favorite horror movies to watch... with the lights on

So it's Friday... the last Friday of October to be exact. Shocker.

Up until last night, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with today's post- a traditional recap of course, but then I thought of a better idea. Tomorrow is Halloween, so why not talk about something that is Halloween-ish, right? But I wasn't sure what. Sure I could of listed off my favorite things about Halloween, or favorite costumes, or taken a walk down memory lane and shown some cute pics of Lil Man, but none of those ideas were hitting the spot for me. So I dug deep... not really, but just go with it.

Why not tell you guys about my favorite Halloween movies. Like if I was to binge watch Netflix all day on October 31 with my candy corn, what would I watch... with the lights on...

I can't really call myself a horror movie buff, but I can tell you that I have definitely watched my fair share of them. I love them. I would pick a horror flick any day over a chick flick for one simple reason... I'm a sucker for being scared. I love it. I love the goosebumps, I love the rechecking the doors, the freaking out if the cat runs down the hall for no reason, the everything. I love the fact that I am almost 30 and I can still get scared to the point of wanting to wet my pants. It's great. So today,  I am giving you my five favorite horror movies and three of my no-nonsense, downright stupid, but still good and horrorific guilty pleasure movies.

One // A Nightmare on Elm Street (all of them)


Ok, I lied. A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't scare me, but at one point IT DID. I have been watching the series since early childhood and Freddy Kruger is seriously my all time favorite scary movie villian EVER. He not only has some pretty cool horrifying mechanisms, but he just has this thing about his persona. Hilarious, yet terrifying.

two // Hellraiser (1987)


The only reason this one made the list is because it still scares the f-ing shit out of me and is probably the reason I will NEVER touch a puzzle box. Basically, A guy finds a puzzle box, and solves it, which opens the gates to hell. Then his half brother and his wife, which happens to be his former lover, move into his abandoned house. The man's niece gets involved and everything gets all messed up... yeah... 

three // Children of the Corn (2009)


Based on a short story by the Master of Horror, Stephen King, Children of the Corn is a classic horror movie. It encompasses a young couple who decided to drive, not fly, across county, and they of course get caught in a small town, which happens to have a cult of young children with a belief that "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" hates people over the age of 18. Therefore they must be sacrificed.

four // Pet Sematary (1989)


Based on the novel by the Master Stephen King, Pet Sematary is based on the crazy misguided notion that we can somehow bring loved ones back from the dead by the way of an ancient Indian burial ground... yeah probably not a good idea. 

five // It (1990)


This movie is definitely the reason that I hate clowns...
Basically an entity terrorizes a group of friends and then it's defeated. Thirty years later, murders start happening and the group of friends rejoin to carry out an oath to destroy the demonic entity, which happens to show up as a clown most of the time.

And three guilty pleasures....

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Before Avery was a doctor and Thor was an Avenger, they were college students and vacationed at a remote cabin in the woods; when unknown to them, they were actually being filmed for a reality show.

The Purge (2013)
For one night a year, 12 hours to be exact, murder is legal. And so is all the horrific crimes. And what ensues is nothing less than.

Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
A boy witnesses his brother's murder and then moves out of town. The gang who killed the brother is then killed themselves by an oncoming train. Some years later, the boy, now a man, moves back to town for a teaching job and is haunted by the gang. Not bad for a short story by Stephen King and a made-for-tv flick.

In making this list, I realized that I have a "thing" for Stephen King... eh, ok. He is the Master of Suspense and Horror, right?

What are your favorite horror movies to watch with the lights on?

**Cheers to the weekend and 
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thirty by thirty update

As most of you know, I took a fun little family vacation to Tennessee and Ohio last month. While in Tennessee- which is beautiful by the way- we visited the Parthenon in Nashville, and did some go kart riding, moonshine tasting, visited the Ripley's Odditorium & the Ripley's Aquarium, visited the Smokey Mountain, and took in the sights (along with ingesting some ah-mazing food) in Gatlinburg. While in Ohio, I got to see alot of special animals. Also on that trip, I completed three more items on my thirty by thirty list! 

