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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Its almost here!

I have a love/hate relationship with my email inbox. They send little teasers about the new Beauty and the Beast movie that is coming on March 17th. On the one hand, I can't wait! On the other... I'm too poor to get the cool extras. The Alamo Drafthouse has pre-order tickets for the movie. Buy the tickets and you can also get the special edition pint glasses.
How cool are they?!

In addition, I'm on a review list that sends updates on certain movies. Everything from news on the progress to release, previews, and kid activity pages. I love seeing things before others, but this ones previews have me apprehensive on how the movie will be. My expectations are high. Belle is my Princess of choice. She's the nerdy one! How can I not expect something awesome from that??

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Celebrating 29 years

I'm not a big party animal. I don't go out much, I haven't had a drink in a year at least, and I don't like the crazy scenes. So this year, my birthday was spent doing things I love. Mostly. I admit that I spent part of it at a clinic being seen for an ongoing illness that caused me to miss work last week.
It is no fun being sick on your birthday weekend. Coughing until your back hurts and a migraine kicks in, is nowhere near my idea of fun. But it is what it is. Outside of that, I made the most of my day. We had a friend watch the girls while we took the boys to see the new Star Wars movie finally. Rogue One was worth the wait! I loved it and I really do need to watch the original trilogy as finally fit together... Then we came home to have a quick and easy dinner AFTER cake and ice cream.
My fiancé grabbed a chocolate cake with strawberries, my favorite! Then we all gathered while I opened my presents. I'm blessed to have so many who love me. I am reminded of that daily. Everyone wished me well and also checked to see how I was doing.

Despite being sick, I think this was the best birthday so far. I had my children, who are all getting over their sickness.
I have my fiancé who goes out of his way to make every day special for me. And I have two sides of my growing family that loves and cares about us. Nothing could be better than that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Only 4 more months to go...

My wedding day approaches quickly. I have just about four more months left to finish the preparations. I do have the cake toppers and he put on a custom engagement ring to show this lady is his.
He knows me so well. A diamond would've disappointed this nerdy girl. He created a ring with the Star Wars rebel symbols holding the ruby.
The cake toppers will look great on the cake we plan to have. He has Captain Picard and I have Queen Amidala.  
The invitations went out too. My future mother-in-law and her brother created the perfect blend for us.
And for my birthday, my Mom sent us our cake cutting set. A little polish and it will be beautiful!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Emerald brand review via Shoplet

I’m all for healthier living and environment protection. I’ll try anything at least once to   determine if it is something worthy of its cause. This is one such product I took a chance on. Shoplet.com is partnering with Emerald Brand to build up awareness of their 70% tree free paper products.
A few facts to consider when thinking about why this product is unique.
Using Tree-Free products would cut back on the amount of hardwood trees that are cut down every year. They utilize agricultural by-products that would otherwise be burned. These by-products are rapidly renewable, so its incredibly wasteful as well as harmful to local communities that inhale the smoke.
Emerald gets their hands on these by-products to take them out of the wasted piles and put them into use. They are BPA and chlorine free. I like what they are trying to do. Creating less waste and making healthy living a reality.

Now for the gritty part. I've used the Facial Tissues. I took them to work where everyone around me was sick. My supervisor and myself are the go-to for tissues, paper towels and Lysol wipes. Not sure how that happened, but it is what it is. The first person to use the tissues had an immediate response against them. They are course. Thick as a regular tissue, but lacking the softness that the raw human nose needs. I could actually use them as napkins. My suggestion to Emerald would be to add a little softener or lotion to them. These come in a case of 36 for $76.63 making each box about $2.12 a piece.

I also received the pocket pack. These come in pocket sized packs that are easy to carry. You can buy a case of 240 for $90.01 making each one about .37.
I have the Bath Tissue in my downstairs visitor bathroom. They are very similar to regular brands of toilet paper we have used. Maybe a little thinner than the local brand. They work just as well. The top side is soft, the underside has a pattern that makes it feel courser. I do like how they are septic safe. You can get a case of them from Shoplet.com for $95.80. It comes with 96 double rolls of 500 sheets each. This makes them about $1 a roll.
Overall, I suggest the toilet paper. The tissues need work. What do you think? Would you try them? Do you think their cause is worth it? Don't forget to look for yourself around Shoplet.com. They are the largest e-tailer of office supplies. They also have office furniture, medical supplies, and cleaning supplies.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Measuring Success

