Friday, September 30, 2016

Another Week Done

The weeks are just flying by! Yet, I'm looking at my calendar asking "It's still September?!?" I'm sure eventually I will look back on this "business trip" and think "That went fast". Right now, the jury is still out. I can't decide if time is going fast or slow.

I do know October 1st is tomorrow and honestly, it might as well be Christmas. Doesn't it feel like time flies from here until Christmas? For now, I'm focusing on all the pumpkins! Aren't pumpkins pretty? There are so many different types now. Not just your standard orange jack o lantern.

This week has been one for the books. Both of our cars were struggling. Just random, "Hey, let's add a little fun to Nicole's life" kind of problems. Tuesday was my first chance to get things looked at on the van. The mechanic said it was a power train/computer issue which is thankfully still under warranty. So, he advised me to only drive the van to the dealership to get it fixed and plan for it to be there awhile. However, the dealership only had morning appointments later in the week. Wednesday I brought the car into the shop for its problem and luckily it was only an exhaust issue they were able to fix straight away! Thursday was back to dealing with the van. Hoping to see that vehicle next week. My son asked me, "So, what do you do all day?" I guess the answer is sit around mechanic shops! Murphy is winning.

I have been slowly making my way through Lysa Terkeurst's book, Uninvited. I use it as my personal daily study. I admit I still struggle with loneliness and feeling settled in NC. I've been meeting people and doing the social thing but still not feeling like I've found my people. Sometimes, I feel like if I could just start working then things would be easier. Or easier to avoid :) But that is all out of my hands as well. I'm trusting God is working out a plan that makes all this wondering worthwhile. Just curious about His timeline! It feels a little lengthy!

Shopping does help boost the mood. Bath and Body Works currently has the best Halloween and fall displays around. I want everything! With my need for retail therapy, I try to keep things practical. We were running low on foaming hand soap ;) I stocked up! Bath and Body Works light clean scents are my favorite. Lemon, vanilla, and mint fall into these categories for me. 

On a positive note, this week began with a sweet surprise in my mailbox. A fun package from a blogger-turned-real-life friend full of goodies. It made my day so much brighter. Mail is such a nice gift for anyone. Thanks again Kara!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Marching Band and Food

Marching band competitions are officially our life as of Saturday. A new school, a new band. Ky transitioned so smoothly from her old school color guard to her new school color guard. Her activity was one of the top deciding factors in choosing where we would live at this PCS. I never worried so much when the kids were younger but I really wanted Ky to have her activity in North Carolina. I figured she left enough in California.

Marching band is taken a little more serious this way. I think it makes for a better experience for the kids when your school and community support you in so many ways! I love that for her.

The first competition was in Wilmington. Ky had an early show time at the school, so the boys and I continued on to Wilmington to have lunch and tour around Old Town. We went to this little gastropub, The Copper Penny, and had some pretty phenomenal sandwiches!

We all ordered something different and shared. Hands down the best food in Wilmington so far!

Downtown Wilmington is a great touristy spot for window shopping. It's also an abundant Pokestop area for the boys. I guess the game uses historic places for Pokestops and Wilmington is full of historic places. I love that Downtown Wilmington is only one block from the Cape Fear River front too. It's makes for a pretty stroll along the water. It's nice to get out of our small town and change up the scenery!

Right before the competition, we stopped at a nearby donut shop, Wake n Bake, which we visited when we went to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and took the ferry to the Oak Island Lighthouse. I guess I didn't mention it in those posts but it definitely happened! The love began then because the donuts are insanely good! My daughter begged for us to stop again on Saturday when we were in the area. I never say no to a donut stop! It's my weakness. I mean when you write a single post about your love for donuts, it is probably a good indication you have a problem! And if you write two posts featuring donuts, then you have a problem! I will never deny it.

