Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's your thing!

I thought it was pretty cool when I found out that I was selected to receive the Slim Fast Advanced Nutrition vox box!  (from Influenster)
   I tried Slim Fast years ago,  and it was one of the few plans out there, that I was able to enjoy.    It wasn't "diet-y"  (new word)  No awful flavors, or snacks with the consistency of a matchbook.
I always liked the Slim Fast shakes.     Years ago,  I used to buy the big tin of powder, and then they came out with the ready made drinks.  They were so handy to just grab and go.   My vox box had some of the newest Slim Fast in it.


The Vanilla shake did not disappoint. It was pretty delicious and not chalky.  I drank it for breakfast and didn't feel hungry for a few hours. Definitely replaced a meal.  Highlights for me: High protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, lactose free,  gluten free.  

The dark chocolate and sea salt bar (I didn't eat because of a tree nut allergy) but I gave it to my friend for her feedback and she loved it.   She said the 'sweet and salty' was perfect for a snack craving and now she wants to buy these Slim Fast bars instead of the brand she's been.

The baked potato crisps were pretty good but I wasn't thrilled with the flavoring.   That's just a personal preference though.   I might try the BBQ flavor.  I did like the crunch and the texture, as well as the fact that they're a good source of protein and fiber. 

The cinnamon drizzled crisps.   Oh my.   I was anxious to try these as soon as I saw the flavor "cinnamon bun".   And yep, these baked crisps are great!  Love the flavor and the little "pop it in your mouth" size.   A great,  midday snack at work.   They didn't last long, but I enjoyed them, AND I got a nice serving of protein and fiber with them.   

Ever since trying all of these products,  I'm back in the Slim Fast club.   I really need to lose some weight and it's hard finding things you can eat or knowing what snacks to grab.    Slim Fast has a nice variety and takes the guesswork out of figuring it out.   I'm definitely picking up some more of these great products.   


*  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes *   All opinions are my own.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

The dry hands saga

* I agreed to do a blog post, on O'Keefe's Working Hands  hand cream, as part of my mission on Smiley.com *   

Image result for okeefes


Of course, it's an HONEST review, because what kind of blogger would I be if I lied or just said what you wanted to hear?  (or what they wanted to hear?)   I get to try a product for free, for honest feedback?   Sure, why not.


So, the verdict is:   I love this hand cream.  I did see it in the stores prior to being selected to try it for free, but I wasn't anxious to try it.  I figured it was just another brand touting why they were the best in the category of dry hands and feet.

But, turns out, they just might be one of the best.  Dry skin is a struggle of mine all year. In the winter, my body is worse than the warmer months, but my hands are dry all year round.  This is mostly because I wash my hands too much (is there such a thing?) and I use sanitizer like my life depends on it.   So, yeah, my hands need serious moisture.     What I like about O'Keefe's is:
1.)   it really is non-greasy, leaving behind no gross residue, that I just want to wash right off again!   I have done that with other brands, believe me.  

2.) there is NO scent.   This is a 2 fold perk for me.    I wear a fragrance every day, whether it's a perfume, or a body spray, it's always SOMETHING.    So I don't like to use lotions or creams, for my hands, that are scented..  I don't want the scents to clash.  I also don't find that scented creams work as well.   Very few ever have, for me.    The other reason it's important is that my husband also likes to use O'Keefe's... and he doesn't want to have a fragrance on his hands.  I get it.  


Image result for okeefes

Definitely giving O'Keefe's a shout out, because I'm really diggin' this hand cream.   Now I have to try the foot cream.  My feet aren't dry like my hands, but I have a feeling they'll still benefit from some O'Keefe's cream.  


Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Worms Unite!


I don't know when my love of reading really took off, but it seems it was in the last 5 years.   
I always enjoyed reading, but I find, lately, that I'm picking up and finishing books, a lot faster than I probably ever did.  
I think reading really takes you to another place and time.   Not every book that I pick up, grabs me, but when a book does, it keeps me interested.   It's those kinds of books that transport me into the time and place of the book.     Reading has become quite an escape for me. 

I try to stay up to date on reviews and recommendations, with Good Reads, and by looking at the New York Times online, to see what the newest titles are to hit the scene.   I usually keep a list in my smartphone, to refer to, when I need a new read.  

I recently heard about Net Galley; a website where readers can request to read advance copies of books, by agreeing to read and give it your honest review.  They're all in e-book format, so you need a device that you can read on, but the options are almost endless. You can see them here
  
You probably won't get approved for every title you request; it's important to keep your website/blog current, and to show the author(s) that you're an avid reader, who's blog/website has some great content on it, that pertains to books, reading, etc.   That will definitely increase your approval rate.

I've been approved for only one book so far,  but I'm so engrossed in it already.   It's a great story so far!     Definitely check it out, bookworms! 

 

Friday, November 13, 2015

This one's for the girls..♪♫♪








I was invited, by management at my company, to attend the PA Conference For Women, next week.
I agreed to it, initially, because I just liked the sound of it, and it meant that I wouldn't be in the office ALL DAY on Thursday.    A day off of work?  Why not.   Even though I love my job, I'm human.. and those kinds of days are always welcome.
Now, after checking into it and seeing just what this event is all about, I am so excited to be going!     I really feel like this is an excellent opportunity for me to get out there, professionally and socially, and network with some amazing women.    I'm even taking copies of my résumé to be critiqued by the experts. At first, I couldn't fathom why my EMPLOYER would approve of us going to an event that seemed a lot like a networking opportunity, for new careers.   But then I realized it's way more than that.  It's not just for professional development,  it's really for personal development.      Who knows, maybe this conference and all of the workshops I attend, will give me the boot that I need to take a step or two in the direction I've always wanted to, in SO many ways. Professionally, personally, intellectually.

