March 29, 2016

Blogger Men Tell All - March

Conversations with Philip are one of the most viewed topics here. And this one will not disappoint. I sat down with him earlier this month for another round of Blogger Men Tell All,with Becca Dorr, and this is what transpired.

Popcorn lover’s day is March 10! What’s your favorite popcorn flavor?
Hubs: Cheese.
Me: What kind of cheese?
Hubs: What do you mean what kind of cheese? Like cheddar cheese! You know the big cans of the caramel, the butter, and the cheese popcorn. Those ones. mmmmmm
Me: There's white cheddar popcorn too, though.
Hubs: Meh, it's alright.

What is the farthest you’ve traveled?
Hubs: Like how many miles? or... what do you mean by how far you've traveled?
Me: Like the farthest away.
Hubs: Probably on or cruise when we went to Mexico and the Caribbean. Or even the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Me: I'm pretty sure Mexico is farthest away.

Have you ever dyed your hair? If not, what color would you dye it?
Hubs: Yes, I died it blond. It turned into piss blond and it looked disgusting on me.
Me: *laughing* So were one of those guys in middle school?
Hubs: Ugh. yes.

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?
Hubs: I don't remember making any. So probably not good.
Me: *laughing* We didn't make any.
Hubs: I didn't think so.

That's my husband ladies (and gentlemen).

Did you participate this round?
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March 25, 2016


I mentioned earlier this month that my brother, C, is moving out of state. Well, that is happening this weekend. It's been especially hard on our mom, as that's two of her three children now living over 14 hours away. C has always lived fairly close to my mom after he moved out of the house, as did I. So "home" for us has always been our mom's house. We're all grown up now (I can't believe he's 26) and have started to make families of our own. And this got me thinking about how our definition of "home" evolves as we get older.

There are so many sayings surrounding what "home" is, and I can relate in some form or fashion to just about every one. 

Home is where your heart is.
Home is where your mom is.
Home is where your husband/wife is.
Home is where your dog/cat is.
Home is where the bra isn't.
Home is where the pants aren't.
Home is where you make it.
Home is wherever you are.
Home is where our story begins.

So I sat for a while trying to decide what "home" really means to me. My biggest challenge was deciding between Georgia and Missouri. That is exceptionally tough because most of my family, who I am very close to, live in Georgia. It is where I was born, where I lived for 27 years, 1 month, and 5 days. Yes, I counted. However, Missouri is where I have have lived for 2 years, 3 months, and 21 days. Missouri is where I became a wife (well legally it was Arkansas, but we're not being too technical here) and transformed Philip's bachelor pad into a grown up and well organized space. Missouri is where we adopted our furkids. 

How do I choose one place over the other when both have shaped who I am, both hold precious memories, both have important people, and both mean so very much to me. So you see me dilemma? 

But then I wondered why does home have to be only one specific place? Why can't we have more than one? I don't want to be so limited, do you? So I'm choosing both. I have a home in Georgia, where my Mom is, and I have a home, here in Missouri, where my own little family is. For me, home is where you are loved, and I am loved in more than once place. And so are you.

Where do you call home? Is it more than one place?

March 22, 2016

What You Need to Know About Great Pyrenees

Just about everyone who follows me on Instagram (Bear has his own Instagram now!), or has read this blog for any length of time knows that Hubs and I have four furkids. Two rambunctious tabby cats, an energetic dachshund, and a cuddly great pyrenees. Cats are relatively easy to care for: put out food and keep the litter box clean. Dogs, on the other hand require a bit more attention and love. In my opinion small dogs are much easier than large dogs in some respects, and I should know since we have one of each. Today, however, we're going to focus on large dogs, specifically the Great Pyrenees breed.

