In the Spirit of #GivingTuesday

Did you know that Basenji dogs have genetic disorders that affect the kidneys and digestive system?

I do. Now.

My Nugget is a Basenji/Red Heeler mix. She is almost 2 years old, and she has digestive issues. And I just found out this morning that her bloodwork shows that her kidney function isn’t what it’s supposed to be, and that she will *most likely* develop Fanconi Syndrome, which can’t be cured, but dogs can live with it, if caught early and the correct protocols in place.

Right now, she’s off at doggy day care, playing her heart out. When she isn’t feeling well, you can tell, by the not eating, by the weight loss, but oh my god, this puppy is such a happy and friendly being, who puts a smile on the face of EVERYONE she comes in contact with.

It’s up to me (and the vets) to worry about this. And worry I will. I’m already having a time of it due to holiday stress, my meds not being right, my gut doing its thing, and oh, my needing to move to a new place ASAP, but right now, I can’t think about anything past this.

But the plan, for now, is to get her on a special diet for about a month, and re-check her blood to see where we go from there. “There” will be an internist in OKC. I’ll need $$ for the consultation, and $$$$ for the ultrasound they are going to do, to make sure other bad stuff isn’t happening.

I’m keeping *everything* crossed that the new diet will help quite a bit, but you know me, I don’t really do the whole “positive faith” thing. I’m more of a realist.


If you’re still here, still reading this, and you are the praying type, Nugget can use your prayers. Prayers, good vibes, healing white light, anything you’ve got. Maybe, if enough people can believe in the positive, it will outweigh the negative in me.

And also, since it’s Giving Tuesday , I’m hoping that you can help Nugget and myself out. There’s a lot more going on right now than I’m telling, but that takes a backseat to the health of my loyal companion. So while I’m trying to put out fires over that way, I’m asking for assistance to help with this new situation.

Firstly, if you’re the praying type, please do so. I find it hard to find faith in the Universe when it keeps kicking me.

If you are a healer, please send healing light to my Nug. She really is the best pup ever and deserves a full and fun life.

If you are neither, good vibes will help.

Also, if you’re looking for a way to participate in Giving Tuesday, please consider donating to the YouCaring fundraiser I’ve started to help with her vet bills. She’s going to need a very expensive ultrasound, not to mention the consultation, monthly blood work, etc, at least, initially.

I’m not going to ask for anyone I know to throw down $100 when I know most of them/you are in the same general boat as I am. But if you have $2 to throw in, $5, that would get us closer than where we are now.

To donate to Nugget’s fundraiser, go HERE. And if YOU can’t donate, perhaps pass this on to others who can.

Thank you.


Easy(ish) Money: A Quick Guide to Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and SendEarnings

Earning extra money for the holidays, savings, trips, groceries, etc. isn’t the easiest thing to do if you already have a full time job or two and no extra time or energy to go out and find someone else to hire your tired ass.

In the past few months I’ve made a couple hundred dollars doing extra stuff that doesn’t require a ton of time and energy. To be more precise, I’ve made enough money to buy a new smartphone, help pay off my car, and have a random ten bucks here and there if I need it.

How, you ask? By signing up for each and every survey-taking website I could get my grubby paws on.

Ok, not all of them, but a good chunk of them. I had to vet each website before signing up, and even after signing up for some of them. Some of them were just scams, some were just not useful. I’m still finding out that some of the ones I’m still signed up for are total crap.

But I’m not here to sling mud at those. I’m here to help you cut straight to the chase and hit the best sites. Oddly enough, there are some websites that are basically copies of one another (they have the same look, same setup, etc) and there are plenty of them where you will be offered the same survey.

The first three I want to talk about are very similar to one another. SwagbucksInboxDollars, and SendEarnings. These three are all very similar in style and in what you can do to earn money. InboxDollars and SendEarnings might as well be the same site: they have the same requirements, same look, pretty much the same everything. However, I’ve gotten my first payment from ID, whereas on SE I’m still working towards the basic goal.

(I was totally going to add screenshots of each site to this piece, but I’ve decided to scrap that idea since A) the SS are now lost in the ether of my work computer and B) this post has been languishing in my Drafts since late September. It’s just time to move on.)

