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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#BehindTheBlogger -- Find Your Love

#BehindTheBlogger -- Find Your Love

Find your love.

Now, that can mean a whole SLEW of things. That can mean finding a partner. That can mean adopting a pet. That can mean learning to love yourself.

But today, I’m going to focus on an old quote that’s been said a lot… Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

Growing up, I always envisioned myself as a teacher. One of my fondest memories is standing in front of my chalkboard easel, ‘teaching’ my dolls and stuffed animals. I guess I had always envisioned myself as an Elementary grade teacher, since when I played Teacher, I was always ‘teaching’ multiple subjects.

While I had dabbled with writing in 7th grade, I still intended to be a teacher. I’d say I had that dream up until late 1993 or early 1994. I was on the ACTA (Yearbook Journalism) staff and started actually devoting time to it, instead of goofing off. That’s when I totally realized I loved writing, and when my intended major flipped from Education/Teaching to Print Journalism.

Since then, my ‘career choices’ have flipped four times; from Journalism to Medical Transcription, then from Medical Transcription to Web Design, then from Web Design to Wedding Planning, and then from Wedding Planning to Self-Taught Graphic Design.

But I always had the love of writing… so even while I studied Medical Transcription, then Web Design, then Wedding Planning, I still wrote WWE fanfic, branching into other fandoms. Then I got addicted to Graphic Design on Livejournal and the fanfic got shelved… for a very long time.

In 2013, I decided to take a good long look at my life… What did I love to do?

The Graphic Design ‘business’ was dying a slow death on LJ, with too much drama surrounding it. Between users complaining that other users used the same color choices (Yes, this was a thing!), thievery running rampant among actual graphics (or graphic pieces, like blinkie boxes) and then paid pixel sites, which were all the rage in 2011-2012, deciding makers couldn’t use their pixels on LJ, Being a graphic designer became more hassle than it was worth.

Besides that, everything I know about Graphics was self-taught, so I couldn’t really get a job anywhere without some sort of certificate, much less an actual degree.

And then my GOOD Graphic Design system, that I scrimped and saved for, died 8 days after the Windows XPocolypse, so that’s when I really ‘saw the writing on the wall’ about graphics.

I actually never finished my Medical Transcription degree, so I couldn’t fall back on that.

While I COULD have fallen back on Web Design, at that point it had been a good 10 years since getting my degree/certificate, so things may have changed within the HTML coding world and my location is not ‘prime real estate’ for a decent home business based on that. Sure, I could do a strictly Online business, but I really didn’t see a market for Freelance Webmasters at the time.

The Wedding Planning course was another one that I never finished, for purely financial reasons. But just like the Web Design degree, my location is not ‘prime real estate’ for a decent home business based on that.. especially at this time. Mama Melissa’s dad would flip out when my clients would show up here for the consultations. So, even if I had finished that course, It would have done me absolutely no good.

So, what did that leave me? Writing. Something I could do from home, without a fancy degree or certificate, and I wouldn’t need to have people come here or me leave the house. All I need is a working computer and a way to access some sort of word processor, even if it’s no more than Google Docs.

So, in May of 2013, I decided to start a blog. I was already writing reviews on eBay and Amazon, so why not start putting those reviews on a blog for myself?

So, I did.

And this is my favorite ‘career choice.’ Whether it’s doing a review, or one of these ‘Behind the Blogger’ prompts, or I’m writing a book, I get to see my words come alive. I get to see my hard work pay off when someone shares my tweet or buys a book.

I’ve finally found my love… and every day, it makes me happy doing what I love.

#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button 
Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love With Food January 2017 Gluten Free Box

Love with Food
January 2017 box

What is Love With Food?
Love With Food helps you discover new organic or all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Our subscription membership starts as low as $10/month. Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty snacks which varies based on seasonal themes.

For every box sold, we donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength - No Kid Hungry. Join us to help end child hunger one meal at a time!

Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and start discovering your Love With Food experience!
February's box is on it's way, so it's time for the monthly post!

January’s theme was ‘Seize The Day.’ This time of year, everyone’s thinking about making changes in their lives, and at Love With Food we’re no different. While it’s easy to get back into that everyday routine you’re used to, we want to encourage all our super snackers to mix things up a little. Book that international trip you’re always wanted. Run that marathon. Or just try some new all-natural snacks! Hey nothing wrong with baby steps!

*It would be safe to assume these snacks are gluten-free only unless otherwise noted.

Since I was eager to dive right into the box, I completely forgot to take a picture! So, I did an unboxing video!

FROM THE CARD: We believe that whole-food-based nutrition containing collagen is essential for overall health, fitness and wellbeing. However, our bodies require an abundant amount of collagen and modern food processing has removed this natural healthy nutrient from our diets. Supplementing our body with collagen helps promote better digestion, youthful skin, healthier hair, stronger nails, bone & joint health, and overall wellness.

