Home Packing Tips

Over the past week or so I have begun to pack our household belongings in order to move back to the west coast. Call me crazy but I am the type of person who loves to pack. I like to make sure that everything is done efficiently which is why I have done my research and figured out the best possible way to pack our things. I’ll share with you some of the tips that I’ve learned along the way, incase you are in need of some moving/packing help.

First step- Drop the dead weight

Get rid of anything you don’t want or need! It’s absolutely insane how much we have acquired since living here but that’s only because this was our first time living in our own place so there were a lot of little and big things that we needed. Thankfully I got rid of about half of my wardrobe and a ton of other stuff before we moved out here so I didn’t have a whole lot to get rid of this time around.

Step 2- Start acquiring inexpensive packing supplies

We are currently living in a huge apartment complex and luckily for us, there are often multiple boxes piled up near the recycle bin. So I’ve been doing a bit of dumpster diving (not literally) and picking up free, used boxes. I wish I could say that I’m not proud of it- but I totally am.  If you don’t live in an apartment, try checking the free section of craigslist or check behind any large grocery stores to see if they have piles of boxes in the back, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you took a few.

I also bought some boxes from Home Depot to carry the larger/heavier items because they sell heavy duty boxes.

But before you head over to Home Depot for boxes or anything else, stop by the dollar tree.  I was able to buy packing tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper, large protective envelopes, and a pack of foam plates for a dollar each! The tape isn’t that big so I bought two and the bubble wrap comes in small rolls but it’s still a good deal. The tissue paper (like the kind for presents) came in a reasonably sized pack and I was able to use it to wrap delicate/breakable items. I used the protective envelopes for picture frames and canvases and the foam plates went in between my plates to keep them from breaking.

The dollar tree also sells sharpies, trash bags and other things that could be potentially useful for packing purposes.

Glad Press’n Seal is a great way to store necklaces without them turning into a huge tangled mess. I also used it for my cooking utensils since they wouldn’t fit in the larger ziplock bags.

   

  

  

I bought a roll of stretch wrap from home depot for my dresser and a mattress bag as well.

I also put the billions of plastic grocery bags that we had lying around to use and threw them into boxes as extra padding.

Step 3- Start packing

This timeline is based on the amount of belongings in my apartment, so I would suggest starting a couple of weeks earlier if you have a larger home or more people in your family.

Four weeks out

-Start collecting packing supplies and begin packing things that you won’t need on a daily basis.

I started with the kitchen because thats where we have the most stuff, a lot of which is not used regularly. I packed everything except my pots, pans, silverware, knives, cutting board, cooking utensils, baking sheets, oven mitt, microwave, coffee maker, a couple of coffee cups, some tupperware, a mixing bowl and my spices/cooking necessities.

TIP- when you do pack the rest of your kitchen, use your larger pots and slow cooker to store all of your spices.

-You can also begin to pack the things that are hanging on the walls. Any photographs, artwork, mirrors, chalk boards etc.. Label each box with which room it belongs in and even list what is in the box incase you need to find something specific during the chaotic process of moving in. I’ve heard of some people using a color system to do this by using a different color tape for each room. But for me, labeling the box with which room it belongs in (in large letters with a sharpie) was good enough.

I used the blankets from my living room to pack the picture frames and anything else from the walls that were breakable. I left one blanket out incase we needed it and used it later as padding for other breakable items.

Three weeks out

– Pack books, out of season clothing, linens, towels, office supplies, random decor, movies, and any personal items that you won’t be needing such as jewelry, nail polish and hats/accessories.

I will be flying home while the rest of our belongings are put in storage so I’ve started to plan what kinds of things I will need to set aside for my baggage. I’ll need to fit everything I possibly can into two medium luggage bags (to live off of for a month or more) so I have decided to set a box aside in order to send larger things such as my dogs’ bed, food bowls, some shoes and maybe clothes if they can fit.

Two weeks out

-Start packing up the clothes that you won’t need. If you’re flying like I am, make sure the clothes you leave out will all fit into your suitcase along with your toiletries, shoes and whatever else you will need.

-For clothes on hangers, you can leave them hanging and just cover them with a trash bag then use string or a zip tie to secure the top of the hangers so that they don’t fall throughout the bag. Some places sell wardrobe boxes which are basically just tall cardboard boxes with a pole through the top to hang clothes, a good option for people who don’t want their clothes to get wrinkled.

I got tall pink, scented trash bags from the dollar tree. I figured they would keep my clothes smelling fresh, but these particular bags are ultra thin and can tear very easily so I wouldn’t exactly recommend them. I used two bags for each bunch of clothes, one over the top and one underneath- tied to the top bag on each side. Although these weren’t the best quality, there are other brands of scented trash bags that are probably larger and much more sturdy, so just check at your local grocery store.

