Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life update in bullet points.

* After a few breakdowns, lots of stress, hundreds of hours studying, lots of money, and a LONG semester, I can finally brag about getting a B in advanced physiology and an A in lifespan development. If you'll remember, I almost dropped advanced physio because I was pretty sure I wasn't even going to get a C in the class. I'm rarely proud of myself, but this is one of the few times where I patted myself on the back and was proud of all my hard work.

*I'm taking two online classes next semester, medical terminology & abnormal psychology. I don't need either of these classes, but I want to stick with the routine of school so that it isn't hard to get back into the swing of things once I start nursing school.

*Speaking of nursing school, my application is due February 1st! I can't believe what I have been working towards for over a year and a half now is finally coming to fruition. I'm so excited to get my application off and then sit on pins & needles waiting for *hopefully* an acceptance letter! If I get in, I'll start in July.

*My bestest friend in the whole wide world is coming to visit January 14!!!!!! She was supposed to meet me and Rosh in NYC, but ended up not being able to. I haven't seen her since October 2009, so I'm SO excited to see her! She lives in Boston, so please cross your fingers that the weather behaves and she's able to get here.

*Momma and I are flying down to Siesta Key February 5th. Momma's having reconstructive foot surgery in a couple weeks, so she decided to recover in Florida for three weeks with my dad. My dad will be driving down the week before us, I'll help my mom fly down, bum it out on the beach for a week, then come back home while my parents spend the rest of their time there together.

*While in Florida, I'll be meeting my twin, Jess!!! Omg, I cannot explain how excited I am! This meeting has been a "dream" for a while now and I can't believe it's about to come true! I'm also hoping to meet Jenna & gang! I can't wait to give my two favorite J's squeezes!

*I have a friend who is more fickle than me. Can you believe that? He's lived in three different cities since we graduated in May 2009. Personally, I love his demeanor, because it means I have free places to stay when I get the itch to travel. Currently, he's working for the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I'm a lot of things, but foolish is not one of them. I booked my trip to St. Thomas yesterday and will be visiting with another friend from March 2-10. There are no words to describe my excitement.

*With so much beach time in the near future, I'm on a mission to lose 30 pounds in 65 days. I don't even know if that's realistic, but as long as I try my hardest I'll be happy with whatever happens. I need to lose 30 anyway, now I just have some serious motivation to do so!

*I normally dread winter, but with all the fun things I have in store, Winter 2011 is one I am very much looking forward to. In fact, I haven't been this excited for winter since 2007... when I spent it in Hawaii ;)




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Monday, December 27, 2010

I quit my job.

A few months ago I was really excited about having found a new nanny job and the amount of money I'd earn in the nine months I was going to be with them. However, that excitement wore off as the reality of the job set in and I was really, really unhappy.

Let me back up a bit.

I think I once said on here that I adored the new family, but that was a lie that I was trying to con myself into believing. For lack of a better explanation, I just did not click with them. At all. And I have never had that problem before-- and in 11 years of babysitting, I've taken care of a lot of kids for a lot of different families.

The biggest issue with this family was that the dad worked from home. This alone wouldn't be a huge issue, but the fact that he's a micromanaging control freak was. Every cry the kid made (he's not even 1 yet, obviously he's going to cry), he'd come running out of his office to ask what was wrong. He was always questioning me, making snide little remarks (he is an incredibly condescending man), and it really felt like he didn't trust me at all. I rarely saw his wife because she'd leave before I got there in the morning and I'd leave before she got home that night, but when I did see her, she acted much the same way. They're in their late 40s and have kids from previous marriages, so it isn't like they're the typical nervous first time parents, they just straight up acted like they didn't trust me.

Another issue was the pay. When they interviewed me, they agreed to paying me a certain amount. During this interview, the dad also mentioned something about taxes. The family I was with prior to them had me fill out a form last April that was basically like a nanny-credit from the government, and the new dad made it sound like this was the same thing. After getting hired, the asked me if they could pay a dollar less. I really didn't think it was that big of a deal, I was still making good money, and I only had one kid to take care of, so I agreed. Had I known that he was actually making me pay taxes out of EVERY paycheck, I would have fought it. Who the hell makes their babysitter pay taxes?

