Ask Away Blog: March 2017

Outfit of the Day: Chihuahua Heads!

Friday, March 31, 2017






This was a very simple and casual outfit where I got to wear my favorite chihuahua leggings with a Large pink Irma.   I love the Irma because I love long tunic tops and if I want to switch it up I can always put a knot in the bottom of the Irma too!





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10 Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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 I dont' know about you but my mom has always been a huge role model for me and over the years I realize how much she actually did for me throughout my entire life.  From changing diapers and losing sleep to answering my calls with homeowner questions and how to plant seeds in my garden, my mom has always been there for me.  While I know she appreciates something as simple as lunch and flowers, I like to give her gifts that are not only practical but very unique.


So for those of you that struggle to figure out what to get your mother every year, look no further than this unique gift guide I've put together with items from UncommonGoods, one of my favorite places to get beautiful and unique items and especially gifts for women.  I can always count on UncommonGoods for unique gift ideas year round.  



 I really love UncommonGoods because they are an independently-owned business and they are able to support causes near and dear to their heart.  With every purchase made, they donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice! In fact, since they started the Better to Give program 12 years ago, they have donated over $1Million to charities all over the world.   One of my favorites is the American Forests non0profit which protects and restores forests worldwide and helps preserve the health of the planet for us and future generations. 



The below list is great for a wide variety of moms whether your mom loves gifts of jewelry or gifts for the home. 


1. Literary Candles

If your mom has always been a fan of literary classics, why not give her the gift of soy candles that include the theme of some of the most notable novels. There are four amazing fragrances to choose from and they are all custom blended and hand-poured in New York.



2. Flavor Infused Water Bottle
For the mom that enjoys fruit and makes it a point to stay hydrated give her the gift of a flavor-infused water bottle taht she can fill with her favorite fruits and flavors.  Plus the glass bottle is environmentally friendly since it's reusable!







3. Birth Month Flower Necklace
What mom doesn't wear jewelry? Each necklace contains the birth flower for that month.  Each one is dried, pressed, and captured in a resin pendent.  The flowers are sourced from around the world.  Each and every flower is unique and beautiful!   This will definitely make her smile everytime she looks at it.




4. Dawn Redwood Bonsai Forest
It's a well known fact that moms worry about us no matter how old we get.  So help her relax with a Bonsai forest that she can keep anywhere in her home. It will act as a reminder to slow down and take a deep breath.  These small trees are ancestors of the giant California redwoods. I mean how cool is that?! 




5. Wine Soaps
Every mom loves soap and obviously wine.  So why not mix the two together with these unique wine soaps? These are all natural vegan and gluten-free soaps full of delicious fragrances of wine and oils.  Sometimes the only place moms can find peace is in the bathroom so let her stay in there and enjoy these soaps.




6. Upcycled Cotton Safari Robe
A robe is such a comforting thing that reminds you to stay cozy as soon as you wake up or as soon as you step out of the shower.  This would make a gorgeous gift for the mom that loves upcycled clothing. These squares of beautiful material have unique patterns and colors and are patched together by artisans in a village in India!




7. Ballerina Herbal Warming Slippers
Why do moms always have cold feet? I never understood that.  Regardless, your mom will love these cozy comfy slippers.  They not only will make her feet feel good but she can cool them down in the fridge in the summer and the put them on during the worst of heat waves.








8. Floral Wood Watch
Wood watches are all the rage these days but the floral wood watch takes the cake. It's created from driftwood and felled treats and the beautiful floral designs make it even more beautiful and unique. 




9. Artisanal Bamboo Salt Chest
For the moms that enjoy cooking you can't go wrong with a beautiful gourmet salt collection in this beautiful display box.  There are 24 salts from all around the world! This is the gift that keeps on giving for many meals to come.






