Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: Old Factory Candle Gift Set and a Giveaway!



I was recently sent this great Old Factory Candle Set to test at home for free and I have to say that I love it. These candles have such a great scent. I could smell them as soon as I opened the lid on them and as you know if you like scented candles, some don't always put out enough scent after they are lit. There's no worry about that with this set because a little while after lighting one, I could smell the scent of it all the way in the other room. 

I think the hardest part about testing this candle set was choosing one of the sets because there are several to choose from and each set has three different scents in it. I like these so much and since I already burn candles all the time. I decided on the Happy Holidays Scents which include: Candy Cane, Christmas Tree and Ginger Bread. 

I like lighting candles as opposed to incense, sprays, or plug ins because those things really don't last. I used to use incense but the smoke gets to me now and I have a hard time breathing but candles are great because you just light one and let it burn all day, snuff it out at night and light it again the next morning. 


Not all candles are the same or will put out the same amount of scent and I've found that soy candles like this set are cleaner burning, meaning they won't get your walls all blackened where you burn a lot of candles and soy candles seem to distribute the scent a lot better than other types of candles. These candles burn clean for over 20 hours each and they smell so good.

If you would like to try these candles you can find them here.

Now onto my giveaway.
US only.
You must have an Amazon account in order to qualify for this giveaway as the company will be sending you a code for a free set of candles.
You will have 24 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be picked.
Please leave an email address along with your comment so I can get in touch with you.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Update on Lucky


Lucky has been acting strange, not like himself at all for the past 6 days. The vet thinks Lucky had a stroke and is now completely blind and has lost most of the use of the only front paw he has. He can still use the front leg but he isn't grasping anything with his paw. 

I knew something was wrong but this...I just want to cry. All his 3 legs are working thankfully but he no longer uses his front paw to grasp his food and his head turns just a little to the side when he eats. We're hoping that with some exercise and physical therapy at home that he will be able to use his front paw a little more.

The good news is he's still eating and drinking with some help and his legs are still working. His personality changed because he can't see and is probably scared, confused and he's irritable and doesn't like to be held as much as he used to. But I'm just going to keep giving him loving, keep trying to hold him and get him to eat more on his own. I had been spoon feeding him food a few times a day but things started looking up yesterday when he stuck his head out of his igloo and ate some of the food I left in front of the house on his own. But he doesn't want to come out of his igloo, it's like he's scared to walk around. I take him out hold him and when I put him I back I sit him down outside his igloo and coax him to the opening and let him find his way so he'll get used to sniffing and feeling his way around and memorize his cage.

The prognosis is good but there's really nothing else the vet can do. I'm still frazzled by this news. His personality has changed a bit. He doesn't give kisses like he used to. He used to lick our hands every time he was near enough to do so. He doesn't run to the front of the cage when he sees us and he's bit me twice because he doesn't want to be petted or handled as much anymore but we are still trying because the more we hold him, pet him and get him to walk around the more he will adjust to his new circumstance. 

He's already better than he was the first two days after the stroke but it's going to take time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What to Expect During a Thyroid Biopsy

I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis as well as Hypothroidism. I also have a very large nodule on the right side of my neck where my thyroid has grown very large. Because of this large nodule, I've undergone 3 thyroid biopsies. Here's what you can expect.

There are two different types of Thyroid biopsies that your doctor may order. The most common is called a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA), the second is called a Core Needle Biopsy (CNB).

Both are done as an outpatient and only takes a few minutes. Your doctor may order one or the other depending on what they are looking for. Thyroid biopsies are used to determine cancer as well as other problems. If you have any nodules in or around your Thyroid, your doctor may order a biopsy to check for cancer in the nodules.

Before a Thyroid Biopsy your doctor may order an ultrasound of your neck, this will help the radiologist find the nodule or part of the thyroid your doctor wants the biopsy done on. Ultrasounds are painless and are usually completed in just a few minutes.

