Monday, November 24, 2014

You'll Always Be The Queen Bee ~ Suzie RIP

I really tried to prepare myself for Suzie's passing.  I think no matter how hard you try - it doesn't matter.  It didn't seem to lighten the blow. 

Eventho in the back of my mind I knew something wasn't right.  Saturday Morning we took her into the vet and they did some X-rays.  The scans showed that she had fluid throughout her body...her stomach, by her heart, near or even in her lungs.  They discovered a Heart Murmur that had gone unnoticed until then.  There were shadows in a few areas on the X-rays in the stomach that they didn't confirm as cancer but had a hunch they were.  Similar shadows were near the liver.  With further tests they could determine if her liver was failing, if it was liver disease, or cancer in or near her liver.  Even more apparent were the masses that showed up her Suzie's heart.  There were several.  The vet was confident those were cancerous tumors.  She told us that in could be days or a week but the end result was the same.  It wasn't a matter of 'if' but 'when' Suzie would collapse. 


Suzie has always been and will always be the Queen Bee in our family.  That was her personality.  She was always strong.  Always the LEADER of the pack.  She's had a lot happen in the last 5 or 6 years and always bounced back.  Some bounces were harder than others...especially the last surgery she had about a year ago to remove 2 more 'fatty tumors'.

We adopted her a year after we adopted Sammy.  At that time Sammy was over 10 years old and Suzie was around 2.  Suzie's been a part of our family for about 12 years.  She loved Sammy and Sammy loved her.  We adopted Riley about 7 years ago.  Sammy was very protective of me but tolerated Riley.  Suzie was the buffer usually.  I can't believe it's been about 6 years since we lost Sammy.

Riley always idolized Suzie.  I'm worried about him - I know he will miss her terribly.  Paco entered our lives about 3 and a half years ago.  Paco thought Suzie was pretty freakin' cool too...and again...Suzie was the buffer in the house hold.  The older Suzie got the more acceptable she was of most other animals in the house and outside of the house, too!

Suzie loved to snuggle under blankets when we 'turned in for the night'.  She loved laying on blankets.  She enjoyed wearing sweaters eventho she only had two or three of them.  When we started Paco's collection of sweaters - she seemed to have a renewed interest in her sweaters.  Since she was mostly Jack Russell - she was always on the go - walking around the house - and was quite the spitfire. 

She's been gone since around 10am on Saturday.  It's been hard for everyone.  It's been quieter.  The sofa and bed seem bigger.  For the first time since we adopted her - I'm now the only "Bliss Girl" remaining in the family.  The boys have taken over.  I've told them not to gang up on me!  It's been a rough year.  We went from 7 Bliss Family Members down to 5 in less than a year.  Dale and I are trying to give extra love to Riley, Paco, and Charlie.  Paco's still having to go to vet appointments every couple of weeks for his ITP, including another one today at 2.  Suzie is missed and always will be missed.  She was an incredible WOMAN...and I do mean that with emphasis.  She will always be the Queen Bee...no matter what.  Rest in Peace my sweet Suzie.  I'll continue to sing CCR's "Suzie Q" with wonderful memories of you, darling!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Mail Monday - Compassion & Cacao

I'm so excited that I received more goodies in the mail today!  Mondays have been GREAT for that the last couple of weeks! 

This week I received some Mr. Bean Coffee Bean Scrub with Coconut Oil and Sea Salt...MANDARIN Flavored/Scented.  I've been looking for a new scrub as of late and I'm a HUGE fan of Mandarin...so I'm already excited and I haven't even tried it yet!

I've used a few other coffee based scrubs before...1 from a home-based business and the other being hand-made by a friend of mine in town here.  Hers was made with Olive Oil instead of Coconut Oil.

If you click on this 2nd photo and enlarge it - you will see what I saw - as I opened the box!  I thought it was clever and funny!  But then again - I have a strange sense of humor. 

Their website follows suit with their products being organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and very well branded throughout their site, products, media, and packaging!

They are very involved with social media and often use the phrase "Get Beaned" while referring to their product.  Clever and Creative!  I like it!


