Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Do you ever feel like sometimes in life, you just want to CTRL, ALT, DEL everything? Like you feel like you keep getting knocked down, and can't catch your breath? You're stuck under a tidal wave and keep getting pushed to the ocean floor? Ok. You get the idea. This entire year has kind of felt like that for me. I felt like I couldn't recover. And then, an unexpected reboot (of sorts) happened.

I don't imagine many people will be reading this. I've taken an unplanned blogging break for the past two months. I kind of wanted to keep this private, but at the same time, I realize the support of the blogging community is unlike any other. So. *deep breaths*

I never planned on this happening. Like. I almost can't bring myself to type these words. But. It's reality.

I have filed for divorce.

I kind of feel like this whole year has been a build up to it. I'm not telling everyone for pity. I'm not bragging. I don't want any sympathy. The fact of the matter is, there was no turning back from this.
I know what some of y'all might be thinking, "there's always a way". Believe me. I have expressed all options. I've tried to fix this. There comes a point where if you're the only one trying and fighting, you start to realize "what's the point".

I'm not trying to justify anything. This is kind of a blanket "hey, this is what's going on in my life!" This year has been full of ups and downs.
Of course, this also means that I AM trying to find a job.

So the title for this post is the only way I can really sum up my life right now. I'm going through a reboot. I'm figuring out how to be a <single> mom. Figuring out how to live alone. We are separated. I've never actually lived alone, so this is a new thing for me. It's new for the kids. It's just a process.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not pulling away from y'all on purpose. I'm trying to really figure out who I am. What I like. I've lived with my parents my whole life and then went from that to immediately living with Josh. Bear with me through this process, y'all. I promise I'm not going off the grid like I did in January. And I promise I'm trying to get better at blogging. This includes getting back to reading and commenting regularly. Even if I don't post anything.

I love you all. I love my tribe. Thank you all for the support.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Make the Most of Your Road Trip!

Road trips. You either love them or hate them. Personally, I love them. Cranking up the music, rolling the windows down, and just having fun! Over the years, I've made several long trips both with kids and without. You could say I'm a road trip professional. Okay, not really. But it sounded good, right? I do have a few tips that have helped make road trips a little more enjoyable over the years.

// Snacks are Key. Let's face it! Fast food and snacks from the gas station can get pricy. Before you leave, load your car with lots of tasty filling snacks. Granola bars are  winner for us! We can usually get away with going to the dollar store a few days before we leave to get things that everyone loves. Along with the snacks, drinks are important. I of course prefer water, but capri suns are great for the kids. Heck, there's even great recipes to make your own granola snacks to save even more.

No one wants to be HANGRY

// Know your MPGs! To get the most out of your journey, it helps to know how often you'll have to stop for gas. You may not be able to map out where exactly to stop for gas, but you'll at least be able to know how often you will need to stop based on how far you're going and your MPG's. For example, when we drive from Georgia to Jersey we know we'll have to fill up three times. This gets worked into our travel budget. Without stressing about stopping too much allows you and the driver to enjoy the ride a little more.
Just watch out for flying Mexican!

// Enjoy the ride. Plain and simple. Just make the trip fun. Just because you're literally stuck in the car for hours on end, you don't have to be cranky about it!You may have taken the same road trip every year and know your route so well that you could do it in your sleep. But don't make the ride boring! Play I-Spy games. This helps keep the driver entertained.
// Crank up the tunes! Road trip songs are the best! Before you leave, get some playlists together that will have you and the driver singing along. My husband and I have a bunch of mixed CD's we use just for road trips. We both sing and dance along. And hey, if you have kids, you DON'T need to keep the kids songs playing. Let's face it, y'all... those get old FAST. The kids can learn to appreciate Journey at an early age!

// Plan to Explore. This kind of goes back to enjoying the ride. Before you leave allow little wiggle room in your travel time to stop and explore. Y'all may not realize there's a zoo you haven't been to before or a random "state's biggest (fill in the blank)" Look up some random attractions on your route and explore! For example, there's a natural bridge in Virginia that someone might like to see!  This makes for great memories and pictures.

See? Road trips don't have to always be  long and boring! Make it fun and make it something you enjoy. 13-15 hours in the car is a long time, y'all. We don't want to kill your spouse at the end of it, right?

