Jan 202015
 

One of the best things I did at the start of this new year was take steps to destress my life.  I am not saying these ideas will work for everyone, but they work for me.  My anxiety became almost out of control starting in November with moving and I had to do something to rein it in.  Patrick always tells me that there is no need in getting worried or anxious over things I cannot control.  Below are examples of things I CAN control.

1.   When I got my new phone in December, I loaded all my normal apps such as facebook, instagram and twitter.  What I did not load was my work email.  I found myself checking it on the weekends and that was never productive for me. I would worry about an email I got and fret about it on the weekend knowing that there was nothing i could do. I am no longer in a department where emails could indicate schedule changes, so nothing I get at night is that urgent. It let’s me leave work at work everyday and concentrate on home once I leave.  I can always check it thru the webmail site if I need something.  Only time I have done that this year was to get Patrick’s flight number from an email he sent.

2.  Remove people from facebook.  I know people who do this a few times a year.  I genuinely love keeping up to date with friends back home who I don’t get to see very often, and following our Marine Corps family across the globe.  I did however remove a large handful of people from there.  A few were anxiety triggers, a certain person who could put me on edge in an instant.  A few I simply hid from my news feed, because I like seeing their kids growing up,  but I don’t necessarily want to see their political rants or endless game requests.  I did also remove 2 people because…well…OMG the game requests.

3.  Just in general avoiding situations where I know there will be someone who triggers my anxiety.  In some cases, it can not be avoided, but even then – limit that persons access to you.  I am not saying be rude to them if you end up in the same social situation.  In my case, I try to be polite, and probably unintentionally a little standoffish.  I am usually very quiet in those situations which I’d a change from my normal personality.  This is what keeps that anxiety trigger from flipping on.

4. Meal planning & Sunday prep time.  I have done this now for 3 weeks consistently and it is a huge time saver.  My meals are planned out each payday and I buy the items for those meals plus 1 or two extra.  It helps that the kids dad and I have a highly consistent custody schedule and if he does need to make changes due to work, I typically know a week in advance.  Sunday prep times helps so so much.  I premake things such as ground beef, marinate chicken and cut up veggies.  Ground beef I simply brown and throw into a ziploc.  When it’s time to use it, throw it back in the pan with a little water and whatever seasoning is needed (taco or sloppy joe sauce are 2 of the usual suspects here).  I don’t get home from work/picking up kids from sitters until 5:50 or later, so having the prep work done gets dinner on the table faster.

5. Lastly, I have a destress bubble bath a few nights a week.  Sometimes it’s an oatmeal bath or sometimes it’s bubbles.  Lately it’s been hot tea and a book and that helps to soothe me to sleep.  Since my anxiety amped up in November, I have a horrible time sleeping. It’s getting better, but it will take time.

What are some steps you have taken or are planning to take to destress your life?  Let me know in the comments and I will choose 1 comment to won a $5 amazon.com gift card!

Jan 062015
 

Dear 2014,

It was pretty easy to say goodbye to you, as I was surrounded by my family (Marine Corps family & real family).  I tried to say goodbye while face-timing the love of my life, but..damn technology!   I said goodbye with a smile on my face knowing that 2014 was a pretty decent year for me, and that 2015 is going to totally rock.

I had no idea that 2014 would bring me the same challenge that I faced in 2013, my job being eliminated, but in the spring of 2014 – I was faced with that again.  I chugged along, encouraged by Patrick in his own unique way.  The way that sometimes drives me nuts when he tells me to “just relax” and “it will all work out”, but alas, it worked out.  I had no idea I would meet some of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life in 2014, and how close we have become amazes me.  I also had no idea that one of them would become one of my best friends & biggest confidants

I had no idea that my house I was renting was going to be sold out from under me (well, in a round about way), and we would have to find a new place to live.  But – we did and it so far has been wonderful.  The kids are settling nicely, we had a good Christmas in the new house and the closet fits all my clothes (and Patrick’s stash of stuff too).  

It brought about some  little road trips…sprints up to Walhalla for Easter, 2 weddings, a funeral, Thanksgiving & Christmas.  A trip home to NC to see my parents, and a few little local trips for baseball or just to visit.  Showing my parents around Greenville was especially fun.

2014 brought some amazing blog opportunities my way from Best Buy, Macy’s and Kmart.  I am excited for the bonds I have formed with many other bloggers over the years and hope that those continue in 2015.

I had no idea that Patrick and I would face the challenges we did.  We are a stronger couple, we have learned to talk it out versus hold it in, and we are thriving and ready for our 2nd anniversary and the start of our 3rd year together.  It seems like just yesterday we were both arriving at Ruby Tuesday for our first date.  

2015 – I cannot wait to get to know you!

Love, 
Lori

Dec 252014
 

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Merry Christmas from my clan to yours!   We wish you an amazing holiday season full of love, warm hugs, family and friends.  We are looking forward to sharing many adventures as a family with you in 2015!