Swagbucks is the best of these three, by far. It’s the most user-friendly, and the most entertaining. There are team events and plenty of videos to watch, offers to look through, games to play…In short, there are plenty of ways to make money off of this site. I think I’m almost at my 4th $25 pay out on SB, and it’s easy as anything. AND you can get paid via PayPal (which is EXTREMELY useful for these survey sites, so if you don’t have one, make sure you do. And while you’re at it, if you’re planning on signing up for a lot of survey sites or free samples, etc, make sure to set up a new email address that is specific to this project, otherwise your regular inbox will be flooded with nonsense daily and you might miss something).

Paid Emails: All 3 have these, but IB and SE have the bulk. You can click on the actual email for those two, or do it while on the site.

Offers(free and otherwise): I don’t do much of this–I’m abusing my inbox quite enough, but if you need a quote for car insurance or want a free trial of a music streaming service or something, you can make a little there.

Bonus Codes: With the Swagbucks app you will be notified that there’s a new code that can be found somewhere on the site or their social media. Type it in the code box and you get a few SB. It’s good if you’re social media-friendly with SB.

ID and SE have these codes, too, but you get extra spins for their consolation game or sweepstakes.

Referrals: Most of these sites have a reward for getting your friends to sign up, and you get a little extra when they make money.

Shopping, Grocery coupons: You can get $ when you shop online via their websites, and you can print off grocery coupons that you get credit for after you use them.

There are also games to play and videos to watch, but most of what I make is from taking surveys.

Don’t let the ads fool you. It’s rare that I get multi-dollar reward surveys. Mine are usually 25 – 50 cents. But then, my demo is usually all full up. You get better rewards if you act fast.

Real Talk: I would be greatly pleased should you choose to click on my referral links, but don’t join things willy nilly like I did. Some Offers on these sites give you $ for joining other panels, but just make sure to do your own bit of research to make sure the site is legit. Assume everything is out to get you and use the Google. Trust no one.

You can use all 3 of these sites on desktop,  but only ID and SB have smartphone apps, and Swagbucks has multiple apps you can use.

My Referral Link for Swagbucks

My Referral Link for InboxDollars

My Referral Link for SendEarnings

So that’s it. Go forth, get referred, give ME money, get YOU some money. Sign up, take a look around and see what kind of damage you can do. Let me know what you think. If you are a fan of any of these sites, or a non-fan, drop some knowledge in the comments.









Livin’ the LUSH Life

Y’all, I am exhausted. I have been so busy trying to make extra money and try new things to review  and signing up for all the sites in the land.

Like, seriously. You should see my inbox. I’m still trying to set up filters. I’m swimming in surveys and paid emails and offers.

But this blog post isn’t about all of that.

This one is about the goodies I’ve gotten from LUSH.

I was introduced to the lovely world of LUSH by a co-worker after I complained about my combination oily/dry/itchy/flaky face skin. “Try the Coalface Cleanser,” she said. “That’s good for just about anything.”*

(*I don’t remember the actual conversation, but that’s the jist.)


I looked at the site. Looked at the price. And walked away.

But then, she told me about the samples.

They are the nicest people in the land. If you order or go into their store, they pretty much will give you whatever they can slice or plop into one of their teeny little black sample cups.

So my co-worker says. I don’t leave my area very much, so I haven’t been to the “local” LUSH store. BUT I did get some samples when I put in an order recently.

I’ve been abusing my poor feet. Not taking proper care of them, injuring myself, standing on them all damn day. I decided they needed a treat. So I ordered myself

Twinkle Toessome  Twinkle Toes Dusting Powder.

Not even gonna lie, my feet sweat, and my shoes are funktastic. I’ve tried the Dr. Scholl’s sprays, the powders, but those are…well, not for me.

But this stuff? It GLITTERS. And smells nice. Rose and Geranium powder, the site says. Well, whatever it is, I like it. My feet LOVE it. Just a sprinkle in the shoes after I rid myself of them for the day, and a dusting on the soles before I start my day.

I’m twitching my toes right now. They do not feel gross. It’s really nice.

