Ask Away Blog: July 2016

Scenes from Our Vacation

Friday, July 29, 2016



So two weekends ago we went to Rehoboth Beach and stayed at a friend's camper.  It was seriously a blast.   Of course I am such a homoebody so I was ready to leave by Sunday morning but still,  it was a nice getaway.  I actually didn't take very many pictures because I wanted to just kind of live in the moment as things happened.  My memories are so much more vivid that way.  I actually read that when you photograph something, your brain doesn't catalog it the same way as it does when you just observe it so your memory isn't as strong.


But I still wanted to share the few pictures I did take and some of the stories that go along with them.




 Life in a camper was fun but cramped, especially when you're a woman and you ened to move around to do your hair, makeup, etc.   But it was still fun and we hung out with lots of people that were friends with the friends we stayed with. 
 Of course you can't go to the beach without getting crabs, so we went to Crab House Friday night and I got softshell crabs while James got a bunch of hardshell crabs.
 I seriously love Rehoboth Beach. Everyone was so nice and friendly and it was very relaxing which is different than the vacations I used to take where it was teenagers and rowdy kids everywhere.


Now for the most fun story of all.... we had a very close call with a shark, thanks to the stubborn boyfriend pictured above.  


So Saturday we were in the water with a bunch of our friends and I noticed a tall dorsal fin swimming back and forth right behind us.  We couldn't have been more than 50 feet off shore either.  So right away I shouted "I'm not even kidding, but there is a shark, GET OUT!".  Everyone got out of the water as quickly as possible....except James.  He stood there staring at us.   He says it's because he "thought it would go away" but all of a sudden it jumped towards him and thrashed.   It was so scary from our point of view.  He then felt a whoosh of water from it's tail on the back of his legs and he high tailed it out of there.  The lifeguard blew the whistle to get everyone out, and he acknowledged that it was a decent sized dorsal fin and about a 3-4 foot shark.  That morning we saw lots of dolphins in little clusters all over.  So as soon as the whistles started blowing all of the dolphins appeared and came super close to shore.  I don't know if it was because they knew it meant danger and they wanted to check it out or what.  It was pretty cool.   So after a few minutes we were allowed back in. We got in and played in the waves the rest of the day but still, it was a very close call.


I am so glad to be home.  I love getaways but I love coming home to my pups and my house! 



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10 Things You Can Do To Adopt Better Sleeping Habits

Wednesday, July 27, 2016





I hear so many people these days talking about how they can't fall asleep or stay asleep and that is really sad.  Sleep is so imperative to our lives on a day to day basis.  In fact it's one of the basic necessities we need in life because our bodies NEED to recharge.  Would you leave your house for work without having a fully charged phone? Probably not, so why are you doing that to your body and your mind? 

I used to struggle with sleep but the past few years it's been a breeze and I figured I should put a post together with some advice on how to get a better night's sleep based off what has worked for me and those around me.

[1. Establish a Routine....and Stay On It! ]
I know it may seem impossible, especially if you are in your early 20's where you go out real late at night and don't fall asleep till early in the morning, but it's super important to stick to the same sleeping patterns.  You can actually use a sleep tracker on your Fitbit if you have one to show you how much sleep you get during the week and you can look at the days you felt well rested and see how many hours you got the night before.  That shows you how much sleep you should probably get.  Then you should determine realistic time frames for bedtime and waking up.  I get up at 5:42 am every Mon-Fri.  On Weekends I don't sleep past 7 am.  I go to bed by 10 every night and on weekends I may stay up till 11 but no later.  This way I'm only ever fluctuating an hour here and there.  It's much easier come Sunday night.  

[2. No Late Night Snacking]
Before you roll your eyes, just know this...if you are smart about timing your meals in the evening you won't need to eat right before bed. I have dinner between 5 and 6 every night.  I have dessert around 7 and then I allow myself to have some cereal around 8.  Then I don't eat anything past that.  Eating before bed can not only give you unwanted energy but it also can cause issues like acid reflux when you lay down before you food can properly digest.

