Sunday in the South

It should not be 80 degrees on Easter Sunday.  Plenty of people love warm weather.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.  It’s rough living in the south when you’re a chionophile.

I think this is the first Easter that I’m not getting to spend the whole day with family.  My dad’s working, but at least we did have a nice pasta lunch together beforehand.  Of course my mom’s spending hers in Heaven, but I know she’s watching over us.

My family’s Easter meal tradition is to have a lasagna dinner and coconut cake.  My mom’s lasagna was seriously the best, and I still use her recipe when I make it now.  I wish I could have some delicious coconut cake from Ingles.  I haven’t been able to find a good substitute yet since moving to Tennessee.

Easter brings to mind memories of childhood egg hunts, goodie baskets, good food, and especially time with family.  This year I don’t have any candy aside from Cadbury caramel eggs.  Facebook reminded me of this quote from my dad a few years ago, “God gave us chocolate, because he wants us to be happy.”  What a gem!

Candy and goodies are not the reason for this holiday, though.  Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection after dying on the cross for our sins.  Something that upsets me about Easter is the people that refer to it as “Zombie Jesus Day.”  So disrespectful!

It’s actually pretty disillusioning when you realize that the commercial market came up with the Easter bunny, eggs, etc, from the Pagan festival celebrating the Spring Equinox and the fertility goddess, Eostre.  If you do your research, though, you’ll find that most holidays do have Pagan origins.

Even though my family is of the Christian faith, we’re not the churchgoing type.  We make our own church wherever we are.  I honestly think the most memorable Easter for me is from when I was 18.  We took a nature ride up to Highlands, North Carolina.  One of my favorite places, and a stop along the way, is Bridal Veil Falls.  (Photo collage below.)

Easter2008 collage

Today’s title is from a Miranda Lambert song that I love, “Another Sunday in the South.”  Feel free to click on the link and listen to the song on YouTube.

So tell me, what are your Easter traditions?  Did you do anything fun for the holiday this year?

Another fun thing going this month is Camp NaNoWriMo!  NaNoWriMo stands for the National Novel Writing Month of November, but NaNoWriMo actually hosts writing events all year long!  I’m participating, but a bout of sickness has kept from writing as much as I should.  Anyone else participating?  How is your writing project going?

Dandelion Daze

Crayola has announced that they’re retiring the beloved dandelion crayon. You might think it’s strange for me to call a crayon color beloved, but people are already losing their minds over the news. 

EBay sellers are now jumping at the opportunity to make a pretty penny off of the remaining dandelion crayons. You can buy a 24 pack with a Buy It Now price of $44.99, or a starting bid of $29.99. If you’re seriously committed to the shade, you can even purchase 500 dandelion crayons. The current bid is $122.50. Many listings for these crayons have already SOLD OUT!

See what I meant when I said people were losing their minds?

That’s not all! In May, Crayola will be announcing a new color as dandelion’s replacement. There will be a naming contest for the new shade, as well.

Personally, I love the golden dandelion shade, and am saddened by the news. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to shell out an unreasonable amount of money for a piece of crayon history, though. In my opinion,  they should’ve picked a different shade to retire. I’m looking at you, green-yellow and yellow-green!

So tell me…What are your thoughts? Which color would you have chosen to retire?

Hi Stranger: Creepy Inspiration

Kirsten Lepore’s latest animated short, “Hi Stranger,” has gone viral on Facebook and YouTube.

When I first saw “Hi Stranger” on Facebook, I clicked on it out of a guilty curiosity. I mean, come on, claymation dude’s got a nice butt and he’s aware of it. At the 14 second mark, he even says, “It’s OK. You can look at my butt.”

The video has a creepy feel, but nonetheless draws you in and relaxes you with help from Garrett Davis’ calm voice and the meditation-style background audio.
If you stuck around to see the end of the video, the claymation character actually gives good advice and it’s something I think most of us need to hear:

“I see you trying to do so many things at once. Worried about a decision you made, or worried that you said the wrong thing to someone. You’re so hard on yourself, but you’re wonderful. And worthy of being loved. You really are. You just have to let yourself believe it.”

I began to wonder if the video’s creator had the intent to inspire viewers with this character basically turning into our inner voice giving us an existential pep talk. So I went researching. Call me strange, but I love to research and learn new things!

One thing I did learn that all of you out there in InternetLand might find interesting is that the artist, Kirsten Lepore recently wrote and directed an episode of Adventure Time.

All in all, the only new thing I really learned about the “Hi Stranger” video was this, taken from an interview with Kirsten Lepore given by Ben Mitchell of Skwigly:

HiStrangerInterviewSS

So in closing, I’d like to know what you thought of “Hi Stranger.” Inspiring or just plain creepy?

