Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer is Now Over

We did it. We made it through our first summer in North Carolina. My final thoughts? It was hot and humid! I am really really looking forward to cooler weather and Fall. I know we live here on the coast but I have my fingers crossed we will experience seasons more than we did in California.

A week ago, I was predicting ice cream and swimming and more Pokemon hunting. I think we managed all three successfully. We even threw in some other activities for good measure :) Like a Ghost Walk in Old Wilmington. Not quite as scary as we hoped but still enjoyable!

Life is good! And now here we are ready to start another school year. I can't not tell you how much I look forward to the schedules and opportunities for the kids to meet friends. We need some people in our life. You know, cause of the husband's work schedule and all.

I hope you all have a great week and welcome September with as much excitement as I do!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ipsy August 2016 GlamBag

I just received my August 2016 Ipsy Glambag! I'm pretty excited about my loot. Once again, the majority of the items were cosmetics with a couple skin care items thrown in. I'm going to jump right to the good stuff because we all know how Ipsy works by now. You pay $10 a month to receive a cute makeup bag filled with 5 items. The bag always has a value well above the $10 fee. I've been extremely happy with this service. I always receive at least one item that I use in my daily or weekly routine. Often times, I receive 5 things that get added right to my weekly wears.

Recently, Ipsy added videos for each product they send to demonstrate a few ways to use your glambag products. I love it! It's like the most personalized Youtube tutorial channel ever. I'm telling you Ipsy is the way to go. Click over to MY LINK and sign up! You won't regret it. Promise.

Now back to the contents I said I was getting right to. Sorry about that!

1// Lord & Berry 20100 Maximatte Crayon Lipstick in Intimacy $20.00
2// Beauty For Real I-line 24-7 Eyeliner in Black Magic $14.00
3// Ofra Cosmetics "You Glow Girl" Highlighter $12.00
4// The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Cleansing Gel $25.50
5// Olive Natural Beauty Anti-Aging Facial Moisturizer $16.00

The retail value of this bag is $87.50. Can you believe the value? I know what you are thinking. Tipsy probably sends the trial size. Would you be surprised to hear they don't for the makeup? You get the full size real deal. The skin and hair care items are usually smaller sizes but I divide the price by ounces and then multiple the ounces received. This bag was a crazy good deal, huh?

My favorite item is the Lord & Berry Matte Crayon Lipstick in Intimacy. I also really like the Ofra highlighter shadow. My least favorite was the Beauty For Real Eyeliner in Black Magic. It did not apply smoothly and the color wasn't as intense as black should be, think gray. My opinion only :)

Another good Glambag experience. Are you ready to sign up? Here you go:

Want to view more recent Glambags?
July 2016 Ipsy Glambag
June 2016 Ipsy Glambag
April 2016 Ipsy Glambag

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Endless Summer

I'm beginning to think summer will never end. I remember the days when I wanted summer to go on forever. When I worked at the elementary school and going back to school meant back to work.  Now, that we've moved to a new school district with a  new school calendar, I'm wondering when the heck these kids are going to be out of my hair!

With one week left, we are stepping up our end-of-summer game. We will be trying to get out of the house a little more. Enjoy cold treats a little more. Think more positively about hanging out with our siblings more *wishful thinking*. I know all you mommas out there get it! By August, your kids have had about enough of each other and possibly you had enough of each of them too. Only in the most loving way, of course :)

I am telling you Pokemon has been our summer lifesaver. At the beginning of summer, I couldn't get the kids to move away from the Xbox games. Then came Pokemon and suddenly their little eyes and ears perked up and they were ready to leave the house. I admit I'm just as sucked in by the silly app as the rest of the world. However, I totally use my kids as an excuse for that one! I play for them!

Here we are winding down to a new school year with some pool party fun. Complete with an abundance of floaties. Check in the background there must have been ten of them. Would you believe my kids have never had the privilege of swimming with these types of pool toys? They loved it.

As always, we will give this last week of summer our best effort! Bring on the ice cream and swimming and Pokestops. We've got seven days to get it all out of our system!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ipsy GlamBag July 2016

Opps, I forgot to post my July 2016 Ipsy Glambag. I'm still all about this service. I promise you $10 is nothing for what you receive. You don't have to know your way around a makeup bag to appreciate this monthly subscription service. I was far from that. Before Ipsy, I was averaging 1 makeup day every week or two. Now, I'm learning and becoming more comfortable so the days are increasing slowly.  I am more aware of skin care and hair care than before the Ipsy subscription. I didn't realize how important those two things were, especially for someone who hasn't figured out reverse aging yet.

