Frosty Voxbox review in its entirety! (edited)

A couple weeks ago I got a box of free goodies delivered to me.   Around November I signed up for Influenster which is a large community of people who offer their time to test and review products in exchange for receiving the products for free.  I had a fellow military wife friend who told me about this and she had gotten to a pretty high level.   She was once sent a camera.    Since I love to write,  I wanted to try this out for myself.      Well, I was qualified for the first box that came available shortly after joining.    I know I posted this picture before,  but for the sake of this entire box review I will do it again.   Behold!   The Frostyvoxbox!

My Voxbox!

My Voxbox!

The mailman had just put the box on my doorstep and didn’t ring our doorbell or anything,  so it was a REAL surprise to open my front door to let our two dachshund puppies out to potty and see this bright red box sitting on my porch.  Now, fair warning.. I’ve never been a salesperson who sold Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, scentsy, Amway, or any other merchandise that relies on commission and pressuring the public.   So the following product reviews may be sloppy but they will be honest. I really had fun testing out these free goodies and I hope that Influenster will entrust me with more of these to try in the future.   I’m really happy with their company so far,  their website is an informational cornucopia for people looking to try new things with input from the public.  And kudos to the companies that offer out their products for free to people like me.  I hope I’m able to offer some insight that will help inspire.

First thing I took out of the box to try was the Celestial Seasonings tea.    I love tea,  and this flavor “Candy Cane Lane”  sounded perfect for Christmas.    It’s also a green tea which I’ve heard is better for you.    The sample pack came with 2 tea bags AND a coupon!    A few minutes of steeping the tea in hot water and my tea was ready for tasting.    The first thing I noticed was the smell.    Yum.   Peppermint with a hint of  herbal/sweet.   Some teas can be so strong it’s overbearing and bitter,  but this one was smooth and very pleasant.    Adding sugar or any sweetener wasn’t even necessary as it had a hint of sweetness like the smell indicated.   Overall I really liked this tea, and already used my coupon to buy a box to keep on hand (I think it’s seasonal so I wanted to make sure I got some more in time!)

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Next up was the Fruit Vines.   This was a regular sized bag they sent me for a sample!   Normally licorice isn’t my thing but this particular kind I actually liked.   It tastes more like fruit than it does that weird licorice flavor. (no offense to Red Vines!)  It tastes like one of those cherry fruit roll ups you would get packed in your lunch growing up, only in handy bite sized pieces.   Right now the bag is sitting in my desk at work and one or two pieces at a time suffices for a snack to get me through the day.   Yum!    Just make sure you keep the bag sealed up well or the licorice will harden.  I use a few paperclips and it keeps it sealed up great!

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Next up,  I got a hairbrush from Ecotools.  IMG_1517   Now, my hair pretty much hates the water where we currently live.    In fact, it hated the water in Germany too.   The only time I have semi normal looking hair is when I am in California.  I don’t know what it is but every morning I wake up looking like a poodle.  Poofy and annoying,  those are 2 perfect words to describe my hair.  I’ve become reliant on products in order to keep my hair semi human looking.  This brush is a ‘styler and smoother’ as stated on the package.   I’m not saying at all that this is a miracle tool but I WILL say that I noticed a difference after using it.

Poofy poodle hair (before hairbrushing)

Poofy poodle hair (before hairbrushing)

An improvement!   Product free! Just brushed the frizz away (after)

An improvement! Product free! Just brushed the frizz away (after)

I’m totally going to keep using this brush and may even check out some other ecotools products.  (http://ecotools.com/)

Next is a tube of lipstick from NYC (New York Color) in Sugarplum.

NYC lipstick  Sugarplum

NYC lipstick Sugarplum

What do you think?

Wearing the NYC lipstick Sugarplum

Wearing the NYC lipstick Sugarplum

Wearing NYC lipstick  Sugarplum

Wearing NYC lipstick Sugarplum

This lipstick looks pretty nice on me 🙂  I usually don’t dress up as much as I should, but this color is one I’d include in a dress up if I ever did.   There is an event coming up sometime in January where Mike and I have been invited to a dinner party being hosted by the Garrison Commander.   Perfect excuse to dress up and be all girly for a night 😀

NYC lipstick..  don't forget to blot!  ;)

NYC lipstick.. don’t forget to blot! 😉

Also in the box was Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner.   I purposely didn’t take a picture of me wearing this.   Reason being my eyebrows look like a Sasquatch.  I’ll just say that I already like black and grey colored eyeliners and this one is waterproof which is an added bonus!