I received the unflavored package, and I don’t know what I did wrong, but these would NOT dissolve completely for me. I tried half into a glass of milk, and thinking even though it says it will dissolve into cold foods and/or drinks the milk was too cold, I tried the second half into a very hot cup of coffee. Both times, the bottom of the cup looked like there was a grainy syrup in it.
I will admit, I could not taste a difference in my drinks, minus the grainy feel to it. I think I’d opt for another way of getting collagen into my diet.
TASTE: 3/10
PERFECT FOR THESE TYPES OF DIETS: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Paleo Friendly

The Milk Chocolate flavor reminded me a LOT of a Skor bar, which I went through a phase of loving as a teenager. However, unlike Skor bars or even the Dark Chocolate flavor I reviewed in last January’s box, This was soft on my teeth.
The Peanut Butter flavor was a bit harder on my teeth, crunch wise. However, it was my favorite flavor of the two. I could really taste the peanut butter in this flavor.
Save 15% on your order at davessweettooth.com with the code ‘FIRST15’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
TASTE: 9/10

FROM THE BAG: We believe in snacking without compromise. To us, that means using the fewest, cleanest and simplest ingredients possible to bring you the best tasting popcorn. - That’s the Skinny!

I tasted nearly NO cheddar flavor on this. Maybe one handful out of the whole bag. The popcorn itself tasted fine. I just wish there was more of a cheddar flavor to the kernels.
TASTE: 8/10
PERFECT FOR THESE DIETS: Gluten free, Non-GMO, Dairy Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Preservative Free

FROM THE BAG: Our original kettle chips are in a class by themselves – the perfect combination of crunchy and salty goodness made from three simple ingredients.
Door County Potato Chips are handmade in small batches to ensure the highest quality. We use only the finest natural ingredients to bring out the real flavor and texture of this delightful snack.
These crunchy snacks have no preservatives and zero grams trans fat. Our chips are fresh and simple, just like Door County itself!
From our family to yours, Enjoy the goodness of Door County Potato Chips!

The taste is just like any other plain Kettle chip, but these were REALLY hard on my teeth.
If Door County were to make normal potato chips, I’d eat them, but due to my gum issues, I wouldn’t get these again.
Buy one bag, get one bag at DoorCountyPotatoChips.com with the code ‘LovewithFood’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
TASTE: 7/10

Looking at the ‘Perfect for these diets’ list, I was actually thinking this was going to be the next thing to eating sawdust. But I was actually VERY pleasantly surprised.
It tastes just like a granola bar, but in a 'free' form. The sweetness level actually surprised me. It's not overly sweet, but there is a good amount of sweetness it it, which comes from organic applesauce, vegan cane sugar, dried cranberries (which I thought were raisins, to be honest), maple syrup, nutmeg & cinnamon. This was hands down my favorite item in the box!
Save $5.00 on your order over $25.00 at redplatefoods.com with the code ‘FREEFROM’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
TASTE: 10/10
PERFECT FOR THESE DIETS: Gluten free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Peanut Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Sesame Free, Vegan

Nope. Another one that wasn’t happening, after learning my lesson with the Garden of Life Protein Mix, I wasn’t even going to try this. I was NOT going to subject myself to nausea again.
Save $10.00 on your order over $50.00 at aloha.com with the code ‘LWFSAVE10’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
PERFECT FOR THESE DIETS: Gluten free, Non-GMO, Vegan

These reminded me heavily of Cherry Gummy Life Savers. Very soft on the teeth. However, they liked to get stuck in my teeth as well. One of my favorites of January’s box.
TASTE: 9.5/10

I tried this in a cup of tea I received for Christmas, Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea, since I wasn’t sure how a sweetener with honey would taste in coffee.
It was okay, but it seemed to leave a very strange aftertaste in my mouth. I believe it was the brand and not the fact that it’s ‘supposedly’ diabetic sweetener, since I can use Splenda without this aftertaste.
TASTE: 6/10

These have a STRONG honey taste to them. Otherwise, these are very similar to the Tasty Fruit snacks from above. I didn’t feel any jitters or nervousness after eating these, so I’m guessing the energy comes from the honey and other sweeteners used in these.
TASTE: 8/10

I reviewed the Lemon Ginger flavor of these cookies last July and HATED them.
The Dark Cacao cookie tasted infinitely better, but they are still not a cookie I’d specifically go out and buy… which it PAINS me to say, because Emmy’s Organics is a ‘local’ company to me, based out of Ithaca, NY. I feel like I’m hurting the local economy by speaking ill of them.
The taste is reminiscent of an Almond Joy bar, minus the almond.
Save 20% on your order at emmysorganics.com with the code ‘LWF20’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
TASTE: 7/10
PERFECT FOR THESE DIETS: Gluten free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Organic, Kosher

