June Book Review

We vacationed this month so be prepared for a month of GOOD vacation reads! I felt like I was all over the place last month, but this month you will see somewhat of a trend. So if you are hitting the beach soon or if you want to pretend you are on vacation, this list is perfect for you!


beach reads - recommendations

The Hypnotist's Love Story - Liane Moriarty 


This one was a good one. It touched on so many different points about life and it got me super interested in Hypnotists! What a thrilling profession! I thought the ending was perfect and not really what I expected. Moriarty's stories are so out there and nothing what you expect, which adds depth to a genre that is somethings repetitive. Definitely a good beach read. I finished mine within 24 hours of starting thanks to a 11 hour drive home from the beach! 

Who Do You Love - Jennifer Weiner 

Ok, so this one was a page turner. It is not a deep story, not many life lessons hidden in the pages, but it is about love and the idea of love outlasting. Hard to believe but just the thing that us book lovers like to dive into and imagine happening. I highly recommend it as a quick, summer read! 


This book was on a huge wait list for my library, like over 30 people long. So, naturally I was exited when I got the email that it was available. While it was extremely interesting, I wouldn't say it was a page turner. I loved the history in it and the character development was exciting and new at times, but it was not a quick read for me. There were many nights of me falling asleep while reading it. I would recommend to someone who is interested in exploration or if you need a break from the romance of the summer.

The One and Only - Emily Giffin 

It pains me to say but this one was not good. Giffin likes to write about love stories we love to hate. Remember the one about the best friend falling in love with the fiance and them running off together, ya it became a movie and we all loved it because honestly we could see it happening. This one was way too left field and borderline gross. I won't ruin too much in case you want to try it out, but picture your best friend in the whole world, and then picture her mother dying and you falling in love with her Dad, who was a father figure throughout your life. Ya, not my cup of tea. I like Giffin's novels and they are usually easy and fun reads, but this one was a miss for me. 

Little Earthquakes - Jennifer Weiner 

This book was a fun book about relationships you make after you become a mother. It hit home on many levels and I think it was a true telling of how friendships change when you become a mother. Becoming a mother is not all daisies and buttercups, and this book did a great job at outlining that. I love that Weiner wrote this book during her daughter's first year of life and while she was learning to become a mother. It adds a realness to the story. Definitely a great book for all you moms out there. 

The Rumor: A Novel - Elin Hilderbrand 

This was the first book I have read by Hilderbrand and I was not disappointed. A great book about friendship, marriage and life in a small resort town. Rumors fly around two friends and their husbands and throughout the book you relate to the decisions they make and can feel for them during the betrayal. I think if you are from a small town, or went to a small college you will enjoy this book because everything is everyone else's business in those settings. Definitely a beach read and it is definitely one that you will finish quickly. 

Don't forget to follow me on goodreads to see all of the books I am reading, want to read and so you can recommend books for me!

Festive July 4th DIY Centerpieces!

 Can you believe it is almost time to celebrate our nation's birthday? I can not believe the month of June is almost over and we are getting ready for cookouts, fireworks and family time! I am all about quick and easy projects to transform a party. Last year I posted these easy DIY centerpieces and they were a huge hit, so I am bringing them back. Chances are you have everything you need right in your pantry for this project and if you have little hands that love projects, make sure to enlist them for some summer fun!


red,white, and blue

Ingredients:

Vinegar
White Rice
2 Small Tupperware Bins
Red Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring

Directions:
Measure 1 cup of rice, place in Tupperware.
Add 1 tbsp vinegar and about 12 drops of food coloring. 



SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE! I enlisted some very cute help!


kid approved DIY

Spread out the rice onto the cookie sheet, allow to dry. I used foil on mine so I wouldn't have to clean up blue and red cookie sheets! I also popped mine into a fridge to expedite the drying. 

Wait about 1 hour and start layering! I decided to put little candles into the mason jar, along with the rice, I think they will be perfect outside!



When you are done decorating for the season, throw them in a bin and have some sensory fun! We love to have trucks and ping pong balls in the rice, but the possibilities are endless. Things can get a bit messy so having a sheet under the bin is a must! 



