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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review of the Litter Genie disposal system.

I've seen a lot of commercials for the Litter Genie lately.  What's that?  Oh you've seen the commercials with the talking cat, haven't you?  Well, in case you haven't...


We've had a pretty good system in our house for disposing of litter by taking off the top of an old litter tub, lining it with a plastic bag then placing the top back on.  When the tub would get too heavy and full, take the top off, take the bag of litter out, then immediately take it to the dumpster outside.  Though when opening it to put more litter in it throughout the weeks, YUCK!  The smell could knock you out!  So when the Litter Genie showed up at the door I was super excited!  Milton could care less but 'Alohi was all interested to see what the new addition to our home was.


The set up was pretty simple.  A video below from Litter Genie explains the process for set up, disposal of waste, and changing the refill bag.

When we 1st started using the product we didn't pull the bag down far enough so litter got stuck near the top and after pulling the handle, the waste got stuck.  Our 2 cats are pooping and peeing machines so a full day of waste ended up weighing the bag down and then it started working properly.

It has been about a week and our 1st bag was already full.  Per the video, changing the bag is pretty simple.  Just pull out a little more of the bag before cutting so that you can tie the top, dispose of the the waste bag (outside) then tie the end of the bag from the refill to start again!

There was one big downfall to the unit.  We have 2 litter boxes for our 2 cats so we had to pick up the Litter Genie between them for disposing of their waste.  The moving of the unit wasn't the problem.  In fact, there's a handy part at the top back just for that!  The problem was that the unit would separate at the middle as the "button" holding it together is just a plastic flap.  We thought that maybe the more waste in it, would help keep it together.  Nope.  Below are pictures of when we picked up the Litter Genie to move it when it was empty, and then when it became more full.

  • + It was FANTASTIC at keeping the smell out!
  • + Very simple to set up and use.
  • - The unit constantly separated at the middle when picked up.
  • - The white color got dirty very quickly due to litter dust.
Looks dirty after a few days of use from litter dust.



Don't get me wrong!  It's a great product & idea, convenient, but lugging it around with it splitting open all the time was not fun as the design "button" to keep together is just a small plastic flap.  Luckily we have our "bucket" hidden away at the bottom of the pantry, it's easy to carry as it has a handle, and we can just hold our breaths when we open it to dispose of more litter.  

Sorry Litter Genie, we're going to stick with our old method.

Old Faithful
If you are interested in purchasing the Litter Genie System the cost varies around $15-$20 depending where you purchase it and you can get a 2 pack refill for around the same price.

 Milton & 'Alohi would like to thank Crowdtap for another great opportunity!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

An illness someone else may be able to get over in a day can hit me so hard and leave me feeling ill and beaten for a much longer time.

This last week I have been sick.  It started on Monday night where my throat started getting a little sore then throughout the day Tuesday it got worse and worse.  I tried lozenges, gargling with saltwater, medicine.  Nothing was working.  I could barely sleep that night and when I woke up on Wednesday it was intolerable.  I was having trouble swallowing, both my tonsils were inflamed but the left one felt like there was a lump in it, my voice was getting raspy, and overall I felt like crap.  Time to go to the doctor.

I ended up seeing the doctor that tried to push me to go on fibromyalgia medication before, when I had a correct hunch I didn't need to, so I was a bit concerned at first.  She said my tonsils were inflamed, had puss coming out of them (yuck!), and decided to check for strep throat though I didn't have a fever.  I'm known for not getting fevers when I'm really sick.  Luckily that came back negative so it was determined I caught some sort of virus that infected my tonsils.  I was prescribed an antibiotic and told to rest and drink throat coat tea.  By Friday my throat felt better but overall I still felt like my body was a mess, and then the butt problems started.  I always thought I was ill more than most people because the doctors had constantly been prescribing me prednisone in the past, which I'm sure didn't help.  How could I really tell?  I can't and I'm in the hands of my doctors to help me.

Hypothyroid Mom has a post of 300+ symptoms of Hypothyroidism.  Just look at a few...

  • Frequent infections
  • Chronic illness
  • Low immune system
  • Frequent colds
  • Frequent flus
  • Susceptibility to bronchitis
  • Hard time recovering from infections
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent nose infections
  • Recurrent throat infections
  • Candida (yeast)
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Repeated urinary tract infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sensation of lump in throat
  • Sensation of pressure on throat
  • Pain and tenderness in neck and/or thyroid area
  • Goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland in neck)
  • Burning sensation in throat
  • Sore throats
  • Swollen tongue
  • Choking fits
  • Distorted sense of taste (Dysgeusia)
  • Salt cravings
  • Sweet cravings
  • Speech problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Propensity for cavities
  • Propensity for gum disease
  • Low, husky, hoarse voice
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Irritated gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Persistent teeth clenching
  • TMJ