10. Bamboo Pastel Nesting Bowls
And for the bakers out there, these pastel nesting bowls will brighten her day and make mixing ingredients even more fun. They are made from sustainable bamboo fiber and are very strong but lightweight.  A great edition to any mom's cabinets.





Make sure you let UncommonGoods be your go to source for your Mother's Day needs.







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Outfit of the Day: Beautiful Blue Roses

Wednesday, March 29, 2017






This is by far one of the best outfits I've ever put together and I'm just so obsessed with everything from how it fits to the color and design!


It's a gorgeous Medium LuLaRoe Carly knotted on the side over black leggings, with black booties, and a Medium Sarah Cardigan!  I am sooooo obsessed!






I've noticed I'm attracted to floral prints like this lately so I'm gonna embrace it because I think they do look good on me.





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Scenes from My Productive Weekend

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


 
Did you ever have one of those weekends where you felt so productive and everything went your way? Well I did!! Saturday morning I woke up at 6 like usual.   I decided to get back on track with my fitness so I worked out and then since it was so warm out I did a few things that I wanted to get off my seasonal to do list. 


 I rearranged the screened in porch back to it's normal set up.  For the winter we always move all the furniture into one big cluster so it's away from the windows and can't get snow on it when the snow blows through the screens.  Everything is back to normal and I even vacuumed.  So many damn dead bugs!
 I took my egg cartons and bag of dirt outside and planted seeds for in the greenhouse.  Bottom shelf is Caesar lettuce and kale and top shelf has eggplants, tomato, peppers, and zucchini. 
 Took a break from outside and began rearranging my closet.  Now that I found so many clothes that I love from LuLaRoe I needed more room.  So I keep my skirts in a drawer now instead of hanging, and I put the jeans and pants from my drawer onto the one closet shelf.  Also purged some shoes and stuff! Woohoo! 



These shoes may not be practical but I'm still keeping them because they bring me joy! 
 


And finally I planted some peas in the garden beds and cleaned them up a bit to get some of the leaves out.
And Saturday night was our monthly date night.  This time we went to Ciro's Italian Restaurant in Lancaster!





It was actually in this cute little area that is basically a neighborhood of town homes but has it's own strip of businesses and restaurants. James really wanted to try their gluten free pasta. 

 So this drink was called a Pina Gelato! It was so freakin' good.  This place is all about gelato!

 Don't go all crazy on me but I ordered Veal Saltimbocca for dinner. Seriously it was so good I haven't eaten anything that delicious in quite a while.  James got gluten free penne and couldn't even tell the difference which is what we were hoping for. Half the time gluten free pastas taste nothing like pasta so we were very impressed.  We loved Ciro's.  The inside was beautiful and everyone was so friendly.





Oh and here's my outfit!   I will have a full outfit post with more shots in the next couple of weeks!



What did you do this past weekend?





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Books I Recommend You Read [March]

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Another month, another selection of great books I read!


Everything you want me to be
This is an amazing book that's full of lust (teacher-student affair), love, deceit, and a murder that unravels itself throughout the entire book. What an amazing read. When I closed this book I wanted to scream and cry and smile and laugh.




Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
I'm a huge Lisa Gardner fan.   This is a fast paced, crime novel that involves some foster families, a murder case, and a problem WAY bigger than anyone could think it really is.  I love trying to solve the case in real-time!


Creep by Jennifer Hillier

This is a fast paced thriller that's a psychological mix of stress from the problems an affair brings, and the fear of what happens when you mess with a psychopath! Loved this book!


Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I loved this book! It reminded me of the movie Safe Haven. A woman escapes an abusive husband and her and her daughter go on to live a better life until the ex gets out of prison and they believe he's after them again. This book has crazy twists too!



Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican 

Private school full of bullying, scandal, etc. And how it all gets uncovered. This is like gossip girl times 1000 




Lover by Anna Raverat
THis book is a very true to life story of a woman who struggles with her marriage, her children, and her career.  She endures the pain and heartbreak and learns to give herself what she really wants. 





