November 30, 2015

Crafty Holiday Moments

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMoments #Collective Bias

As most of you know I'm a big fan of Black Friday. Every year I sit down and plan my attack. As the years have passed the stores have started to open earlier and earlier, to the point where Black Friday almost doesn't exist anymore. Getting up at 1 am to wait in line for the store to open at 3 am is perfectly fine. However, stores opening at 3 pm on Thanksgiving is unacceptable. This year I decided to take a pass on the entire thing and make some memories of a different kind. 

I tried to think of something that Little Miss and I could do to keep us both entertained. I didn't want to spend a fortune at a craft store so instead we made holiday decorations out of everyday household products. If there's one nugget of knowledge that's been passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me it's that you should always be stocked up on toilet paper. When it comes to stocking up for anything, Costco has you covered. 

I wanted to to make something that would be easy enough for her to do but could also be displayed for the entire holiday season. After searching around online and asking her what she wanted to do, we ended up making snowflake ornaments, a new topper for the tree, and Santa and reindeer, all from household products. 

All you need are toilet paper or paper towel rolls, construction paper, glue, wiggly eyes, and some poms. Any other crafting items are optional. Paint your rolls the appropriate colors for each item and then use your construction paper and other craft items to add the extras. These are all up to your imagination!

Of course any project involving glitter creates a mess. Especially when a three-year old is in charge of said glitter. Perhaps that was a bad judgment call on my part? Either way, I relied on my favorite P&G products to get everything cleaned up. I've been a Swiffer fan ever since they first came out and I use both the WetJet and the Sweeper at home. 

After finishing up with the crafts we cleaned up our glittery mess with the Swiffer Dusters and I sprayed some pine Febreze to set the atmosphere as we decorated the house for the holidays.

What Procter & Gamble products do you rely on to make it through the holidays? Are you all set?

November 25, 2015

Rant it Out... But Find the Good

Oh Wednesday how I love thee. The weekly post where we all confess our secrets and sins. It's pure bliss. These aren't so much confessions as they are rants. 

+ My laptop isn't working. First it would die soon after being unplugged. Then it stopped charging. I ordered a replacement battery, no dice. I thought maybe it was the AC charger so I ordered one. That worked for all of 5 minutes. So now my precious connection to the interwebz is a glorified paperweight.

+ I was out for a walk on last Saturday and saw some religious statue. On first glance it looked like Jesus was holding a pack of smokes... Then I realized it was a Bible. #hellbound

+ Sweet baby unicorns why is this a thing!? I just can't wrap my mind around how, or why. Let's be honest - it's disgusting.

+ There's this woman I sometimes see in the bus line to go home. She will come up to the line from the other side and will stand next to someone making polite small talk with them. All the while edging herself into the line cutting in front of at least 30 other people. And the part that really gets me no one says ANYTHING to her!!! Not one word. I'm telling you, the second she tries to pull that with me she's not going to like the result. #backoftheline

+ Last week I was sitting at work and had a mild conniption. A strand of hair got in my ear in such a way that it felt like something was crawling. I about punctured my ear drum trying to stop "it".

Last Wednesday K and I had tacos for dinner. I kept saying dumb things while we were eating and long after. I've dubbed the occurrence Taco Brain and I believe it is a real thing. You know, when you're so overwhelmed by the love of consuming tacos that your brain literally shuts off because it can only handle so much awesome at a time? Yeah... that's what happened. #TacoBrain

And on that note, here are some things I'm thankful for:

+ having a job that lets me have a comfortable lifestyle
+ new blogging friends
+ getting in tune with myself
+ K, family, and friends
+ new blogging opportunities
+ upcoming events
+ health
+ marriage equality
+ wine & cheese

This list is by no means everything I'm thankful for but they're the ones I'm most grateful for.

November 24, 2015

The One With the "Major Award"

Over the summer I went to the AC Seafood Festival. There was lots of food, live bands, raffles, and lots of rain. We enjoyed the first hour or so that we were there but once it started pouring we headed to Tropicana for dryness and dinner.

When we first walked into the festival there was a long table with paper and pencil to enter some type of raffle/giveaway. I figured I'd enter just for the sake of it. Imagine my surprise when I got a call three months later telling me I was a winner.

So what did I win? Four round-trip tickets, a free 3 day/2 night stay, two tickets to a show of my choosing at Resorts Casino, and a few other things. Immediately I was thinking SCAM! But there was a little voice saying but you did enter a raffle... I spent some time on the phone with the woman getting as much information as I could. Of course I was taking notes the entire time. I needed to go to AC to claim my prize within a week.

Part of me kept thinking something was up but as I try to err on the side of positivity I was rolling with it. K and I made the trip down to AC Saturday afternoon.

As soon as we got to the hotel that was sponsoring the giveaway we were instructed to go to the 7th floor welcoming center to check in. We went up, signed in, grabbed our complimentary snacks and waited for our tour and prize claiming.