On the day of your biopsy you will not need to do anything differently than usual. The procedure usually takes less than thirty minutes, but you will need someone to go with you and drive you home. This procedure is usually done at a Radiologists office with a local anesthetic. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and brought into a room with an ultrasound machine. You be asked to lie on the bed with a small pillow under the back of your neck. You will have to raise your chin so that your neck is more exposed. The Radiologist will have an assistant in the room to help get supplies while doing the biopsy.

You will be given an injection of Lidocaine into the area that's going to be biopsied, which does burn when injected but numbs the area relatively fast. An ultrasound is often used during the biopsy as a guide to help the radiologist find where to insert the needle and take the sample. During a FNA a small needle is inserted into the Thyroid or nodule and a small amount is extracted and put on glass slides so they can be examined. The needle may be inserted several times to get a large enough sample.

During a Core Needle Biopsy (CNB) a small incision about an inch long, will be made and a biopsy needle will be inserted through the incision to get a sample of the thyroid. Several samples in different areas of the thyroid may be taken through the incision. Stitches are not usually needed to close the incision as it is so small.

After the procedure, the radiologists assistant will have you lie there with a small bag of ice on your neck for a few minutes. If you are feeling good after a few minutes, and there is no excess bleeding they will apply a small bandage to the area, give you another bag of ice and you are sent home.

You can expect the area to be sore for a few days, an over the counter pain medicine like Tylenol will help. Your doctor should have the results ready for you in about a week. A small amount of bruising, swelling and tenderness are the most common side effects.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ambien: My Experience with This Sleep Medication

I was prescribed Ambien a few years ago for insomnia problems. I was told by my physician that I should only take it if I can devote a full 8 hours to sleep, and that I may experience minor side effects like a drugged feeling if I didn't get the full 8 hours of recommended sleep and some people have reported sleep walking.

I took my tablet that first night and waited to get tired, waited for something to happen. I felt nothing for about two hours, then suddenly I felt lightheaded and when I attempted to walk to the bedroom I bumped into the furniture.

The next night after taking the Ambien, I went straight to bed and laid down. I didn't get to sleep right away, it must have taken at least an hour before I stopped looking at the clock, when I woke the next morning and could hardly keep my eyes open. I had an incredibly hard time waking up.

My husband caught me walking to the front door and opening it, just standing there in a daze, a few hours after taking the Ambien and for whatever reason waking up. I've also gotten out of bed to turn on every single light in my house and then come back to bed.

I've taken the Ambien tablet and stayed awake for a few hours. Because I don't feel the effects of it while I'm sitting down, I could be at the computer typing emails that make absolutely no sense and mailing them out before I go to bed, only to have family members emailing me the next day asking me if I had been drinking the night before.

I talked to my doctor about what has been happening to me and she told me that there have been reports of people making food, sleep walking, making phone calls, mailing emails and never remembering doing so the next day. One time after taking this medication I took all of the labels off of every bottle in the bathroom and put them in a neat pile in the middle of the floor and went back to bed. I also got up one night after taking this medication and stabbed myself in the leg with a steak knife. Not bad enough to need stitches but bad enough that I bled all over my night clothes after going back to bed.

Ambien can be habit forming and should only be used for short periods of time for the treatment of insomnia. You should tell your doctor if you have any side effects that are bothersome to you.

*Update: I no longer take this medication due to the side effects*

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What is Serotonin Syndrome?



Serotonin Syndrome is a rare medical condition that occurs when two medicines are taken together and serotonin levels rise. It can sometimes be life threatening and a short stay in the hospital may be needed to observe the person until their serotonin levels return to normal.

Causes

Serotonin Syndrome can occur when two medications that affect the levels of Serotonin are taken together and the level of Serotonin in the body rises too much.

Serotonin Syndrome is more likely to occur when a person first starts to take these medications together or when the medications dosages are increased.

Serotonin Syndrome can occur when medicines for migraines called triptans are taken together with some antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs). Some of the most popular SSRI's are Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac and Paxil. Some of the more popular SNRI's are Effexor and Cymbalta. Some of the more popular triptans include Zomig, Imitrex, Axert, and Relpax.

