The Importance of Being Reese: 2017

Month 7


It's hard to believe we're only two months shy of Baby J's arrival. We're finally, and officially in prep mode. It's interesting how this time around, things are a bit more relaxed. Almost immediately after I discovered I was pregnant with Little J, we had the nursery set up, diapers stockpiled, and her college picked out. I guess it's true what they say about the second born not being coddled quite as much.

I likely won't be traveling as much in the coming months while we prepare for Baby J's arrival, or likely much afterwards either. I'm okay with this. For now. I've discovered that being pregnant at 31 is a bit more challenging than being pregnant at 23. I'd imagine that my recovery time will likely be a bit longer than the first as well.

The Best Places to See and Experience Fall On The Blue Ridge Parkway


A/N: This post is sponsored by Toyota & The Biltmore Estate, however, all thoughts and opinions about how amazing this vehicle and restaurant are, belong solely to me. 

 A few weeks ago we headed to the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina to catch the changing of the leaves. If you live in or around North Carolina, you know the Parkway is a hot spot during the fall months. This is because the Blue Ridge Parkway boasts some of the most scenic views and autumn colors in the South during the Fall and Spring months.

Since we're in such close proximity, we typically visit Asheville at least twice a year, and it never fails to disappoint. In that time, we've learned that there are some extraordinary places to take in the scenery. So if you're planning on heading that way anytime soon, here are some tips to help get you there safely, provide you with some gorgeous views and make sure your visit to The Blue Ridge Parkway is everything you expect, and more!

Pumpkin Spice Crescents

Add a bit of Pumpkin Spice to your meal with these deliciously easy-to-make Pumpkin Spiced Crescents. 

We're officially entered into the season of Pumpkin Spiced Everything! Ironically enough, as coffee obsessed as I am, I am not a fan of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes as Starbucks. But these Pumpkin Spiced Crescent Rolls, well that's another story...

If I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner without severe repercussions on my waist-line, not to mention sugar levels, I would be tempted. As it is, I make these a few times a month during the cooler months. They remind me of all the things I love about Fall. Pumpkin, vanilla and warm desserts fresh from the oven.

It doesn't get much better than this.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Kids

Disclosure: Product(s) featured in this Holiday Gift Guide were provided to me free of cost to me for inclusion in the holiday gift guide, however, all thoughts and opinions belong solely to me. Happy shopping!


Finally, we've arrived at the final section of my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide. I've done several gift guides in the past, and the kids section is always my favorite section. As an 80's baby, our toys weren't quite as 'next level' as this generations, and I can't help but be in awe of at the tech savvy and educational options for kids toys are out there. It was actually hard not to go off the rails and just list all the things, but here are some of my favorite picks for the kiddos this holiday season!

Remember, there's still time to enter into my Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the Rafflecopter widget in order to enter the giveaway.

To view all four gift guides, check out the links below!

For the Moms Holiday Gift Guide
For the Dads Holiday Gift Guide
For the Teens Holiday Gift Guide
For the Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Good luck and happy shopping

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Teens

Check out some of the hottest gifts for teens this Holiday season!
 Disclosure: Product(s) featured in this Holiday Gift Guide were provided to me free of cost to me for inclusion in the holiday gift guide, however, all thoughts and opinions belong solely to me. Happy shopping! 

It's day three of my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide, and we are on a roll. Today, we're jumping right into Holiday gift ideas that will make the teen in your life very happy come Christmas morning.

It's been a while since I've been a teen, and since my kiddo isn't quite there yet age-wise, I had to do a bit of additional research to find out what the teens are into these days. Below, you will find 9 awesome gifts ideas from all price points for both girls and guys.

To view all four gift guides, check out the links below!

For the Moms Holiday Gift Guide
For the Dads Holiday Gift Guide
For the Teens Holiday Gift Guide
For the Kids Holiday Gift Guide

As a bonus, be sure to enter my giveaway below! This week I'll be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to make your Holiday shopping even easier. But until then, happy shopping, and remember to come back tomorrow to see what to get your kiddos ages 5-10 this Holiday season!

