Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Keep Pounding



It’s Super Bowl week!!!!  I’m super excited for one reason… my Carolina Panthers are not only going to play in Super Bowl 50 but they are going to WIN!!!



I’ve been a Panther fan since their inception in 1995 and we’ve made it to the Super Bowl before but win we did not.  And I know that Cam and all the boys are gonna kill it because this is our season to go all the way!





I had a rough day/week last week and I had popped on YouTube once I got home and for some reason it was suggesting this hype video for the Panthers.  It was on my home page and I found it rather odd that it suggested a football video to me, since I don’t watch them.  So I called my son over to watch the video with me.


As we’re watching I am really listening to the words and it was speaking to me.  I just could not get out of my thoughts last week and when I watched the video I was encouraged and fired up!


Why?



Because no matter what life throws at me… I Keep Pounding.



When life flips on me… I Keep Pounding.



When the voice in my head says “you’re never going to make it”… I Keep Pounding.



When my car is acting up… I Keep Pounding.


When I’m feeling like, what’s the point?... I Keep Pounding.


No matter what I Keep Pounding.



I have to remember that whatever is thrown at me, I am capable of handling it.  I am built for this.  And whatever I’m going through now is preparing me for something in my future.  I don’t let that scare me, I let it motivate me.  I know that in the future, the day will come where I’ll look back on times like this and I’ll see how far I’ve come and I’ll be grateful for each and every circumstance I encountered.



I resolve to Keep Pounding.  When I fall down (listening to that negative, crappy voice) I don’t stay there, I get right back up and continue along the way.



No matter what… KEEP POUNDING!!!



I truly appreciate how the Universe put that video right in my face at a time that I needed to see it and ironically at a time that I wouldn’t normally be on my computer…so thankful!



If you don’t follow football, let me say that my Carolina Panthers have had their share of ups and downs.  I love and respect the way I’ve seen this team come together and support each other and how they play the game…it’s just great to see.  To see us year after year, improving, steadily and this year was the year we exploded!!!  I mean, week after week of wins and records being crushed…a near perfect season and now we’re days away from the biggest victory to be won…I’m a super excited Carolina Panthers fan to say the very least!  : )



Whatever you do…don’t give the voice in your head the time of day if it’s saying anything that doesn’t serve you.  #KeepPounding


keep pounding super bowl 50 carolina panthers





Go Panthers!!!





Monday, January 18, 2016

Erin Condren Life Planner Wishlist



January is a month to get back on track, in many ways, but particularly financially.  If you already know, it was a rough holiday season.  I know 2016 is going to be an awesome year, but temporarily it’s a time to be financially mindful.  That means, no unnecessary spending.



It doesn’t help that when you’re trying not to spend your money, that’s when everything is luring you to pull out that credit card.  I am strong enough to abstain from indulging, but I do like to look : )  When I window shop I get great ideas for what I may want and I find that if it’s something I want bad enough, I’ll usually be able to get it…even if I have to wait a little while.



I’m adding a lot of goodies to my Erin Condren wish list.  If you’re not already aware, I have an Erin Condren Life Planner and I love it.  Not only does it keep me organized, it also serves as a creative outlet for me.  She just keeps sucking me in.  I have it bad!!



I typically wouldn’t change my covers, but she has so many beautiful covers and I figured, why not change them during special holidays?  And what’s not to love about this pretty follow your heart cover?





As if I don’t already have a sticker obsession issue on Etsy, here goes Erin Condren with some of her own cute planner stickers!






The stylized sticky notes I’m already in love with!!! I love that they snap right into the planner coils!!!










I love Erin Condren and I can’t wait to get my hands on all of these goodies!!!  I like that she has a rewards program and gives coupons for being a frequent shopper!  I’m looking forward to my first code that I believe comes after my 5th order.  My next order will be my 3rd.  I’m not obsessed or anything.  I’m not in any facebook groups or anything.  Ha!!!