Finally, after all our eating of the unhealthy food, we made it to the band competition. Oh how the setting has changed! Band competitions in NC are much more humid and mosquito ridden than CA. I can't say I love it! But I do love watching the girl perform. She was most definitely killing the routine Saturday night. Too sad, they ended with a 3rd place finish. But the quality of performance was much higher than we are used to. Proud of their work and performance! There is still plenty of time left for 1st place!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ipsy September Glambag 2016

My favorite pink package arrived a few days ago! Ipsy Glambag fun mail! Ipsy is by far my favorite subscription box. It's such a deal. You pay $10 a month and 5 makeup, skincare, or haircare items in a monthly shipment. I have been figuring out my monthly values for some time now and it seems like the average value of an Ipsy Glambag is $40. 

This month's products were about prepping the right canvas for your makeup look. Lots of primers! The jury is still out with me regarding primers. I just keep using what Ipsy sends me and I may have bought another primer from Sephora as well. But do primers really matter? I don't have a clue.

Here is my September 2016 Glambag:
Too Face Lip Injection Extreme $9.50
Onomie Powerful Priming Serum $8
Radial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Tonic $6
Eva NYC Forget Me Not Dry Conditioner $2
BellaPierre Cosmetics Mineral Blush in Autumn Glow $20

My favorite is the BellaPierre mineral blush. I love the color and how smooth it applies to my skin. It brushed on so light, even, and was a great shade to brighten my look. I really really liked this product. My least favorite (so far) is the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme. First, I'm skeptical and second, the Too Faced product left a burning/tingling sensation on my lips for about 10 minutes. I'm not a big fan of any product doing that. Too Faced or not!

The retail value was $45.50. I think now would be a good time to remind you I paid $10 :) Month after month,  I keep telling you all what a deal this is! If you would like to sign up, you can use my referral link and get started right away. Otherwise, Ipsy might put you on a waiting list and then you won't be able to get started receiving these amazing deals!

Let me know if you sign up. I love hearing what others think, what you receive, and what your favorites are!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Retail Therapy

We are ending month two within the next weeks. This is about the time where I hit my stride and start to find some new positive things to occupy my time. My current stride includes working out, volunteering, late night Netflix watching, and reading all the books. And as of this week, retail therapy. Shopping gets sprinkled here and there throughout. I'm sure we will indulge again soon!

I think we are due for another tropical storm. The rain has fallen a few days this week.
Where these is short showers, there are rainbows! Double rainbows even! (Picture courtesy of my child). Disclaimer: Don't be on your phone while driving.

Fitness is my go-to deployment time buster. Which there could be worse! However, in the past my deployment fitness routine quickly detours after he returns. And 15 pounds later, I could kick my own ass! This time I promise I am going to keep going after he returns. If nothing else, then for the sake of eating donuts!

I started with Zumba and the treadmill. I think I lost 5 pounds and got bored. I decided this month to make a goal to walk 2 miles every day and start attending a variety of classes. Tuesday I landed in a class called Insanity, which ended up being a H.I.I.T class (high intensity interval training). My life has changed! I never worked so hard in my life! I was so sore and tired on Wednesday and Thursday. And guess what? This morning I woke up bright and early to go to HIIT again! I loved it!

I've been volunteering with our church. It helps me socialize :) I decided I wanted more though. I'm really missing work and the professional environment so I'm going to branch out. I should be starting with a county office serving children and families soon. I'm also looking into volunteering in a more social service centered organization as well. I'm considering one that serves refugees and one that serves foster families. Both very near and dear to my heart.

Doesn't my daughter's room give you all the feels? Teenagers are the best! This is my new Old Navy cardigan from Goodwill. I have really missed thrift stores.

Retail therapy was helping with my loneliness and boredom this week. I'm at the house A LOT. I don't mind, but periodically I should go outside. I picked up some stuff for the house. I found some cute booties for fall. (Waiting patiently for my favorite season!) And used books. Books are my weakness.

Oh and I got Lysa TerKeurst's new book Uninvited and I love it! All good stuff in there! I'm doing the online Bible study through the website Proverbs 31 Ministries. The online component is actually nice. I didn't know if I would like it.

Today I'm being social and meeting up with friends. Go me! I'm having fun today because I know there is yard work in my very near (weekend) future. Yard work equals not my favorite. I hope you have much better plans :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stitchfix September 2016

September September, let's make up a song for September! Who doesn't love the change from August to September? The promise of all things pumpkin. A slight chance the weather might possibly consider getting one degree cooler. It's going to be fall, y'all! See, I can say that now because I live in the South!

