Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July Birchbox Goodies

I think I've had a chance to try all of my products by now. I used the last item today after my shower, so now I can critique everything!

Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser
I really like this cleanser A LOT! I use it in the shower and leave it on as a mask while I wash my hair. My face feels smooth and very clean afterwards. I like the charcoal concept now and I've definitely jumped on the "black mask" bandwagon. This cleanser retails for $23 in the full-sized bottle and a little goes a long way.

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil
Sooooo, I failed to change my hair color in my Birchbox profile prior to getting July's box--thus causing 2 of my products to be for dark hair. This was one of them. I received color 05-Deep which is the second-darkest color available. I have dirty blonde eyebrows and blonde hair. BUT I realized that if I used this pencil lightly and made sure to blend with a brow brush after, it actually worked out. I really like this brow pencil! I like the shape of the pencil, the ease of application and how versatile it is. I plan to buy a full sized pencil, which actually comes with a brush on the end. It retails at $24. This is a picture of me from the weekend while wearing Goof Proof:

Brows "on fleek" HAHA

Klorane Dry Shampoo ( for Brunette/Dark hair )
I didn't use this. I was concerned that since my hair is much more blonde than when I originally signed up for my subscription that it was going to end up looking like spray paint in my hair. I actually ended up giving it to my friend Mallory and, to my surprise, it was her very first time using dry shampoo! BUT--she loved the stuff! She had said that although her hair looks awesome on day 2 at the ends, her scalp tends to get oily far faster. She used Klorane on Sunday after our girls night and her hair looked fantastic! Hey, sharing is caring!

Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray
I do not have naturally wavy hair. But sometimes I'll attempt to "scrunch" my hair to give it some beach waves. After my shower today, I decided not to bother blow drying it so I sprayed some of this product in my hair. Although it really didn't help my hair become "wavy", it DOES smell awesome. Eventually I just ended up throwing my hair up into a messy bun, but I think this product would work far better on someone who doesn't have stick-straight hair.

Avene Cleanance Expert
I actually forgot I got this--and I didn't try it! Hahaha *oops!* Birchbox pretty much describes it as a mattifying moisturizer than helps alleviate break outs. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow.

Birchbox allows you to choose one sample a month if you'd like, wait for your picks to come "as a surprise" or you can choose that month's Featured Box. If you decide you want to try out Birchbox, please use my referral code DXMHL or follow the link on previous blog reviews!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Call This Blog 'Bitchfest', Don't I?!

So, I'm gonna bitch about what has been bothering me all day today--the incident that happened last night...


Background: I understand that, no matter how much you may love where you live, you unfortunately cannot choose your neighbors. IT FUCKING SUCKS! 

That being said...

Yesterday, Nathan let the two larger dogs ( Haley and Sadie ) out to go potty. While they were out, Nate went to the bathroom also. I was sitting at the kitchen table, painting my nails, when we hear all this yelling outside. Nate looks at me and says, "Who the hell is yelling outside?" My response was, "I have no fucking clue." Well, we shortly figured THAT shit out.

Nate goes out to get the dogs and call them back in...but when he does, he finds out who has been doing all the yelling: it's the neighbor across the street. But you see, it's not even our neighbor--it's the husbands sister who is apparently watching their house while they are away at Knoebels. HERE is where the story takes a left turn:

I start to hear Nate yelling. At first I just sit there, wondering what the fuck is going on. Then I decide to go outside onto the porch. This is where I hear this clearly intoxicated, half-dressed woman state that "your dogs ran out at a lady and her dog and she went off running scared--YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR FUCKING DOGS IN YOUR YARD" She then goes on to tell us that "if those dogs go in my yard you'll be sorry" and "I'm gonna call the cops" She implied that our very loving and sweet dogs were trying to ATTACK these strangers. When in reality, this lady lives down the road from us ( the one apparently "running" ) and she JOGS with her German Shepherd.

So here's where things escalate.

She begins to taunt Nate. She's threatening to call the cops on us ( for what, I'm not sure because she was harassing us first ), she's coming towards Nate in a threatening matter and, at one point, she is literally IN NATE'S FACE yelling at him. He told her that she's lucky that she's a woman as she's screaming in his face and pushing him with her largely-protruding stomach to "go ahead". This goes on for what feels like forever. That's when she says "I have someone else who saw it" and brings out the neighbor, Wendy. 