I even downloaded the APP to have all the info at my fingertips and on the go!  I was scrolling through last night, in bed, and adding workshops to my schedule.  So easy to use.  I can add and remove sessions as quickly as you want, in creating my own personal agenda for the day.   No hassle at all.   I love it.   I'm smitten with this event and I haven't even attended yet!        I've been checking on Twitter and Facebook to see if I know anyone, personally, who is going, besides my coworkers.

I'm still looking through the day's agenda to see which workshops I want to attend - because there are so many.    I'm definitely going to Meet & Greet with Carli Lloyd and hopefully get an autograph and maybe even a photo!    My niece has already put her request in, for me to do that!    So, hopefully......

This is bound to be an awesome event!   I can't wait to come back and post all about it.

If you're reading and you're going, let me know!






Sunday, November 01, 2015

No Hair, Don't care

Logo silkn e87a6c5411bce0952e907570265530f2fb88d8d43d9469eda73de6340d1d967f




I hit the jackpot, this time, ladies!  This nifty new device is one of the coolest Influenster products I've been lucky enough to receive.    

The new Silkn Flash & Go!   I'll be totally honest  - I hate shaving.   It's time consuming and just annoying.   But, I'm a woman, so I have to do it.     The thought of laser hair removal always sounded so great.   But the price sure didn't.   I really considered it, believe me.    So, when I found out that I was getting the Silkn Flash & Go, I really couldn't wait until it arrived.   My husband jokes that it will take me forever, but that's not the case.  It only takes about 20 minutes for the legs and even less time for other areas, like the bikini area... and it should take me about 1-3 minutes on my lip.  (yes, I get a nice little mustache, and once I put on my foundation, it really shows)   
The plus side(s) to this hair removal system?    There are about 300,000 pulses in the Flash & Go, and there are NO cartridge refills.    And it's safe & FDA cleared.
   Flash&Go isn't a laser or a hot wire–it uses gentle, painless light pulses to disable hair growth at the root. No more painful waxing and plucking. No more irritating razor burn. Just smooth, beautiful skin and permanent hair removal results–all in the privacy of your own home.  I'm really excited to use this and see the results!   You can check out some great FAQs here.... 

   
The Silkn Flash & Go:

  • ♥ Removes unwanted hair with permanent results
  • ♥ Easy, safe, painless to use on the body and face
  • ♥ Treats anything from small and sensitive areas to large areas
  • ♥ Saves hundreds of dollars vs professional treatments
  • ♥ No more waxing, shaving or plucking
There's a 15% code on the website, through Nov. 6th, but after that, and before January 31st, you can still purchase one of these babies, with 10% off.
   Just visit the Silkn website here .....

I'll be posting a review, after my 6 weeks, to update you on my results!  

  • Express  tall 0153b29b95638e3d87342060071683d79c5b87cec6bca01979e6ea202d220f54Express case 640x640
** Product was received, free of charge, from Influenster.  In exchange for my honest reviews and opinions ** 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Back in April, I read an article where Derrick and Jill Dillard were interviewed. If you don't know who Jill is, she's one of the Duggar girls, of the once popular 19 and Counting, reality show.

The article spoke about pregnancy and touched on Jill and Derrick's decision to announce theirs very early on.    Jill said something, in that interview, that struck me really deep and further confirmed my own thoughts on the subject:

"Believing that life begins at conception and that every life is precious no matter how young, - we would — even if there were to be a miscarriage — we would still want that child to be recognized," she told Us at the time. "So it was something that we thought about and went forward with."  -- Jill Dillard

This spoke volumes to me, having lost my first and long awaited pregnancy, in January.  I found out I was pregnant on December 13th and we immediately decided that we'd tell our families on Christmas Day.  (just 12 days later).     I knew, with my age, and having taken fertility meds, that there were risks associated with my pregnancy.   BUT, we also felt that, no matter what, we wanted our families to know.  We had close family members and some friends who thought that we announced it too soon.   There's that theory of "being out of the woods" before you tell everyone, because WHAT IF the pregnancy fails and you miscarry?    Oh, so if we were to handle it that way, and I miscarried, with none of our family knowing I was pregnant, then we'd never tell them I was pregnant in the first place?  Wrong. Pregnancy is not like interviewing for a job, when you're afraid to jinx yourself by telling people about it, before you get it.  People out there actually think "well, you don't want to get your families' hopes up and then the pregnancy fails".  Oh, right, I don't want them to have to go through that.   Well, how is it any different for me, for us?   I'd rather my family be there for me every step of the way, no matter the outcome.   My sister was actually at my OB appointment that day with me, thinking all was well, and it was just a follow up for some minor spotting a few days earlier.    In the room with me, waiting to see the ultrasound.  Knowing all we'd see was my little bean, but nonetheless happy and excited.  Only to find out later, after 4 office ultrasounds and 2 at South Jersey Radiology,  that it was an ectopic pregnancy.   Yes, it was awful and heartbreaking and so disappointing, but I wasn't sorry that we told our families.   

