ( which I don't even have ) I've even considered stopping with beauty boxes and doing a snack box next time. 

I'm not really sure how many people read this blog to begin with, anyway. But hey, writing helps me decompress so...writing I will do!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

RIP Haley =[




"My boyfriend Nathan and I lost our 12 year old chocolate lab, Haley, on Sunday. She’s been by Nate’s side since she was 8 weeks old and he’s having a really hard time.

This year started off with a false CHF diagnosis, Haley almost suffocating to death in front of me, an ER visit, costly laryngeal paralysis surgery and then...we were fine. But then last week, she started showing signs that seemed like Cushings ( thanks to the Internet ) We took her to the vet, they did X-rays and saw nothing. Since we’d already spent $8900+ in vet bills for the year, we opted out of blood work.
Towards the end of last week, her appetite staggered. She was barely eating, but still pretty lively and drinking. Concerned though, I called on Saturday to set up an appointment for Monday.

On Sunday she wouldn’t eat at all. She was lethargic, still able to move around ( just slowly ), antsy, she vomited water once, cold wet nose, urinating fine with no accidents...but her gums looked slightly jaundice.

When Nate told Haley it was time for bed, he took her to our room, put her in the bed and laid beside her because he knew she wasn’t feeling good. Within 30 seconds she was gone. She died at 9:34 PM.

We had a private cremation the next day. The man who performed the cremation said that in his experience, it sounded like a cyst/tumor metastasized and burst. He confirmed when we picked up her ashes that there was a tumor the size of a softball. Of course, that was no medical diagnosis and I’m unsure of the validity of that.

My dog, Lola, is to me what Haley was to Nate. Lola just turned 10 in June so I can only imagine how he feels losing his best friend. And although I’m mourning for Haley because I loved her too, I’m trying to be there to support Nate because their connection was stronger. But I’m lost. At age 30, I’ve only experienced the death of a pet twice—2 years ago was the first time, and then now. 

I know this is a lot, I’m sorry. I’m so confused and lost as to how to help him mourn/deal/heal. My heart hurts for the loss of Haley and for the pain Nate is going through."



...I've told the story so many times between friends, my therapist and in support groups online that I thought I would just copy/paste what I wrote on Veterinary Wisdom's Facebook group verbatim. It's been a physically and emotionally exhausting week for myself, but is definitely 10x worse for Nate. Haley is to Nate what Lola is to me, and it's a really rough time--trying to grieve, being at a loss, not being certain exactly what took Haley's life--and for me, personally, reliving the horrifying reality of her passing at the foot of the bed while I was half asleep and Nate lay beside her. I keep seeing the terror in Nate's face and hearing it in his voice...recalling him trying to give her CPR...grabbing my stethoscope to make certain I heard no respiration or a heartbeat. Calling Peaceful Pet Passage ( which, once the ache has settled a bit, I will write a blog about how pleased I was by their company ) and taking her in for cremation. My nerves are still shot; my body still jittery.  

Nate and I talked the other day and a little anger arose in his voice, because I don't know how this is for him. I loved Haley, but that was his baby. That was his Lola. I have to be the strong one to support him during this time, because when Lola's time comes, I will need just what he does. But I don't understand the hurt he's feeling. I've only lost one pet before ( Andrew ) and, although I loved him, the connection wasn't like the one I have with Lola. He passed suddenly, without warning. It broke my heart, but it surely wasn't as devastating as this is for him. I'm trying my best to support him, grieve in my own time for Haley and Nathan both, and get through the days without having a mental breakdown.



If anyone who reads this blog has any advice/resources/personal experiences they would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it. It's hard...very hard...and with other stresses in life also going on ( because, yes, life does go on... ) it's a heavy weight to bear. 

And please, keep Nathan in your thoughts and/or prayers for healing and comfort and for the days to becoming easier as we move forward...but never forget...


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Can't Take Much More

I'm currently livid. Absolutely irate. One, because the situation at hand is giving me PTSD from a past friendship from years ago and two, because I just can't understand how narcissism and "playing the victim" can give certain people so much fucking undeserved power! 

