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Feb 11, 2014

Most Popular Blog Post of 2013

I wanted to do a quick recap on what my most popular blog post of 2013 was because it really surprised me.  What was it, you ask?  15 Reasons I'm Awesome.

Why was that such a popular post?  I have absolutely no idea but I have over 1000 views on that.  Am I really that awesome?

I wrote about my life, how I overcame some obstacles in my life, why I sometimes lie to my kids and how I can entertain them on almost no money.  Is that interesting to people?  Maybe.

Maybe it's because I had low self esteem at that point but yet I was able to come up with 15 reasons why I was awesome. 

Or maybe it's because I seem to be supermom. 

I mean, I can shower in 10 minutes or less... I can also do my makeup while holding a bathroom door closed with my kids trying to break the door down... Or maybe because despite having a full time job and being a single mom, I can still make dinner from scratch and attempt to clean my house.

Hey, maybe it's even because I could care less if my house is a huge pig sty.  I have kids, that's always my excuse for surprise visitors.  And because if they came unannounced, they shouldn't judge me.  Pick up a damn phone and call before you come.  At least give me a frikkin heads up so I can shove shit into a closet.

I've also become a pro at getting my 8 year old's extremely thin and soft hair into a ballet bun for her dance classes.  How?  Well, I'm supermom.  And that bun donut thing is a lifesaver.  With a crap load of bobby pins.  But if anyone asks, I'm just going to stick with the fact that I am supermom

My 8 year old also says "I hate you" almost once a day but it doesn't phase me.  I feel like if she hates me, I'm doing something right.  She won't hate me for long, she knows I'm her ride for going over her friends houses, I can pay for her dance classes and I can say "no" to just about anything. ;)  Her "I hate you's" are very short lived.

Eyes in the back of my head?  Forget that! I have eyes in every single room.  I can sense with my mommy-senses if there is trouble brewing or if my 6 year old decided that our wall is better than her easel paper.  (It happens!)  I can also clean that damn wall better than anyone else can. (Or so I think.)

I still wonder why that was the most popular post of 2013 but then I think to myself...Hey, it is because I am that awesome. :)

Feb 9, 2014

There is a method to all of my productivity and daily madness

I'm going to tell you a secret...
I'm crazy but sort of organized and very productive.  Is that really a secret?
Ok, scratch that...I'm sometimes productive and that's not really a secret at all.
What's the secret to my madness of being a single mother with a full time job?
I'm fanatical about using my favorite iPhone apps to keep me organized.  While I may not be a perfectionist and have a crazy organized house, when it comes to the hours in the day I need to prioritize and utilize my apps or I would go insane. 
Or may I am insane to begin with.
Organizing My Days
Agenda, my calendar app, is my go to app for my main organization and prioritizing my day.  I use different calendars that I set in the native iPhone app for different categories of what I have to organize every day.
Work is blue.
To Do's are green.
Kids are purple.
Important Reminders are brown.
And the list goes on and on...
I love how the categories are put into my main month view as little dots so I can go into the day at anytime and see exactly what I need to get done or remember.  That app has been a huge lifesaver in the past few months.
Organizing My Errands & Reminders Further
I also utilize Any.DO for reminders and categorizing my lists of what I have to do.  I'm able to see what I have to do for the month as a whole and in the categories I place them into. (Blog, Kids, Work, Life, Groceries, Shopping, etc...)  It allows for me to see if I can get something done earlier than the date I wanted to have it done by.
If I have any extra time in my day, which is rare.
I can also have a electronic copy of things that I need to get done for work just in case my paper to-do list gets lost for any reason... or if something is spilled on it. (I blame my kids)
Shopping lists? Since I'm crazy anal about having things categorized into aisles when I'm going grocery shopping I use Grocery IQ.  It allows me to have multiple lists stored for multiple stores while being categorized by aisle, which makes me happy.  I'm just too damn lazy to keep walking back and forth around the store if I forgot something... that's why I like having everything categorized into aisles and organized all nice and neatly. :)
I also use Evernote for my reminders and documents that I need an electronic back up for. 
Am I still stressed even though I prioritize my day and my to-do's?  Of course I am.  There aren't enough hours in the day and I can't split myself between a million places at once.  (It would be cool if I could, that would be my go-to superpower.) 
How do you stay organized and less stressed?

