Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wow, I haven't posted in quite a while and I apologize for that. I guess I just haven't had much to say/felt like blogging. Hopefully that'll change soon! :) Anyway, I wanted to hop on here real quick and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful day and may you get what you hoped for! :) I definitely am, as it is snowing, and I definitely wanted a white Christmas! Granted, it'll probably only be about an inch or so where I live, but still! It's snow! Hehe! :)

Again, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and I'll post again soon. I'll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas carols, sung by Josh Groban. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

First post-op checkup/Holidays are coming!

Hello all! :) How are you doing this evening? I hope you all are well. I, myself, am doing pretty good. I had my first post-op checkup today. It was just to check the incision in my back, but I walked away with good news. It only took a few minutes for the nurse to ask me a few questions and check out the incision site, which was nice, because I hate long doctor visits. LOL! My incision is still healing, but looks good. There's still some scabbing, so it's not quite 100% yet, but the nurse said that's okay. I just still can't swim or take baths (only showers), because if water were to get into the wound, it could reek havoc...which I couldn't quite understand, as wouldn't taking a shower get water into the wound too? I guess she meant soaking in water. I don't know. I don't really care, just as long as everything is looking good and healing properly, which the nurse said it was. Here's hoping it continues that way! :) I also still can't lift, push, or pull more than 5 lbs, and I can't bend or twist my back, and if I'm going to pick something up, I need to bend at the knee and keep my back straight as I reach down to pick the item up. I also still can't do any exercise except for walking, but that's fine with me, as I like going for walks. It gets me out of the apartment and into fresh air! I can't go long distances, as my left leg still gets tired pretty quickly & my back will start to ache, but short distances is just fine, so I usually just walk around the outside of my apartment building. Sometimes I'll walk over to the mailboxes, but that can even wear me out if I'm not careful (it's probably about 50 yards away). I'm just glad that I'm slowly getting better and every day I try to do a little bit more to help strengthen my leg, but not so much that I hurt myself. I know my limits! :) My next post-op checkup is scheduled for December 13th, and that will be a full workup to see how I'm coming along. Hopefully I'll be much closer to 100% then! Keep your fingers crossed for me! :)

Well, here we are, only 1 week from Thanksgiving. Can you believe it!? I can't! Where did the time go!? :) I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, even though I don't really have any plans. My husband will be working, so we aren't going anywhere to celebrate it. We'll still cook a turkey and all the fixings, but I'm probably just going to spend the day at home. I'm really looking forward to watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade too! Seeing that parade REALLY gets me into the holiday spirit (if I'm not already 100% there). I just love seeing all the different floats and balloons and all the musical acts. Hopefully they will have some good ones this year! :) Of course, that'll just be mine & my husbands' Thanksgiving. I don't know what his friends ("aka-brothers") have planned, but I do know that on Sunday, the 18th, my in-laws are having a dinner at their house that we are going to be attending. Then when we get home from that, my husband and I will set up our Christmas tree!! Yay!! I can't wait! I absolutely LOVE setting up for Christmas, as it's my favorite holiday! I even have the Christmas Cd's ready to go in my stereo, although, I've been good, and have not listened to them yet...though I'm itching to every day! ;) Hehe! My husband and I are even going to go across the street to Bradley Fair to watch them light the Christmas tree this Saturday night. There's going to be carols sung, and even free horse-drawn carriage rides, which I'm hoping to be able to take, but I don't know if it'll be possible! I guess we'll find out soon! :)

Ah yes, I love the holidays! I love the sights, sounds, and feelings of the holidays! I also seriously can not wait for our first snowfall! I keep seeing all these pictures that other people have taken of the snow around where they live, and I am so jealous! I really hope we have a good winter this year with plenty of snow! I missed that last year (we had the COLD weather, but not much snow). There's just something about looking out your window at a blanket of freshly fallen snow, making everything glisten & smell fresh & clean! :) Oh yes, please Mother Nature, bring us snow this year!!! :)

Well, I guess that's about it for now. I hope you all are having a great week so far, and have a wonderful weekend, and I will post again soon! Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post operative report