Wendy is also a neighborhood gossip who loves to stir the pot. She comes out and pretty much implies that our dogs tried to "attack" this German Shepherd and owner. But after a few more screams and low-blows, we all go inside and what's done is done. 

We go inside and I'm fucking pissed and shaking. I tell Nate that I want him to go to the GSD owner's house and ask her what exactly happened. He drives down to her place and asks her about the dogs. Her response when he asked if they tried to attack her dog?: "No way! They just came up to the edge because they were curious and wanted to say hi. My dog is a bit skiddish but he needs to learn to socialize with other dogs, anyway" This is from the "apparently scared" owner...

And if you didn't get it by now, none of this happened on this bitch's "property" ( her brothers--and actually, they rent ) AT ALL!

So now I'm freaking out...because she not only threatened our dogs but also, even though it came out in the completely wrong manner, there was a point: even though WE know that our dogs are harmless doesn't mean that strangers do. 

We've been talking about putting a fence up because Lola likes to run past the property line and then "act" like she doesn't hear me when I call her to come home. I'm very afraid that someone is going to fly down our road and hit her. But NOW, I'm scared that the crazy drunk bitch across the way is going to hurt my dog.

...and Andrew did die suddenly at only age 7...maybe it wasn't cardiomyopathy...

Needless to say, I've been stressed about this all day because 1) my "vacation" next week was intended to be the week we FINALLY paint the house and now 2) we have to plan to build a fence a LOT sooner than anticipated. Plus, it was a little scary to see a side of Nate that I never had before. My anxiety has been through the roof today...

But the major issue with this entire situation is my lack of understanding as to why people must be so hateful and rude?! I just don't get it. We don't bother them. We don't spread lies or cause drama or even look in their general direction. Fifi ( I can't even make this shit up... ) has a vendetta against Nathan for no reason at all and it's escalated into them accusing Nate of killing their cat, accusing us of stealing ANOTHER one of their cats ( in which we found outside and I immediately placed on Find Toby to find it's home *sidenote: she saw us talking to the neighbor diagonal to us about the cat and us carry the cat to Nate's shop but did not once come outside to claim him/tell him he was theirs* ) and now this. It's like the fuckers get bored and just decide to fuck shit up.

We literally have the worst, trashiest, pot-stirring neighbors and once of these days this "pushover" that everyone thinks they can walk all over and say/act however they want to is gonna fucking snap!

So there...there's that...and I guess we're building a fence...


Monday, July 17, 2017

How Do You Prefer Your Eggs?

...well, unfertilized, of course!


The other day we had a patient in the office--beautiful girl, late 20s--and when we asked if she'd ever been sedated before she said she had; she'd actually donated her eggs. Twice. So it got me thinking: if I'm not planning on having children, what about donating my eggs?

My coworker Jim went through the process of getting an egg donation. He actually got a few from the donor. So once the patient recovered and left, I asked him to look into the requirements from the group they used.  I mean, if I'm not using them, why not give them to someone else? Plus, you can make a couple thousand dollars doing egg donations. And the person who receives your eggs ( should ) cover all expenses associated with said donation. 

The first site that Jim and I looked at was ConceiveAbilities, which is based out of Philly. My main concern was my age. Being 30, I didn't really think that I could be a donor anymore. And unfortunately, the cap through ConceiveAbilities is 29. But then I read their list of's as follows:
 -you must be between age 21-29
-have regular periods
-no reproductive disorders
-physically/emotionally healthy ( not sure what they mean exactly )
-BMI of 29 or under
-no nicotine/cigarettes/drugs
-can't be on Depo-Vera
-willing to have a med and psych eval
-willing to use injectable meds
-must commit to at least 6 months
-have to communicate with the clinic within 24 hours of being contacted
-excited to help build a family

Seems like a lot, huh?? And I actually don't fit a few of these requirements.

But then I sit and think that my eggs are pretty much going to waste. Sure, I don't want children--but what about people out there that truly do and can't? Plus, we all could use a few extra thousand dollars for what-have-you. So today, I checked out another group: Shady Grove Fertility.

Shady Grove has an office right here in Camp Hill, PA and has a less taxing list of qualification criteria. Plus, at this clinic I can actually participate. You must be between the ages of 21 and 32, in overall good health with a BMI of 28 or less, non smoker that works or lives within 1 hour of the donation site, with a high school diploma. And there will be some travel restrictions. They also provide this informative chart on the egg donor process:

In their one statistic they say, "On average, our egg donors donate twice receiving $14,500 for their time and effort". Ummmm, WHAT!? I could totally use money like that!