Also got a full sized bottle of Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

I’m sort of ashamed to admit this but I rarely use any form of makeup remover, but I tried this to see how it worked.   I always figured that it would leave a greasy film on your skin and was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case.  Plus a little of this goes a long way.   I could let this bottle stretch for a while,  which is nice.

And last but certainly not least there was a sample packet of Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum.    This was the only item in the box I was really disappointed in.  I tried it and really really REALLY liked it,  but there was only a half a splash in the packet.    It stated that after a week you should be able to see results. I have awful undereye dark patches that I would love to get rid of.   Being offered not even a few day sample doesn’t really amount to anything.  Not that I’m not thankful for receiving this box,  but if they wanted their anti aging serum properly reviewed the sample should have lasted a little longer.

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Well,  there’s my long winded review on the VoxBox.  I hope to be picked again to get more of these someday as it was fun doing this.   I heard the newest box was just mailed out but I didn’t get selected for that one  (Reese’s VoxBox,  that would have been a box full of YUM,  oh well!)   To whoever took the time to read this whole post,   thank you 🙂    I really appreciate it.    I will work on a Vintage Picture of the Day a little later this evening.   Thinking of calling those posts “V.P.O.T.D”     What do you think?   Catchy?

Another vintage photo to share

This picture is in pretty bad shape and it took me a good while to gently straighten out the bend in the corner.     There is no year written on the back,  but the people are identified.    The surname Loftus is from my grandfather’s  (mom’s)  side of the family, that’s about all I know so far.   I tried that Ancestry.com website but I don’t think I’m ready to start paying for a service like that.       Maybe someday..

The ink is a little faded but the post script at the bottom shares a sad update on the man “Irving” in the picture.   It reads:

“Lillie Carlson was two when her mother died.  She was raised by her grandparents and used the name of Hannon.   Irving was killed while in high school thrown off a horse”

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Why i do what I do

I work at a military veterinary treatment facility.   Being a military wife I’ve had the opportunity to travel back and forth to Germany twice with my husband and so far I’ve been fortunate enough to get employment at the on post vet clinics.    They are run by non appropriated funds,  which means we aren’t well equipped to run like a full service veterinary clinic can.  We are very limited on resources.    Non appropriated fund facilities  do not receive taxpayer support, so the clinics rely on revenues from routine exams to cover basic operating expenses.  That means we aren’t able to be staffed the way we’d like to be such as hiring more civilian employees to cover those shifts since WE cost money.  We are unable to  carry certain products and offer certain services (IE: weekend hours,  overnight hospitalization, emergency, boarding facilities)   That can be frustrating especially since the veterinarians DO want to do more for their patients.   We do what we can though.  Overall people are pretty happy,  showing them that you care speaks volumes.
I wish the powers that be could see that owning pets are wonderful for morale.   Healthy pets,  happy owners,  happy soldiers/government employees.   It’s a great investment if you look at it that way.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a soldier in uniform show up for an appointment with their pet,  whether it be for vaccines, a sick call, ear check… whatever.    You can tell that the pet means everything to that soldier.   One in particular stands out in my mind.   Picture a very tall hulking drill sergeant.  One of those guys you can easily picture being a hard ass with his trainees.    He walks in with a medium sized Australian shepherd with a pink collar.   “Gizzy is here for her appointment”   He says with a smile.  I check them in,  fill out the chart and tell him to have a seat until they are called into the back.   As they sit in our waiting room waiting to be called in  I watch as he talk quietly to Gizzy. “It’s going to be ok..  you are going to see the doctor then we will go home and I’ll give you a treat because you are so good! yes you are!  Daddy loves his pretty girl so much!”    The dog rarely took her eyes off of her ‘daddy’.    Witnessing this love between the two of them was so freaking adorable and it’s obvious that having her in his life makes his world a much better place.

