Painting

I’ve always been interested in painting but I had never had the chance to take a class on it.  Even in high school I didn’t take art.  I don’t consider myself to be very artistic.  I know what I like but I’m not exactly on the “cutting edge” of things.  Stepping out and doing this has really fit with my goals of doing things I wouldn’t normally do.

The vineyard in my hometown has been offering one session painting classes on the weekends.  It is a simple class where you recreate a painting along with the teacher.  She was super nice and a lot of fun!  She was really good about calming any irrational painting fears and helping you to have confidence to really go for it.

I signed up with my friend Tammie (she had done it twice) and I talked my aunt into doing it too.  In this particular one we will be painting two canvases of tulips.  I figured this would give me enough of an experience to see if it is something that I would be interested in pursuing further.

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I didn’t get a picture of us all with our pink tulips.  I wish I had.  Here we are though with our purple tulips.  I think they look pretty good!

I am so glad I did it.  I had a lot of fun!  It was nice to focus on painting and not having my mind go in a million different directions.  It forced me to slow down.

Since I enjoyed it so much I told Jason it would be something I would like to do at home so he bought me some painting supplies Sunday after the class.  (Yes….he’s so sweet!)

These two I painted at my house on my own.  I’m really enjoying it.  I don’t care if I ever get “good” at it as long as I have fun doing it!  I like the break it gives my mind from everyday craziness and the way I have to use my mind to envision and see things differently.

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I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do this class.  I’ll be signing up for some more when they start back in the fall.

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Comfort Zone

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Y’all, I have a confession to make: I’ve been living in my comfort zone for too long.  I’ve been doing just fine but I’ve not been growing.  I’ve not been exploring.  I’ve not been pushing myself.

This year I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone more and more.  I’ve traveled by myself, began taking Zumba classes, starting a Youtube channel and now I’ve taken an acrylic painting class (I’ll post about it later).  I know that probably doesn’t sound like much to other people but for me it is huge!  I also want to take a cooking class, a knitting and crochet class and maybe a writing class if I can find one close by.

I know I’ve touched on this before but after my knee injury I became a little lost.  I was in pain all the time so that was terrible.  I couldn’t really ride horses anymore, I began to gain so much weight and my self esteem really suffered.  I just wasn’t “me”.  It is taking a long time to get back to where I was physically but I want to be an even better “me”.  I just don’t believe in going backward when it comes to being the real you.  I know I was brought through all of that for a reason and I don’t want to ignore it.

I don’t want to be old one day and have a long list of “I wish I had”, or “why didn’t I’s”.

Now, you probably won’t see my skydiving (I’m not hating on it though…I just don’t think I could do it right now) but I plan on pushing myself harder.  I want to really see what I’m made of.  I want to push myself as far as I can.  I want to try a lot of things.  Things that I don’t necessarily think would be “me”.  Anything different.

Why, you may ask?  Well, why not?

I want to be the best me I can be for my family.  I want to show my son that he can do anything that he sets his mind to.  I don’t want him to be afraid of challenges (whether real or in his own head).

I’ll leave you with a quote I absolutely love:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

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10 Tips for Traveling by Yourself

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  1. Research where you are going.  You can usually find out the neighborhoods to avoid and which ones you don’t want to miss.  There is so much information out there.  Google and Tripadvisor are both good places to start your research.
  2. The Google Maps app is invaluable.  It helps to make you look like less of a tourist.  If you start pulling out a map every time you turn a corner or go a few blocks anyone watching could see that you don’t know where you are but if you are just looking at your phone for all they know you could have just gotten a text or were checking the weather.
  3. If you have a condition that requires medication make sure to have a couple of copies of your medication list along with your doctors information and other emergency contact information.  Put one in your wallet/purse and another in your luggage at your hotel.
  4. Leave a copy of your documentation (itinerary, reservations, tickets, confirmation numbers, passport, driver’s license, etc.) at home with someone you trust.
  5. Make sure to have a hard copy of phone numbers.  What if your phone goes dead and you have to buy a new one?  What if you lose it?  Anything can happen and it is nice to have those numbers handy.
  6. Have a plan for each day but don’t get upset if you can’t do it all.  Also, make sure to have some alternatives in case something doesn’t pan out.  Weather can change, tours can be canceled, there could be unscheduled construction in a building you might want to see.  You never know what will happen so it is nice to have a back up plan just in case.
  7. Skype or Face Time with loved ones.  This helps keep any homesickness at bay.
  8. Take an umbrella and (at least) a light jacket with you.  Weather can be unpredictable…why be miserable?
  9. Keep everything organized in a folder.  I use a 5 Star pocket and prong folder that is water resistant and very sturdy.  I put everything (reservation confirmations, booking numbers, tickets, etc.) in sheet protectors with extra sheet protectors in the back.  I keep it organized by putting everything in order as I come to it on my vacation.  I keep extra sheet protectors in the back to keep up with receipts, brochures, used tickets and small mementoes.
  10. Always be aware of your surroundings.  This is pretty much common sense but on occasion anyone can get distracted and not focus on what is going on around them.