One week out

-Pretty much start to pack everything else leaving out anything that you know you will need to use up until the actual moving day. For instance, I will probably leave my coffee maker out (because packing is no fun without caffeine) till the last day with our mattress and pillows as well as whatever I will be taking on the plane with me

Make sure you leave space in your mode of transportation for your mattress and any other household items that remain inside.

-Pack a box full of things that you will need right away once you get to your new home. For example: some cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, screw drivers and other basic tools, dish/hand soap, clorox wipes (they’re the best), and maybe a portable speaker for some move-in day jams. Label this the box of necessities.

Step 4- Load it up

-Whether you’re using a moving truck, a Uhaul or a POD like we are, if you’re moving the boxes on your own you’ll want to make sure they are secure. Having a moving dolly is super helpful for larger items, but as long as you have enough people helping it should go pretty quickly. I plan on asking all of Blake’s friends to help out but I’ll be sure to provide lot’s of pizza and beer in return for their manual labor.

We haven’t gotten to this part of the process yet but I will definitely want to make sure that our breakable items are stored in a way that will keep them safe. I think of it as a game of tetris, each box should fit securely alongside all of the other boxes.

-Make sure you load the box full of necessities last so that it’s easy to get to.

OH AND make sure that the inside of whatever you’re using to move is clean!!! The Uhaul that we used to move out here was so filthy that my white dresser was a mess by the time we got here. Looking back I should have wiped it down before we loaded it up.

 

Good Luck and Safe Travels!

Advertisements

DIY Easter Banner 

Anyone who shops at target knows just how enticing “the dollar spot” can be. It’s conveniently located right at the front of the store to get you to look for things you don’t need before you even get a chance to start looking for anything on your list. 

I usually always get stuck in that section and most of the time I find something to buy even though I had no intention of getting it in the first place. 

But it’s only a dollar so who cares! Although they have more recently added items that cost up to $3 but still! 

So I once again found myself stuck in this section during my last trip to target. No surprise there. 

But I thought I would share what I found because I think it was a pretty good deal.

  
I found this little banner for $3 and a pack of stick-on letters also for $3. (Half were gold glitter and the other half were white) 

I decided I would use them to make an Easter banner, but they could be used to spell out pretty much anything! As long as it’s within 12 letters. 

I figured it was cheaper than buying construction paper, string and sticker letters from a craft store and it was also a lot less work. 

The only negative thing was that the stickers were not sticky enough to stay on the banner so I ended up having to use my hot glue gun. 

The other side of the banner is white and I figure I can write something different on that side and use it for multiple occasions. 

  
And this was the final product! Sweet and simple. (Although black probably isn’t the best Easter color but it was all they had)

TATTOOS

My parents, similar to many others I assume, had always made their hatred for tattoos very clear to me throughout my life.

It’s understandable really, my parents grew up in a time when the majority of people with tattoos were either in prison, a gang or affiliated with some other thing that was looked down upon.

As I got older and many of my friends and peers started getting or talking about getting tattoos, I tried a few times to slip it into the conversation when my parents were around. We would see someone with a tattoo out and about. I would say, “I’m going to get a tattoo”, my dad would scoff, “You better not!”. I would always get the “If you live under my roof you follow my rules” saying or something of the sort. So I figured I would just get a tattoo when I was a few years older and moved out on my own.

Until one night. I was 19 and my best friend and I started talking about how badly we wanted one. The conversation began as a hypothetical “what if” type of talk, but soon turned into a very realistic “let’s do it!” conversation.

We talked for quite a while about what we would want to get. Something small, just to see how it felt and make sure we could handle it. But what? It couldn’t be anything that we would look back on in a few years and think, man that was stupid! With our funds it had to be small anyway, so we figured we would each get a word that holds a lot of meaning to us.

We went through so many words, I think a dictionary might have even been involved at one point. I just kept coming back to “Respect”. I knew it seemed so cliche but for me, this was the word that held the most meaning.

I try so hard in life to have respect for everybody no matter what differences we may have. Whether someone has different religious beliefs, personal views or a different cultural background, we are all human and the least we can do is treat one another with respect. I recognize respect as any simple act of politeness.

Alyse chose “Loyalty”, which held a lot of meaning to her for her own personal reasons, but I think anyone can agree that loyalty is important. In any relationship whether a friendship or a romantic relationship, being loyal is the key to keeping the trust.

So there we were, sitting at my dining room table on the phone with a tattoo parlor making arrangements to come in as soon as possible. We were scared, but excited.