I've compiled a list of things you need to know about this breed before you decide to adopt or rescue one. While Pyrs are oh so loving and cuddly, they can be quite stubborn and messy. Having a large breed of any kind at home is not to be taken lightly and can be a lot of work. Here are some things to consider:

1. Pyrs are BIG.

Great Pyrenees can be up to 32in tall at the shoulders (that's just under three feet!) and they can weigh 80-100+ pounds. We get comments every time we take Bear out about his size and do we have a saddle for him. While our house isn't very big, we have more open spaces which are good for Pyr owners. You don't want an excited tail knocking things over!

2. The Pyr Paw

Huge paws are another things that comes along with larger breeds. But Pyrs will paw you when they think you aren't paying enough attention to them, and this is called "the Pyr Paw". It can also be a sign of affection. So wipe down those footies when coming inside or you'll have mud everywhere.

3. Fur, fur, and more fur.

The breed is known for it's white fluffy coat. Some even have a few markings like Bear does, but even then they are mainly white in color. The coat requires brushing at least once a week with a wire brush, and during shedding seasons a fur rake; this helps get the loose furs in the undercoat out. Even with a weekly brushing, Pyrs shed A LOT, especially in the spring and summer. I recommend brushing outside during the warmer seasons. Just be prepared to sweep and vacuum several times a week to keep the accumulation down in your house.

4. Bath Time

Due to their weather proof fur, Pyrs don't need baths as often as other dogs. The two layered coat sheds dirt easily when brushed regularly. During shedding season, a warm bath can help "blow" the coat faster, but Pyrs generally need very few wet baths a year. If you have a large bathroom, and your Pyr isn't afraid of water, then by all means bathe it at home. Bear hates baths and we have a tiny bathroom, so off the to groomers he goes.

5. The Guard Dog Instinct

This breed was bred to watch over herds of sheep in the Pyrenees mountains. The instinct to guard and patrol its surroundings is strong and Pyrs need to be trained to exercise this in a civil manor. They use their size and vocal abilities to intimidate predators, and only attack as a last resort.  They also have a tendency to be territorial (Bear takes great care in guarding his bones), so this needs to be monitored closely.

6. Barks and Howls

Yep. Dogs do that, but Pyrs have a very loud bark and they bark at everything... well at least they do outside. Bear doesn't bark as much inside unless Robbie starts barking at something. Part of this is their protective instincts, because that squirrel is dangerous! Be sure to be aware of noise ordinances in your area and be sympathetic to neighbors (if you have any).

7. Demeanor and Personality

Great Pyrenees are usually pretty calm and patient dogs. When properly trained and socialized, they are very friendly, but can be shy around strangers (this doesn't apply to Bear, he loves everyone). They are great around kids and other pets, and are being used more often as service dogs, especially for the elderly. Pyrs tend to be strong willed, so taking the pack leader roll early on is a necessity for any owner.

8. Exercise and Wandering

Pyrs don't require as much exercise as most large breed dogs, but they do need to be walked or let out in a secure area daily. Due to their guarding and patrolling instincts, they tend to wander  so a leash, a strong tie out, or a fenced yard is best. Be careful in the warmer months as these furry babes can overheat fairly easily.

9. Food

Nutrition for Pyrs is so very important. They need a large breed puppy brand of food up to about 8 months old, and a large/giant breed food that is high in protein after that. Large breeds eat a lot, so large bowls or a large feeder are necessary. We supplement Bear's dry food with a high protein canned food, and when he needs an extra boost I'll make a batch of satin balls as treats.

10. Independence

Great Pyrenees are very independent. This can make them seem like they aren't intelligent, but that is completely wrong. Pyrs are very intelligent, but their priorities are not going to be the same as yours. They do things on their own time, which can make obedience training difficult at times. They are generally slow movers compared to other breeds, but have bursts of energy than can have them running around the yard like crazy. In our house, we call these the "zoomies". Fetching that ball you threw is not high on their to do list, but they do still like to play in other ways.

Each Pyr will have their own challenges to adapting and training, but with lots of love and patience they are a wonderful addition to any family.

Have you owned or been around a Great Pyrenees?
If not, do you have any pets that have specific needs that differ from the norm?