I love a fun DIY! Hope you have as much fun making this as we did! 
Happy July Fourth!

DIY

Happy Diy'ing,







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Mini Shepard's Pie - The Perfect Addition to your Freezer!

Shepard’s Pie is a staple in our house. The idea of a good Shepard’s Pie is to throw whatever you have in the fridge and top with mashed potatoes. This dish reminds me of home, and I love it! I thought a fun spin on the common Shepard’s Pie would be to make them into smaller portions and be able to freeze them. While this may seem time consuming and a bit of a space waster, I assure you that it is in fact genius. Think about it…. Want a good lunch but you don’t want to heat up a huge portion of something? Grab a personal Shepard’s Pie! Family is out of town and you don’t feel like take-out? Grab a personal Shepard’s Pie!


I used small foil containers that I found at the dollar store, but I am sure you could use pretty much anything that is about that size and could be stacked in the freezer to save space. With this recipe I was able to make 7 mini casseroles.

Shepard's Pie

Ingredients:
5 medium potatoes cooked and mashed
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
2 TB butter 
2 cans of mixed vegetables
1 pound of ground turkey or ground beef
½ t paprika 
½ garlic salt 
Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
Spray the foil mini pans well, and set aside.
Cook the meat until browned, adding in the paprika and the garlic powder for flavor.
Cook your potatoes. Using a handheld mixer, mash the potatoes with the milk, butter and sour cream.
Assemble the bowls one by one.
Meat, Vegetables and topped with potatoes and cheese.


Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Broiling the casseroles for the last minute, to get the browned topping. 


Enjoy! 




Freezing Directions:
Let the bowls cool completely.
Cover with foil and place in small Ziploc bag.
Freeze for up to 3 months
Reheating:
Place in convection oven at 400° for 45-50 minutes and cook until completely cooked through. If you have let them thaw, they will not need quite as long!


Mini casseroles are going to become a favorite of mine, I just know it! Now that I am eating roughly 15 times daily, I need small snacks I can eat up and enjoy. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Happy freezing,


The Perfect Cleaning Product - My review of Norwex and a **GIVEAWAY**


Being on social media has it's benefits. Like staying in touch with friends, posting insanely cute pictures of the kids and seeing what companies are new and upcoming in the world. I had heard some good things about Norwex from a few of my friends the past few years. But, to be honest "clean" cleaning was never high on my list of things to worry about. I like to clean and sometimes I like the smell of bleach in the house! A friend from college, Megan contacted me asking me to do an honest review of some Norwex products since she had recently teamed up with the company. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out and share it with my readers! And bonus, Megan is sponsoring a giveaway at the bottom of this post, you will want to enter, trust me! 



After spending some time reading about their products on norwex.com, it was clear that I should have been caring about the cleaning solutions I was bringing into my home. According to norwex.com;
  • In the last 50 years, the global production and use of manufactured chemicals has increased substantially. 
  • More than 80,000 new chemicals have been created.
  • Indoor air pollution is one of the top five highest-ranking environmental health problems in America.
  • Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to every day have never been assessed for their impact on human health.
Norwex is changing how we think about cleaning products and how we use them. According to norwex.com, "With Norwex Microfiber System, you will not breathe, touch or ingest chemicals – you simply create a cleaner, healthier indoor environment." It also is a money saving since the average household spends between $600-$800 a year on cleaning supplies. 

norwex.com

This all makes sense to me. What really interests me was the fact that I could be completely solution free. Being military means we move often. Every time we move, we have to throw out all cleaning solutions and anything that is not allowed to be packed. Which means huge bills when we arrive at the new location, barbecue we have to go out and purchase everything again. How genius to be able to throw the Window Cloth, the Dusting Mitt and EnviroCloth in a box and go! 

