Tuesday, August 4, 2015

All About Me - 8/4/15

Hello from Florida! We've been living here on Anna Maria Island for the last four months. Four months of living on this gorgeous island.

We have had some pretty serious rain lately and we haven't gotten to the beach as much. We went today and it was nice to see the Gulf again. It was too wavy for me to go past my calves but I so enjoy sitting with my ankles in the water (who wouldn't?). Plus, I have some great books from the library. Going to the library is one of my favorite parts of the week. There are just so many choices.

Some photos from today & a few days ago when we ventured to the beach. That day we left because the wind was strong and it was making my leg move while I sat. And that was painful. Seriously, the wind hurt me.
This man cracks me up. Love him!

It doesn't look very wavy but I haven't been able to enter the water in at least a week and a half. I keep telling the Gulf to flatten itself but it hasn't worked yet.

Some random photos taken from my week of trying to rest my body (this is so boring some times).

The electric stimulus which actually helps the pain and I use all the time.

My sister sent me a movie on a USB. Fancy!

I take this blanket almost everywhere with me.
See? Everywhere. Today it was almost 90 degrees and I was sitting outside with a blanket. Do you see "Bob" coming through the screen door? Do you see his water bowl? He makes me smile.
 And some random photos of me.

There is this giant flowering tree that drops flowers constantly.
Yup, sitting in a sweatshirt in Florida. In August. I just don't sweat. Thanks RSD.

This is me being "real". The pain was bad you guys. I sat in one position too long.
And back to smiling. I'm sure my medicine was working at this time :)
 And other photos from around the house:

The hubby picked this up for $10 the other day. I love organization! I love that Facebook has yard sale groups.

The very important news from the island paper.

I love seeing all the birds that frequent our back porch.

Christmas!?! Yup! We are making up a Christmas marketing flyer for the hubby. He has been going to retirement communities to sing & play guitar. This week he has three different communities to visit. I have a few photos of him in red & green over the years but we wanted something with him holding a guitar. Thanks to a thrift store, we got a ton of Christmas items for under $2.

 And the "goings on" at our home back in PA. We were suppose to close July 17 and the buyers backed out the day of closing. The reason? We had some water in the basement. We did disclose this but PA had a ton of rain there for awhile.

So the hubby & I decided that it would be better to spend some more money to really clean up the basement and hopefully fix the problem.

See all the insulation? It came out of our basement ceiling. They are also doing something fancy with the drains (don't ask me what...something with pipe) and painting the basement with Dry-Lok.

 I really want to write more but my hands cannot do it anymore. Even with the talk-to-type software, I have to go back and fix things.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week in Words - 7/25/15

Hi everyone! Thanks for continuing to read. I got a sweet card from a reader today (hi Jenn!) and will be posting the awesome pictures her boys made for me soon.

This blog won't have photos because...the camera on my phone stopped working about two weeks ago. The hubby took it in to Sprint (he is SO good to me) and they reset it to factory settings. And erased all my texts and photos in the meantime. Oops.

That still didn't fix it and so a week later I got another new phone. Thankfully they were able to transfer my contacts but I lost everything else. No biggie honestly; I'm just thankful it didn't cost anything since I don't have insurance. I don't keep a lot on my phone. My new phone is up & running and I am slowly reinstalling apps.

Our home was suppose to close last Friday. It didn't. The buyers literally emailed the morning of closing saying they were backing out of the deal. Was I sad? Yup, a bit. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will bring the right buyers at the right time. And if that time isn't by October, we will worry about that then. And maybe He has some kind of other plan for us.

For those that may not know, we are down in FL renting until the middle of October. Our hope was that our home would sell and we could then have the cash for a new (cheaper) home here in FL. Our timeline is to have a home in place by the middle of October when our lease runs out. That way we can put all the stuff we've been collecting at yard sales at our new home. We have a garage full: dressers, nightstands (I think we have five right now?), kitchen cabinets (so many cabinets!), headboard, coffee table, a dryer, shower doors, regular doors, hardware, lighting and lamps of every kind. Basically everything except the bed and couch. We need cash to buy a home since we won't qualify for a mortgage (bankers like you to have proper job). So our timeline states our home has to sell by the beginning of September. That means we need an offer immediately and that probably won't happen.