It's been a rough few weeks. I haven't really been blogging because my mind has been all over the place. 

Haley hasn't really eaten for about 3-4 days and has a vet visit tomorrow. What I assumed was probably Cushing's disease is now exhibiting traits of renal failure. We aren't certain and we will only be able to tell by blood work, but after thousands of dollars this year to save Haley's life and numerous blood panels that came up clean, Nate may be losing his best friend of 13 years. 

But who cares, right?

I don't really talk about it to friends, coworkers or family because...I don't like people to pity me or ( as a grown-ass woman ) sound like I'm playing the "victim" card. But clearly, other people have no issue doing so. And that's why I'm so angry...

Why is it that the most manipulative, malicious, conniving, narcissistic people get everything handed to them on a silver fucking platter?

Maybe I need to surround myself with assholes instead of genuinely good people who get taking for granted and break their necks to cater to the non-deserving simply because they are kind-hearted?

( yes, that was a run-on sentence, because the frustration and anger I feel right now is run-on! )

Why is it that society "rewards" those who are lazy, unreliable, full of excuses, play the "pity card", cry about asinine things, always complain, try to divert the negative attention from themselves by criticizing others, and are just hateful, horrible people? Why do we cater to people like that? 

It's like with welfare. People know how to work the system. And if they are assholes, they will. They will get whatever they can from the government, while those who genuinely need it get nothing because they follow the rules, yet still don't qualify. They have a false sense of being "owed" shit in life, and NO ONE IS OWED ANYTHING IN LIFE!

What an unfair world we live in.

Yes, I know, "life isn't fair". But why can't it be unfair to people who deserve it a little more? Why do we cater to the people who play with other's minds for their own benefit? Why do we just give in to these asshole's demands to "save face" or play savior?

You can't save everyone. And guaranteed, if someone word-vomits their "problems" on a regular basis, THEY are causing their own demise...and they shouldn't have to be saved by someone else.

Look, we all have issues...but it's about what we do about those issues. You can't just cry that you have problems and not do anything actively to fix them. We all have pasts and most of them aren't ideal...but that's NO excuse to be a shitty, horrible, disgusting piece of shit. 

I'm fucking over it.

Medical News Today published an article about narcissistic personality disorder. Read it. It may have you looking at some people a little differently...if you're intelligent enough to see the signs and let yourself believe them!

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141126084350-327533989-narcissistic-personality-disorder-symptoms

Ever. Single. Point. Here. Is. Relevant. To. The. Situation.    

I've dealt with far too many narcissistic people in my life. And although you can't always avoid them, to know they receive preferential treatment from peers outright disgusts me! All because they are manipulative and play on the kindness of others for their own benefit. 

I try my DAMNEDEST to be a decent fucking human being, and where has that gotten me? Why do I even bother working hard, holding my tongue, helping others when needed, doing for others without being asked, being someone's shoulder to lean on, being reliable and empathetic when only the assholes get handed everything in life?! WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING TO BE A GOOD PERSON WHEN ONLY BAD PEOPLE SEEM TO WIN AT LIFE!?

It angers me to the deepest of my core. It eats away at me to a point where I don't understand why I even bother anymore. Maybe I should just quit my job and move to the farm with Nate. Maybe I should give up my independence and my life and just start over. Because clearly I'm not as important to people as I thought I was...and that's a really shitty way to feel.

...to feel like everything you do to be flexible, understanding, kind and hard-working is all for nothing.  

I wish people would just open their eyes and stop making excuses for horrible behavior. It's not fucking okay!


Evil wins in this world, and unfortunately...I don't have it in me to be so hateful and mean. So where am I to go from here...........?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Belated September Box Review

Welp, late again. 

It's the third day in October and I failed to write my September Birchbox review IN September. 

Ooops...*bad Jenn!*

But hey, late is better than never, amiright?!


amika Un.Done Texture Spray
I used this spray when I curled my hair for a wedding, and it seemed to work pretty well for me. My hair doesn't like to hold curl so I usually have to use a ton of product for it to "stick". By the time we were leaving the reception, I still had some curl to my hair so I guess all-in-all, it was a success. I really love the way the amika products smell, so that's also an advantage.