I decided to go first. I was worried that I might back out if she went first and made it look too painful. I don’t remember exactly how it felt but it really wasn’t bad. I just remember clenching my teeth at one point- then it was over.

We left the tattoo shop in so much excitement and disbelief that we had actually just permanently marked our bodies. WOO!

I sometimes get asked whether I regret getting it. I don’t. I guess if I could change it I would have probably just gotten it somewhere else, a spot that would be easier to hide. Because hiding it from my parents for so long was torture. I got it on my left upper shoulder blade because it was the cheapest spot, HA! Now that I don’t have to hide it I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. Not being able to wear tank tops around my parents in the middle of summer was death.

My mom found out about it first. We were at the mall and the purse on my shoulder had pulled my shirt over just enough for her to see a little bit of ink. Immediately she said “WHAT IS ON YOUR BACK?” I was terrified (anyone who’s seen my mom angry would understand). I told her it was a tattoo and she said “PACK YOUR BAGS WHEN WE GET HOME!, YOU’RE MOVING OUT”. She was obviously being dramatic, she loves me too much to kick me out on the streets. Eventually she got over it.

I guess you could say that I was pretty successful at hiding it from my dad because he didn’t find out about it until my wedding day. I knew it was going to be impossible to hide with a low back dress that had small lace straps. I tried everything to hide it- tattoo covering makeup, skin colored temporary tattoos, you name it. None of it worked, it just made my skin look all discolored.

So on the morning of my wedding day- I forced my two best friends to come with me to meet him for Starbucks and that was where I broke the news. I knew he couldn’t be that mad, I mean it was my wedding day and my friends were there to cushion the blow.  He was obviously disappointed and said something along the lines of “I made a perfect child and you go and ruin your body with a tattoo”. He cracked a few jokes and then got over it.

But I  really don’t regret it at all because even though its just a small tattoo, it holds a lot of meaning a good memories with it.

Will I get more? Maybe, but it definitely won’t be on a whim next time. I think it’s important to wait a year to get a tattoo that you’ve been wanting. A person can change a lot in a year, not to mention a lifetime. So just make sure that if you are planning on getting a tattoo, that it isn’t something trendy or meaningless. Our generation has transformed tattoos into something so normal that it’s almost weird to meet someone who doesn’t have one.

Don’t forget that your body is who you are, it pumps your blood and keeps your heart beating- the least you can do is make a conscious decision as to what kind of markings you’ll have on it for the rest of your life. Tattoos can be beautiful, like art. But they have to be well thought out and done by a talented artist.

HAPPY TATTOOING 🙂

 

 

Dear Diary…

I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. How strange it is that we, as humans, are living out these lives never knowing when our time in the bodies we inhabit will be over.

I can recall two conversations, one with each of my best friends at separate times, one more recent and one from years ago.

The one about the bigger things.

I’d say it was about 8 years ago, my best friend Alyse and I were preparing to go on a family camping trip, one that (we now know) we would never forget. The night before our long drive to Shaver Lake, one of the many boys who lusted after Alyse decided to TP her house. Probably because we had previously TP-ed his house but we were enraged nonetheless. We plotted to stay up through the night incase the boys were to come back (to scare them of course). We sat in the darkness right next to her front door, porch lights off, screen door closed, stars painted across the night sky and a perfect summer breeze flowing in. The time passed and the boys never came back, but we got to talking and things got deep.

There we were, two 16 year old girls, friends since we were just little kids. Alyse is like my sister and in many ways she really is the sister I never had. Growing up we were so similar, we liked the same things, our dad’s both loved to fish, we were both horrible at math and we could even pass as sisters when we met new people. I had two brothers and she was an only child, therefore we both needed each other. I became the sibling she never had and she became the sister I always wanted.

On that night when we were 16, we expressed to each other the kind of things that we would think about but never say out loud. I like to think of it as opening our souls to one another. We were relieved to find out that we had both wondered similar things, that we weren’t the only ones who thought about the world beyond what we know. Beyond Earth, space, and even that big galaxy of stars that we were staring right into. We also talked about the mystery of life after death, whether we go on to lead new lives in heaven or even as new souls on earth or if the end of our lives is just nothingness and our existence is permanently erased.

The darkness.

It’s what I see when I’m laying in bed at night, struggling to fall asleep and for whatever reason my mind gets to thinking about death. Not every night, only once in a while. I play out my whole life in my head, it seems to be going faster as time goes on and there is nothing I can do to slow it down and then boom. The unknown. Darkness. Death. The end of my story. My body feels numb, and my heart sinks into my stomach.

