Monday, October 13, 2014

Care Package 101

Over the last 10 almost 11 years I can't tell you how many care packages I've made, probably hundreds. I've sent them to my brother and to service members I adopted when my brother wasn't deployed. I kind of have a system and a plan when I do care packages. Currently I don't have an adopted soldier, I had an adopted Marine who just left Afghanistan and haven't had a chance to get a new one.

The biggest question I hear when it comes to care packages is what to pack. Its a lot easier when you know the person you are sending things to, but when its an adopted one its really hard.

Here are my go to care package items:

-Jerky (everyone I've ever sent to like Jerky I don't get it)
- Gum
-Chapstick
-I always send playing cards, UNO, dice games. Any small game they can play to fill their time.
-small snacks (granola bars, small chip bags, cereal bags etc.) Just small things they can fit in a pocket if they leave their base or if they are at a FOB. My brothers first deployment we would send tons of snacks because how little they had. Iraq '04 was no joke.
- A hand written note, card or letter. This is especially nice when its an adopted soldier, just a small gesture so they know you care!
-Fresh baked goods. My personal favorite thing that I do for my brother and my adopted soldiers it to bake for them.

I think people assume not to send hand made cookies or treats because they may get stale. I've never had an issue, we just makes sure to pack them once they cooled into some GladWear containers.

If you would like some of my favorite care package recipes let me know!

Also if you don't know anyone currently deployed check out Adopt-a-Soldier groups! Some have long term partnerships (being the adopter of a soldier for their whole deployment) or a one time adoption where you send packages or letters one time. Lots of great ways to show support!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

BLUES HOME OPENER !

So for Blogtober day 9 its all about the St. Louis Blues season opener!

I LOVE HOCKEY. Hockey season is my favorite season. Not only do I love pro hockey, but I love college hockey too! I loved it enough that I almost left school here in St. Louis and moved to North Dakota so I could go to the University of North Dakota and cheer on the Sioux. I'm going to sound like a typical Blues fan and say that this is OUR season.

In honor of opening day here are some fun pictures!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Inspiring TED TALKS

I love TED TALKS, I had never seen one until I was a junior in college and now I could watch them all day. My goal is to be a TED Talk speaker one day! So I just wanted to share a few TED Talks for you.







Favorite Reads

Let me start by saying I never really considered myself a reader. In high school I literally only read World War II books, no joke that is it. I'm kind of a history nerd. During the summer before my senior year of college I kind of went on a reading binge. This binge included 50 Shade of Grey which were pretty good, not the best technically written but good. I've kind of moved on from THAT type of book because yes I read a few series similar to 50 Shades.

I went and saw Lone Survivor last December and I LOVED IT. So I read the book, then had to read Marcus Luttrell's other book Service. Next on my military book kick was American Sniper by Chris Kyle...SO GOOD. LOVED THEM (military book review coming to you very very soon and I will talk more about them).

The book I'm going to review is called Crazy Good by Rachel Robinson...

let me start by saying the author is a military spouse and there were events in this book that I know were probably not easy to write about. As a sibling I have those similar fears, so I think its amazing that she was able to write about them and honestly made it very accurate. Okay so before I start this review that will probably be ridiculously long because I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH how about a little synopsis of the book...
click here



I linked to Amazon because if I wrote the description I would just tell you about the whole book.

Okay so my review...
I loved the book, seriously loved it. I've never read a book where I really got attached to characters (that sounds weird but I loved Stone and Morganna don't judge) I think this book was well written grammatically and technically, which following some of the other books I've read recently was a breath of fresh air. The portrayal of the military guys was perfect. I've grown up around the military so I would read things and just remember all the crazy things my brother has done or read the banter between the guys and have names of my brothers friends, it was just so accurate. My favorite part about it was how different it was from the "typical romance novel" it made me laugh...a lot...it made me mad, and it definitely made me cry. There were times I wanted to put it down because the mission, the death and the funeral were almost too much, but it was so good I couldn't put it down. I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed this book, I literally want a Stone ( love Mav but Stone was the best, read the book and you will understand) This book brings out every possible emotion and seriously couldn't put it down. I've read it three times and you better believe that when the author puts out her next book Set in Stone I'll read it again to prepare myself! I just read another review to see what others wrote and this literally describes it the best "the fact that a book can simultaneously make you want to jump your husbands bones, laugh, cry, cringe, and thank a veteran is a skill not easily achieved by many authors." Perfection that is what this book is. This is the book I read to get through internships, senior projects (campaigns for my classmates) and just the stress of life.

