Monday, October 26, 2015

Hog Wild Toys Holiday Gift Guide #review #HolidayGiftGuide

*disclaimer - these products were given to me by Hog Wild Toys for my honest opinion and as a Holiday Gift Guide 2015. All views are 100% my own.

Christmas is right around the corner. Some of us have finished our Christmas shopping, but some of us need to finish and some need to start, me being one of those ones that need to start. Here are 4 toys from Hog Wild Toys that will make outstanding gifts for children of all ages!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BALMSHOT Lip Balm #review

*disclaimer – this product was given to me by BALMshot for review for my honest opinion. All reviews are 100% my own.

We all know that we all like that lip balm that can moisturize our lips, but also protect them from any sun damage. BALMshot Lip Balm has just that for you.

Homelessness In America

Homeless in America was never really a topic that I thought that I would write about, BUT I was on Facebook a few nights ago and someone on one of the groups that I am in was venting about a homeless family that was asking for money on the street corner. Now obviously I am not going to put what group or the person’s name, because that’s just not right and I am not that rude either. Like I said though, reading her post about it hit close to home and also upset me a bit, as well as the comments that people left regarding homelessness. When she made her post, she was saying how disgusted she was with these homeless families with children, their kids should be taken away, that they are too lazy to find jobs, etc. Okay, yes I have seen people and families pan handle asking for money because they choose not to work and a majority of those people will admit that. Some of the comments even agreed with this person!

As I said, that post hit close to home for me and made me very upset. In June 2001 we lost the house that we were renting. The owner took the house back from the rental company because he was having issues with them. We lived with my mom for about a month, but we couldn’t handle it anymore. My husband worked in construction, so he took showers every day. We paid her $400 a month to help out around the house and extra bills. Now I am not trying to talk down about my mom, because I love her to death, she has molded me into the strong woman I am today and she has always helped me out, but living with her has always been hard. So we moved out and stayed in a motel. What we thought would be at least a month stay turned into an almost 3 year stay! The motel was our now 2 year old daughter’s first home! I was heartbroken that we had to live there with all of our kids. We had a hard time getting an apartment because we were not able to put money aside. We couldn’t get home from DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services), even places that said that they help Veteran’s from being homeless said that we had to live on the street for a full year before we could get help! Now living out of a shelter or a motel is consider being homeless. But some shelters say that they take families, but that is usually a mother and her kids, OR a father and his kids, not an actual family, so good luck getting into a shelter if you and your SO are together.

Another thing that really irritated me was that the person who made the post and people who commented said that all the homeless people are drug addicts!! Are you being serious right now?! No not all homeless people are on drugs and not all of them are lazy. Both my husband and I had jobs and yet we still ended up losing everything and lived out of a motel. I lost my job in November 2011 due to missing too much work because of my fibromyalgia flare ups. My fibromyalgia flare ups get so bad that I cannot move and when I am really stressed out about stuff that also flares up my fibromyalgia. Basically the point is, that there are homeless people and families out there where the adults are not lazy or drug addicts. They are hard workers who just got a bought of bad luck. Just because you see them on the street corner or living out of a tent, don’t assume the worst out of them, you just make an ass out of yourself when you do that. Offer them help, advice, information. The homeless shelters are always full so you need to remember that they could be doing everything possible, but having no luck. Also don’t, I repeat DO NOT threaten, say or even suggest that you or someone else needs to call CPS (Child Protective Services) on them. Don’t you think they are going through a hard enough time as it is with being homeless with kids, and then you try to take the kids away from their parents.

YES I understand it is not fair to the kids and YES I understand that the cold weather is coming. But again, offer some kind of help so they can at least stay in a motel for a few days, or help them with warm clothing. Yes there are organizations out there that help you get into a place or help pay rent so you don’t get evicted, but even those places are hard to get a hold of and get help.


Below are some basic facts about homelessness. The information comes from nationalhomeless.org

Reasons People Become Homeless
Why are people homeless?
Housing
A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness. Recently, foreclosures have also increased the number of people who experience homelessness.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the 2013 Housing Wage is $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.

Poverty
Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.
>In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15.0%. There were 46.2 million people in poverty

Two factors help account for increasing poverty
>Lack of Employment Opportunities – with unemployment rates remaining high, jobs are hard to find in the current economy. Even if people can find work, this does not automatically provide an escape from poverty.
>Decline in available public assistance – The declining value and availability of public assistance is another source of increasing poverty and homelessness and many families leaving welfare struggle to get medical care, food, and housing as a result of loss of benefits, low wages, and unstable employment. Additionally, most states have not replaced the old welfare system with an alternative that enables families and individuals to obtain above – poverty employment and to sustain themselves when work is not available or possible..

Other major factors, which can contribute to homelessness, include:
>Lack of Affordable Health Care – For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction.
>Domestic Violence – Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness. In addition, 50% of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness (U.S. Conference of Mayors 2005).
>Mental Illness – Approximately 16% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness (U.S. Conference of Mayors 2005)
>Addiction – The relationship between addiction and homelessness is complex and controversial. Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs never become homeless, but people who are poor and addicted are clearly at increased risk of homelessness.