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: For The Dads

Here are some of the hottest Holiday gift ideas for the Dads this season!
Disclosure: Product(s) featured in this Holiday Gift Guide were provided to me free of cost to me for inclusion in the holiday gift guide, however, all thoughts and opinions belong solely to me. Happy shopping! 

It's day two of my official Holiday Gift Guide week, and today I'm sharing my favorite picks for the special gents in your life. I spent A LOT of time picking my husbands brain about what guys really like, want, and need, and I think we came up with some pretty good ideas.

If you've already got gifts for your guy, be sure to check out yesterday's gift guide: Holiday Gifts for Mom for Holiday shopping inspiration. And while you're at it, be sure to enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card using the Rafflecopter widget below!

To view all four gift guides, check out the links below!

For the Moms Holiday Gift Guide
For the Dads Holiday Gift Guide
For the Teens Holiday Gift Guide
For the Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Happy shopping!


2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts For Moms

Here are some of the hottest holiday gifts for moms this season!

Disclosure: Product(s) featured in this Holiday Gift Guide were provided to me free of cost to me for inclusion in the holiday gift guide, however, all thoughts and opinions belong solely to me. Happy shopping!

We're a few weeks shy of the official start to the Holidays. As usual, I'm in Holiday prep mode. We're dusting off our Christmas lights and preparing to hit the stores to finish off the rest of my Christmas list, but before I do, I wanted to share my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Moms with you all.

Unlike my previous Holiday Gift Guides, this year I'm doing things a bit different. I spent A LOT of time researching some of the hottest trends, tech, toys and gift ideas for the 2017 season, and I'll be sharing them in 4 separate guides this year. 

To start things off, today, I'm launching my Gifts for Moms Holiday Gift Guide. This Gift Guide contains some awesome gift ideas for the ladies in your life. Whether you're shopping for your mom, your wife, or just a mom-friend that could use an extra bit of joy under her Christmas tree, this guide has something for you. 

As a bonus, be sure to enter my giveaway below! This week I'll be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to make your Holiday shopping even easier. But until then, enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

To view all four gift guides, check out the links below!

For the Moms Holiday Gift Guide
For the Dads Holiday Gift Guide
For the Teens Holiday Gift Guide
For the Kids Holiday Gift Guide


Sesame Soy Green Beans

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. P.F. Chang's and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu® are registered trademarks owned by P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. and are used with permission. #AuthenticMadeEasy #CollectiveBias
These garlic and sesame soy marinated green beans are a quick and easy side that the whole family will enjoy! 

Since we are an Asian household, this year I've made it a point to focus on simple, Asian inspired recipes that my kiddo can appreciate.  With the Holiday's right around the corner, I've started coming up with simple ways to incorporate more Asian infused dishes into our Holiday meals, and these Sesame Soy Green Beans and Mushrooms are at the top of that list.

While I was at Walmart last week stocking up on the essentials, I noticed the NEW P.F. Chang's® Home Menu sauces in the International section. I like to experiment and switch it up a bit, so I grabbed a few bottles to see what I could come up with.

Official Disney Princess Pley Box Giveaway

 

Enter for your chance to win (1) Disney Princess Box from Pley

***2 Winners!***


Into the Woods


Sometimes you've just got to get away for a bit.

That was the reasoning behind our most recent trip. Our family is preparing for a tough year ahead and we're trying to spend as much time together as possible before that time is no more.

So we packed up our bags, loaded up the car and headed to the mountains for a breath of fresh air. Since Mother Nature has been on the warpath lately, the fall foliage in the mountains wasn't quite as vibrant as the previous years. But the mountains is where we go to relax, so it was still worth the trip.