[3. No Phone Zone] 
When it's about an hour before bedtime, you should enter the No Phone Zone.  That means stay off of your laptop, tablet, and phone.  The bright light actually can stimulate your body to stay in an awakened state.  If you have the TV on, keep it dim.   

[4. The Bedroom]
If you have your own place, make sure you hang out and lounge around in a room OTHER than your bedroom.  Use the bedroom only for 2 things... sex and sleep.  This way, when you go into your bedroom for bed, your body gets in the bedtime zone.  I used to watch TV in bed all evening and I was so stir crazy and didn't want to sleep when it was time to. 

[5. Make A List]
Some of us have a million things we need to get done and little things that happen throughout the day cause us to worry all night.  Before you settle down for the evening make a list of anything on your mind.  It's a great way to clear your head because the act of writing things down makes you feel like you are releasing it from the To Do List in your mind.

[6. White Noise]
Some people sleep better with some sort of white noise whether it's an actual white noise machine or cell phone app, or it's the sound of a fan. 

[7. Temperature ]
The ideal temperature for sleep is anywhere from 68-72 according to most books I've read.  If you are one of those people that wakes up sweating in the middle of the night, you may need to turn your thermostat down.   Try sleeping with a fan on yourself and if you don't have central air, consider putting a window unit in your bedroom.

[8.  Diet]
We know that what you eat before bed can affect sleep but did you know that your entire diet can also have a major impact? If you have a lot of sugar and caffeine in your diet it can actually throw you all out of whack and you will never feel like you can relax enough for sleep.

[9. Pets]
If you're a deep sleeper like me, you're lucky because most people can't sleep with pets in their bed.  If that's the case make sure your pooch or kitty has their own bed.  And when you get a new pet, force them to sleep on their own in the beginning because if you let them in at first, they will always expect to sleep with you.

[10. Pillowtalk]
I shake my head all the time when I see people's sleeping positions and their pillows.  First of all always invest in a good pillow.  I don't care how much it costs, it's crucial and will always be a worthy investment.  If you sleep on your side you need a more supportive pillow to keep your spine aligned.  If you sleep on your back you may need a flatter pillow.  Figure out what works best for you.  If you can't get comfortable you won't be able to drift off to dreamland, duh!

Have you ever struggled with sleep?
 

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Summer Safety for Dogs

Monday, July 25, 2016

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Summer is a great season but it can also be a dangerous one.  There are plenty of dangers that we may not even think of regularly when it comes to our dogs. So I put together a few tips and reminders to keep you and your dog happy and safe this Summer!


1. Water
Water should ALWAYS be accessible to your dog when he or she is outside. Dehydration is a serious thing and however hot it feels to you outside, it's even hotter for your dog.  Just think of all that fur! 


2. Car Safety
Anytime you travel in the car you should always have your dog container whether it's in a car seat, car harness, or the backseat with a divider that prevents your dog from coming into the front.  Not only can your dog be a distraction, but he could even cause a traffic accident.  Also, never leave your dog in the car unless you have the A/C running. 



3. Treats for Distractions
Fireworks scare Stella and Rocky.  I know many of us have dogs that get startled by firework celebrations so make sure you have a good distraction to help keep your doggy calm.  Chewy has these great True Chews which are not only made in the USA and delicious but they are a great way to keep a dog focused on THEM and not the sounds outside.  They are made with real meat and have no corn, wheat, or soy.


4. Collar/Leash
Never let your pet outside without a collar or leash.  Even if you have an electric fence, things can happen and if your dog escapes, you want to make sure he can be easily identified and returned to you so be sure his collar has an updated contact number on the ID tag!  Also, always keep your dog securely on a leash when outside.  Not only to keep him safe from cars, but also to keep him under control when other people or dogs are around.


5. Garden and Plants
Backyards are full of all sorts of plants and edibles.  If you have a veggie garden or a flower garden, make sure your dog is not able to get into it.  Some flowers and foods can be poisonous to pets.  Also, be mindful of mushrooms as some can be poisonous to pets.  If your dog ingests ANYTHING you are unsure of, call your vet immediately!