My First Black Mask Trial

Good afternoon!

Have you seen that video on Facebook of the woman, Tiffany Marie, having a really bad time trying to remove that black charcoal mask that’s been advertised as a miracle for blackhead removal?  Shown below is a shortened version, but you can watch the full 15 minute one HERE.

 

Curious, I decided to try it. It only cost me $5, so why not? Especially if it could get rid of my blackheads,  then it would definitely be worth the investment!

First of all, the mask’s official name is Purifying Peel-Off Deep Cleansing Black Mask by Shills Natural Science. That sure is a mouthful, huh?

Shills black mask

Here’s a video showing how it works:

 

So how did it work out for me? Read on and find out!

The instructions said to wash your face first, so I used my trusty Best Face Forever by Perfectly Posh. I LOVE Posh! If I could afford to, I’d join and give selling it a go. Alas, I do not have $99. Anyways, back to the mask!

Putting it on is definitely messy. It didn’t smell weird, so that was a plus. I only put it on my nose since my main concern as I mentioned earlier was blackheads. Yuck! It tingled and itched on my face while I was waiting for it to set. Let me tell you, it was difficult not giving into the urge to scratch!


Finally, it had been about 25 minutes so I figured it was time to “peel my nose off.” Said partially in jest, while also hoping the process wouldn’t involve painful cries like the woman on the video.

Peeling it off was disappointing. It didn’t appear to actually remove much of anything, and the pesky blackheads were still on my nose. They must really love me, because they don’t want to leave. I guess Neil Sedaka was right when he sang, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.” In the past I’ve used Biore nose strips, also without luck.

Removal wasn’t painful for me at all. After cleaning off the bits of dried black goop that didn’t come off during peeling, I applied a mixture of Perfectly Posh’s moisturizer (Night & Day plus Moisturize 911).

I’m going to try this mask again. Perhaps even all over my face. Next time I’ll let it stay on longer, because parts of what I peeled off were still sticky. Maybe that’s why it didn’t work as advertised?

Tell me in the comments if you ever have (or ever will) use this black mask. What is your favorite face mask? And do you have any recommendations for blackhead removal? Thanks for reading!

Comeback Kid

I chose one of The Band Perry’s new songs as the title for this post, because I definitely identify with it, especially the following line: “I don’t think I deserve the hurt I get.” But then, most people don’t.

I’m going to be reworking my blog. It used to be mostly centered on my service dog, Honey. Don’t worry she’ll still be making appearances! In fact, she’s lying in my lap as I’m writing this. She truly is my best friend, but I digress…

I’m going to focus on my writing, both fiction and nonfiction. An upcoming post is about that black mask that’s gone viral. When I was younger, I was regularly featured on Lovelyish, a website covering fashion, beauty, and pop culture.

I was first officially published at 15, when I worked on my high school’s magazine. That might not sound like much, but the Foxfire Magazine is a national magazine. Produced in Rabun County, Georgia, The Foxfire Magazine is dedicated to keeping the history of Appalachia alive.

I hope to one day have some of my fiction published. If I can ever focus on one story long enough to finish it, that is!


One of my Facebook friends who’s accomplished and connected in the writing world suggested I start a blog to let my future readers get to know me and my writing style now, so that I’ll have a fan base when I am published. I’ve sent her a collection of my unfinished manuscripts, and am currently awaiting feedback.

Why writing? Writing is my passion. It has been my favorite thing to do since I was a kid. I wrote my first real story when I was 12. It was about a group of friends that literally get sucked into a video game. Looking back now, thats all I remember about that one. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of it, so I guess their fate will always be a mystery.

Writing consumes my thoughts, and a lot of my daydreaming is brainstorming plot ideas. I write varying genres, but almost all are covered under New Adult. I love everything paranormal/supernatural, but I also write “normal” stuff like chick-lit.

I should probably tell you more about myself. I’m 27 years old. I’m a music and animal lover. I’ve had a rough life, hence my PTSD service dog.

I am a chionophile, which means I love the cold, especially snow! I even call myself the “ice queen.” I currently live in Tennessee, but I dream of living in Colorado or Alaska and traveling to Nordic places like Norway and Iceland.

I think puns are greatly underrated. I love intelligent and witty TV shows. Gilmore Girls is a favorite! I also like oddball comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Most everything I watch is comedy, since I don’t like shows that make you sad. I really wish someone would come up with a sitcom about a vampire. A show that makes fun of itself. Everything with vampires in it is always so dramatic. Hmm…maybe I have another writing project now!

I feel weird talking about myself so much. Plus if I tell you everything now, then you won’t need to come back to my blog to get to know me. Gotta leave a little mystery, right?

Until next time!

