Showing posts from 2014

Alpo Wholesome Biscuits #AlpoDogBiscuit

I received Alpo Wholesome Biscuits to Review in order to write this post. I am not being compensated in any other form for helping spread the word about the new Alpo Wholesome Dog Biscuits. Alpo / Purina  is not responsible for the content of this article. I was afforded this opportunity because I am part of the BlogPaws Professional Blogger Network. The Alpo dog biscuits were provided by NestlĂ© Purina. Random Thoughts only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. The opinions in this post are my own.

I love finding new treats for my dogs, and as Generalissimo Geno seems to love hard, crunchy biscuits, I was very interested in the Alpo Wholesome Biscuits! Nestle Purina just introduced the new Alpo Wholesome Biscuits for dogs, and they are now available in grocery stores.

They are affordable, and you can buy them when you pick up your groceries. They come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. I received the large biscuits, in a 24 oz. package, because my smallest do…

Unemployed and Writing

Yes, you read that correctly... I'm now unemployed, as of Tuesday. That said, I'm now working on writing a book, and have launched a kickstarter campaign to cover publishing costs. If you want to donate, here's the link:

I've been wanting to write a book for years, and so I'm taking this as a reason to do so!

That said, if you have any leads for marketing, corporate communications, or proposal preparation, feel free to let me know!

Buy Art Because You Like It, It Moves You, It Rewards The Heart and Mind!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Art Gallery. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love The Amour d’Art Fine Art Gallery's motto: "Buy Art Because You Like It, It Moves You, It Rewards The Heart and Mind!" I enjoy some art, but some of the "great" art just doesn't thrill me!

I also don't like art galleries that insist on only one type of art, or try to belittle me. I'm not an art history major, nor is art my "thing." That said, I know what I like when I see it.

This is why, "Buy Art Because You Like It, It Moves You, It Rewards The Heart and Mind!" is perfect for me! It's what I do now! It's how I shop for art now. If you happen to find yourself in California, and you are looking to buy art, why not check out The Amour d’Art Fine Art Gallery Sale? If you aren't in California, why not browse their site? They offer free shipping with a minimum purchase.

If you've never seen a Pino Daeni collection, check…

Sleep Number Sleep IQ Technology

In exchange for my post, I will receive a CoolFit™ Foam Contour Pillow.

Thanks to Smiley360, I was given the opportunity to try out the Sleep Number Sleep IQ technology, and in exchange for writing a blog post about it, I'll receive a CoolFit Foam Contour pillow. To try out the technology, one must go to a Sleep Number store.

Mac and I checked out Sleep Number a while back, but we decided to postpone buying a new mattress until we move, because we'd like to upgrade to a king-size bed. We currently have a queen-size bed, and with three dogs, and our bedroom doesn't have quite enough room for a king-size bed, plus two nightstands.

I've been intrigued by the "DualAir" technology, and the concept of selecting a mattress's firmness based on what I want that night, and how I feel. I'm also curious about how I actually sleep, and if I'm getting restful sleep. This Sleep IQ technology claims to provide answers to if one is getting restful sleep or not.


Fall Beach Vacation Rental Special Lincoln City, Oregon

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Oregon Beach Vacation Rentals. All opinions are 100% mine.Looking to take a break from work and spend some time relaxing at the beach? Why not spend some time along Oregon's gorgeous coast? Consider Lincoln City! If you're like me, when you go to the beach, you want more than a hotel room. I like being able to cook meals and have some space in which to relax. This is where Oregon vacation beach rentals by A1 Beach Rentals enters the picture. They have some amazing deals for the fall. If you book 2 nights, you get a 3rd night for free in November. This also applies to weekdays during October. That's like saving 1/3 on the cost of your lodging! Who doesn't like saving money?It's not too late to book one last vacation for 2014, and you can take advantage of some great rates and deals, while enjoying a gorgeous fall season along the Oregon coast!Check it out! beach vacation rentals oregonoregon beach rentals

Pampered Chef Freezer Cooking Workshop Review

I'm always looking for ways to pick up a little extra spending or saving money, so as of this week, I've become a Pampered Chef consultant. If you want to order anything from Pampered Chef, please drop me an email through the contact form, and I'll let you know how to place your order.