Roanoake Girls
This was a beautiful and tragic story about a family full of incestuous drama and pain.   It was a very emotional read but I felt lost once it ended.  Beautifully written.




So what books have you read lately?   












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Outfit of the Day: Yellow Pop






If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a sucker for peacock feathers.  The leggings I'm wearing have dark green peacock feathers with a spot of yellow on them.  To make the yellow pop I wore a yellow Perfect Tee from LuLaRoe.   











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6 Tips to Power Down Your Body & Mind for the Evening

Monday, March 27, 2017

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


I'm such an adult these days.  Seriously, I do all kinds of things that I never thought I'd do.  I enjoy staying home on weekends instead of going out, I drink tea and ENJOY it, and I go to bed by 10 pm as often as possible.  Sleep is so crucial in our lives and the main reason we don't get enough of it is because we either can't fall asleep at night, or we just don't make it a priority and we claim we are so busy and just can't settle down.   It's so important to take time to relax and prepare for bedtime and it's sad that most of us don't make it a priority.   So today I'm going to give you a few tips on how I power my body and mind down for the evening so you can relax, rest, and get a good night's sleep.

||Stay Active During the Day||
Have you ever sat on the couch all day and then you literally feel like you're going stir crazy and can't even fathom the thought of going to bed.  Where did all the pent up energy come from? Well for me, that's what it's like when I don't stay active enough during the day.  I need to get my energy out before the evening.  During the work day I take 2 walk breaks with some coworkers where we go out and walk around the building.   I make sure that if I don't get to do those things during the day, I take a walk after dinner with Rocky or do some yard work.  It's important to stay active because it helps your body and mind deal with your energy.  Sometimes I'm so active getting things done around the house after work that it's easy for me to get tired by bedtime.

||No Food After 8PM||
Since I go to bed around 10, I like to go 2 hours before bed with no food.   Late night snacking has always been a bad habit of mine because I would get bored while watching TV and ended up eating every night.  Eating and watching TV started to go hand in hand and I couldn't do one without the other.   One of the things I did to break that habit is that at 8PM on the dot, I make tea and sip on that until bedtime. 
no eating after 8 pm.  I'll explain more about my tea habit later on in this post.

||No Phone or Computer||
People always say that the bright light from electronic devices can stimulate you and make it harder for you to settle down and fall asleep.  I found that to be so true for myself so I made a simple rule for myself.  My laptop gets plugged in to charge in the office, and my phone gets charged next to my bed.  That way when I'm in the living room I'm not getting distracted by things online and I'm not staring at a bright light right in front of my face.

||No Bedroom Until Sleepytime||
Some people lay in their bed all evening before falling asleep.  I can't do that.  The only time I go into the bedroom and lay in bed is when I'm ready to fall asleep.  That way I associate my bed with sleep.   When I lived at home with my parents I was always in my bedroom and my bed was basically where I ate, where I blogged, and where I relaxed.  It was so hard to all of a sudden change into sleep mode at an appropriate time.  So I stay in the living room and relax on the couch and when I start to feel sleepy (always around the same time), I go right in, lay down, and I'm asleep within a few minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

||Bedtime Routine||
So some people wait until right before they go to bed to brush their teeth and put their PJs on.   For me, doing those things tells me I'm entering the 1 hour time period before bed where I need to start settling down and prepare to fall asleep.   So at 9PM every night I get my pajamas on (if I'm not already wearing them), take off my makeup, wash my face, and brush my teeth.  There's something about this whole routine that puts my brain into sleep mode.  I stop worrying about things I have to do the next day, I start focusing on letting my body feel tired, and I just simply enjoy the quiet time I have before bed. 

||Sipping Bigelow Benefits Tea||
Like I said before, I actually love drinking tea everyday now.  I've actually made drinking tea part of my routine in the evening.   Sipping tea has replaced my habit of late night snacking when I'm bored which is much better for me since I'm trying to NOT eat after 8pm.  So what I do is sip Bigelow Benefits Sleep Chamomile and Lavender Herbal Tea.  It's got such a great floral flavor and really helps me feel relaxed so I can settle down for the night and get ready for bed.