Hey everyone! :) How are y'all doing on this election day? I am doing alright. It has now been 6 days since my lumbar microdiscectomy surgery and so far, so good. I went to the hospital around 11:30am on October 31st, and after getting checked in & giving a UA, I relaxed (as much as I could) with my family (my mom, brother, and husband) in the waiting room until it was time for someone to take me back to the pre-op room. Once back there, I stripped & wore one of those oh so lovely hospital gowns & laid down on the bed while the nurse went about and got my I.V. ready. We talked about stuff while she was getting me prepared, so it kept me really relaxed and calm. After my I.V. was in and everything was done, my family came back & waited with me until my Dr came and said it was time. I said goodbye & I love you to everyone and they wheeled me into the OR. I honestly don't remember anything from seeing the operating table & the anesthesiologist saying he was gonna give me some good meds that would put me under in less than a minute, until I woke up in the recovery room. I remember waking up from a good dream and the nurse saying my name, and I vaguely remember crying a little and saying "Where's my husband?" Of course, I didn't realize I was till in the recovery room, so she had to explain that once I woke up a little bit more they would move me to my hospital room and then I'd be able to see everyone (according to my husband, I was in the recovery room for about 1 1/2 hours). Once I was more coherent they moved me to my hospital room, where with the help of the nurses I moved from the gurney onto my hospital bed. I do remember that my back ached like crazy, but my leg felt so much better, even though it & my foot still felt numb in places. Once I was hooked up to the I.V. machine and resting, my family came in & I found out how the surgery went. According to my husband (from what the Dr told him) the surgery went well, even though he took out a larger chunk of my herniated disc than he expected to (I guess it was worse than the MRI showed). I have all internal stitches and my incision was glued shut with Dermabond, so I'm lucky that there are no stitches or staples that I have to go back to get taken out! :) The rest of that day I was kinda in and out of it, but I do remember that my back hurt like hell around the incision site (to be expected) and couldn't understand why they had me laying directly on my back, but I guess because the head of the bed was able to go up and down with a touch of the button I could sit myself up and take the pressure off. I also remember every time I had to go to the bathroom, I had to call the nurse/CNA to come in and unhook me from the I.V. pump and help me up. Oh man, that first time I got up, it HURT. I had to completely turn on my side, keeping my back straight, scoot as close to the edge of the bed as I could, move my legs over the side of the bed, and push up off the bed using my arm and hands. It was definitely difficult that first time, but I eventually got the hang of it, even though it still hurt a bit every time I got up. That was also the time that I noticed that my left leg & foot still had some numbness to it, but I guess that's normal because of the fact that my nerve was compressed for such a long time.

Anyway, my hubby stayed the night at the hospital with me, and if it hadn't been for the nurse and the CNA coming in every 2-3 hours to check my vitals or give me pain meds, we both could've gotten a good nights sleep. LOL! Oh well! The next morning, around 9am the physical therapist and the occupational therapist came to visit with me, and got me up and walking around. It was definitely different walking in the hall and going a long distance (about 160 feet), but the good news was I didn't have the pain in my buttocks and leg that I did the day before! :) The physical therapist had me walk up a few steps to make sure I could do that, and after giving me some instructions for exercises to continue at home, said that I was good to go! :) As I made my way back to my room for breakfast, the nurse came in and said that I could go home any time I wanted, but I knew I had to wait for my mom and brother to show up as they were going to be my ride home (I can't climb up into the truck yet). So after eating breakfast Travis & I went for another walk around the halls and met my mom & brother, and soon after I got to go back to the room, and was able to change back into my own clothes, which I was never so happy to do so! LOL! I was discharged from the hospital on November 1st around 10:45-11:00am and I was pretty happy to go home! It was interesting walking up our flight of stairs (there's about 15) but I did it slow and steadily and got up alright! :) After saying hi to my kitties I carefully sat down on the couch next to my mom and we ended up spending the day lounging around, except for when I'd get up and walk around the apartment a little bit. Later that evening, my mom & Travis accompanied me on a walk outside, which felt wonderful! After having mainly been cooped up in my apt for a couple of months without being able to go outside for more than 2 minutes, I was so happy to get some much needed fresh air. I did get tired kind of quickly, but it was to be expected. My mom & brother went back home Friday morning, and I spent the weekend slowly working on getting stronger and going on a few more walks with the hubby. As of the time that I write this, I'm doing pretty good. I'm getting around a little bit better, my pain isn't that bad (but I do still get bad periods of hurt/achiness every now & then), and I'm moving around in the bed better. I still have quite a bit of numbness in my left foot (not so much in the leg), but I'm hoping that it'll go away soon. If it's not gone by my first checkup on the 15th, I'm definitely going to mention it to the Dr and see what he has to say about it. My incision has been itching a LOT today, so I know that means it's healing, but it's also driving me NUTS! I want to scratch it so bad! Haha! I'm still unable to lift my left leg up and do the stretch exercise that the PT was talking about, but I slowly try every day to do a little more, so I'm hoping things will keep progressing for the better! Keep your fingers crossed for me! :) I'm not able to twist, bend, push, or pull more than 5 lbs for the next 6-8 weeks so I have to be really careful in what I'm doing. I'm just looking forward to ALL my swelling going down and getting back to being able to sit in certain positions without worrying "did I do that wrong?" I'll keep y'all updated on how I'm doing and how my first checkup goes (it's just to check the incision). I hope this entry finds you all doing well, and I'll post again soon. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Yes, it's Halloween...but, it's also the day of my microdiscectomy back surgery. Yup, at this time tomorrow I will be recovering in my hospital room, hopefully doped up on some good meds! Haha! I'm just ready to get it done & over with, & get back to "normal." I check in at 11:30am, but my surgery isn't scheduled until 1:30pm, so that 2 hour wait is gonna suck. At least I'll have my husband, Mom, & brother to keep me company. Yeah, my brother is coming up too. I haven't seen him in forever, so that'll be an interesting visit. LOL! They (my Mom & brother) are actually on the drive from Texas to here as I write this. They should be here sometime around 10:30-11pm. I got my shower out of the way & am now resting in bed until they get here. Then I'll probably go sit out on the couch for a little while & visit until everyone's tired. I however, probably won't be able to sleep much. As of midnight tonight, I'm also unable to eat or drink anything. That is going to totally suck, cuz I am going to be starving by the time I get out of surgery. Of course, I'll probably be so doped up & sleepy that I won't notice. At least I hope I will be! LOL! Good news is that I should only have to stay in the hospital for 1 night, as long as everything goes well & my vitals are normal. I've heard that they're going to have me up & walking within hours after the surgery to make sure I can do so before I leave. I'm a little nervous about that, as I don't know how my leg is going to react after being in pain so long. I'm also a little nervous about going under general anesthesia, as I've never been put under before, & I don't know how my mind or body will react to that. I'm hoping everything will go well & there will be no complications. I guess I'll find out tomorrow, huh? Well, I guess that's about it for now. I'll post again when I can! Until then, take care & stay safe! Later gators! *Jolene*

