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I am a new vegan and just starting to write a blog about my journey thus far. http://griffinwolf2008.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anxiety attack

I have recently obtained a job, which I am very grateful that I can finally say that I have a job but on the first day, I hit a brick wall. I know what you're thinking, it's normal to hit a brick wall on a regular basis as you are in the training process of a new job. Which I agree with you, to a point. The job I was hired for is a fundraiser campaign for a local repertory theatre. Which as you can imagine, requires me to call past patrons, donors and sponsors. Not a big deal right? I didn't think so either. Until I had an anxiety attack 2 calls in.

Which at that point, I made an excuse to leave a few minute early and my manager was kind enough to let me go without question. So, as I got into my car I just couldn't do anything but sit there with my heart pounding, sweating like crazy (despite it being fairly cool outside) with a massive headache and crying. At that moment I was grateful that I parked in a corner of the parking lot that wasn't very well lit and when my manager and co-worker left, I don't think they saw my car.

20 minutes later, I finally started the car and pulled out and instantly felt like a failure because I had only made 2 calls and was already considering leaving the job. I e-mailed my manager the following day, giving her my reasons as to why I couldn't come in the next day.

While I knew I had anxiety in regards to talking on the phone. I didn't realize it was that bad. I've always been able to make calls that I needed to in the past, like making doctors appointments, setting up interviews with other companies that I applied for, making plans with friends, things of that nature. It's always taken me a few minutes to get together the courage or put my thoughts together enough before I made a call. Granted my heart is pounding after any given call that I place but I've managed somehow up to this point. but for whatever reason, the thought of making possibly hundreds of calls in a 5 hour shift finally hit me as I was only 2 calls in. Granted I had 4 1/2 hours of training that day and only had to do about half an hour of work, it still managed to shoot me in the foot.

I do have to admit I feel like a failure because of the fact that I've been considering leaving this job even only after 1 day. I'm just not sure if I should stay and risk more anxiety attacks in the future and have my whole life revolve around being stressed 24/7 over a job or if I should start looking for something else and start getting treatment of some sort.

Seeing a therapist is something I can't avoid now. Especially if my anxiety is going to be affecting me in such a way and I can't control it. I just need to decide by Sunday if I'm going to stay with this job or not. It's only until the first week of April. I love my manger and I love the person I was working with. I want to stay with this job but if it's going to affect me this negatively, is it really worth it?

I'm not writing this for sympathy, I'm not writing this because I want attention. I'm writing this because I want to let other's know that they aren't alone and that they aren't crazy. Do I feel crazy? Yes but I know there are other's out there going through the same thing and if you suffer from anxiety, I just want you to know you're not the only one and that it can get better. It just takes some self realization and to find a good therapist to help you get through it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The 5 easiest ways to save money this Holiday season

So the holidays are right around the corner, and you wanted to save a few dollars wherever and whenever you possibly can. You can be frantic trying to figure out how to do so, but it’s not as difficult as you may think.

Tip #1 - Make Your Own Decorations.
There are thousands of site out there that have tutorials on how to make your own holiday decorations. There are simple crafts to the most elaborate you can think of.
There are many sites that also show you how to use what you probably already have lying around your home. It can be really simple to spend little to no money, as well as being able to get the kids involved. The joy you share in doing something together can make strong bonding memories and teach them valuable lessons in regards to what the holiday’s mean to your family.

Tip #2 - Make Your Own Gifts.
Whoever said that you had to buy everything? Why not make your own gifts? If you have a bit of a crafty hand, you can make gifts at home and these gifts will mean so much more to people that something you just grabbed off the clearance rack. These gifts can also be passed down from generation to generation, such as scrapbooks, mittens, scarves and baby blankets. You can also bake some cookies or a cake for someone as well. Just use your imagination!

Tip #3 - Plan Ahead With A Holiday Planner.
This is something many people don’t think about, and it tends to get tossed out the window with the birds. Think about what you want to get people in advance and write them out. Do some research to see who has the best deals and when these items go on sale. This also goes for Holiday feasts as well. You will find you won’t be running around like a hamster in a wheel, searching at the last minute to find something for someone you forgot. We all know know how difficult it is to think things out when we are rushed. This is also a great tool year round, not just for the holidays.

Tip #4 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Use this as an excuse to go through your closet or attic to get rid of stuff. If you find something that is in perfectly good condition, and you think Aunt Martha will enjoy it, then it’s perfectly acceptable to give it to Aunt Martha. It’s a win win situation. Or, if you have some unused kitchen gadgets lying around that are brand new, give it to the family member that is just starting out on their own. It will be greatly appreciated. Is there an old heirloom that you hate but your brother loves? Give it to him. By clearing things out, you may find things you bought for Uncle Joe 5 years ago but lost in the abyss. So may a little “winter cleaning” can be a blessing.