With that, I've been seriously thinking about doing this. 

The only drawbacks are that you must inject YOURSELF with hormones to boost egg production, egg donation ( at least with Shady Grove ) must be done either in one of two clinics in MD or one in Chesterbrook(?), PA, and you must be put under general sedation for the removal process. I don't mind being sedated as I would rather it that way--but I'm not sure I could inject myself with meds in the abdomen for 10-12 days *eek!*

I write about this, though, because the idea can do well for the many people involved. 

For one, you are helping to complete a family. I personally know a few couples who struggle with infertility and it seems those are the people who want children the most. If you can do good for someone else, why not do it? It's like donating bone marrow--it's not a pleasant experience, but it can help someone in need.  

And two, it puts some extra cash in your pocket. Maxed out credit card? College debt? Want to pay off your car loan? $14,500 is nothing to scoff at. Hell, $6,500 after completing one egg donation cycle would pay off my car with a bit to spare!

I just recommend that if you decide to do something like egg donation, do your research first! My cut-off is coming up quick, so my plan is to look further into the idea, see if I can find other blogs or feeds where women discuss their own personal experiences with it and go from there. But seriously, what do I have to lose?! 

For more information on both clinics, follow the links provided above to go straight to each clinics main webpage. And you've ever donated or know someone who did and you'd like to share your story, comment on this blog! I'd love to hear what you have to say!


Saturday, July 15, 2017


I caved. And although I cannot sit there and validate a $54 purchase for such things, I could spare $19.95 in the hopes that it was a good product. That thing I'm talking about? The Revealed 2 Palette by Coastal Scents. Yes, it's an eyeshadow palette.

All those girls who buy the Urban Decay palettes...I don't know...I just can't imagine spending SO much on a collection of eyeshadows. BUT--I don't have very good eyeshadows so, while window-shopping on the Birchbox app I found the 1 and 2 palettes and thought, "What the hell!" I decided to do the reds/purples/peaches instead of the tans/browns/neutrals. 

...I am not disappointed.

I use an eyeshadow primer before application from NYX, which you can get at Target or Ulta. I use the flesh color, even though my complexion is fairer than most. These are my results from my last 3 "looks":

First day: I used more of the peach colors and a "cleopatra eye" ( as Jim called it ) This is after all-day wear
Second day: I went a little darker. These are pinks with a dark, glittery base lid color. More of a night look, for sure, but since I wear glasses it's not as noticeable.

Day three: this was my lazy, Friday look. I only used eyeliner on the bottom of my eye and used lighter shades of brown/peach.

I was actually super impressed by the quality of this collection. I wasn't expecting it to be as long-lasting, easy to apply or flattering. I usually try to do a dramatic eye ( when I even apply makeup--which isn't often ) since my glasses hide my eyes 100% of the time, and this palette has a nice collection of shades to make your eyes POP!

So if you're looking for an inexpensive, quality product...I definitely recommend Revealed by Coastal Scents. If you click the link above, you will be directed to the Birchbox website and you can order directly from there.

Be on the lookout for my July Birchbox review. I received my products and am in the midst of trying them out!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The World of Animal Rescue

After a long(er) discussion yesterday with one of my rescue friends, I felt the need to delve into the topic of dog rescues. One, because I am a part of one--maybe a minuscule part, but a part nonetheless.  And two, because there's a lot that the public doesn't see or hear about.

First off, I work with Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance. CPAA is a group that first and foremost aims to educate pet owners of the importance of spaying and neutering your animals. This is to help alleviate overpopulation and unwanted pets. We have the Desex in the City program that offers low-cost spay/neuter at a handful of local vet offices. One of the largest problems that rescues and shelters deal with is overpopulation, thus leading to lack of space in their facilities. The amount of animals that are euthanized simply due to lack of space would make you sick to your stomach. 

There is also the HOPE Program where dogs are fostered by non-violent inmates at the Camp Hill prison. It works as rehabilitation not only for the dog, but also the handler. It's an amazing program that your donations also help to fund. 

We also host Woofstock every year, which showcases local affiliate rescues and businesses. We have a low-cost vaccine clinic with microchipping, also. 

