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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review Wednesday - Prid

I can't not write about this stuff. I inadvertently found this product while trying to look up ways to get rid of a blind pimple. [A blind pimple is one of those painful, swollen, red pimples that never come to a head. They sit around for weeks and you can't get any relief.] I had one on the bridge of my nose and nothing I had tried would make it go away.

Several solutions included tea tree oil, isopropyl alcohol with a cotton swab, the obvious acne medications, using a hot tea bag or a hot compress... and something called Prid Drawing Salve.

When I first looked this stuff up, I was a little taken aback by it. The company started making this stuff in 1968 and hadn't ever updated their packaging. The word "homeopathic" almost scared me off because I was never really a believer in that kind of medicine (I'd even tried homeopathic hCG once because it was oh-so-much-cheaper, but it didn't work.) Apparently, according to all the reviews I read, this stuff really "draws out" things like pus or infections, and also raises out splinters or thorns. It helps pull out the stuff injected by mosquito (or other bugs) that make you itch, or the poison in a bee sting. It can be used on boils and blisters and other swollen, inflamed places on the skin. It all sounds very "miracle-istic" for a "homeopathic remedy". 


But I'm here to tell you: It works. Now, I can't attest for anything else besides what it does for blind pimples, but if you get those sometimes, it's so worth it. It's not as quick as I had hoped, and I think it works better when not covered by a band-aid, but if nothing else, it gets rid of the pain and reduces some of the swelling. It took an extra 3 days or so to get rid of the one of the bridge of my nose (that I'd already had for 2-3 days) but as I was treating that one, I got another one on my temple. This was my chance to use it from the start - and it worked a lot quicker. Within two days it's nothing but a small, painless bump. I'm not sure what the difference is here but instead of these coming to a head like some people said would happen, they just receded. That makes me happier because I really shouldn't be popping and messing with them (sorry if this is gross) because I still have scars from my teen years.

Fair warning: It smells bad. It's sticky, doesn't wash off very easily, and very medicinal smelling, but I actually don't mind it so much. I can't wait to use it on something else, now. Some people say it helps heal scratches faster, too. I wish I would have discovered this stuff sooner!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

When Gerbils Outsmart You

When you win against a gerbil, it's like scoring a jackpot in the lottery. It's not necessarily that gerbils are smarter, it's just that they're extremely persistent. They constantly find ways to outmaneuver whatever setup you have, especially if its in resistance to something unhealthy or annoying that they do.

Example 1: My gerbil, Odin, has an annoying habit of "digging" against the side of his tank obsessively. He's not trying to get out, it's just in his nature to dig. I just don't understand why he's digging sideways and always in the same place. If you happen to notice that opaqueness on the bottom of his cage, congratulations - that was my attempt at stopping his weird habit. This is double-sided sticky tape. Now, if you also notice, it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the tank. This is because gerbils are persistent bastards. Eventually the tape would become unsticky, and once it did, he dug it right off the glass.

Example 2: This one was actually an unhealthy habit that I needed to stop. Odin had an obsession with chewing on those black metal bars. Eventually, the coating would come off (which I'm sure is toxic), and/or he would either break one of his teeth or get mouth sores, I was sure of it. Plus, it was extremely annoying. He loved to chew on the roof bars which I found very strange. Searching internet forums was not helping. As you can see, Odin already has plenty of things to chew and occupy his time, but he was choosing the bars instead. This time, I couldn't half-ass my approach. I'd already tried tape which only stopped him for a day. Plus, I didn't want to cover his whole upper area with tape.
Forum people, you need to listen to me right now. This works, this fucking works, and I'm going to share my secret with you. It's this: hardware cloth (they call it cloth but it's more like chicken wire). As I watched Odin chew the bars to death, I thought; look at how far his nose protrudes past the bars in order for his teeth to get on them. Gerbils have extreme overbites. If he can't get his nose over it, he can't chew it. And that was my revelation. Cover the bars with metal where the holes are too small for him to fit his nose through.


For the roof, I did the outside. I bought some Gorilla epoxy and used zipties to keep the two metals in contact because, while the wire mesh is bendable, it's too stiff to stay. It was a horrible experience that I choose not to repeat. I got the epoxy everywhere. It made drips down the bars and dried in droplets on the underside. However, that might be a partial reason why he's now leaving the roof alone. Oh, he tried, and lasted about 3 seconds. He tried again, lasted another 3 seconds. I was winning the battle. But, I knew it wasn't over. He also sometimes chewed on the sidebars, so I began to cover those as well.