– Jessi

Seasons…Is It Autumn Yet?

It’s been months since I wrote on here, and I probably should’ve written sooner than now.  I’ve been going through a hard time, but thankfully things seem to be looking up at the moment.  At least I’m writing now.  That’s what matters, right?

Honesty, I’ve not been doing well health-wise. I’ve had an ER trip that turned out to be useless, because the doctor told me she didn’t know what was wrong with me and to go to a specialist.  Dad and I are pretty sure that I have fibromyalgia like my mom had.  It’s a nerve problem that makes you feel severe widespread pain.  Fibromyalgia is common with Chronic Fatigue syndrome, which I also have.  I need to get Honey’s hips/elbows checked to see if she could handle being a mobility assistance dog, as well.

But I’d rather write about happier topics.  After months of writer’s block, I’m finally writing in my stories again.  I’m proud of myself for that.

I recently made my first lip balm sale on Etsy (HealthySoulCreations)!  Also, one of my best friends, Brandi, was my first product tester!  I made a special lip balm for her that was strawberries and cream flavored/scented and darkly tinted matte like lipstick.  She’s also tried the Dark Chocolate Cherry and Luscious Cherry flavors.  I’m proud of myself for being able to make beauty products for myself and my friends that are also good for you.  Brandi also received a moisturizing paw balm. My service dog, Honey, absolutely loves the paw balm.  One of the main ingredients is coconut oil, so she tries to eat it as well. Lol.

Honey’s birthday was on June 20th, and we celebrated with cupcakes and cookies from the puppy bakery.  I’m so proud of her “leave it,” because I know those birthday treats were tempting.

Honey2ndBday.jpg

A friend is helping me out with a Jamberry fundraiser for the last $200 I owe on Honey.  I’m so touched and thankful for the love and support we’ve received.

As for the title of this entry, I’m anxiously awaiting fall.  I hate summer.  It’s too hot.  I guess that’s about all I have to say for now.  I hope everyone’s doing well, and thanks again for the love and support you’ve shown us!  We greatly appreciate it.

What Money Paid For

(If you know the band and song I got the title for this post from, then you are AWESOME!)

Now then… We postponed Honey’s vet visit until next week since dad and I have been sick.  I figured I’d go ahead and post the specifics for what I’ve used the GoFundMe donations on so far.  In total, I’ve received $144.52 (including the Needy Pet Fund grant).  I currently have $111 available to spend on her vet visit.

On February 24th, I spent $26.90 at Walgreens.  I had a Buy One, Get One Free coupon on the Dentastix treats.  The GoFundMe donations paid for all but the Minion toy, beef chew sticks, and Bear’s senior vitamins.

WalgreensPetItemsReceipt

There was $6.61 left over that I put towards our Petsmart trip on March 2nd.  The day before, dad had received his tax refund.  March 2nd was a big day full of Public Access for Honey.  She had her first time in a restaurant (Burger King) while dad and I ate.  Plus we went to some pet stores for supplies, toys, and new healthy food! Honey made friends with everyone she met. In the Tractor Supply parking lot, a man actually drove up to us to give her a Milkbone biscuit. Also at Tractor Supply, Honey picked out a squeaky toy for herself – a black bear wearing a Santa hat. When we got home she adorably insisted on carrying it in herself. At Petsense, an employee who was very sweet and helpful, also let Honey taste test some cookies.

Petsmart March2 items

We’ve switched Bear and Honey over to 4Health Grain-Free food from Tractor Supply, which is rated 4 stars on Dog Food Advisor.  Some items we bought were a Kong toy & treats, shower sprayer, shampoo, frisbee, and a slow-feeder bowl.  Plus, a few toys for Honey.

Slow-feeder bowls are important in preventing GDV/bloat.  Brandi’s service dog, Shanti, had to have emergency surgery just a few months ago, because of bloat.  It’s a serious problem and can be fatal.  Some other ways to prevent it are to feed 2 smaller meals a day rather than one large meal, and stay away from raised bowls.

Also, after seeing this video from Planet Paws on Facebook yesterday about common ingredients found in dog treats that are harmful, I felt the need to share it:

Posted by Planet Paws on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Now I regret letting her have that Milkbone biscuit… At least, I know better now.  Just so everyone knows, I checked the ingredients and the Milkbone vitamin treats are fine.  Some other products not covered in the video that also include BHA are Canine Carry Outs and Alpo T-Bonz treats.

I’m tired, because I woke up at 4:30 this morning.  I’ve taken the dogs for a walk, gave Honey a training session, and filled the Kong toys.  Then I watched Gilmore Girls and read until it was time to wake dad up for work.  Since then I’ve been working on my Kickstarter campaign and looking at new gear I’d like to get Honey for the summer, including a cooling vest and a leash-sleeve that says “Service Dog” for when she’s not fully outfitted.  I guess that’s all I have to report for now.  I hope everyone who reads this has a great day and is doing well!