Some of the older antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's) can also cause Serotonin Syndrome when mixed with SSRI's, triptans as well as the SNRI's. Serotonin Syndrome can also occur if mixed with a pain killed called Demerol or cough medicines that contain Dextromethorphan.

Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome:

Diarrhea
Low Blood Pressure
Restlessness
Increased Temperature
Hallucinations
Fast Heart Beat
Confusion
Loss of Coordination
Vomiting
Leg Cramps
Sweating
Shivering
Tremor

Treatment
Serotonin Syndrome can be life threatening if not treated immediately. Your doctor will most likely tell you to stop taking the medicines that have increased your serotonin levels. A hospital stay for at least 24 hours is sometimes warranted to observe the patient with Serotonin Syndrome.

People with Serotonin Syndrome are usually treated with Valium or Ativan to decrease agitation, stiff muscles, leg cramps and fast heart beat.

Drugs may be given to stop the production of more serotonin and IV fluids are usually also given. In some serious life threatening cases a breathing tube may be necessary until the symptoms are gone.

Diagnosis and Prognosis of Serotonin Syndrome
In order to be diagnosed with Serotonin Syndrome you have to be taking a medicine that affects serotonin levels and have three or more of the symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome.

Blood work may be necessary or your doctor may admit you into the hospital for 24 hours for observation after withdrawing the medicine or medicines that were causing the serotonin levels to rise.

Patients can quickly get worst and become so ill it becomes life threatening if not caught and treated quickly. But with treatment symptoms usually start to go away quickly and leave no lasting ill effects.

Even though Serotonin Syndrome is a rare condition it can happen to anyone, I know this first hand because a while back it happened to me. I'd been taking 10 mg's of Lexapro every day for more than five years. Then my doctor added 300mg's of Trazodone to what I was taking daily. After two weeks of taking these two medicines together I noticed I was having some strange new symptoms. I stopped taking the Trazodone and called my doctor, but by that time it was too late to stop the Serotonin Syndrome from happening to me.

I had all the symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome except for the loss of coordination and Hallucinations. I talked to my doctor on the phone and told him my symptoms and he knew right away what it was. I was told to stop taking Trazodone and if my symptoms got worst to go to the hospital. Later that night I started having hallucinations and I didn't know what was going on because my doctor never told me that I could experience hallucinations. I didn't find out about this symptom until I called my brother and asked him to look up the other symptoms for Serotonin Syndrome online.

It took almost 5 days for all the symptoms to go away, even though all the literature I read said the symptoms should be gone in 24 hours. My doctor could not give me a definitive answer as to why my symptoms lasted so long.

As a patient I have learned we have to be proactive and learn as much as we can about the medicines we are taking. Knowing the side effects, drug interactions, complications as well as the signs and symptoms of possible rare side effects is something we have to be on top of. What happened to me was an extremely frightening experience that I hope no one else has to go through.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Priority Chef Citrus Squeezer and Juicer



I recently was sent this Citrus Squeezer for free for testing purposes and it's the first citrus squeezer I've ever had. In the past any time I needed fresh orange or lemon juice I squeezed it by hand which isn't easy when you're trying to get all of it out and not waste any. 

So I first tried this out by squeezing two limes for a meat marinade and I was surprised at how easy it was to juice the limes. They are small and I've always had a hard time getting a lot of juice from them but this citrus squeezer made that task so simple. I don't know why I didn't buy one of these before now.


And the best thing is this came just in time for Thanksgiving when I'm really going to need it to juice 2-3 large lemons for my homemade salsa. This citrus squeezer is very durable and has a little weight to it so I can tell that it will last a while and work great for a long time. I also used mine with an orange and found it so easy to use that I ended up squeezing 3 oranges which I had cut in half and made about 1/2 glass of freshly squeezed orange juice which was really good.

Like I said, this is the first time I've ever used a citrus squeezer and I really love this one. it's so easy to use and it works great.

And I have great news for you. If this sounds like a product you'd like you can find it here and the company has given me a $7 off coupon code for my readers! Just enter CITR7OFF where it asks for a coupon code at check out.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Fright Night Blog Hop and a Giveaway!