The vet clinic IS  available 24 hours a day for our military working dogs.  As part of the military ‘mission’,   the dogs that work as military police dogs and deploy receive the best possible health care that can be offered.   The government owned animals are only treated and handled by military staff.   There was once an incident where our xray unit was not working and there was a gravely ill military police dog that was in need of radiographs and a CT.   The dog was transported to the human hospital on base by the clinic staff and handlers for what the dog needed.  Those dogs  put their furry butts in the path of danger every time they go to work.   They get PTSD just like people do.   When they retire,  the handler has the option to adopt the dog if they want, which is usually what happens.  If not, there are hand picked homes that will adopt them and let them live out their golden years the way they deserve. In Germany there was a retired dog named Pockets that was adopted by an older lady.   She would send us pictures of Pockets curled up on a hand knitted blanket in front of the fireplace.  He lived happily with her for 3 years until cancer and incontinence took him.    We keep some of our working dog  pictures displayed in our waiting room.   Yellow ribbons mean the dog is currently deployed.   I love how proud they look in their pictures, you can tell the dog knows they are bad ass 🙂   I’ve been working in the vet field for almost 27 years, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

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Vintage photo- Undated with unidentified woman with car

This post won’t take very long since I don’t have any information about it.    There is nothing written on the back identifying the woman,  nor is there a date of when this was taken.     It’s a neat picture though,  as she appears to be standing proudly in front of her car  (maybe it was a new purchase?)     Whatever the reasons behind the picture it has also been kept well preserved over the years,  so it seems fitting to share it.   🙂   Somewhere I have a picture of me standing out in front of my very first car (A hand me down 1984 Honda Accord)

Undated, unidentified woman with car.

Undated, unidentified woman with car.

I was so proud of that car,  and it was all mine!     The look on this woman’s face kind of shows that same pride.    I hope that car brought her many years of happiness… whoever you are.

A Child’s love/hate relationship with Santa Part 2 (finally)

dog-distracted-by-squirrelI blame ADD for not following up on my previous post.    It’s been so much fun looking through everything and deciding what to share next that it’s been very easy to lose track.    I feel like the Dug of WordPress bloggers…!

But anyway,  yeah…   I was going to continue on explaining how I went from being terrified of Santa to looking forward every year for our picture together at the mall. At some point he redeemed himself,  I don’t know exactly how or when… but I’m guessing it was the plethora of goodies that he brought me every year.    I have a picture somewhere of me sitting indian style on the floor next to the Christmas tree with a HUGE smile on my face hugging a whole set of stuffed animal Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals (considered antique collectable Disney in these times)   Mom dressed me up in adorable little Christmas themed dresses,  1970’s style.   My hair was all brushed and curled at the ends and I looked like a perfect little angel.    Santa  always sat waiting in the same area of Del Amo Mall.   His throne was big and extravagant and he took the time to ask each kid if they had been good during the year and what they wanted for Christmas.   Looking back, the guy was a pro  at reading parents’ body language.   When I asked him for something that was totally out of my parent’s ability to give,  he would tell me something like “I will do what I can this year, Stacey but please know that if you don’t get “that” particular toy then maybe you will get it another year.   Santa will try his best!”   I went away from that man with a smile on my face knowing that Santa was going to try his very best to get me what I wanted.   After I made sure to pose for a very pretty picture with him, of course.    You can tell I loved every aspect of pictures with Santa Claus.    My parents always had lots of copies of the yearly Santa picture and sent them to friends and family.    Here is one picture I have managed to dig up so far.    There are many and once I get them I’ll share those too.   IMG_1478

Workplace ‘cliques’ – Good or bad?

I know I am posting a LOT of things in this blog but my mind has been going a zillion miles a minute over things I want to write about.   I swear I’ll try to make this my last multi post in one day (keyword is ‘try’)  I don’t know why this has come to mind this weekend since it happened to me about 10-11 years ago.   Maybe it’s because I long so much to work for an emergency veterinary hospital again, and this experience was my first working in such an environment.   Overall I loved working there.    They were a team of doctors that obviously loved what they did.   The technicians had shifts that covered all of the hours that the hospital was open  (24 hours)   I started off originally as a swing tech working the mid morning to the evening where the overnight staff would take over and cover the shift from 9ish- 7am.  The morning tech would arrive at 7 and take over from the overnight crew which during busy times was a chore in itself.   Weird things can come in overnight at an emergency hospital.   One night all of the treatment cages would be empty,  then the next it’s overflowing with critical patients that needed hourly checks.   Iloved working there,  the adrenaline was addictive and I loved being able to see someone run their pet into the front door of the hospital (we had cc tv cameras that showed on a screen back in treatment so we could tell when the front desk needed someone up there STAT,   We grabbed the gurney , rolled up front.. took the animal from the often hysterical parents and instructed them to remain up here with the front desk to finish filling out paperwork while we took the pet to the back in order to triage and stabilize it as best as possible.  I became a pro at IV catheters, Xrays,  and drawing labwork.   Just about every emergency case that was brought in was given the same thing, so repetitively you can become a pro if you do it time after time.  Anyways,  to reiterate…. I LOVED what I did there.