Tip #5 - Budget.
This piece of advice isn’t exactly original and may seem like a cliché, but there is truth in every cliché. Creating a budget and sticking to it can make a world of difference when your bills come rolling in the following month. You need to figure who you are buying for and how much you can spend on each person.
Notice I didn’t say how much you WANT to spend; It’s how much you have to spend. You’ll get in trouble if you follow your wants.. Once you have set your budget, stick to it and don’t veer from it.

Even though the holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable time of year, it can be the most stressful time of year. By following some simple guidelines, it can reduce a lot of stress for anyone. There’s no reason for you to end up in the poor house come January.
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

How to travel affordably last minute

So you have a week off from work coming up, but you still haven’t organized travel plans, and you are on a bit of a tight budget? Well, you are in the right place! Here are 5 tips on how to affordably travel last minute!

1. Hotels Have Deals Galore.
A majority of hotels and hostels will have some sort of deal going on at one point or another. Often times these deals can go on for several weeks or even the entire season, so you really don’t need to worry until you have found cheap airfare first.  
There are also a good number of hotels that have some sort of membership loyalty program or an  association with AAA or AARP that offer discounts.  With larger hotel chains, look for deals on both main and local property sites and do not be afraid to call specific locations to see if there are any unadvertised offers available. Many hotel managers are willing to make last minute deals just to fill an empty room for the night.
Hostels are also an inexpensive way to go. There is all night security, a curfew of some sort (if you share a room with about 4-8 others), and you get to meet new people from all over the world.
You can also sign up with a website such as www.couchsurfing.org where people offer their homes and allow travelers to stay for a few nights, most of the time for free. Although it cannot hurt to buy your host dinner one night, all you need to do after your visit with them is leave some feedback.
2. Plan ahead.
Although it may sound like a contradiction, especially considering that this article is based on making travel plans last minute, I can assure you that it is not. Many savvy travelers tend to stick to last minute vacations, but they’ve still planned ahead.
These same savvy travelers sign up for email offers, deals, e-newsletters and email blasts from various travel sites, credit card companies, airlines and hotel companies. They consistently research deals during peak seasons and major events, when prices of hotels and airlines tend to go through the roof. Again, AAA and AARP can be your best friend. If it helps you, set up a separate email account just for travel alert emails just to stay organized.
3. Move Fast, but Pay Attention.
If you see a great deal, book it as soon as you see it, because it can be gone faster than you can bat an eye. But don’t rush too quickly. Make sure you read the fine print and understand everything. You need to know what you are and are not getting for your money. You need to be cautious and read between the lines.
4. Being Flexible Is Better.
There will always be last-minute deals that will come up when hotels and airlines need to fill rooms and seats. It is considerably easier to find good deals when you do not have any particular travel destination in mind or specific time frame.
In all honesty, it might mean that you will need to travel on weekdays, fly out incredibly early or very late on either direct or indirect flight. It is also cheaper to be on standby as well.
If you get the chance to volunteer your seat, do it, because you will be offered a flight voucher towards another flight in the future. While you are at it, try to negotiate for a higher voucher ticket as well.
5. Start with Last-Minute Vacation Websites
There is several good, one stop shopping sites such as LastMinute.com that can easily save you approximately 70% on airfare and hotel rooms. Travelzoo.com goes through hundreds and hundreds of travel website and newsletter deals.  VacationstoGo.com is good for booking a cruise last minute.
There will be many deals which really won’t interest you. An offer from New York to London will not help if you are trying to get to Paris. When you know exactly where you want to go, check out AirfareWatchdog.com. Airfare Watch Dog looks at the seasonal trends for the best price available to you. All you need to do is enter your departure and arrival airports as well as the dates you intend to travel for a list of the most inexpensive flights available. It is also a good idea to look at all the available airports in your area, because it may be cheaper to fly out of an airport 2 hours away instead of the one 15 minutes away.
Fly.com is a sister site to TravelZoo.com and allows you do most of the same types of tracking.
You will also want to check out AAA, AARP, Travelocity, kayak and other common travel websites to see if you can find other deals as well!
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