As an added bonus, I can finally say I'm part of an elite crowd of women who have camped while pregnant. It actually went much smoother than anticipated. I had all but relegated myself to a sleeping in the car, but it turns out, our inflatable mattress fit perfectly into the tent.

This time we decided to stay at a different campground from where we typically stay, and by decided, I mean we waited until the last minute and most campsites were booked, so we were forced to look elsewhere. It actually worked out to our advantage. We got to see a different side of the mountain, and we found some hidden gems along the way.


The first morning we were suppose to have breakfast at the campsite. But we overslept, so decided to head into Chimney Rock for brunch. That day was basically spent wandering aimlessly through the mountains enjoying scenery and each others company. Around noon, we spotted a series of signs that promised fresh apple cider, horseback riding, pumpkin and apple picking, delicious farm fresh food and more, so we strayed from our original path and followed the signs.





We ended up discovering a hidden gem-- Hickory Nut Gap Farm. We spent several hours tasting fresh apple cider, getting lost in the corn maze, and snacking on some farm fresh food. If you happen to be in that area, it is certainly worth a trip.

We spent the remainder of the day driving through the mountains and stopping at lookout points to check out the view, and getting our feet wet in the creek.




Weekly Meal Planning with Healthy Choice and Smartwater

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC., The Coca-Cola Company, and Conagra Brands all opinions are mine alone. #PowerfullySmart #CollectiveBias
If I'm being honest, meal planning has always been a struggle for me. To get through the week, I have to make a conscious decision to plan our meals, otherwise everything goes sideways and we end up eating takeout for dinner. Several nights a week. Not that this has happened.

This month at least...

Taking control of our eating habits means that I've had to be a bit more organized and realistic when it comes to planning meals. Consciously I know that I can't cook breakfast, lunch and dinner from scratch, 7 days a week, for 3.5 people. Work full-time, Take care of my kiddo, household and grow a baby without cutting myself some serious slack. Which is where Healthy Choice® Power Bowls come in.


Freebie Friday: Happy Fall Printable



Happy Friday,

I'm so excited about fall. So much so that I've been working on a few printables to share with you all. So if you're like me, and a fan of making your home cozy for the season, be sure to check back every so often to see what new printables I have for you all.

Today, enjoy this free Happy Fall Y'all Printable. This printable is full-sized-- 8.5 x 11, and would look great mixed in with your fall table top decor, hanging on a wall, or even as a spacer on a bookshelf. 

                      

This printable comes in two styles, chalkboard, and wrinkled paper, so you have a few different options to work with.  As usual, to print, click on the image below and follow the link. From there hit print.

Enjoy, and Happy Fall!


DIY Water Jug Baby Travel Case

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser Gerber® Pure®. All opinions are mine alone. #GerberPureWater


Upcycled water jug baby travel case





We've all been there. You're running late for a doctor's appointment/ play date/ meeting when you realize you just left your baby bag at the house, and Murphy's Law being what it is, your new babe just went potty in the only diaper you have. What do you do?

I've been in this situation too many times to count. It happens. Then I started getting wiser and carrying a travel case with me in my purse, just in case I somehow managed to find myself with a poopy baby and a MIA diaper bag.

Peach Glazed Pork Chops

Tracking Pixel This post is sponsored by Luck's, however, all thoughts, opinions and this delicious recipe belong to me. Bon App├ętit.


Peach Glazed Pork Chops


These peach glazed pork chops are slow-cooked to perfection and topped with an authentically Southern can of Luck's Fried Peaches.

I love a good pork chop. And when you live in the South, peaches are basically a food group of their own. Add them both together, and you have a tender, fruity flavored dish that is sure to please every member of the family.

This week I decided to switch up my regular menu and add a bit of flavor to our table-- Peach Glazed Pork Chops. Not only are they pretty to look at, but according to Little J they are "the best chops ever!" Which in kid terms, means your food is worthy of a Michelin star. And since my kiddo doesn't hand those out very often, it's pretty safe to say these chops are pretty darn good.