I also got my package from Sky over at Medicinal Foods and I can't wait to jump in!  He sent a large LOVER'S BAR which is being called the 'hottest chocolate' in the raw food movement right now.  He also sent smaller bars of the Truffle Bars including the Jungle Peanut, Coco Mint, and MacButter.  He sent two of his tonic powders including the Love Tonic (Womb Yin Nutritive) and Lotus Centered Spirit Tonic.  AND...their famous Cacao Elixir!  Woot!  I can't wait to try EVERYTHING!  And of course, I will be coming up with more recipes using these products VERY soon!



Another company I would like to point out in this post - is another cruelty-free company!  Teadora!  I can't wait to try their Rainforest At Dawn hydrating elixir and nourishing body polish.

I really LOVE that they GIVE BACK to so many organizations!

They have a real extensive website, too!

And the Cruelty-Free Bunny logo always helps sell me - as well!

The word "Teadora" translates to "Adore You".  The founder was born and raised in Brazil.  Her mother used only raw, organic, and natural ingredients and she wanted to stick with that tradition with the Teadora Product line.

Teadora helps to fund a philanthropic exchange between the U.S. and Brazil to promote rainforest conservation, education and leadership development.

I will be doing product reviews on all three of these companies and their product lines in the near future!

9am Nachos & Sweet Sleepin' Suzie

I decided to call these Nacho's...9am Nachos...WHY?  Because I had them for a Brunch the other day!  I know that sounds weird but it's true!  And they were FAB!  I did a layer of corn chips topped with lettuce, brown rice, black beans, salsa, and a Vegan Sour Cream that I made from scratch!  The Vegan Sour Cream was AMAZING!!  Recipe as follows...
1 C Cashews
3/4 C Almond Milk
2 T Lemon Juice
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
4 T Hemp Seeds
1/2 t Red Jalapeno Powder
Pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

YUMMO!


We've been keeping Suzie as comfortable as possible.  We still don't have much to report to her vet of what's been going on...she's just sleeping more than usual and showing her age, I guess.  I did make the switch to wet food at the end of last week and she absolutely LOVES it.  She did have a sudden burst of energy over the weekend - in the evening - and ran from one room to the other a few times - something that she hasn't done much (or any of) in the last few weeks.

I have a few projects in the works and will report on those soon, here.  Work is going to get a little crazier the next several weeks - if not MONTHS - but there may be somethings changing and I am trying to keep my CHIN UP about.  The weather situation is looking HAIRY for this week...we've already gotten 3 inches of slush before 8am and we can get 6 inches of snow today.  Over the next several days we could see in the FEET range.  I'm hoping it will be ok by Thursday afternoon so Megan and I can go see Dave Coulier in Erie as we planned.

Virtual Vegan Potluck Linky Participating Post

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dave Coulier Later in the Week...


 
Later this week my sister and I are going to take a quick road trip to Erie to see Dave Coulier at Jr.'s Last Laugh.  I'm so excited!  He played JOEY in Full House.  My sister and I have watched every episode MANY TIMES in our younger years!  It's sure to be a fun time and kick back to our child hood seeing him do some stand up!  I can't wait!  I wonder if we will get to meet him...that would rock!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My New Blissful Addiction to Canva

I have a confession to make...I'm an addict.  An addict to this site called Canva that is.  I've been tinkering with it for over a week now and I am in LOVE with it.  I've made this graphic - as well - as a few others this past week that I have featured here - as well as some for a few newsletters and websites I contribute to.  It's so easy!  
  Here's just a few things you can do with it...Album and Podcast Covers, Social Media, Presentations, Posters, Facebook Covers and Posts, Blog Graphics, etc.  Actually...my new header for this blog is done with Canva...as is my Google+ Profile Header.
They have some really neat templates that you can use and/or you can tweak them easily to whatever you wish!  I took a few screen shots for you to see what I am referring to!  There are many FREE things you can do with it and there are paid for features, too, if you want something MORE.  So far - everything I have used - has been of the FREE variety!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Indoor Gardening Journey

I've had some wonderful feedback about my Indoor Gardening hopes and dreams for this winter.  I've had a lot of interest in the topic with a lot of questions along the way.  So I figured I would start blogging about it now and keep you posted on the progress.  