Not the best reviewer, but seriously the book is great. Go read it. The new book will be out soon so HURRY.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lessons Learned from adopting a shelter dog

I had a dog for 10 years, we got her as a puppy and she was literally the best and smartest dog ever. She was family she even vacationed with us. When she died in 2013 it hit my whole family really hard, I didn't really know life without a dog and my brother moved his dogs out a few weeks later and it was pretty crushing coming home from school and not have a dog waiting for me. So I was ready for a new dog asap, my parents weren't so ready.

Well November 8, 2013 I was looking at the APA a local shelter here in St. Louis and we found two dogs we loved. So we went the next day with my niece and nephew to visit both dog. We didn't know if we would leave with one or two or really any at all. First was an 8 year old miniature pincher (zoe) who was great. Then a 2 year old German Shepherd (Bella) , my pick. We took Bella outside to play even though the staff said she never played and also never really socialized with families that had looked at her. Well they were wrong she played with me and my nephew, she was all over us. I knew she was coming home with me, I couldn't leave her. We loved Zoe but we really fell in love with Bella and all agreed she had to come. We kept Zoe in mind and planned on adopting her a week later when a rescue got her for a specific family. So on November 9, 2013 we adopted Bella who is now known as Lola. Bella just didn't fit her personality.
It was rough bring her home, we didn't know her past. All we knew was she was surrendered because the owners moved and couldn't afford her. She seemed well trained and we were told she was kennel trained...

She is filled with anxiety when she is left alone and continually broke out of her kennel and would have accidents in the house. She is pretty much scared of all sudden movements and sometimes if I touch her back she freaks out. So I don't know what her previous life was like.

Lola stuck with me from day 1, we just clicked. She is literally my baby. It took about 6 months and 2 kennels to really get her "kennel trained" and after that she was basically perfect except for her crazy excited freakouts every time I come home (but I kind of like it)
She has vacationed with my family, and that was an experience. She did really well though especially since she was forced to be with 2 other HUGE dogs and 2 toddlers. When we came home she had a kennel relapse. We are working on it and it looks like the Kennel wont be happening anymore. She does better when I leave her out rather than in. So no more kennel.
I can honestly say that there were a lot of struggles with Lola, but I would do them all over again. That dog got me through a lot, from my fear of not getting to graduate to dealing with my grandpas death. She has turned into an amazing dog and part of my family. I can't imagine having any other dog.

Lessons from adopting a shelter dog:
-There is nothing wrong with older dogs, Lola isn't super old but shes also not a puppy. I would much rather have a sweet gray faced dog than a puppy I'm up with every 2 hours.
-BE PATIENT, you don't know what these dogs have been through. Give them time to adjust. Lola wasn't in a shelter long but it definitely affected her.
-Don't compare your new dog to your previous dog, there is literally no replacing Lucy. No dog could. But Lola is different she is my Lola. She has her own personality and mannerisms that make her her and I wouldn't want it any other way.
-You can get a purebred from a shelter. Lola is 100% German Shepherd.
-MUTT ARE JUST AS GREAT! Lucy was a mutt she was a little pit, lab, miniature pincher mix and she was perfect, they also have less health problems.
-You aren't just saving them, they are doing the same for you. Seriously my parents got me Lola right when I needed her. My family was going through a lot, school was crazy and work was crazy.
-Go to a no kill shelter! Putting your money into a no kill gives them more opportunity to rescue!
-Finally DON'T GIVE UP ON THEM, there were days that I got so frustrated with Lola, but she just needed a little guidance and time. Give your dog time to learn what you want and you will get an amazing dog!

