How in the world can a cold knock you dead off your feet?! Holy freakin crap.  ($@^#) Where is mom when you need her the most to rub your back and tuck you in?  Ha! I knew it was going to get me when I watched my husband go throughthe whole process for 3 full days!  Then it hit me like a truck.  So of course I turned to Google and sent my husband on a trip to Walgreens!  He of course used only NyQuil…why? Because he’s a guy. LOL.

Not me.  I needed a game plan and I need relief!  I’m not a doctor and none of this is prescription or guaranteed to work, but it really helped me so I had to share.

1st: Hydration!  I had water mostly, but Gatorade really did the trick for me.

2nd: Vaseline.  Amazing how when you’re growing up it’s always there, but I never had it in my own home.  This will last forever! After all the nose tissue touch ups this REALLY helped.

3rd: Speaking of nose touch ups…can I just tell you Puffs Plus Lotion is life changing?  Oh my gosh it smells SO good and it’s SOOO soft.  Wow.

4th: Vicks Sinex Severe…holy Jesus…thank you for being in my life.  WOW is all I can say.  It coated my nose in every spot like a cool mist that calmed the irritation, pain and swelling in one miracle spray.  No joke…I sat there just saying wow to my husband.  Swear. Ask him.  I got a full night’s sleep with mouth closed breathing LOL! (Bowing down to Vicks.)

5th: My new bedside Walgreens humidifier.  Thank you Walgreens for the cool, moist air.

My bedside was a little cold remedy pharmacy lol!  What are you tricks to battling a cold?  I’m all ears and ready to be prepared for next time around!

 

Birthdays are my favorite!!!   It’s a new year, potentially new you and just a fresh start to your hopes and dreams.  As I get older I’ve learned to appreciate my birthdays.  It’s funny, as you start out in life you look forward to those milestone birthdays. Can’t wait to be 13 and my parents will take me seriously because I’m a TEEN!  Or the very liberating 16th birthday because now we have FREEDOM!!  The very long wait to get to 21 and go to a bar to be an “adult” with a glass of wine. LOL!  Then….then it’s oh gosh….how long can I push off going into mid twenties…what are my 30s going to be like?  I used to think 30 was so old.  Those are the real grown ups and here I am close and closer. Then it happens…you cross over into 30s and every day for me since I’ve learned more about who I am.  Who I want to be – that I can decide this.  I’ve begun to understand the saying “getting comfortable in my own skin”.  It’s pretty damn amazing.

I wish I could impose these feelings on 20 somethings and teens.  That life can be what you make it. But I think there is something about going through it and figuring it out that makes this realization even more powerful.

Those flowers are what I sent my sister this year for her birthday.  Man am I proud of this girl.  Single mom raising 2 boys, getting her Masters degree and just closed on her very own HOME.  She lives about two hours south of me in a small town we grew up in.  I love how small towns they know your voice!  I called the Flower Box and ordered her all white flowers.  I didn’t even need to give an address. Ha!  That day she ended up being sick and they knew about it before I did and changed the delivery to her home.  (I know, right?!)

I chose all white flowers all all kinds.  Even special ordered my favorites hydrangeas.   My life coach (which I will write about one day) talks to me about envisioning the color you are.  Always checking in with yourself.  I’ve been red and full of passion and drive and other times I’ve been blue for calm and steady.  I love being yellow thinking of the sun and warmth, but I’ve had my year of gray before.  Which is a shade.  Not even a color as I went through some tough times and had to really work on myself.  Each color will mean something different to each of us, but try it.

Stop right now.  Close your eyes.  Ask yourself “What color am I?”.  That little voice that speaks to you before you can even think.  The gut feeling it will answer.  Whatever it is think about what that color means to you.  I can’t wait to hear!!

The note I sent my sister with these flowers: “All white flowers- Fresh start, New Year, New you. Choose the color you want to be this year”

Much love,

Erika

 

A family of 3 pups we’ve become!!  The humans are outnumbered and we love it!!  My gosh are we excited and just so thrilled they love each other too!  Day 1 was a huge success.  All get along and only 1 accident in the house!  First night had only 1 middle of the  night potty break.  3am is tough, but when those little eyes look at you…you’re up and out.

We got our little Edmond from a breeder in Iowa: PlentyAWrinkles Todd Fellows.  So impressed with the lines he had, facility and his communication through out.  We  found him through one of my pet photography shoots.  Alyssa scheduled a session and told me she was bringing Shar Pei!  I met Wrigley who had the most waggly tail and oh my word he was gorgeous!  I was in love.  I posted a photo from the session on Kingston’s instagram and had followers tell me I should have used the flash as a decoy and taken him home! Ha!! Since then Alyssa and I have become friends with puppy play dates and now have pups who are related.  It’s amazing how life brings people in your life.