This has happened to me ever since I was a little girl. Back then it was even more terrifying to think about. I remember trying to fall asleep one night and these thoughts consumed me. I left my room to find my mom who was folding clothes on the couch. I explained what I was feeling and she comforted me with a hug, told me to pray whenever my mind wandered that way and tucked me back in.

Prayer really does help. Whether you pray or meditate or whatever it is that you do, it’s beneficial to take a moment to remind yourself that there is something bigger than what you know, than this life and this world.

It doesn’t happen to me very often especially as I’ve gotten older but when it does, it’s almost always when I’m in bed trying to sleep. For the first time in a long time, these thoughts consumed me again just the other night.

Unlike when I was a child, I’m no longer so scared about the thought. I’ve come to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason and this life is a part of something much larger.

The one about LIFE.

That second conversation I mentioned at the start of my entry occurred just last night. I was on the phone with my other best friend Alina.

Anyone who knows either of us is aware that we’re as close as two girls can be. We like to say that were soul mates but in a friendship sort of way. We just get each other and we always have. I honestly think that I would be a very different person if she hadn’t come into my life 12 years ago, kind of like there would just be a hole in my life that was never filled. But like I said, everything happens for a reason.

Coincidentally, it came up in conversation while we were on the phone last night. Death, Life, what have you. We both admitted that thoughts of our time on earth, in these bodies and what is to come once we leave them had recently crossed our minds.

I thought about how peculiar it was that we had both been thinking the same deep thoughts around the same time as each other. And then I realized. It’s not peculiar at all, there are probably millions of other people thinking the same thing. After all, we are all human. We are all living out our lives, day to day, knowing that at some point they will be over. The end. Done. But still, we keep going.

Why wouldn’t we occasionally stop to think about our unescapable deaths?

Because it’s scary is why. But does it have to be?

As I get older, these thought’s seem more like a privilege than a curse. A reason to remind myself of what I want my life to be. A reminder that I need to do what I love and not allow  anyone to make me feel differently about how I should be living. There is no ‘forever’ in this life… This life is temporary and it should be enjoyed.

You see, normally this is the type of thing I would keep to myself. Maybe I’d write it in my personal diary. But come to think of it, I have this one lifetime to express myself though writing, so why not put it all out there?

Hopefully, if anything, others will relate and find comfort in knowing that they aren’t the only one who wonders.

There’s a great big ocean out there and we are all in the same boat.

 

 

 

The Perfect Valentines Day Gift

I know a lot of guys think of Valentines Day as a stupid holiday, one that was created purely to empty their pockets. Originally I was planning on making a list of different gift ideas to get for your significant other on Valentines Day but I want to prove that it’s not all about spending money.

Valentines Day is really a day to express how much you love and value your partner. A lot of people have begun to associate that with money, almost like the more you spend, the more you love them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bouquet of roses and box of chocolates as much as the next girl, but flowers die and chocolate is also a temporary form of satisfaction.

To me, the best thing to do for Valentines Day is to go somewhere or experience something together.

That’s not to say that you have to spend a bunch of money. I mean you can if you want to but you don’t have to.

A few years back, Blake and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art because I wanted to see the “Urban Lights” display where there are rows and rows of vintage street lights all lined up next to one another. He picked me up from the city college after my night class and we headed to Starbucks for a latte. We ventured downtown and I finally got to see the lights all lit up at night, afterwards we decided to stick with the “lights” theme and check out the view from the top of Glendora Mountain Road. Of course we had to get food, so we drove through Del Taco on the way up. We got to the top of the mountain and parked to enjoy the beautiful view of the city down below while we pigged out on chicken tacos.

There was no dinner at an expensive restaurant, no box of chocolates or stuffed animals, just fast food and a beautiful view. The only money he spent was on Starbucks, Del Taco and gas. We were younger so we didn’t have a bunch of money to spend on fancy dinners or presents for each other, but it was definitely my favorite Valentines so far.

 

Here are some idea’s for dates that would cost little to no money:

Take a trip to the beach– Of course the weather should be appropriate, but the beach is always a good idea.

Go on a hike– For the couple that loves to be active, look up the most beautiful hiking trails in your area (maybe one with a waterfall at the end) and enjoy a hike together.

Breakfast in bed– This is something that both men and women can do for their significant other, as long as you know how to cook bacon you should be good.

Have a picnic– In the park or even in your own backyard, there’s something so sweet about picnics. You don’t even have to make the food yourself, you can order take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Camp out in the living room and have a movie night– This one would be good for those couples who have kids. Just set up a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor of your living room and rent your favorite movies, wait till the kids fall asleep- make some popcorn and watch your movies!

