The Importance of Being Reese: March 2014


This weekend was spent driving around aimlessly trying to get a feel for our new home. We've now officially been residents of Raleigh for three weeks, and it feels more like three years. The people here have been so welcoming. Which is much more than I expected. In fact, shortly before moving into our neighborhood we spoke with a resident who had been living in this area for a while. We were both shocked when she said that Raleighans were pretty rude. So far our experience has been quite the opposite. Everyone we've met has gone above and beyond to wish us a warm welcome to the city--and we are thankful.

We're still unpacking. Which is to be expected. Now that we're officially living under one roof again, we're tying to spend more time together as a family so packing has sort of taken the backseat. We've made it a point to eat dinners together at the table. We were pretty terrible about that before. But that's also because our old place didn't necessarily lend itself to a proper dining area. Our dinning room table also masqueraded as a desk/play area for Little J. Now that we have space to sit down, it makes eating dinners together as a family much easier. Ditto for the kitchen. Now that we have a larger kitchen, I actually enjoy cooking again. I haven't yet decided whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Some pretty neat things we've discovered in Raleigh so far...
  1. They have TON of Greenways. Now we no longer have an excuse not to get back into shape. 
  2. They are serious about NC State around here. I mistakenly wore my 49ers jersey last week in Target and got some major side-eyes. Mental note: remove all UNCC paraphernalia from my vehicle. 
  3. Both  the North Carolina Museum of History and The North Carolina Museum of Art are located here and both have some pretty awesome exhibits regularly. Pretty excited about that.
  4. They also have the Mables Kid Museum which is supposed to be a really big deal.
  5. They have a plethora of food trucks here. I'm especially excited about this because I was just getting into the food truck scene in Charlotte, so now I can pick up where I left off. 
  6. If you're not the food truck type, have no fear, they have some awesome restaurants here. We had the pleasure of trying out Dean's Seafood Grill and Bar on Sunday when Mr. A's parents came to town. Phenomenal. I tried the Lobster, Shrimp, Sherry & Bisque, and Mr. A had, well, I'm not quite sure what he had but it was delicious. 
  7. The drivers here also refuse to use their turn signals. I'm a bit relieved to know that this is a phenomena that is clearly not isolated to Charlotte. Oh joy. Note the sarcasm. 
In conclusion, we're discovered that Raleigh is basically a larger version of Charlotte. But with an international airport. And more malls. But on the downside, Charlotte has random Tardis rocks spread throughout the city. Which sort of negates basically every awesome thing about Raleigh. I guess we can't win em all.

Hit Replay with SUDAFED

Note: This is a sponsored post

Spring is officially here. If you're like me, you're equal parts ecstatic and equal parts somber about the approaching warm weather. Though for most, warm weather means family vacations to the beach and lounging alongside the pool for hours, for the remainder of us, spring means battling sinus congestion/pressure.

Many a family outing has been canceled due to my sinuses. Last year, it was so terrible that we had to turn down an invite to a family camping trip that we had been looking forward to all year. Instead of roasting smores by the campfire and being lulled to sleep by the sound of night owls, we were instead forced to back out of the trip.

Needless to say, Little J and Mr. A were not happy campers. Nor was I. The next few days were spent dealing with the fallout of extreme sinus pressure-swelling, congestion and an abnormal (and highly unattractive) amount of drainage. It was not my finest hour.

This year we've decided to be a bit more proactive. We're making it a point to stock up on SUDAFED® to avoid a nasty repeat of last year. After all, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...well you know the deal.

To those, like myself sinus congestion and pressure can be more than a nuisance, it can be a show-stopper. SUDAFED® has recently launched a fun sweepstakes unlike any other. They're giving you the opportunity to relive your favorite missed moments, by giving you the chance to win a $250 gift card for experiences such as flight replay, sporting event replay or movie replay. The contest is open through April 6th. Be sure to watch the video below for more details about this exciting sweepstakes.

For more exciting news from SUDAFED®, be sure to follow them on Facebook. Don't let my missed-vacation horror story becomes yours!