When I saw that the name of this blog hop was called, Fright Night blog hop I knew I had to do it because my all time favorite horror movie is, Fright Night. The original not the remake. lol 

My favorite spooky reads are usually paranormal romance because I like a little bit of romance with my spooky. If you like these types of reads then you know what authors do them best but if you are new to the genre then I will suggest you check out:

Pamela Palmer
Shelley Munro
Sara Humphreys
Heidi Betts
K.S. Haigwood
Larissa Ione
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Laurel K. Hamilton
Christine Feehan

Check out any of those authors and I know you'll be happy. They've written some of my all time favorite paranormal romance stories. Not every story has to be scary to be 'spooky' as long as it has some sort of paranormal creature in it, I'm happy.

Now onto the giveaway!
For this giveaway, I am offering a $10 Target gift card. 
US only

All you have to do to be entered into my giveaway is to leave a comment letting me know what author you like to read and an email address where I can reach you if you are picked as the winner. I'll be mailing the gift card to you so you'll have to give me your mailing address as well when I contact you.
Please leave your email address or your comment doesn't count.

You will have 24 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be picked. 

Good luck!

Freebie Friday!


Welcome to another edition of Freebie Friday, where I tell you what free samples and full sized products I received in the mail and how you can get them too. Someone asked me why I do a 'Freebie Friday" each week, so I'll tell you.

A while back I listed all the free samples and wins that I had received that previous year and so many people didn't believe that I could have gotten so many free things. So I decided to prove it by taking a picture every week and sharing the sites that I found the links to the freebies at. So now you too can get great free samples coming to your mailbox each week.

  You can find links to samples like these at Hey It's Free and Freebie Shark.

This week I received: 

A Soft Nail Brush
A Mesh Pouf
2 Sea Foam Facial Sponges
Remove Makeup Removing & Cleansing Cloths
2 coupons for a free bottle of Lotion and a bottle of Body Wash
Coupons to share with friends and family

I received all of these products and coupons for free from BzzAgent.

I also cashed out on my E-Rewards account enough to get a $50 Starbucks gift card and I bought a tea kettle and some tea. 

I also won a giveaway from Sos Aloha blog. Which included a book by Terry Spear, a totebag, author swag and my favorite tea.

Did you receive anything for free this week?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Tell when a Pet Female Rat is in Heat



*My first female rat, Romi*

A female rat is called a doe and male rats are called bucks. Because rats have such short life spans, females will go into heat about once a week but it only lasts for about twelve hours. This can be a time when a female rat might act differently and should not be confused with being sick or otherwise ill.
Can I handle my rat at that time?

Since it happens every week a female rat may act a little different during that time but then most animals will act differently when they are in heat. You can handle your pet rat when she is in heat but she may act a little strange when you do.

She might be more skittish or jumpy and she might also stop and not move if you rub her lower back. I noticed my doe would totally freeze where she was standing, lift her tail and arch her back, while eye boggling if I rubbed her back during that time of the week.

Do Female Rats bleed while in heat?
No, they don't. While there might be a different odor coming from your doe, she should not bleed while she is in heat. I found that my doe would have a slight musky odor when she was in heat. It is very common for rat owners to be able to sense when their doe's are in heat from the difference in odor and the way she acts.

Why would my female rat be bleeding?
There are several reasons a doe might be bleeding. It could be from a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, vaginal infection, polycystic ovary disease, tumors, cancer, infections or she could have gotten into a fight with her cage mate and gotten bitten.

In any case, if you see blood you should call your Vet's office right away and make an appointment. Most of the ailments I stated above can be treated with the right medications or with spaying. The problem is most veterinarians don't work with 'exotics' and have no experience in dealing with pet rats.

Make sure to find a vet in your area that has experience with 'exotics' before you bring a new pet rat home, and have the phone number to their office handy in case of emergencies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Favorite Zazzle iPhone Cases


Even though I don't currently have an iPhone, I do like to look at the accessories, especially the different cases for them. I never would have imagined just how many variations there are. 

