Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What Vacation?

I’ve gone back and forth on what to title this post, whether to post this post, and how to post this post. 

I’ve decided to go with sharing this post in the most positive way possible.

Vacation was a month ago and if I don’t share at all it will never get shared.

I’m going to keep it real… I was robbed of my vacation. 

I know that’s selfish but it’s how I feel and I’m allowed to express how I feel.

We arrived in Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday July 18th and if you’ve ever done a beach rental before, you know that check-in is later in the day because the guests who are checking out usually have to do so by 11am.  That day is more about travel and getting settled in.

On Sunday we went to Broadway at the Beach which is a great area with a boardwalk, all kinds of shops and restaurants and different attractions.  We went to Ripley’s Aquarium.

I’ll be the first to say that if you’ve seen one aquarium, you’ve seen them all.  But hey, I’m a Mom and we go to attractions such as the aquarium when on vacation.  I will say that this aquarium was probably one of the coolest I’ve visited….wouldn’t say it’s worth the $100 for a family of four to enjoy but, you know what you’re getting involved with when planning a Myrtle Beach vacation.  DH didn’t know, but I did.

I never quite understand why people take pics of everything in an aquarium…it’s beyond me.  I’d rather take it in at the moment.  Two highlights of the aquarium were the mermaids {they put on a cute show, more for pre-school kids} and the shark tank that you’re walking through.  They built it so that the tank is on both sides of you and goes over your head so all of the sharks, fishies and everything else, even a huge sea turtle, are all around you and that’s pretty effin cool.  Again, not $100 cool, but still cool nevertheless.

We went to the aquarium after we ate at Captain George’s which was amazing!!  Sooooo delicious!  I’ve heard of them before and I know they have a few in a handful of states but they did not disappoint at all!

That’s where most of the fun ended for me.  Because the next day, the sky went black for us.

Monday was our real let’s lay out on the beach and play at the pool day.  That was July 20th and the beach was amazing.  My very favorite place in the world to be.  I don’t recall what we ate for lunch or dinner to be honest because I didn’t write it down.  What I do recall is us out playing putt-putt that evening and my Mom getting a call from my brother saying that his wife, my sister-in-law was at the hospital.  Everything else from that point on was a blur.  I was there, but I wasn’t.

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We already had purchased tickets for the Pirate’s Voyage dinner show for the following afternoon.  So we went to that on Tuesday before my parents headed back to NC to be with my brother during that time.  Can I just say that if you come to Myrtle Beach, you can’t leave without coming to this show!  It was amazing!!!  It helped take our minds off of life and for about two hours we were in Pirate Land and it was really cool.  You get a full meal and a show.  The meal is okay, nothing to write about, but the show…is AWESOME!!!

Blogs by Aria family vacation fun in Myrtle Beach
You can't take pics or videos during the show, so I snapped this real quick at the very end.

After that my parents left and we stayed because that made the most sense.  I worked very hard to pay for this vacation, not just for me but for my kids.  If it was just me, I would have left but I didn’t feel that was fair to the kids.  So as I cried and prayed for the next few days, the kids enjoyed their time at the beach and pool and I enjoyed that I could provide that for them.


My parents came back Thursday evening and on Friday we went to the Upside Down House aka Wonder Works.  It’s a kid’s science museum that we’ve wanted to go to for years since passing the Upside Down House {that’s what we call it}.  It was cool but super crowded.  If I could, I’d rather just rent out the place for my family only…seriously… I don’t like that many people around me and everyone doesn’t raise their kids to be polite.  After that we went to our favorite calabash crab joint… Crabby Mike’s!!!  Always a tradition of ours.

No amount of succulent crab meat could make me and my mom not cry at dinner tho.  It was very tough and still is.

Check-out was for Saturday at 10am.  We couldn’t wait to leave.  I couldn’t get home fast enough because the faster I got home the faster I could get to the hospital and be with my family.

I don’t want to act as if I’m not grateful for our vacation because I am very grateful.  The water was amazing.  We got to see fireworks on the beach.  We got to be together as a family.

But I will never stay in Myrtle Beach again.  We will always go down to Crabby Mike’s and make  a day of Myrtle Beach when we do our beach vacations, as we always have; but this is the first and last time that I will vacation there.  It doesn’t represent happiness for me.  It only represents sadness and being so far away from home when we needed to be home…idk…it just doesn’t feel good thinking of staying there.