Before I decided to do this, I participated in a Pampered Chef Freezer Cooking Workshop at a friend's house. I figured it would give me some meal options that I wouldn't have through Dream Dinners, as Mac and I usually order duplicates of some of the Dream Dinners meals.

The concept of the Pampered Chef Freezer Cooking Workshop is similar to Dream Dinners, but it is designed to give the consultant some sales, and give everyone who attends a chance to try out some of the Pampered Chef products. The consultant gives you a total for the Pampered Chef Pantry items you'll need to order, and then she handles placing the order. She then also sends you an email listing all of the ingredi…

Chap Stick Hydration Lock Review

I received a free product for the purpose of my review. Opinions are 100% my own.
I joined Smiley360 a few months ago, and recently just received my first product to try for a "mission." I received a tube of Chap Stick Hydration Lock. They have two varieties, and I received the Moisturize and Renew variety.

I started using it as soon as I received it, and it stays on my desk at work, so any time I feel my lips getting dry, I can slather it on and not worry! I've been using the moisturize side far more than the renew side, although I do try to use the renew side at least once a day.

Both sides have a very pleasant, almost tropical scent, and both apply very smoothly, with no hesitation. Both sides leave a nice, shiny coating, but it's not super-glossy, which is nice. It's not sticky either, so I don't feel like my lips are glued together.

I did notice that if I go a few days without using it, my lips start to get chapped and crack, so this is a must use!

My on…

Introducing Mauser, Our New Family Member

On Thursday evening, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw that a friend's dog page had shared a photo and description for a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois at Manhattan Animal Care & Control. Named Jackson, he was set to be killed after 12 PM on Friday. Mac and I talked at length about it, and on Friday morning, I bit the bullet and paid for his adoption fee online, reserving him for us. If we didn't pick him up in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, he would still be euthanized, and I'd forfeit the adoption fee. So, Mac and I ventured up to Manhattan on Saturday, arriving around 2 PM.

Knowing how quick to kill the NY AC&Cs can be, I was braced for a horrible trip. I'd heard stories of how the employees would try to discourage adoptions, and how they'd deny adoptions if you didn't bring everything with you, and I was prepared for the issues, including them possibly saying that for whatever reason, we couldn't adopt him, and they were going to …

Surrendering a Dog to a Shelter

A "friend" that I've known for over 10 years is now looking to rehome her second or third dog within a year. The other one I'm sure of nipped at her kids, so that dog was rehomed. This one is a 6-month-old boxer puppy, who digs, chews, and jumps. Last week, she asked for training suggestions. This weekend, she posted that her "heart is breaking," but they need to rehome the dog, because he digs holes in the yard and keeps chewing things, from the sofa to the walls to his bedding.

It's a puppy!!! Puppies chew, puppies dig, puppies jump, because they don't know not to do that! They need training and exercise! Boxers, when bored or not given enough exercise, dig and chew. Add both together, and you get what she's experiencing.

I first tried suggesting that she go through rescues, if she's determined not to try to keep the dog. Then, when I couldn't sleep last night, because I was that upset over it, I felt the need to really share my opinio…

Sushi or Hibachi? Try both!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of One Dynamic Marketing Solution. All opinions are 100% mine.

Looking for a unique dinner in Orlando? Do you want fresh ingredients in your meal? Have some in your party who want sushi, while others want hibachi? Check out Japan Express! Think Sushi Winter Park! Think Sushi Orlando! Think Hibachi Orlando!

Not only does Japan Express offer pick-up, drive-thru, and delivery ($50 minimum delivery), but they offer catering services to parties, wedding receptions, bridal showers, corporate outings, you get the picture! Everyone has the same fare at weddings! If you are in the Winter Park area, why not do something different?

If you want fresh, local vegetables and fresh food for your meals, look no further than Japan Express! David, the owner, goes to the local farmers market every morning and purchases fresh vegetables for use in the kitchen that day! How can you get more local and fresh than that, other than growing them yourself?