Friday, October 12, 2012

Surgery is set

I'm doing this once again from my phone, as it hurts too much to sit in front of my desktop computer. Please forgive me :-) Well, as you can see from the title of this entry there is no denying it. I am going to have back surgery on the 31st of this month. Yup, on Halloween. How crazy is that? Lol. I went & saw the neurosurgeon who specializes in surgeries of the brain, neck, back, & spine, & he was very straightforward about it. When he showed me the MRI of my now-herniated disc, both my husband & I were shocked by how bad it was. There's definitely no other option for me, but surgery. Luckily, the kind of surgery I'm going to have is very invasive & minimal. It's what they call a micro discectomy, where they cut a small incision in my back & go in with a microscope & other surgical equipment & cut out a small part of the disc that is pressing against my spinal cord & causing me to have the pain in my back & leg. It usually only lasts about an hour (as long as there are no complications) & I should only be in the hospital overnight. However, the recovery time can be up to 8 weeks long, which basically means my holidays are shot to help, as 2 weeks out will bring me to the middle of November and 6 weeks out will bring me to the middle of December. Those are the two points at which I'll go in for check ups, so yeah, it's gonna kind of suck, but I guess if this surgery gives me the relief it's expected to, I'll sacrifice my holidays. LOL. I did go get an epidural steroids injection on Wednesday, which has helped with some of the pain I've been having, but it just really dulled everything to the point that I can get around a little bit more than I did before. I'm not complaining about that, as I figured that is what was going to happen, & hopefully it'll last until my surgery date. Only 19 days & counting...so until next time, I hope y'all are doing okay, & I'll post again soon. Take care & stay safe! Later gators, *Jolene*

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another quick update...

Please forgive me, as I am updating this, using my phone, as I hurt too badly to sit on a hard chair in front of my desktop computer, and I don't have a laptop. I just wanted to let y'all know I'm doing okay, but still suffering from immense pain in my left leg, which still limits what I can do. The good news is in 8 days, I go in for another epidural steroid injection in my back, & I'm hoping & praying that it will help with the pain & I'll get back to somewhat normal. Yes, October 10th can't come quick enough! LOL :) Speaking of, I can't believe it's already October! Where in the world did this year go!? Nah, I'm actually very pleased that it's October & officially Fall. I have many birthdays this month (friends) & my wedding anniversary is later this month, so I'm happy about that. Plus, it's almost Halloween! Now, Halloween isn't my favorite holiday (Christmas is), but I do look forward to seeing all the costumes, decorations, & candy that comes with this holiday! Plus, all the scary movies come out/are shown, so I'll have some fun stuff to scare the living daylights out of me. LOL! Ah yes, the fun of Halloween. Who can resist it? Hehe! :) Well, I think that's going to be it for now, as my phone is acting up & making it difficult to type this entry. I hope all of you lovely people are doing well, & I'll post again soon...oh, sorry if there are any misspelled words in this entry! Again, typing using my phone. Lol. Until next time, take care & stay safe! Later gators, *Jolene*

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick update

Hey everyone! I want to say "hi" to all my new followers and I'm glad you're here!

I just wanted to write a quick update, as I haven't posted in a while. I am still having back & leg problems, which causes me immense pain, and makes it hard to sit at the computer desk (as I don't have a laptop), so I haven't really felt like getting online to post. I'm actually trying to do this pretty quickly as my back is starting to bother me as I sit here now. Anyway, I start physical therapy next week and will go twice a week for the next 3-4 weeks. The therapist believes that I will respond well to therapy, and I'm hoping it'll help! I have been diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal cord, which causes the nerve endings to touch areas that they shouldn't and that in turn causes my pain. I actually have a compression of my L5 & S1 vertebrae so that explains a lot of my symptoms. The therapist is hoping that having me in traction during my appointments will help gently pull open the space where the compression is and allow it to heal normally. I'll keep you all updated! Until next time, I hope you all have a great weekend, and welcome Fall with open arms! :) Take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never forget. Always remember.

Just my own way of remembering all those lost on this day, 11 years ago. R.I.P. all you angels and thank you to all who have fought for our freedom...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Back/leg pain and Thunderstorms!