Daily Concepts Your Facial Micro Scrubber
I seriously LOVE this little dude! I use it in the shower to wash my face daily. It is sensitive on my skin but also definitely makes it feel clean once I'm done using it with one of my numerous Ipsy/Birchbox face washes. LOL. I hang it off of the shower head to dry thoroughly between uses, but I love that this little guy makes a pea-sized amount of product go a long way. I definitely give this scrubber a 5/5!

Arrow Enhance Waterproof Eyeliner + Brightener
I think I only got the brightener half of this duo, which bummed me out a tad. Also, I had issues getting the cap off and took the entire tip of the product off along with it. It's a nice pink color that would be awesome to brighten ones eyes, but I'll be honest...I haven't tried it yet. I was kinda bummed, though, to not get the eyeliner, too.

MAC Cosmetics in Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara
This was my choice for this month, mostly because they had a product that I really didn't want so I thought if I chose this, I wouldn't get it ( and I didn't! ) Honestly, until I started writing this, I totally forgot I even got this product! But I tried it this AM to make me look less dead for work, and I really like it. It goes on smooth, not clumpy, and definitely gives me the length and volume. Of course I wouldn't expect much less from a MAC product ( since they are one of the major companies ) But this is my first MAC product that I own and I definitely like it.

Oribe Matte Waves Texture Lotion
So, um, I don't have wavy hair. And even on my profile I state such. So I'm unsure why I keep receiving items for people with wavy hair. In either case, I gave it to my coworker Kyla...so hopefully it's helpful for her. It served no use for me, sadly enough...

The choices for October/the Featured Box weren't anything too impressive to me...so I opted for Birchbox to just surprise me with my 5 items this month. This will be month 7 for this subscription, and I'm already debating on doing a different box next year.

Does anyone have any favorite box subscriptions that they would recommend I check out?


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Life Update

Well I feel like it's been quite a while since I sat down and typed. I feel like this month has been absolutely insane. Between work, back-to-back activities over the weekends and ( of course ) anxiety lingering in the back of everything, I'm just EXHAUSTED. But I thought I'd update you a little bit on what I did this September.
 
My calendar literally gave me heart palpitations.
 
Of course, Lola had her surgery.  In my last post I told you that her biopsy came back clean and she does not have cancer! Thank GOD! A week after we received the results, we took her for staple removal and she no longer has to wear the Surgi-Snuggly, which is nice ( Nate was super excited about that part ) Her incision looks great and is about 99% healed. I may give her a bath this weekend since she's cleared at this point; clean up the area and just make her a smell-good-pug. But I'm so thankful that she's okay. Haley has been panting non-stop lately but I assume it has to do with just being old since she's had no changes in activity, personality or diet. But jeez it's annoying...

On the 16th we went to the neighbors to celebrate Mason and Marlee's birthdays. I went down a little early to help with setting up and unsuccessfully help make a balloon arch. It was a good time though. Lots of food and fun, beers and chit-chat. We watched the kids open their gifts and then helped clean up a bit as people started to leave. 

Then on the 17th, my friends Katy and Kyle were married. They had their wedding at the Capital Rotunda, which I didn't even know was a thing! The building is absolutely gorgeous! Although it was a little hard to hear since the area is so large, Katy looked absolutely beautiful and her gown was gorgeous! The reception was held right over the Harvey Taylor Bridge in Camp Hill, and it was a nice set up. Buffet style with all types of drinks. We stayed to watch their first dance and the dad/daughter dance, but left right after the bouquet toss since it was coming close to 8:00 PM. I'm super thankful that I was invited to share this day with them.
 
Mr and Mrs Rhoads!
 
The following Saturday was Andrea and George's wedding at their home in Carlisle. It turned out amazing! They put in a new gazebo and a shed and they were married in the gazebo. The food was finger foods but delicious, and there was a wine and beer bar. Although it was SUPER hot for late-September, we all had a great time. But by 8:30 I was ready to head home. Andrea looked stunning and also had a gorgeous dress for her big day. It was wonderful to see two of my best friends get married, for sure!
 
