Round-Up: September 2017

September 2017 round-up!

“Bronze bells’ breeze of September showers, / Freezing fluttering fragile flowers, / Tearing the time’s tide tactile sense / May leave long love’s lighting lance in tense.” – Marieta Maglas

I love posting round-ups of the month because I get to revisit the past 30ish days and contemplate what we did!  This month, pretty much everything we did was NOT on my to-do list.  Which I was totally okay with!  It was a wonderful month.  I always love September and this was a particularly good one.  But sometimes good = fun which can also mean too much fun, or in my case, just not getting a lot of my “projected” items done.  Here’s my attempts on the to-do list I made at the beginning of the month:

  1. Celebrate my toddler’s birthday!  It was a really, really fun day.  We did a 2-day celebration for turning 2!
  2. Finish my bunny mobile and decorate the nursery.  Finished both!
  3. Get back into writing my novel.  
  4. Invest some time in photography tips.
  5. Enroll in an online class.
  6. Journal more.
  7. Write a guest post.
  8. Do a daily art project with my toddler.  
  9. Finish watching the Gilmore Girls.
  10. Put together my photo album. 

Hmmm… 3/10.  Not my best record.  In fact, I think it’s my worst!  But like I said, we did a lot that wasn’t on the list, and they were (almost) all important things.  We created a (paper) list of things that we hadn’t gotten done around the house that were long overdue, and we did every single one of them!  I can’t tell you how relieving that felt. haha  Plus I need to take a moment to mention that the Starbucks in our area began carrying the PSL and Salted Carmel Mochas, among other things.  It’s too important of a September thing to not make note of.  Besides the aforementioned coffee, this month was full of swimming, walks, and playdates (toddler mom life), and those are the unplanned things that filled up the month with a lot of fun and special memories.

Anyways, enough about me.  What did you do this month?  I hope that you will come back soon to see my hopes and dreams for October.  And thanks so much for stopping by!

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Glam Bag Unboxing: September 2017

September 2017 glam bag -- ipsy unboxing!

The theme for the September 2017 ipsy glam bag is a pretty common theme on social media this month (and a few before it): Beauty Boss. The free zipper pouch is an all-business faux leather clutch, and the products are about empowerment and confidence. I’m pretty sure that’s not a new focus for the beauty world, but it hasn’t been done in an ipsy glam bag yet! I didn’t see a huge embodiment of the theme in my products, but then again, I think that’s because most beauty products fit in the category of “empowerment” and “confidence.” The products themselves were great, so I can’t complain!

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Radiance Primer

I’ve never heard of a product like this. It’s a combo of a highlight and a primer. Maybe developed from the “glow within” look? It supposedly can double beneath makeup as a hydrating primer, and then be used again for a final finishing highlight. Based on it’s pearlized, rose gold color, I can definitely see the highlight part happening. I’m not sure about it as a primer…I feel like it will give the skin a slightly orange look.

re:p real elemental practice Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

This product was a result of ipsy’s collaboration with Soko Glam. It’s a very natural, hyper-sensitive, multi-tasking facial mask. Some stand-out ingredients include Kaolin, calendula, and chamomile. And some of it’s promises include redness reduction, facial calming, and dirt removal. I didn’t try this product out yet since I’m pregnant and have to be careful about what kind of natural remedies I turn to. But I’m EXTREMELY intrigued by this mask, and look forward to trying it! My current go-to mask is this one, and I generally like it.

Pixi by Petra Beauty Blush Duo – Peach Honey

If you can believe it, I’ve never tried a Pixi product! So I was happy to get this full-sized blush duo. This powder is made with mica, which gives it a shimmery finish that translates well as a highlighter. So maybe they should call this a quad, since its two shades that can be use two different ways. A product bonus and a space-saver!

Pretty Woman Nail PolishGirl Boss Because what other color could they send me this month? It’s perfect for the theme. I am a huge fan of pastel nail polishes, but never seem to have enough! This one will be beautiful for the winter. Now if only they would send me a blush pink polish, I’d be all set for the next few months!

Luxie Beauty Luxie Rose Gold Medium Angled Shading Eye Brush 207

This is not my first Luxie Beauty brush. In fact, it’s my fourth! I got two large brushes (think blush brushes) in my April and February bags of 2017, as well as my first Luxie brush ever in my July 2016 glam bag (a teeny angle brush I use every.single.day). I love the quality of the Luxie beauty brush bristles, as well as the smooth and comfortable handle. They come in stylish, pastel colors and never disappoint me in their longevity and practical use. They look cute sitting in my brush jar, but they also work wonderfully on my face!

