Nov 29, 2013
The above photo is that of my beloved iPhone and it's home screen. My baby is a pink iPhone 5c that I absolutely adore with a multi-color silicone case that I purchased on Amazon. My phone is my best friend, I never leave home without it. (Screw Amex!) Since I own my own business and communicate frequently with clients, my iPhone is constantly in my hand or on me in some way. Some people get angry that I'm always on my phone, but that leads to my livelihood!
I wanted to share six of my favorite iPhone apps that I absolutely love, maybe they'll help you in some way too! These are also my six most used apps on my phone.
1. Tweetbot - I've written about Tweetbot before but I just have to mention this app again. Tweetbot is the best Twitter app, in my opinion. I think it has a much nicer user interface and look than the stock Twitter app does and I think it's much more straight forward. I only have amazing things to say about this app and always will. It does cost a measly $2.99 but it is well worth it.
2. Evernote - I've also written about this app before but it goes into my favorite apps. Evernote is an extension of my brain, more or less. Evernote is an app that allows you to enter text notes, voice notes, pictures, videos and record just about anything that you want to or need to remember. I use it to help organize shopping lists, my kids birthday parties, Christmas lists/notes, blog post ideas, etc... This app is used daily.
3. Cozi - I have two young kids that are now in a lot of activities. They both have different daily schedules and I'm on my own with dropping them off and picking them up at different places so I need organization. Cozi offers that organization by allowing you to color code family members and their activities. You can also set reminders so you don't forget important events. This app has helped me become so much more organized.
4. FeedlerRSS - I used to use Reeder but for some reason I decided to switch RSS readers. I now use Feedler with my AOL Reader incorporated into it. I love it. It has a clean design, you can mark your posts as read easily, it's easy to read what you want to read...I love it. It's a great great RSS reader if you're tired of using Reeder. :)
5. Timehop - This is the first app I open every morning. Timehop allows you to open the app and see what you were Tweeting or Facebooking about a year to five years ago. I love reading back and seeing how much I've grown, matured and changed since then. Maybe I'm just easily amused, but I love this app.
6. Afterlight - This is an amazing app to edit your photos. You can add filters, adjust the saturation, contrast, brightness, etc... and just make your photos look beautiful. I've been suggesting this app to fellow bloggers for a few weeks now and I'll keep suggesting it. I love it!
What are some of your most used apps?
Nov 28, 2013
I know this is a Vlog tag and I will be making one of those as well and linking up below. However, if you are unable to watch the video, I have also answered the questions below. :)
1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Ever since I was born my Grandma Alfreda has always made her family famous stuffing. I would devour that stuffing in seconds and as I grew older, I always asked my Grandma to make me a pan of stuffing just for me. My Grandma passed away five years ago but ever since, I have been making her stuffing with the recipe that she left me. I keep my Grandma's memory alive through her recipes that I make.
2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? My Grandma Pauline makes the most amazing cheesecake that anyone has ever tasted in their entire lives. (And I'm not kidding. Other people have said the same thing.) Her cheesecake is so creamy and delicious, there usually aren't any leftovers of this at all. It's definitely my favorite desert and she brings it every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
3. What does your ideal Thanksgiving outfit look like? For Thanksgiving I usually wear comfortable clothes because my mom and I are usually cooking and serving. This year I am wearing a cozy oversized brown sweater with my denim leggings and uggs. Comfortable, fashionable, warm and cozy for the holiday! Not to mention the leggings give plenty of room for my bloated stomach after I stuff myself crazy!
4. What is your best Thanksgiving memory? When I was 17 we had a cat named Buttons. Buttons loved to be a trouble maker and jump on counters while we were cooking because she constantly wanted attention. Well, my mom was cooking something on the stove and Buttons was eating her food on the counter when I hear my mom scream, "Buttons is on fire!" I run into the kitchen to find out that my cat's tail went by the stove and the tip caught on fire. Thankfully, she wasn't hurt and wasn't phased at all by this happening. I was horrified and so angry at my mom when it happened, but now we look back and laugh at that Thanksgiving memory.
5. Least favorite Thanksgiving dish. I hate apple pie or any pie with crust on top. Give me pecan pie or pumpkin pie and I will be a happy camper.
