Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tips: It's Never Too Late

This is an apology post.  I've been a horrible blogger and an even horrible-er (that's a word, right?) friend to all of you.  I've been trying to post as often as I can (I found a way to get around the security block at work for posting) but I have been too distracted and too busy to respond to comments and visit other blogs.  It's not fair to you guys (who I still love) and I'm sorry.

Now that we're just about settled in at our new place (just a few minor adjustments left until we're fully settled), I've got a little more time on my hands in the evenings and weekends to watch Netflix, read, do crafts, etc. - all the things I was always too tired to do before (even though we lived close to work, school, restaurants, etc.).  My evenings are much more relaxed and less chaotic than before and I love that most of the time when I get home now dinner is cooked (thanks to my M.I.L. who lives on the other side of the duplex and always cooks enough for a small army) and the kids have their homework finished, Joey's already been home for a couple hours and has cleaned up the house a bit, and all I have to do is eat, get the kids ready for bed at 8pm and relax until I decide to crawl into bed.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to workout and get some blogging done.  I've really missed reading your blogs and stalking the crap out of your lives.  I feel like I've lost touch with quite a few of you and I want that connection back, dammit!  I know I've been in and out of the blogging world lately especially because of the security block bullshit but I'm trying!  I've got to start setting and hitting goals again because I've been in such a slump, I need motivation!

Here's my blogging goal for the rest of the year:  Comment on at LEAST 10 blogs every day and make 1 NEW blog friend every week.

What do you think of my goal?  Do you have any blog things you'd like to apologize for?  Have you started your blog goals for 2015 yet?

P.S.  I also realize that I owe you guys a giveaway for this month too.  I'll get on that before the week is up, I promise!  While we were moving and packing, I was forced to go through all my crap and realized how much good crap I had lying around that would be great for giveaways.  I'm debating whether I should just use one item at a time or just do a "Crap I Found While Moving" prize pack.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Petz Beach - Chloe's Review

When I asked my kids "do you guys want to help me review Petz Beach for 3Ds?" they could not control their excited agreement.  My family and I are no strangers to the Ubisoft brand.  They own older versions of the Petz series of games so I already knew that it would be something that was enjoyable and age-appropriate for them.

My six-going-on-seven year old, Chloe, is the one who loves playing handheld games the most.  She's known to be a bit of a couch potato, and will drain the battery out of any smartphone or tablet if left unattended.  With her vast experience and knowledge of video games, it was only fitting that she be the main one to review the game.

She was glued to that thing as soon as she popped it into her 3Ds.  She would come home from school with her homework finished just so she could have more time to play with her pet, a puppy that she named Zoey.

After she had been playing the game for a few days, I asked her if she'd give me a breakdown of the game in her own words.

Me:  So do you like Petz Beach, Chloe?
Chloe:  Yes!
Me:  What do you have to do in the game?
Chloe:  You pick a pet and then you have to take care of it.  Like, take it for walks, feed it, give it water and play with it.  You get money when you take care of your pet and when you do stuff for the people in the town when they have a quest for you.  Then you can use the money to buy cute stuff for your pet.
Me:  On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like it?
Chloe:  10!!
Me:  What do you like most about the game?
Chloe:  I liked getting to choose my pet, making Zoey find seashells on the beach and getting to buy toys and clothes for her.

She's still in love with this game after playing it for over a week so I think that's a good sign.  The game expands as you play so it's great for kids who tire of the same thing easily and it's like an adventure that she gets to embark on with the game.

I haven't told her about the new game that also came out, Petz Countryside, but I think maybe I'll just surprise her with that for Christmas.  I love the fact that this game is kid-friendly (no violence or catchphrases that might be inappropriate) and I also love that it promotes responsibility and forces her to read in order to understand the tasks, not just skip ahead to the action.

Oh, and I almost forgot - while you're playing and waiting for an action or something to load, instead of just "Loading...", Petz Beach gives you neat little facts and information from Encyclopedia Brittanica about the animals so that even while they're waiting, they're still reading and learning!  But, of course, to them it's just playing so it's a win/win for both parents and kids alike!

You can get a copy of Petz Beach in time for the holidays right here!  It's something that they can take with them everywhere (even to the dreaded dentist!) and there's no mess or clean up involved!  Genius.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Thoughts/30 Days of Thanks: Beach Days

It's been a hot minute since I've been around these parts.  Things have been extremely stressful in the real world and I've been overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions lately.  Usually when I'm feeling a bit down, Joey will pack the kids up and take us all to the beach which almost always makes me feel so much better.