Note:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sverve. I was compensated for my opinion but all opinions are my own. Any and all health related suggestions and opinions are my own. Before taking SUDAFED you should consult with your doctor.

Confessions Part I

I confess, when Little J is not in the car with me, I drive a bit too fast and listen to music that's a bit too loud.

I confess,  everything taste better when it's dipped in chocolate.

I confess, I cry a bit more than most people realize.

I confess, when I do cry, I think of every terrible thing that's ever happened to me so I end up having a full-blown weep-a-thon. Also, I have yet to master the art of crying gracefully. Seriously, I look and sound like a wounded Water Buffalo.  Not pretty.

I confess, I love my toes. Most of the time they're painted some wildly outrageous color.

I confess, I've never had a pedicure. I've only had a manicure once. It was a gift.

I confess, I am a raging flower child. Beneath my "posh" exterior is a girl with a tie dyed shirt and flowers in her hair.

I confess, 10 years after Armageddon was released, I still get teary-eyed when I hear "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing."

I confess, while we're on the subject, I think Bruce Willis is extremely sexy.

I confess, I've only been drunk once in my life. The next day was not pleasant. Hence the one time only experience. 

So now that I've spilled some of my juicy secrets, share some with me. Is there anything on this list that you do or find to be true about yourself? 

In The Land of Books

On Friday, Mr. A came home from work, Indian food in hand and told me I needed to get lost. Though typically a sentence such as that one would hurt my feelings, Friday evening, it was like music to my ears. It was basically his way of telling me "Go, be free. Put on something other than yoga pants and be amongst the people." As I mentioned, before the move, while Mr. A was hard at work in a new city 3+ hours away, I was holding down the fort. My free time has basically consisted of hiding out in the closet wolfing down a candy bar and feverishly praying Little J  didn't hear the crinkling of the wrapper. Hey, don't judge.

Anyhow, back to the point. My Sunday afternoon was spent leisurely sipping a on a much needed cup of coffee and perusing Barnes and Nobles for my latest read. I recently read a report that has forced me to look inwards--and what I found, I'm not all that happy about. In October of last year, Huffington post release a report saying that 28 percent of Americans had not read a book all year. Though the number was startling, after examining my own reading habits, I found that the number of books I read last year was at an all-time low.

Though I spent many waking hours hopped up on coffee tucked away in a study cubicle on campus, 99.9% of those hours were devoted purely to reading for my classes. The other .1% was spent on Facebook complaining about the ridiculous amount of studying I was doing. Now that those days are rapidly becoming a distant memory, I know that there are many things I can cut back on in order to squeeze in more time with my beloved books. Netflix for example. I can't even tell you how many times I've found myself absorbed in an Netflix induced coma. If binge watching Netflix were an Olympic sport, there are some days when I would take home the gold. Which is sad.

So Saturday was a much needed day. A chance to tune out the world and spend the day engulfed in a new read. Not only did I make it through half a book in one sitting, I had the chance to scope out some new reads for my next "mommy day."

1. Lean In- Sheryl Sanberg
2. A Return To Love- Marriane Williamson
3. The Fault In Our Stars- John Green
4. A Long Walk To Freedom- Nelson Mandela

I've had my eye on all of these books for the past year or so. Especially since I watched Sheryl Sanberg give what is quite possibly my favorite TED Talk of all times. (FYI, if you're a woman trying to navigate the leadership labyrinth while juggling motherhood, this video is for you).

Hopefully, before the year is over, I will have read all four of these. I have no intention of becoming one of the 28 percent. Have you read any of these books? What is currently on your reading wish list? More importantly, when was the last time you had a "mommy day?"


Home by Philip Philips on Grooveshark

I'm sure you guys have probably wondered where I disappeared to. Or maybe you haven't because you read my last post on saying goodbye and put two and two together. My current position is somewhere between 'hopped up on too much coffee' and 'content beyond belief' with a tiny dash of 'too exhausted to move.'