Mr and Mrs Shickler!
 
That Sunday, then, was Woofstock at Riverfront Park. I usually volunteer for about a 2 hour window so that I can still take a walk around the event and check out the vendors/booths/activities. It ended up being a beautiful day...but very hot. I knew Lola was ready to leave because she was becoming slower and panting a good bit. I didn't leave without first getting an artisan grilled cheese from Mad Dash and a chair massage from the HACC students. I didn't really end up doing too much else since I forgot to/didn't have time to get cash before the event. Oh well.
 
Pug really wanted some of my grilled cheese...
 
So now THIS weekend, I was HOPING to just relax...of course that's not the case. Haley's panting has been an issue for a few days now and it's making me wonder if she didn't have CHF all along on TOP of the LP. She woke up his AM and started it up immediately, so I gave her a Trazadone to calm her and we gave her the lasix/hbp rx that she was prescribed before just to see if it would help. Along with that, she threw up a few times...and so did Sadie. So I have two vomiting dogs, I have no clue what the hell is the cause for either, I have PTSD from Haley almost dying in front of me months ago so now every out-of-character thing that happens with any of these damn dogs throws me into a tizzy. I'm 3/4 of the way to a panic attack between that and other things. After spending $8500 ( cash and credit ) on these 2 dogs, I don't know how much more financially I can take, either.

...now I can only pray that tomorrow is relaxing and without dramatics ( yeah right! )
 
 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lola Update!

Well, guys, guess what?

LOLA IS CANCER-FREE!!!!!


I don't even have the words to describe how RELIEVED I am about this news. Not only because I couldn't possibly afford cancer treatment for my dear furry love, but because the stress of finding a way to would have put me in a mental asylum ( if they even really have those anymore ) I would have, though. I would have done whatever I had to. 

We took Lola into Rye yesterday for a one-week post op check and I hoped they'd have the pathology report ( which they did ) It came back that the lumps were just mammary cysts that were benign...at least at this point in time. They, of course, could have become cancerous but since we removed them, they never got the chance to be. 

She has an incision on her belly about 8-9" long...with staples...which broke this mama's heart. But Dr. Whalen said that they incision looks fantastic. Very little redness, little-to-no swelling; she's lost a few staples, but she said that's normal. Instead of an Elizabethan collar they gave us this nifty doohicky called a Surgi-Snuggly, which is like a doggy onesie. It's been working great! It prevents Lola from licking or chewing her surgical site and also, it prevents staples from snagging on clothing or blankets. I definitely recommend the use of one if your vet usually gives an E-collar.

She has the staples removed next Wednesday. I cannot wait

I'm so happy that she's in the clear. And I'm thankful for everyone's good thoughts and prayers during this time. Lola is my little everything, and I couldn't imagine losing her. Everyone knows that she's my baby...literally. I would've drained my savings account and gone into debt to save her. But now I can ease my mind for a while, knowing that surgery NOW hopefully preventing major issues down the road. 

So, yeah...that's 2 dogs down...with one more to go...*sigh* We already know that Sadie is going to need a cyst removed at the base of her tail, so that's gonna be another surgery. But hopefully it'll be a simple, quick and less-stressful procedure for her!

Time to start saving up! 😂😢



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Social (me)dia & (me)ntal Health

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. These are all platforms to show our lives and our opinions. But when does it stop getting fun and start becoming harmful?

Social media is a way to express ourselves. We get to share a little bit of our lives with friends and strangers alike. With the use of hashtags, we can connect with people all over the world that have similar interests and tastes. I've become friends with a girl out of state whom I have a lot in common with such as our love for pugs, crafting and sarcasm. Cara is a pretty cool chick and someone I would have never met outside the realm of Instagram. 

But then there are the negatives to such apps. The trolls; the obsession with posting or searching-out posts. 