10 ways to make college students dollar stretch

As a college student, you need to learn how to save as much money as possible. Although it can be a lot of work, it can really be helpful in the long run.
1. Finish college on time! You need to plan on finishing school in four years. Every extra semester you take will cost you more money that you do not need to spend.
2. Take on a full load. Take a full load each semester. Full time students take 14-21 credit hours a semester and can complete a 120-hour degree in four years with no problem. There are some programs that will require more hours than others. If you relax and take less than 12 credit hours a semester, you will not be able to graduate in four years and will end up spending considerably more money for the same major. You also want to try and take classes during the summer. Some school’s will allow you to take on extra classes beyond their credit limit if you only have a couple semesters left and it will most likely not cost any extra to take the class.
3. Set a budget for fun activities. For many young adults in college, the social scene is a huge part of any college experience, and it doesn’t need to be overly priced by any means. You will want to plan a budget for the following:
  • Clothing – Some people like to keep up with the trends, and campus fashion may be different than your current wardrobe. Look in clearance sections of any store first, to keep your costs down.
  • Fun – Movies, plays, concerts and other events. Don’t forget your student ID so you can  ask for a student discount.
  • Food – Although your meal plan should cover the basics, budget some extra money for “extra” food. Take advantage of coupons and sale items, and plan your food purchases around the sales.
4. Don’t change your major after your junior year. Your first 2 years of college are the best time to explore different courses that you really find interesting, but by the time you hit your junior year, you really need to declare a major and stick to that for the remainder of your college career. If you change your major after that point, it’s nearly impossible to graduate within the 4 year mark.
5. Rent, Rent, Rent your books!!!!!!!  A majority of classes you will take require you to have a textbook, but you don’t need to get a new one if you can avoid it. Do some research on Amazon, eBay and other websites to see who has the best rental deal for your area. Some universities have textbooks in the library as well. Unless you like to keep your books for their future sentimental value, renting is your best option.
6. Sororities and fraternities are more expensive than the dorm. Beyond the base costs, you need to factor in formal wear for formals events, tickets for different events, as well as many other extras. Do some research so you can estimate the costs. Joining a sorority or fraternity can be fun, but if you are on a budget, your dollars will go further if you choose dorm life.
7. Community  college’s are your best friend. They can keep your costs for your first two years of college down, especially since you can often remain at home and save on room and board. Community college’s can be a great place to start, especially if you want to start taking classes while you’re still in high school, but ask before you enroll in a university program. Make sure the universities you want to apply to will take the requirements you’ve already completed. Otherwise it will be money wasted.
8. Going home for breaks can be costly. How often do you plan on visiting home? It’s a good idea to limit your visits home if it’s out of state. The fewer trips, the more you save.
9. Beware of “retail therapy.” Your Freshman year in college is the most stressful year as a college student as you learn to adjust to an entirely different environment. Many people try to distract themselves with retail therapy of some sort, whether it be beer, clothes, video games concert tickets or meals out. Beware of this.
10. Look for grants and scholarships. Not all grants and scholarships are based upon economic need or athletic prowess. Some are based upon potential within a career track. There are work study programs that can help to cover college costs.
College expenses include books, housing, food, travel, living expenses, and entertainment.  Can you afford tuition, room and board at the university you want to go to? It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t have any other expenses while you’re there, so don’t put so much weight on the name of the university. You may be able to save money by choosing a different school. If you demonstrate excellence in your school work, it won’t matter which college you graduated from. Your reputation will help you find a job when you complete your degree.
While it’s a great thing to go for what you really want, you can’t look at a college without considering the cost. Paying for college needs to be a discussion you and your family has together while you are in the process of looking for a school. Try to find scholarships and grants as well.
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

7 secrets retailers don't tell you

It may be shocking to some, but retailers have developed a science to attract shoppers. All of their strategies are very logical and easy to navigate, once you learn the ropes. There are many shopping mall stores that hire retail researchers such as Paco Underhill, the author of "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping."

Underhill did a study on a few hundred people and looked at how they shopped. "There is nothing random about how a store is arranged and designed. It is carefully calculated to appeal to you in every possible way," he says.

"The stores have a plan, so you should, too," says best-selling author of "The Total Money Makeover” and host of his own syndicated financial radio talk show, Dave Ramsey .

The ‘magic’ of store display
There is a simple lesson that can be learned. Underhill talks about it in his book using a story about a t-shirt display.

"We buy them in Sri Lanka for $3 each. Then we bring them over here and sew in washing instructions, which are in French and English. Notice we don't say the shirts are made in France. But you can infer that if you like. Then ... we fold them just right on a tasteful tabletop display, and on the wall behind it, we hang a huge, gorgeous photograph of a beautiful woman in an exotic locale wearing the shirt."  