[Side note: this project took about 3 days, so while I was doing this, I had the cage topper on my table and Odin only has his tank. I had to tape the water bottle to the side of the tank because I had no other way to attach it. When I went to bed on day 1 of the project, I got up the next morning and to my extreme rage, Odin had chewed through the tape, and then chewed a hole through his only water supply. I literally screamed at him. Picked him out out of his cage and cussed up a storm. This is why I don't have children.]

For the side pieces, I wanted to make it easier on myself and decided to cut them to fit the inside of the cage and just use zipties to attach them. I figured he might not be able to get his teeth on them if they were "skintight" against the bars. So far so good. He might just be biding his time though, who knows. Ever since I attached the sides, he has not tried to chew on the bars at all, even though he still has access to them from the front and back of the cage.

It may be too early to tell but, I think... I think I've won. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Every single battle that I've fought, I lost miserably (take the food dish for example. When it was in the tank, he'd cover it in his bedding. So, I put the food dish on top of his hut. As you can see, it is clear of bedding. I woke up the next morning with bedding in his dish. Gerbils are the most bizarre creatures.) but I really hope this sticks. I highly recommend anyone with this problem to try this out. You might finally outsmart your gerbil.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Womxn's March in Seattle

I'm not usually one to get political. I have my opinions, sure, but unlike some idiots on the internet, I keep my thoughts to myself and move on 99% of the time. 

Yes, I went to the Womxn's March in Seattle. No, I did not chant or display a creative sign. In fact, all I did was walk (and participate in the occasional sound wave that rolled by). Let me dispel one comment I kept reading over and over about the marches all around the country that happened on 1/21: Did I vote? Why yes, I did. Did I vote for Hilary? *gasp* I did not. I also did not vote for Trump (which was probably obvious). Unlike so many others who didn't want to vote for either candidate so they didn't vote, I wanted to exercise my right to.


So why did I march? Yet another snide comment on posts was the fact that women already have equal rights so we're just wasting our time. They also think we're whining liberals and just complaining that Trump won. Neither one of these assumptions are true (at least for me).

I can't say much about the wage gap as I work in a merit and experienced based-pay company. I don't know if it's true or not and would probably be nearly impossible to prove due to everyone having different educational and life experiences for the jobs they are applying for. BUT.

The number one hot bed ticket item is reproductive rights and our right to choose. And this has little to do with Trump (yet), because it started after those videos went viral about Planned Parenthood selling off aborted baby parts. Republicans decided to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the allegations that they were profiting off the practice being false. However, abortions were never funded by the Government in the first place, so what they're actually defunding is pap smears and breast exams and STD screenings etc. 
And the reason I care so much is because I currently work at a Catholic institution. It's large enough to offer their own insurance, but they choose to force their beliefs onto their employees, so if you are covered by their insurance, they will not help pay for abortions or any kind of birth control, period. (Thanks to the ACA, I was able to get an IUD placed for free, which would have cost me $700-$1,200 out of pocket since my ins won't cover it). So where does that leave me in this case? Planned Parenthood. Right now our ability to choose is up in the air. They could take it away at any moment. They don't have to make abortions illegal in order to make it happen. There are several undercut ways to take those rights away, like defunding the very places that offer the service. 

Can you see it? The line of people stretches all the way to to the end.

The comment that disturbed me the most was "3 miles of crybabies". Yes, at one point there were enough people in this march to stretch all the way from Judkins Park (where it started) to Westlake Center (where it ended). Estimates say there were about 175,000 participants. 

But we weren't the only city that marched.

Not only in cities around the state. Not only in cities around the country, but cities around the world marched in solidarity with us. Between 1 million and 5 million people - and not all of them women - marched. I am proud to be a part of history, even if it changes nothing. I am proud that we kept the mood light and jovial, and that no one damaged property or got arrested. We smiled, we laughed, we had fun, believe it or not. And I got a good workout ta boot. 