I don't regret anything.    I don't even regret getting started on my Pregnancy Journal that my 9 year old niece bought for me, with her own money, at Barnes & Noble.   I don't regret saving all the pictures of the positive tests.    I just pray that someday, I get to do it all over again, and carry a baby to term.  I was always just a statistic with fertility struggles and now I'm a statistic with pregnancy loss too.   I never knew what anyone meant, online, when they referred to "rainbow babies"..... and now I do.    I never knew what ectopic pregnancy was... and now I do.    I never knew what it was like to be pregnant... now I do.      I never knew what it was like to lose a baby/pregnancy........now I do.    I will never forget hearing a heartbeat, when I was in the ER, having an emergency ultrasound, the day I was admitted for my ectopic rupture.    The tech jumped forward in his seat to silence it, but I'd already heard it.  It was too late.    And had I not heard it, my baby would have been no less a life, in my eyes.      The day he/she was conceived, was the day WE gave him/her LIFE.   So, imagine 12 weeks later.... YES, you were very much real to me, to US.  Maybe not in the right place, to be carried and delivered,  BUT, in our hearts from beautiful beginning to sorrowful end.   



Friday, September 25, 2015

#PopeInPhilly



It's the hashtag seen 'round the world.  Well, ok, maybe not around the world, but definitely in these parts.    Philly and Jersey, that is.    I don't know about you, but I'm super excited that the Pope is here in the US, and even more tickled that he is just out my back door, in Philadelphia!  I've been so stoked all week.   I even had 2 tickets to the Sunday mass but knew that we'd never get there, in the chaos and traffic, from NJ to PA.   So I gave them away on Craigslist.   Hopefully to someone who didn't turn around and sell them.    I'll never know, but I did it out of the goodness of my heart.   He'll deal with karma if he took advantage of my generosity.   I did print out the tickets before I transferred them, so I will put them in a scrapbook when I collect the local papers with all the Pope articles and pictures.   

I can't even watch Pope Francis on TV, without crying.   I can't explain why or how, I just know that it gets me "right there" and makes me emotional.   This is a big deal.      I kind of wish that everyone would stop lambasting him on Facebook and other social media outlets, making vulgar remarks about what they think he represents.  Or who they think he protects.  I'm not going into the long and detailed rant that I keep hearing, about the child molestation and sex assaults in our churches and dioceses.   Those priests and other clergy will pay for their sins, I do believe that.
Do not hold it against the Pope.  
Yes, he's Catholic and represents our Catholic church, but, truly, I believe that it's less about religion, and more about good values, being good people, helping and loving one another.  That's pretty much what he is asking and encouraging of us.  


We should be eager to forgive and love, to live a life with helping hands, and faithful, good hearts. 
None of us are getting out alive - (just hopefully going to a better place) ...   So, we have to live our lives in a way that matters, that counts.  


Pope Francis is asking us to be accepting of one another, to harbor less HATE and more LOVE and ACCEPTANCE.      

Like I said, I can't explain it, but I'm just so moved by Pope Francis being here.. Even though I'll get nowhere near him, while he is here, I'm still excited about his presence.    He brings with him a Peace that I can't quite describe.   A message of HOPE and UNITY.    I feel very blessed.




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What's all the Bzzzzz about?

You already know that I'm kind of a fan when it comes to free stuff... but it's not just that.  I really like it when I can try out a product and then review it.    I find a lot of great information before I buy a product, simply by reading reviews on blogs, brand websites, and social media.

So, when I found out about Bzz Agent, I had to sign up!     I already qualified for my first campaign and it was actually a product that I'd been considering to purchase!   Secret Clinical Strength.
Now, I don't know about you, but I can not find a deodorant/antiperspirant that is "the one".    One that actually works, around the clock.     I am always paranoid that I'm going to stink halfway through my work day.  And I will not lie; I have!    Maybe people can't tell, but I can, and that's enough for me.  I was just using a deodorant that I loved the smell of and it was a rather known brand.. BUT I had to carry it in my purse with me, because it didn't last all day.    The crazy part about that?  I work at a desk!    It's not like I was doing strenuous labor.    So, I've been trying other brands and haven't found one that stuck.    I'm so glad that BzzAgent afforded me the chance to try this!    It works and it lasts.    I should have known it would be so great because it claims to ADAPT and RESPOND.   And it does.     Thank goodness that I know there is a brand of deodorant that I don't have to worry about.
How many times have you done the "arm lift" in the office or sitting in traffic, heading somewhere?
I lost count.     It's great to not have to worry about it.    I really have found my new deodorant with Secret Clinical Strength.

I always say that I have a curse, because when I get nervous, I always get red-faced and I sweat!
I'm not always in those situations, but when I am, I can feel it.   I felt like the skit on Saturday Night Live, where the Mary Katherine Gallagher character did the arm pit skit.



Secret Clinical ensures that I don't have to worry about Stress Sweating.    It does happen, folks!   Believe me.  And it ain't pretty.
Good job, Secret!   You already made a great product and now this just put you on the top of my list!






* Product was complimentary, in exchange for my honest opinions *  
Thanks BzzAgent and Secret!



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

a sweet find

Literally.    It was a SWEET find, on many levels.