So anyway... they backed out because our basement gets water. We live on a hill and just installed a metal roof. PA has had some pretty outstanding rain for the last two months. We don't get inches of water in the basement but the concrete does turn kind of that wet color (a darker gray) and looks damp. We've never done anything and it was fine for us to store stuff in bins and even my hubby to work out almost daily. We disclosed this in all the paperwork and the buyers knew about it. They opted out of a home inspection for some unknown reason and then decided last minute that the house would need lifted and an entire new foundation laid. We've had the foundation looked at twice and it is fine. Yeah, we aren't lifting our home to put in a new foundation for a buyer. So, it is back on the market. We do have a great friend/contractor in PA who will be painting the entire basement with DryLok - walls and basement. The basement is about 1700 square feet and the walls are all 9 foot tall so he has his work cut out for him. We want the house to show the best it can and that means putting a bit more money into it.

My RSD is okay today. If you have chronic pain, you know how things go. The other day I wanted to die. That is not a joke. I was in the car and my husband was taking me to the doctor. I rarely go off the island for anything else. The vibrations in the car are just bad. He stopped every few miles to let me rest. I cannot even sit in a running car without feeling those vibrations. And then my pills kicked in and I was okay. I could breathe, I could think.

My arthritis doctor got back my MRI results and told me I have inflammation. Yup, I feel it. She thinks I have S'jorgens (pronounced show-grens) but the only way for a clear diagnosis is a lip biopsy which I'm not willing to do. I'm not willing (right now) to allow a surgeon cut into the inside of my lip to prove I maybe have some other random health issue. The RSD could and probably would spread to my face and once it is there - it just won't go away.

So, she is taking a shot in the dark and trying me on a S'jorgens treatment. It is called Methotrexate and it is a weekly injection. She is closely monitoring my liver function and a few other stats through blood work. Methotrexate was used for cancer and then for severe arthritis. But she thinks it will help with the pain and it is a non-narcotic. There are some side effects: hair loss and nausea but she has also started me on a few supplements to hopefully help with those. She has me on a low dose to start and see how I do. I'm at the place where I'm willing to do something drastic.

My disability case was transferred from PA to FL which was done without my consent. Paperwork just showed up from the Social Security office last week saying my case was moved. Ummm...we still have a home in PA. We are temporarily renting here in FL. Our hope is to move to FL but we aren't there yet. We figured that they got a piece of mail returned to them that couldn't be forwarded and saw our "new" forwarding address.

It seems ridiculous to move the case back to PA when we do hope to live here soon and so I found a new lawyer. I filed in December 2013 so hopefully my case will be assigned a judge soon. RSD doesn't automatically qualify someone for disability but my doctors have all been amazing. Again, this is in God's hands. I would love to not have pain and GO BACK TO WORK! Hear that Social Security? I hate sitting all day in pain watching yet another "Good Mythical Morning" on YouTube (okay...I love that show but there is only so much resting a girl can do). I want to decorate cookies and paint furniture and go to church and actually swim in the Gulf instead of being a blob on the beach and...be an activity director at a retirement community.

So that brings everyone up to date. I have been blogging for almost five years now! My blog will "turn" 5 next week. I still read my old blog posts when I need to know information (for example, when we remodeled the kitchen - so easy to search & find the answer!). But I know some days my blog is boring for most. Like this one. But I do want to journal as I go and right now that means boring stuff. :)

Have a great day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

PopSugar Must Have Box (July 2015) vs. FabFitFun Box (Summer 2015)

Hi everyone! I'm still breathing. My RSD has been bad this last week. I will blog again soon but first...