6. Do you have any quirky Thanksgiving traditions? We don't, maybe we aren't a quirky family? We are starting the Elf on the Shelf tradition on Thanksgiving this year, maybe that can be our quirky tradition. :)
7. Where do you and your family usually celebrate Thanksgiving? Every single year we have Thanksgiving over at our house. I think we've only strayed from that tradition once and had Thanksgiving at my Grandmother's house a few years back.
8. What do you love most about Thanksgiving? I absolutely love the food and being with my family and friends. Not to mention that after Thanksgiving dinner is Black Friday shopping -- another one of my favorite things!
9. What do you think has changed most since the first Thanksgiving? Well, there are no Indians and Pilgrims anymore! ;) Seriously though, I think people get caught up in partying, being with family, cooking and thinking about what they're going to buy on Black Friday and forget that on Thanksgiving we are to reflect on what we are thankful for.
10. What are you thankful for? See the prior post for what I am thankful for. :)
Happy Turkey Day to all of my amazing readers! I hope everyone has a day filled with family, fun and tons of Turkey. I can't wait to have my first Thanksgiving in my new home with the people that I love. It's going to be a great day, I just know it! My mom and I have been cooking since yesterday and we can't wait to devour the great food that we made. I also hope that I can make it out tonight for some Black Friday shopping fun!
What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving?
- My children who mean the world to me. They're my life and I would never exchange them for anything in the world
- My new home that I am absolutely in love with. I'm so glad that I found this beautiful place to be in for the Holidays and love that we have a lot more room for our family. All of my anxiety about moving was just silly!
- My family who is so supportive and helpful, I don't know what I would have done without them in the past year. They've helped me emotionally, financially and in every way in between.
- My friends who have been there for me through absolutely every hardship and great memory I've had in the time that I have known them. Some friends have come and gone but my true friends will always be by my side...I'm thankful for that.
Once again, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.
Nov 27, 2013
Disclaimer: This is solely my opinion and how I feel. I in no way am criticizing anyone who likes any of the following or who does any of the following. I am just stating my opinion of what trends I (personally) cannot stand. Do not take this post to be critical of anyone in any way shape or form. Thank you.
No hate to any men with mustaches (and if men are reading my blog...hey!) but I can't stand seeing mustaches everywhere. On T-Shirts, Jewelry, Notebooks, Clothing, Purses, Decor -- they are everywhere! I will admit that I may have purchased a few things with mustaches on them when the trend first started, but now it's just getting annoying. I honestly hope this trend dies pretty soon...lol
I like food just as much as the next person does, maybe more! However, we don't need to see what you are eating every hour of every day. Sure, I take photos of my food to blog, tweet or facebook at times, but that would be when I am proud of something I made or saw/had something absolutely amazing. I don't randomly take pictures of my apple I'm chomping on or my chips that I am munching on.
The Acronym "YOLO"
Even though I'm 28 and not an obnoxious teenager (not all teenagers are obnoxious, just saying!) I know what YOLO means/stands for and I like the phrase "You Only Live Once", however I hate YOLO. It sounds stupid, it looks stupid and in my opinion; it's stupid. Is it too much work to actually say, "You Only Live Once"?
Cryptic Tweets/Facebook Posts (For attention)
I've seen this even on my own feed, it's quite annoying. If you say something like, "FML" or "I hate everything, I just want to die!" without explaining why, I'm not going to feel bad for you or give you the time of day. If you cry poverty and two days later post about your brand new iPad Air, I'm going to unfriend/unfollow you and classify you in my "attention whore" category. If you're going to post an extremely cryptic message, explain why so maybe people can have a chance to care!
Vlogs By Pre-Teens
Most recently I saw a beauty vlog from a 10 year old girl who had a huge makeup collection and was telling her audience how her dad bought her a camera and allows her to do this. First of all, my daughter isn't allowed to wear makeup in public until she's 14/15 and second of all, I would never allow her to post on YouTube at age 10. I'm not trying to criticize any parental methods, but it's just something that personally irks me. At 10 years of age, how much beauty knowledge do you have? Don't you want to play with your doll house or video games instead of painting on your face? At age 10, you're still a kid!