6. Bugs
Another reason to despise bugs.... they can sting and bite your dog! Always keep an eye on your dog when he's outside and if you see him checking anything out, make sure you know what it is.  Bees can sting, spiders can bite, and you never know what could go wrong. 


What tips do you have for summer safety?










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Advice: What You Should Be Talking To Your Parents About (Before It's Too Late)

Friday, July 22, 2016




Life passes us by, and we are so busy with work and our personal life that we don’t often have time to think about the future. However, life goes quick, and as our parent’s age, it’s important to talk to them now, so that you can prepare for the future. Here is what you should be talking to your parents about before it’s too late.

Family, Mother, Daughter, Women, Female, Woman, Girl


How to best raise your kids

One thing you should be asking your parents about is how to best raise children. Of course, we all have our own personal way of handling situations with our kids. But ultimately, the best people to give you advice about children is your parents. Even if you don’t have kids now, it’s important to talk to them about raising children so you can know for the future. As we discussed previously, talk to them about the rules and discipline they used on you and your siblings. Ask them if they worked and whether they would do anything differently now. Talk to them about how old they were when they had you and your siblings, and whether they would advise you on having them early or waiting till later in life.

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Their plans for the future

Another thing you should be talking to your parents about before it’s too late is what their plans are for the future. You need to talk to them about what they would want to happen when they get older. Some people are against residential care and would rather have home care such as elderly companion care when they require extra help. Make sure you also have the dreaded chat about funerals, so that you can fulfil their wishes when the time does come.

What were they doing at your age

You should also be talking to your parents about what they were doing at your age. You need to know how their lives were going, and what advice they would give to you at your age. If you are going through a hard time, it can often give you optimization that things will get better around the corner.

Thanking them for everything they have done

Another thing you should be talking to your parents about before it’s too late is thanking them for everything they have done for you. You don’t want something to happen to them or you, and then you regret not thanking them for everything they have done over the years. As this feature explains, just saying thank you for small things will not go unnoticed, so make sure you are grateful for their help.

You should ask about their will  

You should also be talking to your parents about their will before it’s too late. You need to know who their will is with, and who their Power of Attorney is. If you are the power of attorney, you will be able to make quick decisions about their home and finances. Make sure they have made a will, otherwise, it can cause all sorts of trouble when it comes to sorting everything out in the future.

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These all may be hard conversations, but it’s better to speak about it now while you are all well and healthy.


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Summer Beauty with #LorealMakeup from #Influenster #contest

Thursday, July 21, 2016

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.






Wearing makeup in this sticky, humid, messy weather can be a real pain but I've finally found what works perfect for me!


I got my L'Oreal VoxBox from Influenster for free to test out the products inside and wow I'm impressed! 





So L'Oreal's Voluminous Lash Primer is unreal!! I will never wear mascara without it now.  It goes on so smooth and it really helps  get my lashes ready for the mascara.  It dries quickly and doesn't leave any hunks behind.   The Voluminous Mascara really makes my eyes pop.   And of course the Infallible Liner is amazing and it's so necessary for me to wear because it brings my whole look alive. I also never thought my brows would look this good until I began using the Brow Stylist Kit. 


Have you guys ever used L'Oreal makeup? Did you love it as much as I did?










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15 Awkward Moments that Happen to EVERYONE [Admit It]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016





I'm a firm believer in the statement of life being way too short to take it all seriously.  That being said, sometimes there's stuff that happens that can be so embarrassing you want to cry or scream or maybe even both.  So to help make light of all those embarrassing moments,, I present to you....15 awkward moments that happen to everybody at some point in their life. 