Check …

Paragon Fine Art--Art at Its Finest!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fine Art Gallery. All opinions are 100% mine.

As I've posted before, Mac and I are house-hunting. Part of what I dread once we find a new house is the thought of decorating it! I'd love to have a few unique pieces of artwork, but for many, I question if my budget could handle the price tag that goes along with that! Enter Paragon Fine Art Gallery, located in the San Francisco Bay area!

They offer Contemporary, Traditional, and Commercial Fine Art For Sale to the public, while charging dealer prices. Now, granted, I may not be able to own an Andy Warhol, Picasso, or similar, but Disney Fine Art, maybe, thanks to their dealer pricing.

If you happen to be shopping around for fine art, and the prices shock you, check out Paragon Fine Art, and see if your dream of owning fine art can become a reality! If you get a little unnerved about the idea of shopping at an Art Gallery, check out Paragon Fine Art, and see how they are differe…

A Whirlwind Weekend in LA!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Overnight Reputation for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to spend a weekend in Los Angeles. I arrived on Friday morning, and returned home on Sunday evening! Talk about a crazy weekend, and oh, the jet lag!!! I drove the employees at the hotel crazy, because I wanted to know why, at 3 AM, the internet wasn't working! Then, by 7 PM, I was ready for bed!

Even with those issues, I loved my stay! Sunshine, warm weather, gorgeous skies, and gorgeous views!

When I travel, I sometimes have a tough time not having every second of every day planned out in advance. I want to do touristy things, but I also realize that the "locals" know far more about the good places to eat (the ones that stay in business because their food is amazing, not just because the tourists frequent it), the neat sights to see, etc. This is where Justin Sather enters the picture ( I…

Adopting an Animal from a Rescue: How To Increase Adoptions and Find Good Homes!

A friend who runs a rescue recently posted a story and a few questions on Facebook. A friend of hers was looking to adopt, and became very frustrated at the rescue process. In general, she asked a few questions about if it is unreasonable for rescues to insist on things like home visits, references, etc., and how rescues can improve the process.

There were a lot of posts on her status, ranging from her friend doesn't deserve a dog to solid discussion on how to solve these problems. It caused me to think for quite a while, because I understand both sides of the equation. I understand why rescues screen people like they do, as you never quite know. I also understand why people opt to buy or go to a shelter that doesn't take the time to check references and such--rescue policies can seem very intrusive and can turn off people to the whole rescue concept.

For those who don't know, I understand her friend's feeling about "here's the money, let me adopt a dog,"…

What Does Adopted Mean to You?

In the world of pet ownership, adopted generally means that a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue has a new, furever home. Adopted means saved, rescued forever, etc. For the purposes of this blog entry, going forward, I'm going to limit this just to dogs, but to some extent, you can apply this to cats too.

Adopted does not mean, "I purchased my dog from a breeder." To me, saying a dog that was intentionally bred and sold for money is just wrong. If you buy a dog from a breeder, please do not say you "adopted" the dog, because you didn't. You overpaid for a dog that has a higher chance of having health problems, and to some extent, you basically sentenced a dog in a kill shelter to death because of your choice. Perhaps we should make it mandatory that when you choose to buy a dog from a breeder, you must first go to your local shelter and select a dog to be killed, and then watch while they kill it.

Harsh? Yes, absolutely! Intentionally harsh, but that's…

When a Rescue Dog Passes Away

Thank goodness, at least as of when I left for work this morning, both of mine were still alive and kicking, so I'll reassure everyone that my two are fine!

I've mentioned before that Mac and I drive a lot of dogs on rescue transports. We drive because we know we're helping these dogs reach loving, welcoming homes. I also monitor some of these transports, so drivers know if we're on time, behind schedule, etc.

In one instance, many of us came together to drive several dogs from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and Maine, and the transport was featured on the Weekend TODAY Show. (If you pay attention, you can see a certain blogger's legs and hands while playing with Cole, the boxer around 2:50 of the video).