I tried two packets of this in a morning cup of coffee and it just didn’t taste as sweet as I’m accustomed to. Just like with the Truvia Nectar sweetener above, it left a very strange aftertaste in my mouth.
I ended up passing the remaining packets to other adoptive family members.
TASTE: 2/10

Okay, so… like I said in the video above, I was leery of trying this, since I know energy drinks/shots aren’t supposed to be the greatest for you.
But after reading the ingredients list and see that it was basically just juice concentrates. I decided to try it… it’s just concentrated juices of superfruits. How bad could it be?
Really bad.
I got two sips in and I couldn’t drink any more of it. I’m not sure if it was the flavor I received (Watermelon Berry) or not, But it tasted outright repulsing and my stomach started churning. I ended up tossing the rest of it in the trash.
If you do drink energy shots and want to try this, Save on your next order at drinkre.com with the code ‘LovemyRE’ (one time use per customer - discount cannot be combined with any other offer)
TASTE: 1/10

As I said in the video, I passed these on to my grandma, since she does the cooking here. I’m sure she’ll be making lasagna in March for Mama Melissa’s birthday, so when she does, I will come back and edit this.
Tastewise, I didn't see a difference between these and normal lasagna noodles.
However, Grandma HATED using them. She said they ripped and tore way too easily for her liking. She said she had a hard time making Mama Melissa's birthday lasagna with them
TASTE: 10/10 for taste, 3/10 for durability

The biggest problem I see disabled folks having with these products are opening them. A LOT of the packages, I had to take scissors to, so if scissors aren't your strong point, you may have a problem opening these packages.

Still loving the variety in this month's box. I like how I got lots of snacks and part of a meal, all that are good for me.

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Genial Day Feminine Products

Genial Day Feminine Products

GENIAL DAY®  is a brand of awesome products for women, by women.  The GENIAL DAY® brand stands out because of the spirit of innovation and genuine concern about a woman's health and environment. Our products are designed to provide women with the ultimate comfort and a peace of mind. Therefore, they feature skin-friendly pH, are air permeable, and free of harmful chemicals.

Genial [jee-nee-uh l] favorable for life, growth, or comfort; pleasantly warm; comfortably mild: so as to give life, growth, or health.

Genial... that’s what our products are all about. By sharing them with you, we wish you a gentle, comfortable, healthy, and pleasant day. 
Ah. Periods.

It’s something every woman deals with and every man hates talking about.

As a teenager, I started out using pads, since my mommy was afraid I’d lose my virginity by using tampons. Granted, anyone that has taken some sort of health class knows that’s not the case. But my mommy was ‘old school’ in that aspect.

As my CP symptoms began to worsen, I switched to tampons, simply for ease. It was so much easier (and neater) for me to just change a tampon and go about my day than deal with changing pads and constantly ruining underwear when I’d have a spillage or ruining the adhesiveness of pads by shaking. Plus, I wasn’t getting the skin irritation when using tampons, like I was with pads. The most I dealt with was a little soreness from the applicator pinching my skin or pulling some hair when the tubes were pushed together. By this point, I was in my late teens and early 20s, had a boyfriend and no longer a virgin. So, Mommy was fine with it.

I was even playing it smart by following the tampon box directions to the letter… Change at least every 8 hours, full or not, use the SMALLEST absorbency needed to prevent leaks, Use pads at night, remove when finished with menstruation. I never had an issue.

But, when I moved in with Mama Melissa’s parents, I was forced to go back to pads full time, because of the TSS warning… which meant going back to ruined panties. Going back to leakage/spillage. Going back to skin irritation and redness. It sucked, but it was ‘their house, their rules,’ even though I’m over 18.

I’ve tried many different brands of pads, trying to find a brand that wouldn’t irritate the sensitive skin down there, but also keep my panties in decent shape. I managed to find one brand that did this… I REALLY want to say it was Stayfree with Velcro wings. However, they seem to have discontinued the Velcro version and went back to ‘tape’ fasteners for the wings. With shaky hands, these don’t work the best and I end up ruining perfectly good pads when the wings either stick to themselves or the underside of the pads themselves!

So, when Genial Day asked me to do a review of their products, I readily said yes. What drew me to them was the claim they made of not being irritant to the skin. I wanted to put this to the test.


In the package, I received:
1 package of 24 regular liners
1 package of 10 Super Absorbency pads
1 package of 8 Super Plus Absorbency pads
a box of Eivi Smart period Underwear

The liners are a bit short for my needs. I’m accustomed to the Always panty liners for ‘Plus Size’ women, which cover the crotch of my panties perfectly. I needed to take two of these to get the coverage I need.

The Super Absorbency pads are the ‘sweet spot’ for me. They look like an ultra-thin maxi with wings, which I usually DON’T like, due to having problems applying the wings to the outer crotch of my panties. However, These wings are different in the fact that they are 'cut' to wrap around the crotch of the panties better. They stay put, have just the right absorbency, and the wings don’t become useless if/when they stick to each other. Surprisingly, I really really love these pads.