I was marching to remind the current administration that we matter. I was not necessarily going in order to oppose Donald Trump. I'm not whining about it. I know it's happened and we can't make it un-happen. I'm not an idiot. I'm kind of an independent when it comes to my political views; there are things on each side of the fence that I like and dislike. There are some things about Trump that I agree with. I am not a whining liberal. I just want to make sure that we keep the power in our court - and this can stand for any race or sex. We are in charge, not them. 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Raising Awareness of PVCs

No, I don't mean PVC pipes. I think most people are aware of PVC pipes. If they aren't, then they have bigger issues.

I mean Premature Ventricular Contractions. It sounds scary and dangerous, but they're not. However, when I kept getting them and didn't know what they were, I was freaking out pretty good. So, I want to let people know what they are and kind of what they feel like, so they can see if this is what they've been experiencing for themselves. 

WARNING: I am not a doctor despite watching House, MD a second time though and working in a doctor's office and have done classes in Anatomy/Physiology and Medical Terminology. I still got checked out by a doctor just to make sure what I had wasn't more serious and if you're really concerned then I suggest you do the same. Okay, moving on...


This is your heart. The ventricles are the two lower chambers, and end up being responsible for pumping the blood to your lungs for oxygenation and to the rest of your body. There are nodes (not pictured) that control your heartbeat via electrical impulses. The main one is the sinoatrial node, but the purkinje fibers control the contraction of your ventricles. When they are out of sync, a PVC occurs.

i just had a PVC the other day when I was laying down for bed, and I noticed something interesting. I put my fingers on my neck in order to feel my heartbeat, and every time the ventricles pumped too early (as in, they didn't allow the cavities to be filled with blood before going off), I did not get a heartbeat on my neck. It feels a lot like a skipped beat or an extra beat. You are hyper aware of your pounding heart, and it almost seems like it's bouncing around in your chest. For me, a PVC lasts maybe 30 seconds, but it seems like a very long time. I suppose they could become dangerous if they continued due to the simple fact that the heart isn't pumping blood very efficiently; eventually that would cause serious issues. 

However, I read that there is a way to stop them from continuing: 

Yawn.

That's right. Even if it's a fake yawn. I read that the act of yawning uses the same vegus nerves as the heart, or something like that (I can't seem to find the article now. I don't think doctors know officially how it works) and it kind of resets the heart rhythm. i don't know why it works, I just know that it does!

I've done so many of these "Raising Awareness" posts that I think I'm going to re-link them in case anyone is interested in reading all the other lame things wrong with me!

Dyspareunia
Gallstones
Blepharitis 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My First Week on Phentermine

So far, this medication is a miracle. Not a miracle drug, but a miracle for me.

You see, I have a problem with eating too much. I eat healthily 90% of the time. I'm talking chicken salad and greek yogurt and babybell cheeses and miracle noodles. I haven't had fried food in a long time. I eat 99% whole grains and flax seed and oats. And I actually enjoy eating these things... it's not forced on me. It's habit.

But, calories is calories regardless of where it comes from. If you eat more than you body can burn in a day, you will gain weight regardless; and this is where I'm at. I do exercise (cardio/HIIT Mon and Wed and Strength/weights Tue and Thur), but I haven't lost weight.

Sweets are my weakness. The meals that I eat put me at around 1400-1500 calories, when my body burns about 1680 just by being alive. Which would work out well if I wasn't hungry. And sweets will put me over that 1680 mark easily, and at that point all I'm doing is maintaining or slightly gaining.
I tried Belviq, which is supposed to trick your brain into thinking you're full sooner when you eat. It kind of works and kind of doesn't. Unfortunately it doesn't stop my cravings (define: food I will eat regardless of whether I actually feel hungry or not; sometimes even when I'm full) and I hadn't been losing any weight on it. So here comes Phentermine. If it sounds slightly familiar, it should. It's the Phen part of Fen-Phen. The non-dangerous half of the formula. But it's supposedly highly addicting and so you are closely monitored by a physician, and can only be prescribed for 3 months. There can also be some very concerning side-effects, which I luckily haven't experienced.

Phentermine increases production of some chemicals in the body through the adrenal glands that increase your energy (aka your heart rate) and block signals of hunger. And it most definitely works. I've been able to maintain a diet of 1200 calories a day so far. Not only does it block hunger signals most of the day, but makes me full faster (even if I do feel hungry), and it also curbs cravings because I am a satisfied kind of non-hungry, if that makes any sense. 