Ramsey’s response? "Write a monthly mall shopping budget and stash cash in an envelope specifically for that purpose. When the envelope is empty, stop spending," Ramsey says. "A written budget makes you think twice when you are tempted by impulse buys."

When BOGO sales are appropriate
Bundled-item promotions such as bogo and 2-fers can successfully lure you into buying something in their store more often and spending more money than any advertisement in a magazine or television advertisement. "You're not saving if you are actually spending more than you planned," says Underhill. These “sales” aren’t always a good deal, especially if you aren’t familiar with the stores merchandise and normal prices. You need to ask yourself, “Do I really need two of the same jeans?”

Don’t turn right when entering the store
Since a majority of the population is right handed, people have a habit of turning right when they enter a store. Since store owners have firsthand knowledge of this, stores will always feature their popular trends to the right hand of the entryway. Next time you walk into a store, pay attention to the attractiveness of displays and music, you will notice that one side is more attractive than the other. Stores also put their most expensive items on the right hand side. Make a list, shop with blinders on and only shop for what you came for.

Why clearance items are in the back
Clearance items are always placed in the back of every store because the stores want you to be tempted with the most expensive items first, . They hope that by the time you get to the clearance section, your hands will be full. When you walk into a store, walk straight to the clearance section first so you won’t be tempted to buy the expensive items. Chances are you can find something that you like for significantly less.

Why the clearance area is messy
There will be many people who will avoid the clearance rack because it’s messy and really frustrating to sift through. Shoppers want to be able to find their size, price and see the item easily and quickly. Retailers take advantage of that by jumbling everything so you give up and go towards the nicely displayed items that are marked at full price.

Never shop when you are in a crunch for time because it causes you to make rash decisions. You need to set aside time to shop and dig for what you really want and need. Plus, you can get more bang for your buck in the clearance section. You may need to buy something that is intended for fall when it’s in the middle of the winter but you’ll already be prepared for next season!

Beware of the small stuff around the register
When it comes to little inexpensive, cute and pretty items around, the register is calculated to kill a buyer’s budget when it comes to spending. These items such as perfumes, small jewelry items and other “add-on” items just dig you deeper into a hole. Unless one of these items is on your shopping list, resist the urge. If you see an item in the checkout area, take a mental note of it; it’ll probably be there for a while. If it’s still there for your next shopping session, it’s in your budget and you still want it, then you might be able to get it.

Be selective when shopping with friends
When it comes to shopping with others, make sure it’s with like minded shoppers who are trying to achieve the same goal you are. Retailers will take advantage of reckless shoppers who give into every temptation they see. Also, don’t go posting that dress you tried on in the dressing room on Facebook because “friends” will tempt you even more into buying that item. Bring someone who will help you stay on track with what you do and do not need.

Ramsey says that "Alcoholics should stay out of the bars. If you know you have a problem with spending, stay out of the mall.”
If you really need a “shopping kick,” go to a shopping center with someone. Go ahead and put everything in the cart that you like, and when you’re done, just leave the cart without checking out. I have heard of many recovering shop-a-holics who do this, and it has helped them achieve their high while not spending money they don’t have.
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

3 Simple ways to save on your electric bill this winter!

There are countless articles telling you how to save some money on your electric bill this winter. Most essentially say the same thing. Turn the heat down a few degrees, insulate your attic, use an attic tent, cock any cracks in windows, etc. You do all of that because it is all common sense right?
But what about Christmas lights? What can I do in order to lower my light bill when it comes to my holiday and Christmas decorations? With technology today, there are many great products that are even more beautiful than traditional items but are designed to help you save money in the long run. There are also other items that are not necessarily as pretty but are equally helpful in providing you with significant energy savings in the long run.

1)     LED lights instead of conventional lights
Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are Christmas lights that emit a beautiful, bright, colorful light that uses approximately 80 percent less power than traditional Christmas lights. LED lights also last a lot longer and stay cooler than conventional bulbs because they do not have a filament inside. The intensity of the color in LED lights makes them perfect for indoor and outdoor use.
There are also solar-powered lights as well. Even in the winter weather, it should still be able to save up enough energy by the end of the day to illuminate both the indoor and outdoor lights with little to no electricity.

2)      Energy saving light bulbs
Much like LED lights, energy-saving bulbs use over a quarter of the power of traditional incandescent light bulbs, and they last  twelve times longer than traditional light bulbs. You can find bulbs are sold in a range of fittings, shapes and sizes. You want to look for government and industry-approved energy-saving logos on the package to ensure the best energy-efficient bulb. These light bulbs also come in a variety of colors such as green, red, orange, purple, blue and countless rainbows of other colors.