As some of you may know, I have been suffering from back problems for probably the last 6 months or so. I went to my Dr about 3 months ago, and was diagnosed with a bulging disc in my left lower lumbar region. Oh yeah, I was just thrilled to hear that (notice the sarcasm here). Well, after a dose of pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs that worked but didn't kill the pain, I went and got an epidural steroid shot in my back. That seemed to help immensely. I'd say my pain went from a 11/10 to probably a 1/10 (and no, that 11 is not a typo). At the beginning of August, I fell outside my home on the sidewalk, HARD. I landed on my right knee, and banged my left shin against the step. Yeah, it was bad! My right knee swelled up to probably about the size of a grapefruit, and I had a pretty good sized knot on my left shin. I ended up going to the ER that same night and they told me that I didn't break anything (thank goodness), but had a LOT of soft tissue swelling around my knee-I did not get my left leg looked at, as it didn't hurt as much. Luckily, the swelling on both legs have gone down, but ever since that day, I have had excruciating pain in my lower back & left leg. I literally would have shock waves of pain shooting down my leg to my foot almost 24/7 and I would have a hard time standing up straight, or standing up for long periods of time. I even had trouble walking around, as my left leg would get so weak within probably about 10 minutes, I could barely keep my body weight up. Well, after trying OTC pain meds, with no such luck, and a MAJOR flare up of inflammation this week, I finally went in and saw my Doctor this morning. She has decided to have me try Physical Therapy to see if it'll help with the pain in my leg, and prescribed me some more painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. If the PT doesn't help the problem, then she is going to schedule another MRI on my back to see if maybe I jarred my back enough that the disc has moved some more or if it's pressing up against anything (like my spinal cord). I think I may have a pinched nerve around that area, as the only pain I seem to have is on my left side, so I'm really hoping the PT will work. I have my first appointment on Wednesday morning, and I'm not sure how many times I'm going to see them. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this works! In the meantime, the pain meds and anti-inflammatory meds that the Dr gave me seem to be helping me, as I don't hurt as bad right now, as I did this morning (it was so excruciating, I was literally bawling as I got out of the shower). I'll keep you all updated on how things go.

Not taken here, just a thunderstorm pic I love :)
On another note, today's weather was AWESOME! It basically stormed on and off all afternoon, the wind was blowing like crazy, and the temperature dropped to under 70 degrees, which made me so happy! It really did feel like Fall was here, and I only wish that it would stay like this! Even as I type this, I have my balcony door and bedroom window open, letting the cool, fresh air flow throughout my apartment. I'm totally loving it. Tomorrow it's supposed to be back up in the 80's, and be that way (or in the 90's) for the next week, so sadly I'll have to turn the a/c unit back on, and just anxiously await the time where I can turn the a/c off for good. Hopefully in the next few weeks, it'll start to cool down and actually become Fall weather. Until then, I'll just keep dreaming of that day! :)

Well, I think I'm going to end this here, but I hope you all are doing well, and I hope you all have a great weekend! Take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye August...Hello September

Well, today is the last day of August. I can't believe how fast this year is going by! Before you know it, the holidays will be here, along with the much cooler weather, which I am SO looking forward too! As you all know, Fall/Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and I have been anxious for it to get here. I love all the smells, sights, and sounds of Fall, and right now, I am just wishing our weather would cooperate with my wishes. LOL! It is still pretty hot out right now, and it's going to be in the high 80's to high 90's for the next week. Yeah, the first week of September is mostly going to be in the 90's here in Kansas...that SUCKS! I'm so ready for it to be in the high 60's to low 70's! I'm so tired of these hot, dry temperatures I could literally cry over it. Every night I go to bed, dreaming of the Fall and all the holidays that are coming up, and then I wake up every morning/afternoon & see the freaking hot temperatures! It just totally bums me out. Ugh, why can't Mother Nature cooperate with us? LOL.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Labor day weekend and has some fun. Unfortunately, I have to work Saturday & Sunday, but at least Saturday, I get to spend some time with one of my best friends, after I get off of work. Her birthday is next week, and I won't be able to see her then, as she'll be back home, most likely recovering from getting her wisdom teeth removed, so we are going to get together tomorrow and just hang out and probably walk around Old Town looking at all the shops down there...who knows, maybe we'll come across some frugal finds in our search! :)

Well, I'm going to end this here and go ice my back & leg again, but I just wanted to get my thoughts out of my head to make room for some more that are sure to bound in soon. LOL! Again, I hope you all have a great Labor day weekend, and Goodbye August, Hello September! ;) Take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


P.S. GO BIG RED!!!!!!! (yup, Huskers football officially kicks off tomorrow afternoon!)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Soggy Saturday

 Even though I named this post Soggy Saturday (it's been raining on and off ALL day long), I don't mind it...in fact, I'm LOVING that it's raining! And thundering...and lightening...wait, is that even a word? LOL! Oh well, I just love it all! :) As you know, my favorite kind of weather is cool & damp, just like today. Although, the temperature could cool down a little bit more, but I guess it's still a little too early for that. Haha. I love being able to open my balcony door or my bedroom window, and just listen to the sound of the rain as it splatters against the sidewalk below or patters against the side of the building. I love watching the patterns it makes as it runs down the tree trunks and leaves and splashes into the awaiting pools at the bottom of the gutters. There's just something so soothing about it, and I do my best artistic work when it's raining. By artistic, I mean writing. For some reason, I'm able to write so much better when it's raining out, than when it's sunny and warm. Probably because I don't have as many distractions. I don't know. LOL. Either way, I love it. I also sleep SO much better when it's rainy. I can literally sleep through a thunderstorm. The lightning doesn't bother me & the crashes of thunder don't wake me up, no matter how loud they may be. I guess it's that water aspect about me (my closest friends understand that statement). Days like this are just perfectly wonderful in my eyes and I hope it continues to rain throughout the night and all day tomorrow, like the weatherman was predicting it too...but, you know how accurate those weathermen can be, especially here in Kansas. You know the saying: "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. It'll change!" LOL! ;)

Well, I guess that's about it for now. Just a little blurb of what was going through my brain at the moment. Hehe. So, until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Friday, August 24, 2012