That’s a wrap for my September 2017 glam bag! Well, I did get one more item, but it wasn’t really a normal ipsy product. I used my bonus points (I earn them through reviewing the products) on an “ipsy” merchandise sweatband, and it arrived with this month’s glam bag. I don’t know if I’ll ever really wear it, but it looks super cute on my toddler! haha Do you have an ipsy glam bag subscription? Please leave a comment below describing what you got in your September 2017 glam bag!  Thanks for reading and come back soon! And if you don’t have an ipsy subscription, but would like one, you can follow this link to sign up. Doing so will not give me any monetary reimbursement, though it will score me some extra bonus points.

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10 Things I Learned During Our First “Real” PCS

10 Things I Learned During Our First Real PCS

After moving 10 times (Army brat life), I thought I pretty much had the whole PCSing thing down pat. (For non-military fam readers, PCS means Permanent Change of Station, and it’s the military term for moving from place to place). Then I made my first official move as an Army wife and learned that I didn’t actually have it all down pat. Big surprise. <–not really.

One important note: this is actually our second “move” but it’s still our first real PCS. It’s the first time that we were being sent somewhere, by the Army, during which they fully helped us with the move (giving us time, resources, etc). Our first move deserves a blog post of it’s own, but to put it simply: it was one of those scrappy throw-your-goods-in-a-Uhaul-and-drive kind of deals that happened in a 48-hour period. We had just gotten married and were moving in together, at our new assignment. This time around, we were given a whole month’s notice to move *gasp!* So this PCS was basically great. Kind of.

Anyway, despite the big “notice” we had ahead of the PCS, and the fact that it was to be my 11th move, I learned a lot.  Quite a bit more than I thought I would, and I plan to keep these things in mind for our next move. Which is scheduled to be in the next 6 months. We shall see if that actually happens or not!

1. Things happened fast.

I wasn’t anticipating such a great (read: TIMELY) moving team. They packed AND moved us in 1 day. That rarely happens. Ever. And their drop-off day was 3 business days after pick-up. That’s also a little (read: VERY) unusual. We literally sat in our apartment and within the same day, it was completely boxed up and emptied out. When we got to our next station, everything was unloaded and in our new house within a week of when it was taken from our apartment. I was utterly impressed. And grateful because I had horrible morning sickness. #9weekspregnant

2. Everything goes.

I knew the packers would pack everything besides perishables and liquids. But on our end of the process, I wasn’t expecting to take everything. We donated one trunkful of items, and threw away quite a bit of open food, but that was it. (Note: sorting through food is NOT a first-trimester-morning-sickness-friendly activity. I do not recommend it). I had totally planned to do a grand and rigorous pack-n-purge before the move. But it turns out I was in the early stages of my second pregnancy when we moved and morning sickness was way too much of an obstacle. We just ended up taking everything, and that was okay in the end. It was nobody’s fault but my own, but I realized that for next move, things aren’t going to throw themselves out! haha

3. Not everyone wants pizza 3 meals a day.

Crazy, right?  Jk.  I didn’t think about how often the packers/movers are offered pizza. It was too hard not to feed the crew because there they were, working in my house all day. But I wish I would have REALLY asked them what they wanted, because no family of three needs $40 worth of pizza. haha They were gracious but pretty much hardly partook of the meal. I learned from this, especially since some crews are understaffed (on purpose) and like to plow through the workday as fast as they can. In that case, maybe having grazable snacks and drinks on hand is more flexible for them, and for us.

4. The truth doesn’t always come out on the paperwork.

I learned this one the hard way.  The head packer told me straight to my face that he wouldn’t notate on paperwork that any of my furniture or belongings were damaged, unless they really were. He schmoozed us reassuringly, saying he didn’t want to just “cover” for his company and that they would accurately describe my items’ conditions. It was all talk. When I got my paperwork and all my belongings on the other side of the move, the paperwork was not accurate for many items. Almost every item that had even the slightest bit of value was marked as damaged and some items were severely misrepresented. To the point that I was like… “Wait, are we even talking about the same item? If my electric keyboard was this horrendously mangled, it wouldn’t even turn on.” It was frustrating to say the least.