Enter:  Workplace drama.  troublemakers,  drama queens, shitstarters,   whatever you want to call them.  They are in just about EVERY workplace and I’ve worked with my fair share of them.   Have I been one at one point?    Yes, I have.   We females thrive on drama,  that’s why there are so many stupid reality TV shows airing.    The thing is, I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes and I do try very hard to avoid going down that road anymore.   It’s not worth it and it’s cost me dearly in the past.   The situation I’m referring to is the subject of this post..

I’m not going to name any names but this one person I worked with at the Emergency Clinic had been there a while and she had a clique.  If you were on her good side,  everything was great!    The clique would all hang out together outside of work,  had inside jokes, and of course had their work schedules made where they worked every shift together.   I flew under the radar of their drama for a long time,  but I would watch what happened to people that she didn’t like.   She made their lives miserable until they either quit or got fired.   It pretty much became that person’s main purpose in life when she set her mind to it.   What was sad was nobody did or said a thing.   I had a few friends who were there with me under the radar and they silently agreed with me when I said what was going on was wrong,  but nobody had the nerve to speak up.. myself included.   That emergency hospital lost a few great staff members because of her… damn shame.

It didn’t take much to get on her bad side.   She thrived on attention and when she didn’t get it,  then suddenly she had turmoil going on in her world that she had to involve everyone in.  I remember one day being in treatment when she walks in on her cellphone.   She’s yelling loudly at someone on the other end,  saying things like “YOU JUST TRY THAT AND I’LL GET A LAWYER!”    When she finally got off of the phone (and I’m really doubting that she was really on a call, I mean.. WHO walks into their workplace in a heated conversation like that?)  she huffed and puffed until someone asked her what was wrong.

To sum all of this up,  I eventually got on her bad side and my life working there became hell.   It stopped being all about helping the animals in need but constantly watching my back making sure I wasn’t getting set up to get fired.  I would arrive at work and walk into treatment and everyone back there would all stop talking at once.  It became me vs them.   ME versus the clique.

One morning I came into work and found that the night before had been busy.  my shift started at 7:30 but I liked to go in a bit earlier to get started on things. There were numerous patients admitted that night,  among them was a lab that had an emergency splenectomy overnight.   The troublemaker was up front in the receptionist area on a computer looking up something online,  and usually the night crew is supposed to brief the shift taking over.  She was so absorbed in whatever she was doing on the computer so I chatted with the receptionist for a few minutes, then  clocked in and walked into the back to see what needed to be done.   Immediately I noticed that the lab  had no pulse.    I shouted to the front for people to get the hell back where I was and help me.   The overnight doctor who was still there helped me get the dog out of the cage and we checked vitals.   She had been deceased long enough to have a low body temperature.   The vet estimated the dog had been dead about a half hour or so.    The troublemaker immediately started going into damage control mode and tried to blame everything on me.   Forget the fact that my shift started at 7am and she was up front online for who knows how long,  it became my fault that this dog had passed.  Those that mattered knew the truth,  but she pushed the team lead to move me out of there.    I was moved to another vet hospital about 15 miles away.   Just to keep the peace, just to appease her.    just because I wasn’t part of her clique.    I have been a veterinary technician for well over 25 years and have never… EVER done anything so irresponsible.  I’ve never put the life of an animal in danger and I never will.   That person threw me under the bus to save her own ass, and it worked.

Everywhere you go, there are cliques,  some can be great.   They can strengthen a team and help it work stronger towards the ultimate goal,   but it can also do the complete opposite…just like what I wrote about above.      someday I hope to get back into Emergency medicine and work with a team that will give me that feeling of accomplishment.   Not having to worry about being ‘accepted’ into a clique.

Cliques are too damn overrated!

“Joanna” and “Mary Francis” 1946

Here are one of the pictures that are in my box of family photos and that I have no idea who they are.   I think the handwriting on the back of the photo is my grandmother’s but I’m not one hundred percent sure.