3)      Outdoor light control timers
Another great thing that will save you a few dollars (as well as time) is to get a timer for your lights, because we all forget to turn off the lights sometimes.                       Implementing a timer, at least for your outdoor lights will be a lifesaver for any forgetful people who intends to turn off the porch light by 10pm, but then wake up at 2am realizing that he or she forgot to turn off the lights. It is very foolproof for sure!

4)      Light sensor with motion sensor fixtures
You may want to have outdoor lights turn on outdoors during the night if a prowler comes around. With motion sensor fixtures, the light will turn on day and night. If you purchase an outdoor light fixture with both motion sensor and light sensor, you don’t have to remember to turn off the light switch during daylight hours. If you install one of the new LED spotlight bulbs, you’ll really cut down on electric costs.
These are only a few of many ways that you can save a few dollars this holiday season when it comes to your electricity bill. Although using LED lights and energy saving light bulbs can be expensive to start with, over time, the overall cost will be considerably lower than conventional bulbs and fixtures.
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's between myself and God

As I've gotten older, learned a little about various religions and learned about other people's beliefs, whether religious or not, I have started forming my own beliefs on different aspects of life in regards to marriage, sexuality, politics and many other aspects of life. Does this mean I have the answers to everything or have an opinion on everything? No. In reality, I have more questions of my own as I get older.

One thing I've learned is that I don't need to agree with everyone on everything. Nor do I need to have a debate every time I disagree with someone. Although, as I have started the process of converting to Catholicism  I find myself arguing with what I believe. What is right? What is wrong? Do I really believe this? Does God require me to believe this? In regards to my sexuality and my stance on Gay marriage, it has certainly been something that has made me really hesitant to really open up to the deacons I interact with on a weekly basis because as many know, the Catholic church frowns upon what they think of as a "choice" to be a gay man, lesbian women, bisexual, questioning, pansexual or transgender. Do I personally believe that it was a choice that I am bisexual? No, not in the slightest. Can I change the fact that I am attracted to both men and women? No. Sure, I can outwardly say that I'm straight even though it isn't true just as much as I can say that I'm 5'5" even though I'm only 5'1".

There are several other things that the Catholic church itself believes that I don't agree with that makes me second guess if I am making the right choice in regards to converting to the Catholic faith as well as all of the stigmas that are related to the Catholic faith. There isn't anyone saying that I need to agree with everything the church says. I am not the type to blindly follow the church. God gave me a mind to think and learn with and I intend to do that. I don't claim to be the most intelligent person ever but I am always trying to learn.

The more I learn about my faith, the more I argue with myself and God but at the same time, my faith in God becomes stronger. Even if I don't agree with God on everything. If God wants to send me to heaven or hell for anything, that's between God and myself. Not anyone else. Sure, I can ask any pastor, deacon, Priest or any other religious leader about what I may be struggling with but untimately, it's betwen Myself and God.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly. I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I
attempted to settle in to my new life h
ere, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.
Maybe we were too much alike.

I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that. "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."
____________ _________ _________ _________

To Whomever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner. I'm not even happy writing it. He knew something was different.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't
matter where you throw them, he'll bound after them, so be careful. Don't do it by any roads.

Next, commands. Reggie knows the obvious ones ---"sit," "stay," "come," "heel."

He knows hand signals, too: He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.

Feeding schedule: twice a day, regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He's up on his shots. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car. I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time. It's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you...His name's not Reggie. He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. But if someone is reading this ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. His real name is "Tank." Because, that is what I drive.

I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with .. and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he
loved me.

If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.

Thank you,

Paul Mallory
____________ _________ _________ _______

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver
Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

"C'mere boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months. "Tank," I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my
face into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and licked my cheek.

"So whatdaya say we play some ball?" His ears perked again.

"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"

Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room. And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


        Just over a month ago,  I started doing daily vlogs again. I have attempted to do daily vlogs on several occasions but the longest I've gone was three months straight. I have found it difficult in the past because after a few days, everything seems to become repetitive, and sometimes it really is but that's the beauty of daily vlogs is that you can see the up and downs and the slow days of a person's life. August was VEDA, Vlog every day in August. Which was just straight up vlogs, and I had started making some changes and doing some stuff. September, Shay carl started doing "staytember," where he is basically challenging his viewers to make some sort of change in their life and set 3 goals from the month of semptember. Granted I have a few goals but they are all manageable and following shay's challenge has given me motivation to do daily vlogs for another month.