I follow a gal from Tennessee ( I think? ) who has been working on a healthier lifestyle for years.  Last year, she leaned out and competed in her first fitness competition. Afterwards, she learned that it's not about having the "perfect body" but about being a better you each and every day, and living a healthy life. Yes, she's gained some of the weight back. But she's okay with that. Since she decided to share her life with people on Instagram, though, she now has to deal with comments like these:





Tesia is a strong woman who is just trying to be comfortable in her own skin. She's realized that the "fit" life isn't always the "healthy" life, and while trying to be inspiring to those who still struggle, she's harassed and judged but complete strangers.

This is just one major downfall with the "social media age".

 
Another major downfall of such sites is the fact that we compare ourselves to others. 

Why can't I be as skinny and beautiful as her?
Look at her expensive shoes and handbag!...I wish I had money like that.
She looks so put together--her life must be perfect!

We get down on ourselves when we see how "great" others have it. But what we must understand is, just like a photograph, they always show the good times and rarely the bad. You don't take pictures or write statuses about the hard times ( well, usually... ) Things like that cause pity. We want to mask the bad by over-accentuating the good. Lavish trips. Expensive objects. In social media, WE have "the power" to show the world whatever we would like to. And while some are crudely honest to a fault, others show only the good side of things...leading one to believe they have the perfect life.

The younger generation knows nothing but this technological age, and I feel bad for them. Self-esteem is at an all-time low and kids feel like they will only gain acceptance in the amount of friends and followers they have. They post pictures for 'likes' because they don't know how to like themselves. 

And just like how these apps make us feel like crap about ourselves, they are also a way to make people feel bad for US. Get on your Facebook once...I bet you have at least one friend who only posts negative shit. Whether it be statuses about "how much their life sucks" or vague quotes about life, insinuating that theirs sucks. They strive for attention, because they feel whether it's bad or good, at least it's attention. I have an old friend who has been constantly posting about her "failing life", trying to make excuses like karma isn't to blame. No excuses!...if you're a bad person to others, people will be bad to you. The first step in becoming a better person is being REAL with yourself and your downfalls. Don't play the boo-hoo-pity-party card and make everyone feel bad for you when YOU are the cause of the chaos. 

...which leads me to the last issue with social media: it prevents us from letting go of the past. 

We reopen wounds when we go searching for our ex-boyfriends or ex-friends. We go in search of things we were never meant to see, thus causing undue pain that could be easily avoidable. Why do we torture ourselves? Because it's so easy to.

Why do you care about what your ex-girlfriend is doing? You want to compare lives. You want to make sure that you're doing better than her. What check out your ex-BFFs page? Because you want to see if karma came back around. But what does that solve? It only angers you more. It brings about bad feelings. 

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!

It is not a healthy way to live. And even though social media has a lot of benefits when it comes to current events, bringing people together for a cause, education, etc...there's always bad with the good. There's always people who will abuse the system and use it for evil. 

I, myself, have learned that I really need to disconnect. I need to block people I don't have reason to care about; I need not follow people with whom I compare my looks/attitude/skills with; I need to focus on ME and not strangers 5000 miles away.

We all only get one time to live our lives...

...why be sad the whole time that we aren't living someone elses?  


 
 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Time To Talk-Therapy

About a month ago, I took the initiative to change therapists. I'm still unsure of this transition, as sometimes I do miss my old therapist and feel like she already knew so much about me. It becomes quite unbearable at times to know that I have to go over all that shit AGAIN with someone else. But I said I would give this a fair shot, and that if it didn't work out that I'd go back to where I started. So far, I think I've had 3-4 sessions...

But while in treatment with this new lady, she spoke slightly about a technique she uses call EMDR.

EMDR is short for "eye movement desensitization and reprocessing". The basic premise ( from what I grasp, so far ) is that when you're deep in thought about things, your eyes move in a certain "pattern". Through this pattern, you can retrain your brain to process things different. It was harder for her to explain in words, but I looked up more information and uncovered this:

"No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way."


There is also documentation on how the process works and the steps to achieve the desensitization, which you can read here. The concept is intriguing and I told her that I'm on board to try this method out.