What are some things you do on road trips? What's your favorite road trip song?
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Low Impact Working Out + Meet Nina

You know what the best thing in the world is for a runner? Getting a clear from the Ortho that you can start low impact walking and low impact working out.

I saw the ortho yesterday, y'all. MRI's were done, and a small bit of physical therapy to see how things were healing.
I swear I almost hugged him, y'all! Obviously it will still be a few more weeks before things are back to 100%. And they may not even be back to 100%, so I can't push things.But I was told that I can start working out with legs again. I can't run, and I can't do jumping jacks. I CAN do squats and lunges though! So GREAT NEWS!


I no longer have to wear my brace unless I feel like I need it. So, not a whole lot going on in the workout world this week. (That makes three weeks in a row! Ouch!) But, now that I've got the clear to do some low impact stuff, I feel better about actually doing something. Here's to a new week!

How have y'all been doing with Bloggers Give it 100? Link up with Kendra, Lora, and I to share!

The Rambling Llama
And now for a real treat!

Describe yourself in four words. 

I really love your blogging style. What made you start blogging?
I've always been a writer. It's the one thing that has been clear to me but I don't know what it will look like. In the meantime, I want to be a good steward of the passion God gave me. Meanwhile, at the time, I'd moved away from my entire Italian family (no one leaves the Midwest) to San Francisco without knowing a soul and I wanted to chronicle the adventure, the hard parts and the amazing parts!

You're a new addition to the crayon box. Which color would you be, and why?
Anything bright. Just not purple. I have nothing against purple but every time I wear it, something truly awful happens. I am not even superstitious so I have even tested it out! But when you have to put a beloved dog down wearing purple and you're broken up wearing purple...Seriously! My friends love purple and I love that purple is kind to them but purple just messes with my mojo.

What's the best advice you've ever gotten about blogging?
I've gotten plenty of technical help. How do I start a newsletter? How do I optimize my posts?

But I guess the actual writing and blogging part, the content and so on...I don't really follow advice. I am sure I could write more pinnable posts more often but I want to stay true to my mission statement and why I started the blog in the beginning.

Better than advice, the encouragement and support has been amazing. Maybe that's the best advice I've gotten: keep telling your story. 

What's your favorite movie quote?
This is so easy. Cary Grant says it to Katherine Hepburn in A Philadelphia Story: "You'll never be a first class human being or a first class woman until you've learned to have some regard for human frailty."

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anything my nonna makes.

Why would I choose it? Come over to Nonna's and you'll know why.

I love how genuine Nina is. If you want to see more about her, follow along! 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Why People Need Creative Outlets

Y'all, let me tell you something. Without fully opening up on here, I must say I have been going through some craziness for the past several weeks. My home life has essentially been flipped upside down, and without going into too much detail, I've been a complete mess. It's shown in my (lack of) promoting sponsors, lack of interacting on social media, lack of reading and commenting on blog posts. Well, you get the idea.

Enter my creative outlet.

I've always had a deep love for art. I love drawing, painting, singing, all of it. Art to me is the best way to express yourself because there's no wrong way to do it. It's in art that I've been able to grab ahold of my creative outlet to get through these tough times.

A few weeks ago, you probably saw this on instagram.

This was the first time in over 10 years that I've actually sat down, and made an effort to just draw for the fun of it.
Y'all. I felt amazing just to draw. Ever since that day, I've really felt more relaxed. I'm incredibly grateful that I took a few moments for myself.

Since then, I've been drawing like crazy. Sometimes it's a silly doodle with Ainsley. Sometimes, it's like the bear up there and I make an effort for it to look nice. The only problem is I haven't had really good pencils for drawing. I had said something about not having great sketching materials to a friend's dad two weeks ago. I mentioned that I'm so glad that I'm back into drawing and I feel like I have "me" time again. The only downside is, I didn't have my charcoals and all that. But, I said that you work with what you have, right? Right!

Well, this past Friday, I got this in the mail. A totally, complete surprise from my friend's dad.

I seriously cried y'all. It's people like this that the world needs more of. I didn't ask for sketching things. I didn't say I needed them. He just sent them. I'm grateful to have him in my life.

After I got the drawing materials, I immediately starting sketching. For the longest time I've had this face in my head. I'm not sure who she is. And please forgive, because I'm really horrible at drawing people. But the happiness I felt while drawing her was so great. Loved it.