The first leg of our vacation was spent in Gatlinburg, TN. We stayed in a beautiful cabin in nearby Pigeon Forge, and ventured out to Gatlinburg almost each day since there was so much to do there. Gatlinburg receives more than eleven million visitors a year due to the the surrounding Smokey Mountains and gorgeous views. It's more popular in the winter, but I assure you that visiting in September was more than perfect. 

Gatlinburg is also home to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, which has been rated as one of the top aquariums in the US by Travel Channel (btw, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL is on the list too- but trust me, being an hour away from Chicago and visiting the Shedd about every other year- Ripley's is so much better. Granted they don't have a dolphin show, but they have so many aquatic animals, and a 340 ft long moving path that goes through an underwater tunnel which houses sharks, turtles, stingrays, etc. They also have some of the largest stingrays I have EVER seen.) And it was at Ripley's Aquarium where I completed numbers 13 and 22 on my list.

Number 13: Play with a penguin in Gatlinburg, TN.
The penguin that we had our penguin encounter with was named Mo Mo. She is an African Penguin- meaning that she is a warm weather penguin and the species can be found on the Southwestern coast of Africa. 

We were able to pet Mo Mo and take pictures with her. 

Number 22: Paint with a penguin. 
After our penguin encounter, we were able to paint with her. I was expecting that we were going to be able to help paint, but the trainers said that if a penguin doesn't know who you are, then they can snap, causing some injury to your fingers or hands. So they had us sit in chairs next to the painting set up, and watch. We were able to pick out our colors- I picked pink and gold, Lil Man chose green and yellow- and the trainer used Mo Mo as a big stamp. 

The end result was an 8X10 canvas full of penguin footprints. 

After spending a few days in Tennessee, we decided to trek up to Powell, Ohio for two days before heading home. While in Ohio, we visited the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is according to Trip Advisor is the number 11 traveler's choice zoo in the US. And holy wow! That place is crazy ah-mazing! Director Jack Hanna designed the animal's exhibits to mimic their natural habits and ensure that the animals are happy. And they sure were. On our visit, most of the animals were out and bathing in the sun. We were fortunate to see a koala, kiwi birds, a Komodo dragon, Humboldt penguins, two Florida Manatees, red pandas, reindeer, giraffes, a wolverine, Mexican wolves, moose and more. Yes, I just said that I saw moose. Two to be exact. 

Number 12: Meet a moose at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, OH.
When I originally put the "meet a moose" on my list, I had wanted to get all up and personal with a moose. But after some research, I found out that they can be mean. Yeah... so I am just happy that I go to see two live ones - the bigger one is a female, and the lil one is a male- at the zoo. 

The zoo itself was pretty amazing and I would recommend that everyone go visit! 

After we returned home, a week later I went to get another tattoo. Ever since loosing Duce, I have been wanting to honor his memory in some way, and my solution was to get a tattoo. On my wrist. Which was a huge step for me. 

It's no secret that I have tattoos- I just don't have them in visible places. Until last month, I was a firm believer in the t-shirt rule; meaning that if I couldn't cover it with a t-shirt, then I wasn't getting it. Well, I broke my rule... 

Number 15: Get another tattoo
A paw print in memory of my beloved Duce (his collar was royal blue)

So there you have it, four more items completed on my thirty by thirty list. I am so grateful for my family and most of all for my husband for allowing me to do all the stuff mentioned above. I was the person who chose to go to Tennessee and Ohio for vacation and he just went along with it, to make me smile. I commend him for that.

I am also grateful that my son  was able to share the experience of coming face to face with a penguin with me. It's one of those once in a lifetime things and I really truly believed that he loved it almost as much as I did, if not more. One thing that I am defiantly sure of- he loved the vacation. He keeps asking if we can go down to the cabin again. On one hand, I wouldn't mind it, but on the other hand, I doubt that my husband would want to endure the 12 hour trip back down.

