Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thrifty Thursday ~ Coupon Apps (With Haul)

Okay, so if you read my post about living in poverty, you know that times are pretty tough around here these days. I've had a REALLY good two days (thankfully!) so yesterday was able to do some quick trip mystery shops (which I will post about soon!) so I had some cash for household stuff.

The ONLY way I can afford ANYTHING right now is with discounts and deals. Paying retail for literally anything is just not in the realm of possibility.

I *used* to be really into couponing once upon a time, so decided that while I can't go full extreme-coupon mode (it takes energy that many days I don't have) what I can do is try to find some simple ways for me to utilize coupons as often as possible with as little energy as possible.

There are three ways I have found to do this with three types of apps. Coupon apps, rebate apps, and rewards apps. Now, today, we are just going to be talking about coupon apps.

Using these apps does NOT require buying a Sunday paper or coupon inserts (which again, is not something I could even do right now!) and will load coupons directly onto your store loyalty cards that will come off automatically at the register.

The *primary* app that I use is "Flipp". What Flipp does is load coupons to your loyalty cards but also shows the weekly ads for every major and local retailer in your area. It will then automatically match it up to tell you where to get the best price for your coupons.

Now, one thing I will caution is that the "get it for" price is not ALWAYS accurate, so you need to actually click on it and check for yourself! For example, the cookies pictured above? The FD ad was showing the price AFTER the digital coupon, so there wasn't a second $1 off. Was still a great price and deal, but just make sure that you check yourself to save yourself the headache of getting to a store and noticing the wrong price. 

The other coupon app that I use *primarily* is the Krazy Coupon Lady. The big difference between KCL and Flipp is that KCL tells you the lowest prices you can get on specific products and exactly how to get them. Now, if you do get inserts from the paper and have those coupons building up, this app is even better for you because it will tell you exactly which insert to pull to get a bargain. If you don't (like me)- no worries! It will tell you where to get digital coupons and which rebate apps to stack with it. 

Another wildly popular coupon app, which I don't use nearly as much as I should, is the Cartwheel app from Target. Why do I not use this app like crazy? Because I don't shop at Target very often. However, if you do, you need to go check out the Cartwheel app because any Target coupons CAN be stacked with manufacturers coupons giving you double the savings. 

Here's the video of my haul:

Here's a breakdown of my deals:

Family Dollar-

Downy, $3.85 - $1 coupon = $2.85

Softsoap Hand Soap, $1-.50 coupon= .50

Dial bar soap (3 pack), $1.75-.25=$1.50

Dial bar soap (6 pack), $3.00-.50=$2.50

Dog Treats (2 bags), $2-$1=$1

Puffs Tissue, $2-.50=$1.50

Dial Hand Soap, $1.25-.25=$1

Cookies, $2.50-$1=$1.50

Mac and Cheese, $1.95-$1=.95

Chips, $1-.50=.50

Dollar General-

Herbal Essence Shampoo/Conditioner- $2.50(x2)-$2 (x2)= .50

Huggies Wipes, $1.85-.50=$1.35

Pampers Wipes, $2-.50= $1.50

Farm Fresh-

Tide Detergent, $2.99-$1=$1.99

Crystal Farms Cheese, $2.59-.55=$2.04

As always, leave me some comment love! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Truth About Poverty

This post was fairly challenging for me to put together, because it admits the truth about my situation. It's still very hard for me to know that 18 months ago I was living a happily middle class life. The bills were paid, money was in savings, I lived in a nice neighborhood, drove a nice car, and went on vacations. I was not rich, but I was comfortable in my life as a suburban stay at home mom.

Had you of told me that such a short time later I would be where I am now, I would not have believed you. Don't misunderstand, I've been poor before, but as a hustler and a go-getter, I've always been okay. There were always ways for me to figure out a way to bring in extra cash or get what I needed.

I could have NEVER imagined that I would be unable to work in pretty much any fashion, that I would be unable to go back to school, or that I would be painfully (as in, physically in pain) standing in line at a food pantry because I was literally out of food.

Here I am, though, so I guess it's time to share the truth about living this way.

Due to my worsening health issues, I am in pain every single day. You can't see the pain that I'm in, and with exception of seeing me with my walker or in a motorized scooter at the store, I have what is called an "invisible disability". You can't see my pain. You can't see my bones and joints and muscles and the many things causing me pain.

Add to the fact that I am young, at only 29 years old, many people don't understand my poverty. I think there's this assumption by some that I am just trying to get a hand out or that I'm exaggerating my problems.