 Some may think “wow…3 dogs…isn’t that  bit much?”  For us…it’s not.  We are overjoyed with the idea of 3 little pei butts running around the house, playing in the backyard and teaming up for serious pei patrol.  It’s funny when we talked about the timing to get our third Shar Pei deep inside I had a feeling of “What will people think?”.  (Here I am in my 30s worried about what people will think of me!)  I still didn’t tell my husband for a good month I was feeling this way.

I should have right away, because that is where one of my husband’s most amazing qualities really shined.  He said “It doesn’t matter what people think.  We do what makes us happy.”  I really have to remind myself to take that to heart.   It’s true in so many ways.  Whether it’s a purchase you’ve made, a profession you’ve chosen, the city you’ve decide to call home or getting a third pup. To remember. It’s YOUR life to LIVE. Chris and I evaluate our life no kidding at least a few times a week during our gratitude conversations. (He doesn’t know I’ve named them, but they happen naturally) We keep in the front of minds how grateful we are for all the opportunities we’ve had and also recognized how hard we’ve worked to get here.  It’s remembering night school while working a full time job, tough childhoods growing up, but also as adults making it through divorces and truly understanding our own emotions and figuring out who we are.  Making a conscious effort to decide who we want to be.

 I say to you reading this…do what makes you happy (as long as it’s not a hazard to your health).  Live your life out loud and full.  And take pause every now and then and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.  Celebrate the small wins too! They matter.  The key to happiness I’m learning is gratitude.  Reminding yourself of how far you’ve come.  Especially on those days where the world feels heavy.  Write it down, say it out loud…look in the mirror and remind yourself how bad ass you really are.  My puppy post turned into a mini motivational gratitude speech today, but I’m feeling it and wanted to get it out.  And now off to some puppy breath!!

Perfect Super Bowl Addition!

Super Bowl is almost here!  Who are you routing for?

Can you think of a better way to present fruit salad at a Super Bowl Party?!  Here is the perfect recipe (secret is the vanilla pudding – no joke)   AND how to carve it!  I’m pretty proud of my attempt!

 Recipe

  • 1 can(s) pineapple chunks, in their own juice

  • 1 can(s) mandarin oranges, drained 1 bunch green grapes, halved

  • 2 bananas

  • 1 pkg strawberries, sliced however you want 1 box small box of vanilla instant pudding (jell-o brand only – others just don’t taste right)

  • You can also add other fruits that you like to this as you please.

Receipt from: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/salad/fruit-salad/fruit-salad-to-die-for.html

Instructions

Did you know there was a site dedicated to Watermelon carvings? There is!!  That is where I got my instruction on how to make it happen!

  1. Using a round watermelon, slice off a piece approximately 4 inches down on the stem end. Set cut piece aside to use later for mouth guard.

  2. Make a curved cut from one side of the melon to the other to cut out the face portion of the helmet. Hollow out the entire melon.

  3. Take the piece that was set aside in step #1 and place cut side down. Place knife at the center of stem end and cut in half.

  4. Take one half of cut piece and draw mouth guard grid with a sharp pencil or thin marker as shown in picture. Remove flesh and using a small knife, cut out grid design.

  5. To assemble, place mouth piece on a plate. Place the helmet piece on top, pushing the mouthpiece ends towards the inside of the helmet. You may need to carve a little out of the helmet ends to fit the mouth grid comfortably.

  6. Fill with fruit salad.

See video at: http://www.watermelon.org/Carvings/Football-Helmet#sthash.Ilfn0x6Q.dpuf

I promised to share products I’ve found that are fun and “in”, but also try to focus on helping small business.  Well…I have one for you!!  Have you seen friends and celebrities sporting gorgeous gold bar necklaces?  My gosh I fell in LOVE!  I’m talking about some of my favs like my (I wish she was my BFF) Jennifer Aniston or Jessica Alba and even the super smart and stunningly beautiful Emma Watson (cannot wait for Beauty and the Beast….who’s with me right?).

I found a small company right here in St. Louis who makes them and ALSO personalizes!!  I don’t have human children, but I do have furkids…and yes she put both of their names on mine with a little heart.  I wear it out being totally fashionable (ha!) but have my little peibies with me (my kids are Shar Pei).

 

The company is A Blase Jewelry.  Everything is handmade and 14k gold filled.  They are fun to work with and fast!

You can find them here.  She has so much to choose from and it’s affordable!  I mean being a fashionista AND supporting small business?!  Serious win win.

My Pup Kingston Marshall even approves!  He will be letting his fans know too!  Yes, my dog has a facebook and instagram page.  I promise you a whole other blog post on why this is okay, fun and can even make you some extra funds. 🙂  Check him out on facebook or on his Instagram.