*Photo courtesy of the amazingly talented Allison K*

Dec 242014
 

 

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How to not win the University of South Carolina version of
the Amazing Race:  Follow the bus maps posted on campus.  

Instead you should rely on the internet, its much easier to understand and the yellow line can be read (and not faded out!).

I needed to go see my friend Melissa who works in athletics, and thought since parking is sometimes iffy over there, we would take the shuttle.

3 shuttle buses, a tour of campus and 40 minutes later we made it to athletics.  We rode on every bus imaginable, from the bench seats of a traditional school bus, to the seats that line the walls (and cause sliding).  

It was one of the strangest experiences I have had since I started working at USC.  To make it even better, this was the day we wore our “ugly” sweaters (hers had llamas..it was epic).

In hindsight, taking our car would have been faster, but it wouldn’t have made such a great story!  It doesn’t matter where we go, or what we do together, its always an adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 192014
 

I was sad to see that the original “owner” of the “oh how pinteresting” blog meme, was no longer blogging at all.  However, that doesn’t mean I still can’t share my current favorite pinteresty things.

Today’s edition is “I like to Laugh”………..

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Really this one is for my sister in law.  She and my brother were on their way to my house after a long road trip from Florida.  She called me and said “do you have wine, or fireball or anything?”.   We ended up splitting a 40.  But really it was a Bud Light Strawberita.

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If you don’t understand this reference, I am not sure we can be friends anymore.  To understand, visit this video on YOUTUBE!

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Can I get an Amen?

Happy Friday Ya’ll!

Dec 162014
 

Swagbucks is running a special Holiday-themed Ugly Sweater Team Challenge where you can earn your team points for a variety of activities and get Swag Bucks too! If you haven’t signed up yet, now’s the time! 

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Throughout the Ugly Sweater Party Team Challenge, earn points for your team by winning Swag Bucks in the below categories. Each earning activity equates to a different point value:
  • SwagButton: Contribute 15 pts to your team everyday that you’re logged into the Swagbucks Extension (SwagButton).  Don’t have the SwagButton? Download it now and you’ll never miss out on a valuable SB earning opportunity.
  • Search: Search the web and every time you earn SB you’ll contribute 10 pts to your team! Make Swagbucks Search your preferred search engine and you’ll never miss out on a search win.
  • Answer: Get rewarded for giving your opinions on surveys and you’ll also contribute 10 pts to your team!
  • SBTV Mobile: Download the SBTV mobile apps* and you can earn up to 126 SB a day for watching videos on your phone.  You’ll also contribute 5 pts to your team every time you earn.  That’s 315 possible pts each day! (*This includes SBTV, EntertaiNOW, Moviecli.ps, Lifesytlz.tv, IndyMusic.tv, and Sport.ly apps.)
  • Mobile Special Offers: Download the Swagbucks Mobile App and start earning Swag Bucks for taking part in mobile specific special offers.  Every time you earn SB, you’ll contribute 5 pts to your team!
  • Encrave: Every time you earn SB interacting with Encrave activities you’ll contribute 5 pts to your team!
  • Swag Codes redeemed via SwagButton or Mobile: There are a lot of places where you can redeem a Swag Code, but when you redeem your Swag Codes through the SwagButton or the Swagbucks Mobile App, you’ll contribute 5 pts to your team!
  • Swag Codes redeemed via Desktop: Redeem Swag Codes on your desktop and you’ll contribute 1 pt to your team!
  • Instagram: While you’re shopping through Swagbucks this holiday season or braving the crowds at the mall,  take a picture of an item from one of the stores below (screenshots are allowed), post it on Instagram, hashtag your team name (#snowmenshowmen, #candycanegang, #makingitreindeers), include #holidayshopping, tag the store, and tag @swagbucksofficial.
    • Things Remembered (@thingsremembered)

    • Sears (@sears)

    • Gymboree (@gymboree)

    • Dillards (@dillardsstores)

    • Walgreens (@walgreens)

    • Bed Bath & Beyond (@bedbathandbeyond)

    • Toys R Us (@toysrus)

    • Walmart (@walmart)
  • Everyday by 10am PT/1pm ET we’ll credit each team with points.  The team that has the most hashtags from the previous day will receive 30,000 pts, second most will receive 20,000 pts, and third most will receive 10,000 pts.
  • PLEASE NOTE: You MUST upload a picture to Instagram (commenting on another image with your team hashtag will not count)
Everyone that participates in this team challenge and contributes AT LEAST 50 POINTS to their team’s total will win bonus Swag Bucks! See below for our updated bonus amounts:
  • 1st place: 50 SB
  • 2nd place: 30 SB
  • 3rd place: 15 SB

And finally, the Top 5 Point Contributors from each team will win bonus Swag Bucks as well: 500, 400, 300, 200and 100 respectively.

Good luck!