Feb 2, 2014

Random Facts about Me! Part 2

I do have some new followers and hope to gain some as well so I decided to write another post with more random facts about myself.  I'm not too interesting but I do have some pretty damn good facts that may seem a bit interesting to some of you! :) If you have any other questions for me, post them in the comments section!

1. I have an addiction to cell phone cases.  With my iPhone 4 I had about 20 cases that I would change with my mood.  I wish I was joking with you!  Every time I go to a mall that has a cell phone accessory kiosk or Target, Walmart, Apple, etc...  I had to look at the cases to see if anything caught my eye.  Now that I have the iPhone 5, I need to rebuild my collection.  I have only 4 for the iPhone 5 so far. (And have had the phone for 2 months.)

2. I love to take photos. In fact, I have taken over 1,000 photos on my phone that I have taken with it.  I used to have over 3,500 but most of them are now on an external hard drive.  Constantly I am downloading new photography and photographing apps to try to get new inspiration.  

3. My first celebrity crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas.  My friend, at the time, loved Leonardo Dicaprio.  We used to have fights (for hours) about who was hotter.

4. My dream as a child was to be a figure skater.  I figure skated locally (competitively) for 16 years solo and synchro.  When I was 17 I took a bad fall during an exhibition and broke my ankle.  Unfortunately, after a cast and physical therapy, I never got back into figure skating.  It was a passion of mine and I regret that until this very day.

5. I own my own business.  Aside from my full time day job I own my own Virtual Assistant & SEO/Social Media business doing consulting, managing and coordinating.  My day job is being a SEO Analyst for a large corporation.  Somehow, I manage being a mom, having a FT day job and my own business... I constantly wonder how I do it.

6. I have the thickest hair ever.  I hate it.  I've always hated it and get it thinned out as much as I can.  My hair is also extremely damaged from years and years of drastically dying it constantly.

7. My uncle is a Roman Catholic priest.  He's been a priest for 35 years and despite this fact, I am not religious.  My uncle has been like a second dad to me since my dad died when I was 2.  I don't know what I would do without my uncle and his understanding and compassion for others.

8. I went to High School 2 blocks away but my mom drove me every single day.  Mostly because I would have been late every single day if I had walked and the fact that I was very bullied and had numerous physical threats.

9. I've lived in the same house all my life. For the exception of the 2 years that I lived in Philadelphia due to art school.  I probably would still be living in Philadelphia if I hadn't gotten pregnant when I was in college.

10. I am extremely picky about pens. I will not write with a pen that doesn't have a cap and the ink flow has to be perfect.  Again, I wish I was kidding.

11. I LOVE LOTIONS! My favorite lotions are the super thick ones with cocoa & shea butters. (I.E. B&BW Shea Cashmere and just traditional Cocoa Butter.)

Jan 25, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things: Five of my favorite things.

Like the Sound of Music reference in my title.  That's one damn freaking awesome movie, but I digress.  On this snowy snowy Saturday, I thought I would write about five of my favorite things. (In absence of my brain, which obviously can't think of anything to write about otherwise. lol)
1. Coffee
I honestly couldn't live without coffee, nobody wants to even be around me before I had coffee in the morning.  It's probably a bad addiction but I don't care, it's not an addiction that I can live without.  In the course of a normal day I probably have 5+ cups of coffee...  I'm also very particular about my coffee, it needs to be almost black.  Just a little drop of half and half is all I use in my coffee.  Call me weird, but I want to taste the caffeine that will keep me awake and going all day.  Do I have a favorite coffee place? Not really...I mean, I love Starbucks but mostly their flavored coffees.  If I am going to have a nice almost black coffee I would go for Dunkin Donuts Turbo or make a k-cup from home.