My July 2016 Ipsy Glambag:

1.) Nunzio Santiano Anti-Frizz Sheets x4
2.) theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony Eyeshadow in Kumar
3.) Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer
4.) Vasanti Cosmetics Professional Eyeshadow Brush
5.) Skyn Iceland The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion

I did the research and the math, dividing price by quantity when necessary, and this bag has a value of $40.50 based on retail prices. That's a good deal!

I usually receive more makeup but I was happy to try out the skincare and haircare items sent my way. I'm not always impressed with every product but it is fun to experiment! My favorite for July 2016 Glambag was theBalm Cosmetics Eyeshadow. I love their products. My least favorite was the Nunzio Santiano Anti-Frizz sheets. They didn't work :(

If your interested, here is my referral link. Use it if you like :)

Want to view more recent Glambags?
June 2016 Ipsy Glambag
April 2016 Ipsy Glambag
March 2016 Ipsy Glambag


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg Virginia

As I mentioned in the previous post, we took a day to explore Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. 
Military families receive free admission each calendar year, so it's worth seeing at least once. 
Colonial Williamsburg is best described as living history. It's an entire early colony complete with houses, businesses, and townspeople milling about.

My soon-to-be 6th grader was really into it because he spent his 5th grade year learning American History. He even stepped to the front of the angry mod of colonist storming the Governor's Palace. 

And because this is the East Coast all the streets are lined with leafy green trees.
And we love that!

Everyone is in character and every building you visit has it's own expert to educate you on their particular craft.

There is also a Liberty Lounge for military members and families to refresh. 
Given the humidity and heat, it's a really nice service provided.

And because these are my kids and they are goofy and drive me crazy, I will give you a very real picture of what touring a historic attraction looks like for us :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our First Trip To Virigina

Let me tell you, this one made me nervous! A road trip to a new state sans hubby and three kids. I was so close to talking myself out of this one. But the more I talked to people, the more I was convinced I could do this. Safely. 

Since we have moved to the East Coast, we have traveled around NC and to Myrtle Beach, SC. The build up to deployment kept us close to home most weekends due to an unpredictable work schedule. 
Soon there will be school activities to keep us home, so I wanted to go somewhere during this small window of opportunity. Virginia was the best choice because it is close and there were some free things for military families.

I would have loved to share all those things with you but...I lost my phone. Oh yes, after decades of phone ownership, I finally had the dreaded experience of losing my phone! I'll give you the short story of the incident because the long story is only good face-to face.  We went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I was playing the role of dutiful mom--otherwise known as "holder of the stuff".  Then my children rode the ultimate roller coaster, Verboten which they determined I had to ride. So, I left the bag with the tween boys who I really didn't trust to not leave the "stuff" somewhere to be stolen. So, I put my phone in my trusty front pocket and thought everything would be just fine. 

Nope, not even halfway into the ride I put my hand on my pocket to confirm the phone was tucked away safely and it was gone. The gal seated behind us said she heard it fall early in the ride. Either scenario means the phone now resides in a pond or cracked to pieces on a cement floor. Unless the Otterbox case could save it which my Otterbox has definitely protected my phone from some big falls. Anything is possible!

What was suppose to be a fairly inexpensive trip ended up costing $$$. I can't help it because I love my iPhone products, so you gotta pay the price. 

But now you know we went to the amusement park and the next day over to Colonial Williamsburg. We didn't spend much time but enough to see a reenactment of the colonists storming the Governor's Palace and visit all the buildings in the town. Derrick was really into it because he just spent his 5th grade year learning all this American History. We did about 6 hours of exploring but I think you could do more. Colonial Williamsburg offers free admission to military families each calendar. We will definitely be back to visit. 

At the edge of Colonial Williamsburg sits William & Mary college. It is the second oldest college in America and educated a handful of presidents. Thomas Jefferson, ring a bell?
 It is a beautiful campus. The buildings are gorgeous. If I were young and smart and highly motivated, then this would be my college. 
We have definitely added exploring college campuses to our adventure list now that Kyli is an upperclassman. She isn't into the college campus viewing like I would hope. But, I love it, so she has to go nonetheless. I'm hoping she gets motivated by osmosis or luck or something. Otherwise, I will be having to come to terms with my "broken" dreams. Which in the grand scheme of things there are worse "broken" dreams to have and it is her journey to navigate. 
I would never have said that 5 years ago :) 
See what having a teenager does to you?
At some point, you just want them to make it to 18 alive and with a resemblance of a relationship in tack. 