March 18, 2016

30 before 30 - An Update

Two years ago I made a list of thirty things I wanted to do before I turn thirty. Well, I will be joining the dirty thirty club in August, and I thought maybe we should see how I'm doing on that list.

1. Get to my ideal weight and fitness level (In Progress)

2. Have a beautiful wedding (Done 4-21-14 We Eloped)

3. Go on a cruise (Caribbean Cruise December 2015)

4. Apply for and get accepted into school again (Done! I started school 6-2-14)

5. Learn American Sign Language (Coming soon! I'm taking a class this summer)

6. Pass all my classes (In Progress - I am on track graduate in December 2017 at age 31)

7. Grow my hair out (Forever In Progress)

8. Convince Philip we need a doggy (We adopted Bear! 11-25-14)

9. Read a book before it's even rumored to be a movie (I sat for a while thinking about this and I just can't remember if I've done it or not.)

10. Learn a Regency Dance from the 18th and 19th centuries

11. Re-decorate our house (In Progress - Bathroom is up next)

12. Make a new friend (Done! I adore my MO BFF Kaity!)

13. Help Philip make a new friend (Hubs and my brother totally bonded last Easter)

14. Make better food choices (Still working on this! #thestruggleisreal)

15. Have a white Christmas (the weather is not cooperating)

16. Start a new tradition (We started doing a couple's advent for Christmas this past year)

17. Go zip lining (I keep trying to convince Hubs this will be fun, but he's still resisting)

18.  Meet another celebrity (Middle of Nowhere Missouri is not an ideal place to meet celebrities)

19. Take a cross country road trip

20. Live in a home for longer than a year (As of 9-21-15 I've lived in our house for TWO years!)

21. Become a regular at a local restaurant

22. Pay off "bad" debt (In Progress - We're almost there!)

23. Grow my blog to 1000 readers/followers (Still not there yet)

24. Take a trip to visit bloggy friends (I got to meet Cassie in November 2015)

25. Monetize my blog (I am accepting sponsors! Go check out my ad options here!)

26. Pet a giraffe (again, middle of Missouri is not the best place for this)

27. Fly first class

28. Learn photoshop better (Finally figured it out)

29. Stop complaining about household chores (yeeaaaaah...)

30. Actually complete this list

Completed: 11
In Progress: 7
Undone: 12

Some of these things are kind of laughable and/or out of my control (like weather), but I think I'm doing pretty good on things that are realistic and attainable on the short term. I guess I'll be rolling over some of these items for my forty before forty list.

Have you made a bucket list? How are you doing on it?

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Tell Me Something Good Friday!

March 15, 2016

DIY Twine Wreath

I see all kinds of beautiful wreaths on Pinterest, in craft stores, on Facebook, and Instagram. While it's so much easier to just purchase one, it can be a heck of a lot cheaper to make one yourself. Today I'm going to tell you how I made this twine wreath with interchangeable accessories so you can have a cute front door that matches every season or holiday!

What You Need:

Slender Pool Noodle
Large ball of twine
Duct Tape
Pipe cleaners / or floral wire
Floral Tape (optional)
Glue (optional)
Artificial flowers
Any other wreath decor you like

I purchased most of these materials from Dollar Tree! You just have to get creative and think outside the box when you're walking through the store.

Make the Wreath

Bend your noodle into a circle and tape the ends together. You might have to work your noodle into a good circle shape by bending it in several places.
Tie the end of the twine on the noodle, and wrap it around the noodle making sure none of the noodle is showing through. When you're done, secure the end by tying it to a neighboring strand of twine or you could even glue it down.

Add the Decorations

Arrange the flowers into two bunches that fit the shape of the wreath (or however you want them to look!) and secure the stems with floral tape or pipe cleaners
Then attach the flower bunches to your wreath with pipe cleaners or floral wire.
Make a large bow with matching/corresponding ribbon and attach it to the wreath with pipe cleaners or floral wire. Make sure the bow is covering the stems of your flower bunches.
To make the loop so you can hang your wreath, make a circle with a pipe cleaner (preferably the same or similar color of your door) with the noodle in the middle of the circle, and secure the ends together by twisting them.