Yikes!  I've highlighted just a few that I am currently having trouble with.  I've also had persistent nausea and constant diarrhea since 2 nights ago.  Could be from the virus as I'm usually constipated and last week was the 1st time in ages I felt like I had normal poops.  Now I'm back to them being inconsistent again.  Grossed out yet?  Wondering why I am bringing it up?  Just look at the list of digestive issues that come with being hypothyroid...
  • Hard stools
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Loss of appetite
  • Food allergy
  • Food sensitivity
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Celiac Disease
  • Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance
  • Colitis
  • Abdominal distention
  • Weight gain in abdominal area
  • Protruding abdomen in children
  • Diverticulosis
  • Excess gas
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Ulcers
  • Acid Reflux
  • Excessive belching
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

That's just hypothyroidism, not factoring in hyperthyroidism!  Well, I found out today that most everyone at work was sick yesterday so I'm sure I could blame someone else on this illness.  It's unfortunate, due to my shot immune system, that an illness someone else may be able to get over in a day can hit me so hard and leave me feeling ill and beaten for a much longer time.


I got to thinking.  Before I had my downfall with my autoimmune disease I was insanely stressed at work for a multitude of reasons, even though I was still excelling at my job on the days that I could manage to drag myself into work.  Stress is a huge contributor and trigger of autoimmune diseased.  Just read this abstract! "Unfortunately, not only does stress cause disease, but the disease itself also causes significant stress in the patients, creating a vicious cycle."  Things have been much better at work since my return but I had a few major stressors the last week.

It probably started when I took my cat Milton to the vet on June 5th.  I expected it to just be another regular checkup for the year.  He would get his shots and we would talk about his arthritis.  It didn't turn out that way.  Within about a minute the vet mentions something about a lump in his mouth.  What lump?  She opens his mouth to reveal what looks like a huge cyst under the left side of his tongue.  Since he's around 13 years of age we just decided to opt for surgery the upcoming Monday to figure out what it was and to get it removed.  I decided to take that day off but all weekend I was worried for him.

Then when I came home from work on Saturday, we realized our home was incredibly hot inside and, though the central air unit was set for the air conditioning, the vents were blowing out hot air.  Considering it wasn't an emergency to have it fixed, I shut the breaker for the unit off and had to wait until Monday to call and see if I could get someone out here to fix it.  Also, our units are on the roofs of the buildings so there are not many people to choose from to call and have them come out and fix it.

So all day Monday, between my cat having surgery and waiting for someone to come & check out our central air unit, I was a mess of nerves.  Milton's surgery went well and it turns out he had something called a Salivary Mucocele.  When bringing him home he peed all over himself in the carrier so we had to immediately give min a bath but he was still a bit out of it so it made it easier for me to bathe him.  He spent the next few days in & out from under the bed hiding and he seems to be doing much better as of now.

Milton after his bath and still not really sure what just happened.

Milton and Chris asleep on the couch.  Feeling much better.
As far as the central air unit goes, there was a capacitor that had blown.  It was a quick diagnosis and a quick fix.  But between shelling out $1000 between the two and worrying about it all weekend, my stress and anxiety was through the roof, even though things had worked out well.

Now tie that in to the vicious cycle of autoimmune hell...

Monday, June 9, 2014

April Birchbox (sorry)... and, as always, hoping things will get better.

I swear it's always one thing after another with me & I'm always wondering, "When will the madness end?" I started this post back in April and here we are in June.  I have yet to start my reviews of my May Birchbox also.

Work has been keeping me on my toes and I like my shift but I am still adjusting.  Having a weekday off is good because I have been making as many doctor appointments as I can on those days, which I have many of, and that keeps me from missing work if they are available then.  Yet I feel like I am still catching up with things like errands on the weekend day off.  It feels like no matter what task I do in my free time that I am losing out on all the other millions of things I need, or want, to do that I'm not getting done.  Just thinking about it exhausts me.

Besides work I just found out last week that I have Lumbar Radiculopathy and need to start physical therapy to keep it from getting worse.  My cat Milton, who had surgery for an unknown type of cyst on the left side of his neck that kept coming back and was attached to his jugular vein in August of 2011, now has one growing in the left side of his mouth under his tongue.  Because of where it is and how old he is I am taking him in for surgery tomorrow morning.  Then yesterday, my central air unit decided it didn't want to give me air conditioning anymore.  So on Monday morning, after taking my cat in for surgery, I have to then call and see if I can get someone out here to fix my unit ASAP!  Bad things come in threes right?  Please, please, PLEASE let me have good news and good things happen from this point forward.

Oh, my endocrinologist appointments also keep getting pushed back and back but I was able to obtain some information on my last blood tests.  TSH normal at 1.02, cortisol and other things were tested came back in normal range, but low end of normal ranges.  I'll be able to get more answers when I go in, in July, as I have been feeling more on the Graves' end of how I've felt in the past, though I'm not losing any weight (damn).  There seems to be no happy medium with my thyroid issues.