Frugal Fashion Friday-Blue Cold Shoulder Skull Top

A few weeks ago, I came across this top on the DEB shops website (www.debshops.com) & fell in love with it. It's so cute & girly, yet reminds me a little bit of Pirates of the Caribbean (the skull minus the bow). LOL! It's also one of my favorite colors-blue. The pictures of me wearing the shirt show the color much better than the first picture. I don't know what happened there. LOL. I found this top in the clearance section of the website & there were only a few left, but I got a $25 shirt for about $13, so I couldn't complain! :)

Anyway, this top is 95% rayon, and 5% spandex, so it is quite clingy. If you don't like that, this would not be a top for you. I don't usually like clingy tops, but I can overlook that with this one. It is another cold shoulder top (I'm starting to LOVE those kinds of tops) and there are little rhinestones along the skull & bow, so it has a little bit of sparkle to it. It does have short sleeves, and as you can see from the pictures, they hit me just a little above the elbows. This top is more of a dress down piece, so it'd look good with jeans (like I have on in the pics) or maybe a pair of leggings. It's also a very lightweight shirt, so it's a good piece for those hot summer days, but still wearable in the Fall or Winter (just make sure you have a jacket to take along).

This will probably be my last FFF post for a while as I don't have any plans on buying anything new for a while, but I will still continue to post my own rambling thoughts every now and then. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


***I was in no way compensated by DEB shops for this post.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Frugal Fashion Friday-Turquoise Crochet Sleeve Top

My friend Danielle & I found this top at Lane Bryant a few weeks ago. We were going through their clearance rack, and I had actually overlooked the top, but Danielle pulled it out & said I had to try it on. It is a light turquoise color, 3/4 length crochet sleeve top, made up of 79% polyester and 21% rayon. It is a very airy shirt & has lots of room, so it's one of my favorites, as it covers a lot of what I don't want to show. LOL. It has a nice scoop neck to it, and the crochet design on the sleeves is very pretty.

It doesn't make you feel like your shoulders/arms are naked, but still has that air about it. I believe this top was around $30 and if I remember correctly, I got it for around $12. The one I have is a size 14/16, but does come in bigger sizes. It is also machine washable, but I would air dry it, because of the sleeves, as I wouldn't want the crochet design to bunch up, but it's all up to you how you want to take care of it. It's also one you could wear year round, either with jeans or dress it up with slacks or a skirt. It'll definitely be one of my go-to tops. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators!


***I was in no way compensated by Lane Bryant for this post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rainy Tuesday...

I am loving today. Why? Two reasons: 1-my new book & headphones came in the mail today, and 2-it is RAINING! I absolutely LOVE it when it rains! I'm very much a water person, so any kind of water will do for me! Especially when I can open up my sliding glass door & listen to the rain falling outside. I love being able to curl up on the couch with a good book & a cup of tea, which today is perfect for. Rainy days just make me so relaxed, so today is a perfect day in my eyes. I also love standing outside in the rain, feeling it drop on my face & around my feet, and feeling the cool breeze that comes with it. Yes, rainy days are just perfect in my eyes. I can only hope that the rain lasts most of the day, because we definitely need it. Granted, it won't be a drought buster, but it's still nice to see...and hear. So, on this rainy Tuesday, I just want to wish you all well & hope that you have a wonderfully relaxed day, like I plan on having. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Friday, August 10, 2012

Frugal Fashion Fridays-Purple Ladder Sleeve Rouched Side Tunic

I found this top at DEB shops a few weeks ago, on a shopping spree with my best friend, Danielle. This purple ladder sleeve rouched side tunic is made up of 94% rayon, and 6% spandex. The sleeves are basically cut out in a ladder design (hence the name), and it has a nice rouching on the sides of the top, near the bottom.

You could wear this top with jeans or a nice pair of slacks, depending on where you are going. The only issue I've had with it, is trying to find a bra to wear that won't show as badly as the one I have on in the following picture.
You may want to go with a strapless bra, or a bra with clear straps when you wear this. You'll also want it to be of a darker color, as a lighter one may show through the thin material of the top a little bit. It's all up to you. Because of the spandex aspect of this top, it does cling a little bit, but because of the rouching at the bottom, you could wear the top pulled up a little bit around your waist, if you don't like how it's resting on your silhouette. This top is very comfortable & airy, but it's probably best as a spring/summer time top, because of the sleeves. I don't know if I'd wear it in the fall or winter, as my shoulders would probably get pretty cold (even with a jacket on). It's all up to you though. It is machine washable, so you can just throw it in with your regular laundry when it comes time to clean it.