Bake together– Purchase the ingredients for your favorite cookies and work together to make them, you get to spend time together and you can eat the cookies after, it’s a win-win!

Give each other massages– Another one that can be done by both partners. It’s free and romantic!

& For the big spenders:

Go to a fancy hotel and order room service– Whether you’re across the country or in the same city you live in, it’s always nice to be spoiled. Order room service or roam around the city then have drinks at the hotel.

Go to a spa-Get a couples massage, it’s relaxing and neither of you has to do anything but enjoy it.

Take a trip– Maybe you like road trips, maybe you like Paris… It all depends on how much money you have I guess. But trips with loved ones are the best ways to make memories.

Enjoy a fancy dinner downtown– Maybe you have a favorite restaurant or there’s a place you’ve been dying to try but it’s just too fancy. Make a reservation… like now and enjoy a fancy meal.

Do something exhilarating– For the adrenaline junkies out there, go skydiving, zip lining, bungee jumping or even take a helicopter ride for two over the city. Just a few ideas for those who don’t value their lives- KIDDING.. kinda.

Buy a puppy– Haha ok, this one may not be very realistic. You should probably (and by probably- I mean definitely) be married if you are buying a pet with your significant other, and you should also have been wanting to get one for quite some time…… BUT I think it would be a fun date to go to the animal shelter and pick out a new member of the family.

The moral of the story is that there is no greater gift to give your partner than your undivided attention and time. Spend as much money as you want but in the end, money and presents don’t make relationships last, love does. So make memories.

Dreaming of you

I had a dream about him the other night and I can’t stop thinking about it. You know how dreams are, sometimes you can’t really remember all the details but you remember certain little things.

I woke up smiling but also on the verge of tears because I miss him. Only a few weeks prior, my mom told me she dreamt of him too. In her dream he just gave her a big hug.

It’s strange how dreams can feel so real. The fact that we even have dreams is actually really weird. What are they? Do they have meaning? Are they trying to tell us something? Does our daily routine affect the types of dreams we have? There are endless questions.

I was only 6 years old when my grandpa died. I don’t have a lot of memories with him but any memories I do have are good ones.

207314_5097843202_5089_n

I remember the little things like the light blue jeans he always wore, the fact that he ALWAYS had candy for me (my favorite were the strawberry ones, but he had smarties and butterscotch candies too), the beaded covers on the front seats of his car and the fact the he was the only person to call my brother Danny.

In my dream he was alive, he told me that he never died, he just went away. I was trying to calculate how old he must have been whilst wondering why he had gone away without telling his family that he was still alive. Like I said, dreams are weird.

He obviously isn’t really still alive, as I said, he died when I was 6. I clearly remember attending his funeral and for the first time, knowing what it felt like to lose a loved one. Thinking how strange it was that someone could be here one day and gone the next. It was really difficult to watch all of the grown-up’s around me completely lose it.

My grandma lived about 15 years after he died. The strongest woman I have ever known, she was a nurse in WWII which is how she met my grandpa who was a B17 bomber pilot. They married and raised 6 children together, my dad being their youngest. War took it’s toll on my grandpa and from what I’ve been told, he gave into alcoholism and was a pretty difficult person to be around when my aunt’s and uncle’s were young. My grandma stayed with him through those difficult times and things eventually got better. They became grandparents of 17 children including myself, and Great-grandparents to 10 children.

IMG_4374

I was 21 when Nana died and I was overcome with many different emotions. I felt sad that she was gone and I wished I had spent more time with her while she was here. I felt happy that she was no longer suffering in the hospital and that she was reunited with Poppy in heaven. But I mostly felt amazed by how much love was surrounding her. With 6 kids and 17 grown grandkids there was anything but a lack of love. I don’t think she spent one moment alone in that hospital room. Each day she was there, she was visited by family members and I couldn’t help but think that there couldn’t have been a better way for her to make her grand exit from this world (except maybe in her own bed at home).

I got married almost two years after nana had gone and in the days preceding my wedding there were constant reminders of both of my grandparents in my life. After she died my dad gave me a little coin purse of hers that was filled with pennies and a tiny mesh baggie containing sequins that said “50”, two quarters and a little tag that said, “Bob and Marion Winners 50 Years of Hugs and Kisses”. It was a favor from their 50th wedding anniversary. I kept it in my car as a good luck charm and came across it while planning my wedding.  I looked at it and thought, ’50 years!! Wow, that is a long time. I haven’t even been alive for half that many years and my grandparents maintained a strong marriage for that long’. It was just the kind of inspiration I needed as I was preparing to spend the rest of my life with Blake.