If you want a more permanent arrangement on your wreath, you can glue all the pieces down. Otherwise, you can take off your Valentines Day flowers and put up St. Patty's Day flowers, or even make a little bunny head with some ears and cotton balls for Easter.

Badda bing! Badda boom! You have your very own, fancy schmancy twine wreath!

Have you ever made your own wreath before? Was it cheaper than purchasing a similar pre-made one?

March 11, 2016

It's My Blog and I'll Do What I Want

Alexander Smith Quote

There is a tradition here that on Friday's we round up all of our favorite things of the week and share them with our readers. There are tons of link-ups for this and it's hugely popular. If you go back a few months, you'll see that I've participated a great number of times.  

On the one hand, I love posts like this because, often times I am introduced to a new blogger that I fall in love with, or a new person to follow on Instagram that will provide loads of inspiration. These posts are fairly easy to put together and are a great way to spotlight some well deserving bloggers/people.

On the other hand, I feel like these posts are kind of a cop-out post because they are so easy to create. Also, many bloggers choose the same posts and things to share, and it can become a little redundant. I'm totally guilty of doing this, and I'm not saying that people who do this are lazy or that they shouldn't. Not at all! (Remember when I said I liked posts like this too?) OK. So let me explain this feeling.

I was sitting at my kitchen table last night staring at Magnus (yes, I named my Macbook) and trying to channel some inspiration for something to write about for todays post. I could have just done a favorites post and picked a few good blog posts, some nice pictures from Instagram, and couple of fun Pins from Pinterest, slapped them in a post with witty tag lines and been done in 15 minutes, but it felt wrong to me. Especially since I just got my head back into the blogging game. 

To be quite honest, I have several posts in the draft stage that I could have polished and published today, but that felt wrong too. I could have moved up a post that is scheduled for later this month, but that wasn't right either. Something just felt... off. Still does as I sat at my kitchen table again this morning with a bowl of cereal and Magnus' blinking cursor staring expectantly back at me. 

Finally, I just started to write. Letting my fingers fly across the keys putting my thoughts and feelings into words on the screen. There were several pauses for more thought, to quiet barking dogs, and swat cats off the new kitchen island. I also got a few ideas for future posts, so that's a bonus! 

I guess, I'm saying all of this to say that blogging traditions and schedules and rules can be changed at the drop of the hat, and they should be. Especially when your heart tells you it's not working for you this week/month. Life is unpredictable and can bring on great changes, so adjustments must be made in order to survive. This is why my editorial calendar is ALWAYS written in pencil (or on post-it notes). 

Have you ever felt this way about a post or your weekly blogging routine? 

March 9, 2016

Currently - March

I unintentionally took the entire month of February off, oops. But I think I needed it. We've had a lot of personal stuff going on and I was emotionally and mentally spent. Because I was gone for so long, I thought we could do a little catch-up in the form of a "currently" post. How 'bout that? Good? ok.

Loving: Our new kitchen. We didn't do a remodel, but it feels like it. An island was added in last week and we purchased a new (smaller) dining table and chairs over the weekend. It feels so much more put together now than it did before. I told my mom yesterday that I felt like I finally had a real grown-up kitchen. Haha!

Reading: How to be a Good Wife, by Emma Chapman. It seems to be a mystery type novel about a woman who's mother-in-law gave her a book on how to be a good wife to her son when they got married. And something about her maybe going a little crazy? I'm not that far into it, but it's already really interesting. I picked this book up at Target the other day.

Feeling: Good. I've started my new healthy routine and we're getting the ball rolling on some house projects. Things are good.

Watching: Call the Midwife. It's a British drama about 1950s-60s group of midwives who provide care for people in a low end part of London. This is the second time I'm watching the show, and it's still just as good as the first time. You can find the entire series on Netflix.