We three have been a busy bunch as of late. Now that we've officially moved into our new place, we're trying to unpack and make this place our home. And then we're also trying to get readjusted to each other once again. For safety concerns, I left out the part where Mr. A had been living 3 hrs away from me and Little J for 4+ months while we got everything into place for our move. I try not to be a complainer because I know that someone out there has it much, much worse, but it's been a trying few months to say the least.

Still, it was worth it. Every morning I wake up in our new place, I'm reminded that we are beyond blessed. To have a roof over our head, food on our plates and a home that filled with love. It also doesn't hurt that I can now walk down the hallway without stubbing my toe on a bookshelf, or that I now have a place to set up a desk for my new job. 

Speaking of which, which of these three desks do you like the most? I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect desk to complete our library/study/office space. You'll notice they're quite small. Space is an issue in our library/study/office, so the smaller, the better. 
1, 2, 3, 4, 

I wouldn't expect much from me in the upcoming week(s). I'll still be posting and stalking  keeping up with you guys, but not to the same degree as I was last month. My family has got quite a bit on our plates. I want to get us fully unpacked and comfortable as soon as possible. So that requires that I take my foot off the gas a little here. But rest assured, things will be back to normal around here shortly. I hope you will stick around until then because I really do have some more exciting news to share...

Until next time,

Sticky9: Bringing Your Photos To Life

Note: This is a sponsored post.

I'm sure you've gathered as much by now, but I'm a bit of a shutterbug. Any time a photo opportunity presents itself, I'm there, like an annoying Ansel Adams, to take at least 15 different shots at various angles. It should comes as no surprise that I'm also a huge fan of Instagram. So when both my love for Instagram and taking photos combine, it makes for a pretty awesome time.

Luckily there's a service out there for a shutter-holic like me. Meet Sticky9.  A fun little service that instantly brings your photos to life. With a few clicks of your camera and a few clicks of the button, you can instantly turn your photos into a set of fun little magnets to show off showcase to the world--or at least your guests.

Oh and did I mention that they make tablet & cell phone covers too?!?

The process of creating your Sticky9 is incredibly easy. Simply visit, choose your product, link up your Instagram feed and select 9 photos that you'd like to turn into magnets. In my case, I choose two sets--a classic set of magnets, and a set of jigsaw magnets.

Because Sticky9 is so awesome, they've agreed to give away a set of their adorable magnets to one of my lovely readers. This giveaway will run until 12:00 a.m. Saturday, March 15th. To enter, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.

Don't feel like entering into the giveaway? That's okay, Sticky9 is giving all of you 15% off your next order using this promo code: FRIENDUFKV

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Note: Although I was given free Sticky9 products for this post, my thoughts and opinions about this awesome service are entirely my own. 

Saying Goodbye

As a former Army Brat goodbye was a word I am well versed in saying. I said it well. And I said it often. And I was okay with that. 10 years later I'm saying goodbye again, and it's a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. As you may recall, our family is moving to a new city this week. A new city. A new home. A new life. So much good has happened these past few months. More good than I could have possibly imagined. And part of that good requires moving to a new place.

Initially, I was ecstatic. After four years of being crammed into a 850 sq ft apartment the prospect of moving on was a cause for celebration. After all, the apartment is way too small. The dishwasher never works. There's not enough cabinet space. The walls are too thin. There's never any parking. My neighbors are a bit questionable.

But then, I started to think and reflect on our time spent here. It wasn't all bad. This tiny 850 sq ft apartment has been filled with so much love. This is the apartment Mr. A and I spent months planning the arrival of our daughter in. This is the first place Little J will remember. The too small apartment with the walls that mommy painted a bit too brightly. She'll remember the times mommy and daddy slow danced in the living room. She'll remember the times we built forts and spend hours snuggling under the comforters. This was the place that kept us safe and happy for the past four years. And for that I am grateful.

Suddenly, saying goodbye is not quite as easy as I once thought it would be.