I can absolutely promise you that if I could go work at McDonald's right now, I would.

I currently have no income, which puts me into the extreme poverty category.

I am hoping to apply for disability, but because my divorce is not finalized, I'm not even able to do that yet because they will count my ex's income and he will be able to get my benefits upon my death even if we divorced a month later. (Isn't that the most absurd thing you've ever heard?)

I have just gotten accepted into the SNAP program (also known as food stamps) which will give me $190 on my EBT card for purchasing food. I was also just accepted into the general relief program, which will issue me a $90 check for the next 3 months with the hope that I will be accepted for disability at the end of those 3 months.

I am so beyond grateful for these two programs, but they unfortunately do not scratch the surface of my existing needs. Here are my current necessary monthly expenses:

Rent- $750
Utilities- $200
Car Payment- $270
Car Insurance- $250
Prescriptions- $125
Cell Phone- $60

This doesn't include credit card payments (which are currently in default), student loan payments (which are thankfully on a no income repayment right now), gas, food, toiletries, household supplies, dog food, vetting for Jaxson, lab work fees (which I currently owe about $1,500 for), or anything else.

I was beyond blessed that Boyfriend paid my rent and utilities this month, and is paying a majority of them for me next month. My roommate also just got a job and is going to be helping to contribute starting next month as well. Were it not for him, I would be disabled AND homeless right now.

I don't say any of this for anyone to feel sorry for me, I'm sharing this openly because I want people to understand the truth about poverty. It's fucking hard. This is NOT the life I want for myself. This is NOT the life I imagined for myself. And if I could fix my health problems and go back to working and being a contributing member of society again instead of begging any service agency who will listen for help, you can guarantee I would do that.

Another reason I shared all of this is because I want to be able to openly and freely share about the things I've learned and am doing to try and live a little bit better despite my circumstances.

It was extremely hard for me to be told that I'm living in poverty. Like I said, I've been poor plenty of times, but never so bad that I felt like I was literally on the edge of losing everything. This is where I am though, whether I want it or not. (And for the record, I don't know ANYONE who would WANT this.)

So, I hope this can shed light on what it's really like living this way, and lift some of the stigma that if you are poor you must be lazy too. I am HARDLY "entitled" and am grateful for every single thing that comes my way. This is not life forever, this is life for now.

As always, leave me some comment love. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump

Photo Credit to

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump,

Before we proceed, you need to understand that for many years, I was you. While my political and spiritual views are likely no longer aligned with you, I grew up in the church. I grew up evangelical, fundamentalist, and conservative. I was reciting Bible verses and pro-life rhetoric before most kids learned their alphabet. 

So I don't want you to read this letter and think that I don't understand you. I do. I understand you to your core. I understand the values you stand for. I understand the policies you support. I understand you, because for most of my life I was you. 

This is why I am URGING YOU to *stop* this unending support. 

I understand the lines that you say when you say that you aren't voting for a pastor, that you are more scared of her than you are of his debauchery. That our country is in a terrible position and we need change NOW. That you don't have another option. That God can work through anyone. That Jesus supported sinners. 


Listen to me. 

If Jesus was sitting next to you, would you look Jesus in the face and tell him that on November 8th that you are supporting this person for the highest and most powerful office on the planet?

Would you look at your sons and your daughters in the face and tell them that you supported a man who has sexually assaulted women, insulted people of color, insulted the disabled, and stands for literally every possible value that Jesus teaches as wrong? 

You believe that your daughters deserve to be looked at in a predatory way at TEN YEARS OLD and had comments made to them about dating them in ten years? You believe that your daughters should hear that if they are not super model gorgeous that they will never be worthy in life? That their value is best when they are on their knees sexually pleasing men? You believe they should grabbed, groped, kissed, and violated but that it's okay because the assaulting party aligns with you politically? 

You believe that your sons should be able to say and do whatever they want and just write it off as being boys? You believe so little in the intelligence and character of men that you do not believe that they can control their own behavior and actions?

THAT is who you want as an example in the most powerful office in the world? 

Because if you vote for Donald Trump- THAT is what you are saying to your children and every child.

Stop saying that you don't have a choice. That not voting for Trump is a vote for her. If you believe, as you say you do, that God can work through anyone, then STEP BACK from this presidential election and focus your attention voting for congressional leaders who are living a lifestyle with the standards in which you believe so strongly. 

I have watched this entire election with disgust and upset. I support neither candidate and will not be voting for either of them. I will be focusing my attention on congressional candidates who support the progressive values that I believe in. So please note, I will likely be supporting candidates who are on the polar opposite spectrum of you, and yet I *still* urge you to lean your support in that direction. 