Starting things off...with these 4 photos above.  The 2 plants on top in the green buckets are Sweet Banana Peppers.  We started them indoors and have kept them indoors this whole time.  They are doing quite well and we are seeing flowers and buds on two of the three plants.

The long thin leafy green lettuce is something that we've also done exclusively indoors.  It was one of the many Rosalita Lettuces we attempted throughout the season but this one looked way different than the other ones.  After a fashion the other ones had a stalk that budded seeds and flowers where this one has not and it's lasted much longer and the leaves are longer and thinner, too!

Next to that photo - in the blue bucket - was the best of the 3 Basil Plants that we brought inside.  It's still growing STRONG and making the production room smell wonderful.  I'm optimistic that we will be able to continue to grow the basil inside throughout the winter months.  One of the other Basil plants I gave to my husband's grandmother and the 3rd one we lost to frost about 2 weeks ago.

Then...in the red bucket is one of two Brussels Sprouts plants we brought in from outside.  They are still very small but I am not ready to give up on them yet.  Eventho we started from seed in April.

We are starting from seed a few other things we are going to try and do indoors during the winter months.  I will keep you posted on the progress there, too!

The Flex Belt - My First Impressions

The nice folks at The Flex Belt contacted me about reviewing their product and I thought it might be fun but also another thing I could learn about and research, too!  So...today I would like to share some of my First Impressions about The Flex Belt.

I will start off by saying that MY reviews on this product will probably be very different from other people reviewing this product because I am really thinking outside the box on a few different levels.

I remember seeing Infomercials on this product a few years back.  I'm one of those people who actually ENJOY Infomercials!  It probably has something to do with my marketing and advertising background.

One thing that I noticed about their marketing that they did very well is to get 'celebrities' to speak on their product and the results the had with The Flex Belt.  Personally - I don't really care one way or the other if celebrities endorse something or not - but in the Marketing World it's a great way to go if you are able to have a product that celebrities do like.  In the case of The Flex Belt - they have people like Lisa Rinna, Denise Richards, Jerry Rice, and more!

Another thing that they have going for them is that the product is FDA cleared.  Me - personally - I don't really look for things that are cleared by the FDA - seeing is that most natural foods, remedies, products, alternatives, and such are NOT approved or cleared by the FDA.  But for the masses and from a marketing standpoint I think that is great they can say that.

Those are really the only two things I wanted to mention that most people would finding interesting that I didn't necessarily focus on personally.  And they are NOT negatives about the product just something that wasn't important to me, personally.

Now...on to the things that I personally found interesting!

First and foremost - the company is VERY adamant about this product going along with a healthy diet and another form of exercise.  They are OPEN about it NOT being a substitute for eating right and exercising!   They are suggesting that those 3 factors 'play nice with' and 'assist' you in your toning journey.  I like that!  I like that they are NOT telling you to 'just do it' and BAM...you are going to have the perfect body!  I'm happy that they also stress eating right AND exercising, too!

Another reason I wanted to try The Flex Belt is because I work behind a desk for at least 9 hours everyday!  I enjoy walking, dancing, yoga, etc most days when I have 15 to 30 minutes (or more) available to dedicate to that.  What I don't have time to do is spend HOURS and HOURS in a gym everyday (or 5 times a week) toning every muscle I have.  I think this is a great tool for people that have desk and/or office jobs.  Because the belt fits under your clothes and adheres to your skin with glue/gel-like patches - you could also do this DURING work!  I have yet to do that, personally, but I have done it mostly at night - while at home - either standing, sitting, while doing dishes, or playing with my dogs!

I like that it's easy to charge and has fairly heavy duty connectors and cords to the power device, charging device, and belt itself.  The power on/off switch fits perfectly in my hand as well as in the snug-fitting belt pocket for hands-free convenience.  I love that there are intensity levels from 15 to 150 (more about this in a little bit) and that it's very easy to navigate the programs and intensity levels on the hand-held device.  I absolutely LOVE that the belt is cloth and Velcro and NOT leather (since I am NOT a fan of leather and avoid it!)   I appreciate the different size options on the actual belt, too!  Since I am a shorter person (only 5'2") I find some exercise equipment/gadgets won't work for me because the length under my chest to my waste is NOT long like some peoples.  The belt is far enough from my chest area yet doesn't overlap my hip area either. 