She told me at our last appointment that we will not discuss the traumatic experiences aloud but simply have me think about them. She feels like reopening past issues can cause retraumatization, so she refrains from doing so. I must give consent for her to physically touch me due to the fact that with EMDR you must use sensation on each side of the body to trigger both sides of the brain. My therapist tends to use the tops of a patient's knees to achieve this. 

I'm eager to see how this technique works. It's used a lot for patients that suffer from PTSD, and although I wouldn't consider having PTSD, I sort-of have something like it. There are a few events in my life that I still harbor pain from and that caused me to the be the person I am today ( good or bad?...I don't know ) 

I hope that EMDR will allow me to view hard times in a less devastating manner and, in a way, help to desensitize me as a whole. I am a very emotional person by nature; to the point that I feel everything SO strongly it's disruptive to my life. Whether it be a hurtful name I was called, someone's attitude towards me, a suffering animal on the side of the road, or that my coffee spilled on the way to work...things like this can ruin my whole day and cause me to ruminate the situation all day. It's not healthy. 

...and I really want to be better at coping with life as a whole.

So here's to hoping EMDR is as successful as I'm hoping it will be!!!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

I! LOVE! BREAD!

Actually, I don't. Unless they are breadsticks from the Olive Garden...then this is valid.

 

But reading that title probably makes you think of Oprah Winfrey in the newest Weight Watchers commercials. That was the point.

Years ago, I decided to start WW to try to lose weight. In about a year, I lost 35 lbs. This was back in 2011/12, and I kept the weight off for less than a year. This was due to going back to bad habits and making it less of a point to make it to the gym regularly. 

In either case, it did work for me. That's why I decided to try it again.

I have 2 weddings approaching that I'm to attend toward the end of the month. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to lose 10 lbs before these weddings. So I made it a point to facilitate my WW app and get back on the cardio bandwagon. Tomorrow I weigh myself--but the first week I lost 1.4 lbs. 

Now, there have been advancements to the Weight Watchers "algorithm", but since the Points Plus system worked for me last time, that's the one I use. With PP, it is based on your intake of fats, carbs, fiber and protein. I'm not sure the equation they use to figure out your food points using these 4 nutrition facts but that's why they have apps! 😁

What I love about WW is that you can eat what you want ( but within reason ) With this plan, you don't have to restrict yourself or get angry for eating "bad food". It teaches you moderation; you can eat that brownie for 6 points OR you can have a sugar-free Fudgecicle for 1 point. That would leave me with 5 additional points to eat MORE food with. If you eat shit, you will go over your points and not get results. It helps you make better choices so you don't have to starve yourself.

Also, you're given weekly points or "cheat points". If you want to eat a little more one day, you can do so without beating yourself up. And actually, I've noticed I lose more weight when I use these points rather than not. 

Here's an example:

I'm given 29 points a day to consume.
Let's say a bowl of oatmeal is 3 pts and a banana is 0 ( on PP, fruit/veggies are 0 pts )
So breakfast-3 pts.

Then for lunch, I eat a SmartOnes that's 7 pts.
And I want a Light Cheeseheads string cheese for 1 pt.
Lunch-8 pts.

So there's 2 meals and I've only used 11 of my 29 points, leaving me 18 points for dinner/snacks. 

But I like a snack around 10 AM, so if I eat celery and Bolthouse Ranch dressing ( 1 pt per TBSP )--that snack is only 1 pt. 

( you should get my drift at this point ) 

And when you work out, you earn points back--thus meaning you can eat more that day if you would like. Not saying you have to, but you can.

If you don't want to do Weight Watchers through WW ( meaning you have to pay their monthly dues ), there are 2 apps that I've really liked.

WWDiary by canofsleep is the app I used back when I had an Android, and when I lost the weight the first time. It's a free app and it's super easy to use. And if I recall, they have various restaurant entrees listed in their database for when you want to grab something outside the home.

Now that I have an iPhone this time around, I actually had to pay for an app. Blah! But the one I use is ProTracker Plus Weight, Calorie & Exercise Tracker. It was a one-time fee of $2.99 and you have the choice of either using the old or new calculator. 