At my bridal shower I looked out of the window and saw an elderly woman with the same hair color and style that Nana had. I knew she passed away, but for some reason my mind immediately thought “Yay! Nana’s here!”. I like to think she stopped by for just a moment only to remind me that she would be attending in spirit, I never saw the lookalike woman after that initial sighting.

The morning of the wedding my mom was eager to get me to her hotel room where she had stayed the night with some of the girls including my cousin Meghan.

321

Meghan is my “twin from another womb”, something our mom’s used to say because we were born just one day apart. She is that one cousin who is exactly my age and therefore we can relate the most and have bonded so much over the years. Meg and I had many similar fond memories of Nana since we were usually together when we were with her. We love to reminisce about the time we stayed the night at our grandparent’s big green house up on the hill, the house that our parents grew up in and where we spent many holidays as children. There was a pool table, a beautiful view from the backyard and a trail going down the backside of the hill that we always wandered on (any kids dream!). Nana was known for making the best french toast in the world and that was what we were spoiled with when Meghan and I stayed the night at her house. The point is, Meghan and I are the babies of the family and we didn’t get to grow up with our grandparents the way that some of our older cousins had the opportunity to. Our time with them was short but sweet and although we know that they wouldn’t want us to be sad, we still sometimes wish they were around for our bigger moments in life.

But back to that morning, my mom rushed me to her hotel room and started encouraging Meghan to tell me about a dream that she had the night before.

I could tell it was an emotional dream since Meg was having a hard time even getting the words out. Our eyes both immediately filled with tears as she began recounting her dream for me.

She said, “I dreamt about Nana, she was standing on the driveway at her and Poppy’s old house, and our whole family was looking up at her. She looked angelic and beautiful as always. She was giving a speech telling us how she believed that the main reason she had worked as a nurse during WWII was so that she could be prepared to raise and be the foundation of such a big family and that she was proud of all of us.”

At this point we both had tears rolling down our cheeks and stopped to grab some tissues. She continued, “Then she began to tell everyone how proud she was of you, how happy she was that you were marrying Blake and that she loved you very much.”

As you could imagine I was a wreck, but in a good way. I was covered in tears, partially sad because hearing this made me miss her, but happy too because it really felt as though Nana was reaching out to me on the morning of my wedding day. Appearing in Meghan’s dream to let me know that she was proud of me and that she would be there watching over the whole event.

There couldn’t have been a better way for me to start that day. It was something that I didn’t even know I needed but once I had it, I knew there was a purpose for it and that there was nothing to worry about. On the days leading up to the wedding I was nervous and stressed out (as any bride usually is). After hearing Meghan’s dream, it was as though I was hit with a wave of tranquility. I was no longer freaking out about what little thing could go wrong and the day couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

This is written in loving memory of Robert Albert Winners and Marion Ann Winners, two amazing people who loved each other, served our country, raised a great family and had the best senses of humor. My grandparents and guardian angels, you are loved and missed by all who knew you.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolution Ideas For 2016

Ok so I’ll start by saying that tomorrow is the last day of 2015 and I seriously cannot believe how fast this year has flown by.

On one hand, I’m excited that time seems to be flying by so fast because for me, it means I’ll be living in California again before I know it! On the other hand it sort of makes me feel really sad that I’m growing up and that the uncertain future is rapidly approaching.

I think a lot of people go through this in their 20’s. Some people go away to college and never move back to the house they grew up in, others travel or take job opportunities that change the way they live their lives. As you probably know, my life changed when I got married and moved to North Carolina.

A positive mindset is always key. I was so excited (yet also nervous) about new beginnings and growing up, so excited that I didn’t realize all that I was leaving behind. Of course, only a couple of months after living so far from the things that I been used to for my whole life, I immediately felt a sense of loss and was no longer excited about these new beginnings.

This year was a life changer. It has been difficult at times and I sometimes feel like I’d like to go back to just being engaged, having wedding related parties, living with my mom and working enough side jobs to pay for necessities and support my shopping addiction. As I type though, I sit back and think about the good times to come and I know that this time in my life (although it may not be my favorite) will shape who I am for years to come and it is only a small stepping stone within the path of my life.

This year I celebrated some of the best days of my life but I’ve also let the hard times get me down. My resolution for 2016 is to be happy. To live  every day with the joy of just being alive. To push myself to do more and be better.

Each new year is like a fresh start. Resolutions are the motivators that keep us focused on becoming better versions of ourselves. No matter what has happened to you in the year 2015, whether it was good or bad, you get to leave it all behind and just focus on making 2016 the year that you accomplish your goals.

Since I love making lists, I’ve come up with a few resolution ideas incase you’re struggling to find one that you will be able to stick with!