5. The paperwork was more detailed than I thought.

While the “conditions” section of the paperwork was heavily inaccurate, I was shocked at how descriptive the paperwork was (in a good way). Any item not in a box, was listed (strollers, chairs, baskets, guitars, table legs, etc.) by name.  And the boxes were all vaguely described as well. I thought we would just have 45 identical boxes with “bedroom” or “living room” marked on them. But no! Each (numbered) box was also given a brief/vague description on paperwork. This made hunting for lost items infinitely easier during the unpacking phase!

6. Things I packed got repacked.

I had plastic storage tubs of winter clothes, college papers, Army equipment, etc. And some bins they left as-is. But others they dumped out and filled with other items that they wanted in tubs. They repacked some of my Christmas decor that we had already packed in cardboard boxes. (<–they didn’t want to be liable for any poor packing on my part).

I also heard a common moving trick is to cling wrap dressers and drawer units, with everything in them. It’s supposed to cut down on time and boxes. That Pinterest hack didn’t quite reach my moving team. But I suppose moving companies can’t take that kind of contents damage risk and so every. single. drawer. was emptied into a box (or 5 boxes). Basically, moral of the story is don’t spend a lot of time packing things yourself, because they will get repacked. And don’t bother organizing your drawers before the move because everything will be taken out of them.

7. It’s hard to lose a box.

I’m not trying to sound like a newbie. I know TONS of people have horror stories of losing important or special items during a move. One day, I will probably join their hallowed ranks. But I pictured our belongings being shoved on a big truck that had other people’s belongings on them.  I figured we would just have to keep our fingers crossed that, when they arrived at our new house, the majority of our boxes would still be on the truck. Our apartment was so small though that we had our own moving truck (not shared) and it was never opened once the packers closed the door for good. It stayed locked up and arrived at our new destination, untouched.

And at our new destination, I was given a sheet (the infamous aforementioned paperwork) and crossed off EVERY SINGLE ITEM (box or loose item) as they were carried into the new house. It was impossible to be missing something, because I literally approved of every item being brought inside, and had total awareness if something hadn’t been brought in yet.  Again, years (and moves) later I will probably be laughing at this after losing a good couple of boxes and items during a PCS.  But for now, I’m riding on the coattails of our previous success and am feeling really great that it was so easy to keep track of our goods.

8. Our hotel bills were reimbursed.

I didn’t quite realize this would happen.  After our first move, we got quite a bit of money reimbursement for “moving ourselves.” We were given a surplus of money that way covered our actual expenses. I thought that since this move was completely paid for by the military, that we wouldn’t get any compensation besides the requisite DLA (Dislocation Allowance Pay–it’s basically consolation money for having to pick up and move houses, which gets expensive because the little things add up). Turns out, the Army paid for our hotels AND our pet fees in retrospect. (Note: they reimburse you for up to 10 days, but we didn’t need all 10).  And that hotel money had nothing to do with the DLA, which we also got.  Yay!

9. I hate boxes.

I didn’t quite comprehend just how much of a pain it would be to get all those boxes broken down and out of our house. Remember my “to-do” list entry from last month? Yeah, that’s because we ended up storing all the empty boxes (full of packing paper) in our unused basement storage room, since bulk trash is on an every-two-weeks schedule. We needed somewhere to put them, but once they were out of sight, out of mind…they just lived there in our basement. Turns out we are just finally clearing the boxes out now. We moved in April. *sigh*

10. The movers rebuild your life and your house for you.

Kind of.  Basically, besides carrying everything back inside, the movers will also rebuild any furniture that was taken apart.  Maybe that’s not surprising to some, but I was in happy shock.  I knew they would put all the boxes and everything in the appropriate rooms. But our movers went above and beyond that.  They actually reassembled furniture.  I have a mini crib that is IMPOSSIBLE to build. I was dreading anything happening to it. But the packers/movers on one end took it apart, and the movers on the other end put it back together. A total relief!  Especially because I’m going to be needing that crib soon! <3

If you’ve already PCS’d quite a few times, maybe you already knew all these things. Or maybe you’re laughing because you know they will never, EVER happen again to me. I’m okay with that–I fully expect every move to be wildly different. And I know moving companies themselves have totally different procedures and policies. Hence why after 10 moves, I still was surprised by some things this time around. But if you haven’t PCS’d a million times, maybe some of these sound surprising to you too.  I’d love to know what experiences you’ve had with PCSing.  Please leave a comment below!  And thanks for stopping by!