The only issue that concerns me is that this is not a long-term solution. From the articles and posts I've read, Phentermine is normally given to people who are obese and need to learn better habits. Phentermine will allow people to start eating healthy and exercising so that they can take care of the weight themselves. Due to it being so addicting I will only be on it for 3 months, and then what? I already eat healthy and exercise. Of course I want to lose 30 pounds - 40 is my goal. But can I really maintain this after I'm off the medication? I'm just so hungry all the time, which I think is due to leptin resistance, which I'm not going to get into here, (read about it here. It's a real thing) but I think that's what I'm fighting against. My hope is that with less fat, I won't be fighting the hunger as much.

Right now, I think I will just enjoy the wave of weight loss. I only need to lose 15 lbs to be lower than the lowest weight I've ever been, and I'm looking forward to that tremendously! 





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nail Stamping

A couple people have asked me how I do my nails, so this will be my guide/tutorial on everything you need to stamp your nails and make them look pretty without spending a fortune at the salon (I don't know about you, but I don't like people messing with my nails!)



First thing first: I highly recommend OPI nail polish for all your basic needs. They go on thick and generally only need one layer. They also dry pretty darn fast! You will need a clear base coat for sure (base coats are formulated to adhere to your nail. Don't try to save money here by buying an all-in-one. The formulas are different in a base coat as opposed to a top coat.) And you can not do these stamps without a top coat because they can and will scrape off easily. 
I also like Orly nail polishes, but I prefer using them on their own because they come in a lot of wacky and cool colors. Plus they are also thin so you need more than one coat in most cases.



Here are the items you will need (I will use amazon links to make it easy but you can find a lot of this stuff cheaper elsewhere):

Stamper and Scraper - Believe it or not, not all stampers and scrapers are created equal. The scraper pictured here is my favorite. A good stamper will not be too firm and not too soft. It will need to pick up the polish well and form fit to your nail.
I also highly suggest that you "prime" your stamper with a nail file because it will help pick up more polish. The color of the stamper can be important too... if you choose white and you use a lot of white stamping polish, you're going to have a horrible time lining up your stamp when you can't see it!

"Special" nail polish - You may think you can get away with using a regular thick nail polish and you'd be wrong. Trust me, I've tried. Stamping polish is much thicker. This is the brand I use (try ebay). They are small bottles, but they will last you a long time.

Manicure plates - My favorite part! There is so much to choose from it will boggle your mind. [I have read that not all stamping plates are created equal either. Some of them are made so cheaply that the recesses etched into the plates aren't deep enough and won't produce a good stamp. I have bought $2 plates off of wish.com and have been fine, but you've been warned!] I have used the round plates before, and they certainly work, but those kinds of designs are mainly little pictures of things like flowers and butterflies. They are hard to line up perfectly. I prefer nail plates that have pictures designed to fit to your entire nail. They usually give enough room for error in case your stamp is a bit off. They also have ones that depict an entire scene and you just pick the part you like and stamp it. I find those a bit odd and haven't bothered with them.

That's it for supplies! Now for the tutorial:

After your base coat dries, paint your special polish into a plate design that you like. Make sure its in there thick; don't be stingy. Scrape off the excess - and scrape it twice (this will insure all gaps are filled with polish). Now work rapidly here - the polish is thin and will dry quickly. Use your stamp and roll it onto the plate, pressing hard. It should pick up most all of the polish. Line the stamp up with your nail as best as you can, and just like on the plate, roll it onto your nail from one side to the other in one fluid move. Its best to have your nail on the table when you do this. Between each nail, you will want to wipe off your stamp and your plate with nail polish remover (please just use acetone. It works so much better for clean up. Also don't use cotton balls for this; you will regret it. Paper towels will work just fine). And that's it! The process seems long and tedious but once you get the rhythm down it'll go quick. 


One downside to full nail stamps is the clean up around the edges. 
I have a manicure pen for this.

One last step before it's all done: the top coat. The stamped polish is pretty much immediately dry, so after you're done stamping all your nails you can paint on the top coat - but one more piece of advice: your top coat brush will literally pull the stamp with it as you apply it. My advice is to carefully and lightly dab the top coat onto your nail. Swipe it as little as possible. Once it dries, add another top coat in the normal fashion. 

All done!

There are so many options here; different stamps to try, different color combinations... the possibilities are endless and will keep you busy for a long time! Plus they look super cool, don't you think? :D

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Great Desk Swap

This whole blog post is going to sound like one big shill, but considering I only have 20-40 readers, it is certainly not! Like Alton Brown, I only "advertise" what I personally use and find really amazing!