Megan sent me the Household Package which includes the Window ClothEnviroCloth,  and the Dusting Mitt. I knew I would love the dusting mitt, because we live in the dustiest place ever, but I was pleasantly surprised by everything in the package. The window cloth was the perfect addition to my house. When cleaning windows I go through so many paper towels and Windex, just to clean one of my huge windows. It was so nice to be able to use just the window cloth while cleaning. It was the perfect size and when one area got dirty, I just had to fold it and use another area. Luke also loved using it, and since it is chemical free I felt completely safe with him helping me to clean. You can also use all of your old cleaning bottles as water bottles, so you are recycling too!



The EnviroCloth was my best friend in the kitchen. I am picky about my granite cleaner, but this cleaned it right up! It also gave it that nice granite shine that I love. Have I mentioned how much I hate cleaning my stainless steel appliances? Well a bit of water and the EnviroCloth and they look brand new, without having to use the smelly wipes that I had been using. The true test was my microwave. How do those things get so dirty? The EnviroCloth wiped everything right up and I swear it is like the dirt and grime get lost in the magical cloth. We even had some fun in the toy room with the Envirocloth. It is a great all over cleaning tool!

The Dusting Mitt was amazing, just like I thought it would be. I loved using it on my Hunter Douglas faux blinds. They get so dusty and the mitt was so easy to use on them. I put it on and ran my hand along all of the blinds and it took care of the dust. When the mitt gets too much dust on it, you simply knock off the dust in the trashcan and you are good to go. I used mine dry and it worked wonders, but I am sure I will have to use the wet option eventually.


I am so excited to team up with Megan and offer an amazing giveaway! She is going to give one lucky reader, the Window Cloth

Obviously, we love ours! 
In order to enter the giveaway, you must register a Norwex account through the website. I did it and it literally takes 1 minute and it is free to register. It makes ordering from Megan easy and efficient. There are also some bonus entries to give you a better chance to win, but make sure you register on the Norwex site to be entered. 




All in all I loved the products! I could see myself making the switch to 100% Norwex products eventually. I also love the two year warranty, which ensures you will be able to use and enjoy the product for a long time! Want to host a party with Megan? You can email her through your account on norwex.com! Thanks for reading and I hope you love the products as much as I do!


Happy cleaning, 









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I received these products at a discounted price in exchange for my personal review and opinions. 

Blogging the Bachelorette - Drama in Uruguay

the bachelorette

Watching The Bachelorette without a bottle of chardonnay is a damn shame, but tonight I am going into a food coma thanks to my Chinese take-out sitting next to me. Sort of the same, right? Last week left us hanging with the drama of Chadmageddon, while the boys toasted adios to Chad he was out in the woods looking for payback. They spread his protein powder, as his ashes, all while he is making his way back to the cabin. Then the knock comes...

Did this scene remind anyone of the movie, "The Others"? A hidden cabin, in the middle of nowhere, crazy people and a horrible ending. Maybe he needs closure, I get that, or maybe he wants a fight, I don't get that but he does make really good reality TV. The good news is that he is officially on Bachelor in Paradise, and that is something to look forward to. Alex is rewarded and deemed America's hero by the men in the house.

The rose ceremony starts with all of the men elated that the drama is over. Don't men know that when you get rid of the main source of drama, a new one steps up, immediately. I have said it before and I will say it again, these men are ruthless compared to The Bachelor. Robby is spotted making out with JoJo, poems are read and masculinity is questioned all night long. I know I am bias to the name Luke, but he is quickly becoming my favorite. I may have to proclaim him my winner, and clearly JoJo thinks so too...

blogging the bachelorette

Rose Ceremony:
Derek
Robby
Chase
Wells
Grant
Vinny
James Taylor
Evan
Jordan (date rose)
Alex (date rose)

Sent Home:
James F.
Daniel

JoJo announces that they are headed to South America or more specifically Punta del Este, Uruguay. Jordan gets the first 1:1 date and you could literally hear crickets. As always, whoever hasn't gotten a 1:1 was expecting their name, but like past seasons this is usually a good sign you are headed home soon. While they are swimming with seals, the boys are back at the hotel reading gossip mags about JoJo and her ex, Chad. No, not Chadmageddon but the "roses on the front porch, during hometown dates," Chad.