Unfortunately though, since we do not have a brick-and-mortar facility and the lack of fosters is real, we haven't been able to take it many, they have nowhere to go.

What you WON'T see from us, though, is lying. We don't take in more than we can handle. We don't have dogs suddenly disappearing. We are honest about what we think our mix-breeds are; not just based on looks, but by behavior and skills during thorough evaluations. We are upfront about who are dogs don't get along with, be it children, other dogs or cats. Our goal is not only to get a dog adopted, but for that animal to be someone's pet until the very end. No rescue wants to adopt out only to receive the poor pup back months later. Ever wonder why some rescues have such a strenuous list of "requirements"?...that's why. We want to make sure that it's no only a fit for YOU, but also the animal.

Unfortunately, though, not all rescues live by the same moral code.

I know everyone wants to believe that they are out there trying to "fight for the cause" and raising funds for all the right reasons, but that is not always the case. And I'll be honest: if I didn't have some of the connections that I do, I would probably think the exact. same. way. Why? Because we, as humans, want to believe that there truly is good in everyone. And there are a LOT of people who truly ARE good. But then there are many that are simply just good at PR and manipulation.

The topic of last nights "text-a-thon" referred to one rescue in particular. And it made me realize how the public has no idea the true goings-on of that *facility*. You truly must be in the belly of the beast to believe such things. And if you haven't realized: girls in the rescue world talk--they talk A LOT. So if something shady is going on at a local rescue and a girl who volunteered there goes elsewhere, you better be damn sure she's going to let those guys know what all she saw and dealt with.  

Oh and don't get me started with the control problems. You don't have the slightest clue the things I see on my Facebook feed, posted by fellow rescue girls. I just saw an article before I decided to write this entry about a 4 month old puppy who was euthanized while not even finished with her "bite quarantine" by a NC animal shelter. You can read the official post here, but it pretty much states that there was a litter of siblings who were in foster care after being dumped and a member of the shelter stated that, during a home visit, a puppy bit them. When they came back to said foster's home, they not only took the wrong puppy, but the county manager then refused to discuss options for after the 10-day quarantine was over. Instead, because this woman refused to admit she was wrong and make things right, she ordered the euthanization of a perfectly healthy, playful 4 month old puppy before the mandatory 10 day quarantine was even done! If you watch the video attached to the post, you will see someone STICKING THEIR HAND IN THE KENNEL to pet the "vicious" puppy, who only meets their hand with kisses.

...guys!...this happens all. the. time. Women ( or men ) who care nothing for the animals, only worry about the incoming monetary donations and being able to have full control over something.

I could go on with this for pages and pages, but no one wants to hear all of that shit. But I will say, as the public, we need to be better educated. We need to learn to ask the right questions. We need to be able to read between the lines and see the signs. So if you're thinking about donating your time or money, or possibly adopting a dog yourself, please be careful to follow a few tidbits from someone who has heard some horror stories:

1. Ask to see the facility where the dog is being fostered. A reputable rescue or foster home will not make you stay in the front yard only, while they bring the dog out to greet you. You should have every right to see the conditions in which the animal is being kept. 

2. Make sure you get vet records. A good rescue will keep all documents associated with the animal to give to the adopter upon adopting. This should include vaccinations/microchipping/spay-neuter. 

3. Take mind to how the animals are treated by the "leader" of the rescue. I've heard of one lady who literally hits and kicks her fosters, and keeps them in poor living quarters...yet, outsiders don't see that. If you're in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, get out. I know that people want to stay for the sake of the animals, but you don't want to be around when her world starts burning around her.

4. Every donation should be properly accounted for. I know when I have PetValu events, I account for every cent earned and make sure to count magnet and food sales separate from standard donations. This is because as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you need those specifics for tax purposes. A proper rescue will keep all receipts, reimburse volunteers accordingly ( if they purchase supplies ) and use donated money and giftcards for the purpose of aiding the animals ONLY! 

5. If more than one person is saying it, 9 times outta 10 it's probably trust your gut. The facility I will not name has had at least a dozen volunteers who have said the same thing; these are volunteers that are not even associated with each other and have volunteered at different times. Abuse. Misspending of funds. Unkempt living quarters. Unwarranted ( DOCUMENTED ) deaths of at least 10 dogs. Picking the worst cases as to receive the most in donation money. Denying those with background in training/behavioral issues due to one's own pride, thus leaving the dog to suffer. 