Now, first I have to mention that without my new Chevy Sonic Hatchback, none of this would have been possible [alone]. Not only was I able to drive to Ikea and fit two drawer unit boxes plus a 59x29 piece of table top, but I was also able to throw broken desk pieces in there to toss into the dumpster! (more on this in a minute!)

This was my old set up. The things that are inherently wrong with these kinds of desks are: 1. The one shitty "leg" on one side holding everything up. After several moves, it was close to collapsing 2. The backing board, making it nigh impossible to get anything plugged in back there 3. The whole top piece, making desk space very limited. After buying my new computer case (A Carbide 500R, btw - so freaking awesome! A++ 5 star), I could no longer fit it up top and had to put it at my feet, which created its own set of issues) and 4. See that printer waaaay up there? Yeah, if I wanted to do anything with it, I had to grab a chair.

So all of those things, plus the fact that it just looked like shit (don't ever leave duct tape on furniture like that for more than a few hours or you'll regret it) have made me want to replace this desk for a long time. But, with what?

Lifehacker to the rescue. (I told you this post would be shill-y). That link (and pic below) is my inspiration. 

The part that got me was the fact that it was built from Ikea parts, so anyone could do it. Now his is a bit different - for one, he used the white cabinets. But he also used a different top... a kitchen counter made from 100% beech wood, but is also 74" long (and $119). I definitely didn't have 74" to spare. My original plan was to go to Ikea on Saturday, pick up the cabinets, and then go with my dad on Sunday to pick up the counter top and have it cut down to 58".
But, while I was at Ikea on Saturday, I found this: Linnmon Table Top. It was almost the perfect size; 59x29 which was do-able (a bit wide, but not crazy) and only $30!! What a steal! Now, it's not 100% wood, but because I wouldn't have to cut it down, that didn't really matter.

But, before I could even build this thing, I had to put the drawer units together and tear down the old desk. And I do mean tear down literally - it was a floor model so it was glued together. I had to figure out how to rip it apart because I couldn't just take it apart, and be able to throw it all into the dumpster. 



This was by far the hardest part of the whole project. I had to pull out my reciprocating saw (something that I had just bought on a whim at a friend's garage sale not knowing if I would ever need it for anything). Again, this project would not have been possible without it! I literally had to saw through the desk to take it out in pieces!!! Look at what it did to my poor saw!

That's seriously bent, in case you can't tell

But once the old desk was out of the way (Thank you Chevy Sonic for allowing me to pile the pieces in the back and take it to the dumpster! [Which was also very difficult as the dumpster is 4' tall and you can't hold the lid open to throw anything away. Nothing can ever be easy!]) I could now put together the new one. Like my inspiration desk, I bought a cable management piece to hide all my cords and installed that. I screwed the risers into the cabinets (I bought 2" ones instead of 4" ones because I'm short), and just placed the top onto the risers. Badda-bing, badda-bang, all done. 



The table top isn't even attached to the risers... it doesn't need to be. It won't move unless you move it (I know, I couldn't believe it at first either). This is also a blessing, because now if I need to plug in something that has a brick, I can slide the table forward, drop it back there and slide it back. GENIUS. Now, I have my computer case off the floor (no more worrying about static electricity shorting out my PC on the carpet) with easy access to install hardware or plug things in. And also, my printer is accessible! 

Another thing to note besides the fact that I just about doubled my storage space and now have a blank canvas behind me for some awesome art, is the height of the desk. I spent a pretty penny on a DXRacer chair not long ago (I really wanted something that I would never have to replace. Don't judge me) but never found is as comfortable as it claimed. I still sat forward in my chair and didn't feel as though it was giving me any support. Now I know why - my desk was too low and my chair was too high. Now my keyboard is a bit high; it's something I'll have to get used to, but my monitor is the perfect height. It's actually eye level to me, and the natural way to sit in my chair now is to lean back in it, making it a ton more comfortable.

I also have to mention that despite Ikea's reputation for horrible installation directions and confusing pieces of furniture, those two drawer units were some of the easiest things I've ever put together and was easily do-able with one person. They are also very nice cabinets and well worth the cost, I think.

Total cost: $219 not including tax. Well worth it in my humble opinion!