[1] Rolling Your Ankle or Almost Doing It
You're walking down the hall at work in your everyday heels, or maybe you're even walking down the street in your favorite wedges and all of a sudden it happens... that damn awkward roll where you nearly go crashing to the ground as your ankle gives out under you.  Maybe that's not even what actually happens but that's what it seems like happens so we'll just stick with that.  I don't know about you but my first instinct is to just keep looking forward and walking like it didn't happen. And for the next 10 seconds I pray that no one was behind me.  And it's just as bad when you ALMOST do it and catch yourself just in time but still have a mini-heart attack. 

[2] Saying Hi to Someone that Doesn't Reciprocate
Okay, so you're in a hallway or on a sidewalk coming straight towards someone else, and even though you don't know them you know it's common courtesy to say hello.  So there you go... "Hi".  And NOTHING.   In fact, they even stare right past you. Whatever, right? Nah, for the next minute you sit there stewing like "WHAT THE HELL WHY AM I SO NICE!??!?  AM I UNLIKED AROUND HERE??" 

[3] Waving at Someone That's NOT Waving at You
You're sitting in the food court at the mall, and you look over and see someone waving at you.  They keep waving at you. You squint but don't recognize them.  Then you squint again and confirm that they are indeed looking right at you.   So you wave back.   Then you suddenly look behind you and see someone standing and waving back at them.  You realize they weren't waving at you. So what do you do?  UGH!

[4] Farting When You THINK You're Alone
Maybe you're on a walk, and you don't notice the guy on his porch, or you're in a store where you swear no one is in the next aisle. Maybe you even let one squeeze out at your desk.  "PFFFT"
And then of course you notice someone nearby and you race to get away, praying they don't realize it's you.   And if it smells as someone walks towards you, good luck with that one buddy. 


[5] Farting When You KNOW You're Not Alone
It seems to always happen at work, you get up from your desk to go pee, not realizing how gassy you are until you sit down and a surprise fart comes out.  Of course it's right after Joann from the cube next to yours is washing her hands and says hi to you as you go in. "Damnit now she KNOWS that was me". Even though everyone farts, we still seem to struggle with not feeling embarrassed about it. 

[6] Choke Coughing/Talking
I don't even know what the scientific name is for this but I'm sure there is one.... you'll be talking to someone and mid conversation you suddenly cough/hiccup/choke on a combination of spit and air.   You try to keep going but you feel soooo red in your face. What the HELL WAS THAT?!?!?! 

[7] The Nighttime Body Jerk
Nothing is worse than the body jerk that happens seemingly every night as you drift off to sleep.   Sometimes you have a weird dream as you are falling asleep that you are running and then trip, and then there goes the jerk.  I don't care who you are, you gotta admit it you always get a shot to the heart of anxiety and embarrassment before you realize "who gives a shit what my partner thinks, I'm tired, goodnight!"

[8] The Accidental Text
Okay, even if it was when you were a teenager, you gotta admit that this has happened to you. Either it's some juicy gossip you text to the wrong person...like the person the gossip is about... or you accidentally text your crush a racy compliment that you meant to say ABOUT HIM not TO HIM!!!!   Who cares about how you recovered...it still frickin sucks!

[9] Choking On Your Food
Choking on your food for the split second when you think you may die, and then realizing, you can easily swallow the spaghetti noodle is like that mini freakout in your head that no one else even notices but you feel traumatized about.   It's the sole reason I avoid eating mozzarella sticks in public.

[10] Holding Your Poop
Don't act like you haven't! I don't care if it was after a one night stand at a guys house where you're trying to pee without pooping because you know he'll hear, or if it's at a party where you know there's a line outside.  It's the worst. How can anyone live like that? How can you even be comfortable that way. You can't even sit right in your seat! Then you start thinking of legit excuses. " Umm I have to go buy cigarettes from the store even though I don't smoke..." or "Oh I forgot to let my dog out".   Just so you can go home and sh*t! 

[11] The Office Coughing Fit
Why are we so embarrassed to have coughing fits at work? Is it because we hate everyone asking if we are okay? Or because they assume we are contagious?  You know what I'm talking about too.  You rush to the hallway or the bathroom and unleash your coughing fit but on the way down you were nearly holding your breathe before you burst into coughs.  Then you consider going home early just so you can frickin cough!