So, what I'm trying to say. If you don't have a creative outlet. Find one. It helps. I never knew how much I needed it until I just started drawing. For all of this, I'm grateful, and I'm starting this week on a happy note.

linking up with Emily.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
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Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Prepare for Kindergarten + A Giveaway

School is literally right around the corner for us. I'm partially in denial that I will have a kindergartener as of next week. These past few weeks have been spent preparing Zander (and myself) for him to be in real school.

|| Go to the Kindergarten Round Up.
Shortly before the school year ended, the Pre-K told us about the kindergarten round up night. This gives the kids (and parents) a chance to see the school before the open house at the beginning of the school year. Here, you can tour the classrooms, the computer lab, library, and more to get a sense of what the kids will be doing during their day. Also, the kids get to ride the school bus since most have never ridden one before Kindergarten. Zander learned all the bus rules here.

|| Get your supply list early.
Y'all, the closer the first day of school gets the faster supplies at the store disappear. We took a trip to the school about a month ago to get the list and buy early. We still need to get a bookbag and a few new pairs of pants, but this weekend is tax free in Georgia so we'll be doing some shopping this weekend!

|| Practice buttoning pants and tieing shoes. 
This is something I did not consider working on over the summer until we went to the kindergarten round up. The kindergarten teachers actually suggested it. But seriously, I never realized how many times I've had to re-tie Zander's shoes or help him (and Ainsley) button their pants after going potty. Yes the teachers will still help. Zander still hasn't mastered tying his shoes, however he can button his pants (and jackets) with ease now. One less thing for the teachers to help with.

|| Look for letters and numbers everywhere. 
Zander is still not reading, however he does know his letters and numbers. From driving to the store and back or just reading together at home I am always asking him to identify letters and numbers and the sounds they make. Even with doing this will help him develop his ability to read while he's in school. Some kids are reading at his age, but we're not really pushing a whole lot. He practices writing his first and last name daily.

|| Have tissues ready.
If you're dropping your kindergartener off in the car, or if they're riding the bus (like Zander) tears are almost guaranteed. Zander is my oldest. This is our first school experience. I totally cried when he went to pre-k last year. Kindergarten marks the start of his school career. It's real that he's really growing up. I'm fighting tears now.

Hell... might as well have the wine ready for when they get home and celebrate how much fun they had, and how much they can't wait to go back!

|| Take lots of pictures. 
These are the moments made for photo albums. New friends. New memories. All of that. Time goes by quickly and you don't want to miss a single thing.

And now for a real treat, especially with back to school around the corner! Hope and I have teamed up with Firmoo to giveaway one FREE PAIR of glasses from!! I've worked with Firmoo earlier this year, and I absolutely stand by this company 100%. This is a great chance to win an amazing pair of prescription glasses!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bloggers Give it 100 || Life Happens

Y'all... life happened this past week. I was on a roll. I ran Wednesday last week and I got  my 3 mile time under 40 minutes. My best time EVER. I was stoked to see what I could get my time to be last Friday. And then.... accidents happened. Life happened.

I did some at home workouts on Friday. I make it a point to do abs, core, and some sort of hand weights at home if I'm not doing a workout video. Everything seemed pretty normal to me, and I didn't feel like I had pushed myself too far.

I'm still not entirely sure what happened. I do know the knee twisted, then popped, then I collapsed.

Zander helped me get the brace on and helped me get dressed. I had to go the rest of the day with 4 kids in the house though. I should've probably gone to the doctor sooner, but because I had all the kids I just couldn't. By the time the other 2 kids went home, I was in tears from the pain. I could barely hobble around by then. Thank goodness for mother in laws. She came over around 7 PM that night so I could go to the E.R. to get things looked at. Not the best way to spend my Friday night.

Long story short, I have a partially torn patellar tendon.
Which means, no surgery needed. Plenty of rest, elevate as much as possible, and keep my brace on.

This also means NO RUNNING for another 4 weeks or so.


That news killed me. I mean, I knew it wasn't a great idea. But I think I've been in a depression since then. I know there's other workouts I can do that don't require standing. (Core, upper body, back, etc). I just haven't done anything since then.