One thing I am not fond of is the aroma of the sticky glue/gel surface of the patches that lays between the belt and my stomach.  But if that's the worst of my worries - I can get past that.

Since this is a First Impressions Review of The Flex Belt I won't be listing much for personal results - I'm not quite there yet - but that is NOT to say that I won't post those results in the future.

Above - I mentioned that there are intensity levels from 15 to 150.  The booklet that comes with the belt suggests you start at 15.  So that is what I did.  They said to try and increase the intensity to what you feel you can do without feeling uncomfortable.  The first day(s) I got up to about 30.  It wasn't long (maybe a day or two) that I got up to 55 and 60.  The claims say that you will FEEL results within weeks.  Well, I can HONESTLY tell you that after TWO DAYS I could FEEL a difference.  Throughout the following day - I felt like I had been doing crunches the night before.  It wasn't a pain - but a difference - a difference I enjoyed.  This is something I will continue to do.  The programs I have done have been about 25 minutes - which are easy to keep track of - thanks to the built-in timer.

I really like that this goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating and exercise but is also easy to use and you can do it while doing other things.  Mostly likely I will continue to blog about the Flex Belt over time.

Recipes FOR Medicinal Foods

I woke up to some exciting news!  I was featured in Medicinal Foods Newsletter!  I submitted a few of my recipes to Sky over at Medicinal Foods - tweaking them - and including their Cacao Elixir!  In the feature I will be writing about some of their products here on my blog but in the meantime be sure to subscribe to their newsletter over at their site.  I hope to submit more recipes in the near future.  Another FUN thing is that Sky has been using some of the recipes I send him on his Instagram.  Be sure to check that out, too! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Happy Mail...a Peek...Anyways...

I got some happy mail today but I can't share a lot of it with you because many of the items were Christmas Gifts for a few people who have been reading my blog!  Two items that ARE for me are both from Ojio and I am super excited about them.  One is the CLEAR Agave Syrup and the other is Mangosteen Powder.  I grabbed both of these over at The Raw Food World.  

I'm still doing some upgrades and changes to my site - I hope you like them!  I have had a lot of good feedback on the black background and banner.  I might be fiddling around with the template a bit in case you see anything wonky while you are visiting.

What do you think about the changes?  And have you tried either of these products or any other Ojio Products before!?

Monday, November 10, 2014

NOT Giving Up Because It's Snowing...

About 3 weeks ago I picked what was ready and left from the Rooftop Garden that we experimented with this year for the first time.  It was all a learning experience that is for sure!  Our office Manager said 'you have to pick these before the frost' so I did.  There are a few things left out there but not much.  I'm sad to see this end.  So Sam and I decided to try a few things INSIDE during the winter months.  I hope to take some photos of those soon.  So far we have some Sweet Banana Peppers that look like they are going to work as well as some more greens.  As for the items you see in this photo from outside...one of the tomatoes and one pepper...both of which didn't get very big.  We will probably not try tomatoes and regular bell peppers next year.  We may get a Tomato Hanging Basket instead and only do non-bell peppers since the larger one pictured here at the bottom is a Big Jim and we got 5 good sized ones out of the plants we did do.  Then...the Dragons Tongue Beans were one of the best things we did do this year...we will be doing them indoors during the winter and most likely again next summer, too!  Then we have a Contender Bean, too.  We had 2 plants that survived.  We didn't get many Contender Beans but what we did grow was tasty.  We still have a few Brussels Sprout Plants we are HOPING will make it to full size.  I'm tempted to bring them inside tho...eventho I have read that a little bit of frost will make them sweeter...I just don't want to lose them...afterall...we started from seed in April.  BUT...just a heads up...I will be switching from Rooftop Garden posts to Container Gardening and Indoor Gardening posts SOON!