[12] The Awkward Selfie
Okay, who cares... a selfie near the lead singer of the concert you're at is totally cool...so why the hell do you feel so awkward when you are taking it.  It's like you know everyone's judging you as they watch. Even if they just took one themselves.  For some reason, selfies in a public place will always make us feel awkward, even if just for a second. 

[13] The Dreadful Decline
Whether you have a legit excuse or not, nothing is worse than "I'm sorry it's saying your card is declined."   I always enjoy the excuses we give.  Oh, whoops, wrong card.... or maybe Oh whoops, I forgot to transfer money to that account (yeah, okay), either way the embarrassment is almost enough to make you about face and run out of the store without your impulse buy.

[14] Holding Up the Line
Okay, so you're at the grocery store and it's packed and you're up and they're scanning your goods and then it happens....one of your items has no sticker. They ask if you remember the price.  Of course your mind races as you think of prices but secretly assume they are judging you and thinking you're lying to try and beat the system.  Someone has to go and look at the price so you stand there waiting.... or maybe you need stamps or the register won't read a coupon right and you're waiting for the manager on duty to get to the cashier calling for help. You feel hot and burny.  You refuse to turn around because you just KNOW everyone's glaring at you.  It's like THE worst anxiety in the world. Just get me outta here!!!!!!!!!

[15]Eating Sushi on A First Date
Why are we so paranoid of how we chew when we sit across from the opposite sex on a first date?  I guess really it's just sushi being so big that it's like okay, is it acceptable for me to just shove this piece in my mouth? I mean you don't take bites of sushi right? RIGHT?! Maybe I've been doing it all wrong this whole time! 

So come on.... can't you admit that you have experienced at least like 5 of these? 




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Be Free To Be You with A DIY Feminine Hygiene Emergency Kit


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


Ah, summer.... a season where we are always on the go and enjoy random getaways with our loved ones.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to take random long weekends and head to a lake, beach, or nature trail so I can spend some time outside and forget all the responsiblities I have in life. Even though these trips may seem random, I am a planner at heart so I always pack everything I know I could need.  Now, when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING.  I think of everything that could happen like suddenly needing a band-aid for a cut or dental floss after a big meal. 

You can never be too prepared for life's surprises and today I'm going to show you how to make an emergency kit for something that we can pretty much all relate to. 

Being a woman is so lovely because it comes with a variety of surprises that can happen at any moment.  Say you are sitting by the lake with your girlfriends and you are cracking up at each other's jokes and trips down memory lane.  Suddenly you laugh too hard and you pee yourself a little bit. Yeah, joke's on you now! 

 Or maybe you're on a camping trip just minding your own business when your period decides to come to town and join you.   So much for needing an invitation I guess. 

Yep, these sure make for fun times don't they? Well, I have great news!  I no longer let these moments control my life.  Instead, I take control of them because like I said earlier, I am ALWAYS prepared.  I never leave home without Carefree® liners from Target and you shouldn't either, because they let you be free to be you. 

So without further ado - follow along to make your own Feminine Hygiene Emergency Kit.

I keep my kit in a little pouch.  You can use whatever you can find, even a plastic baggie if it fits all your items. 

Inside my emergency kit you will find:


Wipes
Because sometimes you just need to freshen up, wipes are a must have in any emergency kit.  You never know where you will be when something surprises you and you can't count on being able to find wipes at a camp site, pool, or hiking trail restroom so make sure you bring your own!


Plastic Baggie
I mean you need somewhere to keep any soiled garments you may have, right?



Fresh Undies
The last thing you want is to not have a fresh clean pair waiting for you so I always keep a pair folded up in my emergency kit! Trust me, you'll be glad you did!



Carefree® Acti-fresh® Thin
They may be thin but they are very absorbent and do a great job of keeping you fresh, confident, and comfortable so you can go on enjoying your day.  They even have an 8-hour odor control system which definitely gives an extra boost of confidence for me to focus on making memories instead of being self-conscious.  These definitely stay in place but are still able to move with you so if you're in for an active weekend, have no fear!