You know what else is really nice? This stuff:


Foot Soak And Fancy FreeFoot Soak and Fancy Free

My poor little feet were swollen one day, from the all-day standathon that is my job. So I went home one day, busted this guy into four pieces, and dropped one quarter in some warm water, and sat the hell down for half an hour.

This was amazing. My feet were soft, clean, not swollen, and more importantly, [temporarily] pain free. It was a little fizzy, a little girly…but it was definitely a “Calgon, take me away” kind of moment for me.

And those were just the two things that I bought and paid for. I also received four samples. One was a tiny sliver of the Coalface Cleanser that I’ve been using ever since. Dudes, that stuff lasts forever. And it got my face squeaky clean. It literally squeaked. And it’s evened me out a bit, as well. It’s fantastic. I’m eventually going to break down and buy and entire bar.

The second, which was gone in a flash, was the Beautiful shower gel. It was peachy and creamy, just like the description. Usually new shower gels that aren’t my St. Ives Oatmeal or my Dove Cucumber Melon dry out my skin and make me itch. This actually didn’t. It smelled awesome, too.

My cuticles are rough and sad and painful. Hangnails and whatnot. I’ve been trying to tame them, keep them soft and the opposite of sad and painful, but I haven’t found what I’m looking for. I used a combination of the apricot-scented Sally Hansen cuticle cream and the Lush Ultra Balm the other day.  I made my cuticles angry with that combination, I think. They were dry and ragged and red. I was so upset. Now, the Ultra Balm is kind of a universal tool. Use it to calm that ONE PIECE of hair that won’t stay down, or that one patch of dry skin that won’t stop itching. I haven’t used it for any of those things yet. I still have some left, so I will try it elsewhere, but definitely not on my cuticles.

However, I do believe I will use the Sympathy for the Skin to soothe those savage cuticles. This stuff smells like vanilla cream. There are other, more subtle scents, but the vanilla is what hits me first. I’m not a fan of the cloying, overly sweet vanilla scents, but this is a very straightforward kind of vanilla. It’s calmed down with a little banana and some lemon and sandalwood, so it isn’t just vanilla.

Next order, I’m getting some body butter and some Coalface. Not sure what else, but there’s plenty to choose from. And the folks working the LUSH phones are super nice and accommodating. They’ve got a customer for life.











Product Tests #1 & #2: Nivea & Biofreeze


Hidey ho, friends!

So yeah, I’m slow at posting. I know an active blog posts weekly, if not daily. But Life gets in my way at every turn. ACTUALLY, it’s Work getting in my way. Not that I mind TOO much, because YAY, JOB! but still. It would be nice to be able to stop stressing EVERY second of the day.

But I’m Me. So that’s not going to happen. But I’ve found a few minutes on this lazy Tuesday to drop some words down about two products I “recently” received samples for that you guys might enjoy.

The first is the Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion.

I have aggressively dry skin, so when I saw that this product existed, I was so so happy. I found the offer for a sample on one of the many websites I was signing up for to make money. It was easy. You can grab a sample for yourself HERE.

I got the “Very Dry Skin” version of the product.  The smell of the stuff itself wasn’t anything to write home about. It smelled like unscented lotion on steroids. And guess what? That is my only complaint about the product. No, really. I mean, the sample could have been a wee bit bigger so I could have covered my whole body. And I loved that there was a coupon enclosed, but I want those coupons to show up more frequently, because for a lotion, this stuff is a little expensive when you’re on a budget.


In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion 24hr+ MoistureAfter you soap down and rinse off, you apply to everywhere but your face and feet and then pretty much immediately wash it off, being careful not to slide around in the tub.

Aside from drying my hands out a little bit, this stuff actually worked. It There was no scratching, no itching, no redness. It was nice to not have ashy, gross legs for once. And I didn’t feel goopy, like I’d applied lotion post-shower.

And since they were kind enough to enclose a coupon with my sample, I went ahead and purchased a regular-sized bottle for myself. I stuck with the “Very Dry Skin” formula for this purchase. The 13.5 oz bottle stuck around for 3-4 weeks. I used it every time I showered. My skin never felt like silk, like so many lotions promise, but the skin felt a little more hydrated.