I got my September Stitchfix and it looked a lot like Fall too. Long sleeves, jeans, and leather inspired purse among other fashionable items. This fix wasn't my favorite but that crossbody bag was! 

Raga Emoni Cold Shoulder Blouse
I love the flowiness of this blouse and the color print wouldn't be something I'd normally try. I was hoping for a cold shoulder top this Fix because they are everywhere! Unfortunately, this wasn't quite what I had in mind. It didn't feel like me and it was a little too big.

Sequin detailing.

Octavia Brooks Crossbody Bag

Everything about this bag works for me! Love the color. Love the style. Love the quality! The only thing I don't love is my daughter has hijacked the purse already. Literally, the bag now belongs to her. I never had a chance!

Renee C Zalia Knit Dress

I love a floral print. My stylist knows I love a floral print. I also love dresses. This dress was the perfect marriage. A guaranteed hit! Sadly, I just wasn't feeling it. I thought the fit made me look pear shaped and the cinched waist accentuated my fluffy tummy. Insecure much? Looking at this picture, I don't feel that way at all. I kind of wish I would have kept it! The fabric was beyond comfortable and felt so light on my skin. 

I also received Bay To Baubles Coco Crystal Bauble Collar Necklace and Just Black Aly Skinny Jeans which I wasn't skinny enough to fit into :( A total let down for myself but I'm working on not having that problem with my October Stitchfix with a lot of cardio and core exercises.

I love receiving StitchFix boxes. I'm always hopeful to receive some unique pieces that speak to me. Sometimes, the Fix is spot on and other times, I don't always love everything. I can't imagine how difficult it must be as a stylist for this company. I think there is an algorithm and a couple other ways they package for you. Ultimately, it really is hit or miss.

I was so happy with August's StitchFix  (probably one of my favorites next to June 2014). I received a lot of things I wouldn't typically pick out myself. Unfortunately, this month I didn't feel the pieces were quite what I was looking for or quite what my body was needing. It was fun to try on the clothes and I'm never deterred to try again.

If you are interested, you can use this referral link to get

Friday, September 9, 2016

Starting September

Our first full week of September wasn't too shabby. At the end of the week,  I did not feel like doing anything productive. I drove into Wilmington for some window shopping and pickup a new read. I've been in such a reading slump since Me Before You and Ready Player One. I wonder if I feel this way because they were such good books and nothing has quite compared since?

I do this thing I call 'interview with a book' when I'm looking for my next read. I collect all the books which sound interesting to me and read the first chapter of every single one. The one that speaks to me is the one I go home with ;) As you can see, this interview session was a bit lengthy. Let's blame the slump I couldn't narrow it down more. I still wasn't able to narrow it down. It's the slump! I'm debating between The Hating Game and A Man Called Ove.

This is the outdoor mall where I did my window shopping today. Tree lined streets, all my favorite stores, and a Barnes & Noble add up to just my style!

Hard to believe a week ago we were dealing with our first tropical storm/hurricane. This is about all the flooding we saw in our day of rain. Super happy about that! 

I received this happy mail from my deployment secret sister. Our squadron significant others were matched up to create a little support (secret) system to one another through this deployment. I love it! I have never been a part of something like this and I really appreciate it. Deployment gets lonely and typically the military member is receiving all the fun mail. This package came as a surprise and it's perfect for me. Books and chocolate are some of my most favorite things!

Speaking of secret sister gifts, this will be delivered to mine this month. I don't mean to offend but who isn't a hot mess during deployment? I'm planning to package the shirt with some Hot Cheetos and baby wipes to play on the whole 'hot mess' thing. 
What is your opinion? Offensive or funny?

I also ordered one for myself. It says, "Sundays are for Jesus and Football." I like the way the other one looks better but this might be less offensive. Not that I really think the other is offensive but you know emotions can be delicate during these times.

Monday was Labor Day. I'm sure glad my neighbor has friends to party with on holidays. I don't even know why I took this picture. I guess I'm that neighbor. Eww! Actually, I was just texting with my sister and decided to let her see my neighborhood. Maybe we should focus on the green trees and blue skies? #stalkerstatus

We went to the beach for our Labor Day fun.
I love our weather makes it perfectly reasonable (and warm) to swim in the ocean at sunset.
All the heart eyes! We love it.