Just because I walked away from many of the things that you believe strongly in, does not mean that I no longer have morals or ethics or conscious and as I watch evangelical and conservative after the next sit on the news and on social media supporting this person that violates the core of values that I know all of you believe in, I internally weep for you. I internally weep for your girls and your boys who deserve so much more. 

The next four years are going to be a whirlwind regardless of who is elected, but I know that when I go to bed at night, I did not send the message to the kids of America, to our future, that I support either of these people, neither of which stands for the ethics that I believe in and I URGE you to do the same. 


A former Evangelical


As always, leave me some comment love. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekly Roundup ~ 10/15/16

This has been a pretty good week overall. I feel like I've been getting my productivity groove back and despite mostly "okay" days health wise, I feel like I got a lot accomplished regardless.

So here's a snapshot of my week! :)

Dating: Boyfriend bought me an adorable new stuffie dubbed "Puff" because he is a big green dragon to celebrate our 9 months of dating. I am trying to learn how to communicate my feelings better, but I feel like I made some progress in that area this week. Overall, still on cloud 9 with my favorite guy and couldn't imagine loving him any more. :) (Though fairly sure I'll have a hefty punishment heading my way if he sees the sleeping pic! Haha!)

Fur-Baby: Poor Jaxson is struggling with skin issues. He has a grass allergy and my yard has a major flea problem. Despite consistent treatment and products, my big baby has been biting and scratching like crazy. He got a bath this week which made him pretty unhappy with Mama. "Step Daddy" (boyfriend) suggested adding kelp meal to his food, so hoping we will see some progress soon! My good friend Sophia brought him a ginormous pork bone from the restaurant she works at which kept him busy for hours! Didn't stop him from the "poor sad dog" faces when she ordered food though. Hehe.

My Health: As I said above, I had mostly "okay" days this week. I define an "okay" day as a day that I am still in a pretty high level of pain, but it is not interfering with my ability to be ambulatory or mostly get around. I had 1 good day, which is the day I got most of the stuff done around the house that needed to be done- so I'm psyched about that! Only had two bad days, and one was only a bad day because the high pain was coupled with a massive headache which kept me mostly immobile. The opiate I take for pain is giving me some crazy side effects I have to talk to my doctor about. I take a SUPER low amount unless I am having a bad day, but I get the "itchies" like crazy and since I already have sensitive skin, something needs to be done. Boyfriend suggested Benadryl, but since that will knock me out completely, going to give it a shot as a treatment at night only. The other crazy side effect is the increased headaches and the bouts of insomnia. Now, not certain whether those are coming from the opiate or one of the other meds I'm on, but they are notable enough that they will also be brought up to my doctor. No appointments this week, but will probably be making up for it next week.

Things Keeping My Interest: The political poo storm of the multiple scandals this week have been keeping a lot of my attention. I've also been spending a lot of time reading and watching Pokemon Go training videos to improve my techniques. (#TeamMystic) I organized my Magic the Gathering cards and built a pretty sweet Merfolk deck for boyfriend, which he was really happy with. I watched the "Hotel" season of American Horror Story which made me quite the happy Princess. I just started reading "Stardust" and hope to have it finished with a review up soon. :)

New Stuff: Got some new floor cleaner that I haven't tried out yet, but plan to test out today. Its the Method brand almond oil mopping liquid. It smells delish and hoping it will shine up my old hardwood floors. :)

Food and Weight Loss: This week I've actually gone down a lot on the scale and I'm blaming it on the meds. My appetite has been really hit and miss and I'm growing increasingly concerned about potential metabolic damage. According to the scale I have gone down 15 pounds but I imagine that is going to yo yo a bit until I get my meds right. Not including the 15 pound loss I am at 138 pounds lost in two years. My food obsession this week has been zucchini. I've had zucchini tacos, broiled zucchini, zucchini with pasta....lots of zucchini this week. Hehe.

Memory of the Week: While laying in bed with Boyfriend Monday night thinking it was almost time for bed, he popped up and asked if I wanted to play Magic, which led to a 90 minute Magic duel complete with laughing and shameless competitiveness. Was just a really fun time and definitely my "memory of the week".

As always, leave me some comment love. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Products: Cosmetics

I've never been a big makeup girl, but over the last 6 months or so (probably because I've been stuck at home so much!) I've really starting getting into cosmetics. I would like to preface by saying that I am in NO WAY an expert in this field, and really just enjoy makeup for the fun of it.