Occasionally, the rescue will send an email a while after the transport with an update on the dog(s) and their new home(s). Sometimes, the update isn't gre…

Travel Without Leaving Home!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Erik Pitoniak for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.Do you like to travel? Does the cost of travel prohibit your wanderlust? Do you have responsibilities at home, and you can’t leave for long? If you are like me, and can’t afford to travel the globe, or you have family responsibilities like I do, you need to live vicariously through someone else to satisfy your wanderlust!I have the perfect solution for that! Visit this website, and read about someone else’s journeys across the globe! Snuggle up with a cup of coffee or an adult beverage, and read all about Erik Pitoniak’s travels!Travel along with him while avoiding all of the hassles of TSA lines, flight delays, being crammed into a metal tube with 200 of your closest friends, and having someone’s seat-back in your lap as they recline! Visit far-off destinations with Erik Pitoniak, all while staying in the comfort of your own home!I love hitting the road, or flying the no-so-friendly…

Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. Review

When perusing Facebook recently, I noticed a sponsored post for "Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co." I clicked on the post, because there isn't much I like better than coffee and dogs! I figured it was probably a single coffee shop somewhere that allowed dogs or such. I was thrilled to discover that it's not a coffee shop like Starbucks, but rather, a company that sources fair trade, organic coffee throughout the world, and then roasts it, and sells the whole beans to consumers, via their website,

I know, you're thinking, "That covers the coffee. Where do the hounds come into the picture?" This is why I was so excited to discover Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co!!! They donate 20% of all Grounds & Hounds revenue to no-kill rescue organizations across the country! Why would a business give up 20% of their revenue to help no-kill organizations? On their website they say, "Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. was born out of our …

Chick-fil-A Thrive Farmer Direct Coffee Review

Mac and I are frequent visitors to Chick-fil-A on the weekends. I won't get into political views, because that's usually not what my blog discusses. We enjoy it because their breakfast is decent, it's inexpensive, we don't feel rushed, as there's not a server looking to turn over our table for another tip, and we can sit and catch up after what can amount to some pretty crazy weeks.

I also occasionally stop in for a quick breakfast to go during the week. It's not the healthiest, but I can usually make the points work, and I never wait long. So, some of the regular morning employees know us, and know our orders, or they try to guess our orders.

I stopped by on Wednesday morning for breakfast, and the employee working guessed at my order when she saw my car pull into a parking space. She included coffee, but since I'm currently tasting various Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. coffees, I've been ensuring that I bring coffee with me to work, so I can really …

Great-West Retirement Services Review & Dodge & Cox Funds Review

Years ago, Mac used to work part-time for his parents, at their machine shop. He worked there while he was in school, and even a bit after he graduated, when they were very busy and could use an extra set of hands. It was mutually beneficial for all involved. He received a decent paycheck, more than most part-time jobs, he received hands-on training, from one of the best machinists (his father), and they had a willing part-time employee, who was fine with working when needed, but didn't expect full-time hours or a full-time wage.

As part of that, what we didn't know was that when there was profit sharing, they were contributing to his 401(k). Their account was with Great-West Retirement Services, and only after he stopped working there did they tell him about the account. They've since sold the shop, and the new owner, after discovering a lack of interest in the 401(k), opted to discontinue participation in it.

Great-West rolled all of the 401(k)s into individual IRA accou…

Animal Neglect, Animal Cruelty, and Why I Took a Stand

If you’re new to the blog, I’m into animal rescue. I drive rescue transports, I monitor rescue transports, I adopted two rescue dogs, I occasionally do temp fostering, etc. I’ve transported rescue dogs straight from shelters, I’ve transported rescue dogs who’d been in boarding for ages, I’ve transported rescue dogs from a temporary foster or even a long-term foster. I’ve had dogs pee and poo in my car. I’ve had dogs with ticks in the car, usually because their flea and tick medication hasn’t kicked in yet. If you see a loose dog on the side of the road, and a woman outside of her vehicle, trying to get to it, that’s probably me! I keep slip leads, treats, water, and bowls in my car. I’ve stopped to pick up strays, and I’ve politely asked dog owners to take better care of their dogs when they get loose.
In February or March, Mac and I were visiting my parents, and we were on our way home from a late dinner. It was very cold, late (after 11 or so), and a block from their house, we saw …

On July 4th, one of the sponsored posts that popped up in my Facebook news feed was for It advertised a free bag of Fromm dog treats for liking the post and sending your address via PM. I was a bit skeptical, but figured why not?