I'm always on the hunt for something to satisfy a sweet craving, but, since I have a tree nut allergy, my options are usually scarce.    Sometimes, and not too often,  I'll happen upon a product that I can actually eat.
Which is exactly what happened when I went to Sam's Club last week.  Meet my new favorite:
 Mrs Thinsters. 
 These cookies were on a display, right at the entrance.    So, naturally, I picked them up and looked for the SIGN!  The one that screams "Yes, Dawn, you can eat these!"   -   Well, ok, to you it looks more like "NUT ALLERGEN FRIENDLY".     There are times when I just need a sweet treat and my choices are always so limited, it seems.   So I was so glad to find these yummy cookie thins.
And the bag was a good size!     I'd never heard of these before and Sam's only had this flavor, but I'm itching to try the others.  ESPECIALLY the brownie!   One of my favorite sweets - in a cookie??!   Yes, please!

In addition to the Nut FREE factor, the other bonuses with this delicious treat are:

 


I really hit the jackpot with these Cookie Thins.   They're so good!  I can't tell you how often I pass up cookies, cakes, and other sweets because of my allergy.   It stinks.   But I keep these in my drawer at work and at home, so they're handy when I have that craving for a sweet snack.
I'll be keeping an eye out for the other flavors and will post my reviews.   I can tell you that the one I did get; Birthday Cake, is pretty darn good!





** This review was not solicited nor compensated.   I purchased the cookies and decided to share my excitement **


Monday, August 03, 2015

PINCHMe, I must be dreaming

I'm a big fan of FREEBIES, as if anyone out there, is not.  Right?
So, when I found out about PINCHMe, I was really eager to hear more about it.  I was also apprehensive because I feel like almost everything has a catch.   Nothing is FREE.  But, with this site?   It really is.   The only thing you have to do in return, is provide your honest feedback for the items you receive!    Yes, seriously!    I have received a total of 14 boxes already.   I've liked everything but I do have my favorites!     I'm not qualified for samples, every time they're available, but I make sure to keep my profile updated, answer the pop-up questions and always provide my feedback and ratings on products that I do get.   That's how you stay active on the site and that helps to ensure future free samples coming your way!
The first photo is a box that I won on another blogger's giveaway post, but it was provided by PINCHMe.  So it gives you an idea of some of the fantastic finds that are in the PINCHMe boxes.  The 2nd photo is an actual box of items that I was qualified for on Sample Day!  I actually got a few gals at work to sign up, because they kept seeing my posts on Instagram and Facebook!    


You really should join!     PinchMe


***This not a paid endorsement by PINCHMe or any of the brands pictured.   I received all of the products free from PINCHMe, but was not compensated for this post or any product reviews**** 











Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Hydration

In the summer months, I'm usually a fanatic about staying hydrated.  It's so easy to get caught up enjoying the outdoors and forgetting about getting plenty of fluids.
 I'm not a water drinker, at all, but when the heat hits, I'm so afraid of dehydration.  This is one of my concerns when my husband goes to work during these months.  He's a welder and the shop is not air conditioned.    I'm always reminding him to stay hydrated.      It's important to note, however, that our bodies can face dehydration, in ANY season.  In fact, almost every time I have my annual labs done, my levels show that I am slightly dehydrated.  I really don't get enough of the electrolytes that I need because I don't drink enough water.
When I qualified for the DripDrop mission, with Smiley.com, I was really eager to see what it was all about, BUT really anxious to try it out.    It was convenient, in little thin packets, and easy to prepare: One packet per 8 ounces of water.   I found it was a good idea to keep some 8 ounce bottled waters on hand, so there was no measuring or wondering.  What is it?  DripDrop is a medical grade hydration powder, used by athletes, military personnel, seniors, etc, and it's a great hydration tool for anyone who has come down with a stomach bug or virus, where you would normally lose electrolytes and have to replenish.  It works 2-3 times faster than most remedies and clinical studies have showed that it works 34% better than water alone.   DripDrop comes in two flavors (at least for right now) Berry and Lemon.  
I actually liked both, but favored the Berry.  

I tried a couple of packets, while we were doing yard work and spending time outside, but gave the rest to my husband to take to work.    He comes home, some days, with aches and pains and will say that his urine was really dark.  I know that these are tell tale signs of dehydration.  I think this is a fantastic product and I'm really pleased with the convenience, as well as the taste.  I'm not the kind of person that will just try anything that is touted as the latest craze in the way of supplements, beverages, etc.  No matter what the claims and reviews are.  But I have to say that I was a little more interested in this product, initially, because it seemed like a genuine, tried and true product.  What really grabbed my attention was that DripDrop was created by a Mayo Clinic trained physician.   I'm already planning to purchase more DripDrop at my local CVS, so that we can have it on hand at home.   I love this product and I'm comfortable using it because of what I've learned about it.  There's so much more I could say, and much more information that I could share, but the website is really wonderful and covers it all.    Check it out here:   DripDrop    


** DISCLAIMER:  I received FREE samples of DripDrop from Smiley.com, for testing and reviewing. **

Friday, July 10, 2015

I wonder how long....

It's amazing, the dates you remember as time goes on.    Some are of the best memories you have and some are of the worst.    I thought, after my mom died, that I wouldn't always recognize the day.  I said I wouldn't.   I promised I wouldn't.   But, I can't just let the day pass without mentioning it.
It just seems too fresh, still.  Only 2 years.
I was listening to the oldies station at work yesterday, and the song "Take Good Care Of My Baby" came on.  Mom always said this song reminded her of me.   She said it was her song to my "future" husband, if and when I got married.    When I heard it yesterday, it made me laugh a little, because now I had a baby up in Heaven, who I was sure is with my mom.  That song has so much MORE meaning now.

