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Loving Lately

Loving Lately: April 2017

April 28, 2017

I probably say this every month, but where in the world did the last four weeks go and how do I get them back? It really feels like April flew by and I would really love for this year to slow down just a little bit. But since we all know that won’t happen, let’s at least wrap up the month with some link love!

We tried this zoodle shrimp scampi recipe this month and have already made it a second time. Really good, although I definitely upped the red pepper the second time!

I shared this on social media, but I absolutely love Chelsea’s list of 5 things she wants to stop doing this year. It’s a must read and I think everyone should make their own list.

I am most certainly an introvert. And I definitely married an extrovert. Elise has some great reasons why that’s a fantastic combination.

Did you check out my newest care package?

I am so jealous that Ashley got to experience Texas wildflower season this year. Bring on all the bluebonnets!

These tips for incorporating your volunteer experience into your resume are great for military spouses and civilians alike.

Make sure to enter my giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh and this guy would love it if you gave him and Ruger a follow on their brand new Instagram account.

Books

What I Read This Month: April 2017

April 21, 2017

Woo hoo, it’s finally Friday! Even though this week was a short one, it has straight up worn me out, so I’m very much looking forward to a quiet weekend at home.

Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent “When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.”

I liked this book, but I wish there was more to it! I didn’t really feel like their relationship was explained well enough for the reader to get it. I’m not sure if it being longer would have helped or if the author needed to focus more on the interaction between her and Edward. I finished it and felt incomplete.

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero “If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.”

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one, but saw so many people reading it that I had to try it. And I’m really glad I did! Most self-help books are a little much for me, but this one didn’t come off as preachy. It was entertaining and I definitely took a lot away from each chapter. I’d recommend this one for people who don’t normally like self-help books.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub “For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.”

I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, I hated 95% of the characters and could not bring myself to root for them in any way, shape or form. On the other hand, Lawrence and Carmen were two characters who I actually really liked. But the author didn’t give me enough of them, instead choosing to focus on the whiny characters for most of the book. I don’t think I’d recommend this one to friends.

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close “When Beth arrives in D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn’t work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy, and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunches, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy’s star rises higher and higher, the couples’ friendship—and Beth’s relationship with Matt—is threatened by jealousy, competition, and rumors. ”

One description of this book called it “brilliantly funny”, but I probably would change that to “generally predictable”. The characters turned out to be exactly who you expected them to be: good, bad or somewhere in between. I actually wish the story had been told from Ashleigh’s point of view as she actually seemed to be more interesting than bland Beth, whose lack of passion was actually a bit frustrating for me. But it was a fast and easy read that was pretty entertaining.

What have you read this month?

Lifestyle

Unique Mother’s Day Cards

April 18, 2017
Unique Mother's Day Cards

Every mother-child relationship is unique. For your entire life, there is no other relationship like yours. So when it comes time to celebrate your mom, would you really want to give her a generic card just like everyone else’s? Me neither. With just about a month to go, I did some digging and found some fantastic unique Mother’s Day cards to fit just about any mom!

I found all of these unique Mother’s Day cards on Etsy and really like the idea of supporting a small business as much as possible.

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You knew that I wasn’t going to write this post and not include a dachshund card. You should be more surprised that I only shared one. I like animal-themed Mother’s Day cards because they’re so stinking cute, especially if they use an animal pun!

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I know quite a few new and soon-to-be moms so these Mother’s Day cards stuck out. I like the ones that have a humorous spin to them because I am just guessing that motherhood is very much a “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” experience.

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Speaking of funny, I love silly Mother’s Day cards, especially if that’s the kind of relationship you have with your mom.

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And for those super nerdy mother-child relationships, I found some options for you too!

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Not all moms have human children and I love that there are unique Mother’s Day cards just for them. I’m especially partial to the middle one because I feel like it’s 100% spot on accurate.

Do you have any sources for unique Mother’s Day cards? If so, share them in the comments!

House

Backyard Inspiration

April 14, 2017

Happy Friday, everyone! I have been looking forward to this long weekend for quite some time. It’s hard to stay inside in my office when the weather is so gorgeous. We’ve had dinner out on the deck a few days this week and started brainstorming some pretty massive improvements to the backyard. Luckily, Pinterest has a lot in terms of backyard inspiration and I’m pretty sure my plans have outgrown anything A could have imagined.

Our main focus is to maintain as much grass as possible for the dogs and still gain a little more flat space. We want to make most of the space we have, which isn’t huge, but can certainly fit everything we want. By removing some underperforming trees and shrubs, adding more grass and then using paver stones to create a second patio, we’ll make our little bit of land go quite a long way.  I foresee a significant amount of measuring and graph paper in our future.