My updated list

(the ones I have completed are highlighted with a date after):

1) Experience love at first sight. (completed September 2010 when my son was born)

2) Marry someone that I am deeply in love with. (completed September 2009)

3) Swim in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean Oceans.

4) Take my son on a boat ride.

5) Finish a novel (publishing not required).

6) Go to New Orleans. (completed March 2012)

7) Meet a celebrity. (Completed September 2010)

8) Find a job that pays well, and that I love.

9) Have a baby! (completed September 29... His name is Gavin)

10) Read and finish book. (completed 2013.. Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy... what can I say)

11) Go to a Chicago Cubs game (2009), Chicago Bears, and a Chicago Blackhawks game.

12) Meet a moose at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, OH. (completed September 2015)

13) Play with a Penguin in Gatlinburg, TN. (completed September 2015)

14) Go to Las Vegas and see at least one show. (completed September 2009)

15) Get another tattoo. (completed September 2015)

16) Go to Niagara Falls.

17) Take a trip to Washington DC, and visit all of the monuments and museums.

18) Obtain a passport and take a trip to Canada.

19) Go apple picking in Michigan.

20) To have a blog following of 50 within the first 6 months. (completed February 2014)

21) To buy a house.

22) Paint with a penguin. (completed September 2015)

23) Own a DSLR camera and know how to use it.

24) Get my graduate degree. (completed May 2014)

25 ) Ride an elephant. (completed May 2014)

26) See Garth Brooks in concert. (completed September 2014)

27) Celebrate five years of being married with the man I love. (completed September 2014)

28) Ride a four wheeler. (completed August 2015)

29) Meet at least one blogger friend. (competed July 2014)

30) Break my addiction to cigarettes.

*Linking up with Ember Grey
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Five ways to "deal" with loosing a pet

Pets are members of the family. Sure they may have four legs and shed more than a shag rug, but they are there when you are sad, when you are sick and need a "fur" blanket, when you need a laugh, when you are laying on the floor and need a pillow... when you need a friend, an ear, or just some plain 'ole love... they can be the lifeline that holds a family together and they are never judgmental. Pets just love. And that's why loosing a beloved pet is NEVER easy. They leave a void in your life and the aftermath can be devastating.

I should know...

Today is the two month anniversary of my dog's death... and I am still feeling the hurt. Granted, some days are easier than others, but I still miss my Duce dearly. I raised him up from a little six week old puppy.. and at seven years old, we found out he was dying from either cancer or liver failure. That was in July of this year. By August, he was gone. (I will leave links below if you want to know more)

Today I am also sharing five ways I chose to "deal" with Duce's death. I am not going to tell you what is right and what is wrong, because that's the funny thing about grief- everyone processes it differently. Most people become depressed and cry. Some people stay in the denial stage for a bit. I turn to my education for answers and when I can no longer fathom a reason, I blow my top, have a cry, and go along with my day. Unfortunately, I tend to do this repeatedly. But it's just my way of grieving. And it's acceptable. Just like the way someone chooses to wrap themselves in blankets and silently cry or hold it in, and winds up making themselves sick; and a child chooses to not listen and looks for every ounce of attention they can get; and another person carries a stone faced look upon him. It's just the way different people process death and the grief that immediately follows.

I digress. 

I am not giving you ways I chose to grieve, but to deal with the grief I was, and still am experiencing; in the hope that these ways can help you in some small way. 

Do stuff

The day after we lost Duce, I just wanted to curl up and cry all day. My hubby told me to get out of the house so I wasn't constantly reminded of Duce's absence. He told me to go do something to take my mind off everything. For a few hours at least. My family decided to take me to the beach... it kinda helped. But I also kept doing it (the getting out of the house, not the beach thing)... not having a dog meant that we no longer had a reason that we had to be home. And coming home eventually got easier too. 

Look at pictures and/or videos

I have Duce's photo as the background on my phone and it will be there for awhile. It was taken a few hours before the "event", and in the picture, he looks truly happy. He was a constant in my life for over seven years, and knowing that I can look at him everyday, even though he's not here, helps me get though the tough times. 