I still cry when I think of my mom, when I miss her and when I need her.   On the way home from work, some days, I feel guilty, because I can't remember if I thought of her that day.  Then I realize, that I always do.   There is always some reminder.   A song, a scent, a phrase.  Lots of phrases, in fact.  I was even reading a book a few nights ago, where a character in the story used one of my Mom's familiar lines.   It struck me.   Times like that, I think that's Mom sending me a message.  I smelled her in my car the other day too.   It kind of freaked me out for a second.  I was a little shaken for a bit, whipping my head around to look in the backseat.  But then, I just smiled, like I always do, and was just glad that she visited.

There are times that I look at my mom's picture and have that sudden bolt of reality - "Oh my gosh, she's really not here anymore".   Almost as if you've been in denial, all this time.   It's such a sad realization.    I get so pissed off when I hear of, or see, friends who are feuding with their moms or dads, and are just not able to forgive something petty.   Dragging out the disagreement for far longer than necessary. In fact, it's never necessary.  It's usually just a hard headed person trying to prove a point.  If I could have those people feel my loss and my grief over my mom's death, but with their Mom or Dad as the subject, I am fairly certain they'd rethink it all.  Hell, I wish I'd had that day back, or even the fucking year.  


I hear myself sounding like her so much, lately.  Her phrases, her catch lines.   I actually like looking at my hands because they look so much like hers.    Over the weekend, I had my hand on the window ledge, as we were driving down the road.   I said to Jeff, "I can't believe how much my hands look like my Mom's.  It's liking look at hers!"  I don't know how many people end up with their parents' hands, as opposed to eyes, or nose.  But I love it.

  More than anything, I wish I could hear my mom's laugh, or see her smile.  I miss her voice.
The text messages and the voice mails.   Her sense of humor.   Maybe I miss how she'd come to my house and make the bed, and do the dishes.  What a riot.  ; )

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pond's Rejuveness and Clarant B3...

I was fortunate enough, to score these 2 face creams, from Influenster.   I'm so glad that I did!




I was excited to try these new creams from Pond's but I was equally apprehensive, becuase I have had some bad experiences with face creams, in the past.    My skin is very sensitive and doesn't really take well to many things that I put on it.   I've even had reactions to foundations that I used in the past. The end result is usually stinging or burning and nice big red blotches on my face.
But, when I applied the Rejuveness and the Clarant B3 creams, my face was fine.   No stinging, no itching, no reaction at all.

Aside from it being Dawn friendly, I have to say that these 2 creams are pretty awesome!
I plan to use it until I run out of it and the buy more.  But, for the 2 week challenge, I wanted to concentrate on the areas that I really knew I needed this intervention, for both creams' indicated uses.

With the Rejuveness, I concentrated on the areas around my forehead, and my cheekbones, as well as the eye area.  (not around the eye itself, but where I apply shadow, and I can see the wrinkles the most).    Well, 2 weeks later, I am so impressed.  I can see the difference.  My skin is tighter in those areas!   I can't believe that I can get these results without expensive procedures, in a doctor's office. It's amazing.



With the Clarant B3, I didn't have (knock on wood), too many dark areas on my face, but plenty on my hands and forearms, so I concentrated on those areas for the challenge.   One spot was really big and really stood out.   Well, lo and behold, I can see that it's already lightened SO MUCH there. It's truly  I know, as I continue to use this cream, the results will only get BETTER.


I will be out buying these, as soon as I run out of what I have.   They're that good!


**I received both products, from Influenster, for testing purposes.  These are my honest opinions and reviews.**          #SeeForYourself

Thursday, May 14, 2015

my cup does not runneth over

I try to post reviews:

1.) when I think of it
2.) when I actually remember to
3.) when a product really knocks my socks off  (I'm not too high maintenance, and somewhat easy to please, but I still like to give credit where credit's due).


So, that brings me to my current review.    The Cool Gear tumbler that I seriously can not live without.   I've always been on the hunt for the perfect chiller cup, that is cute, durable and can hold its' own.  { see what I did there?}      I wanted this type of tumbler, because I am so guilty of not drinking enough water.  I just don't like it.  Never have.  Unless, I'm so parched that I'm on the verge of chugging it.   I know, I know!  It doesn't have a taste, so how can I not like it?  I don't know!  I just don't..  Now, stop harassing me.

I did find, however, that I will drink water.....  in a boat, with a goat. Wait, what?  I got distracted for a second.

What I was saying:    I found that I will drink water,  only if:
 1.)  it has ice in it
 2.) if it has a straw.  






So, for the past few weeks, I have been scoping out the ol' tumbler cups, with straws.  Well, wet my whistle and call me hydrated! .... I fell upon this gem!
  It was less expensive than most I've seen... and the design, naturally, caught my eye right away.  

Why do I love this tumbler?   Because it listens to me and tells me I'm pretty.
No, seriously,  it holds hot OR cold beverages.   It's double wall insulated, BPA Free (which I really don't even pretend to know about, just that it's a good thing) and it's really durable. (even for me, who my mom affectionately nicknamed 'tornado' back in my adolescence).  It doesn't sweat all over me, or my desk, or my cup holder in my car.  It never leaks.
Here's an example of how true to its' claims this cup is:    I made iced tea, at work, before I left yesterday.  It was around 4pm-ish.   I used ice from the ice machine. (I know you wish you worked here too, now!)      When I was headed to bed, around 9:55,  I picked up my tumbler, to wash it out, and it still had ice in it!  I'm not talking a few pieces, I mean enough to actually chill a beverage.  I was floored!   I actually showed it to my husband and exclaimed "this ice has been in here for almost 5 1/2 hours!"  I can't believe he didn't share my excitement, but that's ok.    At least I can tell you!    If you're into the 'water with a straw' thing, or just need a new tumbler.. or want to swap stories, periodically with me, on how much you love yours too... (because, trust me, your husband won't be supportive) .. then you need to get one of these!   Check them out here.  