Ever since I was younger, I've always turned to the ocean for comfort and relaxation.  I'm one of those people that can sit and stare out into the water for hours, just watching the ebb and flow of the tide.  It's like meditation for me.  It allows me to think about everything going on, all the craziness in my life, and just release it and let it go.

The smell of the salty air, the cool blue shades of the water, the warm sun casting shining down on the coarse sand - I love all of it.  It's just a calm, relaxing, peaceful place and yet it is constantly changing and each day there is something different and new about it.  I think that's why I cherish days at the beach so much.  Each visit will never be the same as the last.

Our beach days have been sparse lately because of our busy schedules and the weather but I'm hoping that the skies clear up so that we can jump in the water soon.  Hopefully mother nature will get the hint that I'm in serious need of some salt water therapy.

What about you?  Do you love the beach as much as I do?  What other ways do you relieve your stress and release all the negative vibes in your life?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Highs and Lows

Sorry for Wednesday's (okay, yesterday's because I was late) confessions being sort of a downer.  I'm just currently in a phase of my life where it seems like everyday there's a new problem to deal with and another issue to add to the volumes of others I already have.  I'm trying to stay positive, trying to look ahead and push forward for a better future but sometimes (more often, lately) I feel like just giving up.  I just want to throw my hands up in defeat and say "Okay, universe you win!" and then crawl in a hole in the middle of nowhere to die.

I know that there are others who have it worse.  I try to keep a straight face most of the time even when I feel like jabbing my blue needlepoint pen into someone's eye because I know that there are worse things than having someone blame you for not getting to the phone fast enough.  There are worse things than having to uproot your entire life and move during the holiday season because your brother who moved in with you a year ago started going down a destructive path and instead of making him go back home and get help your parents decided to give him yet ANOTHER chance to try and turn his life around and offer him an even bigger space in the house you and your family have lived in for a total of 6 years and you can't really do anything about it because it still technically is their house.  There are worse things than already drowning in $20k worth of medical and dental bills yet still having to go in for yet another procedure and another toothache.  It could be worse, I know.

There is still a life for me to live and enjoy.  I've got a super sexy guy who will fight for me and do whatever it takes to make me happy, I have three incredibly smart/goofy/sincere kids who keep me on my toes, I've got a sister who I have the most random conversations with and who I can always count on for a good laugh and I've got awesomely supportive blog/internet friends (that means you) who never cease to amaze me with their inspiration and motivation to continue to seek happiness and thrive.

Right now my life is like a rollercoaster - and I hate rollercoasters - going up slowly and then rushing down with nothing to grab on to and no sense of control.  Stomach turning, heart racing, head pounding, tears falling, can't breath kind of feeling.  Just wanting to close my eyes until I feel the relief of the swoop signaling the start of another rise.  I guess it's better than being stuck on a carousel, going around and around and around...but why can't I just sit on the side and watch everyone else while I eat my nachos and roasted turkey leg instead?

Again, I'm sorry for being such a drag lately, but this is a blog about my life and that's my life lately.  We can't shit rainbows and unicorns all the time - sometimes shit gets constipated - I mean complicated.  But still, I'm just gonna keep trying to send out good, positive vibes and enjoy myself this weekend.  I've already got big plans for decorating, designing, and of course some retail therapy lined up.

What about you?  What were your highs and lows this week?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I am Kourtney Kardashian...and other confessions.

Okay, first confession:  This confession is a day late because I had a shit ton of shit to deal with yesterday.  Shit.  BUT, I've missed you guys (mostly gals) and it's been so long since I've done a confession post so I just HAD to.

You ever feel like your life should be filmed as a reality show because it's THAT crazy?  That's how I feel ALL the time.  With our family alone (Joey, the kids and I) we've got our fair share of crazy adventures and dramatic events.  Add in our extended family and - holy shit - you've got a hit reality TV show!  Even the Kardashians couldn't top our scandals.

If I had the money, I'd buy a big chunk of land and build a nice (not too big) house out in the country somewhere (preferably California) for us to live.  Far away from the madness and drama.  Far away from people who only try to bring us down and don't really have our best interests at heart when they say they do.

I'm an all-or-nothing kinda person.  I stand my ground and fight for what I want, especially when what I'm fighting for is right.  No negotiations - "my way or the highway" as my dad likes to say, which is why he and I don't get along most of the time.  We're both stubborn as hell but I'm more devoted to my choices and decisions.