Back to the Jordan and JoJo (that sounds good, doesn't it)? JoJo confronts him about speaking to his ex-girlfriend who had some major problems with Jordan and his lack of being invested in their relationship. I am not sure about you, but I have very few relationships where I would speak super highly of my ex. Would I say awful things? No, but I also wouldn't remember or scream their good loyalties from the rooftop. Jordan is growing on me and yes, they are crazy touchy feely but hey it is understandable.

JoJo addresses the magazine when she gets back from the date. Lots of tears and awkward group hugs later, they all agree it doesn't matter and it's time to move on.

The group date is on the sand dunes of Uruguay, which seems like a ton of fun. Being athletic is not a pre-requisite of solving erectile dysfunction, because Evan does not have an athletic none in his body. Luke shows his supportive side about the article, James Taylor should break out in a song but he breaks out his lips to comfort JoJo, and Wells moves on the from the name Chad. Derek gets the group date rose, and Alex is out for blood since he feels like it is a pity rose. Does anyone else feel like Alex is a big baby with a hint of the Napoleon Complex? Yes, me too!

JoJo and Robby head out to explore Uruguay. And of course the scene that all seasons must have, "I'm afraid of heights, but I will do it because I trust you and you are there for me..." So cliche and so annoying. If you are afraid of heights, for real, it doesn't matter if Liam Hemsworth is holding your hand, you won't jump off a cliff. 

Back at the house, the mean girls clique is out to get Derek to admit he didn't deserve the rose. For some odd reason, I like Derek and I am totally siding with him on this. Hail the underdog! Robby drops the "L" word and JoJo does not reciprocate, thank God we won't have another season of the word love flying all over the place. 

TWO ROSE CEREMONIES in one episode, this is wild! Derek tries to clear the air with the clique, but in true mean girls fashion they shoot him down and let him know that he is being emotional. JoJo decides to forgo the cocktail party and do the rose ceremony, Chris also drops the bomb that 3 of the men will be going home (thanks to the NBA, geesh)!

Second Rose Ceremony:
Luke
Jason
Alex
James T. 
Wells
Robby
Jordan
Derek

Going Home:
Evan
Grant
Vinny

What a classy group of guys that were sent home, all of them were upset and not rude at all. I am going to take the plunge and go ahead and name my top two, Jordan and Luke! We will see if I am right, but for now let's keep watching the drama and the man fights unfold. 

Happy watching, 





The Summer Staycation Guide

Being military, we have lived in resort towns and we have lived in places that summer is the off season. So, I feel like we have run the gamant on staycations. Depending on where you live, the staycation season may be summer or winter, but regardless there is most definitely a season that is around where resorts and hotels offer discounts. 

We now reside in southern Arizona, which means our summers are HOT. Like so hot that we are breaking records over here, 119 anyone? Most vacationers would rather be by a body of water when it is that hot, and water we do not have. We are also known for our hiking and unless you love hiking in the middle of the night, when the temps cool down, chances are you won't visit in the summer. So, resorts and hotels deeply discount their prices, in hopes that locals take advantage of the cheaper prices and summer packages. We are HUGE fans of staycations, so I thought I would share with you some of our my tips and tricks to finding the best deals.




1. Military Rates - If you are military, chances are that there are some great prices out there for you. Make sure to call the hotels and ask for the government rate, or for military discounts. Maybe it's a free round of golf or maybe it is a deep discount on a room. Desert Diamond, is a local casino that offers military members (and veterans) 2 free nights at their hotel, each month! It is always worth a call. 

2. Stay mid week - Yes, this is hard for the working folk. When we stay mid-week sometimes Ryan takes off work and sometimes he just joins us after work for the fun. Regardless, it is always a good time and the rates and availability will no doubt be lower. 

3. Search AirBNB - Houses that use this service are usually giving away their places during the off season. They want to make some money and not let the rental sit empty. We love taking advantage of the Phoenix, AZ rentals this time of year, and have found some amazing rates. 