So, like Lora I'll be added a few weeks to the end of my Bloggers Give it 100. I want the full experience, and with me not doing anything since Friday I felt like I was cheating myself. So, today we're just hitting the reset button and starting over.

How did you do this week? Link up with Kendra, Lora and I and share!
The Rambling Llama
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And We Were Running || Bloggers Give it 100

Did anyone else read the title in their best Forest Gump voice? No? Just me. Ok... moving on...
This past week I learned something very important about myself. I'm officially a runner. I found this quote and it spoke volumes to me.

I never thought of myself as a runner. In fact, I avoided those teams in high school (track and cross country). Even running for P.E. or swim practice really turned me off. I seriously hated everything about running. I was the "what is the point" person. I was the person that when I saw a running update on social media for anyone, I'd scroll past faster.

And then something changed.

A little over a year ago I was able to afford a gym membership. I was able to meet with a personal trainer for about 3 months (twice a week for three months) It was a LOT, y'all. I really have her to thank to change my mind about running. She made me see the fun in it.

It's still not something I can totally explain. It's absolutely one of those things where, when you're a runner you know it. I know I have several blogging and IRL friends that get this. I really don't want to explain it. Instead, I want to share my amazing #bloggersgiveit100 moment from this past week.

I was able to run a full three miles without stopping in 47 minutes. Y'all. This is a big deal for me. I have never before now been able to run even a full mile without stopping. The day I did this, you better believe I posted it all over social media. I'm proud of myself.

Yes, the time isn't the best in the world. But that doesn't matter to me. What matters is what I pushed myself to do. I didn't feel any pain after awhile. I felt a high. Endorphins are a real thing. ("Happy people don't kill their husbands", right Hope?) I also apologize to anyone on my snapchat friends that are sick of workout snap feed stories, cause they won't be stopping anytime soon.

So now I'm excited to see how I can push myself further. What else can I do? Where else can I run in my town to explore? I also am dying to get something to hold my phone on my arm while I run so I don't have to just carry it. Any suggestions on that are welcome.

I'm truly grateful for my entire blogging community. Y'alls encouragement on my fitness journey have been nothing but incredible. I love each and everyone of y'all, and I truly appreciate the comments.

What have you done to keep moving this week? Are you participating in #BloggersGiveIt100? Grab a button and link up with Kendra, Lora, and I. And don't forget. It doesn't matter how fast you are going. You're still going faster than everyone on the couch!
The Rambling Llama
And now for something completely fun!! Hope and I are hosting a giveaway! Day Designer/Blue Sky Planner Giveaway from Penning Hope and The Rambling Llama | Day Designer Blue Sky Planner Giveaway
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell Me About Your Town : Fun Facts

History to me is fascinating. I'm thrilled that the month I get to co-host Tell Me About Your Town with Amanda we get to talk history! 

I had to do a bit of googling about Monroe. Cause, let's be real, y'all. Georgia is a massive state. Not the biggest by any means, but it's big. I grew up in one particular county and knew very little about many other counties / cities most of my life. Hubs and I have lived in Monroe for about 2 and a half years now, so I guess it was about time I started learning a little more about the city... other than where the best place to get pizza was. (That's Amici's by the way!) 

Random fact: Monroe, GA has an elevation of 909 ft. 

The town was founded in 1818 and made a city in 1896. The county we live in (Walton) was named in honor of George Walton. So basically the county I live in was named after a guy that wasn't even BORN in this state. That to me is hilarious. 
George Walton
In the 1900s, Monroe was one of the state's top producers of cotton. 
The two main cotton mills no longer produce cotton, however they still serve as economic engines for the city. They have been turned into two large antique mills. One rests nicely behind our house about 3 tenths of a mile. The back of the mill near our house is sometimes used to film the Walking Dead. About once a year since we've been here the film crew and trailers park back there. Can you blame them for wanting to use it though? It's creepy at night back there

Random fact: Monroe has the nickname "city of Governors". Seven of the men to act as Governor over Georgia have come from Monroe. In Chronological order: Wilson LumpkinHowell CobbAlfred ColquittJames Boynton,Henry McDanielClifford Walker, and Richard Russell, Jr..

And a fun fact about Georgia in general:
It's illegal to tie a giraffe to a lamp post 

What's a fun historical fact about where you live? Link up with Amanda and I to share! 

Amanda Moments

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