Imagine the disappointment when we realized we were walking into none other then... 

a timeshare presentation.

Still trying to be positive I suggested we sit through it and go from there. Basically because they were going to get an earful from me about false representation, lying, and the like. 

We sat through the presentation, listened to what was said, toured the units, and then got down to brass tax. For only $23,400 we could own our vacation spots for the next 30+ years. With only $3,250 down we could walk away with a Deed as owners of a timeshare. Only $3,250? Where do I sign?!

This was obviously not an option, and we said as much, of course they tried to get us a bargain by lowering the price, changing the package, and even allowing us to "try before we buy" for only $1,499. The thing is, as much as I love to travel and vacation should be my middle name, we have friends with a timeshare and they completely regret buying it. We even talked to a couple on the way to the parking garage - they flat out told us not to buy! 

As for the tickets, there are strings attached to them. I have to stay at select hotels for a minimum of X days (most are 7-10) and these aren't the Day's Inn. I'll probably end up using one of them just for the sake of travel, even though it will probably cost me more than if I had booked on my own. We'll see.

On the plus side, I did get a $100 gift card to, which I actually use. So I'll at least get to eat for free.

Moral of the story:

Pay attention to what you're signing up for and never buy a time share. 

November 10, 2015

Booked Vol. 4

Do you remember being in grade school, when the Scholastic book fair would come in and set up? Your teacher would send you home with the book list of all the different books your parents could order for you. To me, that was one of the best school days of the year. This link up is as exciting as that day.

The Scale:     A {love}     B {enjoyed it}   C {ehh}    D {let down}      DNF  
* Received free for review from NetGalley
+ Received free for review from Blogging for Books

The Cricket on the Hearth / Charles Dickens  C
This is part of Dickens' five "Christmas books". I listened to it one day while at work because it was a short 3 hours. I didn't love it, that's for sure, but I didn't hate it either. I enjoyed the way Dickens gave full character to the kettle because you felt it was a real person through his descriptions. On the whole, this just wasn't for me. I wish I could get into the classics but I really struggle with them. If you're into the classics, sure. 

Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose / Gabrielle Bernstein  B
Bernstein knows that most of us don’t have time for an hour of yoga or 30 minutes of meditation, so she has hand-picked 108 techniques to combat our most common problems—from addiction and anxiety to burnout and resentment. Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, Bernstein offers up spirit-based principles, meditations, and practical, do-them-in-the-moment tools to help readers bust through blocks to live with more ease.

Gabrielle has a huge spirit junkie following, which includes me. I love the way she puts things in simple terms without making it come across as though she's preaching or talking down to you. I've put some of these tools in practice and for me, they work. Recommended for those who are on a spiritual walk or just want some clarity. 

The Two-Family House / Lynda Cohen Loigman A*
I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. At first the cover art caught my eye. Then I was pulled in by the synopsis: 

Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.

I actually really enjoyed this story of Helen, Rose and their two families. I easily found myself getting attached to some characters while I immediately despised others. I'd recommend it. 

Carrie / Stephen King  A
This was my second King novel and if I wasn't hooked before, I certainly am now. His books are so well written it's beyond words. I remember seeing parts of this movie when I was 11/12. I had no idea what was going on other than some girl had blood dumped all over her at a prom and freaked out. Obviously I only witnessed the last 30 minutes or so. The book? So in depth. I was able to read/see the full story on my own, and I really enjoyed the "excerpts" within the narrative. They added another layer to the story. Now to go watch the movie again. Highly recommended.

Thinner / Stephen King  DNF
I just could not get into this book, which was kind of disappointing. Maybe because I was listening to the audio book? I'm not sure. I just couldn't get sucked in like I was hoping. A few weeks ago I realized we had the movie so I watched that instead. The movie was much better and easier to keep up with and, in my opinion, pretty good.

The Liar, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe / Allie Kingsley  B
Have you seen The Devil Wears Prada? Then you've read this book. To me, this book was basically just a copy of TDWP. Crazy boss who you break your back to impress and then by the stroke of luck become the new favorite; stuck-up coworkers who eventually grow to accept you; best friends who you disappoint repeatedly in an attempt to move up in your job.... it's all here. The only difference I can see between the two is that this one takes place in the photography industry. But really, isn't it the same thing? It gets a B because it was a quick read and an okay story. It held my attention and I finished it in a few days. It's a good in-between book. 

Why Not Me? / Mindy Kaling  B/C
I listened to this while at work one day. I had listened to her first book and was amused enough. I find her funny and interesting though so I wanted to read this one as well. Like her first book, Mindy herself reads the audio version. This book was like the first - enjoyable enough. It had it's moments where it was funny but I didn't LOVE it, you know? I did love the chapter where she discussed being a bridesmaid.

Now it's time to go read all of the linked up posts and add to my never ending to-be-read list!