Pumpkin Patch Rice Krispies Treats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Kellogs. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackItAndPackIt #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias


Pumpkin Patch Rice Krispies Treats
These Pumpkin Patch Rice Krispies Treats take less than 10 minutes, and they look as good as they taste. 

We're 14 days away from Halloween and I'm still putting together a few fun recipes to make your "spooky day" even spookier. Since my kiddo is still a bit on the young side, I tend to create kid-friendly Halloween Treats and leave the scary stuff for the older kids.

This week I've partnered with Kellogs and I'm featuring a super simple and adorable Halloween Treat for your upcoming Halloween festivities. Though I didn't necessarily need all the Kellogs Snack Packs pictured below for the recipe itself, I try to keep our house stocked with treats for Little J and her friends around this time of the year. And if we're being honest, I'm a big fan of Rice Krispies Treats®. They've been making memories for kids and parents alike for generations, and it's nice to be able to share that with my own kiddo.

A Bit of Love to the World Today



This morning I randomly woke up at 2:00 AM. I suppose that's not exactly unusual when you're 4 month pregnant. I opened up my phone and saw the latest news alert about the shooting in Las Vegas. At that time, the death toll was only at 2. I went back to sleep praying it wouldn't go any higher.

When I woke up this morning to get Little J ready for school, the toll had jumped to 50. By the end of the day that number will likely climb again.

Frankenstein Rice Krispies Treats


You'll love making and eating these delicious Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats.

This past weekend was spent pulling out the remainder of our Halloween decorations and dressing up the house. As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Halloween. I think of it as a guilt-free excuse to dress up in outlasdish costumes and eat tons of sweet treats. Plus, I love seeing kiddos in their adorable Halloween costumes.

I look for any excuse to create some festive Halloween Treats. Which is exactly what I did in my down-time this weekend. These Frankenstien Rice Krispie Treats are super easy to make, taste delicious, and are a fun addition to any Halloween party you may be hosting or attending.

Preparing for Torrential Weather with the Toyota Prius Prime Advanced


A/N: This post is sponsored by Toyota & DriveShop, however, all thoughts and opinions about how amazing this vehicle is, belong solely to me.

This year the weather has been unseasonably tumultuous. Within a one month span, we've experienced multiple historic Hurricanes that have claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed billions in property.  And it's showing no sign of slowing down soon. Like the rest of the nation, watching these events unfold have been unsettling, but also eye-opening about how unprepared for disaster my family is.

Freebie Friday: Trick or Treat Printable




Happy Friday,

I'm celebrating the official begining of fall by sharing a fun Halloween themed printable. These are fun if you're into dressing up your home for Halloween, which I most definetly am. They make fun table decor, or you can even hang it on the wall if you so please.

To download, simply click THIS LINK. From here, you'll be taken to a seperate page where you can print. If you love this printable, feel free to REPIN on Pinterest. After all, sharing is caring. And be sure to visit next Friday for another spooky printable to help you take your Halloween decor up a notch.

Until next time,



Coming Soon to a Crib Near You




I just wanted to share a bit of good news with you. Our family of three will be growing to a family of four. We're so excited to share that we'll be adding a baby boy to our family early next year. So now Mr. A can finally stop complaining about being outnumberd, Little J will have a playmate, and I will have a tiny person to love on again.


I'm looking forward to sharing more as the pregnancy progresses.

 Until next time,

5 Tips to Survive Your First Month with a Newborn

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, NUK Simple Natural Bottles. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplyBonding #CollectiveBias



Breastfeeding is hard.

Before Little J was born, I was under the impression that breastfeeding was something that just came naturally to mothers. I truly believed that immediately after birth, my maternal instincts would automatically kick in, and I would instantly know how to do all the things, including breastfeeding. But I also thought that within a week of giving birth, life would return to normal.

I know, you can stop laughing now...