I was reassured by the response to my PM, and I shared their post and tagged a few friends with dogs to share the fun! I wasn't expecting the treats to arrive this week, and had, to some extent, forgotten about it. It was a rough weekend last weekend, and it's not been a good week, thanks to poison ivy and a sinus infection.

Mac and I went to our standard Saturday breakfast, and when we got home, the mail had already been delivered. Cobaka and Geno received a USPS Priority Mail box from Summer's Paw. I was a bit confused, and said to Mac, "I don't remember ordering anything from there." When I opened it, I realized that it was the free treats! There were two bags of Fromm treats: Lamb with Cranberry and Parmesan Chees…

I Quit!

I quit! I’m done being a responsible adult! No, not really, but some days, I wish I could!
Some days, I think I should just stay home, curled up in bed with the dogs. Mac and I did a bunch of landscaping over the long weekend. Well, really, we ripped up everything in the flower beds, turned over the soil, and then mulched like crazy. All’s wonderful, except that somehow, I ended up with poison ivy on my right arm. I’m not happy! My arm itches like crazy!
I had a follow-up with the rheumatologist yesterday, and we’re trying meds to help me deal with the pain, hoping that perhaps I can get more sleep, etc. While there, I mentioned the poison ivy, and he sent a prescription for some steroidal anti-itch cream, in addition to the pain meds. He sent those in around 4. When I stopped at the pharmacy at 8 PM, they still weren’t ready.
Mac was with me, and well, let’s just leave it as we fought the entire way home… I was uncomfortable and unhappy, and he didn’t help matters by not stopping fo…

Funkyflick: A New Way to Find Movies You'll Love!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Funkyflick Company. All opinions are 100% mine.I love movies. I guess I should revise that to say that I love old movies, and movies that aren't your typical Hollywood flicks, boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, one of them screws up, then fixes it, or the typical Hollywood action--shoot everything and what you don't shoot, make explode somehow.Finding movies I'd enjoy can be a challenge, as while one of my friends is a huge movie buff, he's into horror movies, and that definitely doesn't pop my popcorn! I've tried asking other friends, but their tastes can be very different. I've tried IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and other sites, but that too is dependent on other's opinions.Enter, a site that recommends movies for you, based on a movie or book you select. It then searches the wiki pages for that movie, or book, and pulls out actors, plots, and themes from that movie or boo…

It's the Little Things

I've realized that while everyone tells you not to sweat the small stuff, at least in my case, it should be, "Don't sweat the bad, small stuff. Embrace the good, small stuff." When Mac and I got married, I knew he'd never send me a dozen roses for every year we were married, or sweep me away for a spur of the moment romantic getaway. That's just not his thing, and being realistic, it's not really my thing either. Roses die, and at least now, with the dogs, spur of the moment is taking them to the dog park on a Saturday after breakfast, rather than heading back home!

I'm fine with that. As Mac's said, we're probably two of the most boring people. We don't like drama, we try to avoid drama, and we're content to have quiet nights at home quite often. It's also the little things that make me appreciate him more and more every day.

We were having leftovers for dinner last night, and I told Mac that I'd get dinner started once I got …

Family, Friends, Guns, and Pain

Friday was my Friday to leave work at 12, and I took full advantage of that. We had friends coming in from Kentucky for the weekend, and I wanted to be sure the house was very clean. Mac met me for lunch, and then we headed home and started cleaning. I tackled the bathroom, kitchen, and living room while he tackled the spare room. Everything was in great shape by 3:30. They got to our house around 7, and we had dinner. John and Laura cooked dinner--bacon-wrapped meatballs, homemade pasta sauce, and spaghetti. It was very yummy, and it was nice to not cook for once!