 

  • Fitness- The most common new years resolution usually has to do with losing weight. It’s common because people know that losing that extra 15 pounds or getting into the best shape of their lives will significantly improve their lifestyle as a whole. It’s not an easy one to stick with especially if you love to eat and don’t have a lot of time to workout. BUT, I absolutely recommend that you try to get your body looking and feeling great because when you look and feel healthy you will be more confident and with that confidence you will be more likely to accomplish any other goals on your list. Overall physical appearance and health is always #1 on my list!
  • Career Goals- Another year has flown by and you still don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Make 2016 the year that you get your degree or at least the year you start working towards it. If you have your degree and just haven’t found work, make this the year that you find your dream job! You worked your butt off for that degree and you are so worthy of that job, you just have to make it happen!
  • Be Nicer- I personally like to make this a goal of my own every day. We sometimes get so caught up in our busy lives that we can come off as rude or mean to family or even random strangers who we encounter throughout the day. Make every encounter a pleasant one, smile at people passing by, ask the cashier at the grocery store how their day is going, hug your loved ones before and after work and don’t let the stress of whatever else is going on in your life affect the way you treat people.
  • Address people by their names- This is kind of a strange resolution, but I often have a hard time remembering people’s names just after meeting them. I once met a man in church and I introduced myself to him and his wife. He said “very nice to meet you Victoria” as though he was repeating my name aloud to help him remember it, from then on, every time I saw him he greeted me by my first name. I felt horrible for not remembering his name, but the fact that he remembered my name was pretty awesome to me. Addressing people by their names just after meeting them is a great way to form better relationships. Even if it’s just the waitress at your favorite restaurant, she will probably be flattered that you remembered her name and your dining experience will be a friendly one.
  • DO MORE- If you’ve been dying to go to disneyland or go on vacation to Hawaii, this is the year to just do it! There’s always an excuse whether it’s a tight budget or a busy schedule but you only live once and you don’t want to spend your whole life working just to pay the bills. If you don’t have the money then start saving now! Life is an adventure and it should be a fun one, so in 2016 do more of what you love and experience new things!
  • Get organized- Something that I love doing is organizing! It makes life so much easier when there is a place for everything and everything is in it’s place… in fact my my mom used to have a refrigerator magnet that said exactly that. Start by getting rid of the things you don’t need or no longer use. Have a yard sale and make some extra cash to save for that vacation you want to go on. Donate old clothes and clean out your pantry to give canned foods to homeless shelters. Check out my previous post on organization to get some more ideas.
  • Read a book- I love reading, but it can be difficult to get in the mood to start a book. Once I do, I can’t put it down and when I finish, I feel a little smarter for having read it (especially if it’s educational). Whether it’s a book about something that you’d like to educate yourself on or a novel by one of your favorite authors, just buy a book and make it your goal to finish reading it. If you want to educate yourself on how to be a heather person I definitely recommend that you read “The Body Book” by Cameron Diaz. It is SO full of information about how you should be treating your body and it’s written it in a way that makes it super easy to read.

Good luck on making 2016 fabulous! And HAPPY ALMOST NEW YEAR!

7 tips to lift your Christmas spirit!

December is here, do you feel the cheer? Well if you don’t then I have a few suggestions to get you into the same spirit of Christmas that you had as a kid!

  1. DECK THE HALLS

The most obvious way to get ready for Christmas is to decorate your home. Since it’s officially December now, you can decorate without getting grief from the people who get mad when they see Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. This year I decorated super early for my own reasons, but normally I try to decorate the day before Thanksgiving because I like to have a decorated home for both holidays. Also, don’t forget the candles! Cinnamon apple, nordic pine, and peppermint bark are just a few examples of the festive scents you can choose from.

IMG_2079

2. CRANK THE CHRISTMAS TUNES

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

If you have a bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone I suggest downloading the Pandora app and listening to the Christmas station, there are minimal adds and it plays all of the great classics. If you have a smart TV or one that allows you to watch youtube, you can search christmas playlists. Some even play footage of a fireplace to give you that extra Christmas-ey feel. A real fireplace is always better but for those who live in an apartment like I do, it’s a decent alternative.

3. WATCH YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE

My personal favorite is Elf, I was 11 years old when I saw this movie in theaters and knew instantly that it would be a classic. It honestly may be my favorite movie of all time, I even have a “smiling is my favorite” T-shirt that I found in the boys clothing section of target.. yeah, I might like Elf a little too much. If you’re also an Elf lover then you should know that it will be on ABC family this Friday at 9:30 pm!… can you tell I’m excited? ABC family will also be playing other Christmas classics every day this month until the big day and Netflix has some good options too if you want to skip the commercials.