Write a letter to the pet

I know how this one seems... but trust me, it helped me alot when I wrote a letter to Duce and posted it on the blog. Yes, I cried through it, but to be able to get those emotions out in the open helped me deal with the pain. I also wrote another one to him, on his one month anniversary in heaven. 

Talk about it

For the first few hours few days, all I wanted to do was cry. Then the numb stage kicked in. I felt lost in a world of dispair. I could barely look at my parent's dog, who happened to be Duce's sister (both are from the same litter), because she reminded me of him. Every time I would think about him, a knot would well up in my throat and I felt like throwing up. The my son asked me something... "Mommy, do you think Duce farts in heaven?" I laughed for a solid ten minutes. Then I cried. And then I talked about how much it hurt to loose him, and how sad I was. My son said he was sad too, and asked to go to heaven to play ball with Duce. I smiled.

And when all else fails,

Look at pictures of baby animals or crazy cat videos

Just do it... here's a whole Pinterest board dedicated to cute and cuddley baby animals. 

And five ways NOT to deal with it...
1. Get a replacement pet.
Noone can tell you how long to wait to get another pet, but I can certainly tell you not to do it within the week or month. It's just not nice.  Depending on how long you had the pet, you need time to grieve. And getting another pet to take your mind off your loss is not going to help you.

2. Act like nothing is wrong
You have lost a special friend in you life and you are allowed to cry it out. You are allowed to feel hurt and sad and depressed. But after you've had you time, pull yourself together and deal. Just don't act like their life wasn't worth your time and you don't care they're gone.

3. Become a hermit.
Like I said earlier, it's ok to cry and be sad. But after a few days (or however long it takes) pull yourself together, brush your hair, and face the world. It may be hard, but the road to recovery and healing is always hard.

If you want to read more about Duce and the struggle we went through with him, you can here...
Something weighing on my heart
When life delivers you a low blow
Five things I learned in August
One Month

a few of my favorites | mascara

I have really thin lashes, so it just makes sense that I love mascara. And I think I even love mascara more than shoes. Hell, I will go as far as saying that I have an obsession with it considering it's the one thing that I never leave home without and the only beauty product that I have an extreme love-hate relationship with. 

Today I have rounded up my favorite mascaras to share with you. Yes, they are high end, meaning that they can only be found online or at Sephora/Ulta, and cost more than $15, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Left to right

I had never tried any Stila mascaras- only lip glosses- until I received my October Birchbox. And I am definitely happy that I received it! The formula and brush combo volumizes the lashes, and makes it look like you are wearing falsies. It also lasts over 12 hours. 

Urban Decay | Perversion
I used to be a BIG fan of Benefit's Badgal mascara, and once I ran out, I tried a tube of the perversion. I was ah-mazed! The brush is a bit intimidating, but the formula stays for twelve hours plus, and comes off fairly easy. 

Bare minerals | Lash Domination
At first, I really didn't like the brush. It's weird- you have to turn the handle and "roll" the mascara onto your lashes; it takes some time getting used to. Once I got the hang of it, I fell in love. It fans out the lashes for that falsie look, and gives amazing self esteem. 

Too Faced | Better Than Sex
You know how when you don't remove your makeup at night, you wake up in the morning looking like a raccoon? Not with this stuff! It plumps up my thin lashes, stays for a good 12 hours plus, easily comes off with some micellar water, and makes you feel like a sex pot. Volume and staying power? Yes!! 

I don't tend to really lean towards a waterproof formula- it seems like it takes alot of effort to remove, but this one helped me through one of the hardest days of my life. I wore it when we laid my puppy to rest, and it did not budge! The brush doesn't seem like much, but it separates and coats every.single.lash. It's not very voluminizing, but it's great for a casual outing, like the beach or apple orchard.

Have you ever tired any of my favorite mascaras?