4. Order In - A lot of resorts have food available, but usually not a very good price. Order take out from a local restaurant or order pizza delivery. This will save some money. Also, bring as much food as you can. We usually bring snacks and lunch stuff to help with the cost of the staycation. Some resorts will offer packages where kids eat free and this can also be a huge money saver, so make sure you shop around.

5. Be Flexible - Ever thought about a family staycation at a casino? We didn't either, until we moved to the mecca of casinos. We totally take advantage of the casinos discounted hotel rates and usually we don't even step foot in the casino. The hotels are typically attached to conference centers, so they are usually family friendly with great amenities. And have I mentioned how cheap drinks are at casinos? Try it out, you may be surprised. 

If you are close to Arizona, here are some of our favorite places to staycation in both Phoenix and Tucson! 

Tucson 


Tubac Golf Resort and Spa - Great golf specials!



Phoenix

Wigwam Arizona - great pool and amenities


JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa - kids eat free all summer long!




Happy vacationing





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Bump Update •15 weeks•

Ya'll it has been an interesting, fun and exciting few weeks! I am sorry the blog has been somewhat neglected, but between throwing up and traveling my mind has been on overdrive! In case you missed the important announcement post, I am pregnant and currently entering my 15th week. We are so excited and I am pretty pumped about finally having some energy.

We also went on a two week vacation to Washington D.C. and to Myrtle Beach, so life has been somewhat hectic. I posted a super important guest post by my friend Rosi, so make sure you check that out. And I also shared a fun traveling post that explained why traveling with toddlers is not all daisies and lollipops. Now, onto a #bumpupdate!


pregnancy blog
15 Weeks!

How big is baby? An apple!

Total weight gain: 9 pounds... Ya, this is above where I wanted to be but a rough first trimester with congestion and tiredness, made the gym nearly invisible. Excited to be back on track this week, and feeling great!

Maternity clothes? Anything stretchy is my friend. Not quite big enough for maternity clothes, but too big for any of my old pants.

Sleep: Enjoying these weeks where sleep still comes easy....

Best moment this week: I went for a movie date night with my friend Briana last night, who is about to give birth any minute, and it was SO fun and SO nice to giggle and laugh through dinner. We saw Me Before You and were both bawling, not the best movie to see pregnant, but a great movie!

Miss Anything?

Movement: I thought I had felt some flutters in there...

Food cravings: Mangoes and Sandwiches, which is bizarre because I have never been a sandwich person. I can throw back a few Italian subs a week lately, and don't worry the meat is well heated!

Gender: Will find out in a few weeks!

Symptoms: Feeling pretty good right now. But, my skin is suffering unfortunately. I am not a "glowing" pregnant girl, I am a break out all over my face pregnant girl!

Belly Button in or out? In

Happy or Moody most of the time: Moody a lot, and the worst part is that I know I am being moody. Sorry Ryan! But, then I have my bouts of extreme happiness, so it all equals out.

Looking forward to: Finding out the sex and either purging Luke's clothes or knowing they will be put to good use again!


Throughout this pregnancy I will be real with ya'll and I will share some semi personal things. No, I don't believe in laying it all out there. But, I will post why I was so hesitant to share my "I'm pregnant story", my birthing story with my first son and why I am a bit nervous that this second one will be different. 

I am also super excited to share that I am a For Two Fitness ambassador, as well as an ambassador for PinkBlush Maternity! I love these companies and am so excited to partner up with them throughout my pregnancy. Look for an amazing PinkBlush giveaway soon, all pregnant ladies (and not pregnant ladies, since their gift card works at PinkBlush too) you will want to subscribe so you don't miss out! 

Have a wonderful Thursday!




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No Bachelorette Last Night, No Problem! Enter Chadmageddon.....

No Bachelorette last night? No problem.

Let’s take this opportunity to revisit what ABC dubbed a two night “Chadmageddon” event. Sure, it’s a play on words, Chad’s presence in the Bachelorette house is like Armageddon, but I’d like to present an alternative take—he is more like a hurricane, a “Chadicane,” really, leaving destruction in his wake. 