** Disclaimer:  This is all my own opinion and corny humor.   I was not paid by this company, to promote their product. But if they want me to, I'd be much obliged.  ; )



Thursday, April 02, 2015

...and that's who I am.....

I've seen so many pregnancy announcements in the past few days, and it makes me feel so many different emotions.   When I think of where I would be right now, in my pregnancy, I feel a little twinge in my heart.  I would have been 5 months already and due in August.  Shoot, I would've been more than half way through.   Sporting a nice big belly and maxi dresses ALL summer long.
 I don't want to feel anything but HAPPY for anyone who is pregnant.    I guess it's just normal to feel this way.  

This morning, I was reading a new blog post about a mom-to-be, and I remembered when I first found out.   I was, first and foremost, shocked and EXCITED.   After I came back down, from Cloud 9, I started to consider who I'd tell and who I wouldn't, until later on.   I actually told my mother in law, that there was a part of me, that was apprehensive to tell friends who I knew were unable to have children.   I was that person, for over 10 years; more so, all my adult life.   So I deserved that joy I was feeling, as did my husband.  But I couldn't help but feel for those around me who it wasn't an option for.    Those same women who were in my same shoes, all those years.    I thought about them, before I thought about me.   It actually made me a little nervous to announce it to those particular friends.   I had to remind myself that this was my miracle and I shouldn't feel bad in sharing the news.
I think it's just a common thread that we women share, with infertility struggles.   You're eager to shout out the great news, but you're equally as apprehensive.

It's a wonderful, joyous occasion .... Pregnancy.    I don't begrudge anyone that opportunity.  (except maybe those heathens who abuse children, hurt them, etc).    I love reading about pregnancy journeys and then seeing babies growing up!    I do!   I just have moments where I quietly mumble "bummer, that could have been me".    But I know that my time is coming.






Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Reviews by me

















I really thought, in the 6 weeks that I was home, I would have read more books.  But I couldn't get my head into it most days.   I did however, read quite a few books in the last few months.   I love to get recommendations from bloggers who love to read, so I figured I would share my recommendations.   I realize everyone's taste is different... But I do recommend each of these.

These are the books that I've read in the past few months and my thoughts.. I don't think I was disappointed with any of them, they were just slow in getting my attention, in some cases.




Cage Of Stars - Jacquelyn Mitchard 
Absolutely loved this book.   It kept me so intrigued, the whole time.  I read this pretty quickly; I was so anxious to know the ending, and equally surprised with it.

Family Affair - Debbie Macomber 
Such a cute, feel good book.   But,then, Debbie Macomber doesn't really write much that isn't.  I love her stories... and this one was pretty adorable.   It was actually a quick read, with only 102 pages.
I finished it in no time ... but enjoyed it.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
I had high hopes for this book, after all the attention it got with the movie.  When I first started reading it, I was sure it was going to lose me.  I couldn't get into it.   I didn't get that warm, fuzzy feeling with this book.   I expressed my disappointment and several friends told me to stick it out.. so I did.  And I'm glad I did.  They were so right, about it getting better.  It did.   What a thriller.

Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult
Jodi is one of my favorite authors, so I knew I wanted to read this book.  It had those chapters, where you just wanted to skip over them, because it was just useless to read them.   They did pertain to the story, but I found them boring.   I was floored by the ending ... I hadn't seen it coming.  Not even a little bit.  I would love it if they made this one a movie.

The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
I think I remember seeing this movie on Lifetime.  But I had never read the book, until recently.
It was a pretty suspenseful, law and order (ish) book.   Where you think you have it figured out and then realize you don't.   A good thriller, I thought.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky - Heidi Durrow
Oh my gosh...    This one, I literally couldn't put down.   I took it everywhere with me!
It just "had me at hello"..


** What are you reading right now, or what have you read, that you suggest? **



Friday, March 27, 2015

A good smellin' man

I was one of the lucky folks that scored a free sample of Reveal by Calvin Klein, compliments of Influenster.  
My husband loves aftershaves and cologne, and not all of them, were scents that I would have picked for him.   I usually buy him colognes that I like the scent of.   I think I have good taste!
So, when the Reveal sample came in the mail, I was eager to see if it was one of those "must have" colognes.    And it totally was!    
I love this new scent.   As you know, perfumes and colognes are either a hit or miss.  There's usually no in between.   You either hate it or love it.   This one?   LOVE.   It's not a strong, overwhelming scent... it's just right.   It's that "man" smell that we women just love.  
This is going to be a future birthday or Christmas gift, for my husband.  But, it's more for me, than him, I suppose!  

Next time you're in the department store, where there's a beauty counter, check out the Calvin Klein Reveal for men.  You won't be disappointed, ladies and gents!   Yes, it's that awesome.

(images were pulled from the internet - I lost some photos in my iPhone, but this is what my sample looked like) 


(this is what the full size looks like, if you're looking for it!)