Writing: Blog Posts! I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, but writing a little bit every day. That's really hard when you haven't done it in a while, but I'm hoping that I can turn it into a habit like I did with my health tracking.

Listening: Silence. Most of the time I don't like my house to be completely sound free. It creeps me out. But lately, I've made myself sit in the silence to think and reflect on some things. I'm growing to like it.

Wanting: Some good news from our contractor this when he goes underneath our house to inspect the plumbing for our upcoming bathroom remodel next week. We have plans to shift some things around and I'm hoping we get the green light on that.

Needing: To go through our back bedroom. It's been a sort of junk room for the past two years and I think it's finally time to just start re-homing some things and throwing other stuff away. We don't need two broken TVs or an unused TV stand anymore!

Hoping: My next school session goes well. I'm taking what I've heard to be as a tough class, so wish me luck! Also, like this past session, I'm having to go all four days a week. It's a bit of a pain in the butt for me and for Hubs.

Avoiding: Cleaning out our back bedroom. Haha! Really I just need help with it is all, and Hubs works so hard during the week, so maybe we can tackle it (or at least get started on it) this weekend.

Wishing: My grandmother would make up her mind as to when the memorial for my great-grandmother will be. I'm upset enough about the whole situation, but if we get a last minute date then Hubs won't be able to make the trip with me.

Trying: To stay focused on my To-Do lists and not get sucked into the couch during the day anymore. I need to get my steps in, and staying busy is one of the best ways I can do that.

Hating: This wait for the new season of Game of Thrones. It's so close, yet still so far away!

Missing: My friends. It's been a long time since I've seen some of them and I really, really need to change that. I only have a small group, but they mean the world to me.

Praying: That my brother's move at the end of this month goes smoothly and that he is able to settle in well. His new position will be stressful, and a seamless move will help keep the stress levels down. This move will also be really hard on my mom, as that will make two of her three children who have moved out of state.

Thinking: About what to do for our two year anniversary comping up in April. We are already getting away that weekend because my cousin is getting married (just two days after our anniversary!), but I'm trying to figure out how to make it special for us too.

What have you been up to while I was away?

March 7, 2016

Find What's Right for YOU

Ok. First let me say that I have been a super bad blogger. I'm still here, just don't have too much to say. 

That's a lie. 

I have a lot to say but it's not blog worthy. It's mostly rants about how the administration at the main campus of my school are making ridiculous changes to how the nationwide campuses work. Huge pain in the ass that not only makes things much harder for the students, but is causing our professors grief as well. But that is a long story that will bore most of you. 

Today I'm here to talk about my fitness journey. I announced several month ago, probably too soon, that my doctor put me on the Paleo diet. Yeeeaaahhh. About that. Firstly it was such bad timing to be put on such a restrictive diet. It was right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus we were going on a cruise the last week of December. Secondly, this particular diet isn't an easy one. After a conversation with my mom about my picky eating habits, we decided it wasn't something I would realistically be able to stick with for a long period of time. Thirdly (is that even a word?), I HATED every minute of it. H.A.T.E.D. I was a miserable, crabby, hungry-all-the-damn-time person that my husband was terrified of, therefore the Paleo diet was thrown out the window. 

Hubs and I discussed what was reasonable and doable for us, and made a plan of our own. I ordered a new Jawbone UP3 activity tracker and gave my UP24 to him.  I track my calories and nutrition with MyFitnessPal which links up with the UP app to calculate all that stuff. I bought new tupperware for meal planning and a water bottle with measurements on it to track my water intake. We try to workout for at least 30-40 mins about 4-5 times a week.

Using this plan, I've lost a total of 14 pounds in about a month. I'm much happier, and don't feel so deprived and hungry all the time. I am starting to get better, more quality sleep than I was before too. 

Lesson learned folks. Just because a doctor recommends a particular diet program for you, doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Especially if it's not a sustainable plan you can do for the rest of your life. 

Have you ever been recommended something by a doctor that just wasn't right for you?

P.S. I'm finding a new doctor.