According to Dictionary.com, success is defined as follows:
1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals.   
2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.   
Lately, I would have to say that I don't feel very successful. I've had many goals, but very little have been carried into completion. I seem to create goals that end up discarded along the way. Dreams get placed on the shelf. I know I've talked about this before. It seems to be a life-long thing at this point.
I'm by no means wealthy. Not even in the 'comfortable life' sense. I live paycheck to paycheck with a little thrown into savings for those inevitable vehicle repairs that I seem to have more often than I would like. My position in life is the same now that it has been all my life - middle class to poor. Though I suppose I have finally moved into a white collar job. I have no distinguishing honors. I know a little about a lot of things, but nothing to specialize in.
My life goals:
Finish college (Quit when I got married and pregnant)
Become an ASL Interpreter (Have to finish college to get this)
Buy a house (Would have this year, if my ex-husband didn't pull me down with his tax evasion)
Become a writer on the side (Finally accepted that I'm not as good a writer as I thought)
Create my own business (Takes money to make money and I don't have it)
So how do I know if I am successful? If I compare myself by the definitions, I'm not. I haven't obtained any of my goals, wealth, honors, position, etc.. I barely keep my family afloat, and that's just surviving - not living. If I compare myself to other women, I'm nowhere near as successful as I should be. I'm not on the same level as some of the "white trash" types I've met over the past few years, but I'm also not doing well in keeping my kids on the right track in some areas. My kids aren't honor students. Okay maybe my 4 year old daughter will be, but her brothers aren't. I no longer own my vehicles, but make payments. I live in the crappiest apartment I have ever been stuck in. Even the first one I was in, next door to drug dealers and hookers, was better health-wise than this one. I spend more time at work every day, than I do at home. My kids see me maybe 3 hours during the week, everyday. During the weekend, I'm busy running errands, cleaning the house, or trying to catch up on projects (sometimes this includes side work). All for what? The mediocre life of getting by?
No where do I see the shining story of rising above and making a difference. More recently, I have felt like a failure at the job. I've worked hard to assist my supervisor and it seems our efforts are for nothing. And it has shown me how little I know. I now get annoyed by being called a unicorn when before I felt honored. For those of you who don't know the meaning, see the video below. Maybe its because I've been out of school for so long and that's where my success seemed better. Maybe its because I just had a baby and I still feel like a fat cow. But throw everything together and I don't see where "successful" is in the description of me.
So I pose a question to Mom's out there. How is success measured for us?

Scrape A Round review

Texas is too far south for heavy snows and ice. At least in the San Antonio area. We barely get a freeze that lasts more than 2 nights. Instead we enjoy highs of 60 degrees and count ourselves lucky when it doesn’t get higher than 75.

With that said, when it does freeze or ice over it can cause quite a difficult time. We don’t typically keep tools on hand to battle winter. Summer is our enemy. Winter is a friend who bites on occasion. This winter, I wasn’t prepared for ice on my windshields. Okay, let me rephrase…. I wasn’t planning on ice, but I was fortunate enough to have just received a Scrape-A-Round to write a review for. Thanks to my partnership with US Family Guide. Let me explain how that morning was for me and my kiddos.
  I get up late (long night with the baby), I’m throwing on clothes and trying to get my older kids to tumble out of bed and get dressed for school. I’m grabbing bags and finding shoes. Finally, it is time to trudge into the biting wind to my van. It might have only been about twelve feet from my door, but those steps couldn’t have felt more difficult to take. I get the kids situated in the back and climb into the drivers’ seat. And that’s when I saw it. Frost. Ice on the windshield. A nice solid layer that doesn’t go away when I try to swish them off with the windshield wipers. Now I’m annoyed. Frustration levels are soaring past the roof and into the clouds. I have to drop off my girls with the sitter. I have to take my boys to school. And then make to 30-60 minute drive to work (depending on the traffic). I grabbed a half empty bottle of water the kids had left in the van and poured it out, hoping that I would be able to wipe the ice off. No luck still. It wasn’t until I sat back, ready to scream, that I remembered I had just received the Scrape-A-Rounds. I run inside and grab one. Within 60 seconds, I had a clear windshield and took off like a horse at the start of the race.

It did not take effort or upper body strength (which I lack) to get it truly cleared off. I just swirled the Scrape-A-Round over the windshield in a circular motion. You don’t have to, I just do as a habit. Everything is circular with me. The Scrape-A-Round fits solidly in my hand.
It has attachments that help with thicker, more stubborn ice.
I also appreciate the fact that it can double as a funnel for adding windshield wiper fluid. It is a decent size that stores well in compartments in my van too.

 I may not have need of it often, but I’m grateful to have it when I do come up against ice. When I’m in a hurry, the last thing I need is the weather causing me to be late.
If you need more information, see their ad below.