2. My iPhone
While occasionally I may curse out my iPhone and may say how much I hate it, I don't.  I love my pink iPhone 5c.  This phone contains my entire life & work life.  It really helps me to stay organized and have everything I need all in one place.  As many times as I switch back and forth from iPhone to Android, I always come back to my trusty iPhone because really; nothing else compares.  The only (silly) issue I'm having right now is trying to find a case that looks good on my phone because it's pink underneath! (But that's a pretty cosmetic and crazy issue I have!)
3. Bath and Body Works Candles
I am obsessed with burning candles all of the time but they have to be Bath and Body Works candles.  I think they even beat Yankee candle with their scents and how long they last.  I constantly buy tons of these when they are on 2 for $20 sales because I go through them so quickly.  I love their Christmas scents (especially Fresh Balsam) and yesterday I bought two new scents, Cheers to Capri and Cinnamon Sugared Donut.  They smell amazing and I'll be stocking up on more of these. (I just left my coupon at home. lol)
4. Coach and Michael Kors Handbags
I was always a huge Coach fan until my sister introduced me to Michael Kors bags.  Once I purchased my first Michael Kors I was hooked on their bags.  However, I'm still a huge fan of Coach too.  I will always be faithful to both brands because I think they are incredibly durable and classic.  I love my once-a-year designer bags. :)
5. My Kia Forte
I just got my car in October and I absolutely love it.  It is definitely one of my favorite things because it's (somewhat) sporty, has everything I could ask for and is just a great car.  I'm not much a fan of smaller cars but this one has really made me fall in love with it.  I really do love my car and don't know what I would do without it.  ('s my way to freedom. lol)
What are your favorite things?



Jan 18, 2014

Journey to Thin Week 1

Even though it was one of my resolutions to lose weight, I started a little late on my journey.  I felt that I had to be completely ready, committed and in the right mindset to change how I was eating for good.  This past week I felt like I was completely ready. 
I went grocery shopping after work on Sunday and got healthy food for the whole week.  (I would have gotten food for the month but I'm on a limited budget until I get my paycheck!)  I felt that I was completely ready and motivated to lose after weighing myself and realizing I gained back most of the weight that I lost last year.
This year I will not fall off the wagon, rather I will hold on for dear life no matter what.   That's fact.  I can't fall off the wagon again, I get extremely depressed and turn to food and hating myself when I eat horribly.  I want to change my life this year and feel amazing about myself.
I set my weigh ins for Saturdays and today was my first weigh in of my plan.  I was surprised to see that I lost 7.2lbs.  You may think that's a lot for one week but I know my body.  I usually lose between 5-7lbs for the first two weeks but after that it levels out to about 0.5-1lb a week for the duration. It's mostly water weight but that's water weight that is already making a difference in my body shape. 
Already I feel that I have more energy and feel better about myself.  I love feeling that way.
Here's to more weight loss in the coming weeks... :)

Jan 13, 2014

Happy National Make Your Dreams Come True Day!