They're cute but they can't be safe and have absolutely no room! I'm sure they're great on gas, but that's because they're less than half a regular car! (And cost equal or more to a full size vehicle!) I also see the biggest possible people in the teeny tiny smart cars, maybe they find it a challenge to try to fit themselves into the car, I don't know!
Current Music & Boy Bands
I come from the generation of Hanson, *N Sync, Backstreet Boys, LFO, 98 Degrees, etc... I absolutely love the boy bands of the 90's and early 2000's. After all, that's what I grew up listening to and I love it. However, a lot of the music in this generation is just plain annoying to me. I don't like Lady Gaga, I don't like Ke$ha, I don't like Justin Bieber (No offense to anyone who does!) and I feel like my mom when I tell my daughter to turn the music down. I now understand how my mom felt when I would listen to artists that got on her nerves.
What current trends annoy you to death?
Writing Prompt Courtesy of Mama Kat's
Nov 23, 2013
She is one of my best friends that I also have the honor of calling my daughter. Alayna Danielle, or Laynie as we call her, is my mini-me. Sometimes we argue and most of the time we are never on the same page but I think that's because we are so much alike we sometimes clash with each other. (My mother said that and that's actually why I was inspired to write this post!)
She's blonde, I'm brunette...She's skinny, I'm definitely not...She's awesome at Math & very smart, I wasn't either of those...but we are extremely alike in other ways. We are both tall, we are both silly, we both have the same sarcastic sense of humor and we both love art, music and Broadway musicals.
Even though she looks a lot like her dad's side of the family, everyone says that they can tell she is my daughter by her mannerisms. Apparently we have the same good heart, funny quirks, bad habits and silly faces.
We both absolutely love shopping for clothes and she is the person I bounce ideas off of when I want to buy a new purse. She will honestly tell me what looks great and what looks terrible and she's usually right. She may be 8 years old, but she's definitely fashion savvy and has an awesome sense of style.
I don't think we look anything alike, though some other people say we do, but she does remind me of myself at her age by some things she does and says. It's actually scary sometimes but I think that's what makes us as close as we are.
Are you a carbon copy of any of your children?
Nov 22, 2013
1. Thanksgiving and my Grandma's Stuffing
Thanksgiving, for us, is a time when we get our family together to celebrate the Holiday Season. This year is even more exciting since we get to host Thankgiving at our new home. We are able to decorate more, relax more and invite more family since we have more room and I can't wait! I'm also excited for my Grandma's fresh homemade stuffing. Even though my Grandma is no longer with us, her stuffing recipe lives on!
2. Black Friday Shopping
I started my tradition of Black Friday shopping when my daughter was just a year old. As I was trying to figure out how to save money as a single mom, I realized that shopping on Black Friday was worth the waiting, lines and frustration. The first Black Friday that I took part in, I remember saving about $300 at Toys R Us alone! Now I have my own tradition of going to Toys R Us, Walmart, Target and some other various stores on Black Friday to get most of my Christmas shopping done in one day. I always leave at 10PM and get home at 6AM from my adventures. I've also found it to be a lot of fun for me.
3. Letters to Santa
Every year I pick those dollar templates up from Michaels or the grocery store for my girls to write letters to Santa. One night, before Thanksgiving, we sit down with the Christmas toy books and write our letters to Santa. We have a tradition of making hot cocoa and some sugar cookies to munch on while we write the letters. We then wait for our town Christmas tree and decorations to be up and then go and mail them in Santa's mailbox!
4. Christmas Decorations
I love Christmas decorations. It really makes it feel warm, comforting, homey and gets you in the mood for the Holiday. I love decorating my home for Christmas and especially can't wait to decorate my new home this year. It's going to be so exciting to put up garland, the lights and all of the Christmas decorations. I was actually thinking of putting them up early this year! Maybe soon! I'm planning on going all out this year, since our new home is amazing and has so much decorating potential!
5. Putting Up the Tree
After my Black Friday shopping, the day after Christmas is reserved for us to put up the Christmas tree. To us, that's when the Holiday season officially starts. My mom and I always put up the tree and the girls help us decorate while listening to Christmas music. We still don't exactly know where the tree is going to go in our new house, but we'll figure it out soon enough! Thanksgiving is coming up quickly and our Christmas Tree decorating day will be here before we know it!