A Mom and A Toddler Walk Into A Verizon Store

Update: 3:30 Well, now I'm good and pissed.

If this sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, let me assure you it is. For 2+ weeks now, I have been without my beloved Samsung Galaxy--for the second time in less than 6 months. Typically, I'm not one to put a company on blast, but I'm going to share my Verizon horror story and let you be the judge...

Back in July, Mr. A decided he had had enough with my non-smart phone having self. Then he did something that I will be eternally grateful for (even though I was a bit angry at first--sorry babe). He got me my first smart phone. For the first three months, I was addicted. I had all my neat little blogging apps at my disposal and was no longer chained to my computer. I could blog on the go. Every bloggers dream. But then, just three months after getting my new phone, it suddenly stopped charging. At first, I thought it was something I did. But then, I was still treating my phone like a newborn baby. I practically swaddled it. I figured I had just gotten a defective phone. After a week of going back and forth with Verizon, I eventually got my new phone.

And all was right in the world again. But then three weeks ago, the trouble started again. My phone mysterious stopped charging again. Right in the middle of a snowstorm. Perfect timing right?

Last weekend I finally had the chance to go into Verzion to try to take care of my phone. While in town visiting my parents, I made the mistake of visiting the Verizon in Fayetteville NC (the one of Skibo rd). As soon as I walked in, I very politely asked to speak to the manager ( I used to work in customer service, so I don't believe in storming in irate and angry--nothing good comes of that). After waiting for 15 minutes, we had to leave because Little J wet herself. Luckily, my MIL had just called and invited me to drop Jasmine off while I tried to fix my phone. After dropping Jasmine off, I came back and once again attempted to speak to the manager. They told me that they had called my name and I explained that my daughter had wet herself. After waiting to speak to the manager for another 15+ minutes, eventually a sales associate (who was sweet, by the way) came over to help me.

After explaining that this was the second phone that I have had in less than six months that couldn't take a charge, she explained the situation. Apparently there was a major bug in one of the most recent updates. This bug is somehow interfering with the ability for the Galaxy to charge. I was told I had a few options, I could either order another Galaxy and have the same issue happen again, or I could purchase a new phone, which I would be required to make payments for.

Obviously I was not happy with either of those options. I find it a bit shady that Verizon clearly knew there was an issue with one of their phones and yet still continued to sell the Galxaxy S3, and now they are trying to charge me to fix their mistake. After explaining this to the sale associate she disappeared into the back with her manager. The sales associate returned and offered me another option. I would be able to trade my phone in (at no additional cost) for another phone, the Droid Ultra. After a quick google search, I discovered that this phone didn't have removable storage space, which for a blogger/shutterbug like myself, can be problematic. I asked if there was another phone that had external storage space like my current phone that I could trade it for. I was told this was the only phone they would allow me to swap for.

So after spending more than two hours trying to get my phone fixed, I left phoneless, without ever having spoken to the manager. And I have a real problem with that. I spent a good 5 years in management. I understand that the weekends can be hectic, and that there are always a ton of "behind the scene" operations that a manager needs to perform. But I sat there watching her while I was waiting. I can say with complete certainly that she very purposely ignored me. I suppose she thought I left because I was angry at having to wait and this was her way of "getting back" at me. Lesson one in dealing with me: I don't like games. I wonder how differently this would have played out has she known I was a blogger?

I decided to halt all attempts to visit Verizon stores until I could get back to Charlotte. And when I finally did, it was worth it. The Verizon that I visited on Pineville Matthews Rd was at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as customer service. The sales associate who helped me was fantastic. He gave me a list of options and spent nearly and hour trying to troubleshoot my phone. He really did go above and beyond, and I told his manager as much on my way out. When I left the store, we thought we had resolved the problem, but it turns out it wasn't.

So here I am three weeks later, paying for a phone that I can't use and being told that the only way to fix it is to pay for another phone. And did I mention that we're moving next week and I have a job that requires me to be easily accessible via phone/email?

As I said, I'll let you be the judge...