We also have the issue of them apparently thinking they hired a nanny & housekeeper all in one. Listen, I'm a very clean person. Any mess that is made while I am taking care of the kids, I clean up. If I notice the kitchen floor has a few too many crumbs on it, I'll vacuum the entire kitchen. If the dishwasher needs emptied, I do it. I'm even willing to do the kids' laundry. I take the initiative and have no problem doing so. What I do have a problem with is being asked to wash YOUR laundry, the parent. And dusting your house. And vacuuming the entire 5500 sq ft of your house every single day that I am there, when I never agreed to do those chores in the first place. I also have a problem with getting dirty looks and the third degree when I'm taking the time to study for my classes while the child is sleeping because you think I should be doing something more productive, like scrubbing your underwear. Did I mention they actually do have a cleaning lady?

Basically, I was incredibly unhappy. I felt like they were totally abusing the situation and misrepresented what they wanted. I'll admit, I'm pretty burnt out on taking care of other people's kids, so I may have been more annoyed than I normally would be, but it just was not working. At all. And I didn't even mention how he, Mr. Holier than thou, chastised me for straying from my Catholic faith because I did a Bible study at a non-denominational Christian church this fall. Spending 27 hours a week there for a few months made me realize I was not going to be able to do it until July. Especially when, after the first of the year, I was going to be doing 36 hours a week and they won't let me take the kid out of the home.

So I did what I had to do and quit. I gave them a month to find someone else and my last day is January 13. I am so relieved and the stress and unhappiness flooded out of my body as soon as I told them. Sure, I felt bad, but it had to be done.

Besides, I already found another family to work for who I have babysat occasionally and know what I'm getting myself into. All's well that ends well, right? But this experience has tempted me to write an article, "How not to piss off your child caretaker."

In case you're wondering, the family has no clue I write a blog (or anything else about me, for that matter).



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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sign Language.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Lots to write about, but I'm still enjoying my break, so for now, a post about sign language.

I was contacted by a gal named Emily who works for Primrose schools a while ago and was asked if I would be willing to post an article about education on my blog. Considering I've been in school for 21 years straight, clearly education is something I highly value. I told her to send the article my way and I'd look it over before committing to posting it. After reading the first sentence, I knew I'd want to share.

Below is the article, after which you will find why it is so near and dear to my heart:

Sign Language and Early Childhood Education

The ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience, is a skill that can take you far in our society today. Whether you learn a second language for job opportunity or just to become more diverse, it is a great unique ability.

This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

Signing Before They Can Speak

Research has shown that the early years of ages 2 to 5 is the best time to educate children in
different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well. This can be taught at home or some child care programs incorporate it into their curriculum.

While teaching a 2 year old a second language may seem a tad early or odd, it's actually been
shown that sign language is innate. Many indigenous peoples around the world, including
American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

Boulder Daily Camera published an article in 2003 presenting strong evidence that babies as
young as six months old communicate with their hands:

"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The Best Time To Start

The sooner the better for children to start. From the ages 2 to 5, the child's brain is most flexible, making it easier for them to learn not only one language, but two or three even. They are able to mimic the signs when learning sign language, and in most cases even create their own in the beginning (which is ok!)

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to
communicate, it can also strengthen the parent child-bond. Signing minimizes frustration levels and helps parents to communicate with their children before they can even walk!

It Can Last A Lifetime

The benefits are endless. Incorporating sign language into a child's early education not only
optimizes learning potential for children but it helps them in the future as well.

Studies show that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. They have higher levels of skill in vocabulary, spelling and music as well.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Indiana child care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of child care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

You may or may not know this, but my brother was born six weeks early and had several issues, including hearing impairment. Unfortunately, in 1985, state mandated hearing tests for all infants upon discharge was not required and my parents did not find out about his hearing loss until he was four (after four incredibly frustrating years and a baby who had colic for 9 months). Craig is 60% and 40% deaf in his ears and has worn hearing aids since he was four, but, by the grace of God, he doesn't have a speech impediment or developmental delays in any way.