6. Our Elf on the Shelf Antics
This is a new tradition for us, but we are starting the tradition of the Elf on the Shelf. Elfie and Sofia, our two elves, are going to be coming on the day after Thanksgiving to start their adventure in our new home. My girls have already met their elves and know that Elfie and Sofia are already reporting to Santa on their behavior. We have everything ready for them to start to make their appearances and start their antics in our home! Alayna and Olivia can't wait until the two trouble making elves appear to start their game of Hide and Seek and to see what the two elves are doing on any given day!
7. Baking Christmas Treats
I L-O-V-E- the smell of freshly baked Holiday treats! My girls and I make cookies every single year and this year we are planning on doing more baking than usual! Our new kitchen is roomy, homey and just perfect for baking all kinds of Holiday treats! The fact that we are having more people than usual over for the Holidays (and for Olivia's Birthday) means that we have even more baking to do!
8. Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
I used to be obsessed with the Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks but last year I was introduced to the Salted Caramel Mocha by a coworker and I couldn't be more thrilled with it. This is my favorite Holiday drink, it tastes a bit like hot chocolate with a caramel and salt kick to it. It's an acquired taste, a lot of people I know don't like it, but it's one of my favorites. I indulge once or twice a week. Yummmm.
9. Christmas Scents
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a
candle hoarder candle-a-holic. I stock up on them when Bath and Body Works has their semi-annual sale, 2 for $24 sale or when Yankee Candle has their awesome high-value coupons. I especially love when November hits and I can burn my favorite Holiday candles. My favorites is, Fresh Balsam (or any Christmas Tree scent), Apple Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Home for the Holidays, Peppermint, Yankee Candle's Butter cream and a bunch of others. Of course, my favorite one for this season is the Fresh Balsam from Bath and Body Works.
10. Christmas Eve & Morning
I've always loved Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning but since having kids, it means even more to me than normal. We have our Christmas Eve tradition of having Wigilia (pronounced Vi-gill-ia) which is a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner that we have when the first star appears in the sky. We then go to Church for the Christmas Eve service in our Christmas best and come home to bake cookies for Santa. I always buy the girls the same Christmas nightgowns from the Disney Store (every year) and we get ready to hang our stockings and put cookies out for Santa! (Although, he prefers some coffee half of a splenda and a splash of cream!)
Christmas Morning we race downstairs to see what Santa has left for us and rip open all of our presents. Then the girls play with a few of their toys while my mom and I cook for our company. It's always a magical day on Christmas and I love to see my kids happy about their presents. :)
What are your favorite things about the Holiday Season?
Nov 21, 2013
According to my mom, I have had artistic talent all of my life. In fact, a few years back she dug out pictures that I drew from ages 3 all the way to when I was an adult. She may be biased because I'm her daughter, but I think that my drawings were pretty damn good all of my life.
I started art classes when I was 6 years old with a local artist in my town and took those classes until I was in High School. I was in talented art classes from 5th to 8th grade, in which you had to submit a portfolio to be able to be chosen for that specific class in school. During my elementary school days I was also in quite a bit of local art shows, showcasing my talent and being proud of myself and my work.
My Freshman year of High School I was one of the few girls chosen to showcase their work at the Newark, NJ Museum and had the great experience of spending two days there showing others my work. I was so proud of myself for that accomplishment and loved mingling with other artists and receiving compliments from those viewing my pieces.
Graduating High School I knew I wanted to go to art school and applied to one school in particular, Moore College of Art and Design. Moore is an all girls art school in the heart of Philadelphia, right in the museum district. When I got an acceptance letter telling me that I also received a full ride scholarship due to my portfolio and art ability, I was ecstatic. I loved it. I was finally with girls who understood me and used the creative side of their brain, I had friends who thought and saw things creatively just like I did and I finally felt like I fit in somewhere. I had tons of friends and absolutely loved the independence. Art school felt like home to me.