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I’m absolutely in LOVE!  I searched and searched Pinterest and even posted my living room on 3 different facebook groups looking for ideas of what to do with the left side of my wall!

ciryprints.jpg

Oh my gosh!  Let me tell you about City Prints.  Their whole idea is just genius.  What better than framing images of important cities in your life?!  It’s wall art that has meaning and a story.  You can pick ANY city, country or even stadium layout!  I’m serious, you can even zoom in frame your current neighborhood.  Maybe it’s your first apartment on your own…or your first house together…or where you grew up….ENDLESS possibilities.  Talk about the perfect gift too! Housewarming, Wedding, Birthday…for YOURSELF.  It’s timeless stunning art.

 I chose their “cities at night” collection of Washington D.C. and St. Louis, MO.  Our first trip together where it all started and our home town.

 

My photo does NOT do it justice.  My husband (who usually cringes every time a box shows up on our door) even commented days after how much he really loved them.

 This business started in January 2012 and are family business!  They send a little newsletter with a picture of themselves included too.  It felt good to also be supporting a family.

Click on image to see their site!

(This is not a sponsored post.  Just honest to goodness love of a product)

Kids say the funniest things right?!  But they also say the sweetest things.   I watched my nephews over a weekend and filled up a question jar about their parents for them to take home with them.  Each day for a month their Mom pulled one out at dinner and read it with them. Lots of laughs were had and for me lots of hilarious text messages, but also sweet messages.  There is something really amazing about hearing what your children think about you when you’re not around.

For example, my nephew said his Mom’s hair was the most beautiful and also how much he loved when his Mom took them to the park.  Not the grand gestures and gifts, but the time spent.  Kids have so much to say and they are always thinking.  I loved this idea for them and we had such a blast filling out all of our cards.  I will say we did not do it in an evening.  We did some at lunch, dinner and breakfast the next morning.

 Supplies:

  • Cute Jar

  • Pen

  • Note Cards

Sample Questions – have fun creating your own too!!

  • What is your favorite thing about your Mom/Dad?

  • Who is a better driver?

  • Who cooks the best?

  • Where is your favorite place your Mom/Dad takes you?

  • What is something funny about your Mom/Dad?

  • If you had a super power what would it be?

  • What is your favorite memory?

  • What is something your Mom/Dad always says to you?

  • What makes you happy?

  • How old is your Mom/Dad?

  • What is your Mom/Dad really good at?

  • What is your Mom/Dad favorite food?

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Every year my New Year’s Resolution has been something about me I wanted to improve.  Whether it be to get into that swimsuit, grow out my hair, accessorize more…it’s always been external and about my body.  I didn’t want to do that this year.  Not this time.  I want 2017 to be about something better and something bigger than myself. Something that impacted others as well as myself.  The older I get the more I feel comfortable in my skin, in my thoughts and realize how important feeling connected is…relationships…emotion.  The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and ask if this is where I wanted to be.  A year ago reading that question I would have thought about material things, a job title or if I finally took a trip I wanted.  This year I paused….I asked myself if I was where I wanted to be emotionally.  Did I feel connected?

The answer was while I had amazing family and friends who would be there in a moment’s notice as I would do for them, I didn’t feel I had done enough to let them know I think of them often.  I’ve been absorbed with work, with family, with life so much so I felt I wasn’t “connected”.  In a day and age where we are more connected than ever before, it’s amazing to find my sense of “connectedness” wasn’t there.  My heart started beating as this realization set in.  I got excited thinking about ways I could show them they cross my mind.

 

My Resolution: Spread love.

 Once in mind it was so clear.  Yes!  Spread love!  I started writing in my notebook all the ways I could make this happen.  I have girlfriends who live in town and many who live across the country.  So I got creative.

  • Send a card in the mail with a note or even just a “hello! I hope your day is great!” –

  • Send a text to just say you’re thinking of them.  I promise you it’s WELL received.

  • OMG dare I say it: Call them.  Hearing each other’s voice is food for the soul I tell ya.  (Commutes to and from work are great times!)

    • Make it formal, by send them a $5 Starbucks ecard and invite them to a “virtual coffee date”.

  • Ask someone to lunch/dinner/or even just a coffee date to catch up

  • Send a 365 daily tear off calendar that you’ve written notes in on random days.

  • Send flowers

I kicked off January with a bang! I read January is the worst month with a day actually called Blue Monday. This year it’s January 16th.  You really start to miss that sun and my gosh the wind, snow and sleet can leave you feeling cold inside and out.  I wanted to send some sunshine!   I picked 3 girlfriends and sent them all flowers….just because. Because they matter to me.  (Thank you Groupon for the rebates off flowers because it made it possible).

 

I included a fun little note with a line I learned from a dear friend Audrey “Shine Bright like the gorgeous diamond you are!”  ( I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the gentleman taking my order who had to repeat it to ensure it was correct).

 Just in time for Blue Monday and if you’re feeling like me at all…I challenge you to do one and just see how you feel.  Gestures don’t have to be grand or cost a lot of money.  They just need to be thoughtful.  I hope I’ve inspired you to spread a little love.

Love,

Erika

flowers