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Military Wife Must-Haves

 

Military Wife Must-Haves

I’m sure everyone has their go-to’s when it comes to kitchenware, beauty, fashion, etc.  I definitely have a running list in each category!  Kitchenaid ANYTHING for starters.  But then there are those things that don’t necessarily fit under the same category (or any) but tend to share one common theme: they are must-haves if you’re a military spouse.  Some of these have been gifted to me, some I have bought for other, and some I have bought for myself!  They are either “necessities” for getting through the military lifestyle we live, or they are the perfect way to embrace and celebrate it.  Do you have any of these?

 

1. Address Book

It’s no secret I’m a firm believer in stationary, especially as an Army wife.  But this one isn’t actually meant for all those Basic Training love letters you write.  I have found that the frequent moves (both of our family and our military friends) has created a great need for change-of-address organization.  I think the Kate Spade address book is a cute and classy way to do it.  However, there is a pretty cheeky address book that leaves room for nicknames and shoe sizes.  And then of course there is a classic and more tame little pink book version.  Take your pick and fill it up!

 

2. Push-pin Travel Map

Speaking of moving around, you will probably fill up one of these too!  A push-pin map of the USA not only gives you a visual reality-check on just how many times you’ve set up a home somewhere, but it also is a great way to document your lifetime of travel.  If you want to go all-out (or if you are lucky enough to live overseas) a push-pin map of the world is also a beautiful career display.

 

3.  American Flag

I feel like this is the initiation gift that every military wife should receive, or gift to her husband!  It’s the perfect salute and symbol of what your family stands for.  Fly it proudly outside your home!  And if you have an apartment and no balcony (like my first 2 years of our marriage), then hang it as a wall tapestry behind your couch or in your dining room.  It’s still a beautiful way to celebrate your lifestyle and the country we are all so proud of.  A final option, though it’s a little less visible, is to invest in a glass flag case and keep your folded flag displayed in it.  A very classic, very respectful display of the flag!  If you want the whole flagpole kit, and not just the flag, this is all you need.

 

4. The Army Wife Handbook: A Complete Social Guide

For all my Army girls out there!  There is a complete set of “social rules” and expectations that come with the territory of being an Army wife.  And navigating through those can be tough!  This guide is geared towards etiquette and social obligations, which I find to be one of the least “discussed” topics among Army wife literature.  It’s not really a crash-course about acronyms and what to expect on deployments, which is what this book covers.  But the social rules can be really tough to “pick up” naturally, and having a guidebook is extremely helpful.

 

5. The 5 Love Languages ~ Military Edition

I’m not saying this because I’m a love-book junkie (thought I am), I’m saying this because every military relationship deserves a book celebrating and coaching the tumultuously beautiful journey of a military romance.  I have great respect for Gary Chapman’s interpretation of love languages and how they are spoken.  Even if you’re not a military couple, a firm understanding of how to identify your preferred language, and how to speak your spouses’s is extremely important.  The love languages are a true eye-opener in any relationship, but most significantly in a romantic one.  Curious what your love language is?  Take the test here.  (Then buy the book and learn about how you give and receive love based on it!)

6. His and Hers Silicone Wedding Bands

These are often more necessary for the military member than the spouse.  But for those of us that like having matching wedding bands, or who want to feel a special connection, getting a his and hers set is the way to go!  Wearing a metal wedding ring during training can sometimes be dangerous for your soldier (if he is paratrooper jumping out of an airplane, etc) and other times it can just be painful (pull-ups during PT).  Having a silicone option can be useful for your soldier to slip on before a training exercise, or before he leaves for an Army school if he worries about losing his real ring.  During those times, it can sometimes be nice to switch rings with him, not because you have to, but because he does.

7. Military Wife Jewelry

This one is pretty basic.  It’s like having a tee that supports your favorite sports team.  Everyone should have at least one.  Even if you’re not the kind of jewelry-wearer who wants a black and gold charm bracelet that says “Army” in capital letters, you can still have military-themed jewelry that supports your lifestyle.  (Like this Morse Code bracelet).  One of my favorite ways to connect with my soldier when he is gone is to wear a meaningful necklace or ring that reminds me of him.  When he went to Basic/OSUT in Ft. Benning, I wore a Georgia shaped ring every day.  Other times, even when he is home, I often wear sapphires, as their “Infantry Blue” color celebrates the lifestyle we have chosen together.  Get creative with the meanings and treat yourself to some bling!