Rescue has become more of a popularity contest instead of, well, an alliance. People let their pride get in the way of helping these poor defenseless animals and instead fight tooth and nail with each other for popularity and funding. There are still a LOT of reputable rescues out there, but you're finding more and more that are trying to be a money making scheme. There are actually two in this area that have insane adoption fees for pups that aren't even old enough to fix--meaning your dog doesn't come spayed/neutered and you have to show them proof that you do it when they come of age. No voucher to pay the cost associated--this is an additional fee on top of the $450 you'd pay for your new pet. Yes, down south, they will euthanize pregnant dogs...due to the overpopulation issue. So these "rescues" are technically saving these dogs. But why such a high adoption fee?! To me, it screams "for profit".

Please educate yourself before you boast of, adopt from or volunteer for a rescue. Not all rescues are the same, and looks can be quite deceiving. 

Everything looks better on television, doesn't it....?


9 Years Ago...

Searching through my Drafts folder in my oldest email account, I came across two poems I had written...back in 2008! Oh Lordy...

I used to write poetry a lot in high school. I actually still have a shoebox full of poems and a binder with printed versions in plastic sleeves. That was my thing back then: art and poetry. I remember my friends and I would write and then critique each others work. I was actually published in the school art book one year ( I forget what it was called, but I have a copy ) It was to the point where I'd take my writing to my Honors Psych teacher for his opinion. I'd loved it.

Of course, it was mostly about friends and boys; I tried to make things rhyme as much as possible and use big words to sound more sophisticated. When I read back on some of them, all I can do is laugh--like, seriously?! Like reading back through an old diary, it takes you to a time in your life that you've probably long forgotten...and makes you realize how immature you truly were ( even though we thought we knew it all )

So with that, I'm going to share the two I have in my Drafts folder, both dated 6/9/08.


My faith is gone.
I talk to God,
But he’s done listening.
He’s done hearing me cry
Until four in the morning,
Just asking to be happy.
He knows it’s my fault.
And He knows that I’m the only one
With the power to change that fact.
I just don’t know how.

How does anyone know
What they truly want in life?
One minute you think you’ve found it,
Only to get a rude awakening
That everything you ever thought was real
Was just a clever faรงade:
A love that was masked and never true.

My faith in human kind is gone.
No one is real anymore.
Nothing is real anymore.

I’ve always been the prize to be won.
Always the bridesmaid, NEVER the bride.
Why believe in love,
When no one ever truly loved you?
Why give your heart away,
When you know the next girl will be given more?

One minute you think you want this,
Only to find out you want that.
Maybe I’m never truly satisfied.
Maybe, this is all my fault.
But it doesn’t make the pain any easier
And it doesn’t make me sleep any better at night.

I want to be someone’s one and only.
I want to be someone’s dream come true.
I want to be appreciated and loved,
Admired and adored…

…I want to be his everything…

You Know Who You Are

You hurt me more than any other,
And you did it because you knew you had the power.
You were the one person I would have never assumed
Would be one of those guys to get bored with me
And look for someone else to consume their time.
You chased me for years and then, when you got me,
You threw it all away.
And for that, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive.

I held you in such high regard for so long
And when you did that, my world fell apart.
I’m no angel and I’ve done my share of sinning,
But to me, that was expected…that’s how I was…
That wasn’t you at all.
You let me down on so many levels when I read your writing
On the note she gave me from you,
Saying you’d throw away all those years of wanting me
To pick up and be with her.
My heart tore in two at that very moment.

And you say you have changed; grown and learned.
That something like that would never happen again.
But how do I know?
How do I know anything anymore?
You’re such a good liar when you want to be.
You’ve said so many hurtful things that can never be taken back.

I’m scared to be with you and scared to be without you,
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore…

So go ahead and laugh away...just remember, I was only 21 guys! ๐Ÿ˜

Monday, July 10, 2017

Diary Entry #1372

Today, I'm just gonna write about a few things--not one particular topic. This is because it's been an off weekend, I'm not feeling too well today and I don't really have anything to write about off the top of my head.