Dec 162014
 

I have owned many digital cameras in my life, but most all have been Canon’s.  Including my current Canon Powershot.   I have been coveting a Canon Rebel for quite some time, and even harder since my work-bestie Allison took our family photos last month with her Canon Rebel.  The photos turned out amazing – as you would expect from an amazing camera & photographer!  Those photos are coming soon to a blog post near you!  I love taking photos of my kids every chance I can, and preserving those memories for them.  I have so many photos from when I was a child and I hope I can do the same for my kids!   With time however, those images of me as a child fade and some have yellowed with age.  I am hoping that by preserving my childrens photos digitally, I can prevent that from happening.  Having them digitally also allows the kids to have access to the photos at the click of a button should they ever want them!   Also, digitally allows you to save money on printing, by only printing what you need, when you need it!  

I loved all the features Alli had with her camera, to help with lighting & capturing difficult & wiggly subjects (ie; my kids).    The Canon Rebel has so many great features, as well as fun accessories you can go to enhance your experience.  So many lenses, filters and the like!  And did I mention the consistent 5 star reviews?  Currently, 99% of users would recommend this camera to their friends & family.  You can read over the reviews here:  Ratings & Reviews at BestBuy.com

Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.
•      Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video  
•      Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
•      Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.
•      The 3″ vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Right now, you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more.
*Coupon offer valid 12/7-12/20

 

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Disclosure:  I have  been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  However, all opinions are my own!

 

Dec 152014
 

Are you looking for a last minute stocking stuffer for the hard to buy man in your life, or even a hard to buy for woman?   Sound like a sound-bite from a TV ad?  Well, yes I sound like that, but for a totally good reason.

 A few weeks ago, Johan from ShaveMob contacted me to see if I wanted to try out their razors/blades and I thought “heck yes!”   I was sent the practical 3 blade razor.  It was comparable with my leading name brand razor, and left me with a smooth shave!  Even in the winter, I tend to shave every few days, as it helps my insanely dry eczema prone skin!   There are 2 other levels of women’s razors available “The Perfectionist” and “The Purist”.

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ShaveMob is a “subscription” shaving club for men & women.   You pick your package, the blades ship to you.  You get the whole 2 months, 6 months or 12 months package all at once.  This saves on shipping and you aren’t sitting around waiting for blades every month!

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For the men, they have 3 levels as well.   You can choose from blades called ‘Baby Face” to “Caveman’, depending on your personal needs.  I love that everything is so customizable!

All orders ship for free, which is a HUGE plus in my book.  I hate when a company charges almost as much for shipping as you paid for the item!

These razors would make a great stocking stuffer for any man in your life, or of course – any woman in your life!  Don’t believe me, check out the reviews on their website:  http://shavemob.com/shaving-razor-reviews.html

 

 

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Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary shave kit by ShaveMOB.  All opinions in this post though are mine!

 

 

Dec 092014
 

The last 2 weeks have been a complete and utter BLUR!  It can only be described by me saying “what the heck just happened?”

Last 2 weeks recap!

Football – Carolina home game versus South Alabama – amazing!  The seats were so high, I thought I would need Xanax, but ya know – those 2 beers I had at 9am worked just fine!  The kids had such a great time playing with my friends kids, and our grad students!

Moving – let me just say, my coworker Alli is a freaking rockstar.  She showed up early, and worked her butt off helping me move all the big furniture.  We did so much with just ourselves, she amazed me!  She even kept my kids packing & occupied so I could go to court for my speeding ticket.  Yes, I got a ticket back in October driving Patricks truck.  Lucky for me, showing up to court and being sweet got my ticket reduced down to $81, the minimum it could go (it was $186).  Below is Alli and I after we got the sleeper sofa in the truck…and then Alli playing with Natalee’s barbie & horse doing a reenactment of Taylor Swift’s latest music video.

 

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Thanksgiving weekend – a little quieter than last year, since we didn’t get up to Walhalla until late on Thursday.  We had Thanksgiving dinner on Friday with our little family, and of course had breakfast with Patrick’s best friend too.  A little Black friday shopping (that evening, not in the morning crazy).  Saturday – more football (meh – we won’t discuss that game) and got to see some friends from Virginia!

First week of December – finished the move out/clean up and got out of the old house.  More unpacking, attempting to cook my first meal in my new house (while still surrounded by boxes and crap!).  Lots of purging.  This move is as much about physically moving, as it is about moving on.  I have purged so much stuff we no longer need.  Clothes that don’t fit the kids anymore – blessed a few families with clothes.  My wedding bouquet – yeah, don’t need it – blessed a bride having a Christmas wedding with it.  Even packed up a box full of items that belong to my ex-husband and he can pick it up.

First weekend of December - Mama & Daddy come to visit, Katie’s school play, unpacking/cleaning and random trips to Greenville.  This week is a little light at work.  Doing inventory with my “girls”, and the December birthday lunch (we are having chili – yum!).