Now that I am out of school, I still pursue art. I have donated various pieces to different local charity auctions and paint, sketch or draw whenever I possibly can. Art, to me, is a passion and an emotional outlet for me to express myself. It's something that calms me and soothes me when I feel anxious, upset or angry. I am also proud to say that my two beautiful girls also inherited my artistic talent, I hope they continue to pursue their talent just as I did. I feel it is very important for them.
This post was inspired by a prompt from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.
Nov 20, 2013
Nov 19, 2013
Ok, so Thankful Tuesday isn't really a thing...whatever! I just couldn't think of a good title, so that's what my brain thought of first. Maybe it could become a thing, we'll see! I'm sure there is already a Thankful Tuesday thing somewhere -- but I digress...
Before I had kids I was a very selfish teenager who wasted money on shit I didn't need. (Hey, I'm being very frank...) I would literally get everything I wanted without even thinking twice about it, wasting a hard earned paycheck before I even saw the money. In fact, when I was 18 I made the mistake of getting a credit card and blowing the $5,000 credit limit rather quickly. I still regret that decision, realizing it was the beginning of my debt snowball.
I remember going to college in Philadelphia and shopping with my friends on South Street & at King of Prussia mall almost everyday. We bought clothes, purses, DVDs, CDs, concert tickets, makeup and everything else we didn't need because we were independent and had no parents to tell us "no". I never felt any guilt because I was replacing something that was missing in my life with these material things. I never set a limit for myself, but what teenager does.
At age 19 I got pregnant with my oldest daughter and everything changed. The second I found out I was pregnant, after freaking out, I decided that I had to grow up and not spend so much money on myself. I realized that I would have to care for another human life aside from my own and spend my money on raising this child. I always say it was an overnight transformation, and it really was. Once the realization hit that I was having a child, I changed my ways and grew up. I opened a savings account and started to save money for when she came, I applied for a credit card and used that towards furniture and necessities for her, I got a job and did everything I could to divvy up my money properly and felt amazing for doing that.
Once she was born I devoted myself to Alayna and made sure she had everything that she needed. When I would go shopping I would look at things I loved and wanted, but then I would put them back. Knowing that I had other responsibilities made me feel great that I was able to do that.
Now that I am 28 years old and a mother of 2 beautiful little girls, I splurge occasionally on myself but buy my kids everything they need first and foremost. I am a little more lenient with myself and spending however if my girls need something I will put my own wants aside and spend the extra money on them. My girls are my life and I am extremely thankful to them and for them. If I didn't have my babies I probably would be in much more debt than I am in now due to irresponsibility. Because of them I know how to sacrifice in order to make them happy and have them well cared for.
I love you, girls!
Nov 18, 2013
I am the first to admit that I am extremely lazy and hate standing on lines or waiting for anything. I am definitely an instant gratification kind of girl, so when I saw Santa was coming this past weekend to the mall I jumped on it. I figured that if we went to the mall early in November to see Santa, I wouldn't have to stand on a three hour line later in the season. I was so right. We got to the mall, went right in by Santa and got to see Santa after just a five minute wait.
Santa was great this year. Since there weren't any other kids on line he talked to my girls for a good 5 minutes before sitting them down to take a photo. He joked about getting their names mixed up, asked what they wanted for Christmas, told them some Christmas jokes and then sat them down to take a picture. (Which came out great might I add!) Olivia, my youngest, was so excited that she got to talk to Santa that's all she could talk about for hours after.
After seeing Santa we saw that Red Robin had just opened in the mall, so we decided to take a walk over to have some burgers. It was pretty good and Alayna was excited that they had chips and French Onion dip on the appetizer menu, that's her most favorite snack. We had a great lunch and decided to walk around the mall for a few minutes.
We saw that the mall had up their huge Christmas tree and Christmas scenery, so we decided to take pictures by that as well. (Trying to get a good Christmas Card photo this year!) As we were standing by the tree ready to take a photo these three children in back of us started to literally fight each other. One child had the other child in a headlock on the floor, this boy pushed the little girl down and was punching her in the stomach then they were running around and fighting some more. Meanwhile, the two parents were standing there oblivious to any of this talking to each other. I was in absolute disbelief. I tried to ignore it but this one kid got pushed into me and I almost dropped my camera while the other child decided to put his ass in my picture purposely. That's when I turned around to the two moms talking and asked them to please tame their children because I was trying to take a picture. She looked at me like she didn't understand me and continued speaking in whatever language she was speaking -- excuse me? I know you speak English, you were just talking in English earlier. So I said it louder and they finally walked away. If you can't control your kids, don't take them to a mall or any public place for that matter! Have some respect.