Today is noted as Make Your Dreams Come True day and while I don't have any smaller dreams that I could make come true, I wanted to write about how my dreams have changed now versus when I was a child. 
My mom always stressed to me that I can do anything that I put my mind to and work towards, so I have always had some pretty great dreams. 
I started figure skating when I was three years old and my ultimate goal, when I was younger, was to be a figure skater.  I had dreams of being in the Olympics and winning all of these medals for my figure skating.  Skating three days a week solo and one on a synchro team, I felt like I was working towards my goal at a fast pace and I had a passion for skating.  Lessons, competitions and exhibitions went on for fourteen years until I was 17 years old.  When I was 17 years old I fell during a local end of the year exhibition and found out, after the fact, that I had broken a small bone in my ankle.  That injury took a lot out of me, going to physical therapy after healing that I was out for a few months at that point.  Once I got myself and my strength back, I decided that it had been too long and lost faith in myself.   I figured that I wouldn't be testing at, what was supposed to be, my skill level and I didn't want to be a level behind my old teammates. 
Eleven years later, as I sit here as a 28 year old, I regret my decision.  I regret not going back to finish out my figure skating dream.  I know I could have been great and could have possibly gotten to a higher competitive level.  Would I have gotten to the Olympics? The odds were against that but I could have kept believing that it was a possibility.  I still skate for fun and I teach my kids how to figure skate, but that's about it.  I no longer have any figure skating aspirations, unfortunately. 
Art has always been in my life and has always been a passion of mine but when I was injured it became a larger portion of my life.  While I was injured I did a lot of painting and drawing because I honestly had nothing else to do.  I realized that I wanted to go to art school and wanted to attempt to become a professional artist.  At that point in my life, I didn't realize how competitive the art field is and how many artists do not become famous.  Before I graduated High School in 2003 I found out that I was accepted into a small art college on a full scholarship, I was beyond excited that I solely got the scholarship based on my skills and my portfolio.  I realized that I really was as talented as people had said I was.
During my Freshman year I fell in love with a friend of my brother, got engaged and was pregnant by February of 2005. Unfortunately, because of being in an art school, they would not allow me to continue while pregnant.  (They didn't want to be liable if anything happened because of the materials used.)  So I traveled back home, still having high hopes and aspirations for an art career.  I had planned on going back after she was born. 
When my daughter (Alayna) was born, everything changed.  I found a job at home, got a second job at H&R Block and continued on researching everything I could about Social Media Marketing, SEO, Internet Marketing, etc...
Eight years (and one more daughter) later, my aspirations and life goals have completely changed.  I now own my own business, still work for H&R Block and now want to become a successful business owner. 
In ten years I hope to have a successful business, still working for H&R Block (which I love) and married with one more child.  I hope to own my own home and am able to help support my family with my business, while still being at home with my kids.
Looking back, a lot has changed.  Maybe I didn't become an Olympic figure skater or a famous artist, but I still have my whole life ahead of me to dream.  I have two beautiful kids, a boyfriend who is amazing and know that my future is going to be great no matter what happens.

Jan 11, 2014

Changing My Outlook for 2014

In 2013 I made two resolutions:
  • Lose Weight
  • Be Financially Aware
Did I accomplish any of those? None at all.  Actually, I did become a little more financially aware and made less frivolous and expensive purchases, but I still didn't do as well as I had hoped.  I didn't really deposit any money into my savings as I had hoped I would.   In terms of losing weight, I went on a diet for 3 months and did lose about 30 lbs but then gained it all back when I lost motivation and started to eat like crap again when I got down with myself.  Do I regret it?  Of course I do.  I always regret it when I mess up my diet because I have to start from square one all over again.  It makes me so angry at myself. 
I'm planning on changing all of that this year.  I've been eating better for the past week, I've had more energy and I have the motivation to get up each day, go to work, eat as best as I can and be a great mom.  I really feel like things are changing this year and I feel so positive.  I think my new view of myself and my life will really continue to help me out in my goals for this year.  Even though I'm not 100% self confident, I'm trying to have a more optimistic view of my life and trying to follow the word "believe" as my key word for 2014.  I want to believe in myself, my life and my abilities more than I have in the past.  It is true that if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you more.  I just feel like things are finally looking up for me.  I was promoted at the end of December, I now have a boyfriend who loves me, I actually have money in savings and I'm getting things straightened out at home.
Changing things is not easy but it is possible.  They say it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit, which is actually less than a month so it is basically just a matter of staying motivated for those first few weeks until I get used to my new lifestyle.  It will happen if I just have patience and give it time.

Did you meet any of your resolution goals in 2013?

Jan 9, 2014

When it Rains, it Pours...