And then I learned there was a Cocoa Butter version. I jumped on that one. I think I’m on my second bottle of that one. I’m going to have to pick up another bottle when I do my bi-monthly shopping tomorrow.

(YMMV, but I’m tall and have a lot of [dry] skin, so I need to use a bit more than the average bear, I think.)

I give this product 5 stars.



Continue reading

Gut Instinct

Constipation. Stomach cramps. Fever. Chills. Nausea. Fatigue. Weakness.

It’s time for a Diverticulosis flare up.

And it’s all my fault.

And there’s not really much I can do about it.

Except be miserable and whiny and hungry and did I mention miserable and whiny?


I left this post here 11 days ago, once I got busy and started feeling better. That has changed. I’m not feeling as bad, nor am I as whiny.

So here’s the thing. To outsiders, my life might not seem as difficult as I feel it is. I have a full time job, but I’m struggling to pay my bills–both past and present; I’m no longer a social butterfly, but I’m active on social media because I have anxiety issues and crowds and big events stress me out; I have a pup that I love to pieces, but she’s causing me even more stress even as she cuddles me.

And then there’s my health. I have chronic…everything. I have diseases that women in their 60s are supposed to have, not someone who hasn’t even turned 40 yet. I have had chronic headaches since I was 10 years old, but only diagnosed with migraines within the past decade. I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, self-diagnosed PMDD, SAD…There are many types of depression, and I don’t delude myself that I know all about them. I just know what I know. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism just a few years ago. I have chronic back pain, some of which is because of a vertebrae that fused incorrectly, which has led to degenerative disc diseaseI have broken toes in both feet and high arches that require me to wear specially made orthotics in my shoes. I’m overweight, and have been since I was 7. Some of that led to/was the cause of my depression as a child [that was left untreated until I was in college] and has led to the bane of my existence today, the diverticular disease I’m dealing with today.

Believe it or not, I’m not listing all of that to garner sympathy. As a matter of fact, just looking at it all written out like it is ridiculous. There are so many of these things that could have been headed off at the pass during childhood. But that’s a story for another day, yeah?

So there it is. It’s not just one thing that keeps me from going to social gatherings, or writing, or cleaning or whatever. It’s a giant compilation album of my greatest hits.

And this is something I deal with on the daily. It’s not really like these things schedule themselves on different days so I only have to deal with one at a time. I’m not that lucky. Right now, I’m getting hit by a little bit of everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that other people don’t have these issues. I’m just saying that I’m not other people and that I have a lot to deal with. And I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. But every time I ask for help…I’m overlooked, or not believed, or just told to “eat right.”

Ok, I’d love to eat right, but how to do that when I have two diets at war with one another? Oh, right. I forgot to mention the goutThe diet to keep my gut healthy says “Eat all the yogurt! Eat all the oatmeal! Eat all the beans! And don’t forget to take all the Beano!” and the diet to keep the gout under control is telling me “No yogurt! No oatmeal! No beans!”

So I just binge on sugar.

I have medicines for that. One of the meds I have, Contrave, is in charge of reprogramming my brain to make better food decisions. When I’m off of that, AND I’ve been given the wrong thyroid medicine, that’s just one giant trip to Dunkin’ Donuts or Panera waiting to happen.

Willpower isn’t a thing I have. And when these binges occur, I know exactly what I’m doing and what it’s going to do to me. But I calmly make the decision to keep going.

So yeah, there’s a great big chunk of “It’s My Fault” in there.

And unless you really look, I don’t “look sick.”

That’s because I put up a good front, unless it’s really bad. And when I’m showing how bad it is, it’s BAD. But folks I guess, just think I’m just not feeling well, rather than writhing in pain on the inside. But I have to have my public face on because I deal with so many customers in a day who need a smile or want to chat or have a laugh.

Laughing hurts right now. I’ve got the beginnings of a migraine trying to land, and I’m trying to ignore it. Especially when nursing students come in to tell me about an 87 year old man on Viagra who pistol whipped a hooker and had a heart attack. It’s a hilarious story, but laughing puts pressure on my sinuses and makes my face hurt, too. So it’s not necessarily the best medicine.