While we are fortunate enough to not need sign language to communicate, my mother and I have both said several times we wish we had learned it as a family when he was younger, as a "just in case." I've tried teaching simple signs to the kids I take care of to make for easier communication and fully intend to teach my own children sign (as well as Spanish and French). Without reiterating the points in the article above, I'll end by saying I think teaching children to be multi-lingual is one of the best gifts we can give them.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Meme.

Oy, I have so much to write about, but I'm taking the easy way out today with a little Christmas quiz I found from Lindsey, who found it from Unofficial Mom. Life updates headed your way after Christmas.


Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, but I really don't drink hot beverages.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them! And, yes, Santa still comes to my house. Cheesy as it is, it's cute.

Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have colored lights outside, one tree with colored lights and our family ornaments from forever ago, and one "fancy" tree with white lights and gold and silver and cream ornaments.

Do you hang mistletoe? No, but my Grams does, does that count?

When do you put your decorations up? Outdoor lights have gone up as early as beginning of November, but we don't turn them on until Thanksgiving night. The weather here is so bipolar that we take advantage of a warm fall day when it's around. Everything inside goes up around Thanksgiving Day, into the week after. It just depends on what our Thanksgiving schedule is like. Here's some pictures since I never did the holiday tour I wanted to do.

Foyer.

Foyer & living room tree.

What is your favorite holiday dish? Jello with fruit cocktail in it and sweet mayonnaise on top! Delicious. And sweet mayo is a horrible name for a delicious topping that has nothing to do with mayonnaise.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Going to the Yuletide Celebration every year with my mom and our mother/daughter friends. Even if I did get the flu every year after we went.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I'm thinking I found gifts before Christmas (total snooper) and then my mom tried to say they were from Santa? I do remember finding the cookies we sat out for Santa that he claimed he ate (oh yea, he left us a note!) so that was a pretty good tip-off, too. Sad day.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Sometimes only one, sometimes all. Which I hate. I'd rather do just one, if any at all. We need kids in the family to make Christmas fun again.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Whoops, already answered this. How about some pictures instead?
Family tree in the family room.

Fancy tree in the living room.

Snow, love it or hate it? It's really beautiful and we've had a lot this year already (and more coming the next couple of days), but I hate how messy it makes things and how people don't know how to drive in it, and how snow = cold. Love/hate relationship.

The backyard of the people I babysit for (err, babysat for)

Can you ice skate? Ha, no. I can't even ice skate with those assistant walkers for the little kids.

Do you remember your favorite gift? I've received a lot of great gifts over the years! Probably my barbie house was one. But all the jewelry I've received in recent years has been really special.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? I spend a ton of time with my immediate and extended family as it is, but I just soak it up during the Holidays. My only wish is that the true meaning of Christmas didn't seem to get as lost as it does.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I don't have one. Although, I did make this chocolate/peppermint pudding pie one year that was delicious! Or, "dog chow!" Chex-mix, cheerios, M&M's, mixed together with white chocolate. SO good!

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve with my Mom's family and Christmas Day with my Dad's. I love that I get to see everyone. As a kid, the elf would always come to my Grams' house and leave holiday pajamas on the front porch for all the grandkids. It was always a game to see if we could spot the elf! I can't wait to do this with my kids :)

What tops your tree? A angel on the family tree, a big bow on the fancy tree.

Our Christmas village. See the tree in the middle? My momma painted it.

Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like getting gifts, but I really love watching someone open up a gift and see how excited they get.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Way too many! That's kind of how I am about most songs though; 9 times out of 10, the radio is playing my "favorite" song!

Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Delicious. Peppermint bark = yummy. I love the cherry flavored rainbow ones, too!

Favorite Christmas Show? Hm, The Christmas List is a fave, A Christmas Story will forever be an all-time fave, It's a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street. Of course, Home Alone 1 & 2, but I watch those year around.

Saddest Christmas Song? Who the heck would write a sad Christmas song?

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones and pray for safe travels for all!