This week there have been lots of snake sightings. I'm guessing the cooler weather has them moving about. I haven't seen this many since May/June. A person really needs to careful here because there are many dangerous snakes. Unlike the crazy snapchat lady, I don't think a person should kill them. However, you definitely need to be paying attention when you are walking around.
Not sure what this guy was but we've been told a baby copperhead.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer 2016 Recap

One North Carolina summer is in the books! We enjoyed a relaxed and laid back Labor Day weekend. We experienced our first tropical storm slash hurricane. All of us are starting to feel a little more comfortable in our new state. I still have days when I could pack up this whole house and move to California in record time. Finally, those days are getting fewer and far between. I still want to move back to California but not in a heartbeat ;)

I thought it would be nice to have a post to look back on and see what we did our first summer in North Carolina. I never did an official summer recap post. So, today, this is the summer recap blog post for 2016.

We did a lot of traveling this summer. I knew we would since we didn't have anything tying up our time. It helped keep our minds off the things we missed. We went to Raleigh several times. Mostly to drop someone off at the airport or pick them up. One time we went just to see the North Carolina Museum of Natural History.

My favorite thing in this state so far!

We visited Charlotte for Ky's Sweet 16, Wilmington just because, and Jacksonville because it just makes sense! Fort Fisher Aquarium and Oak Island Lighthouse were highlights around Wilmington. 

Jacksonville is Jacksonville. Home of the Marine Base and not much else, some would say. I found this cute little park with walking trails, Lejeune Memorial Gardens and have visited often. There are pockets of greatness in Jacksonville :)

We made it to South Carolina and Virginia as well. Wow! I'm exhausted already!

Virginia was beautiful. I felt so accomplished traveling here with the kids. We spent our time in Williamsburg and had a ton of fun minus the lost phone debacle!

Summer 2016 was about adjusting to the big change of moving from one coast to another. We had a lot of fun this summer. We spent a lot of time with one another. A lot! It has been good and it has been not so good. Summer 2016 has been CHALLENGING. We've cried, complained, and seriously contemplated the logistics of moving back to California without dad. I mean we would have told him eventually! Thankfully, we made it to the other side. Summer is over, school has begun, and everyone is happier. 

There will be more adventures and traveling in the future. That's what we do!
However, it will be mixed with school activities and time with friends :)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day 2016

Good news, our first big North Carolina storm passed through without major incident. You can call it a hurricane or tropical storm, but all it really amounted to was lots of rain. I am confident it rained for 18 hours straight before there was ever a break in the storm. And my dumb dog held his pee for the same amount of time. We had some mild winds which left lots of small branches and pine cones all over the lawn. Overall, not a big deal! I'm very thankful. I know Florida and Georgia saw so much worse and yet the storm could have been so much worse for everyone! 

I figured I should post one final "we are at the beach enjoying summer weather" post in hopes it will summon the Autumn season. I really really hope North Carolina is a place where there is a season called Fall. If I can't have California, then I better get to experience my favorite season. Until the first leaf changes color, we can talk about the warm weather and beach days!

The boys and I went to the beach. (My often absent teenager went to a friend's house.) The beach in North Carolina is pretty much the best! California cannot compete! The water is warm. The sand is soft and powdery white (where we are). And the summer weather is always right for a beach day. 

Labor Day was our first holiday in this cycle of fun otherwise known as deployment. Holidays are typically hard without the loved one. Normal people retreat into family mode and you are sitting at home with your kids realizing your family is not whole at the moment. I have to disclose we did get an invite for a squadron BBQ for families but I passed. I hate to turn down invites, especially when I have yet to make any substantial connections. What is the old saying "don't look a gift horse in the mouth"? I mean when you get an invite and you are alone, then you should take the invite!! In my defense,  the RSVP list was solely mommas with babies and toddlers. I figured it wasn't a good fit for my kids meaning they wouldn't enjoy themselves and in return not let me enjoy myself. I'll save my veto power for another day!