The good thing about us taking on this project is that we care about different aspects, thus ensuring a really good finished product! A is all about the landscaping, but I’m all about the entertaining/lounging areas. So while he’s pulling weeds and watering a trillion times a week, I’m dreaming of fire pits and tons of string lights.

But I mean, can you blame me? Look at those string lights! Not only are they pretty, but they’d be really functional as our backyard is a bit dark.  I also love that round patio and fire pit, but think ours will likely end up being rectangular.  I would like smaller scale furniture around it, but think it may end up being folding furniture for off-season storage.

A is all about growing things (not weeds) in our yard. We’re going to make use of the space along our deck with one or two raised beds. I also really like the idea of growing herbs in planter boxes and just love those boxes hanging from the fence.  And maybe instead of herbs, we grow lots of flowers.

Once we clear the grill and storage container off our deck, we’ll have room for a nice dining set. It will be a change not to have to eat off of our camping table! I’m torn between the more classic picnic table look versus a more traditional dining set with cushioned chairs.  Comfort-level is a major factor as is the abundance of stinking cute pillows that could go on the chair. Is it wrong to pick out furniture based on the accessory potential?

No matter what kind of table we choose, we will want one that accommodates a large umbrella. Our backyard gets full sun during the day so we need some shade if we’re going to make use of the space prior to dusk.  I really like the grey and white stripes of the one above. It will look so pretty against our blue house!

Now, I have no idea when we’ll get all these projects done, but I have promised that this is the year we buy patio furniture so perhaps that purchase will push us along a bit. What do you think of my backyard inspiration? Also, how much work is a small backyard garden (for those of us who aren’t yard work people)?

Marriage Military

Relationship Habituation: What It Means And How To Make It Work For You

April 13, 2017
Relationship Habituation: What it is and how to make it work for you!

How often have you heard the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Military spouses hear it a lot, especially from civilian friends and family members who are legitimately trying to soften the blow of frequent and prolonged separations. Maybe it’s because we hear it so often or because it’s often said during the toughest moments of a deployment, but odds are we roll our eyes and brush it off as meaningless. But I actually don’t think it is; there may be something to relationship habituation. I know, I know. But hear me out on this one.

You see there actually is some scientific evidence that may back up the concept. The basic idea is that if you’re constantly exposed to something, you’ll get used to it and it won’t have as big of an impact on you as it did originally. This can apply to everything from a fancy meal to a new phone to that expensive sweater you just had to have, but doesn’t seem as great the 5th time you wear it. This is called habituation and is something that military spouses don’t seem to get a lot of.

Think about it. Between regular workdays, training, TDYs and deployments, military couples barely have time to get used to a joint schedule, let alone become immune to each other. It’s why homecomings have the rosy glow of a first date and the butterflies to go with it. On the bright side, you get to live like newlyweds longer and maybe find yourself loving your spouse more after a long separation. They have a stronger effect on you.

Unfortunately, this same concept may also be why couples may learn down the road that they aren’t as well suited for each other as they thought, especially now that they have to spend more of their time together. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can make relationship habituation work in your favor throughout your relationship, even if you never go through a deployment.

Spend time apart, even when he or she is home.

I’m not saying spend months at your summer home alone (invite me!), but rather explore your own hobbies/activities. A few hours or even a day here or there spent apart may recharge your relationship habituation batteries and give you plenty of new things to talk about.

Openly and respectfully discuss the things that irritate you about your loved one.

In my experience, it’s the smallest irritants that cause the biggest fights and the most resentment, largely because someone has kept them on lock down for eight years and suddenly lets it all come pouring out because they cannot stand one more pair of dirty socks on the floor. So nip it in the bud and discuss it early on before you’re boiling with rage at the mere thought of cotton footwear.

Regularly look for new reasons to love your spouse.

Part of the fun of a new relationship is that you discover new awesome things about your significant other on a regular basis, sometimes even daily. The same concept applies if your loved one has been gone for an extended period of time: you rediscover how good they smell or that cute way they crinkle their nose when they laugh. So look for ways to get that same warm and fuzzy feeling even if you’ve spent every day together for a year straight or 10 years straight.

Do new things outside of your collective comfort zone together.  

In new relationships, you’re constantly doing stuff together for the first time, learning about each other and bonding as you go. But as time goes on, couples often stop exploring together, instead settling into a routine of Netflix and chill. But I think it’s so important to continuously do new things together! You can try a unique date night idea or visit a new place or even just eat a new restaurant. Create new memories together. And who knows? Maybe you’ll see a whole new side of your spouse when you take them salsa dancing for the first time.

Relationship habituation isn’t necessarily something military spouses are super familiar with, at least not during their spouse’s military career. And in a way, we’re lucky because of that. But as time goes on, we may find that all the time together is a bit too much time together. How do you make relationship habituation work for you instead of against you?