How to Design a Halloween Display on a Budget #AtHomeStores

This post has been #sponsored by At Home and MomSelect. However, all thoughts, images and awesome decorating skills belong to me. Enjoy! #AtHomeStores #AtHomeFinds

Can you believe that Halloween is right around the corner? I'll admit, for a 30-something-year-old I get pretty excited about Halloween. And by pretty excited, I mean ridiculously excited.

This year I started decorating for Halloween a bit early. We have a tenancy to get incredibly busy once the new school year starts, and I wanted to make sure that I got my Halloween decor before it was gone. Luckily, At Home believes in kicking off the spooky season early as well so I was able to get all of my Halloween decorating essentials in one trip. Unlike the previous years, this year I focused on the inside of our house--specifically the hallway table as it tends to get the most through traffic. Perfect for a festive Halloween display!

4 Things I'm No Longer Going To Do as a First Grade Mom



School is back in session and this year I've decided to take a different approach to the school year. Admittedly I took my role as a kindergarten mom a bit seriously. And by bit seriously, i mean completely extra. The stress of sending my little one off to be around someone other than me all day, coupled with the Pinterest perfect moms ideas left me feeling like I was failing a bit in the kindergarten mom department. And so I took it upon myself to go the extra, glitter covered, PTA volunteering, bake sale making mile. Much to my detriment.

But this year, I’m not going to do that. Instead, here’s what I’m going to do:

20 Deliciously Simple Light Summer Appetizers



Still looking for the perfect appetizer for your upcoming dinner? Check out this list of 20 mouthwateringly delicious light summer appetizers to get the party started! 

 Summer may be coming to a close calendar wise, but in the South, Summer has been known to stick around much longer than August. Which is great if you're like me and LOVE summer foods. Check out the list below for some deliciously simple light summer appetizers to help get you through the final few weeks of summer!

Summer Family Road Trip Survival Guide with Walmart Family Mobile

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM3


Summer may be winding down, but there's still time for a few quick road trips. See how our latest road trip was made even simpler with Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan + take away some useful information from my summer family road trip survival guide!

On average, our family takes at least 12 road trips per year. Though taking a quick flight seems more efficient time wise, we actually prefer the ride. Call us crazy, but there's something special about spending time in a car with family, taking in the sights, and enjoying the journey. Especially if you have unlimited data and the ability to turn your phone into a hotspot. Because, let's face it, there's only so much enjoyment you can get out of each others company before you start to get restless.

I'm an O Mag Insider #OMagInsiders



You know that email you get every once and a while that makes your heart burst through your chest and your eyes well up with tears of happiness? Last week, I received THAT email.

It came unexpectedly. Mr. A and I were doing a last minute showdown for his upcoming drill weekend and my phone let out an unassuming buzz. I took a quick cursory look at my inbox and noticed there was a new message titled, "Welcome to O's Inner Circle." I shrugged it off, thinking that perhaps it was time for me to renew my nook subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine. But then I realized that my account was set to auto renew, so I opened the email and went in for a closer look.

This is what I saw...

"Since founding the O Mag Insiders group in early 2017, we’ve received thousands of submissions and selected the most influential, engaged, and enthusiastic fans of O, The Oprah Magazine to join – and we think you’re one of them."

My mind instantly went into a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions...

"Wait, what?" 
"This has got to be a mistake."
"Did I really submit an application for this?"
"Wait, what?"

After reading through the email several times, and checking the name half a dozen times to ensure that it was addressed to me, it sank in. I had just been invited to join an ellite team of ambassadors for O, The Oprah Magazine.

The next few hours were spent obsessively stalking researching my fellow #OMagInsiders, looking for more information about what to expect. The gist of it is, in the coming months I'll be acting as an extension of The O, The Oprah Magazine, testing out new products, attending some exciting events, and (hopefully) will have the opportunity to give valuable input. Which basically means me and Oprah are now besties  (kidding). But most importantly, I'll continue to put out as much love and kindness into the universe as I possibly can. And let's face it, this universe could deal with a bit of extra kindness and love these days.