        I do have to admit that there are some day's where I don't want to bother vlogging or I'm not in the mood but I made a goal of vlogging every day for the next year, I can't quit 36 days in! I have been wanting to do daily vlogs every day for a year for a few years and I just haven't done it yet. My main concern with it is when my camera decides to die. I'm going to have to get an inexpensive backup camera I think. Either that, or when I get the money, I'll just buy the same camera off of ebay.

        Doing daily vlogs has motivated me to really stick to what I say in terms of my goals. I really want to try and achieve loosing weight and a few other things. I have also started a collab channel with some of my friends, which I am really excited about. It is called The Bucket list 4. We just launched it this week and I'm stoked. The bucket list is also going to be an awesome motivation thing for me as well.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy 30th birthday, Ryan Buell!

I have been a fan of Ryan Buell and his team since Paranormal State premeired on A&E in December of 2007. Being 17, almost 18 at the time, I was the typical fan girl, drooling over how attactive he was but as I've gotten older and have a better understanding of the paranormal world and have started to form my own opinions and belief's, I have a respect for what Ryan does. The fact that he actually helps his clients as well as the spirits. He doesn't taunt and harass the spirits like they do on Ghost Adventures just to get the views and be in the center of attention.

A few months prior to Paranormal State airing, my cousin, Shirly, learned that she had pancreatic cancer but unfortunantly passed away in 2010. Shirly was like a 2nd mother to me and if anything happened to my parents, her and her husband, Mike, would have taken me in within a heartbeat. So, when she passed away, it was difficult.

When I learned Ryan pancreatic cancer, it came as some what of a shock to me. I don't claim to know Ryan at all but I understand the struggle that he himself, his friends and family may be going through and my heart goes out. I have always sensed that Ryan has a strong will to live and help others and I will continue to pray for him and his loved ones during this time.

When it comes to what I think and believe about the paranormal and my own spirituality, what I know of Ryan's work, has infuenced who I am today and I thank him for that and I hope that he comes through this stronger than ever. So today, in honor of my cousin and ryan, I'm wearing purple. Granted it's a pair of purple PJ pants but it's all I have in my closet! Happy 30th birthday, Ryan!

Imagine other's complexly

Watching youtubers online and meeting some of your closets friends via the internet can be an amazing thing but imagining them more than a 2nd moving picture, or words on a screen can prove to be difficult. As John Green said in his book Paper towns, “Imagine others complexly.” Which was difficult for me to do, until I got to meet several of my friends at Vidcon this year. As well as I felt I knew some of them, it was hard to imagine them complexly, until I could physically touch them, hug them, talk to them face to face and interact with them more deeply.

As huge and as vast as the online world is and as much drama as it can cause, it can bring a community of people together, introduce people from entirely different countries but for me, I have found it more profound to meet these people face to face and it has helped me Imagine other's complexly.

Who is there to thank? There are so many people that led me and my youtube family together, that I can't thank just one person. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vidcon 2012

photo edit by screennamemissing

I just got back from Tampa airport from Vidcon 2012 and I have to say that it was an absolutely incredible experience. I know I won't be able to express in words how much it meant to me to meet some of my #teamregulars and hanging out with Tony and Sebby, as well as meeting so many amazing youtubers. I cannot describe the love, friendship and community I experienced the last few days, even more so than last year.

When I left tampa airport, I was incredibly anxious about getting there and it didn't help that I spent a majority of the day in Chicago because my connecting flight was canceled and I was given another flight for the following day, which wasn't going to work. I managed to get another flight for that day and get to John Wayne airport. Granted it was considerably later than I had originally planned, but I got there.

Vanessa, Lauren and Rachel came and picked me up from the airport, which was amazing. Then when I checked in and went to see everyone in the other room we had, they all surprised me with birthday cupcakes. <3 It honestly made my day so much better, and I have to thank them all for that. It was such a simple thing but gave me so much joy!

After I had dropped my stuff off in my room, we all headed over to the vidcon pre-party and hung out for a while. Later in the evening, Tony and Seb showed up. Tony was so funny, he was epic fan girling that we were all together in person for the first time. It was so amazing. I wish I had gotten it on camera. Once we were all kinda done at the previdcon party, we all went to denny's and this happened. Watch the video!