And now to the ones I loathe… the Super Plus Absorbency pads. These are a thinner version of the Always MAXI Pads Extra Heavy Overnight with Flexi-Wings that Mama Melissa uses, complete with the flare-out ‘wings’ for the butt part of the panties. I’m not sure if I had a bad batch or what the deal was, but these just would NOT stick to my panties at all. I ruined 2 perfectly good pads, trying to put these into my panties. After the 2nd pad became ruined, I gave up and just used one of Mama Melissa’s pads that day.

As far as the underwear go… I didn’t even try them. I have no shame in admitting I wear a size 18 to 20 pants (I have a pair of elastic waist jeans that are size 20 that fit just right, but yet, I have a pair of  elastic waist jeans that are size 18 that are a bit baggy.) I was sent a size medium of these underwear, which are designed for a size 10-12… Yeah, this was NOT happening. I knew they would not even get over my rump. However, they do feel quite soft to the touch and I like the fact they have have ‘wing pockets;’ specially designed flaps that you insert the wings into, to ‘hide’ them from the outside of the panties. Not exactly sure WHY this is a thing, but if you’re the type that wears shortish skirts or dresses, no one will see your pad’s wings if an accidental flash happens.

Now, the BIGGEST problem I see disabled women having issues with is using the ‘wing pockets’ on the Eivi panties. If they have shaky hands, they might ruin the adhesiveness of the wings while trying to insert them.  The packages of pads have ‘easy-open’ flaps on them, so opening the packages are very easy. Otherwise, if a disabled woman can put a pad in her panties, she’ll have no trouble using these products.

All these products can be found on Genial Day’s website.

These products do live up to their claim. I did not have any skin irritations this month from pads. It was SO nice to not have soreness and redness 'down there.'

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

#BehindTheBlogger -- Love Yourself

#BehindTheBlogger -- Love Yourself

Loving yourself.

It's something every person in the world struggles with whether they will admit it or not.

"You're fat."

"You're ugly."

"You're too stupid to do (insert action here)."

"You'll never amount to anything."

Words like that are so VERY damaging to a person's psyche.

And if you have a disability, it's even harder to love yourself, since you feel 'broken.'



Growing up, I never had to worry about hearing these words. My Mommy taught me from a very early age that I wasn't broken, or defective, or useless. She taught me I was anything but.

Her mantra to me was 'You can do anything you set your mind to.'

Her teaching me that mantra is a LARGE part of why I've come as far as I have in life. She wouldn't let me just sit back and 'Oh, I'm disabled... I can't do that.' She pushed me to do my best in everything I did. If I failed... Well, okay; so be it. But I least I could say I TRIED.

I loved myself when she was alive, because she wouldn't LET me hate myself.

But after she died and I moved in with Mama Melissa's parents, things changed.

When I finished my Web Design degree, instead of congratulating me, like Mommy would have done, Her parents acted like it was no big deal. Mama Melissa and my friends acted like it was a bigger deal than they did.

Over the next 9 to 10 years, I slipped into a period of self-loathing. I hated EVERYTHING about me... and a large part of that was in thanks to Mama Melissa's father. Everyday, I heard negative comments about me... (and these are EXACT quotes, folks, just censored for the web)

"You're a f***ing ret*rd."

"You're so f***ing fat, Nobody except Aaron would want you. Not even a ******* would want you." (Aaron is our neighbor with Downs Syndrome)

"You're so f***ing ugly. It's no wonder you dated the guys you f***ing did... That's all you could f***ing get."

And it doesn't help that Mama Melissa's mom would 'encourage' him while in his presence, but she would be like Mama Melissa and supportive of me when he wasn't in earshot. There were days I honestly didn't know if SHE felt the same as he did, or if she was just going along with him to 'keep the peace.'

After hearing this stuff day in and day out for 9 to 10 years, I began to believe it myself. 'Maybe Mommy raised me wrong. Maybe she shouldn't have praised me so much.'

Then in about 2012, a light switch flicked. I had a talk with Mama Melissa, who basically told me NOT to listen to him; He's always been this way, and he will never change. I started dating Pookie, my fiance... and he shows me every day that he loves me for me. My CP doesn't bother him. He's fine with the fact I need to use mobility aids. He's fine with the fact that I walk and talk 'funny.' He's fine with my weight, whether I'm at my HS weight of 142, or if I'm at my current weight of 180. (And yes, I'm ABSOLUTELY FINE with admitting that)

And in turn, my self-esteem is going up by the day... I'm regaining my self-confidence and my self-worth. I'm so thankful for that.

He's showing me what it's like to 'Love yourself.' And I love him even more for that.

#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button

Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!