Chad

At first glance, we experienced a Category 1 Chadicane on the first night. His snarky critique of all of the other guys, a display of cockiness, nothing too out of the ordinary, there’s always at least one guy who assumes he’s got it in the bag from start. The winds died down when Jordan got the first impression rose, but like a hurricane out to sea, Chad picked up steam.

            Week One the Chadicane was upgraded to a Category 2 storm, taking aim at the set of ESPN’s SportsNation, where it made landfall and caused a direct hit when Chad refused to play along with the giant ring proposal, and called JoJo “naggy” after she gave him a hard time for his lackluster participation. He also put all the other guys on blast and firmly established himself as this season’s villain. But behind closed doors, the Chadicane dies down, mentioning his puppy and his recently deceased mother and all of the antics at ESPN appear to be in the rearview mirror as far as JoJo is concerned. Don’t be fooled, we all know it is eerily calm and quiet inside the eye of a hurricane. Which brings us to Week Two…

             Pausing for a moment on the weather analogies, JoJo had some seriously promising dates in episodes 2,3 and 4, especially one-on-ones with Chase, Luke and James Taylor. I am wild about Luke; he makes me want to sing the Dixie Chick’s “Cowboy Take Me Away” at the top of my lungs from now until the finale. As far as I’m concerned he’s a front-runner, unless of course JoJo wants to pick a “bad boy” (AKA: a douche), in which case, all bets are off. Chase is great, very down to earth, easy on the eyes, and a lower key version of Chad mixed with a dash of the former competitive swimmer. I’m excited to see where that goes. Which brings us to James Taylor. First of all, I’m glad there’s a singer on the show that appears to not be hungry for publicity. That being said, James Taylor is the textbook definition of nice. He and JoJo had a nice date—nice conversation, everything was just so…nice. He got the rose, but I’m not convinced there is any chemistry whatsoever between the two. We’ll have to stay tuned for that.

            Now back to our live look in on Chadicane 2016, which locked in on Week 2 with vengeance. Disappointed with the prospect of a group date, Chad went into the “Sex Talks” project with a bad taste in his mouth. It was already established at ESPN that Chad doesn’t play well with others, throw him into a group of dudes trying to impress JoJo and a randomly assembled audience with tales of sexual exploits and hijinks and that’s a recipe for disaster. A hurricane cannot be contained within the walls of a community theater.

            Enter storm chaser: Evan the erectile dysfunction  “doctor.” I have to be honest, up to this point I wasn’t even sure he was still in the house.  But he more than made himself known over the two-night event. Evan decides to base his sex talk routine on the dangers of steroids and manhood. After an awkward exchange in the audience, Evan somehow ends up with a ripped shirt and Chad’s got a sore ego. Like a wrecking ball, he takes aim on a backstage door, bloodying his knuckles and making the first of roughly 400 threats on the lives of his fellow contestants. At one point he grabs at Evan’s throat and I thought the producers would jump in like on the Real World, which had a firm policy, touch someone and you go home. But anything seems to go on this season of the Bachelorette.

Chad
ABC.com 
On the group date, Evan tells JoJo that he isn’t sure if he can stay in the house if Chad stays. A word to the wise: ultimatums rarely, if ever, work on the Bachelor franchise. However, JoJo is full of surprises, giving Evan the rose, causing Chad to exclaim something to the effect of “is this real life?” At this point, JoJo is confused, the other guys feel validated that Chad’s true colors appear to be coming out. They ain’t seen nothing yet.

            Back at the house fueled up on protein powder the Chadicane reaches Category 4 status. Security guards must patrol the pool deck, guys are switching rooms and Chad continues to eat all the meat in sight.  Evan decides to take this opportunity to tell Chris that people in the house have issues with Chad. At this point, I was thinking Evan, don’t push your luck, you’ve got the rose, and all of your teeth, slow your roll, but his sidebar with Chris results in Chris taking Chad aside and telling him he needs to settle things himself.