I found out on Saturday morning that a really nice guy I knew from high school suddenly passed on Friday. I'm unsure of the circumstances, but he was only 31/32 and it came out of nowhere. Brian was always super nice to me; I even had a crush on him briefly in high school. He was quiet, but silly and he made me laugh. We had chorus for 3 years together. He's actually my friend Brittany's brother. I just can't believe it. I have my own assumptions as to what happened, but that's not for me to discuss aloud--as nothing as been confirmed about his death and it's not my business to prod. I just feel so much empathy for the family left behind; for his daughter. Dying is a tragic reality in itself, but so young?! It breaks my heart. 

Then later on Saturday, Haley was sick. When I say sick, I mean "puking EVERYWHERE" sick. It was not fun. I called Rye to see if they could get her in to be seen, but there was no doctor in the office. They told me to take her to Rossmoyne to avoid dehydration. Well, I've gone that route before...and it was a $1600 I called Nathan and asked him what he wanted me to do. After a $6500 dog bill to save her life, I was in a state of almost-panic all day. But as the day progressed, the vomiting slowed and eventually she got her appetite back. Lo-and-beyond, it seemed she just had a belly ache. Ever since the incident, though, we've become super paranoid with every cough and change in appetite. I told her that she owes us another 2 years...and I hope that happens.

On Sunday, we went to Nate's "step moms" house for his nephew's 5th birthday party. It was a nice time. Lots of food, laughs, sunshine--the kids were swimming. And all the animals! They have 5 dogs and they just had 5 kittens that they are rehoming! I was in heaven. Jazayah had a really great day, though, and that's what matters the most. I did get quite sunburned, but I'm crossing my fingers for a "tan", LOL!

I also did some grocery shopping at the new Aldi in York and omigah it's NICE! I walked in and everything was nicely organized, it was clean, the aisles were organized well, and the people were super friendly. I definitely like that one better than the one in Carlisle...but it's pretty even to the one in Mechanicsburg. I think I'll continue to shop at this one from now on, though. It's a nice scenic route to get there, too.

The baby bunnies are getting SO BIG! They are 5 weeks old as of today. I think we still plan to keep the two females, but we haven't yet found homes for CJ or LC. They are very tame, though. They will hop all over you and sniff and lick you. It's adorable. We did make the mistake, though, to put them all on the bed on Friday and we ended up with 2 bunny piddles and a bunch of rabbit turds all over the comforter. Haha! So we had to wash it before bed that night.

I'm ready for therapy on Thursday. Yesterday evening I started feeling pretty *blah* and I'm still feeling it today. The stress of not knowing who really cares for you and who just pretends gets me down sometimes. Also when people feel sympathy for some people who don't deserve it, then turn around and judge me like I'm faking my illness for said sympathy. How is it okay for some to use depression as an excuse and for others, we need to "suck it up"? Also, I'm a giving person--I always have been. But now I fear that I reach out and give to people who don't even like me and then I'm like, "why; why do I bother?" That's how you get used. People who don't like you but know you're nice will take from you and then talk shit behind your back an hour later. How do I know that I'm not giving to the wrong people? Even as an adult, I still don't have that figured out. I still am that 11 year old girl that SO badly wants to be accepted and have friends, even though the introvert in me hates people and wants to just be alone. It's a constant battle, my friends ( or foes )...

Luckily, I have vacation coming up in about 2 weeks. Since Haley's surgery happened, we won't be traveling, though--so it's more like a "staycation". I'm fine with that. Maybe I'll go to the lake. I was thinking of getting a massage at Element while they still have their $45 deal ( or go to YTI campus ). I told Nathan that I want to paint the house that week. I chose colors about a year ago, though, so I want to review them and make sure I still want them. And Mallory is coming in that first Saturday, so she will be here to kick-start my vaca. I want to start planning our exotic destination trip ( since I've never been out of the country or on a vacation like that ), but I still have NO clue when I want to go. It can't be during the actual summer since it's the busiest time of the year, but it's also going to kill a little part of me to spend money like that. But hey, it's better to spend on experiences rather than objects, right?

Welp, that's about it as far as what's been going on. Hopefully I will have a good topic to write about for my next post. If you want to share any ideas of a topic you'd be interested in reading, just leave a comment below.

Oh, and Happy Monday...( not )

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Creamy Salmon Chowdah!

If you're like me, you don't wanna cook something for dinner that's gonna take 2 hours to make--after working all day, maybe hitting the gym and trying to fight the inevitable "evening slump". 