Still,  the photo has been so well taken care of after all these (68)  years it seems proper to share it even though nobody knows who they are,  what their story is or if they are even still alive today.  Were they sisters?   Cousins?   All I know for sure is this picture was important enough to someone to have kept it preserved in this box of photos.   🙂 IMG_1481IMG_1482

Throwback photo of my mother- 1934

I have a lot of pictures of my mom growing up.   It’s obvious that my grandparents made sure they took many pictures of their baby girl growing up and just about all of these pictures have been kept in pristine condition over the years.  I’m proud to be able to share these to you, my reader and I sincerely hope you enjoy my collection 🙂
I also scanned the back of the picture which has my grandmother’s writing on the back stating what date this was taken.  Many of her collection of photos are glued into small bound photo albums so those will be a chore to get those scanned.   But I will get it done 🙂    Projects like this make me happy!      Have a great weekend, and again thank you for taking the time to stop by!

The back of the photo of my mother from 1939

The back of the photo of my mother from 1934

My mom- circa 1934

My mom- circa 1934

Chunky vegetable spaghetti sauce w/ Thyme

Since I’m sharing food ideas and since Influenster was so kind to send a box of goodies for me to try out for free and review,  I figured I would include the following recipe.

Something I have grown to love since I have considerably reduced my intake of meat in my diet. My mother encouraged fresh vegetables growing up and tried to implement them in just about every dish she would cook.  (She used to tell me that I would prefer munching on raw cauliflower rather than chocolate.) Since fresh farm grown vegetables are easily obtainable at our local Amish store, I try to stock up on on my favorites on spaghetti night and the result is so yummy you won’t miss the meat! This was a recipe I originally found online but I love to modify certain things with what I like to ‘make it my own’.  Making any recipe your own through trial and error I found is best.    🙂

Ingredients

1 pound pasta of your choice. I enjoy thin spaghetti but any pasta generally will work.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium yellow squash, cubed

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced into thin pieces (I always preferred bella mushrooms to other kinds, they give off a ‘meatier’ type taste and mix well with the other vegetables (TIP: you can even saute the mushrooms in a small amount of wine at medium heat to bring out the flavor of the mushrooms and give them a little kick!)

1/3 cup dry red wine (YUM! adding this will really give your sauce a strong and delicious flavor!)

3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley and oregano and dried thyme leaves) I used the McCormick brand since I find is the freshest when it comes to adding to sauces. It also brings out the flavor the longer it simmers.       thyme

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Overcooked pasta is gummy and not worthy of this delicious sauce 😉 Set aside for now

2.Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and cook, covered, until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes.

3.Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook, covered, for 6 minutes more. You can add a small amount of the wine in this step to give the two ingredients a little extra ‘somethin’-somethin’!

4. Add the rest of the wine and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

5. Stir in the chopped herbs, and remaining salt and pepper, and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and heat through. Stir in the dried Thyme flakes.

6.Transfer the pasta to plates, spoon the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the cheese

Enjoy!

My Voxbox!

My Voxbox!

After Christmas/Thanksgiving tradition of my very own

Christmas is officially over!   The Christmas tree is most likely still standing in people’s living rooms with opened presents beneath it.   The house is cleaned up of the wrapping paper that just the day before was being torn off those packages that contained your new ‘ loot’.  (our trash pickup fell on a Friday this year so we were up late making sure we got as much of the garbage out as possible, yay!)   All the food from the day before is now sitting in your fridge awaiting to become leftovers for however long it takes before it crosses the threshold into the land of spoilage.

I’m all about the leftover turkey sandwiches.  It was something my mom and I would do at about midnight either just after Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Both of us would go into the kitchen and make our sandwiches.    Two pieces of Webber’s bread, thin spread of mayo, and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper on one bread side.  Then a healthy amount of  cranberry sauce and turkey (dark meat please!) on the other side.    We would sit at the kitchen table munching on our sandwiches and talk.   I miss those days.   It was our tradition,  and even now every time I make one of mom’s midnight turkey sandwiches I always think of her, miss her, and wish we could have those moments back.

Oh stop!   this isn’t meant to be a sad post.    It’s these memories that made me the person I am today, and for that I couldn’t be happier.   It’s like I get to celebrate a little bit of my childhood every time I make one of those sandwiches.