Friday five round 2

Happy Friday friends! This week really hasn't been that bad... considering that I'm starting to battle a sinus infection... BUT the Cubbies are winning, I was able to watch the WHOLE episodes of Scandal and Blacklist (last week my son stopped the DVR five minutes into each), and I was able to paint my piggies. But, despite of those great things, I really don't want to do a "this was my week" post. But I will be bring back last week's format. 

I had alot of really good feedback with last the format, so I figured, why not let's make this a weekly occurrence.

Five goals for this week

1. Work on the budget
2. Continue going through things; selling what is in good condition & donating things that aren't meant to be sold
3. Finish all laundry and cleaning on Saturday, so I can spend Sunday giving the hubby and Lil Man my undivided attention
4. Find another plaid scarf
5. Schedule at least three blog posts; this one is definitely one that will be a weekly goal

Four things that made me happy this week

1. The bazillion likes that I got on an Insta post; I'm the type of gal that is happy and content with like 20 likes, and until Wednesday, my highest had been like 30-some. When the picture I posted grabbed over 200 likes, I freaked. And when my shop's Insta picture grabbed over 100... I nearly fainted. 

2. A jury summons; no not really, but it's my first time and it's kinda exciting
3. A random hug and I love you from Lil Man.
4. My brother's dog Polar Bear is seriously like the sweetest dog ever. I have been feeling off for a bit now and every time I go to my parent's house, he is there to make me feel so much better. Ps. You can see him on the Insta... 

Three recipes to make next week

Mmmm... Pickles

2. Creamy Garlic Pasta (from The Cheese Pusher)
I've made this before and I LOVED it. It's great with some oven roasted chicken or even by itself. So much better than Olive Garden!

3. Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets (from Damn Delicious)
These look amazing! 

Two blog posts that I loved

1. The Life of a Blogger Child // Don't Quote the Raven
2. Yes, I'm flying with kids. No, I don't need your dirty looks // The Samantha Show

One thing that I'm grateful for

1. When I posted about my biggest insecurity in a vlog and then revisited the issue on Monday, I didn't know what comments/feedback were going to ensue... I was so surprised by all your kind and encouraging words. I am grateful for you. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

**Cheers to the weekend and 

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Why I'm ok with being basic

For bloggers, Wednesday is all about confessions. And today, is no different.... I confess that I'm ok with being basic...

Being basic isn't a bad thing... It simply means that I like all the crap that other girls like. Granted you aren't going to catch me selfie-ing with a PSL, dressed in leggings and UGGS, but you will catch me in a plaid shirt and maybe a North Face jacket; and definitely with either a cup of hot apple cider or a PSL, hold the coffee- I just like the steamers. 

Hell, you may even see me with a semicolon tattoo by the end of the year... or maybe an arrow... Gosh, I'm already fining for another. Speaking of, have you seen the new tat on my left wrist? Strike another thing off my thirty by thirty list! 

I digress. 

A few weeks ago, the lovely Taylor from The Daily Tay explained the whole phenomenon of being basic. And then she started a trendy hashtag on Insta... #thedailybasic... and it kinda just exploded. Go Tay Go! 

And I'm seriously, definitely, and possibly obsessed with being basic. Maybe it's because I love Fall and pumpkin spice lattes. And sweaters. And pumpkin everything. And scarves. And leaf jumping. And going to the apple orchard. And pumpkin candles. And pumpkin smelly things from Bath and Body works. And plaid. And blanket scarves. And riding boots. And muted colors. And booties. And apple cider. Have you seen my current obsessions?

but... I don't like leggings... vests... pumpkin beer... coffee in my pumpkin spice latte... boot cuffs... UGGS... Oh man, since I've already exhibited like 20 of the 30 likings, does that still make me "basic"? 

Why am I'm ok with being basic? Simply because those things are awesome. Being basic doesn't actually mean that you are basic like a plain white tee,  but that you are basic like a pair of leopard flats. That you know what you like. That evem if you have fallen under the spell of Fall and corporate marketing strategies, you can put your own spin on things. 