This top was originally around $15.00, but when I bought it, it was on clearance, which brought it down to around $7.50. However, the store was having a half off clearance prices sale, which means I actually got this top for around $3.75! How awesome is that, ladies!? Let's just say it pays to shop clearance sales! Especially when they are as good as this one was! :) Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


***I was in no way compensated by DEB stores for this post.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Football, Fun, & Fall

 Ah yes, football season is just around the corner! As a matter of fact, preseason starts today for most NFL teams, and if you know me, you know I am a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan. I wait, what feels like to me, the excruciating long 6-7 months between the Super Bowl and the first preseason game, only to know that I shall be rewarded immensely once the season begins. I am also a Nebraska Cornhuskers (college) fan, so that just doubles my pleasure! Haha! I have so much fun during football season! Between showing my Packers & Huskers pride, and hearing the roar of the crowd as the teams run out onto the field for the first time, I just can't imagine anything else like it.
 I think that is one reason why Fall is my favorite season of the year. Not only do I get double the football, but I also get to watch the leaves change colors on the trees and begin to fall to the ground, where they crunch pleasantly under my sneaker clad feet. I also enjoy the much cooler weather most of us get, the sound of the chainsaws as people cut up the wood they will store all winter long to light their stoves or fireplaces. I also love the smell of Fall. I know that sounds weird, but Fall just has this distinct smell about it. The wood burning stoves that people are starting to fire up because of the cooler nights, the bonfires people are having as the last signs of Summer drift by on the cool brush of a breeze across your face, the musky smell of the trees and grass as they transition in preparation for the cold weather to come...I also love that first light freeze on the ground, signaling that Fall has definitely arrived. I love pulling out my sweaters and sweatshirts that I have stored in the back of my closet, and pulling out my jackets/coats again. I love being able to wear a hoodie & jeans almost everywhere I go.
Me in my Huskers hoodie, last Fall
I love being able to sit with my balcony door open & letting the cool breeze float in through the screen door, while I curl up under my afghan with a warm cup of tea & a good book. I also enjoy the Fall holidays-Halloween & Thanksgiving. The decorations, the costumes, the family gatherings. The music even tends to change a little bit, if that makes any sense. Granted, Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday of the year, but there's just something about Halloween & Thanksgiving that really makes it feel like Fall. There is also just something about Fall itself that puts a huge smile on my face, and I look forward to it every year...


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spirit Animal/Kinship with Dolphins & The Cove

In many cultures, there is such a thing as a "spirit animal." You may not believe in it, but I certainly do. I also have many friends that have their own spirit animals that they feel an immense kinship with. For me, it is dolphins. Yes, I believe with & feel deep down in all of my heart that my spirit animal is a dolphin. Ever since I was very little, I have loved these amazing, beautiful creatures of the sea. I even collect dolphin figurines & stuffed animals, and have a dolphin tattoo on my right arm. My most favorite thing about the dolphin? The looks on their faces, due to the "smile" of their mouthline. Also, if you look closely into their eyes, you can see what they are feeling. Whether they are happy, sad, scared, etc. I love all kinds of dolphins, but I'd say my favorite is probably the bottlenose dolphin. There's just something about them that draw me in!
Seriously, how cute is that!?

Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals, and there are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 different genera. They are social animals, living in pods of up to a dozen individuals, and can talk to each other, using a variety of clicks and whistle-like sounds. They can form strong bonds with the others in their pods, yet, they can also be interchangeable. They also love to play, enjoying riding waves, and playing with seaweed & play fighting with other dolphins. Dolphins occasionally leap above the water surface, and sometimes perform acrobatic figures, but we're not exactly sure why they do that. Possibilities include locating schools of fish by looking at above-water signs like feeding birds, communicating with other dolphins, or dislodging parasites on their skin.

As much as dolphins are beautiful to look at & enjoy, they are also threatened by humans. Dolphins don't have very many natural enemies, but humans tend to be their largest. Pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, and other industrial/agricultural pollutants that do not rapidly disintegrate in the environment are problems. Also common are injuries or deaths due to collisions with boats, especially their propellers. There is also the practice of over fishing that immensely diminishes their numbers, as well as harpoon & dolphin hunts. One of these, the Taiji dolphin hunt in Japan, is one of the worst that I have ever heard of/seen. They literally force pods of dolphins into this hidden cove and SLAUGHTER thousands of them, and then sell their meat for food in Japan and other parts of Asia. For someone with a kinship to these wonderful creatures, it was VERY hard for me to watch the movie "The Cove," which brings this practice to light. This synopsis of the movie, taken from their website, http://www.thecovemovie.com, says: Academy Award® Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, THE COVE follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

Now, I have watched "The Cove," and let me tell you, it took everything I had to get through this movie. Within the first 10 minutes of the film, I was crying, which continued throughout the movie, and at the worst part in the movie, I literally had a panic attack, and had to pause the film, in order to compose myself so I could watch the rest of it. Yes, I felt like I was right there with those dolphins, hearing the cries of those helpless animals, and not being able to do anything to stop it. This film is very educational, and immediately after it finished (and I was able to move about without crying), I went online to http://www.takepart.com/cove and signed up to help spread the word on how to STOP this awful practice & also put in a donation to help. That was the most that I felt I could do, since I couldn't actually travel to Japan and try to stop it there. Also, as much as I'd like to go there, I have sworn off the dolphin shows at SeaWorld. I can't imagine seeing my kin cooped up in those pools, and doing tricks for the amusement of thousands.

Now, if you would like to donate to the cause or even just look into this for yourself, you can go to the above website & get information. Also, if you don't feel like you can make a donation through them, you could go to a friend of mine's website https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shades-of-Grey-Emporium/263590207026366, where she is making two different kinds of dolphin plush, and in her own words: Starting today, every plush Dolphin you buy, 10% of the proceeds will go to Save Japan Dolphins. Since they cost $10 plus shipping, $1 from each plush will go to help end the slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji. The dolphin plush are very cute & well made (I have one myself) and I would highly recommend them to anyone that loves dolphins as much as I do!
One of the plush dolphins she makes!

Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators,


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Friendship Care Package

So, Monday wasn't a great day. I wasn't feeling too well, was really sleepy (I don't know why), and I was really anxious for the mail to come, which didn't show up until almost 5:00pm! Then, coming back from checking the mail, I ended up falling, ripping one of my favorite pairs of khakis, & injuring my left shin & my right knee, which swelled up to twice it's size & is scraped to hell from hitting the sidewalk (I completely tore the skin off my knee in places). Let's just say, I will never again try to jump over a puddle wearing flip flops. LOL!

Anyway, after slowly making it back to my apartment & cleaning my wounds & icing both my leg & knee, I pulled a good sized box towards me, which I knew was what I was waiting for: a wonderful friendship care package, put together by my bestie, Danielle. It contained numerous items, most of which she made herself (there were only 2 that I know of that she didn't make herself), and I am going to share photos of that care package with all of you. To start it off, when I opened the box, this is what greeted me on the inside lid of the box:
That immediately put a smile on my face, and after a minute, I proceeded to move the bubble wrap (which I could use to protect my injured knee-LOL), and this is what I saw:
Inside that lovely card was a message, along with these:
Those are little "inspirational" cards that Danielle made for me for when I'm feeling down or alone, and I can tell you that they were exactly what I needed yesterday. After reading the cards & smiling like crazy, I put them to the side & moved the packing tissue out of the way and this is what I saw underneath:
Oh yes! Lots of goodies for me to look at! I started to take them out one by one, and this is what I received:
A lovely lace, pearl, & faux diamond headband w/ elastic
A handmade, felt dolphin, whom I have named Maritza (German name meaning "friend of the sea)

Organic soap. Smells lovely! I can't wait to try it out!

Dangle earrings w/ little blue beads inside the balls (I also got extra beads in case I lose the others)

Lovely handmade pink bow w/ clip
After finding all of those wonderful gifts, I opened up the last package in the box & this is what greeted me (this just happens to be my most favorite present of all):
Silver chain necklace w/ a "mermaid's tear" pendant. Or is it celtic sea glass? I'm not sure. Either way, I love it!

Better pic of the pendant

Without the flash from my camera
Needless to say, Danielle did a GREAT job with this friendship care package & I will cherish everything she made for me always! :) Love you girl!!


P.S. You can check out Danielle's blog at: http://justanotherstaticheart.blogspot.com/ where you can also find the links to her other blogs & items she makes!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Frugal Fashion Fridays-Pink Cold Shoulder Top

Since I don't get out much & do a lot of shopping, I am stretching out my frugal finds from 2 weeks ago over the next couple of weeks. This episode of Frugal Fashion Friday will consist of another top (above) that I found while out shopping at the mall with my friend Danielle.

This pink cold shoulder top is so cute (Danielle even picked up the same top in turquoise) & so comfortable! It is made up of 96% rayon and 4% spandex, and has decoration along the v-neck. It is a very light top & great to wear out on these hot hot hot Kansas summer days. It has a drape quality about the top, which is great to hide those areas that you might not like so much (which is great for plus size gals like myself), yet it isn't so huge that you feel like you could fly away in it. LOL! The sleeves end right above my elbows, and the elastic band on the bottom of the sleeves is not too tight, nor too loose. The very bottom of the top has a nice thick (length) band around it, so that it fits snuggly around your lower waist. The top part, around the v-neck, does cling a little bit though, so if you are a larger busted woman (like myself), your girls will definitely stand out...which isn't always a bad thing. LOL! ;) This top would look great with jeans, shorts, or even slacks or a skirt for a night out on the town.
I have it pulled down quite a bit, but you don't have to wear it that low

Sorry for the extreme closeup. Was the only way I could get the v-neck design to show up. LOL
Danielle & I found this top at a shop called DEB, which is a store in the mall that sells junior miss & plus size clothing. This top was on clearance for half of the original price, but what was even better was that it was also on sale for HALF OFF THE CLEARANCE PRICE!! I think the clearance price was around $10, so yeah, this top only cost me like $5!! You can also find it online at http://www.debshops.com, where they still have some clearance items on sale, along with having online only specials, so if you can't always get to the mall, or don't like to fight the crowds, you can still find some good deals in the privacy of your own home! :)

That's it for this week, but I will end this with pictures of what's to come over the next few weeks. Until next time, take care & stay safe!

Later gators!


**I was in no way compensated by DEB shops for this post.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Handwritten Letters...

Today, as I was browsing in Barnes & Noble, I came across their "gift" section, which included some very beautiful stationary kits. That got me to wondering. Whatever happened to the art of a nice, handwritten letter? I remember, "back in the day," how the only way to get a hold of someone was either by calling on the land line telephone, or sitting down to write a nice, long, thoughtful letter to that person. I used to do that all the time with my friends, even those ones that only lived a few minutes from me! There was just something about giving, and receiving, a handwritten letter that said, "hi, I was thinking of you, and thought I'd send you this" that put a smile on your face, and that warm feeling in your heart. Now, that may sound mushy, but I know I definitely liked to receive letters from my friends. It showed that they cared to sit down & take the time to write it out, instead of hopping on the computer and sending a quick email. Yes, I am quite guilty of doing that, as I do know it's faster & easier, but I'm thinking of changing that, in my life anyway. Oh sure, I'll still write the occasional email, especially if I want answers to something quickly, but I think, if I want to tell someone about my day, or week, I'm going to sit down, pull out that pen & paper, and actually write someone a letter...who knows, maybe I'll put that smile on someone else's face and brighten up their day, just as I remember how mine used to...