I like this unicorn iPhone case because I used to collect unicorns and still have a few statues as well as quite a few hanging pictures on my walls and one of the unicorn pictures on my wall looks a lot like this gorgeous guy. I find this iPhone case very ethereal. If you like it you can find it on Zazzle right here.


I also like this one for obvious reasons to anyone who knows me. Skulls! Need I say more? I didn't think so. But I found this one to be exceptional because at first I didn't even see the skull, it didn't pop right out at me. It took a second for me to see it. It reminds me of art, like an art sculpture that's open to interpretation. And if you like it as much as I do, you can find it on Zazzle right here.


Flowers always make me feel cheerful. I don't know about you but there's just something about a pretty flower pattern that makes me smile most times. This one reminds me of a Hawaiian picture. While I've never actually been to Hawaii, I do have a couple of friends who live there and I love looking at the pictures they post. Now whenever I see flowers I think of Hawaii and who wouldn't smile thinking of all that beautiful scenery? If you like this one you can find it on this page that features all kinds of other flowered iPhone cases.


If you're like a lot of other people, you've probably seen the movie Frozen. I haven't seen it but there is a Frozen theme going on right now on Once Upon A Time the show and I have to say I'm really liking it. Maybe even enough to watch the movie frozen...maybe, we'll see. But there are a lot of other Disney themed iPhone cases to chose from on the page I found this one on. Just go here

If you didn't take a fancy to any of these, you can always visit the pages on Zazzle.com that I found these 4 cases on and see if there's something you do like. 

You can find the pages here and here

Snake Food: Live vs Dead

*Cuddles*

While in the wild most snakes will kill their prey to eat. Snakes also eat whatever they find, even if it's dead. So the idea that a pet snake needs to be fed live prey is a myth that needs to be dispelled.

Live Prey
Snakes will eat a variety of small animals and insects; some will even eat goldfish swimming around in a small bowl of water. Small snakes such as garter snakes can eat worms, insects and goldfish. Most of these animals and insects cannot harm a pet snake when placed into its cage.

Larger snakes require larger meals such as mice, hamsters, and rabbits. Some snake owners will use free kittens as snake food, or find free rats and use them as snake food. Putting a live mouse into a cage with a snake could be a lethal mistake for both of the animals. Mice, hamsters and rabbits will fight to live, inflicting bite after bite to the snake until they take their last breath.

There have been instances where snakes have been so badly bitten by their prey that they actually die from infection or a lethal bite to the head. Live prey can also have mites or fleas that can infect a snake.

Dead Prey
When we speak of dead prey usually we mean frozen mice, hamsters and rabbits. These food animals are humanely killed and then frozen to use as food for snakes and other reptiles. Being in a freezer will kill off any mites, fleas or other pests that might have infested their fur and gotten onto a pet snake or in its cage if they had been fed alive.

This is also a more humane way for prey animals to die. It's not humane for an animal such as a baby hamster to live their last few moments in pure terror, being slowly suffocated to death when there are safer more humane ways to feed the pet snake.

To feed a snake dead prey, all that is required is to thaw the prey animal out either at room temperature or in a bag surrounded by warm water and then dropped into the pet snake's cage. The snake will know what to do with it.

Most snake owners think their snakes will not eat pre killed animals but they will and it's a more humane way to feed a pet snake.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Rabbits Should Be Kept Inside

*Thumper, the bunny we found in an alley and took in until we could find him a forever home*

Rabbits are social animals and while they can live outside in a cage or hutch with minimal stimulus from humans, they will not live as long as an indoor rabbit will. They will become bored, depressed and sick if left outside and not cared for.

Indoor Vs Outdoor
Many people think that rabbits will be very happy just living in their hutch outside in a back yard or garage as long as they have plenty of food, water and toys but this is not the case.

Rabbits are social animals and must have contact and interaction with their humans. They also must be let out of their hutch or cage everyday for exercise or they will become stressed, bored, unhappy and may even die before his time.