However, I have gotten a pretty good routine down and thought I would share my routine as well as the products I use most in hopes that maybe there are others out there who are just starting out or don't really know where to start.

I was subscribed to Ipsy for about a year and between that and random clearance pickups, I've built a decent collection. (Comment if you'd like a video tour of the collection though!)

Okay, so STEP ONE! Make sure your face is clean. I didn't photograph it, but I typically use Biore Charcoal face wash. I get my face all nice and clean, then use a moisturizer. (I'll get to the moisturizer more in a second!)

Once that is done and you are ready to apply makeup-


I cannot reiterate this enough. I spent too many years in high school and after using makeup to not understand why my face still seemed blotchy, why foundation looked terrible, and why my skin seemed so much worse. 


Primer basically preps your skin for makeup and gives you a more even tone. 

I've tried a few, and my personal favorite it the Almay Smart Shade primer. It's pretty inexpensive (about $9 on Amazon) and has lasted me for almost a year. 

These are the products I currently use most, though the lipstick and eye shadow can/does change depending on whether or not I'm actually leaving my house and the setting in which I am going to.

Note that there are two moisturizers there. I use both interchangeably and find both to be fine. I get dry patches under my eyes so a moisturizer is key, but I am not super particular on a brand.

I'm not actually particular on brand for a lot of things, real talk.

I lightly dab under my eyes with the true blend concealer stick, then use the tru blend mineral foundation powder. I do NOT typically use a liquid foundation. Personal preference. Then I typically use a bronzer, I like the Rimmel one pictured but will also use others as well.

Moving on to eyes, I found that "Dark N Sexy" pallet at the beauty store down the street. I like the dark purples and blacks, but again, will switch up the eye shadow depending on where I'm going. So I'll apply shadow (using a light base layer, a medium toned main shadow, and then "lining" with a lining brush with the darkest color- sometimes two dark colors!). Then I either apply winged eyeliner using a liquid OR totally skip top liner. I then use a black liner underneath my eyes (apparently this isn't a "thing" anymore- like I said, no expert, this is just what I do. And I rock it- so....fuck what's "in".) and finally finish with mascara. I have been LOVING this Hard Candy mascara that was a full size Ipsy product a while back, but I have several other brands that all do the job.

Now, I typically use matte lipstick, unless going somewhere bright and fun during the day in which case I MAY use a light gloss instead. I have a few different mattes, but I am a big fan of dark purple, dark red, and black. Cliche maybe, but I like it. :)

That's basically my "routine" in a nutshell. Hoped that this was maybe a little helpful for someone out there in the land of the internets, but if not- oh well I guess. Haha.

Here's a couple of shots with me in full makeup so you can get an idea of the "looks" that I usually go for. :)

As Always, leave me some comment love! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Five Things I've Learned: About Life With A Disability

I've been pretty silent on this page, and it's because SURPRISE! I'm dealing with another huge life change. While I have struggled with various health problems, including the primary one I am dealing with now (progressive scoliosis), for my entire life- those issues have never prevented me from living a fairly normal life.

Well, folks, that has changed.

My condition and the complications and multiple aspects of my disability is one that I am going to post about soon, but today I am opting to share the five things I've learned about life with a disability.

1. HAVING a disability is VERY different from CARING for someone disabled.

Those who have followed me for a while are aware that I was the very proud mama of children with varying disabilities. Fostering a total of about 50 kids in the four years I was a foster parent, I parented a number of children with varying disabilities from physical to emotional to psychological.

I thought that I was fully aware of life with a disability because I cared for and dealt with so many different types of doctors and specialists and situations in which gave me tools and snapshots into how much more challenging life is when you are differently abled.

Well, that's just not the case. When YOU are typically abled, you are able to adapt things for the person you are caring about that they would be unable to do on their own. While this may give you a glimpse into that world, it is very different from BEING in that world.

The internal emotional and psychological struggles with having a physical disability have been almost harder than the physical struggles I'm having. It is HORRIFYING to be taking a bath and have to call your boyfriend to come help you because you realize that you can't get up. The life changes of having to adapt your life to just flat out NOT being able to do the things that you have always been able to do are extremely hard and something that could take even the most positive person and bring them down.

2. The world is NOT made for differently-abled people. 

I have had to adapt everything in my life to just be able to get through a lot of days. Things like using the scooter at the grocery store, using a walker at my house, getting a special cushion for the car, getting a handicap pass for parking, and more. On not-great days, I do get out of the house, but always as a passenger in the car, and I have to take help with me to get out. It NEVER occurred to me how many stores don't have accessible options for someone who isn't able to walk well or walk for any period of time past a moment or two. 