* I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes * 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Indescribable

I've talked previously, albeit briefly, about my struggles with fertility.   I'm one of the bazillion women out there, who "has wanted a child, for as long as I can remember".    It just wasn't going to be easy for me.    I knew, for many years, that it wasn't going to 'just happen' naturally.   I knew (but didn't accept) that I'd need medical intervention to conceive a child.     I was so stubborn; I refused to take meds or see a specialist, because I believed that one day I would do it all on my own. 

Finally, last July, after another quick conversation with my gynecologist, she suggested trying Clomid.    I was apprehensive, naturally, but after a few weeks of thinking, and talking with my husband, I decided to give it a shot.   And so started the charting of ovulation, periods, cycle days, and figuring out when to "baby dance".    Even being 38 years old, I never really understood how the female reproductive system works when trying to concieve a child.   I charted like it was MY JOB.  I marked everything down.  I followed it to a science.   And I guess I did pretty well.



 
I took Clomid for 3 months:  August, September and November.  (I skipped October)
 for reasons that even I don't know.       Maybe I was starting to get discouraged or reluctant.   
Even though I skipped October's round of Clomid,  I attended a St. Gerard mass with my sister and my niece.  If you don't know about St. Gerard, he is the patron saint for Motherhood and I have heard so many testimonials either in person, or on the internet, of women who have called upon the intercessions of St. Gerard.    I was sure, at that mass, that something miraculous was happening.  I really did.   It was full of emotion and HOPE.   My sister and I both cried.  In addition to the general prayer that was said for all of those attending, we were also able to have our own personal prayer and blessing given to us, individually, by one of the attending priests.   I honestly know that we walked away with such a feeling of just knowing that it was going to happen.



Then, on December 13th, not really thinking about it too hard, I took a pregnancy test. This wasn't unusual for me, because I was taking them a lot during those 3 months of Clomid.  But since I was so used to getting NEGATIVES, it floored me when I saw 2 lines show up!   I remember dipping it in the cup of urine, leaving it to sit and figuring I'd go back in a few minutes.   I wasn't expecting to see a positive result when I went back to look at it.  It was so usual for me to do this; it had become a way of life.   I just remember seeing those 2 lines and GASPING out loud "OH MY GOD!"...  It was too good to be true.   So, I took another one, using another test strip that I had bought in bulk.    Positive!
I ran out to tell my husband, who at first thought that I meant I'd gotten a positive on the ovulation stick.    He was used to me telling him that I had, and then rushing off to "do it",  so he assumed this was one of those times.    Then I told him it was a PREGNANCY test.    We cried, we hugged, we laughed.  I even had a brief sob, thinking about how my mom wasn't here to experience this with me.  She'd be soo happy.   I know she was there with me though.   Then Jeff ushered me off to the store to get a "real test".  He didn't trust the strips I'd bought on Amazon.  He needed to see something that he was sure was legitimate.



Talk about being over the moon.  At that moment, it seemed as if my world had changed and only for the better.  It felt like there was nothing anyone could say or do to ruin my day or the way I was feeling.    After trying for so many years and being so disappointed & discouraged, it was amazing and miraculous, all at once.      I did go to the doctor on 12/22 after having some bleeding, but she assured me everything was ok and even 'saw' the sac on the ultrasound.  That was my green light.
We knew we couldn't keep it a secret from everyone, until Christmas, so we told his parents and my sister.    That was it.    We used the next few weeks to bask in the joy that we were already experiencing and that we knew was to come.    We also planned out how we'd tell our families.   My dad and stepmom host Christmas breakfast each year, with just my siblings, and our spouses.   So I wrapped up a "gift" that my dad and stepmom had to open together.   It was a cartoon-ish picture of a baby holding a sign, announcing a baby in 2015.   The reaction that morning was MORE than I could have ever anticipated.   The tears, the joy, the emotions!   I had my sister (who already knew), record it on my iPhone.   I watch it sometimes just to smile.  But it always makes me cry, no matter what.   Jeff and I went to his parents' house for Christmas dinner and his mom made an announcement, by calling everyone out to the kitchen.   It was so awesome .. I think, mostly, everyone was shocked at first.. but equally as happy for us. 

I never thought that joy would be so short lived and I can't say that it was entirely.  I still have that happiness of it all happening.  I still have the memories of it, from December 13th on.   I can't ever say that particular period was a sad one in my life.  It was just AMAZING and beautiful. 

BUT, the days that followed?  Not so much.  

It was later decided that my pregnancy was ectopic.   This diagnosis came after 6 ultrasounds (both abdominal and transvaginal) indicated that there was no gestational sac.   The doctor realized that it had to be in my tube, because my HCG levels were rising as they should have been, but without seeing the baby on the ultrasound, it could only be an ectopic pregnancy.   So, on December 30th, after a ton of STAT blood work, I was sent to the ER for a shot of Methotrexate.   Never even heard of the drug before that day.  Methotrexate stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as embryonic, fetal, and early placenta cells. (Web MD).     So, in layman's terms, it was supposed to stop the baby from growing.    But it didn't.    A couple of weeks later, on January 15th, I finally had enough pain, pale skin, and just feeling awful, to go to the hospital.    Once I got there, it was discovered that I'd been bleeding internally and needed a blood transfusion.  Two to be exact.   Then 2 more in surgery.   My left tube had ruptured, somewhere in the days before I actually went to the hospital.   (guess the little one got comfy and continued to grow).   I went into emergency surgery that night.  They couldn't do laparoscopy as once thought, because the situation was too bad when they got a look inside.  My tube, when it ruptured, had adhered to my bowel.   The general surgeon was called in to help my doctor with the surgery, at that point.   She was afraid she'd tear my bowel or worse.   After the first surgery was over and I was sent to recovery, I started hemorrhaging.  So they had to get my husband's consent to take me back in and open me back up.  The bleed, ended up being residual, as far as they could tell.   But it was a frightening experience.... for them and for my husband and sister who were patiently waiting in the family area, when the doctor came out with the news and the consent form.    I can't imagine being on the receiving end of that experience.  Yes, I was the patient but I was worried about THEM.   I was coherent enough after they put me in recovery to know and hear that something was wrong.   I don't even remember being wheeled back in.