I definitely recommend WW to anyone trying to lose some weight because it not only keeps you in check, it also prevents you from denying yourself certain foods in your diet. Moderation is key!

So far, the progress is slow ( like it always is ), but as time goes by there may be an update on progress!...maybe.

 Stay tuned!

 

Friday, September 1, 2017

August Birchbox

Well, I didn't make it--it's September now and I failed to write a blog about my latest box. This is partially due to having such a busy few weeks at work, and partially due to laziness. 

Shame. On. Me.

I feel like I got a lot of skin products in this box, which bored me. But I've tried pretty much everything...so here we go:


Coola Mineral Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint
This is more-or-less a sunscreen, but it can also work as a nice primer before you apply makeup. With SPF 30 it's great for protecting your face from the harms of the sun. The tint is very mild--barely noticeable. When I used this product, it just felt like a primer. No greasiness. Not sunscreen odor. It's light and has natural ingredients to ( hopefully ) avoid reactions on sensitive skin.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
I rarely use dry shampoos, although I probably should try. I avoid washing my hair daily due to the dryness I've been seeing as I age. With the grays starting to come in, I feel my hair gets a lot more frizzy so I try to avoid it by washing my hair only every 2-3 days. But come day 3, I do feel my roots get a bit oily. This could help.

Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel
This cleanser is unscented and great with a facial brush. I put about a dime-sized amount on my brush in the shower and scrub away. It works great for my sensitive skin and, actually, a dime-sized is usually too much ( but it comes out real easily ) You could probably get away with a pea-sized amount to make it last longer. When you rinse it off, your face doesn't feel dry but it does feel clean.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Perla
This was my Birchbox pick for the month, as the curated box choice had a DEEP red in it that I did not want to receive. So, my thoughts were that to avoid getting another dark color I probably would never wear, I'd choose this to avoid that chance. The color is very pretty and goes well with my skin tone. It is a matte color and it actually does stay a good while. And unlike my favorite matte color by Tarte, I don't seem to lose my lip color around the opening of my mouth as much. 

In real life, my upper lip is NOT that full!
  
Balance Me Congested Skin Serum
I've used this once or twice right before bed to help with red spots and break outs. The scent isn't strong like some products and, although I didn't see much progress with the product, it's probably because I didn't use it often enough. I actually kind of forgot I had this product and just continued using my Zap Zit ( which also never seems to work ) But maybe I'll just have to start using this ritually...

I already chose one product for my September box, so the other 4 will be "tailored to my profile". 

Here's to hoping for just a little more variety in this month's box...

  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lola's Impending Surgery...

So, last Saturday while my sister Abbey was visiting, she had Lola snuggled under her arm...on her back...when she says to me, "Jenny, Lola has a bump under her nipple".


At first I'm thinking, "It's probably just a lipoma..." but then, I felt it: this bump was harder than that. It felt like a tiny knot, or what I would compare to a swollen gland when you get sick. I, myself, used to get swollen glands in my neck and groin area when I would get sick quite frequently. But since she had a vet visit the following Tuesday to have shots updated, I just made sure to mention it at the appointment. It just didn't feel...right.

Between the day it was discovered, two more bumps appeared; one next to the original, and one above the nipple that did feel like a lipoma ( or a bug bite ) 

Tuesday comes and we go to see Dr. Kirmayer. I mention the bumps and, of course, he ends up feeling the bug-bite-type bump first. He's thinking it's just a lipoma. Then he feels the other ones. And he goes, "I don't like these bumps...I don't like them at all"; my stomach drops.

 
He tells us that he wants to remove these lumps. Kirmayer talks kinda fast and is very straight-forward, so I don't initially catch the medical jargon that he spews...but what I do understand is the words "breast cancer". He tells me that he needs to do a few x-rays and a blood panel prior to surgery to make sure that she's healthy enough for anesthesia and, I'm presuming, to make sure that he doesn't see anything that would indicate a cancer that has spread via the x-rays. Thankfully they came back clear. We got a call on Thursday with the bloodwork results. He said they were clean but during the surgery he wants to do another panel because her blood cell count is up like she's trying to fight off something. He doesn't sound too concerned, but wants to make sure. 