That even if you aren't the DIY type of gal, you still search Pinterest for super easy things to make for your house that will put you in the Fall mood everyday. Well, maybe you just hit up the Target dollar section to fancy things up. Like I said, you put your own spin on things. 

I love being basic. I love Fall so much that I would love to live in either Colorado or one of the Dakotas just so I could live Fall all year long. But until I decide to state jump, I will be just fine with this weather...

Tis the season for being basic. 

talking about insecurities // round 2

*I have a feeling that I am going to regret pressing the "publish" button today, but here we go...*

Last week I posted a vlog (video blog) in which I talked about my biggest insecurity... my weight. Even though it was a bit difficult to talk about the insecurity, I have to honestly say that I didn't dig deep for the vlog. I just talked about what "bothers" me on a daily basic, and even though my weight issue is my BIGGEST insecurity, it's not the one that I hide deep down inside.

That one... is hard.
That one... is raw.
That one... makes me emotional and vulnerable.

I have to say that I am so grateful that Faith and her co-hosts chose the topic for the Golden Vlog this month... because it allowed me to see that I am not the only one struggling with this certain insecurity. The vlogs from Leah from My Favorite Adventure  and Tayler from The Morrell Tale really hit me like a freight train; they made me aware of this insecurity that I keep hidden away.

The one that takes some explaining...

(ok, enough stalling... here we go)

Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in. I feel as if I sometimes don't wear the right clothes, or have the right stuff. I feel as if I can't connect with people on the deeper level, and maintain friendships. I feel as if I say the wrong things sometimes all the time. I feel as if I am the one being left out. I feel as if I can take a work friend or school and make them and real life friend, but connecting on the friend level that takes us out to coffee or dinner, is near impossible; and the relationship fizzles out. 

I am usually the one who will text friends and ask them if they want to go for coffee or lunch. I am usually the one sitting on the computer watching everyone else posting things on Facebook and Insta. I am usually the one asking myself why I didn't get invited. 

And it hurts. It hurts, because even though my answer usually would be "No, I can't go because I don't have a sitter", I'm not asked. I'm not asked to join the fun. 

It hurts because I feel a constant struggle to fit in. In real life and in blogging life. I feel this because I'm usually in as different place in my life than others people.

Real life example: When ever I go on a play date with Lil Man, I feel like a horrible mother. I'm always talking about the shit that my kid does that annoys me and saying that I'm good with one child; and the other mother has two or three kids, and those kids are flippin angels. I'm always the one left wondering what I did wrong (parenting wise).

Blogging example: When ever I find a new blog, I generally read about how they have dedicated their lives to God, are active in church, and connect with other bloggers at different conferences. Sure,  I believe in God, but I'm in no way active in a church or about going to conferences. And I'm not really interested in doing all that stuff either (mostly due to outlying factors). But I feel if I have no interest in it, then I will be turned away because there isn't a way that we can connect on those kind of levels. 

I've had my insecurity since about middle school. And if your'e wondering, no, I was in no way popular. I wasn't well off, blonde, or skinny. I has glasses, wore t-shirts to hide my breasts, and was in band. Yes, I was a nerd. But I also didn't really have any neighbors to make friends with- I lived on about 5 acres and it was an 1/8th of a mile to the road from my house. Sure, my mom tried to keep me active in Girl Scouts and 4-H, but those were the only people I talked to (and surely don't talk to them now. Granted we are friends on Facebook, but they are more like acquaintances). Literally the only person from middle school/high school that I talk to on a regular basis now, is my best friend who happens to live 20 minutes outside of DC- I'm about an hour South East of Chicago. And the people that I talked to from Girl Scouts and 4-H... well those friendships started to fizzle out about mid-sophomore year.

Sure since then, I've had people that I have hung around with. Like in college, at a few jobs, when I was into the "bar scene", etc. But once those activities were over, it was like the friendships were too. And it felt like itwas my fault 100% of the time. Sure, it probably wasn't, but I don't know what happens and why the friendship come to and end.