Speaking of disgruntled teenagers, she has peeked her head out at me to discuss getting a cat no less than 3 times while I write this post. 
Cats are great and all, but her little brother is allergic. 
Getting a cat is out of the question.
She says, 'It's ok I'm going to get one anyways'.
Because she wants to get me all worked up.
My response (when I'm in a good mood): That's interesting.
That is her signal that she isn't getting a fight. 
It only took me a year to learn that response. 
End tangent. Virginia was great. I'll post my Colonial Williamsburg pictures tomorrow!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Day of Coastal Carolina

One of my goals for our East Coast duty station is to see all 7 coastal lighthouses in North Carolina. In order to accomplish this one, I will need to drive the entire coast line of this state. It is not an undoable task since the distance between the southern most lighthouse to the northern most lighthouse is 300 miles. North Carolina isn't that big regardless of what any map tries to indicate. Stay tuned for those adventures!

This lighthouse is in Wilmington which is near our home. I've learned the magical mommy art of integrating what I really want to do with what the kids want when adventuring. Our whole staycation day was really about the lighthouse. But I know if I say that to my kids they will complain and be completely obnoxious until we just don't go at all. Unless, they could climb to the top of that lighthouse, which to our "disappointment" top tours are on Tuesday and Thursday mornings only. Wow, I really didn't plan that well. Or did I?!?

This is the Oak Island Lighthouse which is unique in it's simply design. 
I believe this lighthouse is the newest in the state built in 1953. It also do not have the typical spiral staircase to climb to the top but small ship ladders. I might be brave to climb smaller stints on ladders  rather than an open spiraling staircase from top to bottom. But I can't be sure at this point. Either way 150-plus feet or more is way outside my comfort zone. It's more of a dad thing in our family :)
Anyways, if you like history and facts, here is the link for the Oak Island Lighthouse.

The kids experienced something new while exploring the Wilmington coastal area. A ferry ride! They have never been on a ferry, seen one work, or known the concept. I'm pretty confident they were a little freaked out as we waited in line to drive our car on the boat. They asked repeatedly asked questions like, "What happens if the boat sinks?" and "Who is responsible for replacing our car...if the boat sinks?" Haha. Luckily, this time, the boat didn't sink. 

We had a pretty neat experience and got them comfortable with ferry rides. This was my plan because I read adventuring to Cape Hatteras is a 2.5 hour ferry ride compared to this 40 minute one. Cape Hatteras is one my travel list here, so we need to be ok with that :)

Remember those activities I mentioned throwing in the mix to get my kids to go along with my plans? This day was the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. I did a quick photo tour of the NC aquarium which you can go back and read. The aquarium has rave reviews for being one of the best in the nation. I think we might be a little jaded having all the aquariums in Southern California. Aquarium of the Pacific, Birch Aquarium, and Sea World do the fish thing very well! But, here we are in NC, and the East Coast is a completely different ecosystem than the West Coast. So, we can learn new things. 

Like alligators!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stitchfix August 2016

Deployment is overwhelming most days. Whether it's exhaustion, managing disasters, or just plain loneliness. All those things tend to pile up and overwhelm. I have never been great about giving me a break on deployment. I'm usually a head down and plow through until Homecoming kind of gal. Let me tell you, it is a terrible terrible idea. Do not do it! I made a personal goal this time to schedule monthly pampering moments to reward myself for getting through.

Stitch Fix may not be your typical self-care but it's a happy surprise that shows up on my doorstep. It does not require me to do anything but try on clothes and make a decision. Even if I don't keep anything, I get to be on the receiving end of someone else's effort. And that feels nice. Plus, it is one of the few days out of the month I get to receive some worthwhile mail!

I've been receiving StitchFix boxes off and on for almost three years. Early in my experience, I felt the Fixes missed the mark and gradually as I learned to communicate my style, the Fixes became spot on. Leah has been styling my Fixes for at least a year and she has been a perfect match. While she tries to incorporate some of my requests in each box, she also uses her expertise to choose pieces new to me.

Now for the drum roll....