Chad

While this is a terrible form of conflict resolution, it makes for great television. There’s a vocal disagreement between Chad and Derek, Derek needed to take on the Chadicane in an effort to emerge from a dateless week with a little piece of the spotlight. I appreciate Derek’s attempt to remain calm, cool and collected in the face of the storm. At the rose ceremony (no cocktail party), JoJo leaves the Chadicane twisting in his own wind, giving him the final rose and sending home Santa, real-life Aladdin and Christian.

            In an unfortunate turn of events, the Chadicane, now upgraded to a Category 5 storm takes aim at Nemacolin Resort in the Pennsylvania woods. This inland location was not prepared for the carnage that would result.
           
            Nemacolin is the scene of this season’s first 2-on-1 date. And of course, it pits the Chadicane against loveable Marine Alex, one of Chad’s most vocal opponents in the house.  When the date card arrives, Luke plays his best Chris Harrison asking Chad what would send him home? Chad goes off. Alex picks at him and calls him a POS. Grant calls Chad a coward and had wants to take it outside.

Chad

 Naturally, there is a great deal of awkwardness before the date begins. So to blow off some steam, Chad reminds Jordan that once the show is over he can find out where he lives to hunt him down. Once date time rolls around, Chad and Alex take a silent, ultra uncomfortable helicopter ride to meet JoJo where they find out they will be taking a hike. The air is thick with tension, so the producers decide it is wise to provide each guy with their own ax. Great, great idea.

            I was a little worried when Alex used his one-on-one time with JoJo to talk about the threat Chad posed to the other guys and possibly her. On his date the Chadicane proved he is pathological, lying to JoJo about being violent and says he only threatens people to get them to be quiet and asks if JoJo knows of another way to handle things. Meanwhile at home, I was raising my hand like an anxious first grader, jumping out of my seat, screaming, “I know! How about using words?!”

            JoJo ultimately decided to kick Chad to the curb, leaving the Chadicane to stew in the woods, where I assume he immediately slaughtered and consumed the first grizzly bear he could find.

            When the dreaded luggage pick up takes place, the boys back at the lodge celebrate with party poppers and Fireball shots when they realize Chad was the one sent home.

            But this was just the calm before the storm. Little did the boys know that in the woods, a Category 10 Chadicane was growing strength, preparing to make landfall once more.


            ABC left us with a cliffhanger and a week off because of the NBA Finals. If you need me, I’ll be gathering my doomsday provision and building a storm shelter because I have a feeling, this is going to be a historically brutal hurricane season. 

-Shelby

Recognizing and Overcoming PPD - My Experience

My friend Rosi contacted me a few weeks back asking if I was looking for any guest bloggers. She has a wonderful blog, that is on hiatus right now, and was wanting to write about some events that are close to her heart currently. The best thing about blogging is that writing can sometimes be therapy and a bit of release of emotions, it can also bring awareness to something that doesn't get spoken about often. Enjoy Rosi's post, I know I did, and thank you to Rosi for bringing awareness and sharing her journey.

post partum depression - recognizing and overcoming

First, let me say a big thank you to Meredith for inviting me to guest post for her. Meredith is doing such an amazing job with her blog, I very much enjoy reading it and watching it grow. I always knew she would be great at this! Second, let me introduce myself. My name is Rosi. I used to blog as PerfectlyFITT but am currently on a hiatus due to life getting crazy and not being able to make the time it deserves right now, however you can still find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I am a wife, mother of two, a SAHMish, and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist working as a personal trainer in Detroit. 



There were so many topics I thought of writing about and share with you all but one overwhelming kept popping up. Since having my second child (he is now just over three months old) I find myself battling postpartum depression and I want to share my journey with that with you.