I'm concerned, though, and praying that my Mama-Pug is okay. She's been by my side for 10 years and I cannot imagine my baby having cancer. They are going to remove the two small bumps AND the entire mammory duct just to be safe; then it will be biopsied to determine if it is benign. He said that he doesn't THINK that it's anything yet, but it could potentially become something.

When I called for a quote on the cost of surgery ( since he forgot to let Nate know during the bloodwork call ), I also asked the receptionist to let me know exactly what he thought these bumps were since I didn't catch it at the appointment. I told her to just let me know via voicemail since I was at work. This is what they may be:

Hyperplasia, which is pretty much a benign overgrowth of cells in an area...but could potentially become cancerous.

Adenoma, which seems to pretty much be just a swollen gland.

Adenocarcinoma which is cancer in the mammory gland ( in her case ) But I'm praying to God and anyone else that this is NOT the case!!!

So these are the scenarios. I'm hoping that, if it's anything, it's benign and was caught early enough that we don't have to continue any treatment. After what happened with Haley, and this being my child, it's a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the surgery is estimated under what I was hoping the max would be...so that eases a little bit of tension. I'm just a very worried fur-mom right now...

Surgery is scheduled for September 7th. We will drop her off in the morning and Kirmayer said that the procedure itself should only take about 30 minutes. It is an outpatient procedure and she will be able to come home that day, so that's good not only for my mental health but also my bank account.

Baby Lola
I'm asking all of you to keep Lola Jane in your thoughts and prayers and send good vibes for benign lumps and a speedy recovery. If you know me, you know Lola is everything to me and she's been my rock for these 10 years. And if you've ever met Lola, you're probably in love with her, too. 

*fingers crossed*



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thank God for Care Credit

**This blog is not sponsered by CareCredit or Synchrony Financial and is solely my personal opinions.
 

 I need to start off by saying...thank GOD for Care Credit!

I was talking to a fellow coworker after work today about this. She said that anytime someone hands her a Care Credit card to pay for their procedure, she smiles. Why? Because her dog just had to have a tumor removed and, without this payment source, they probably would not have been able to do so. 

...and had it not been for this credit card, I would've wiped my savings account clean with the Haley fiasco thus leaving me at a loss when it comes to what will be going on with Lola ( I'll blog about that later this week when the results come back... ) 

Care Credit is a healthcare-based credit card that it helpful in numerous cases. Once you're accepted, you can use it at participating doctors, dentists, vets, and various other health care services.  

One of the best features is that for more expensive procedures, a lot of offices have "promotional offers" for free-or-low interest up to so many months.

Without this option, I would've had to pay $6500 out of pocket immediately for Haley's misdiagnosis and surgery. I would've had to pay $334 unexpectedly for a vet bill I assumed would be less than $200. And, if I chose to, I could use it for Lola's procedure...but I've decided not to abuse it if I have the funds. 

Of course, people worry about approval. I wasn't too worried about being approved because I've really focused on building my credit these last few years and have worked damn hard to do so. But if you are coming upon a medical expense that you aren't sure you can afford, you can go to the website to see if you are pre-approved prior to your appointment. Even if it's just for a small amount, something is definitely better than nothing.

And like I told Nate, I could use Care Credit for a breast reduction if I decided. It can be used at the chiropractor. It can be used for Lasik surgery! But you want to make sure that your provider accepts Care Credit before anything. And ask them if they offer any promotions! 

I also learned after the second vet bill that you CAN have multiple promotions on your card. Although you only make one payment a month towards it and they automatically apply it to the promotion that ends the earliest, you can call to have that sum allotted to each charge: meaning that if you pay $300, you can apply $60 of that to one charge and the other $240 to the other. That way you are paying down both charges at the same time and one doesn't have to suffer over the other. 

Yes, it sounds a little complicated but if you need to see the dermatologist for a mole you just can't stand anymore or you are sick and tired of glasses...or your dog suddenly gets sick or you really need a readjustment...there's always Care Credit to fall back on.

It has definitely been a saving grace for me and I'm so thankful to have it as an option!