So the other day, I did a quick Google search for easy dinner recipes. I came across a link from Country Living for "75+ Simple Meals That Take 30 Minutes" ( or something like that! ) and took a gander. Well, since I already had most of the ingredients for this recipe at home, I decided to print it out. I think I did all of this on Monday, but here it is--Thursday night--and I decided that I was going to make it. So I did.

Creamy Salmon Chowder

* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 bunch of scallions ( I didn't use these because I didn't have any )
* 1 stalk celery
* 3 cloves garlic ( but mine were HUGE, so I only used 2 )
* 1/2 tsp dried thyme
* .13 tsp crushed red pepper flakes ( um, IDKWTF ".13 tsp" is, so I did 1/3 tsp )
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 2 tbsp flour
* 1 qt nonfat milk ( ...but 1% )
* 1 lb red potatoes ( I used 3 medium )
* 3/4 lb skinless salmon fillet ( I used 2 frozen fillets )
* 2 cup frozen corn
* chopped fresh dill ( nixed this, too ) 

So you put the oil in the pot with the celery, scallions ( if you use them), garlic, thyme, red pepper, salt, pepper and cook it until you think the celery is soft.

While that is on the stove, I'd cut up your potatoes so you don't have to be like ME and worry about shit burning because you forgot to cut the potatoes! HAHA!

After that, put the flour in the stove mixture and coat accordingly.

Once all that is coated well, put in the milk with an additional 1 cup of water.  Then throw those taters in and simmer until they get tender. 

Then you wanna add your salmon and the corn to the mix. Bring it to a simmer AGAIN and make sure your salmon is the right color. 

Scoop it out, top it with that dill ( if you want ) and BOOM!--dinner. is. served! 

Looking back, I'm pretty sure that I put 1/2 tsp salt AND pepper in this mix, which would make sense as to why it seemed so peppery! But the flavor was good, the texture was perfect and it was super simple to make. 

I've already Pinned this recipe to my Dinner! board on Pinterest and, although it's more of a "fall" type of meal, if you like soup and you want something quick to make, I definitely recommend this recipe!


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stress Me The F*** Out

Stress is inevitable. Whether it be due to an upcoming celebration, a major change in your life, family issues or just a dispute with a friend, stress is a common part of life. 

But what is all comes down to is how we handle our stresses.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle stress. If you're an impulsive person by nature, your common reaction is probably yelling, screaming, being snarky, taking it out on others and being mean. These are not healthy examples of stress.

If you're an emotional person, you probably handle stress by either trying to ignore it, letting it eat away at you, dwelling on it and getting upset. These are also no healthy.

So, let's look at some healthy ways to handle stress that may be beneficial to you in your everyday life:

1. Avoid, or reduce, your intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. 
2. Work out/get physical.
3. Try to sleep more. 
4. Relaxation techniques, like breathing or yoga.
5. Talk to someone about it.
6. Keep a diary/blog like me! LOL!
7. Take control by problem-solving.
8. Manage your time.
10. Rest when necessary.

I found these ten tips on let's dive into them a bit more in detail.

Of course, we all know that caffeine and nicotine increase our heart rate and blood pressure. These 2 vices are stimulants. We ( should ) also know that alcohol is a depressant, and when a depressed person drinks alcohol it only intensifies negative feelings. But in smaller doses, alcohol is actually considered a stimulant. I've been told before that even though people assume that smoking helps with stress, it actually worsens it. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from smoking...bu apparently it's a proven fact.

Exercise is not only good for your physical, but also your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that elevate your mood and relieve stress. Although I don't work out as much as I wish that I did, I definitely feel a difference in my mental health when I go do some cardio after a long, hard day at work. Even 30 minutes a day a few times a week is better than nothing. I've actually started just taking casual walks at lunchtime around the caldesac by my work ( when it's not too hot-as-balls out ) just to decompress and take time for me; "take a breather" persay.

Trying to tell someone to sleep more is easier said than done. With our busy lives, you may be tired by 7 pm but once dinner is finished, dishes are washed, laundry is folded, kids are put to bed ( if you're a parent ), showers are gotten, lunch is packed and you've just tossed around in bed for an hour and 37 minutes, it's already 11:54 and you aren't asleep yet.  A few tips to help get your 7-8 hours of sleep are:
* disconnect once you hit the sheets; NO MORE PHONE!
* drink some chamomile tea
* take a relaxing shower and then go directly to bed
* use a natural sleep aid like melatonin
Sleep is a crucial part of reducing stress. Also, I'm a firm believer that there is nothing a nap cannot cure.