Carefree®Thong
Sometimes, you just need something small with a great adhesive that allows you to wear what you want and not have to change your outfit based on your feminine needs.  That's why I love the Carefree® Thong liner.  It has stay-put wings that keep it in place and is designed specifically for your skimpiest, sexiest undies.  The cover allows up to 2x more air flow vs. Carefree® Original so you have plenty of breathing room, so to speak.  It has an end-to-end adhesive which prevents bunching and allows you to move however you want.  Dancing the night away? Please continue....


You can find these Carefree® items in the personal care aisle at Target.  While you're there you can pick up everything else you may need for your kit! And be sure to check out the Cartwheel offer for 10% off Carefree® Liners from June 27th through August 7th!




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Garden Progress | I Made All Deez!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



I have to take a moment to brag because I have created so much life.  Well I mean not really. Technically nature did it but hey I am quite proud I didn't destroy it! Here's my garden's progress from last week!

We have strawberries! Some little critter has tried to eat them before so hopefully he is kept out by the chicken wire!


My bell peppers seem to be doing well except two of them keep getting rotted on the bottoms of the fruit so I had to add some calcium to their pots.



Check out my tomatoes! The plant is huge! 


So this is our only Banana Pepper so far but James said it was delicious. There are some other ones starting on the plant so I can't wait to see how they do!




Okay so my cucumber plant is outta control! And I love it!!!   So many cukes!




How is your vegetable garden coming along?


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So You're Broke + Bored This Summer....Now What?

Monday, July 18, 2016





Ah, the struggle.... it's summer, the weather is warm, the world is out playing and grilling, and you are sitting there wondering what the hell you can do with the $15 you have left till payday.  I know it all too well.

Listen, I may be the queen of handling money but that doesn't mean I'm loaded. I definitely can give great advice on money and I follow a strict budget, but that being said, I don't have endless amounts to throw around for leisurely things.  

So that leaves the option of being bored. Being bored sucks.  It can lead to feelings of depression and even the urge to go out and spend money you don't have (CREDIT CARDS! AHH!) so I figured I'd share with you a few ways I still enjoy Summer without spending any money. 

[READ]
Yes, it sounds lame and boring but it's not.  First of all, there's this amazing thing called the public library which I got a card for since it's been oh, what, 20 years or so since I last ventured there and I can get books for FREE.   No monthly costs, no purchasing... free free free.  Books are so great because you can sit outside and enjoy the weather while reading.  You can even enjoy an adult beverage while reading.  And they have some of the newest books too so don't think you're stuck with boring ancient things.   

[WALK]
So whether you want to walk around your own neighborhood or you want to check out a nature trail...do it!  It not only keeps you active but it takes up time and it's a very fulfilling to do when you set off on excursions.   You may also find (like I have) there are neighbors that want to join in on your daily or weekly walks.    

[BACKYARD BBQ]
If you have a house then you're in luck because you likely have a yard and a grill for entertaining.  Now, this isn't totally free because you'll probably have to get some chicken or burgers on your next grocery trip, but the rest of the food and the fun can be free. Invite a few of your closest friends and neighbors over and tell them to bring their own booze, chairs, and a covered dish.  VOILA! All you have to do the day of is clean, and make sure you're ready to grill some burgers.  

[CONTAINER GARDENING]
For the small initial price of a few bucks or even free from your friends or neighbors, you can start your own container garden.  It not only provides you with food but it's something to do as you tend to your garden and prune, water, and harvest your veggies.   If you don't have any old pots sitting around, you can always grab some at yard sales or improvise and use old buckets. Just drill a hole in the bottom for drainage.  Seriously, you can use pretty much anything shaped like a pot or bucket as a container for a garden. 

So while these may not be super exciting ideas for your Saturday night, it's a great way to fill the daytime void of wanting something to do during the summer!




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