Has anyone ever had this insecurity? If you have, I would like to know about it. I would like to know what people do to overcome an insecurity like this? Is it normal- feeling like you don't fit in?

*linking up with Ember Grey
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friday five

Other than the Cubbies winning the first game of the play offs, the Black Hawks season opener and the premier of American Horror Story on Wednesday, Honestly my week has sucked this week.... Work has been hell- I work as a Tutor in Juvenile Detention and well, our numbers have been up, so I've had to take on the role of a full time teacher for the majority of this week. I'm tired. Then my Dad is in the hospital with chest pains. They think it could be GI or stomach issues making him have issues, but they are unsure. And now I have a power steering fluid leak on my car. So instead of doing the whole... I'm so happy and these are all the lessons I have learned this week- here is some fun things.... 

Five goals for next week

1. Continue cleaning out closets
2. Schedule at least three blog posts (at the time of publication- two are already scheduled)
3. Take my lunch three times (I was able to make and take it once this week)
4. Take all totes full of summer clothes and items out side to storage
5. Find out more about obtaining my teaching license

Four favorite blog posts

3. Anxiety from two perspectives // Love the Here and Now
4. Twelve months of bliss // Ember Grey

Three favorite recipes

1. Cowboy Crack (from Living in Yellow)
I made this for my son's b-day party a few weeks ago, and it was the hit of the party! I used cheddar smoked sausage instead of regular cook-and-drain sausage, and it was just as yummy!

2. Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Honey Butter (from The Kitchen Mccabe)
After I made the Pumpkin Bars below, I had a bunch of pumpkin puree left, so I made some butter! Wow! 

3. Pumpkin Bars (from The 36th Avenue)
Oh my, these were amazing! They were super easy to make and even lasted for a bit in my oven covered with tin foil. 

Two upcoming posts for next week

1. Talking about insecurities round two
2. Current favorite beauty products

One new book to read

Larson is known for his historical books-  and this one, I'm told, doesn't disappoint. 

**Cheers to the weekend and 

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talking about insecurities (a vlog)

The Golden Vlog is a monthly vlog linkup that gives bloggers a chance to be vloggers for the day and talk about different things. This month, Faith and the other co-hosts decided to shake things up a bit and talk about something serious.... insecurities. 

Everyone has insecurities... whether it be their weight... hair... feet... lack of education... etc. But they hardly ever talk about them. Why? Because talking about a struggle leaves you vulnerable and raw. And well, it's not just something that comes up in a conversation between two friends and their pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. It's something that is hid behind closed doors because the shame that it somewhat associated with it.

So today, with the help of Faith from Life with Mrs G & the Artist & friends, I am opening up about my biggest insecurity. I pride myself with giving you all of me here. With giving you the good with the bad. And today... it's the bad.

The questions I will be answering are:

  • What is your biggest insecurity?
  • How long have you struggled with it?
  • Do friends and family know about this insecurity?
  • What do you do to overcome it?
  • What advice would you give your younger self or anyone else struggling with their own insecurities? 

Granted what I talk about in the video- my insecurity with my weight- is my biggest insecurity, but I do have others... like the fact that I have a master's degree in Criminal Justice and feel like I know nothing (an over exaggeration) about the Criminal Justice system.... like I feel like a crap parent sometimes because my kids refuses to listen 80% of the time... like I'm insecure in the fact that I really don't have any friends that I can get together with and go for a pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks (my bestie lives by Washington D.C.)... like I feel like I'm not good enough... like I feel if I open up and show people 100% of me that they will reject me (I'm weird...)... like I feel insecure in blogging.

Ok, that's enough for today...

Stop on over and go support the other gals who are struggling with insecurities! xo

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

 photo jenna-sue-new-signature_zpsevkylyn6.png

12 reasons to be happy

*Cooler weather means the return of sweaters, blanket scarves, and boots.

*Walmart making every #basic girl's dream come true with a cheap pumpkin spice latte mug.

*Walking outside near sunset and seeing a beautiful evening. The colors... amazing.