8. Amazon Home Services

Not a traditional must-have, but I put on because WHO hasn’t had their fridge break an hour or two after their soldier leaves for a few weeks? *raises hands*  My internet goes out when he is gone, computers crash, and of course some kind natural disaster occurs (Hurricane striking the NIGHT that he leaves).  #myreallife.  Anyway, Amazon can’t control the weather, but they CAN and DO offer home services.  Meaning no matter where you live in the US, you can have someone come over and fix your problem when your soldier isn’t home to do so.  Seriously, they have tons of services: from mounting TVs to painting the baby nursery to ASSEMBLING FURNITURE.  Basically, they’re the magic fairies we always hoped would exist.  Now they do.  Click here to browse their services!

I feel like there are a million military wife must-haves…haha…but that’s really not true.  The only thing I must have is my soldier by my side!  And of course my babies.  And my faith.  Okay, so there are a few biggies.  But the small things can be really fun too, and can make the military wife life a lot easier!  What is a must-have for you?  Leave a comment below, sharing your faves!  Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon.

*Note: the links I provided are affiliate links*

Read next: My Favorite Stationary Supplies for Writing to My Soldier

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16th Anniversary of September 11

Today, on the anniversary of September 11, I would like to offer my prayers and thoughts for the victims of those tragically affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Last year, on the 15th anniversary, I wrote a post about my visit to the World Trade Center site in 2013.  This year, I would like to share my favorite poem commemorating this difficult event in US history.

Eagle shed a tear today
As he flew over his domain,
He heard and watched his children die
And his heart cried out in pain.

But from the crash, mid smoke and ash,
Grew a power both great and rare;
It touched the souls of young and old
And gathered them in prayer.

Oh hatred you may cast your blows,
And death inflict your stings,
But we have faith in God above,
And the Eagle spread his wings.

He flew on high up in the sky
And called to all who’d hear;
Unite with me in firm resolve,
We will not live in fear.

We will not rest, we will not cease,
And terror will not reign;
We vow to you now gone beyond
You did not die in vain.

The sun will rise, the sun will set,
And time will not abide;
But rest assured we will not forget
The day the Eagle cried.

— Shirley Hall

Dedicating this post to those who were lost, and those who survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  You will never be forgotten!  Not today, not ever.

 

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September 2017

September 2017

 

“for all I can really do is /stand here /in September’s rain /savoring…/ soaking it all in/ slipping…” – Sanober Khan

It’s a few days in and I’m already loving September 2017!  Maybe because amazon is having a 20% off baby sale all month.  I just made my registry!  Maybe because I have a bunch of craft projects keeping me busy.  Or maybe because September has a bunch of romantic memories for me.  Probably a combination of all three!  Anyway, I have a list of projected “to-do’s” that I’m hoping will help me usher in fall.

  1. Celebrate my toddler’s birthday!  I love celebrating her everyday, so her birthday means a lot to us!
  2. Finish my bunny mobile and decorate the nursery.  It’s one big project…mobile goes in the nursery. lol
  3. Get back into writing my novel.  It’s been too long. 🙁
  4. Invest some time in photography tips. I’m particularly looking for some phone photo ideas/information.
  5. Enroll in an online class.  It can be about blogging, massage, or aromatherapy…etc. I just want to learn!
  6. Journal more.  Its therapeutic.  So, I need to do it more.
  7. Write a guest post.  This is making a reappearance on my to-do list.  Because I REALLY need to do it!
  8. Do a daily art project with my toddler. She’s so artistic, and I forget til I see her with a pack of stickers! haha
  9. Finish watching the Gilmore Girls.  I started the series soooooo long ago and I’m ready to end it.
  10. Put together my photo album.  Luckily, I have all the photos printed.  So now I just need to organize them!

I tried really hard not to make this a baby-nesting list.  Obviously I have 5 million things running through my head of things I want to do before my little girl arrives.  But, I think I should just make an entire post about that!  So for now, that’s what I’m hoping I can get done in September 2017.  Will it happen?  Probably not all of it.  Ha!  But a girl can dream.

What are your September 2017 goals?  Thanks for stopping by.  And come back soon!

                         

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