Grocery stores are good about having scooters, but what about the dollar store, big lots, the pet store, a book store, etc? People don't realize how much something as simple as the option of a motorized scooter can actually determine whether or not you can even enter a store. 

Many stores and places do not have accessible aisles. Crowded buildings? I have to legitimately worry about someone accidentally bumping into me because the SLIGHTEST thing can put me down for as long as two weeks. Not having enough handicap parking spots? Means I usually have to skip the errand. Walking across a parking lot, even on a good day, can put me down. 

Steps, stairs, etc. are sometimes enough that I have to completely avoid places. 

The point is, while the world is certainly better than it used to be, the truth is- living independently with a physical disability shows you how challenging the world is when you can't physically do things that other people can do. 

3. People are dicks.

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't apply to all people. There are plenty of amazing and wonderful people in the world, which is going to be the next point I talk about in this post. But no, this applies to the fact that I REALLY didn't understand how many RUDE people are out there when you suddenly can't do what everyone else can do. 

I have been stared at, laughed at, knocked down, bumped into, and more- just doing something as simple as going to the grocery store. Now, don't get me wrong, the laughs have been few, and a few times I'm pretty sure it's because they thought I was just being "funny" riding around on the motorized scooter. I've pulled into the handicap spot at the store, assuming it's a day where I'm able to drive, and been gawked at. Usually this is just until I get out of the car and I'm seen moving slower than an average person. Assuming it's a very good day, and I'm able to walk normally, then I've been very gawked at. 

Just two days ago I was at the gas station getting coffee. I was already in moderate pain (which is every day) but was determined to continue having a "good" day. So I'm standing there, and some guy bumps into me, his elbow going right into my side, which knocked me sideways into the counter, causing INSTANT shooting pain. Did he say sorry? No. He glanced in my direction then kept walking. 

People have cut me off at the grocery store when I'm heading to a checkout line. 

I made a vet appointment for Jaxson and had to call to cancel because I was having a bad pain day and the boyfriend was unable to get to my house soon enough to take him for me. The receptionist who took the call said "Well I have back problems too, but I don't let it get me down. I just take my meds and keep it moving." What I WANTED to say, but didn't, (because of this amazing thing called manners) was "Awesome. I'm happy you have the option of doing that, and believe me if I was able to just pop a pill and feel better- my doctor, my boyfriend, and myself would all be much happier than we currently are with my condition."

Basically, I'm learning that the privilege that you have for having typical abilities is one that most people don't even recognize that they have. Sure, they may say or think "Thankfully I can walk" but they don't quite understand the depth of their privilege. 

4. You Learn Who Your Friends Are

I was in HARD denial in the beginning of this journey, but once I actually stopped isolating myself and began to express what was actually going on to my friends, I discovered very quickly how much those friends cared. People who had been friends, but not close friends, were suddenly stopping by with food and helping with my dog. One of my friends came over and cleaned my house when I wasn't able to even get up without help. Another got groceries for me. Another got the cushion that has helped me be able to drive on good days. 

It's extremely hard to admit out loud that things most people, including myself, took for granted, are suddenly challenging to impossible to do. 

Once you do that though, you realize how much love surrounds you that you maybe didn't even know was there. My friends, and absolutely my boyfriend, has shown me that I'm not alone- even when I think I am. 

5. The "System" to Help is a JOKE

This is definitely going to be a topic that I bring up more and more. I actually hope to do some filming for my youtube channel to just show the many, many, many hoops required to jump through seeking basic help for someone in my situation, to just many times be rejected or told that there is no help for me. 

There have been days I have made over 50 phone calls to various offices, organizations, and facilities trying to get help with issues facing me with my disability. I have started a day with a phone number or referral that I thought was positive, to just get jerked around and transferred around and end up in tears on the phone with operator number 14 just asking for someone to talk to me about my situation. 

Now, I am young, and I am intellectually capable. For the elderly or the intellectually challenged, I have NO CLUE how they even BEGIN to navigate the services and system supposedly designed to help. 

Many days it feels completely impossible. 

I think most Americans who have the privilege of typical abilities have absolutely no clue how challenging it is to get help. There's this ridiculous rhetoric that there are all these "entitlements" to people who have disabilities. This isn't true. While help DOES exist (I hear), getting through the door to GET that help is almost impossible. 

As always, leave me some comment love.


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