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Sunday, December 19, 2010

And the winner is...

according to my brother's awesome "picking out of the bowl" skills: ANNE!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't choose the winner based on best story (thank God I never intended to because there never would have been a winner because all the stories were too awesome), but here is her hilariously embarrassing story:


Anne said...

One of my most embarassing moments EVER: What you need to know before reading this is that our church service is televised LIVE every Sunday morning. So, I was doing this skit thing in front of church one Sunday morning (as an adult) and after it was over I went to the back of the church to sit by some kids I was mentoring at the time. What I didn't know is that my TV mic was STILL ON. So, I proceed to sing the hymns in all kinds of funny voices (I even barked one song...yep...classy) to make the kids I was sitting with laugh. Not knowing that my obviously hilarous antics were being broadcast all over SE Minnesota. Emarassing?? Yes.

I need to win this!!! You know how to get ahold of me if I do :-)

Love & lollipops,

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Parents' Christmas Gift.

*My giveaway ends on Sunday at noon EST, so be sure to enter if you're interested in winning a "relaxation package!"*

I finished my finals today and think all went well. The minimum grade I will get in advanced physiology is a C, but I may get a B; I'll know tomorrow (unless my brother decides not to look at the grade board for me). Considering a few months ago I wasn't even sure getting a C would be possible, I'm content, although a B is preferred.

I also quit my nannying job today because I could no longer be micromanaged and have the parents act like they don't trust me. That's a blog post coming soon to a dashboard near you ;)

Now for the title of the post. I first saw "Letter Art" a few years ago-- where photographs of everyday objects are taken in a way to mimic letters, spelling everything from last names, to "family," to "faith," etc. My parents and I have always thought they were cool and wanted one, especially after we saw the one my aunt and uncle have spelling our last name. My mom, a few weeks ago, mentioned again, in passing, how much she wanted one and I immediately knew it would be my Christmas gift for her and my dad.

While in NYC, I tried finding the letters of our last name, but either my creative juices weren't flowing, or I was blind, but I didn't have any luck. I was slightly discouraged and decided to research how much purchasing one would cost. And when I finished laughing at the $120 price tag I consistently came across, I decided I could do it on my own; after all, my last name only has four letters, how hard could it be?

The answer? Not very hard at all!

Right before Thanksgiving, my mom and I went to Michael's to get a frame for Maisie's "welcome to the world" gift when the frames were 50% off. While there, I secretly was also looking for a 4-slot collage frame, which I managed to find. I went back later in the week and scored one for $10!!

For the past couple months, I've driven to downtown Indianapolis for tutoring for my advanced physiology class. The buildings downtown have some amazing architectural detail, so, while driving, I'd make mental notes of possible sites for photographing the letters. I finally found time to go down and actually take the photos a couple weeks ago and was pretty successful (aside from the fact that I went on the coldest friggin' day of the year), but wasn't going to be pleased until I saw the end result. I edited my photos over the weekend and ordered them through mpix.com (suggested by my cousin's wife who is a photographer and orders her prints through the site). The site tried to con me into spending an extra 10 bucks on shipping to guarantee a "before Christmas delivery," but I'm cheap and decided to take my chances. SO glad I did, because they arrived today, three days after I placed my order.

I framed them tonight and here's how it looks:


What? You really thought my last name was "Fancypants?" Sorry for the disappointment.


I LOVE it!! I'm really pleased with how it came out, except for one little detail. The slot sizes are 3 x 5.5, but all the sites I looked at for printing only print 3 x 5 or 4 x 6, so the photos don't fit the slot length perfectly. I'm going to buy some black poster board to mount them on so the matting just looks extra thick and will hopefully make the photos pop more.

I was too excited to wait and I have another gift idea for her, so I decided to show my mom tonight and make it the wrapped gift for my dad (even though it's really for both of them). She did say the "C" was a little less obvious, but oh well, I like it. Mama loved it and was totally surprised, and I managed to spend less than $20 on the whole thing, so I'd consider it a success!

What gift are you most excited to give this year?


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!

RYAN REYNOLDS IS BACK ON THE MARKET!!!!

His hotness makes me swoon. See how yummy he is?