A "subscription off" with two of my favorite boxes. Today will be all about the FabFitFun Summer Edition 2015 box and the PopSugar Must Have July 2015 box.

The FabFitFun came first last week so we will start with them. This is going to be a long post. Just a warning :)

FabFitFun is $49.99 and is a quarterly box which means they ship four boxes a year. They almost always have a coupon code to take $10 off which makes the box about $40. Try coupon code FCM10 or FFF10 to take $10 off of your box. 

If you would like to sign up, please use THIS LINK.

The first look was good. I looked at spoilers (whole blogs are dedicated to showing you what you are getting before the box actually comes!) and so I knew what was coming. But that didn't mean I was any less excited. 

1. The first item in the box was The Everyday Wireless Speaker by FabFitFun. It retails for $30. It is a portable wireless speaker which means you can bring this to the beach or pool. We had a color choice of teal or pink and I went with the teal. It turned out to be slightly more turquoise than the box which I was glad. I love all things turquoise & aqua right now.

I plan on using this as a gift but even now I'm wondering if it would be a good thing to keep. Ha. I have a wireless speaker at the house and I don't tend to listen to music much outside of the house. But maybe someday in the future I'd need this? Hmmmm....

2. Vaseline Spray Moisturizer, retails for $8 but this was a sponsored item and FabFitFun threw this in for free. KEEP!

I love these things. My sister bought me a bunch of Christmas a few years back and I loved them. It isn't a heavy moisturizer but it is great for days you want a bit of moisture on your legs and don't have time. It isn't greasy nor sticky. And the spray cap works great.

I love these so much that I have purchased them at retail and paid retail prices.

 3.  Hello Konjac Cleansing Sponge, retails for $12. Keep.

Well, first of all, I had never heard of these. I'm sure I'm just out of the loop. I barely touch the computer most day anymore. It is a loofah-type sponge. 

But, I liked it. I use it in the shower with a bit of cleanser on my face. My face breaks out every time I eat the slightest bit of milk (does salt water taffy HAVE to have milk?!?) or if I take prescription drugs (which is almost every day at this point) and so I could use a bit of help in this area.

The smell is very faint. Maybe a bit almond-y or like cooked rice? I couldn't place it but it is faint. The size is small, as I already mentioned. This helps "Korean women to gently exfoliate and cleanse pores" and it is made out of vegetable fibers (which sounds gross).

I wouldn't have paid retail for it but I'm glad I got to try something new. I may have picked this up on the TJ Maxx clearance table for $2 or so. 

4. FabFitFun x CosmoBody Jump Rope, retails for $14. GIFT.

This will be gifted as even mentioning jumping rope makes me laugh. (For those that may not know, I have RSD) Most days I shuffle my feet through the house because it hurts too much to pick them up. Jumping of any kind is out. But I know exactly who to send this too so I'm glad it was included. 

5.  Sorry for the blurry photo! Gorge "I'll Make You Look Amazing" daily spray, retails for $25. KEEP. 

Another keeper! This is something I would never buy as the price is high. But, I like the smell. It smells like the beach; kind of salty. I have no idea if it works yet but I use it daily on my wet hair. 

6. Scratch Nail Wraps, retails for $12. GIFT.

I wanted to like these. I love Jamberry nail wraps and use them all the time. However, these included enough to just do one manicure. And the print is kind of odd. The squares are red with a green outline on pink nails. The red & green kind of has a Christmas vibe to it. I would probably not choose to ever put red, green and light pink together. 

Anyway, I opened these up two days ago. I was on the phone with my mom and wanted to try these. I realized after opening that they didn't have a big enough wrap for my thumbs. Seriously? My thumb nails don't seem THAT large to me.

I then thought "no big deal" and I would just make them work. I continued talking to my mom. Then, I realized there are NO instructions on the package. Who does that? There is a little blurb on the back that has a website. You need to go online, look up the directions and then apply them. Yup, not happening. Especially when I'm trying to apply them while on the phone. Plus I didn't like that once you opened the package, you had to use them or they dry out. I stuck mine in a baggie. Hopefully that keeps them fresh.