If you’re interested in an Erin Condren planner or to see any of the cool things she has, check it out HERE and earn $10 off your first purchase!!!






*affiliate links 

*all pics are from ErinCondren.com






Sunday, January 17, 2016

Join Ibotta | Get $10 Welcome Bonus


savings apps
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I have a few savings apps on my phone and my favorite one is Ibotta.  I’ve shared it a few times before on the blog; I did an overview of my fave savings apps and I’ve shared how it’s a great way to save money for the holidays.




Today I wanted to share this limited time offer if you’re not already on Ibotta.  If you join today using my link you will get a Welcome Bonus of $10 after you redeem your first rebate!!!  You must redeem your first rebate within the first 30 days in order to get your bonus.  Once you redeem it within 24 hours (usually within a couple of hours) you will see your $10 bonus.  Also, you must be a brand new Ibotta user in order to get the bonus, so if you’re just switching phones, unfortunately that won’t work.




I think this is a pretty awesome deal!!!  I sure didn’t get $10 when I joined! Haha




If saving money is important to you, I encourage you to download Ibotta and you will thank me for it!  And if for some reason you don’t like it, delete it off your phone and no harm, no foul right?  : )




Click HERE in order to get your $10!!!  (downloading without the link doesn’t earn you the bonus)





Happy Savings!!!!  




*affiliate links

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy 2016!!!


Happy 2016 everyone!!!  I’m really excited for this year!  There’s an energy inside me that’s just buzzing at all of the wonderful things I know are coming for me and my family this year.



On New Year’s Eve we went to Watch Night service.  If you’re not familiar, it’s when you go to church on New Year’s Eve and thank and praise and worship God for bringing you through the year and praising your way into the New Year.  When I was a kid I had to go and I enjoyed it but as a young adult I stopped going.  I didn’t go to the club or anything either, but I just preferred to be at home.  My church offers two services for New Year’s Eve; 6:00 and 10:30 and I elected to go to the early one after work.


I really got an encouraging Word and confirmation on where I’m at in my life and having the confidence that we will win in 2016!!!  This was the first year we let the kids stay up.  That may be shocking to some but to me I’m a stickler for routine and usually will only vary off of the regular bedtime up to an hour at most.  We let the kids camp out up front and when it was time we counted down, toasted our glasses, hugged and kissed and screamed and shouted ringing in 2016!!!  It was really fun and I think our new family tradition!  : )


2015 will always be remembered as the year Crystal died.  It’s still hard.  Thanksgiving and Christmas was hard.  She was supposed to be there.  The other day at the sandwich shop I passed a woman whose shampoo smelled like hers and it hit me.  Life can change in an instant and quite frankly I’m tired of living life the way I have.  I am intentionally going to enjoy my everyday life.  I have a lot that I want to accomplish this year and I am motivated and ready to get what I want.



Here’s to an awesome year!!!





Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015



I’ve debated back and forth whether or not to do a blog post about Christmas this year.  Then I was reminded by my facebook memories that I did last year and for me personally, I like the look back.  As long as I get it up by New Year’s anyway.


I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas this year!!




For me it was our first Christmas without Crystal.  Overall, I kept it together, but it was really hard on my brother, understandably so.  Crystal is the one who did all the Christmas shopping and decorating and all of that so he’s been pretty lost without her.  I continue to pray for him and I ask you to do the same.


Usually we do Christmas morning at home, then go to my in laws then go to my Moms.  This year my Mom wanted to do Christmas Eve and it worked out great.  When my brother and nephew first arrived, you could just feel the heaviness of the energy.  He just kept saying “she’s supposed to be here” over and over and I felt myself about to succumb to the tears too.  I said a silent prayer and pushed back the tears because that’s not what I wanted this day to be.  My Mom had come up with a few rounds of the “Left-Right game”.  None of us had ever heard of or played it before and it turned out to be a riot!  It was just what we needed to stop being sad and start laughing and smiling!!  I am so grateful for that experience!!!  I was even inspired to create a Pinterest board for my future holiday parties, because this game is a MUST!!!