Briton Ivy Cristen Shirt Dress
Speaking of new to me, I have never tried a shirt dress before. Pleasantly surprised! 

Pixely Woodruff Tie Shoulder Chambray Top.
I asked for chambray and Leah delivered.

41Hawthorn Claremont Lace Up Detail Blouse.
I asked for blush.

Bay To Baubles Monroe Stacked Pave Pendant.
I really loved this necklace.

Loveappella Torie Knit Dress.
This dress was beyond comfortable. I feel like it was the perfect lightweight dress for this incredibly humid Southern weather.
I love the versatility as well. I could dress up or down. 

That face, I know. These pictures are what my husband gets to see from afar. 
I'm quite the seductress!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

North Carolina Aquarium At Fort Fisher

A day of fun. Staycation style. I read North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of the best aquariums in the country. After a little research, I found and both put this aquarium on their "best" list. My kids are all about aquariums, so our adventures will always include visiting fish when nearby.

It's not often you find an albino alligator. The New Orleans Zoo is the last time we saw one.
Such weird things in nature, isn't there?

Sting rays are a plenty out in NC waters.
The ocean is beautiful but full of lots of things to watch out for!

Lots of levels to explore.

Here are my aquarium aficionados or should we say a-fishy-onado?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Apprehensive Social Butterfly

You know that day early in deployment when you get the invite to a social gathering. Your heart is begging you to stay in your pjs on the couch but you feel like it's the "right thing" to do. You brush your teeth, put on real clothes, and reluctantly drag drive yourself to the party. You third wheel it all night managing the highs and lows of socializing. There is someone to talk to, now everybody is hanging close to their husbands, preoccupy yourself with your kid, and now where did your little people go? No really because now you are third wheeling it again!!

That was me in week 1. Our very good friends were throwing a birthday party for their son and everybody and their...husband would be there. Which means? Third wheel. You've probably been there too. Birthday party, cook-out, or wine night. It's a couples night or family day and you know without a doubt you will be the only one sans husband. The thing is your husband has only been gone days or weeks and you aren't quite on board with the whole single woman hear me roar persona which will empower you in month 2, 3 and possibly 4. So, you become nauseous thinking about the pros and cons. You come up with your best excuses which are half truths because you don't want to out right lie. And God forbid you tell anyone you don't want to come because your husband just left and you are still in a funk. You know the way people are, negative emotions just encourage them to pressure you to come over and potentially risk ruining a perfectly great friendship outside of deployment.

To go or not to go--that is the question. Well, I went. It wasn't the worst. My kids had fun. I got to socialize with adults. I met some ladies who seem nice. I saw our very good friends who are a joy beyond measure. I witnessed some good ole Marine shenanigans which is always a good laugh. I stood around a lot and talked to no one. I preoccupied myself with my kids so I wouldn't be the loner in the corner. And I hovered over the food table one too many times.

I got out of the house. I could have stayed home and no one really would have been too bothered by my absence. But I would have been alone. And I was "alone" yesterday and I will probably be "alone" tomorrow. It's probably best that I get out these first weeks and socialize with adults when the opportunity presents itself :) Set the tone for an "exciting" deployment. However, I'm not setting myself up for an overly eventful deployment. I just want us all to get through in one piece, alive, and healthy. Because we know how the last one ended and we don't want to repeat that. So, if I want to stay home in jammies I will. If I feel I need a push, then I will give myself one of those too :) Morale of this story: Set your own pace deployment buddies!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Great Smoky Mountains Adventure

Another PCS adventure for the books. This one was in the Great Smoky Mountains on the Gatlinburg Trail. I love hiking. I love seeing new things. I am so glad we made the decision to make our PCS trip into a mini-vacation. Have you done this? When we moved to Japan we spent only one day in Seattle before our flight to the mainland. This trip we made every day a little bit of vacation. And it was fun!

I can't speak enough for the beauty of Southern Arkansas, all of Tennessee, and Eastern North Carolina. 

Of course there was hiking. Partly because we're outdoorsy like that and partly because we had the dog. PCS-ing with a dog. Now there is another lesson we learned the hard way. There is not nearly enough information out there about PSC-ing with dogs, so we were limited on our entertainment choices.

When things look this beautiful, you can't be too upset about spending time outdoors.

There you go. The Great Smoky Mountains. Put it on your bucket list! 
Or your next PCS travel list.