So, long story short, my cousin is getting these. (Rach, they will be on the way soon)

I think FabFitFun could have chosen another more "summer-y" style and Scratch could have easily put the directions on the box. I still have no idea of how to apply these. 

7. Inkling Scents Sultry Roll-On Oil Perfume, retails for $25. KEEP? GIFT?

I think this is an awesome addition to the box. I make my own roll-on scents using essential oils. This one has sandalwood, white amber, lotus flower, orchid, Bulgarian rose and silky vanilla and is all pure oil fragrance.

This is a scent I would absolutely love on someone else. Like someone would walk by and I'd go "oh, that woman smells amazing". But, it isn't very "me". I am not a daily perfume wear-er. I almost never wear make-up, do my hair, put on lotion...it just doesn't work with my life right now. However...

I think this may be a good winter scent. I want to be "that" girl who wears leggings and boots and cashmere shawls. But, leggings would cause some pretty major pain to my legs right now, boots are out of the question with my feet and cashmere itches. Even expensive cashmere. SO itchy.

Realistically I plan on keeping it for a few months and then probably gifting it away. 

8. Wren 14Kt Gold (dipped) and Black Sapphire Necklace, retails for $100. GIFT.

Another gift-able item. I'm not sure where FabFitFun (or any box actually) gets their retail value. $100 seems high on this.

But, it is an adorable necklace. We could choose heart, moon or a horseshoe and you could choose your choice of gold or rose gold (I think those were the metal choices). I chose a heart in gold. It is dainty and adorable. I tend not to wear jewelry and so this will be gifted. 

9. (Can you believe there is still more to open in this box?!?) Tarte LipSurgence Lip Gloss, retails for $19. Gift.

The color is pretty gorgeous for summer and it has a light shimmer to it. It has vitamin E, jojoba seed oil and flower extracts. It is a plumping formula.

I'm going through a phase where I try not to wear make-up that attracts attention. I still want to be pretty but more than that, I want to be approachable. Every time I think about my aunt Y (who I want to be), I remember her just being lovely.

10. HeadSpace 3-month subscription, retails for $39. Keep.

I had never heard of HeadSpace. It is an app that gives guided meditation. A-list celebs love this app (supposedly...I don't actually know them).

I had the hardest time installing this app on my andriod phone. I also had problems on their website on the computer. That is how badly I wanted this to work. I then Facebook messaged HeadSpace. They did write back and offer to help which was nice. 

Anyway, after a few days of trying, I got it to download on my phone. I realized my internet speed isn't fast enough to download non-free apps. Once I realized that, I got it to download at the library.  

I listened to a few of the guided meditations. They are mostly of a man speaking very slowly. I think a lot of people could be helped with this. I'm probably not one of them. My life should feel stressful (we are trying to sell our home from afar, sell a vehicle from afar, move to another state, buy a house plus I have this odd disease thing happening) but I don't. I feel very at peace with my life and already pray daily. The meditations didn't feel new age-y or weird. It felt more like a soothing voice was just talking slowly to me. I'm going to see if my hubby wants to try it but if not, no big deal. 

 Other things added to the box included the FabFitFun card which explains what you received and an Giuliana Rancic card for her new book. There was no coupon code on this though.

Here is the box...

The retail value was $276 without the Vaseline spray. I purchased it for about $40. For that $40, I got to keep the lip gloss, the Gorge hair spray, the cleansing sponge, the Vaseline spray and the Headspace subscription. I also have some wonderful gifts like the Wren necklace, the perfume roll-on, the wireless speaker, jump rope and the nail wraps.

Overall this box did impress me. I love the FabFitFun boxes and look forward to them every quarter. Want to see other FabFitFun box reviews? Click HERE.

Want to see more about FabFitFun? If you would like to sign up, please use THIS LINK.