Before Christmas I was really stressed.  Because we went to Charlotte before Black Friday, and my job was cutting back overtime, it was really beginning to weigh on me just how was I going to pull Christmas off this year.  DH was getting a bonus which I knew would help but it just wasn’t coming fast enough and I was beginning to lose my cool.  I decided that there was just no way I was going to get it all done on a weekend, so I took the Friday before Christmas as a half day.  The plan was to get a lot of shopping done that day and the weekend and I’d pull off a Christmas miracle!!!


Instead what happened was (it’s never good when it starts off with that statement), when I was skipping to my car with glee around noon on Friday, my car wouldn’t start.  I’m growing because I didn’t cry or spazz, I just calmly texted DH to have him come get me.  My weekend plans of shopping were now ruined and how much is this going to cost was becoming the big question.  We hoped it was the battery.  Nope.  Of course it wouldn’t be something that easy.  AutoZone suggested it may be the alternator.  So I had it towed to the auto shop that I work with and was hit with the devastating news… it’s the starter.  Wanna know how much that set me back?  $350.

Yes, I know, my thoughts exactly.


I was devastated and at this point is when I started to break down.


At this point in my life I really should be used to things like this.  So maybe that’s why they don’t phase me immediately anymore.  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that, everything will work out.  And that you grow during the tough times.  And that right before the breakthrough, comes all of the turmoil.  So I’m looking at it from that point of view.  Greater is coming!!!



So outside of that…we still managed to have a good Christmas.  Sure I couldn’t get the kids everything I wanted or they wanted and I couldn’t really get anything for DH the way I wanted to.  I still got him things and the kids really enjoyed everything they got.  It was an all toys Christmas and they were happy.  And although I would’ve loved to receive great things under the tree… greater is coming.  And I guess my gift is the starter that DH had to pay since I was broker than a joker.


We celebrated Jesus and being together with family and I really couldn’t ask for much more than that. 


As a side note…. It’s been years since I’ve wanted my DSLR and it hurt my soul so bad for it to be a TSV on QVC that Saturday after my car mishap, before we knew what was wrong and how much it would cost.  They enticed me with Easy Pay and free shipping and the promise of arriving before Christmas…but because I didn’t know what the future held for my car, I had to be an adult.  As we all know, sometimes being an adult effin sux.  So maybe in 2016…here’s hoping.



I’m grateful for the things money can’t buy this year but I will do everything in my power to make next Christmas amazing!!


I hope you had a great Christmas!!!!




Saturday, December 12, 2015

It’s a Wonderful Life



Only my second all-time favorite movie.


And a Christmas Classic.


And a tradition in my life for as long as I can remember.


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When I still lived at home with my parents, I had it on VHS.  Shocking I know.  I never bought it on dvd for some reason.  When it came on tv this year I set the DVR to record because this was going to be the year I introduced it to my daughter.  I told her once you’re a few minutes into it, you don’t even notice it’s in black and white.  Sure I know they made it into color, but it’s not the same.  It’s better in black and white in my opinion.



We watched it over a few days’ time due to practices and pesky things like school for her and work for me.  We finished it up last night and at the end I asked her what did she get out of the movie?  Her response… that our lives impact so many others so we should be grateful for what we have.  Yep that about explains it!



But as an adult who has seen the movie well over 100 times who now watches it with a spiritual lens so to speak, I see so much more in the movie and I felt it would be nice to share these thoughts.



For starters, I was bawling my eyes out in the first moments after the opening credits.  I knew the people of Bedford Falls were praying to God before, but it hit me for real this time, like oh my gosh, all of these people praying to God to help George!  It made my heart so full!!! And it came out of my eyes in the form of tears!  God is so good!!!