Outdoor hazards
Rabbits that are left in their cages or hutch outside are also at the mercy of the weather, predators and insects. All of these things can lead to unhappy and unhealthy rabbits. A feral cat or wild raccoon may find a way into your rabbit's hutch or cage during the night and kill or hurt your bunny, so you should always bring the cage or hutch inside the house where he will be safe at night.

Indoor hazards
The single most important thing to do before letting a rabbit loose in your home is to 'rabbit proof' your home. Indoor rabbits are usually happier, healthier and easier to take care of.

Block cords, wires, outlets and small crevices like under beds, under couches and behind the refrigerator with furniture or baby gates. Tie all loose wires up out of reach of the rabbit, make sure poisonous plants and flowers are kept up high so your rabbit won't mistakenly eat them.

As long as things that can hurt your rabbit are out of reach you should be able to let your rabbit run free in the 'rabbit proofed' part of your home. The use of baby gates can help curtail some exploring but as we all know rabbits can jump and younger rabbits might find themselves wanting to know what's on the other side of the gate.

If you find this is true, you may have to get higher gates or keep a watchful eye on your bunny. Rabbits are very clever and will wait until you are not looking before they try to jump over furniture or a baby gate to explore new territory. Older rabbits tend to be more controllable and not quite as adventurous.

A cage should always be available for your rabbit whether you have inside or not. This is where he will go to get water, food and eat his treats. A comfortable cage with plenty of toys and a soft place to sleep will make your rabbit feel more comfortable. A litter box should also be available at all times. You can learn How to Litter Box Train Your Pet Rabbit by reading articles and taking your time and having patience.

Your rabbit's cage will be its safe haven when he wants to rest, eat and be alone. So it should always be open for him to use.

Going for a walk
Rabbits need exercise everyday to keep them healthy. Whether it's running around the house, jumping around in a fenced in yard or going for a walk on a leash, a rabbit needs and will love to have some exercise.

Leashes or harnesses can be bought at most pet shops. A harness is the best type of leash for a rabbit. A leash and collar that fits just around the neck would too easily fall off or be too tight and might harm the rabbit.

A harness specifically for rabbits will fit around a rabbit and make it hard to slip out of and get lost. It's best to start off on a harness in a yard and let your rabbit get used to wearing it before trying to go out on the sidewalk around other people, cars and other animals.

Some rabbits can be quite skittish and might react badly to the sights and sounds out in an open area they are not used to. So start out slowly and let your rabbit get used to the noises, sights, smells and other people and animals. Don't rush or push your pet rabbit into situations that he doesn't like.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Dot & Dot Travel Accessory Organizer


I recently was given the opportunity to test this small travel accessory organizer for free and I know it will be getting a lot of use. This bag is just the right size for smaller things you might be carrying with you in your suitcase and don't want rolling around inside. It comes with a sturdy plastic storage case that has its own closure that can double as another bag if needed.

I got the X-Small which measures 7.5" x 3.5" x 1" and find it's perfect for smaller items that you don't want getting lost in your suitcase. 

This little bag is great for things that might leak a little like cosmetics, hand lotions and hand sanitizer because it has a plastic inner liner and waterproof mesh design that helps keep any spills on the inside from leaking to the outside. 

I put a few items in my bag so you can get an idea of what might fit. I was able to put a lip balm, small digital camera and two packs of gum in this and still had more room for anything else I might need to put in it. 

This bag also comes with a sturdy carabiner clip so you can clip this bag on the side of a purse or inside a suitcase to keep it where you want it. It's see through so you can easily find what you're looking for. This bag can also be used to store crafts, toiletries, make up or whatever else you need a small bag for. 

If you like this you can buy it here
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Happy Raturday!


Welcome to a new weekly blog post I'm calling, Raturday! I've seen Caturday and while that's really cute, I think the rats needs some photo time so everyone can see how cute these little animals are. I've gotten permission from Rat Logic's fb page to share their pictures on my blog. So get ready to smile because these are cute. 

*click pictures to enlarge*