As I was taking the photo this woman said to me, "What kind of mother are you? You have your kids in tank tops while you have a sweater on." So of course, I defend myself and start an argument with her. Her closing argument was, "You young mothers have no idea how to take care of your children." I followed that up with a few not so nice names for her and she walked away. Firstly, I had them in their Christmas dresses which were sleeveless but I had sweaters for them in my rather large purse. Secondly, don't judge me and stereotype all young mothers because you're closed minded and judgmental. The end. I hate people who are like that.
After all was said and done, we had a great day together. They were super happy to meet Santa and I was happy I got some great pictures of them together. That rarely happens!
When are you guys going to see Santa this year?
Greek Meaning: The name Kristin is a Greek baby name. In Greek the meaning of the name Kristin is: The annointed.People with this name have a deep inner desire to serve humanity and to give to others by sharing money, knowledge and experience or creative and artistic ability.They also tend to initiate events and be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority and are sometimes stubborn, proud and impatient.
When I saw this writing prompt I really felt like I had to take this one on. I have always known what my name meant but I wanted to dig a little deeper to see if my name really had anything to do with my personality. When I found the above information I was actually shocked at how my name signified who I was as a person. Strange, right?
As most of you know, I am a very creative individual and I have always wanted to teach children or teenagers to be artistic as well. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to assist or run art classes and give back to others. I am also a very kind person --
maybe too kind -- I constantly want to help others and let friends borrow money, belongings, etc... to make them happier. That's just the kind of person I am, someone with a good heart. Of course, that has got me in trouble in the past. I've lost belongings and money that individuals never planned on giving back and also got my heart broken in the process. I'm more cautious now, but I am still a very giving person.
I'm a very headstrong and stubborn person, knowing what I want and not stopping until I get there. I've had so many ups and downs with my life and my business but I still stay strong on the path to accomplishing one of my many goals. I set them high so getting there is challenging -- I think that's the most fun part of the journey. :)
Courageous -- Not quite me except for the fact that I have overcome a lot of challenges with a smile and a very optimistic attitude. Maybe that does count as corageous, I don't know. I honestly think that I'm a big chicken shit most of the time, but that's just me! Now, aggressive is definitely me. Growing up I was a very shy child and would never speak up for myself. Since becoming an adult (or a mother) I have become very defensive. I will tell someone off without even thinking about it and will definitely speak my mind. Sometimes I get myself in trouble by opening my mouth, but it makes me feel better! :)
Go ahead, look up the deeper meaning of your name and see how similar the meaning is to who you really are. You'll be shocked, just as I was!
Nov 17, 2013
When I saw Mama Kat's writing prompt this week about..."You Know You're A Mom When"... I knew I had to use it. I constantly make my own lists for this and I would love to share them! I altered it to be, "You Know You're a Single Mom When", because I'm a single mom and have that experience to share. :) If you have any ideas for any other ones, please post them in the comments!
10. When you feel accomplished when you actually have taken a shower, brushed your teeth and shaved your legs all in one session. This is a rare occurrence, maybe once a week if you're a lucky single mom! When I accomplish all of this while taking a shower without any little visitors calling me "mom", I feel like I deserve a medal for that feat.
Nov 12, 2013
This is Elfie, she is our new Elf on the Shelf for this Holiday Season. Prior to this I never really got into the whole Elf on the Shelf trend and tradition with my kids mostly because my cheap ass thought that it was too expensive. ($29.99 for a small un-poseable elf...WHAAAAAT?) My mom and I were browsing at Target the other day and she brought up the fact that she thought it would be a good idea to use this tradition to keep my (occasionally) unruly kids in check during the Holiday. After
a lot a bit of complaining about how expensive it was, she agreed to go halfsies with me on the elf -- I agreed.