Shame. Embarrassment. Disgust. Those are just a few of the feelings I have/had about being post-partum depressed. I absolutely know that I do not have to feel that way but that’s just part of the whole post-partum depression thing. Feeling ways that you don’t have to but can’t help. It took me a while before I finally realized and vocalized to myself that this was in fact something I was going through. In the hospital I had a to take a questionnaire about what has been going on in my life to see if postpartum depression was something that I would be susceptible to, turns out I’ve been through quite a few triggers. To give you an idea over the past year here are some of the things I have been dealing with…a move across the country, stressful job searching, my grandmother passed away, starting a new job, pregnancy (which is never easy for me), living in a less than desirable house, giving birth, my dad passed away, moving again (locally but still)…needless to say I’ve had a lot of my plate and that has done me no favors in this process. Oh, and the fact that I get very little sleep with a newborn does me no favors either.

Initially when I didn’t know what was “wrong” with me I found myself constantly searching about postpartum depression. I would read the symptoms and think “but I don’t have feelings of wanting to hurt my children, I don’t want to NOT be with my baby”. In the end though what I finally came to realize was that I didn’t have to be experiencing every sign and symptom to be dealing with postpartum depression. 

In my darkest times I experienced an overwhelming amount of self-hate. I actually verbalized OUT LOUD how disgusting I thought I was. I would literally stand in front of a mirror and say horrible things to myself out loud. About my body, my parenting, any way I could put myself down really. I had very little, to no, patience with my daughter and would irrationally punish her for just being a toddler. I cried over just about anything. I often had thoughts of leaving my family completely. I exercised because it’s what I’ve always done, it’s what I thought would make me feel better but I hated every second of it. I made sure I always told people I was doing great and super happy when inside all I wanted to do was be by myself and cry. It was miserable. It still is some days but I am dealing with it in a much better and healthier ways.

Being a mom is tough and when you are dealing with PPD it’s even tougher. There is so much pressure to be this “perfect mom”, to handle everything that comes your way with ease, but that’s just not how it goes. The best thing I have done for myself is to accept and admit that I am dealing with PPD. Some days I do really well but some days I really struggle. Especially with the passing of my dad I feel like that has taken my PPD to places I hadn’t been before but I don’t stay there and that’s what I care about. I talk about it to anyone who will listen and I have found, by talking about it, that many more women have dealt/are dealing with this than you may realize. I have reached out to my family to let them know what’s going on and I have told them some things they can do to help me. Because that’s just it, most people are so unaware of PPD and what they can do to help and even what they may be doing to trigger episodes for you and not even realize. For example, I was told to “just keep smiling”, but you see that’s just it, sometimes just keeping a smile on my face is really hard and when people say that it can cause me to put pressure and stress on myself which can make the PPD a real struggle. So I took that opportunity to explain just how hard “keeping a smile” can be for me now. Part of my healing has been to help those around me understand PPD just a little bit more.

For me just having someone around sometimes is the best help I can get. I get lonely just me and the two kiddos some days, like I don’t have purpose, like what I do doesn’t matter but I know that’s not true. That’s just the PPD talking.

Just before my dad passed away I traveled out to Arizona to see him, for the time I was there and for just after a week after I didn’t work out at all. Two weeks went by of me not exercising. For me that’s a pretty big deal, I am big on exercise, but you know what??? It was so helpful in my healing process. My body got some of the physical rest is so badly needed. Having resumed my working out again I am finally loving it like I did before and that feels really good. It brings me true genuine joy in my day and I like that feeling.

Each day I feel like I get just a little closer to my normal self but I also know I’m not there yet and each day I make a conscious effort to talk to God, engage in positive self talk, take time for myself, and to vocalize my feelings. It’s definitely a process and one I am no longer ashamed, embarrassed, or disgusted by. It is me, and I love me, no matter what I may be going through.

Postpartum depression is very real and something many women go through. It’s also a topic that is just now, I feel, starting to get the attention it deserves, something just starting to be talked about. If you feel as though you are experiencing PPD the best advice I can give is to talk about it. If you know someone you think may be PPD, please be gentle in your approach. If it is something they have not yet recognized you could do more harm then good in your approach. I am always available and open to chat too. My email is perfectlyfitt@hotmail.com.

It was a pleasure to talk to you all too and to be a Semibalanced Mama for a day! ;)






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