*Peaceful mornings. Even though I hate getting up in the mornings,  I love that everyone else is sleeping and I have about 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to get ready.

*Realizing that you look great in a $13 hat from Tarjay.

*Finding a plaid button down that fits. Bonus that it makes my hair look so pretty.

*Finishing the book that I've been reading for about a month now. And then realizing that I don't have to read the other 7 books in the series, because ALL the plot summaries were on Wikipedia... yeah.
But at least I can say that I "finished" the series.

For some reason apples taste so much better in the fall than in the summer.

*Wood stoves and beer on Friday nights.
(um... yeah, no, I am not a Budweiser gal... but that's all my brother had in his garage)

*Finally getting my blogging inspiration back! I actually have a couple of post ideas for this week and I am super happy & excited to share them with y'all.

*Having a five year plan... this includes obtaining my teaching license. (more on that later)

*Kitties. And being able to fall asleep to the sound of their purring...
Who needs a puppy when I have this ------------->

For all these things, I am also grateful. And linking up with the beautiful Emily from Ember Grey.

What makes you happy?

Hello, October

A new month means a clean slate and another chance to start in on those lovely monthly goals that everyone, including me, likes to make. And since today is the first day of sweater weather, pumpkin candles, riding boots, pumpkin picking, leaf pile jumping, apple cider, big fluffy blankets, scarves... aka October, and it's the perfect day to share my goals.

So we are going to review my September goals, to see where I am, and then talk about my October goals. 

September Blog Goals 

Post more than once a week
I am working on this one. It's all about time management.

Take new profile pictures
Did you see the new one? :)

Redo old blog posts
As I said in September, this is a longer term goal, due to the work that it takes. To date, I have 402 published posts and I am looking at refreshing at least 200 of those. 

Take some time and learn Photoshop
Literally never going to happen... this is definitely put on the back burner. 

September Personal Goals

Spend more quality one on one time with my kid
This is an ongoing goal- and I love the moments we have started sharing. 

Make a budget
Carrying over to October. See why below. 

Experiment with my hair
I think I have been doing good with this one- I have ventured into braiding and second day curls. 

Take more time for myself... and read more.
I am currently reading four books and almost done with one. I will be sharing my current reads next week. 

October Goals

This month, I am combining my blog and personal goals for a couple of different reasons. One- most of my goals from the previous month are rolling over, and two- I need to downsize in goals.

My top five goals for October are:

To make a budget and stick to it
I know there are only three months left in this year, but my goal is to actually make and stick to a budget. Why? Because the holidays are coming up and I really need to curb my spending. And I want to see all of our money is going. Or not going. 

Enhance my time management skills
I have been in this rut where I am trying to give a 110% to every thing that I do- work, blog, spend time with my son and hubby, clean, and take time for myself. It's exhausting. And things fail. This month I am going to make a laundry/cleaning schedule, a blog schedule, and set aside a day (most likely Sunday) when I am not blogging, cleaning, or on social media, and devoting my whole 24 hours to the people who matter the most: my family. 

Eat healthier
Yeah, I'm the girl that makes healthy eating a goal the month before the holidays truly begin. But- it's a priority now. I have been eating fast food at least 3 times a week and I can feel it. The main goal here is to start making and taking my lunch to work. A lunch meat sandwich and chips has got to be healthier than a double cheeseburger with fries from Burger King any day. 

Grow my blog
Did you know I haven't advertised on a blog in like 6 months... yeah. It's sad.I see all the bloggers around me growing their blog via social media and new followers, but I am stuck on an island. Not really, but it feels like that sometimes. I need to make a new blog button, advertise more, interact more, post on social media more, etc but above all, I need to publish some amazing content more than once a week

Start cleaning and purging my house
I'm a girl, thus, I just have way too much crap. If I start now, then I will have less to do in January (my annual purge month). Plus, maybe I can weed out some of my clothes I can wear/are too big, sell them, and make some money to add to my budget.

Did you make any October goals?
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