Disney Land was allot of fun as well. I initially wasn't too thrilled about going and thought about not going because my thought process was "I've been to Disney World, how different can it be?" I have to admit, it was far different. Sure it was just as exhausting as any other park but it was so much fun! That's to Tito, who gave us some passes and just being a great friend.
For me, I think the most significant part of the trip was the night we did the live stream on youtube. I think they were calling it "talking to the dead." Tony had brought in a medium.  Granted, I think this medium was simply just empathic and was just pretty good at reading people's body language. I don't think she was necessarily a full blown medium. Anyway, that night had really got me thinking and I looked back on some stuff that I had written and thinking about my future but that's another blog post altogether. Several inside jokes came out of that night as well. ^_^ The medium gave me her e-mail address, so hopefully she'll get back to me soon because I would like to talk to her more.

I am so glad that my team regulars, tony and seb along with some of the Black Box TV behind the scene's peeps were able to get together VidCon and get to know eachother better and hang out! The experience was above and beyond what I expected it to be. I think our friendship went to a whole other level, now that we know we're all actually real! I still can't really describe the experience at all and it's something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. It's also helped me with some huge life decisions I am going to be making here soon as well.

I will be posting pictures and videos up on my facebook and on youtube here in a few days. Just follow me on twitter and on my vlog channel and "main" channel as well as my facebook. :-) Next year, I'm going to try and post daily blogs for sure. Hopefully I'll have a laptop by then!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

what a whirlwind

Things have been crazy the last couple of weeks. Especially financially. My mom and I are having to find another place to live because apparently where we are living now, does not allow pets. So we are scrambling to get another place to move too and somehow trying to find a way to get some extra money to pay for that. We have been staying in a family member's condo, rent free for around 3 or 4 months now. Haven't had to pay the water or light bill, which has been a true blessing but as life happens, the blessing is passing. Albeit, it would be allot easier if I was able to find a job and the situation wouldn't be so difficult.

Another thing that I am stoked for (but at the same time I wish wasn't for another month), is Vidcon. For those that don't know what vidcon is, Vidcon is a youtube oriented conference out in Aneheim, California. I went last year and I had loads of fun and met so many amazing people as well as getting to meet a few of my online friends face to face for the first time. It's going to be difficult though because the money I had saved up for the trip, I have had to put it towards another apartment and I am coming up short money wise. I am sharing a room with 3 other people, but not sure how I'm going to cover my part and my food expenses as well as getting to and from the airport. So, that is another thing I am stressed about. I don't exactly want to forget about going to vidcon, since I already bought my pass and I bought my plane ticket. I don't want to throw that money away. I just need to find out how to get the rest of the money.

I am trying to find some odd jobs this week and hopefully sell a few diaper cakes before Wednesday, June 27th. So, if you are reading this and you are going to a baby shower, please check out my etsy page and buy an epic gift for the mom to be! *hint hint* Or at least share my etsy store with your friends and family. I would greatly appreciate it! I am not the type to ask for handouts. I would rather earn the money that I need. I do custom diaper cakes as well. So don't fret if I don't have something you like.

I am praying that everything works out and try to celebrate my birthday this coming Saturday as best as I can. I just can't believe I'm turning 23 this Saturday! It's just crazy.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Sweet lesson on patience

A sweet lesson on patience.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Parsley tea

How to make Parsley Tea and Benefits

Parsley Tea is to pour 1 cup of boiling water over the plant material to be infused . Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes and then strain the tea , Drink İt Hot ,You can add 1 - 2 drop Lemon Juice
( * Parsley tea should not be given to Pregnant Women as it acts as a uterus stimulant.
** Parsley tea is abundant in oxalic acid. Thus, it should not be given to patients of Kidney İnflammation as it may cause the formation of kidney stones. )

Benefits :

* One of the biggest parsley tea benefits is its assistance in the treatment of diseases such as Arthritis and Rheumatism.

* Parsley tea helps in Detoxification . it helps in flushing out of toxins from the body.

* Parsley tea is rich in vitamin C, which supports the absorption of İron in the body. Thus, parsley tea cures Anemia

* It helps in Blood Vessel Rejuvenation. It maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels and also helps in repairing their wear and tear.

* It helps in bringing regularity in Menstrual Cycles and It assists in easing Menstrual Cramps.

* You may derive Weight Loss benefits from parsley tea as it acts as a Diuretic.

* İt has high content of Chlorophyll. Therefore, it assists the body in getting rid of harmful, pathogenic micro-organism.

* It helps the Lungs to discharge residues that keep accumulating in it due to environmental pollution.

* Parsley tea assists in the dissolution of Gallstones.

* it relieves excessive gas from the alimentary canal.

* One of the important benefits of parsley tea to humans include treatment of Deafness and Ear İnfections.