I cried so much this time watching because I really saw myself in George Bailey.  George wanted so much for himself.  He had such big dreams and goals and aspirations and as his dreams were being crushed I realized that that is exactly how I feel in my own life.  And I remind myself that God’s plans for my life are way bigger than I can even begin to imagine and it hurts when you don’t get some of your hearts desires, but when you look back you realize that God knew exactly what He was doing! 



It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of life, especially if life has flipped on you.  When you’re down to absolutely nothing… and you feel like you have nothing left…my God!!!  But you do!!!  That’s nothing but the enemy convincing you to throw it all away.  Of course! Because then he wins.  But you, just like me, and George Bailey we are all overcomers!! And when George had his second chance at life and saw life through a different lens, he then loved and cherished everything he cursed!  Not only was he then the richest man in Bedford Falls monetarily, but he realized he was rich in love, family and friendship.  I never noticed that as soon as he came in the house after his second chance that he praised God with a Hallelujah!!!  That touched me so!  He said he wasn’t a praying man and a man of faith, but funny how he knew to pray and he knew to praise!



Pray and praise.  That’s really it right there guys.  Pray to God, He wants to hear from you.  Yesterday this scripture screamed at me and I received it.



Matthew 7:7-8  Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (NLT)



I was sitting at my desk at work and I just started to cry because God answered my prayer by directing me to that scripture and I won’t go into all of it, but it encouraged me and then noticing that in the movie after reading the scripture… it just all came together for me.


And then praise…well the bible says we are to give thanks in everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  To give thanks is to give praise.  In EVERYTHING.  That means the good, the bad, whether happy or sad, to thank Him.

{source}

So yes, some of my dreams haven’t been fulfilled and I don’t have all that I want to have but I know that I have a wonderful life.  My prayer is “Lord please help me to see with your eyes.  Help me to see past myself and see the good.  Help me to be a blessing to others.  Help me to not complain, because I know that when I complain I am complaining against you and I know that you are blessing me.  Forgive me Father.”  Sometimes you just have to take inventory.  When I take inventory I realize that I am truly blessed.  And you will find that you are too.  We’re blessed in different ways and as I walk through this test, I am praising my way through it.  A lot of tears shed, but not all sad tears.  It’s far too easy to fall into a slump or depression this time of year and my prayer for you is that you are able to focus on something good, no matter how small.



My last point that I wanted to share is that Mr. Potter symbolizes the devil.  The devil has one job and one job only and that is to kill, steal and destroy.  What is he trying to kill?  You!!  He’s trying to destroy you!  And he wants to take everything you have from you…joy, peace, a sane mind, you name it, he wants it.  You have a marriage?  He wants to destroy it.  You have a family?  He wants to kill the family unit, he wants to cause rifts and separate you from each other.  And we as humans, have moments of weakness where we may entertain the notions of the devil… George went to Potter for help and then realized he just could not allow himself to make a deal with the devil.  He was willing to accept whatever fate was in his future.



I’m not trying to preach to you, but to encourage you… you don’t have to be a Christian to read my blog, but I am a Christian and because I watched this movie and was so moved, I can’t not share it in the way that I see it.  Jesus is the reason we celebrate the holidays and I would be remiss to not invite you to get to know Jesus on a personal level.  If you are in a place in your life where you feel you have nowhere to turn or you are alone, know that you are not.  You can turn to Jesus.  If you are in that place and you want someone to talk to or to pray for you, send me an email and I’d be glad to!!



Think about what you do have and focus on that… it makes such a difference I promise you!


Oh and if you haven’t seen this movie, please do yourself and me a favor and do!!! It comes on so much during the holidays but you can find it just about anywhere.  It’s so worth it! : )




Sunday, December 6, 2015

Our First Carolina Panthers Game!!!



Happy Holidays everyone!!!



Did you break the bank doing Black Friday Shopping?  Small Business Saturday shopping?  Cyber Monday shopping?  Giving Tuesday?  Cyber Week shopping?




Well I didn’t participate in any of the above…with the exception of buying a couple of dvd’s for the kids from Walmart.com I didn’t throw my hat in the ring this year for Black Friday.