Relaxation techniques don't work in every situation, but sometimes you just need to step the fuck back and take 10. Walk away for a few minutes. Take a bathroom break. Focus on breathing. Count to 10. Repeat a "mantra" of sorts to try to bring the stress level down. And if you're into that sort of thing, dabble in some yoga. I heard it works wonders...

Then there's talking. Of course. We all know I go to therapy by now...and although I've decreased from every week to every-other, I'm avid about talking through your stresses. Having someone with no emotional attachment to talk to is important. Friends will say what they think you want them to say, or risk hurting your feelings by saying what you may need to hear. With therapy, it's an unbiased opinion. They don't know who the hell you're talking about, and they don't say things JUST for the sake of saying them. But I also believe that just talking in itself, whether it's to a therapist or not, is important. The more you harbor your feelings, the worse off you will be. Talking about your feelings in a constructive matter is key to reducing stress and relieving stress-inducing issues. Without proper communication, things will never change. And if things never change, you're gonna put yourself into an early grave stressing over stupid shit. 

I blog to relieve stress. Even when it's just a generic topic, it's a release for me. It's a way for me to communicate to strangers, to ( hopefully ) help others, to talk about my feelings and to connect. If you're not big on sharing your life with the world ( or approximately 10-20 individuals ), journal. You know, pen-to-paper "diary" type of shit. Write poetry...or song lyrics. Scribble on a piece of paper. ANYTHING to just release some of that turmoil and put your mind somewhere else. I find blogging super therapeutic, and I share it with others on the chance that my words may possibly help someone somewhere.

Stop blaming and starting dealing. The more that we blame others for our stress, the more we are doing to cause more stress. Some people don't even realize when they are pissing us off. So how do we change that? We take control. We identify the stresses and we DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. Some people want to dwell in their own misery...but if you don't want to be like that, you need to take time to learn how to SOLVE your problems. You need solutions or the stress will be constant. Write a list, maybe a few steps on how to achieve a resolution and then DO them.

Try to manage your time differently. If you are pushing yourself to the breaking point, of course you're going to be stressed! There's only 24 hours in a day, and when you take 8 out for a good night's sleep, that's 16 hours to do things. And with a ( usual ) 8-hour work day, you are left with 8. What can you do in those 8 hours? But wait! have 5 days in a work must you do every task in the first 8 hours that Monday?!...NO! Plan accordingly. Don't put all the stress into one day when you don't have to. I use calendars, a dry-erase board and notes to help plan my days; to help remind me so I don't overbook myself, make sure I have appropriate appointments made and to practice appropriate time management. Sure, when I look on my phone calendar and see 5 consecutive weekends where I have tasks to complete, I get a little stressed...but then I remember that at LEAST it's not ALL of those things in ONE weekend, right?

A big one is learning to say no. We have many people-pleasers in the world, so I know that's going to be a tough one for you. I'm also one of them. You're so used to saying yes, that when you say 'no' you feel bad about it. But you can't. If you're saying 'yes' so much that it is interfering with your own health, you're not helping anyone. That is how you harbor resentment and bitterness. And sure, there will be people out there that think you're a bitch for saying 'no' to something...but you sometimes truly need to think of your well-being above all else. You can only do so much for people before you hit your breaking point, and if you don't ease into the thought of 'no', that 'no' will become far more bitchy and mean than you probably ever intended it to be.

Lastly, when you're sick and running yourself ragged, you're helping no one. This causes you to be sick far longer than necessary which, in turn, makes things worse. REST! It's OK to take a day off; a break! Make some chicken soup, put on your ugliest ( but most comfortable ) PJs, watch Netflix and nap your heart out. It's important to take care of yourself. Besides, how are you going to take care of other people when you're sick for 8 weeks straight?

Stress will kill you; it's a proven fact. It frequently causes heart attacks, worsens asthma, helps you store excess fat in the stomach region ( obesity ), causes chronic headaches and will intensify depression and anxiety symptoms. So when you don't take control of your stress factors, you're literally digging your grave. 

So take a deep breath, exhale and focus on trying to lessen the stressers in your life...because really, who wants to be a grouchy, mean, cynical fucking bitch/asshole for their last 15 years?

( before they die prematurely of stress-induced heart failure )