Don't mind if I do.

Life is starting to look up. ::Sigh::

That is all. I have my final final on Thursday; after that, I hope to be back in full force with lamer posts than before. Try to contain your excitement.

Oh yea, enter my giveaway. Or don't. Whatever floats your boat.

PS, George Clooney, how's about's you put yourself back on the market, too, k?


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Premonition?

My mom's mom died in 1983, four years before I was born. When she died, my mom inherited most, if not all, of her Christmas ornaments. Some of them are really freakin' ugly, but I'm all about vintage anything, so I put them up anyway. Even the metallic parrot one, and y'all know how much I despise birds.

However, three little ornaments are just flat out freaky when you look at them the way I do. Pardon the blurriness, I gave up trying and caring.


Someone my grandma knew made them for her in the late 60s. Here's where it gets good.

The gold one is the color of my dad's birthstone (November). Ruby red is my brother's birthstone (July). And the emerald green one? Yep, that's my birthstone (May). Notice the pearls on all three of them? Pearl is my mother's birthstone (June).

Remember, the ornaments, the only three made, were given to my grandma in the 60's. My parent's didn't meet/marry until 1980. Craig wasn't born until 1985, and I, 1987.

Does anyone else think this is spooky?

I feel like I noticed this a couple years ago while decorating our family room tree, but it seems to surprise me every year.

*Don't forget to enter my "relaxation package" giveaway. It ends December 19th! Click HERE for details and to enter.*


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Monday, December 6, 2010

A Gift for Future Generations.

*Don't forget to enter my "relaxation package" giveaway. It ends December 19th! Click HERE for details and to enter.*

My grandmother, Martha Anne, is the only grandparent I have ever known. Maybe it's because of this, or maybe it's because I was half-named after her, but whatever it may be, we've always had a special bond. I remember being a little girl and begging her to set me on her knee so she would bounce me up and down like I was riding a horse. Of course, a ride wouldn't be complete without her singing the theme song to "Bonanza." Every so often she'd set me on her lap and bounce, and then, at the end, she'd open her legs and let me fall through, laughing hysterically with me. Funny that I now do this with the kids I take care of.

I also remember snuggling with her, and walking hand in hand on the beach searching for the perfect seashell, and trying on all of her magnificent jewelry.

At 23 years old, I still take every chance I get to pick her brain about our family history, and what life was like when she was growing up. She's 89 now and her memories are patchy, but I take what I can get, even if it does mean hearing the same stories over and over and over again. I know my time with her is becoming more and more limited and I never want to regret missing a chance to talk with her.

As she's gotten older and her memory has begun to fade, she's begun to fixate on things that remind her of her youth, especially around Christmastime. One of those fixations is trying to recite the entire poem of "The Night Before Christmas" from memory. She usually stumbles over some of the lines, but, for the most part, knows it perfectly, and will recite the poem several times a day.

When Hallmark came out with their recordable storybooks this year, I told my mom we should buy "The Night Before Christmas" and have my Grams record it so that when she dies, I'll still be able to hear her voice reading one of her favorite poems. We bought it over Thanksgiving break and I had her record it this weekend while she was visiting. She couldn't get over what a wonderful idea it was and was so excited to do it.


While it certainly is a gift for myself and my brother (and my Dad and Mom), the best part is that my children and my brother's children will be able to know their wonderful great-grandmother and can share in one of my favorite memories I have of her. It really is a gift that can be passed down for generations and will keep my grandmother's memory alive.

*Honest opinion, no compensation*


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Giveaway Reminder.

Just wanted to remind/tell you all about the giveaway. Because maybe you're like me and have to pick and choose which blogs you're going to read some days and which ones you can't fit in, and didn't get a chance to read my post on Monday because it didn't scream "FREE GOODS!" It's OK, I'm not hurt. Tis reality.

No other news to report. Well, actually, that's probably a lie. I'm sure I could find something to write about, and I do plan on doing a tour of my home, while it's decorated for Christmas, but that involves using my brain, which I've done too much of this semester and, quite frankly, my brain hurts. But it's ALMOST OVER!!! Two more weeks until sweet, sweet freedom! Hopefully that means I'll get back to writing more and use that as therapy instead of food. Womp womp to weight gain.