And people just don’t get it. When I say I don’t feel well, I really do not feel well. Headache, gut pain, back pain, sinus pressure…it all leads to an inability to concentrate and do my job. I’ve made so many mistakes here lately, and people just think I’m a giant fuckup.

I hesitate to call myself a “Spoonie,” though. I do kind of fit the bill, but there are people with Fibromyalgia and Lupus who fit the definition more. But yeah, I feel like I have a limited number of spoons, and I end up running out before the day is up and I’m just exhausted, emotionally and physically. It makes me want to hide, to curl up with my pup under the covers and sleep. I don’t have the desire or motivation to leave my nest.

So I’m warding off a migraine, my guts hate me, and guess what? My poor pup is having digestive issues as well. She was treated for Giardia, an intestinal parasite, a few weeks ago. And before that even happened, I had started to switch her food from the puppy formula to the adult formula, and now I’m having to change brands altogether, so her tummy is very unhappy, as well.

But Nugget doesn’t let that affect her. She still runs like a greyhound, and plays and barks at her nemesis and friends out the window, but I’ll catch her eating grass on our walks, and she strains when she poops. So this deed can be laid  at my door, as well.

I try to not let my issues get in my way, but sometimes I just can’t keep the look off my face, or my temper in check. More than once my verbal filter going down has almost gotten me into trouble.

Thanks to my dog and my job, I’m more physical than I used to be. But when my physician tells me I need to exercise more, I’m just at a loss. I do so much moving and lifting and carrying during the day, then my dog drags me around my apartment complex and the surrounding area multiple times a day…All I want to do is sit. Or lie down. And then I feel guilty, which does me no good.

Anyway, here we are, approximately 1200 words later, and I finally figure out what the point of this post is.

Education is important. If you have some sort of illness/disease, research it and ask questions. Get your doctor to talk to you about the ins and outs of what you have to deal with. That’s part of the battle.

That’s the part of the battle that I lost. I never asked the questions I needed to, and I’m still very confused about a bunch of things regarding my health. But sometimes you don’t know that you’re supposed to ask these things, you just think your physician is going to supply you with all the info you need.

Never trust that. Never.










Under Construction. Again.

So here’s the thing.

I’ve got this job that takes up all of my time. I’ve got this puppy who takes up what is left. I love my job, and I love my puppy even more…But I’m exhausted. And depressed. And broke.

Let’s go back a bit.

We all know about the job, we all know about the pup–look at her. Isn’t she cute?


Isn't she cute in her little sweater?

Isn’t she cute in her little sweater?


Anyway, all of my time and energy is spent making my pup happy, and also making my customers, employees, and boss happy. So there’s very little left over to make ME happy (which I am, but that’s a story for a different day).

It’s very simple to make me happy. Let me sleep, feed me, let me watch tv, and let me create.

Therein lies the problem. The pup doesn’t let me sleep in, but she will take naps with me and watch my stories with me. I have people feeding me left and right. But I don’t have any time or energy to CREATE.

I have a fanfic I started writing with a friend in late 2014 that has been on hiatus since, and tons of ideas trying to get out. And that’s in addition to the stories I’ve already got on paper waiting for the red pen of doom.

“But Sam, you could always wake up early to write.”

Why, yes, I could. But then I would have a nervous breakdown by lunch. The pup wakes me up by 7:30 every morning. The next hour and a half is dedicated to her before I go to work. The first hour and a half after work is hers, also.

“But Saa-aam, you could always stay up late to write.”

Once again, yes, I could. But after I get home, walk me and the dog several times, make and eat dinner, clean up that mess, and bathe, I’m usually too exhausted to do anything but lie on the bed and stare mindlessly at the tv.

I TRY to do things at work in between tasks, but these days, that bit of time is spent trying to make extra money.

Long story short, I hit a/n opossum on Halloween, and I had a stretch of bad luck that didn’t end until January of this year. The biggest thing that happened is that my car DIED, like DIED, the day before Thanksgiving, as I was on my way to work, in the middle of traffic.