Sometimes I don't know why things happen the way they happen.
We moved out of my childhood home in August due to a reverse mortgage (that turned into a foreclosure) that my grandparents left us when they passed away.  Our moving was a few months earlier than we really had to move, but we found the perfect one family home and didn't want to miss the opportunity to live there.  My mom lived at that house all her life, so there was 28 years of my life there and 61 years of her life there.  Needless to say, some things were left in the house when we moved and we were periodically going back and forth to move more and clean some things out.
Tuesday I went to the house to check the mail and to grab a new bottle of floor cleaner and was met with a mess. A flood.
Water everywhere; the entire second floor was flooded.  Boxes that we were packing and items water damaged, gone.  A pipe had burst in our extremely cold weather and water was spurting everywhere like an open hydrant.
I walked down to the first floor only to find more of a mess.  The ceiling in my old bedroom was on the floor, my old ceiling fan was hanging by two wires.  Thank God the electricity was turned off back in August because our outlets near the floor board would have ignited an electrical fire if the water had gotten into a live outlet. 
What a mess.  It was the most depressing site, seeing your childhood home completely flooded and ruined.  I cried, my mom cried, the girls cried.  Mostly, my crying was about family memories that were gone forever.  Family videos got flooded, family pictures were water damaged, so much was lost.
I made it down to the basement to turn off our main water line but it must have been flooding for a day by that point because there was ankle deep water everywhere in the house.  My art studio in the basement, however, was somehow spared.  I don't know how, but someone must have been watching over that room and all of my hard work inside of it because it wasn't flooded or touched by the water at all.  I can only believe that was a miracle, seeing how every other room was a watery mess.
Today we went back to save what we could and told the bank that we are finally leaving that house and not going back.  Everything we left in the house is now their possession and they can do whatever they would like with it.  We saved what memories we could and brought them to our new house.  They told us that due to the extent of the flooding the house is going to have to be condemned and demolished.  Our old house was over 100 years old and it was a wood framed house, which is now compromised because of the water seeping between the floorboards and inside the walls.
It's a sad thought to know that the house I first lived at, grew up in, where my kids were born and where my grandparents died is going to be completely gone in a few months.  The place where all of our memories are will be gone forever, but we will still have all of those memories to hold on to. 
At least this happened after we already moved and not while we were still living there.  That's the only good I can find in this heartache. 

My 2014 Theme Word: Believe

I decided to choose one word for the year 2014 to focus on and really try to model myself and my life after.  I scribbled down a list of probably 15 words that I thought were important to me, but as I kept reading the list believe kept sticking out to me.  The reason why is very simple; I need to believe more in myself and what I can do with my life

Instead of constantly putting myself down, I plan to think about something I love about myself and work on building that up along with points that aren't so strong.  It's hard to change a mindset you have had for over 10 years, but it's possible to do and I believe it would be a very strong shift for me in my life.  I really need to stop second guessing myself or being too chicken to do things that I know I can do, I need to have faith in myself and take chances. 

When the clock hits midnight on 01/01/15, I want to feel like a new person.  I really want to have more faith in myself, I want to know that I really tried to accomplish my goals to my full potential and I want to look at myself in a whole new light.  I don't want to feel down on myself or disgusted with my life choices, I want to feel like I can do absolutely anything that I set my mind to. 

What is your goal word for 2014?

Jan 7, 2014

National Cuddle Up Day for the Coldest Day of the Year!

So yesterday was National Cuddle Up Day but today is more of a cuddling kind of day.  The news says that this is the coldest day in our area since 1993, and I can feel it.  I walked out of the house today to go to work and immediately I felt the cold stinging my face.  (That was the only part of me that was not covered up!)  Some schools in the area closed due to the cold but my girls' school did not.  I kept them home only because my mom walks my girls' to school when I go to work at 8 am.  I wasn't going to let my disabled mom walk my girls to school in weather with a wind chill -16 degrees and ice all over the place.  If any of them slipped on the ice I would have felt horrible for having to go into work so early. 
I wish I could have stayed home and cuddled up with my girls but instead I had to go into work to open my office this morning.  Of course, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts to get myself a nice and hot turbo coffee and a bagel, which they messed up on me!  I couldn't have gone into the office today without coffee, that just wouldn't have worked for me!
When I get home from work today I am going to get into comfy, warm sweats and cuddle up on the couch with my girls, hot chocolate and a nice warm blanket to watch TV all night.  I am considering today my Cuddle Up Day. :)