Be sure to keep up with me and my fellow insiders by following our hastag #OMagInsiders and stay tuned for more news from O!

Until Next Time!

How to Have the Ultimate Water Fight Date Night with your Spouse

This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #SummerRefreshment #Publix #CollectiveBias



Step One: Stock up on water gun paraphernalia. Bonus points if you snag a super sweet end of the season sale.
Step Two: Stock up on refreshments and goodies (FYI, Publix currently has an awesome sale on Minute Maid Lemonade & FUZE® tea, but more on that later)
Step Three: Set up an adorable refreshment stand before the craziness ensues
Step Four: Leave him a note to let him know what's in store.
Step Five: Instantly regret your decision to encourage a water fight date night with someone who has military training.
Step Six: Lose horribly
Step Seven: End your water gun fight with a truce because you're both hungry and thirsty
Step Eight: Eat, drink and be merry.

The Curious Case of the Overly Vigilant Neighbor



I was sitting on the park bench halfheartedly flipping through a magazine  and intermittently looking up to make sure Little J wasn't reenacting scenes from Cliffhanger when she pipped up.

"She can't be more than 10. Do you see her parents? I think she came here alone."

I looked up confused.

The park was basically empty.  Which was strange for this time of  year. The question had come from the only other adult at the park, sitting at the bench next to me. At first I thought she was talking about my daughter, but after a cursory glance around the nearly empty park, I spotted the "target."

She was a young girl, blonde hair, and definitely much older than 10 years old.

I sighed internally, knowing where this conversation was heading.

Pandora-World of Avatar Expedition Travel Guide

What to See, Ride, Eat and Drink at Pandora-World of Avatar


A/N: This post is sponsored by DisneyWorld and SheKnows Media, however, all words, thoughts and pictures belong to me. 

Last month, I was invited by Disney and She Knows Media to experience the magic of Pandora- World of Avatar. It's been a while since I've been to Animal Kingdom, and quite a bit has changed, most notably the addition of Pandora. If you've been a longtime reader, you know that we are Disney fanatics. In fact, we visited Disney World in April and JUST missed the grand opening of Pandora by a few weeks. So you can imagine my excitement when I received my magical invitation from Disney World to come check out Pandora-World of Avatar.

Thrilled doesn't even begin to cover it.

Verizon Wireless is Giving Away Free Backpacks FULL of School Supplies



Your back-to-school shopping just got easier! On Sunday, July 23rd, Verizon Wireless Zones will be giving away free backpacks with school supplies from 1-4 PM. The backpacks will be given out on a first-come, first serve basis and a child must be present to claim their free backpack - no purchases necessary, just good community fun!

Why the giveaway? Wireless Zone stores are locally owned and operated Verizon Franchisors.  Actively being part of and giving back to the communities in which they exist and serve is a part of their core values!

How can you help?  After you get your free backpack, share your photos using#WZGivesBack on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to spread the goodwill! 

Get more details, including a list of participating location at: www.wzgivesback.com

Unforgettable DVD Release and Giveaway


A/N: This post is sponsored Warner Brothers, however, all thoughts and opinion are truly my own.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Girls Night Out screening of Unforgettable. I can honestly say I was completely unprepared for the intensity. Not only was the cast amazing, but there were a few scenes where I literally found myself talking to the screen and cheering on the characters. It was perfect for a Girls Night Out.

8 Key BlogHer17 Takeaways and Tips

BlogHer17 welcome

I'm finally winding down from BlogHer17, and WOW, what an incredible (and exhausting) 4.5 days. Normally every year around the same time, I spend an hour or two a day perusing the BlogHer hastag and seeing what my favorite bloggers are up to at the conference. Having done this for several years in a row, I can tell you, following the conference hastag is nothing like actually attending the conference. At all.