Next weekend my BFF and I will be hitting up the Allentown Art Festival.  Stocking up on Makepeace Naturals candles and various other soaps, spices, and who knows what else!  Can't wait and hopefully I'll feel up to posting about it soon after.  Until then here's APRIL's Birchbox review...


April 2014 Birchbox Overview:

  • Retails $15 for 8oz. 
  • About the product: Committed to cruelty free products containing no parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, urea, DEA, TEA, or petrol-derived ingredients.  This body wash has a fresh scent of aqualeaf, sparkling citrus, and a barely noticeable hint of musk.  Infused with ingredients of Japanese sea wrack, honey, and brassica, this product is said to gently moisturize and leave your skin feeling smooth and refreshed.   
  • What I thought: If you really look at the ingredients & compare, the top ingredients in this are almost identical to those body washes sold in drug stores & at Bath & Body Works. So the special ingredient that it's stated to be loaded with, it actually contains very minimal of the ingredient for it to make any difference.  The scent is lovely and it reminds me of a day at the beach, but it doesn't last long after the bath/shower. It lathers and cleanses average and I didn't notice it to be any more moisturizing than any other body washes I use.  Unfortunately, I wouldn't purchase this just for the scent at the price it's being sold for.  I'd get a stronger scent & the same cleansing from a drug store brand of body wash.
  • I would buy it if it was cheaper. 

  • Retails for $28.50 for 40, 1.2oz bars.
  • About the product: The Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt bar is just what it says, baked from a foundation of 5 super grains.  This snack bar will tide you over with real ingredients that are GMO and gluten free.  They believe that if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn't go into your body.
  • What I thought: LOVED the taste as it gave off a great sweet and salty flavor.  The maple wasn't overpowering, there was just enough salt, and a crunchy kick.  The only thing I wasn't digging about it was the packaging as it didn't seem like a bar and more like a sticky, flattened mix.  Though it's the same size as most granola or fiber bars, I felt like I wasn't getting enough and wanted more right away.  I compared them to the Market Pantry sweet & salty peanut granola bars I'm eating and the calorie content and fat isn't much different but the saturated fat was twice as much in the KIND bars.  The KIND bars are also twice the price as those but the fact they are gluten & GMO free, have much more natural and healthier ingredients, 5% extra saturated fat don't bother me as much (considering it's still under 10% of the daily value).  Plus it tastes SO much better!
  • I would buy these.

  • Retails $26 for 9.46oz of shampoo; $32 for 8.45oz of conditioner.
  • About the product: These products both contain Roucou oil which is rich in beta-carotene, antioxidents that are similar to vitamin E, helps reconstruct hair, stimulate growth, prevent aging, and reduce cell damage from UV rays.  The conditioner also contains apricot butter to soften hair, is said to help speed the drying process, and protect against damage from heat and tools. 
  • What I thought: My hair is short, dry and damaged from styling and bleaching it, & also dry from my hypothyroidism.  After the 1st use of the shampoo & conditioner I was amazed!  My hair was super, super soft.  It builds up quickly though so after a few days of use it seemed ineffective.  It's a great product to use as maintenance for healthy, soft hair. 
  • I would be open to buying these.

  • Retails $13 for 4 polishes.  Exclusive to Birchbox.
  • About the product: Color Club® teamed up with Gala Gonzalez to create this polish collection. These polishes are vegan and cruelty free, having never been tested on animals.  They advise to apply a base coat, 2 thin coats of their polish, then a top coat.  Currently, you can only purchase them as a collection through Birchbox.
  • What I thought: Their polish is great & if your nail is prepped right it will last. I got Gold Struck and it had more of a pink hue to me with a gold shimmer, some may even call it a champagne color. It was very cute but you will need 2-3 coats of the product for it to look good.  Like the other polish I got from them, it lasted a good week before I noticed any chips or ware.  I wish I could zoom in on the other colors to see them better, or just buy them individually because this is the color I would want!
  • I would be open to buying this.

Color Contrast Eyeliner in Jamun by Sumita. 
  • Retails $15 for 0.06oz.
  • About the product: Created to be bold, easy to blend, and last all day & night.  Made to make the whites of your eyes whiter and ideal for use on the water line of your eye.  It is a soft wax pencil that will not tug on your skin when applying, and glycerine guards against irritation.
  • What I thought: The color I received was Jamun (Deep Purple), though it gives off more of a brown look to it. It applied very easily and was easy to blend and smudge but then stay as the look you created. It lasted all day and wasn't irritating.  The price is even competitive to other liners out there so it's worth getting one in a color you like to see for yourself!
  • I would buy this.