Types of Homelessness
There are three types of homelessness – chronic, transitional, and episodic – which can defined as follows:

Chronic Homelessness:
>Persons most like the stereotyped profile of the “skid-row” homeless, who are likely to be entrenched in the shelter system and for whom shelters are more like long term housing rather than an emergency arrangement. These individuals are likely to be older, and consist of the “hard-core unemployed,” often suffering from disabilities and substance abuse problems. Yet such persons represent a far smaller proportion of the population compared to the transitionally homeless.

Transitional Homelessness
>Transitionally homeless individuals generally enter the shelter system for only one stay and for a short period. Such persons are likely to be younger, are probably recent members of the precariously housed population and have become homeless because of some catastrophic event, and have been forced to spend a short time in a homeless shelter before making a transition into more stable housing. Over time, transitionally homeless individuals will account for the majority of persons experiencing homeless given their higher rate of turnover.

Episodic Homelessness:
>Those who frequently shuttle in and out of homelessness are known as episodically homeless. They are most likely to be young, but unlike those in transitional homelessness, episodically unemployed and experience medical, mental health, and substance abuse problems.

Demographics of Homelessness
Who experience homelessness?
Persons living in poverty are most at risk of becoming homeless, and demographic groups who are more likely to experience poverty are also more likely to experience homelessness. Yet because of methodological and financial constraints, most studies are limited to counting persons who are in shelters or on the street. While the Census Bureau has taken a series of innovations to better incorporate the homeless population, these procedures continue to undercount this group by failing to visit many locations with homeless populations. Additionally, different governmental agencies often present different estimates/counts, making the figures on homelessness inconclusive.

Housing and Urban Development’s Points in-time Survey, January 2013 (go to their webpage for the link to the pamphlet)
>HUD found 610,042 individuals to be homeless on a single night in January 2013. Most homeless persons (85%) are individuals while 15% of homeless personas are in family households
>33% of all homeless people were youths under the age of 24
>57,849 Veterans, overwhelmingly 92% male, were homeless on a single night in January 2013. 60% were residing in shelters or transitional housing programs, while 40% were without shelter
>48% of homeless individuals (without families) were found to be living without shelter
>Families experiencing homelessness made up 50% of those who were sheltered
>Five states, California (22%), New York (13%), Florida (8%), Texas (5%), and Massachusetts (3%), accounted for more than half of the homeless population in the United States in 2013

Geography of Homelessness
Where do people experience Homelessness?
Homelessness is often assumed to be an urban phenomenon because homeless people are more numerous, more geographically concentrated, and more viable in urban areas. However, people experience the same difficulties associated with homelessness and housing distress in America’s small towns and rural areas as they do in urban areas.

In urban areas, estimates commonly rely on counts of persons using services. However, by this measure, homeless persons in rural areas are likely substantially under-counted due to the lack of rural service sites, the difficulty capturing persons who do not use homeless services, the limited number of researchers working in rural providers to collect data on their clients. Rural homelessness, like urban homelessness, is the result of poverty and a lack of affordable housing, and research has shown: (click link to to their webpage to download the info)
>The odds of being poor are between 1.2-2.3 higher for people in non-metropolitan areas than in metropolitan areas
>1 in 5 non-metro counties is classified as ‘high poverty’ country (having a poverty rate of 20% or higher), while only 1 in 20 metro counties are defined as such
>Homeless people in rural areas are more likely to be white, female, married, currently working, homeless for the first time, and homeless for a shorter period of time


I really hope that this has opened everyone’s eyes a little more about homelessness and that we can all stop assuming the worst in everyone! I also hope that this helps everyone to open up to those that are homeless and think about doing something that can maybe help them out.

Metal and Light Signs #review

*disclaimer – this product was given to me by Metal & Lights for review for my honest opinion. All views are 100% my own.

Being a photographer part time, I am always looking for lights and props to use for photoshoots, or do you have a business that you need custom lights or signs for? Check out Metal & Lights and see what it is that they can do for you

Dapper Box #review

*disclaimer – this product was given to me by Dapper Box for review for my honest opinion. All views are 100% my own.

There are men out there that need to look good for work by wearing a suit & tie, and then there are the men that like to dress up for the fabulous fancy dates. Well Dapper Box has some pretty awesome stuff for men to spruce up their wardrobe.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Update

Good evening my lovely readers!! I hope that you have had a wonderful Monday. I just wanted to update you all on everything. I have been having some health issues lately to where it has been making it hard to be able to get everything posted, but I promise that I am working hard on it. Tonight I am home and I will be working on getting my pictures uploaded and getting my entries and reviews posted.
<3 Mandy

Friday, October 9, 2015

OZ Naturals Retinol Serum #review


*disclaimer - this product was given to me by BrandBacker for my honest review. All views are 100% my own.