I have no problem with shutting people out when they've done me wrong.  I'll get over it, sure, but that doesn't mean that I'll let you back into my life.

Okay, so obviously these confessions are hinting at some issues I've been having in my personal life lately that I'll get more into detail about later (maybe later today since I still have a Thursday Thoughts post I could do) but here's one last confession that hopefully helps you make sense of all this:  WE'RE MOVING!

Not anything exciting like a different state (yet) just a different village.  We'll actually be moving in on one side of Joey's parents' duplex in Merizo.  It's a farther drive for work and stuff but we'll still be saving a ton of money, especially since the temptation of fast food, dining out and quick shopping trips will take more effort.

At first I was hesitant but now I'm kind of excited about it.  No more long "to do" list of repairs, no huge ass utility bills because of the outdated wiring and plumbing, no one dropping by unexpectedly thinking that we're going to listen to them lecture us on what THEY think we should do and entertain their bullshit just because they're "family".


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Tips: Blog Chores

Goodness, it's already November!  Seriously, where has the year gone?  Being that it's still the beginning of the month, and I've gone missing for the past two weeks (yet again), it's about time I get to work on my monthly blog chores.

Nobody likes doing chores, but it is something that must be done in order to keep a nice and tidy living space.  Same rules apply for your blogging space.  In order to keep things on your blog running smoothly, here are a few things you can do:

1.  Update your blog statistics.  We usually list our stats on our advertising/sponsorship pages so it is important to update these monthly so that we're providing potential clients and sponsors with the current information.

2.  Clear out your sidebars.  Get rid of old ads, links and buttons that no longer work or are no longer relevant.

3.  Take a selfie.  Changing your profile/intro photo is a quick and easy way to update the look of your blog without having to redesign the whole thing.  Most of us take a selfie at least once a month anyway (even once a day, for some) so why not change it up on our blogs too?

4.  Schedule important dates.  Got a sponsored post due?  Planning on doing a themed post on a certain day?  Plan it!  Days go by so quickly and with all the craziness of our real lives, sometimes we tend to neglect our blogs (guilty!) so having a deadline can make it a little easier to plan for posting and blog time.

5.  Make a new friend.  Okay, so this one is more of a goal instead of a chore but, each month, reach out and connect with one new person.  Interact with your followers and turn them into something even better:  friends!

So, what chores have you been procrastinating on?  What would you add to this list?

Friday, October 17, 2014

#iknowican + a Giveaway

What had started out as a great blog year - full of inspiration and accomplishments - has recently turned into a subpar, less than awesome one due to life getting in the way, technical difficulties and lack of motivation.  It's not just a blogging issue either, it's pretty much everything lately.  Working out, family activities, creative ventures...they've all fallen off the board and it's been putting a damper on my attitude and I don't like it one bit.

So, in an attempt to change things around, I'm kicking off the weekend with an #iknowican list plus a bonus giveaway for you all since you've been so patient with me and loyal throughout my sporadic (and mostly sponsored) posts lately.

#iknowican relax more and worry less.  Joey and I have plans to go out tonight - no kids! - and even though we're probably NOT going to party until the wee hours of the morning, I'm still really excited because it's been so long (months) since we got a chance to spend time together without our small humans around.

#iknowican jump back on the fitness wagon.  Since I got sick the other month, I haven't been doing any working out at all.  My body's crying for some attention right now because all my jeans are so damn tight, my arms look like...just ick...and since I haven't done yoga in the mornings to stretch either, my back has been killing me!  I'm also cutting back on junk food (sorta) and have started drinking water again throughout my day to clear out all the yuckiness.

#iknowican get back my motivation to create and hustle.  Now that the holidays are fast approaching (seriously, WTF!  I can't believe it's October already!) I've started planning out gift ideas and giving myself a deadline will be sure to light a fire under my ass to get it done.

#iknowican declutter (yet again) and feel refreshed.  I feel like this is an ongoing goal, but yes, I do need to declutter and organize.  My room is a giant mess again with all the coming and going we've been doing and I'm at the point where I just want to get rid of everything all over again.  I'm sure if I do a COMPLETE overhaul of my room, it'll have a huge impact on my stress levels, creative motivation, and attitude (because I'll actually have room to get stuff done).

And finally,

#iknowican bring back my blogging mojo by kicking off this weekend with a super awesome giveaway!  It's been months since the last one and my goal for this year was to have one giveaway per month so I kinda owe you guys.

You know the drill!  Enter below!