John and Laura arrived in York so early on Friday that they checked in to the hotel Friday, so they could nap, rather than waiting until we were ready for them. While I was disappointed, at least we have a very clean house now! On Saturday, we went to breakfast and a gun show. After the gun show, we all headed back to the house, and Mac gathered up several guns so we could head to the range. We shot handguns first, then rif…

Good Weekend

On Sunday, Mac and I transported four puppies, a pug, and a border collie mix that was supposed to be about a year old, but looked more like 6 months, if that! We did our usual Harrisburg to Hamburg run, as Mac was eyeing up a gun at Cabela’s, and it worked well to go scope it out and decide if we were buying it. He sold one of his old rifles that he’s never shot, and fronted his overtime money from working last week, and left with the rifle. It’s his new antelope/mule deer hunting rifle.
We save aluminum cans, and rather than throw them in our recycling bin, he saves those and takes them to a scrap dealer occasionally. That’s his baby, and typically, he spends that money however he wants. He took those on Friday, and received $90, so he put that, plus a little extra cash towards it as well. Net out-of-pocket cost=$275. Of that, $200 is his overtime money that we’ll see next payday (yes, I fronted him the money, as we could do it, and I really didn’t want to deal with a trip up there…

So Much to Do!

It's been so long since I've found the time to write a blog entry! I apologize, but lately, I've been so exhausted that the thought of adding one more thing to my to do list causes me to shudder!

My mother is coming to visit this weekend, for the Best Kept Secrets of Berks County Tour. I feel like the house is a disaster (it isn't, but it isn't as clean as I'd like it for company), I'm sure I forgot something when packing my bags for tonight, and I know I'm running on less sleep than I'd like for having to drive and be awake until 10 or 11 tonight! I guess this is where coffee will be welcome!

I'm looking forward to having my mother visit, even if I'm stressing about the house! It'll be nice for her to have a weekend away from home, and we'll have a blast! We're staying in Reading tonight, so we can get an early start tomorrow without having to wake up at some horribly early hour! We'll head back home tomorrow, after shopping…

Still Another Yahoo Article...

This one for those last-minute graduation gifts!

Yet Another Yahoo Article

This one on not having kids!

Lancaster Farming Article/PA Beef Council Farm Tour

I was mentioned in an article in Lancaster Farming!!!

May--National Beef Month

I’m venturing out on my first Central PA Bloggers event in mid-May, and I’m quite excited. In honor of National Beef Month, which happens to be May, we’ll be visiting a local farm, feedlot, and retail market. We’ll also have lunch with the Agriculture Secretary and a panel discussion with those in the business of raising cattle for food.
We eat a fair amount of beef, so I’m interested in really learning how beef goes from standing in a farm field to our table! We hunt, so I know how a deer ends up on our table from the woods, but that’s a little different. We can’t control what a deer eats, nor can we control how old it is when harvested, etc. We can’t control the temperature at which the meat is kept during processing, nor before it reaches our house, whereas I would guess much of that is controlled with beef. Obviously, they can’t control how the beef is handled once it leaves the store, but controlling most aspects of its handling prior to that would make sense.
I’m assuming that …

A Great Man and Husband

I know I don’t spend enough time praising Mac, or thanking him, as in the day-to-day efforts of being DINKS, maintaining the house, taking care of the dogs, and doing rescue transports, things like saying thank you often fall to the wayside.
I try to always thank him, but I know I can do better. Likewise, I know far too often, I don’t sing his praises! 
He starts his workday before I start mine, as he works four, ten-hour days, yet since we’ve been married, I’ll wake up with him, and I’ll take care of getting coffee ready and packing his lunch. I’m a light sleeper, so it’s not a huge issue that I take care of the coffee and his lunch. I feel like I’m sending him off with a solid meal and his daily coffee, and I know he appreciates it.
He routinely thanks me, but lately, he’s taken to cleaning out the coffeemaker before bed, rinsing it out, throwing out the old coffee, and placing a new filter into the basket. He never tells me that he took care of it, so it’s always a very nice surpr…