Why?  Because the weekend before we were in Charlotte for the Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins game where the Panthers won and went 10-0!!!  Now it’s after Thanksgiving, which means the Panthers are 11-0 after beating the Dallas Cowgirls Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.  If you didn’t already know…I’m a Carolina Panthers fan and have been since they became a team and this is our year we’re going to the Super Bowl!!!



So when you know that you’re going to be travelling the weekend before, you accept the fact that there will be no Black Friday shopping for you in 2015.  And that’s okay.  To be honest, there wasn’t much on my list for big ticket items this year, but I did want to be able to gift myself the Canon T5 DSLR that was on sale at all the stores and on QVC.  Another deal at another time I kept telling myself.




We had a lot of fun in Charlotte.  It was the kids first time going to the city and it was all of our first NFL football game.  It was mind blowing and surreal to say the least.  Like I know I was there but it feels like a dream… a very cold, chilly dream…but a really good dream.  And with every time my husband and I visit Charlotte, we always come away feeling like we belong there.  We must go in the Spring!  Each time we’ve gone before it was cold.  And now that we’ve been bitten by the NFL game bug…we must make this a regular occurrence!!





 Next time I want to be at least a section lower...







 The ECU Marching Pirates performed at halftime!

 That's my Alma Mater if you didn't know : )


I scoped the halftime show as well as the entrance of the players over on Periscope.  I'm @Aria82 pretty much everywhere that I am on social media so when I do get the whim, follow me on Periscope!  I'm also on #Katch which allows you to watch anything I've ever scoped, except my first one, any time you want.






 Hubs and I after the win!!!




 We stayed at the DoubleTree in Uptown Charlotte.  It was nice.


 Our view from the hotel...that's the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.  Oh how I am so looking forward to my DSLR...




 This is Brianna at the American Girl Store.



 Check out my restaurant!!! lol



Until next time Charlotte!!!



Oh and since I’m a major procrastinator…as of the posting of this post on Sunday night…the Carolina Panthers are now 12-0 baby!!!! #KeepPounding #PantherNation  : )




Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Birthday Treats




I’ve downplayed my birthday since my son was born.  I mean, when his is the day after mine, it’s something that I’ve accepted.  But this year I feel differently.  I’m doing some things for me and I don’t feel bad about it at all.  I’ve been buying gifts for myself since late October and I wanted to share them all with you.


                               
The first gift I got myself were these awesome kitchen utensils from my dear friend Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman.  When her Pioneer Woman line came out at Walmart I quickly made myself a wishlist online of all the items I wanted to get.  I’ve been in both of the Walmart’s that carry her line locally and never saw these items I picked up.  So when I did see them, I had to have them then!



I have wanted both the slotted turner and the chopping knife since forever because she uses them all of the time on her show and on her blog.  I am so happy that these are not only in my collection, but they were the first items of my collection!




As an added bonus, my Mom had asked me what I wanted for my birthday prior to me getting these items and I told her I wanted something from the Pioneer Woman line.  Of course I couldn’t pick just one thing, so I emailed her my list from Walmart.com so she could choose.  I’d be happy with anything, and this is what I got!



She was trying to get me the cast iron grill pan and couldn’t find it so she got me this cast iron skillet and wooden turner.  I already have a cast iron pan but I say you can’t have too many!  So I’m going to keep it. : )  It even comes with a few recipes included!




A couple of weeks before my birthday Erin Condren was having their Friends & Family sale offering 25% off everything.  I decided it was the perfect time to order my 2016 life planner.  I wanted to be sure I got it before the holidays come and I forget and start the New Year without it.  Unfortunately they don’t allow me to stack coupon codes, but I did do well with the combination of the sale and money earned from my savings apps in my paypal account.  So it didn’t feel like a big purchase after it was all said and done.  As an added bonus, I received it really close to my actual birthday!





Isn’t she pretty???  I know, I love her too!