Friday, July 27, 2012

(in coordinance with Just Another Static Heart)

So, last week, one of my best friends, Danielle, & I went to the mall in the town I live in, and we had a BLAST! We actually ended up going twice in one week, if that tells you anything! Haha! We had so much fun and found so many great bargains! I was so excited, as I found 4 new tops for myself at cheap to semi-cheap prices! You see, being a plus size & well endowed girl, it is hard to find shirts that fit, especially around the girls if you know what I mean. I usually end up just going to the mens section at stores & buy shirts from there, as they are big enough to fit over my chest and stomach, as well as being made a bit better. I guess they do that because they figure men are harder on their shirts or something. I don't know. But, I digress. So, my friend & I went to the mall, and the first place we stopped at was Lane Bryant. Now, Lane Bryant is made for plus size women, however, they can be quite expensive, and I don't usually have that much money to spend there. However, we got lucky! At that time, they were having a clearance sale (matter of fact, the WHOLE mall seemed to be having one), which was the reason it caught my eye, so naturally, I start browsing the racks. While I'm off on one side of the store, Danielle is on the other, and all of a sudden, I hear her call out my name. I walk over to where she is and she has found this most beautiful, one shoulder top. Now, if you know me, you know I don't usually wear stuff like that, but for some reason, this top just screamed TAKE ME!!! Of course, I'm thinking, "Oh, it's not going to look good on me," but Dani absolutely insisted I try it on. So, rolling my eyes, I take the top into the dressing room & proceed to try it on. Oh my goodness. I LOVED IT! I could not believe how great it looked, and felt, on me! I went out to show Dani & the look on her face said exactly what I was hoping for. I looked FABULOUS! I couldn't stop staring at myself in the mirror! Haha! Here is a picture of the top on myself, once I was at home:

This top is amazingly comfortable and beautiful at the same time (the above picture doesn't do it justice, as the color is a little muted). I'll add more pictures of the top on myself later on in this post, which actually shows the color better. The top is made up a very flowy/airy fabric (95% rayon, 5% spandex), yet it clings in just the right places. I love the way it drapes down in the front, kind of in a sweetheart neckline fashion, and the chain detail is not heavy at all, which surprised me the most, as I thought it was going to be uncomfortable resting on my shoulder. I honestly forget it's even there when I'm wearing this top! LOL! The chain detail is one of my favorite parts of this top, and even if you have to wear a bra with straps, you don't really notice it under the chain (as long as it's a dark color). The bottom of this top hits me just below my "pooch" (as I call it), which would be just below my waist, I guess. You'll see in the picture what I mean. LOL. Now, it may hit differently on other women though, as I am 5' 7" tall, so it all depends on how long your torso is. Also, if you have a bit of a tummy, like I do, this top may fit you differently. Luckily for me, the top hides most of the roundness of my stomach, but still drapes the way I expect it too (the top is a size 22/24). The little cap sleeve on the opposite arm is very nice too, so you don't feel like you're completely naked on the shoulders. It's not tight either, it's still just as flowy as the rest of the top. And I have to say, even though I'm not a huge fan of the color purple, I love the color of this top! It's not too dark, but it's not too light either! Kind of a violetish color. :) This is also a great piece to have in your wardrobe, as you can pair it with jeans & sneakers for a comfortable, every day look, or you can snaz it up with a pair of slacks, or skirt, & heels for a night out on the town!

So, after admiring myself in the mirror & getting compliments from Danielle about how I looked in the top, I went back into the dressing room to take the top off, which is where I caught a glimpse of the price tag. I about died...the price was $44.95. I wanted to cry as I put the top back on the hangar. I loved it so much, but couldn't fathom spending almost $50 on ONE top. I walked out of the dressing room with a sad look on my face, ready to put it back on the rack, when a sales lady walked by & overheard the conversation I was having with Danielle about how much I loved the top, but couldn't spend that much money on it. That is when I got the surprise. The sales lady said that they were having a special at that time, that if I "liked" Lane Bryant on Facebook, and showed them proof of it, that I would get 30% off my purchase price. Oh, how I could NOT pass that up! So I immediately pulled out my smartphone, got on Facebook, went over to the Lane Bryant page, and "liked" them. Then, I went up to the checkout counter with the top & Dani in tow, & explained to the sales girl behind the counter, about what the other lady had said, and sure enough, all I had to do was SHOW her that I had liked the company on Facebook, and BAM! I got the 30% discount!! :) So, a $45 top went down to $31. After taxes and everything else, I only spent $33. How great is that!? I couldn't have been more happy! I even had the gal at the counter cut off the price tag, so I could wear the top out of the store, I was so excited, and I couldn't thank Danielle enough for calling me over when she found the top. We continued on throughout the mall, and found many more bargains, but I'm going to leave those for my next Frugal Fashion Friday post! :) So, until next time, I'll leave you with this: it never hurts to bargain shop, and if you think something is a bit pricey, don't give up. You never know what (or who) may be waiting just around the corner! :) Until next time, take care & stay safe! :)

Later gators!


P.S. Here are pictures of what's to come...

**I was in no way compensated by Lane Bryant or Facebook for this post.