So if you are looking for a dog, give a shelter dog a chance. You wont regret it.

My Go To Fall Outfit

Disclaimer here, I am not the most stylish person in the world...I would literally wear Yoga pants, Nikes and some sort of military or sports shirt everyday. Not a joke, ask my friends from college. I have to text pictures to friends before job interviews or going out just to make sure I'm okay.

However its socially unacceptable to wear yoga pants and t-shirts all the time...so I've learned to dress a little better. Fall is my favorite season as far as fashion! I love cardigans, boots and hoodies.

My go to fall outfit is pretty simple:
I have fallen in love with the denim shirt, I have worn it with super dark jeans or leggings and its just perfect.
Cowboy boots from Ariat
And of course my Combat Boots, look for a post all about my boots Friday! They are not only real combat boots but the proceeds go to a great cause!

So what is your go to fall outfit?

I'm failing at Blogtober...

So we are 8 days into Blogtober and I've been behind since day 3...clearly having some commitment issues. I would like to point out I've done 2 photo shoots for the blog so technically I've been doing things!

So be ready for a "catch up" today with all the post I was supposed to do since Saturday.

1. My Favorite Reads
2. Inspiring TedTalks
3.Care Package advice (get some military love in there)
4. Go to fall outfit
5. Lessons Learned from adopting a shelter dog

GET READY BECAUSE THEY ARE COMING...

Friday, October 3, 2014

RED Friday

So as a military sibling I like to do anything I can to show support for our military! One of my favorite ways is RED Friday.

During Blogtober I'm going to do something Military related on Fridays just as a way to support those who support all of us.

If you don't know what RED Friday is it stands for Remember Everyone Deployed Friday. Just a way to bring attention that we still have people serving overseas. It is a really simple way, all you do is wear red on Fridays.

You can get special RED Friday shirts from different places, including Etsy, Ranger Up, MarcusLuttrell.com, or the Boot Campaign. Most veterans owned or military themed stores will sell RED Friday products.

I wore my RED Friday shirt from Marcus Luttrell and Team Never Quit today but its was like 40 degrees and rainy so I didn't get a pictures. So here is mine from vacation with Lola because I yes even while on the beach I honored RED Friday.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sweet Tea 101

Obviously I love sweet tea, it's part of my name I love it!

So I consider myself a sweet tea connoisseur. I'm a little bit of a snob.

First off the best places to get sweet tea is anything with southern roots, I'm completely serious about it. The farther south of the Mason Dixon Line the better everything gets especially tea.

If you are out and need to grab a sweet tea I highly recommend Chick Fil A, McDonalds, or Texas Roadhouse. Honestly nothing beats sweet tea made at home.


This is my families Sweet Tea Recipe, and I think its perfect!

2 cups sugar/ gallon
2 tea bags (luzianne tea is the best)
1 gallon of water

So I just boil half a gallon of water at a time, boil it with your tea bags (don't get distracted because if you let it go to long the tea bags break and you have tea flakes in your tea!) Then add it to your pitcher with your sugar and stir. Then boil the next half gallon with the same tea bags and pour it into your pitcher and boom best sweet tea you will have!!

Do you have a tea recipe? I would love to know what y'all do!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blogtober Day 1 Fall Bucket List

If you know me you know Fall is one of my favorite seasons! So my bucket list is pretty random but its everything I love about Fall!

1. Pumpkin picking
2. Carving Pumpkins
3. Go to Hockey Games
4. Apple picking
5. BonFires
6. Smores
7. Watch a lot of Football
8. Avoid all Scary movies (yes you read that right)
9. Bake A Lot
10. Got to a Fall Festival
11. Boo at the Zoo (if you are in St. Louis this is a must)
12. Drink Starbucks Hot Chocolate