Bigelow Benefits is a new line of tea designed to support everyday wellness.   It's so important to put good things in our bodies and when Bigelow created the Benefits line they wanted to help us define the life we want to live by incorporating this tea in our everyday routine.  Not only does it taste amazing but it helps support your well-being. 

I'm trying to live a clean and healthy lifestyle and the Bigelow Benefits line is designed to support that, with seven new teas that contain all-natural herbs.  Bigelow has been around for over 70 years and the fact that they are gluten free, contain no GMOs, and are blended and produced in the USA makes it a favorite of mine.  They have 6 herbal teas and 1 green tea and incorporating these teas in your daily routine like I did, can really help promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle.   If you're one of those people (like myself) that tries to do little things to maintain and healthy and active lifestyle, this is a perfect addition to your routine.  I now eat more veggies and whole, fresh foods and make my sleep a priority so Bigelow Benefits teas fit right into my lifestyle. 

You can find Bigelow Benefits teas in the tea aisle at Giant. 

Which one of these tips do you think will help you the most when it comes to establishing a sleep-friendly evening routine?














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My Movie Night + Snack Buffet




Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #YourTaxCash #CollectiveBias



My taxes are done and I'm living it up with the rewards from my refund!   Using my tax refund I purchased the Samsung Galaxy On5 (just $69 on rollback!) and the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan.  The Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan = Unlimited* Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10 GB of 4G LTE then 2G plus a free VUDU movie credit every month (which is a $7 value- same cost as a new release rental) per line for just $49.88.    (*Includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE† data then 2G)



Since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay $19.88 for the SIM Kit when you sign up.  There's no activiation fee with the SIM Kit.  You can find this phone and this plan at Walmart in the electronics and cell phone aisle.  

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/7e-jr or your local Walmart for current pricing.



That's such a great deal that I had plenty of money left over from my tax refund! I was actually able to put some money aside in my "fun" account which I can use for snacks and treats for movie nights!





The 10GB of 4G LTE data is so helpful to me as someone who is always on their phone and using social media.  I am able to surf the web whenever I want without stressing out about how much data I'm using.   I love being able to get on social media and talk about what I'm up to especially when it comes to movie nights.  My friends always enjoy weighing in on the movies I choose to watch.  Plus, as a blogger it makes it easier for me to stay in touch with my readers at all times!  I can take photos, post them, share blog posts, check out what my other friends and bloggers are up to, and the thought of using too much data will never cross my mind! 

Of course one of the best benefits of all is how easy it is to enjoy movies with the free monthly movie credit!  The Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan and the free VUDU movie credit each month really make sense for someone like me.  I always say that you schedule some relaxing down time every month (or more often) so the free movie credit gives me a great reason to have a movie night in with James and the dogs! All I need is some candy, my SmartTV, my phone ( so I can share my thoughts on the movie as I watch), and a comfy place to watch.


I personally love being able to sprawl out so spreading comforters, blankets, and pillows on the floor allows me to do that. 

Of course a huge added bonus to movie nights in my home is the candy and snack buffet I put together.  With all the money I've saved, it's not hard for me to splurge on treats for my movie nights!

I love a variety of snacks to choose from so I can go through just like any other buffet and pick out a little bit of everything.  I personally like to combine everything in a bowl to munch from as I watch movies.   Since the buffet is in the same room as me, I can refill my bowl as many times as I want while I watch!


Taking time for myself to have little movie nights like this makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  It's a great way to clear my head and escape into another world for a couple of hours!








How can you reap the benefits from switching to the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan? Will you enjoy a movie night like I did?  Will you enjoy not having to closely monitor and stress out about your data usage?

 
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