Just a Quick Update

Apparently I’m not insured right now, so my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication cost my dad $120 tonight. Unbelievable! I have a doctor appointment on March 29th to renew my insurance since I’m my dad’s dependent.

Next week we’re taking Honey to the vet to get her heart checked out, because her heartbeat is irregular. She seems totally healthy, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ll be using the $25 grant from the Needy Pet Fund and $31 of donations from GoFundMe for her vet visit.

In total I’ve received about $65 from GoFundMe donations after GFM took their cut. The first $34 were spent on food, treats, vitamins, and dog shampoo. I have photos and the receipt for proof that I will upload on a later post.

Honey’s collar is falling apart, so we ordered one off eBay for $6. We’re just waiting for it to arrive, and hoping that it fits.

We’re grateful for the free food samples we’ve received from Sportmix and Young Again.

I just set up a Kickstarter to launch my own Etsy shop selling products like jewelry, candles, lip balm, photography, stress-relief coloring pages, and maybe even decorating picture frames for the photo prints.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1008856355/crafts-and-jewelry-etsy-shop-start-up-by-jessilynn

Honey has also joined the Twitter-verse!  http://www.twitter.com/HoneyTheSD

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

Here Comes Honey BooBoo!

And no, I am NOT talking about the reality TV show.

When we were at Tractor Supply last week, Honey picked out a toy from the clearance bin.  A Christmas teddy bear that squeaks!  I named it BooBoo.  I just thought I’d share the cuteness with the few people on the interwebs that actually read my blog.  LOL

BooBooCollage

AND… Here’s her other toy.  Bob the Minion!  It even yells things in Minionese.  Awesome!

MinionBobCollage.jpg

Plus video!

Informing East TN On Psychiatric Service Dogs

A local news outlet, Hometown Sevier, approached me about writing a story for them about PTSD service dogs after seeing my fundraiser. I don’t know when they’ll post it on their website, but I’m going to post it here for now.

…     …     …     …     …     …     …     …

While I grew up in Georgia, my home is Sevierville.  Some of my best friends still live in Georgia, but then so do the people that treated me in ways that led to my post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and agoraphobia.  I was abused sexually, stalked, and harassed.

One of my best friends, Brandi Paul, is the owner of DreamRun Dog Training in Clayton, Georgia.  DreamRun offers many different training services, including group obedience classes, private lessons, trick training, and service dog training.  DreamRun has experience with training diabetic alert dogs, hearing alert dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and mobility assistance dogs.

It is a common misconception that all disabilities are visible, and that only war veterans suffer from PTSD.  I would also like to clarify the definition of a service dog.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Psychiatric service dogs are not therapy dogs or emotional support animals.  Service dogs are granted public access rights. The ADA states that places must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where the public is normally allowed to go.  By law, service dogs are not required to be registered.  Therapy dogs are used to bring comfort in places such as hospitals, schools, and retirement/nursing homes.  The only special rights emotional support animals have are in housing where policies against pets will be waived, as dictated by the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

A psychiatric service dog is trained to assist those with disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  Some common tasks that psychiatric service dogs are taught include deep pressure therapy (DPT) that calms their handler down during an anxiety or panic attack, interrupting self-harm and grounding during a dissociative episode or flashback, reminding their handler to take their medication, and using blocking techniques with the dog’s body to create an area of personal space when the handler feels closed in.

I received my Service Dog in Training, Honey, on January 26th.  Honey is a one and a half year old golden retriever, and has already been trained in basic service dog tasks by Brandi.  Honey has only been in my life for a month, but she’s already made a world of difference.  None of this would have been possible without Brandi and divine intervention.

Before asking for Brandi’s help, I’d done research on where to get psychiatric service dogs in East Tennessee.  There were two organizations – Smoky Mountain Service Dogs in Loudon and Wilderwood Service Dogs in Maryville.  Smoky Mountain is exclusively for veterans, while Wilderwood charges $13,000 for a service dog plus graduation fees.

The financial situation of my father and I is not ideal, seeing as when we moved to Tennessee we were in a car accident that totaled our vehicle and injured us both.  My father missed months of work before finally finding a full-time job at Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  He supports the both of us on his minimum-wage income, and we receive help in the form of groceries from Sevier County Food Ministries.  I am fundraising for the $500 cost of Honey, and other related expenses (training, supplies, etc).  I am owner-training the specialized tasks I need for my disabilities with Brandi’s guidance.  I’ve created a Facebook page and a WordPress blog to follow our journey, as well as a fundraiser on GoFundMe.