I spent the next 5 days in the hospital & and came home with an order of 6 weeks medical leave.
I think the emotional aspect of this whole ordeal, was the worst.   I hate the physical scars that I have, (cut straight across my stomach)... but the emotional scars are so much harder to heal.  If they ever do.   One minute, I was up in the clouds and experiencing what I'd never thought I would.   The next minute,  it was all being taken away from me.   Even though it's not often, there are some days that I can see the upside:

1.)  I can finally say I have been pregnant!   and I think it gave me the boost my body needed.
2.)  I can share some of the early and COMMON symptoms I had ..before I even thought to test.

Of course, I also, at times,  wish I hadn't gotten so excited, so early on.  But I could hardly contain my excitement.  I wanted to share the miracle that was bestowed upon me.   I started filling out my 'pregnancy book' that my niece gave me.. (and bought with her own money - she's 9!)    I also created a wish list on Babies R Us, but that was when I was trying to conceive.   Yes, that's how hopeful and optimistic I was.   Nothing wrong with that.   

I have every hope and every reason to believe that I will conceive again.  This was a huge step and an even bigger accomplishment for me!   When you think it'll never happen and it does?  Pure amazement and disbelief.   Just because things didn't go well, and my little bean ended up getting himself in a real pickle.. I still feel extremely blessed.    I think what's encouraging is, I hear so many stories of women who have gone on to conceive with no medical intervention at all, after the first time, whether the pregnancy failed or she carried to term.   That is such encouragement for me.

We will see what the future holds for me and our dreams of being parents.  I will continue to keep the Faith and will not give up my Hope.  That's for sure.    I think I will get my rainbow baby and I'm at peace that I'll even see baby #1 someday.    


Monday, February 16, 2015

The #WishForOthers Capital One Campaign

Back, before we came upon the new year, Capital One ran a pretty awesome campaign, called #WishForOthers.   They gave people the chance to wish for something, that they could gift someone else, and it really took off on Twitter!   I saw a quick post about it one day, and I decided to give it a shot.
I knew what I would "wish" for almost immediately.  

I wanted to give memorial jewelry to 3 young women, whom I don't even really know, in remembrance of their mom, (Jeannie) whom I did know, through work.   Having lost my mom in 2013, I could relate to so much of what I was sure they were going through.  It was very difficult and continues to be, even for me, at 38.    Jeannie's girls are all under 30; the youngest still a high school student.  I feel lucky that my mom was here for so many of life's milestones, with my siblings and myself.  Like graduations, weddings, babies. I can't imagine how hard it will be for her 3 daughters to go through the rest of their lives without their mom.

I was sure that Jeannie's daughters have plenty of pictures and trinkets to remember her by, but I wanted to give them something personalized.    My initial plan was to get them each a necklace with Jeannie's fingerprint.   My sisters and I each got one when my mom passed away, and it's my most treasured piece of jewelry.   Unfortunately, I had to go through the funeral home, that handled Jean's services,  to secure the fingerprints.   They never replied to my request, so I had to come up with an alternative plan.   I searched for days/weeks and found a beautiful birthstone necklace and a precious picture frame.   With the help of Capital One's Wish For Others program, I was able to purchase these items for the girls.  I'm so grateful that Capital One chose my wish and made this happen.  I've thought about Jeannie's girls since she passed away last April and I was constantly wishing I'd been able to do something like this for them.   Capital One brought it all to life!   What an amazing thing to do. 

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get the gifts to the girls yet.  I had an unexpected health issue that has kept me out of work for 6 weeks.   But, I realized the other day, that the 1 year anniversary of Jeannie's passing is this April.   So now, I think that April would be a good time to present these gifts to the girls.  I'm sure it will be when they can use the comfort the most.   I've attached pictures of the items below.  The inscription on the necklace says "I'll hold you in my heart" and the birthstone is Jeannie's birth month.   As for the frames, I have photos at work that I am placing inside.   I'm sure the girls will change it to a favorite of theirs; I just thought it would be nice to actually have a photo of their mom in it when they receive it.  The inscription on the frame reads  "Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down, to let us know they're happy".        Along with the gifts, I have a beautiful remembrance card that I'm including, where I've written a little something inside.   I still have to get some gift bags so that I can have the gifts wrapped nicely before I send them off!  

I won't lie - At first, I was a little apprehensive because, as I said, Jeannie's daughters don't know me.
I figured they'd think I was a bit crazy for doing this and not even knowing them.  But then I tossed my fears aside and said "Why not?".      I hope these gifts bring them some comfort.  
I can't thank Capital One nearly enough, for helping to bring this to fruition.