4. BAKE COOKIES

Get some cute cookie cutters from Target and plan a cookie baking party! My aunt Jill host’s a holiday cookie party at her house every year and it is always so fun. It’s a great way to get all of the ladies in the family together and with each person making their own type of cookie or dessert, we always end up leaving with a huge tupperware full of different treats. If you have kids in your family it would be fun to bake cookies and then decorate them with frosting and sprinkles, it’s sure to be a big mess, but fun nonetheless . If you’re on a diet and would rather not eat cookies, you can still make them but put them in cute little packages to give away as little gifts for neighbors or coworkers.

5. GET TO GIFTING

As much as I like receiving gifts, I enjoy giving them even more! This is probably because I love shopping so much but it’s also because I like to find gifts based on each individual’s personality.  I also love wrapping gifts, I know some people hate it but wrapping gifts is what makes giving them so special. I love making gifts look as cute as possible with pretty wrapping paper and big bows. Once you get all those gifts under you tree it will really start to feel like Christmas.

6. LOOK AT THE LIGHTS

Once everyone gets the lights up on their homes, take a drive around town with family or friends to checkout the best spots near your home. Here is a guide to finding the best lights in the LA area. One of the places on the guide is the Balian house in Pasadena, the home of a famous ice cream manufacturer is covered in over 10,000 lights every year along with other fun holiday decorations. My best friend and I have gone to check out their lights for the past two years and it’s just as awesome every time.

7. TAKE A SROLL ON MAIN STREET

Every big city has a main street, sometimes it’s even called main street. If you’re not sure which street it is, just look for the one that’s covered in lights and wreaths. If your hometown has a Christmas parade, then get all cozy in your winter gear and head out for some Christmas spirit. If your city doesn’t have a parade, then just head to main street with friends or family to grab a peppermint mocha or hot chocolate from the local coffee shop. Maybe bring cards to play a game or just relax and talk about your plans for Christmas and New years.

I could quote Elf all day long but I’ll just leave you with this.

IMG_2402

“BYE BUDDY! HOPE YOU FIND YOUR DAD!” (sorry I couldn’t help myself)

 

 

 

Skippy the Wonder Dog

Hi, I’m Skippy! Also known as Skip, Skipper, Skipper-doodle and some people even call me “Skippy the Wonder Dog”!

I was a surprise present for my momma 11 long years ago and we have been best friends ever since!

537508_10151598536253203_527301841_n
This is a photo of me as a young pup. 

For a little dog, I have been on lot’s of adventures. When I was just a puppy, I went to Mexico with my family and I pooped in a closet (everyone was pretty mad about it). More recently I was on a local television program called CCN Sunrise with my grandma playing the role of a therapy dog, little does everyone know that I’m the one who needs the therapy.

maxresdefault
Here’s a photo from my interview that I found on google images by searching “skippy the wonder dog”.

I often get major anxiety and start to shiver like crazy, but that didn’t stop me from being the “ring bearer” in my mom and dads wedding.

17

Speaking of my new dad, I wasn’t so sure about that guy at first. When I was just relaxing on moms lap, he would lean in like he was about to bite her! So instinctively I would try to bite him back, but I’ve come to realize that he isn’t trying to bite her. I guess he was just trying to kiss her.. it’s something humans do. I do not understand it. Why put your mouths together when you could just sniff each others butts?! Anyway….

IMG_1155   IMG_1226

Now we get along great! We cuddle all the time and I don’t try to bite him at all anymore.

IMG_1139

My hobbies include, eating, sleeping, peeing on every bush I see and more sleeping. My favorite sleeping position is called “the cinnamon bun”. I walk around in circles until my body is formed into a perfect little loop and then I lay my head right next to my butt. It’s so comfy!

One day, my parents woke me up super early and we ended up in a car for 3 days! I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t say no to a ride in the car! I truly love to stick half of my body out of the car window and take in all of the wonderful smells. I didn’t mind being in the car for so long since sleeping is one of my favorite things to do. Apparently we were moving to our new home across the country, it was a long car ride but I got to see and smell and pee on lot’s of things along the way which made it totally worth it.

IMG_0963 IMG_0970 IMG_1011
My ears are very big, but they are great for hearing when intruders are trying to enter our home. I usually bark as loud as I can to let them know they are not welcome, until my mom tells me to stop because she doesn’t like the loud barking. Doesn’t she know I’m just trying to keep her safe?

IMG_2419
IMG_3225

For my next adventure I will be boarding an airplane with my mom and dad to come home for christmas! Life is anything but ruff for this blogging dog! Until next time, have a happy wednesday my friends.