And now...onto the PopSugar July 2015 Must Have box. 

PopSugar makes a monthly box which retails for $39.99. There are usually $5 coupon codes which make this box $35. These boxes do come monthly and so there are 12 boxes a year. I find I don't "need" 12 boxes a year and so I just pick up one here & there. If you would like to sign up after reading this review, please use my referral link HERE. Use coupon code MUSTHAVE5 for $5 off your first box.  

 The first look was good. Again, I had read spoilers and knew mostly what was in this box. 

1. Henri Bendel signature stripe "dopp" kitt, retails for $28. Keep or Gift.
This canvas bag has a zipper at the top and stays open. I love this thing but I'm not sure I have a use for it. I have quite a few bags of this size (thanks ipsy!) and so I may decided to gift this but I'm not sure yet.
I love the blue on the zipper & lining. I'm not sure brown & white really scream "summer" to me but I like it. 

2. Yes To Blueberries cleansing facial wipes, retails for $6. KEEP.
I love these make-up take-off cloths. I use them daily, even when I'm not wearing make-up.

3. PopSugar always includes an edible treat. The Good Bean fruit & no-not bar, retails for $2.
I'm sure this will be good but I haven't tried it yet. 

4. Sorial card case, retails for $28. GIFT. This is a place to stick your credit card and driver's license type of thing. It is red which again, doesn't seem very "beach-y" to me.Maybe they were trying for the whole 4th of July patriotic thing?
I have a gazillion cards. I keep the ones I don't regularly use in the car in an ipsy bag (kind of a small cosmetic bag). The ones I use regularly are kept in my purse. Again, in a small cosmetic bag. There are about 6-8 cards I use on a fairly regular basis. Driver's license, two health insurance cards, debit card, credit card and a few cards I'm forgetting. This card case holds three cards.

5. PopDental portable electric toothbrush, retails for $20. KEEP.
This is a fun addition to the box. I wish someone would just make a subscription service where you get what you already use. Like toothpaste but fancy toothpaste. A toothbrush but a fun one (like this!) You get the idea.
This one went to my hubby. He doesn't get very many items out of these boxes but this one is gender neutral. His review was "it works fine". So there you go.

6. Supergoop! defense refresh setting mist with SPF50, retails for $28. KEEP.  
We are living in FL and I use SPF daily. This is perfect for me. SPF in a spray! This also sets makeup and controls oil. I have the oiliest skin so hopefully it helps. 

7. Hallmark set of 3 "signature" greeting cards. These were a "special extra" which means they were sponsored items. The retail on these is $15+. Mine were worth $22! This is a total KEEP!
The first was a birthday card with two pretty sequin and tulle glasses. This retailed for $5. 

The second was this LOVE card. Gor-geous! This retailed for $8. 

The third was my favorite. It was a "hello beautiful" card and retailed for $9. The front was a heavy acrylic plate. 

The Hallmark cards were my favorite thing in the box.

The retail value of this box was $110 without the Hallmark cards.

So, which wins in your head? Both were really good. Both gave me a lot of stuff I'll actually use and a bunch of stuff to gift. If I was still selling on ebay, I could easily sell enough to make up the price of these boxes.

I'm going to pick PopSugar for the win. I almost cannot believe it. I love FFF and have always chosen them. But those Hallmark cards were my favorite item in either box. My next favorite item was the toothbrush. I tend to like items that can be used often and in my world, I don't have a lot of use for "girl-y items" (make-up, jewelry) right now.

As always, I think FFF is the better value. Their boxes are always full and I like that they put such a wide variety of stuff in there.

Would I buy both again? Yup.

But now I really want Hallmark to make a subscription box. Can someone make that happen? I want more of those cards! 

If you would like to sign up for PopSugar after reading this review, please use my referral link HERE.

If you would like to sign up for FabFitFun, please use THIS LINK.


Disclaimer: I don't get paid to blog about these. I pay for these boxes just like anyone else. I wish I was sponsored by them but I'm not.