Oh, ps, I'm still doing C25k and have done it at least three times a week every week since I started. So what if I did week 2 three (or was it four?) times and so what if I've been doing it for, um, 7 weeks? Eight weeks? And am only on week 3. I've been running three days a week for 7 (8?) weeks and that's all that matters.

Anyhow, click HERE if you want to read about and enter my first-ever giveaway! It ends December 18th!

Oh, and I'd rather be here:

*Photo taken by me, Maui 2009*

Tah tah for now, have a wonderful weekend!


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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Season of Giving... & Receiving

Read this post. Trust me, you'll want to.


Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. From Thanksgiving until January 1st, I forget about how much I despise cold weather and bask in the warmth that is Christmas cheer. Oh, Lord, is that cheesy or what? But I mean it. There's just something about all the decorations, the music, the preparation for the birth of my Lord, that makes me all giddy. But it can also be a stressful time with the end of school, shopping to do, letters to send, volunteer work, etc.

I know I'm not the only person in the world who stresses. Kids, taking care of the home, jobs, finding a job, loved ones who are fighting for our freedom overseas, school, being a good friend and family member-- it can all be so overwhelming and take a toll on the body. I try to use homeopathic remedies (I think that's the term I'm looking for...) when I'm feeling incredibly stressed because Lord knows my body gets pumped full of enough pharmaceuticals as is.

These are a few of my favorite (relaxation) things:

1. Aromatherapy lotion from Bath and Body Works. Greatest. Collection. Ever. I have several bottles, from travel size to full, that I use all the time. I'll rub it in to my knots in my back, neck, and shoulders, on my temples and sinus cavities, and even on my hands and feet before bed time. The various fragrances all smell so good and really do help me relax and unwind.


2. Moisturizing socks from Earth Therapeutics. Oh. My. Gosh. They are SO soft and comfy, have aloe infused in them to help keep your feet from getting dry, and are perfect during the winter when the toesies get cold easily. When I've had a long day, I'll come home and rub some aromatherapy lotion on my feet and slip those socks on before crawling into bed. The feet absorb the lotion and give a relaxing touch to my whole body. Here's a little tip, too: if you have a cough that's keeping you up at night (or is just annoying), rub some Vick's vaporub on your feet and then put socks on. I dare you to tell me you didn't quit coughing within 10 minutes.


3. Anti-stress sinus pillow from Earth Therapeutics. Y'all, I'm not kidding when I say that this is, hands down, my best purchase of all time. I won't even stop short of saying it's been a life saver. I bought it in Boston last October after I borrowed my friends to help nurse a delightful hangover. Little did I know how much I would use it. I stick this bad boy in the microwave more often than not, but especially when I have a headache or migraine. This past spring and summer, I had a migraine at least 4 times a week; I'd heat the mask up for a minute (30 seconds each side) and slip it over my eyes while I fell asleep in the cold cave of my bedroom. It was so soothing and helped alleviate a lot of the pressure. When I have sinus headaches, I'll take out the rice pack and put in a baggie of ice and slip it over my face so it hits the sinus cavities and reduces the swelling (you can freeze the rice pack, I just never have). Even if you're just a little stressed, warm the mask up or pop it in the freezer, slip it over your eyes, lay it on your forehead, or even around your neck and let it help you de-stress.

4. OPI nail polish. It's the only kind I use, even if it is overpriced. Nothing says relaxing like a fresh mani/pedi with some pretty polish!


5. A great book and a warm beverage on the couch. Ok, that's a partial lie. I don't really enjoy warm beverages, but I hear they help heal a stressed out body, especially tea. I do, however, absolutely love to read and can spend hours (and lots of money) in a bookstore finding the perfect books to add to my collection. I don't usually read anything mind-blowing or overly thought provoking though (except I do love a good mystery) because I get enough of the serious talk in my text books and when I read for fun, I generally want to lose myself in the sillyness of a another world. When I'm stressed, nothing beats a book that will make me laugh, like Jen Lancaster's, "Bitter is the New Black." I read it three years ago on a trip and literally laughed out loud the entire time.