 

I hope these tips help you if you’re traveling by yourself or even with someone!

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Every weekend should be like this one

We had such a good weekend!  I wish every one could be like this…it was just so nice.

Saturday the weather was great.  Beautiful and sunny.  We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then took our Little Man to the park.

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This is the first flower I’ve gotten from my sweet boy!  Of course I kept it…  He’s such a good hearted kid.  He really makes me proud.

Jason had to do some work at the church Saturday evening so it was just me and Rylan for a few hours.

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After I mowed and picked up around the yard I took him outside to play.  We hit the sandbox first off and played in it.  Our dog Izzy was making him laugh while she was trying to catch bumble bees in the air.  When he finished with the sandbox we wrestled all the dogs in the back yard and then we had to wrestle them in the front yard too.  He had to look at the chickens and then “ride” the tractor, the lawnmower and the boat.  Since he was in a riding mood I got his 4-Wheeler out and let him ride it all over the yard.  Considering his age he does really good on it.  Then….we did it all again!  By 7:30pm, Mama was worn out and Little Man was getting there.  I brought him back in for a bath, something to eat and finally bed.

Sunday was a rainy day so we stayed inside pretty much all day.  We played, watched cartoons and cuddled.  I didn’t think to get any pictures but it was so relaxing and much needed quality time with the two men in my life.

Today being Monday was back to the grind of work.  It has been a good day though.  Work was busy but not overwhelming and then I had Zumba afterward.  It was great as usual.  I feel so good when we’re finished!  It is always nice to see Anna Ruth and our instructor is just great!  I’m getting to know a lot of other women in the class too and they are really nice ladies.  I’m so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and did it.

When I got back home I gave Rylan a bath.  He absolutely loves bath time!  We have these little color tablets by Crayola that turn the water different colors and he loves them!  He also just loves splashing and playing until I drain the water and force him to get out!  Haha!

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After his bath he didn’t seem nearly tired enough to go to sleep so we put on music and danced around the house (one of his favorite things to do, the kid’s got rhythm!) for about an hour.  By the end of the hour he stuck his thumb in his mouth and came up to me and hugged my leg.  I picked him up and he laid his head on my shoulder.  I knew it was bed time.

I stayed up long enough to pin a few things on Pinterest and then I was out too.

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What’s in my carry on bag?

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As I’ve said before I try my best to only carry on when I fly.  This is what I put in my carry on/personal item which was a tote bag when I went to NYC.  These are pretty much my essentials for any flight.  I carried my luggage on as well but this post/video doesn’t cover what I packed in it.

I always make a list of everything I need to take with me.  I break it down into these categories: Toiletries, Comfort & Convenience, Documentation/Money(ID’s, Confirmation, Tickets, Reservation Info, Credit Cards I will take, etc.), Electronics & Entertainment, Makeup, Accessories, Clothes and finally Shoes.

For my carry on/personal item the only categories I look at are: Toiletries, Comfort & Convenience, Documentation/Money and Electronics & Entertainment.

Here’s my list:

Toiletries

  • 3-1-1 Bag
  • Wet Ones Wipes

 

Comfort & Convenience

  • Sunglasses
  • Lip Balm
  • Tissues
  • Glasses & Case
  • Contact Case (I can actually fit this in my glasses case)
  • Gum
  • Emergency Bag (First Aid Kit, Zyrtec, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Toothpicks, Tums)

 

Documentation/Money

  • Travel Folder
  • Wallet
  • Passport

 

Electronics & Entertainment

  • Phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 4)
  • Laptop (I took my Samsung Chomebook, 11 inch)
  • Tablet (Nexus 7 with books, movies & television series loaded on it)
  • 2 Chargers, 1 for my Chromebook and 1 for my phone and it also charges my tablet
  • Ear Buds
  • Small Notebook
  • Journal
  • Pens
  • NYC Travel Book

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Tips for Packing a 3-1-1 Bag

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I almost always carry on everything when I fly.  I don’t like waiting at the carousel for my luggage, I don’t like my luggage out of sight, the fees can be ridiculous and I really hate having my luggage delayed for a few days.  Okay, well I guess delayed is better than completely lost but I still hate it.  Anyway, not matter what your reason is to not check a bag, if you carry on, chances are you have to have a 3-1-1 bag.