Deacon pat

Due to moving, school, work and just being busy, I have not had an internet connection since my last blog post nor have I had the time. A couple days after my last post, I did meet with one of the deacons of the church I have been attending and discussed why I wanted to convert. I simply told him that I have always been interested in the Catholic faith and I felt lead (or convicted, however you prefer to say it) to go through the conversion process. Even if I don't end up converting, I know that my faith will be stronger. That is what I told him. He said that was the most honest answer he had heard in a while. Which surprised me. He said most people convert simply because their significant other is Catholic and he or she wants their partner to be Catholic.

The Deacon also gave me a little lesson, to "tide me over" till R.I.C.A. Starts, he basically talked about how
the Catholic Saints are like yoda and Obi-Wan kenobi and the "leadership" of the force so to speak. While he is praying he prays to the Saints to pray with him to God on whatever his prayer request is, and that "force" is something he can rely on to answer his prayers accordingly. Of course if it's Gods will.

Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Catholic Mass

This past Sunday, I attended a Catholic Mass for the first time. I have to admit that I didn't understand what was going on 90% of the time. The priest is great though and once I understand the process of how mass works, so to speak. I believe that I will learn to really love the traditions. I briefly spoke to one of the deacons about RICA but had to go due to work. I just need to schedule a time to register for RICA sometime this week. It doesn't start till, August, but it'll give me some time to get a hold of the community of church.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My decision

Many of my friends And acquaintances may think I am crazy But I am considering converting to catholicism. This isn't something that is out of the blue, I have been thinking and praying about this for some time. Contacted 1 of the local catholic churches and I will be talking to 1 of the deacons of the church and will be going through RICA. I have several catholic friends in some of my family is catholic But this is not played any part in my decision Because most of them do not live anywhere close to where I live and don't interact with them all that often. So there is nobody but myself and God that has gotten me to this point. This is my decision. Going through RICA will teach me about the catholic faith but if I don't feel like this is the right direction, I can drop off at anytime.

So I ask you to support me through this process and respect my decision. I will be documenting my experience is much is possible because I have not seen any other blogs because I have not seen any other blogs about and converting to catholicism or what the experience was like. I want to provide something helpful and useful to anybody else that is considering converting to catholicism.

I am not going to sit here and say that my experience has been or will be like anybody elses experience because everyones spiritual journey is different. I just want to let me know what I experience and that there is someone out there going through the same process.

I haven't told anybody but my mother that I am considering this until now, simply because it has been such a personal decision.  Now that I am laying my decision out on the table for the public to know, I am a bit afraid as to what others might think.

My reason for wanting to convert is because I want to become closer to God and I want to grow stronger in my faith and this is the way I am being led to do so.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Operation beautiful

I remember the first time I came across a note that was associated with operation beautiful. I remember I was having a really bad day that day and was absolutely frustrated with the math class I was taking at the time and I was going through allot of personal issues as well. When I happened to stumble upon the note while washing my hands before heading to class, it really made my day and I took the note with me. I looked at the note sometimes and it always made me smile. I eventually taped the note to a bathroom mirror a couple months later. Although for about a year, I somewhat forgot about the whole project up until recently when I came across the website again in my bookmarks this past August 2011. Then one weekend I sat down and made up about 60 cards and started spreading them around at different public bathrooms. I also went through vista print and got 250 business card sized cards made up so I can put them in Christmas cards, birthday cards, restaurant bills and wherever else. So I have been participating in Operation Beautiful for about 6 months now on a regular basis.

I just want to encourage other people to participate in this project. You don't have to do anything crazy, you can even carry around a post-it note booklet and a pen and just write "You are beautiful" on a note and stick it in the bathroom on the mirror, or stick it in the bill when you are leaving the restaurant or on someone's car window or make a video on youtube about it and share it with your friends and family and encourage them to share it.

It really is an amazing project that is so simple yet so powerful and it has changed my life.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thinking things out...

I think tonight has really been the first night that I've started to get serious about my youtube channels and trying to find work. I'm hoping that I can start applying for around 10 jobs a day and start rolling in the interviews and actually get something soon and with school starting Monday. That may hinder that slightly but I am only taking 2 classes at twice a week. So that isn't too bad. I'm just getting somewhat frustrated with the job search because I haven't gotten even an interview yet and I need the work.

Now with my youtube channels, my main channel at least, I'm working on some videos to start posting but I'm trying to decide what my upload schedule should be. I'm thinking Friday mornings. I already do daily vlogs on my vlog channel. I just want some sort of schedule on my other channel so people can expect a video every week and come back. I don't really do it for the views or the money at all, I just want to put useful video and videos that will make people think, inspirational videos and reviews and stuff. And the only way people are going to see that is if I get more views I guess. *lol*