Blogs by Aria


Oh and I can’t leave out these yummy Cake Parts from a local bakery called Your Perfect Cake.  I’ve had her cupcakes before and they are absolutely delicious!!  My co-worker was telling me the week before my birthday about these cake parts.  Basically, in the mornings when they are baking the cakes and they cut out the layers they need, all of the scraps aka parts, are put into bags and sold by the pound.  Totally perfect for me because I always wipe off the icing when I eat cake.  It took me three days to eat the whole bag and it was worth every single calorie it was soooo good. : )




I have so much to be thankful and grateful for this birthday and I’m choosing to celebrate myself and all the great blessings I have from now on.  33 is an amazing age (I love the number 3) and I am really excited for all that is on it’s way to me!!!  Be blessed!!!






Monday, November 2, 2015

Size 12



I’ve been in denial for about a year now about my weight.  As hard as I worked to get it off of me, you would think that as it began to creep back on that I would have nipped it in the bud and would be as happy as a clam.


You’d be wrong.  Very wrong.


Instead I have lamented the extra pounds each time I needed to get dressed.


Each time that I put my jeans on and they left me with no breathing room.


Each time that my roomy “fat pants” became my “go-to” pants.


Each time that I realized I don’t have enough clothes to make it through my work week because I can no longer fit my clothes.


Each time that I thought, it would be so  much easier to just buy maternity pants.


Each time I cursed myself under my breath because clearly me and my laziness has allowed all of this poundage to come back.  As if that’s where I want to be right now.


So after days, weeks, and months of feeling like this… I decided that I had to buy some pants.


On my lunch break the other day, I ventured over to Burlington Coat Factory because clearly I don’t want to buy expensive pants, I just need something for the moment and if I can get a nice pair of pants for under $20 I’d be satisfied.



To be honest I need a full wardrobe.  Everything from shoes to pants to jeans to shirts to dresses to handbags to accessories to underclothes… I need it all right now.  But I really just needed to be practical and get a pair of pants and maybe a sweater since it’s starting to turn cold.



It’s very rare for me to try on clothes in store and this was no exception.  I found a sweater that was a Junior’s size Large and I found a pair of cute dark gray slacks in size 12.  I held them up to eyeball the fit.



These better work I thought to myself as I purchased them and headed back to work.



When I got home I tried on the sweater and it fits more like a dress…but it’s bigger on me than I expected which was a good boost for the ego.  It would probably go great with leggings or skinny jeans with a nice tall boot.


I actually didn’t try on the pants until the next morning when I was getting ready for work.  They fit me perfectly!!!  I was so happy!  I was able to delight in that moment.



Here’s why…


You know how if you’ve ever lost a good amount of weight you have a weight that you refuse to let yourself go back to?  Sometimes it can be a clothing size… well for me the weight is 200lbs and the size is 14.  I stepped on the scale a couple of months back and was devastated when it had me at around 192 when I had been holding steady all year around 185.  I haven’t stepped back on it since.  I have no size 14 clothing to wear so we’re definitely gonna be up the creek if I don’t rein this back in.


So for the size 12's to fit me was very encouraging.  : )


I have got to get my life together in so many areas but this is a big one.  I worked way too hard to get the weight off before and I deserve to be happy in all areas of my life.  It’s gonna take some hard work and discipline but I’ve done it before and will do it again.  Besides, it would be nice to get a few pounds off so that I can enjoy some fall clothing.  I am really wanting a couple of cute fall plaid shirts this season.  : )




Anyways---I used to say anyways instead of anyway lol --- I wanted to end on this note…I saw this pic on twitter or Instagram, I don’t recall…maybe twitter…not that it’s super important, jeez.  But I saw this pic and instantly I said I want to be the slim girl.  I’m not ashamed to say that.  Honestly I want to be a solid size 6 sometimes a 4 depending on the brand.  136lbs is my dream weight…not my goal weight, but my dream weight.  Anyhoot…I’m just rambling now so…thanks for reading!! : )





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