My 3-1-1 Bag Contents:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Contact Solution
  • Deodorant
  • Face Soap
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Face Primer
  • Foundation

Use contact lens cases for foundation, primer, moisturizer, face wash, etc.  This has saved a bunch of space for me.  After you’re finished with the product you can wash out the case and then store it somewhere else in your luggage.  I’ve found that I don’t use nearly as much product per day as I thought I did.  Even if you have to use both sides of one case for a particular product that case takes up a lot less room than a traditional travel sized bottle.

If it comes in a wipe then consider using it.  Wipes do not have to go in your 3-1-1 bag.  For example, in the past I would normally bring hand sanitizer.  It isn’t something I use at home a lot but it can be really handy when you are away from home.  Now to save space I pick up a couple of packs of Wet Ones Antibacterial wipes.  They’re more versatile than just the sanitizer because not only can you wipe your hands but you can clean surfaces with them.  I also bring makeup removing wipes instead of eye makeup remover.  I usually buy these in a large pack but when I travel I use zip top snack sized bags and put what I need in there.  I’ve also seen where insect repellent wipes are made and they’re actually good.  They also make sunblock wipes but I have heard that they don’t work very well.

Look for travel or sample/trial sizes of things.  Most products have a travel size of each and a lot of the makeup counters have samples of things that are great for travel.  When I bought my Clinique 3 Step System I received travel size bottle of each.  Also, when I bought my Naked Eye Shadow Pallet it came with sample sizes of their eye primer.

If you can, invest in a TSA approved bag.  Usually they have better shape to them than a zip top bag so it is easier to fit and arrange things in them.  If you do use a zip top bag make sure it is good quality and I personally opt for the freezer type.  They are much more sturdy.

Remember that if you forget something chances are you will be able to pick it up wherever you are going.

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The North Face Women’s Recon Backpack

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After my trip to NYC I felt like I needed a good travel backpack.  I had taken a tote as my personal item on the plane and I had worn a crossbody through the city but I wasn’t really ecstatic about either choice.  With the tote I had my hands free but it pulled my body to one side and that was uncomfortable.  The crossbody was fine for a little while but then it began digging into my shoulder and my neck, especially when I added anything to it.  It rode up and rubbed and it was very uncomfortable by the last day.  It just won’t work for any more trips.

I have a good sized hiking pack by Osprey but it isn’t carryon friendly, not to mention who wants to take a hiking pack to the city?  You would really stand out and not in a good way.

I did some research and I found The North Face Women’s Recon Backpack.  It looked like it had good organization but wasn’t overly huge and I love the orange color.  I love that it has a place for my laptop and tablet as well as a place for water bottles.  I think this will work out well no matter where I want to travel.

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Weekend Fun and Gardening!

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous!

We had a great time being outside most of the weekend.  Saturday Jason had to work some and he had to miss my Momaw’s birthday dinner.  It went great though!  I was able to see all my aunts and uncles and of course spend some good time with my Momaw!  Rylan was able to play with everyone and enjoy himself too!  As always, he steals the show!

20150412_130332-1Rylan loves the tractor!

20150412_124908If he can “drive” it he wants to be on it!

We started our garden this weekend.  I wanted to do raised beds only this year so the Husband began planning and constructing the beds based on the dimensions I told him I needed.  I wanted 3 – 4X8 beds and 1 – 8X8 bed.  He was able to finish two of my 4X8 beds and he is planning to finish the other 4X8 and 8X8 this week or this coming weekend.

He used treated 2X12’s for the sides, weed blocking fabric stapled to the bottom, PVC pipes cut and screwed into each corner as well as the middle of the long boards, and chicken wire stretched around the PVC to keep the dogs, deer and other critter out.

20150412_124141Daddy’s little helper!

20150412_124341He’s figuring it out!

20150412_095247Chicken wire.

20150412_095302Adding the PVC to the corners.

20150412_095338Filling it up with dirt.

20150412_105924Spacing out the plants

20150412_114414Tomatoes, green/red/yellow bell peppers, jalapeños, habanero peppers, onions, rosemary and thyme.  I added the rosemary and thyme just because I had space for it.  It wasn’t exactly planned for this bed but I knew it wouldn’t hurt anything.

20150412_170602Leaf lettuce, head lettuce, romaine lettuce and mustard greens.

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NYC Part 4 – April 6th – Coming Home

I woke up around 4;30AM.  I got ready and packed the remaining things and waited for my driver to call.  At 5:30AM he called to let me know he was downstairs.