Being as I work in retail, and that is the most hellacious time of year for those of us in that line of work, I had no time or energy to spare on finding a new ride. So in addition to relying upon co-workers and the city bus that didn’t get me close to work, I had to use Uber and Yellow Cab, which cost a pretty penny.

And since my apartment got flooded by my next door neighbor’s toilet (I TOLD you I had a run of bad luck), and they refuse to replace the carpet without me writing a manifesto on why I think they should, I’m looking for a place to live.

So I need money. And since I’m too exhausted to take on another actual job, I’ve started doing the survey thing. And the sweepstakes thing. And the picking up pennies out of puddles thing. I’m about to start the Extreme Couponing thing…

Anyway, I’m going to stop feeling guilty for not blogging, for not writing, for not editing, and maybe, just maybe the stress and depression levels will pull back a touch, and allow a little bit of creation.

Like right now, I’m supposed to be working on store invoices, but I thought I needed to get some words out and on a blank sheet NOW or they would never happen.

And now we get to the actual purpose of this particular entry.

Since I’m doing all this stuff to earn extra money, why not share some of the knowledge I’m gaining? It’s like my store’s motto: We drink the bad stuff so you don’t have to. I’ll be the one to go through all of these many companies that pay for this or that and let you know if it’s worth doing. Or if a particular product is worth trying. (Dude, samples.)

While I’m exhausted and out of time, I’m having a wee bit of fun with this. And it’s the perfect thing to try to focus this blog on [now]. (Yet another blog post for another day.)

I’m not going to promise specific posts on specific days, because although deadlines are usually my friends, I will lose my mind if I try to promise too much. So I’ll say this: I have things to tell you about, and I will tell you all about them in due time.

I’m trying new things. That’s why this Beautiful Disaster is Under Construction.


Well, Well, Well. Look At What The Cat Dragged In

Or, dog, in this case.

This is Nugget. She's the devil in disguise.

This is Nugget. She’s the devil in disguise.

Yes, dear readers, instead of blogging, instead of writing, but in addition to working my ass off, I got a dog.

Actually, I got a puppy.

my baby

Her name is Nugget. She is an Australian Cattle Dog (aka Blue Heeler) mixed with an Her foster dad named her that because she looks like she has chicken nuggets on her back.

Her full name? Chicken Nugget Face.

I don’t know why, but I call her “Nugget Face.”

Actually, I DO know why.


She's a nugget.

She’s a nugget.

There was no way I couldn’t take her home.

Here’s the story:

A couple of my customers had just decided to start fostering dogs. Their first mission was to take care of three puppies, two sisters and a brother. Nugget, Buttons, and Sammy (short for “Sammich”).

baby nug

One of my Minions rescues Basset Hounds, so of course she’s extremely interested in animals of any kind. Well, they brought the pups into the store, all three still small enough to fit in a laundry basket, and it was all over.

Nugget was the one who caught my eye; she looked like a combination of two puppies I’d sort of fostered in 2001. Puppies I’d loved and couldn’t bear to part with–but I had to. But instead of going directly to her, I played with her sister, Buttons, who had some pretty coloring.

Me and Buttons

Me and Buttons

Sammy was adorable, too, but I kept looking at Nugget. The pups made a few visits to the store. They were growing so fast and just ridiculously cute. But every time I thought about not ever seeing Nugget again, I got so upset and emotional. Finally, I asked foster mom what it would take for Nugget to belong to me.

Even after being certain…ish, I was still waffling. I can barely take care of myself; fish and plants die under my care. But I was lonely, painfully lonely, and I’d been wanting a dog (read here: DOG) who would cuddle with me. I had never thought about getting a puppy.

I texted FM that I just couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t be so selfish as to make a pup conform to my lifestyle. I work kind of long hours. I don’t like going outside. She’d be better off with a family with kids.

And then the day after, I texted her again and told her I changed my mind.


And yes, I DO have some regrets: My skin is no longer flawless. I no longer have a couch. My time is no longer my own. I have no privacy in the bathroom. I’m not qualified to be a dog mom.

But have you SEEN her?


She’s MY dog, through and through. Fate brought her to me. I couldn’t close the door on her.

And you know what? The foster parents ended up adopting Sammy and foster mom’s mom got Buttons. #FosterFail