The Scrape-a-round is a brilliant feat of ice scraping engineering. The simple explanations why Scrape-A-Round is the best ice scraper are as follows, Scrape-A-Round is the:
Best ice scraper because of the softer plastic, allows the scraper to conform to the window curvature! Find out more information: http://www.scrapearound.com/
18" of ice scraping surface.
The comfortable grasp provides relief for the arthritic or carpal syndrome sufferer.
Direct pressure to the window, no pressure lost through the ice scraper!
The circular rotational motion of ice scraper.
Double ice scraper action, leading edge and trailing edge.
Multi functional, remove the cap and it doubles as a funnel.
This scrapes windows frost and ice free in half the time!
Makes the perfect gift for the Holidays!

Time for some savings! Get FREE Shipping at http://www.scrapearound.com/ Use code LU8FBEZREU2 at checkout.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Disappointment in the Rewards

Something I have come to notice in my professional career, is the lack of thought that owners, managers, and leaders put into the rewards and surprises they create for their employees. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a burst of enthusiasm from a team that is striving to impress the higher ups, only to feel like they received a slap in the face in return. How so? Simple. Those in charge of picking the rewards don’t put any thought into who they are rewarding. They go with what is cheapest, looked cool, or is just easy to obtain. Why should an employee strive for obtaining their goals if the reward promised isn’t something they would care to have? Let’s look at this, shall we.

Let’s say that I am told I could win a prize if I meet a certain goal. The prize isn’t defined. So my imagination can go wild with possibilities. Out of curiosity, I can push myself to meet or even exceed that goal that was set for me. But then the time comes when the prize is revealed. And suddenly I’m living the Clark Griswold moment from Christmas Vacation. “It's a one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.” Suddenly I’m questioning whether my efforts were worth giving. According to International Best Seller, Mark Villareal, you should always give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. You aren’t just working for the company, but for God. But should I push myself above their expectations? I’m going to be paid the same amount either way. Why should I give extra effort for something I have no interest in?

Think about the people you have to encourage. What are their goals? What do they like? Recently, my department was offered prizes to the best performers based upon their goals. If their goals were met, tickets to a Spurs game could be theirs. In San Antonio, lots of people are Spurs fans. I’m not a sports fan, let alone a Spurs fan. I could care less. I don’t feel the need strive for higher. Not for myself. Now, because I do respect my supervisor and know she would like them, I don’t mind attempting to get us to our goal so that she can get the tickets. It won’t benefit me.

It is true that if you try to please everyone, you end up not pleasing anyone. So where is the median to this conundrum? For our department, they have ongoing contests monthly. Having multiple rewards available gives more incentive than if there is a single prize to be won. It makes everyone want to participate. Heck, cash bonus’ works for every employee. Who doesn’t need extra money? Or want it? Gift cards to places that you know everyone could use. None of us here are made of money. As a matter of a fact, in a kickoff meeting for this year, almost everyone that was asked by the owner, “What are your goals for this year?” answered with, “Get out of debt.” That ought to say something.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like getting something I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford on my salary. Tickets to events can be fantastic for people who live paycheck to paycheck. A chance to sit back and enjoy life on someone else’s dime. But, personally, I’m also very conscious of life and the things that it requires. I have bills. I have kids. I can’t go out whenever I please. I still have 3 tickets to see the latest Star Wars movie with from Christmas. The Star Wars nerd, holding tickets…. They are burning holes in my pockets. But I digress.

I think leadership should consider these things a little more before they randomly start contests. You really want your employees to feel appreciated? Get to know them. Be sincere. Be genuinely interested in their lives, in their personal goals, their dreams. If you are going to spend money, spend it on things they can receive wholeheartedly. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Millennium Falcon 3D Deco Light review

Christmas has past, but a whole new year is here with birthdays, graduations, and baby showers or wedding showers. There are so many reasons you might have to buy gifts. OR you might be in the market to buy a house, move to a new place. Whatever the reason, I have a review I think everyone can benefit from in some way.
Having a partnership with US Family Guide, I was given the chance to review a night light from 3DLightFX. This one is a Millennium Falcon 3D Deco Light.
These lights are amazing. Easy to install, very detailed, they come with a wall decal that adds to the effect. Even while in use, they are cool to the touch. I do like that they are battery operated, so I don't have to deal with cords. Though that means I will have to change them every so often.
They also have a timer. I love this function. I've used it on the Death Star that we bought recently.

They have many varieties. My Little Pony, Avengers, Star Wars, etc. Whatever you or your family and friends are into. And they make great décor with the light is off.  
They do sell them at Target stores and Target.com as well as other stores. You can get more of the decals from their website. I only wish they had something included to smooth the sticker during application to the wall. That part can be a little troublesome.
I love having these around the room. It shows off my Star Wars love while providing a really cool decoration to the walls that are also useful in the dark.
Which ones would you consider getting?