When I arrived at the airport I went through security and found a McDonalds so I could get some oatmeal and a smoothie.  I had to walk a ways to my gate but it was easy to find.  I have to say, I was surprised at how nice the employees and TSA agents were at JFK.  That certainly doesn’t happen at a lot of airports.  (Well, except the small regional airport closest to my home.  They are awesome!  I’ve always had a good experience there!  Even when I’m “randomly selected” for further inspection…haha)

My first flight was very crowded but for the most part very smooth.  I had an aisle seat so no pictures of the clouds or city.

When I got to Atlanta I had to find my gate because it wasn’t on my ticket.  It was pretty close to the gate I came in on so no big deal.  I had a layover of a couple of hours.  I mostly just read.  This flight was, for the most part, full but it didn’t seem to be as crowded as the last.  I watched episodes of Blue Bloods all the way home.  (I think Tom Selleck was my first crush ever, btw.  Gotta love that stache.)   I didn’t even know we were that close until we touched down.

I was so happy to see this face!  (And I was happy to see Jason too!!!)

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I think it was hard for him to believe I was really back!  LOL  He would smile and then he would just sit and stare at me!

We had dinner at Mellow Mushroom and he stayed just as close to me as he could.  He was constantly touching me and wanting me to color with him.  “Memmy” he would say.  So sweet!

I had a great time but there is not better feeling than coming home!

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NYC Part 3 – April 5th

Sunday  I woke up and ate a granola bar and drank some water for breakfast.

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I was feeling so ready to see as much as I could!

I caught a cab to The American Museum of Natural History.

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This place is so big!  I could only do the first two floors.  My legs were still tired from the day before and after two floors of this and the amount of walking I still wanted to do I knew I had better stop there.

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There’s something creepy behind me, isn’t there?

 

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OMG…these bears though!

I would go through and post a bunch of other pictures of the museum but they just don’t do the exhibits justice.  Just go visit.  Seriously.  It will be better than any pictures anyone has ever taken there.  The dioramas are so good!  All of the exhibits are top notch.  If you’re a museum freak like me it is worth your time.  The next time I go to NYC I’ll probably go back just so I can see the two levels I had to miss.

After the museum I was starving but I didn’t want to eat too much.  I used the Central Park West exit (the same one I came in) and there were food trucks everywhere.  I picked one and grabbed a hot dog and a doctor pepper.  It was delicious!

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I ate on the go venturing just a little way into Central Park then back onto the sidewalk along Central Park West.

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I couldn’t resist a Central Park Selfie!

I saw some beautiful buildings and had fun people watching.

I also saw Trump International.

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This was the best picture I could get of it….c’est la vie…

There were horses and carriages everywhere doing Central Park carriage rides.

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I headed west in search of 5th Avenue.

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I found the Apple Store.

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And FAO Schwarz.

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I loved this camel at FAO!!!  I wish now I had gotten him for Rylan.

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Does anyone remember this giant keyboard from the movie “Big”?  I so wanted to play it but my legs were tired…and there was a line…aaaannnndddd it looked like only kids were doing it, so you know.

I ended up buying Rylan a Lego Race Car but failed to get a picture of it.  (Where’s my brain at y’all?)

I checked out Tiffany’s, Coach, Michael Kors, etc.  I didn’t find anything I wanted to buy but kept looking.  I guess I wasn’t really in a shopping mood.  I did make it to Madison Avenue and Park Avenue.  I looked around and then I decided to find Texas de Brazil (I had reservations for 4pm) and there was a candy store next door (Dylan’s Candy Bar).  Of course I had to go in and see what I could find.  I ended up with some chocolate covered espresso beans and several bags of loose candy.  I made it to my reservation on time.  I didn’t get any pictures of the food or the restaurant though.  I was so tired by this point I was ready to eat, relax and rest my mind.  I had smoked salmon, small salad with their delicious ranch dressing, filet, garlic mashed potatoes and fried bananas.  It was so good!  I sat and ate and people watched.

After leaving there I thought I might walk back over to 5th Avenue but I was just too tired.  I got probably halfway there and hailed a cab to go back to the hotel.

When I got there I started getting ready for my early flight.  I laid out everything I needed for in the morning.  I packed everything else that wasn’t needed and had it all organized and ready to go.  I double checked that I had my alarm set and I took a shower.  Then I piled up in the king sized bed, Skyped with Jason and Rylan for a while and then read until the premier of Mad Men.

Speaking of Mad Men…

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These were on the cabs everywhere.  I had to take a pic and send it to the Husband.

Oh, and a picture of Madison Avenue of course!

20150405_144334Jason and I texted while Mad Men was on (talking about the show) and then I was pretty much asleep right after it went off.

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