6. When all else fails, I'll retreat to my room, light a candle, and eat some chocolate. Doesn't get much better than that!


And now you're probably asking, "Why the hell did I want to read all of that?"

Well, because...







ONE LUCKY READER IS GOING TO WIN EVERYTHING I JUST LISTED!!!!!



Woohoo! It's a holiday giveaway! I originally planned to do a giveaway to honor my one year of blogging, but that's not until the end of January and I can't wait that long because I'm too wrapped up in the holiday spirit and want to give something away now!


And here's the best part: none of this crap of having a chance to have 800 different entries. No tweeting (twitting?), facebooking, blogging about it, spinning in circles while patting your head, rubbing your belly, and trying to lick your elbow bs. I like to keep it fair and give everyone an equal shot, so only one entry per person.

To enter, you must:

1. Leave a comment telling me an embarrassing story about yourself. That's it!

General rules:

1. Make sure you leave an email address at the end of your comment (even if you think your comment is linked to your email, leave the address anyway, just to be safe.)
2. If you are commenting as anonymous, you must identify yourself in your comment, tell me how you found me, and leave a link to your blog (if you have one). Why? If you're going to be getting some goods from me, I'm going to force you to delurk! Neener neener neener.
3. You must live in the Continental US. Unless you want to pay for the shipping (hey, I'm just being honest. Nursing school is expensive, yo). Sorry :(

Tell me that's not easy! Just like every giveaway should be, huh?

The giveaway will END December 19 at NOON (EST). I will choose a winner using random.org and announce it by 8pm (EST) that evening. The prize will ship Tuesday, December 21st (since I work Monday's), just in time for Christmas and some holiday relaxation!

Sorry to all you momma's out there hoping I was giving away free babysitting. But, tell ya what, fly me to you and give me a free place to stay, and I'll watch your kids in return! It's a win-win: I escape Indiana, you get child care.

Good luck! I hope you guys are as excited about the prize as I am to be giving it away!

*Disclaimer: I'm not being compensated in any way for doing this giveaway.*



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Monday, November 29, 2010

Gimme Yo Feedback!

What up, peeps?

So my one year blogiversary (or however it's spelled. I secretly hate that word.) is in January and I'm considering doing a giveaway or two for all of you awesome readers! Here's the best part: it would be the easiest giveaway in the world. None of this, "Blog about it, tweet about it, sing a song, slap your knees, and turn your body into a human pretzel" crap. I hate that.

What I want to know from you is, what kind of item or items would you most like to win in a giveaway? And let's be realistic, ok? I won't be shipping out a Rolex or Mercedes. What kind of giveaways get you excited? What kind make you think, "Who the heck wants that crap?" What would make you squeal if you won?

I have some possibilities, but want more, so give me some idears!

Oh yea, please?

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John F. Kennedy


I wish you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Lots of love and wishes for safe travels,


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update on Question for Certain Anonymous Reader:

Remember when I put myself out there for a reader from "Police Athletic League of Jacksonville" in the hopes that said reader was a single, tall male between the ages of 24 and 33?

Well, I received an email from the reader a few weeks ago and here is what was said:

Hey!

Sorry to disappoint but I'm actually a girl, 4'10", 21 years old and a grant writer. But I am outgoing and single! haha :) Recently, I stumbled upon your blog and I added it to my list of favorites. I decided to catch up on some blog reading today and came across your post about me. I about died laughing at my desk. Sadly, all the cops I work with are men above the age of 45. Trust me, I wish there were some hot young officers up in this place! :) Thanks for posting about me, it made a rough day a little brighter!

Sincerely,
Katie {unfortunately not a 6 foot, extremely attractive man in uniform}


Well, damn. I knew it couldn't be that easy.

But, good news, all of you can continue on the quest to find me a man- which I know is your lifelong goal and dream. Yay! Keep me posted ;)

*ps, hi katie!*
*pps, C. Brooks, are you still out there? Your blog is MIA and I miss you!*


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