Three weeks later I'm finally just processing everything and downloading all of my photos. Now that things are mostly back on track, I wanted to take the time to share a few of my most important takeaways from BlogHer17.

4th of July Cake Batter Donuts


Celebrate 4th of July with a dozen or two of these adorably delectable 4th of July Cake Batter Donuts

 We're a few short days away from 4th of July and I'm celebrating by sharing these cute and delectable 4th of July Cake Batter Donuts for your family to try this week! Not only are these donuts incredibly delicious, but they're the perfect showpiece for your 4th of July festivities. Not to mention, they're so simple, even your tiniest bakers can join in on the fun!

Being an Army Brat, the 4th of July has always been a big deal in our family. As a kid, I spent most of my 4th's on post BBQing with friends and family and watching the firework show the Army puts on every year.

25 years later and not much has changed. Except now I'm the one in charge of the food and dessert making. So every year I attempt to put a fun twist of a patriotic dessert for all of us to enjoy.

Enter these yummy patriotic cake batter donuts.

Where to Stay, Play, Eat and Drink in Fayetteville, North Carolina


Question of the Day: What do you get when you let loose 8 military wives in the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina

 Answer: A fabulously good time.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by SoFluential and The Fayetteville Areas Convention and Visitors Bureau to take a tour of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville holds many good memories for me. It was the place where I met Mr. A, where I graduated with my first degree, and it is currently where my parents have planted their roots.

Still, on the surface, Fayetteville can be mistaken as one of the many other military towns whose reputations sometimes precedes itself. But once you take a closer look, you'll see that Fayetteville has some serious small town charm and rich history. You just have to know where to go to unlock all that Fayetteville has to offer.


Work from Home Style with Phonetic Eyewear + A Giveaway


A/N: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Phonetics Eyewear, however all thoughts and opinions are provided by me. Dress provided courtesy of Angela Roy LulaRoe.

I've worn glasses since I was a kid. I suppose my inevitable journey into wearing glasses started with my insatiable need to read. Most of the time, at night, in the dark, with a flashlight. This was, of course, pre-e-reader days, so my eyes paid the price.

Since I work from home, I'm pretty much on some form of electronic device 24/7, which puts a serious strain on my already strained eyes. So you can imagine my surprise (and pure delight) when I discovered that Phonetic Eyewear helps to alleviate digital eyestrain by using a special coating to deflect harmful blue light caused by computer screens and most electronic devices.

Cars 3 Candy Popcorn


Head to the theaters to check out Cars 3, the latest action-packed movie by Disney Pixar!

It's no secret that we are a Disney loving family. Every time a new Disney movie comes out, we're typically front-and-center in the theater to check it out. Since Mr. A is quite the car aficionado, you can imagine that our entire family was excited about the release of Cars 3. So much so that I celebrated by creating a fun, and super easy Cars 3 snack to celebrate.

Bright, colorful, and fun, this Cars 3 Candy Popcorn is the perfect snack for a Cars themed party or Cars moving watching marathon! It's 50% sweet, 50% salty, and 100% delicious. Which makes it the perfect treat for EVERYONE in the family.

5 Easy Ways to Stay Safe While Working From Home

Tracking Pixel

A/N: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Iris by Lowe’s, however, all thoughts, and opinions truly belong to me.

 Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. This is a rule I have always lived by. It can be applied to every aspect of my life. Parenting. Work. Writing. And, of course, personal safety.

Last year, I remember watching the news in horror as a stay-at-home-mom was attacked by a home intruder. The thing that truly struck me was the timing of the attack. It was broad daylight. She lived in a seemingly safe suburban neighborhood. And she even had a security camera. What scared me the most is that I found that I could check off every single item on that list as well.

Watching that incident unfold left me feeling incredibly uneasy. As a work-at-home-mom, I had always assumed that working from within the confines of my home was somewhat safer. Watching that 45 second clip of a woman fighting for her life made me realize just how easily that could have been me.