If you don’t know me personally… I’ll share that my sister in law had a heart attack on Monday July 20th and my brother performed CPR and brought her back; however after being rushed in an ambulance to their local hospital she was airlifted to the next largest hospital, which is my hospital in Greenville,NC.  There she stayed in ICU, after suffering extensive brain damage, she was taken off of life support on Thursday July 23rd.  She fought for her life, but God called her home on Friday July 31st.  She was laid to rest on Tuesday August 4th

So that was my vacation…if that’s what we can even call it.  Everything around that time is such a blur.  I’ve been so numb.  I’m still numb.  I can’t look at a calendar and see the 20th, 31st or 4th right now.  Hell, the other day I looked at my calendar on my phone, I think it was the 18th and I burst into a crying spell.  It just doesn’t seem real.  I’m crying as I share this.  It hurts so damn bad.  I know that time will help but….

I just felt like I couldn’t move forward in trying to even post anything on my blog if I couldn’t get past the vacation…if that makes sense.  I’ve wanted to share so much but I’ve felt like I’ve been standing in concrete since the beginning of the month.  I’m making strides each day and every day I pray for my brother harder than I ever have before.  My heart is still broken but Jesus is mending it.  I’ll stop typing now because I can’t stop the tears.

SHOW your love to others because tomorrow is not promised.


Oh and I completely forgot to mention that we got the worst sleep on this vacation.  I know we all have different parenting styles and we’re all on vacation, but the people upstairs let their kids rip and run all night and they were loud and the parents were loud and would ash their cigarettes over the balcony right on top of my husband’s car.  As if an ashtray is too much to ask especially when all of the units are smoke free including the balconies.  On top of that,our windows were thin and our bedroom was facing the street and walkway to other condos and we heard everything.  People talking, yelling, garbage trucks at 3am, everything.  It was absolutely dreadful.…I digress. 

With each vacation rental we learn something new and we learned that it’s worth the extra steps to be on the top floor.  If we can’t get a full beach house to ourselves {which is now my goal} then we have to be on the top floor because we have to have our sleep!  I also learned that I prefer Carolina Beach hands down.  I love the laid back atmosphere and the Boardwalk and the beach and we know Carolina Beach.  Not saying we’ll never go anywhere else, but as far as our standard beach vacation goes…that’s the hot spot baby!  CB!!  I want one of those stickers for my Highlander when I get it…you know the ones I’m talking about?  Anyways, now I’m just rambling…

Check out my IG for more pics and vids from the good times of our trip : )

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Get to Know Me | A to Z Survey

I’ve found a ton of new blogs to read in the last few weeks at work.  I don’t have time to read all the blogs I follow, let alone find new ones, but I did stumble across a few that I liked.  One post that I thought was a cute idea, was this A to Z Survey.  I decided I would do the same : )

A – Age:  32

B – Biggest Fear:  idk about biggest, but I’m afraid of frogs and crickets.

C – Current Time:  12:05pm

D - Drink You Had Last:  strawberry lemonade kool-aid.  It’s my favorite flavor.

E – Easiest Person To Talk To:  myself…I talk to myself all the time and I’m not afraid to admit it!


F – Favorite Song:  Cupid by 112 comes to mind first… my  all -time favorite male group : )

G – Grossest Memory:  again tmi…when I was preggo with Bri I had one day of morning  sickness and I was woken up by it and ran to the toilet without turning on the bathroom light.  Usually the toilet seat lid was up…but not this time and all of the puke went on top of the toilet lid, over the sides and onto the floor.  It was absolutely disgusting and I was furious with him for the one time he wants to put the lid down on the toilet.


H – Hometown:  I was born in Plattsburgh, NY.  I’m a military brat so I’ve lived in Altus, OK, Spangdahlem, Germany, Goldsboro, NC and now Greenville NC.  My Mom and Father are divorced so I spent my summers and some holidays in Philadelphia, PA once we were back stateside.


I – In Love With:  my husband James

J – Jealous Of:  my husband because he can eat absolutely whatever he wants and never gain an ounce.

K – Kindest Person You Know:  Sister Kathleen Simmons.  She was the Youth Minister at my previous church and I swear, she beamed kindness.  I’ve never met a sweeter person than her.  She always asks about me when she sees my Mom, she sends me cards, just the best!

L – Longest Relationship:  This October will make 8 years married and we’ve been together for 12 years.  A few days ago was our 9 year engagement anniversary!

M – Middle Name:  Montrice…my godmother’s name.

N – Number of Siblings:  1 – my older brother, I have sisters in law, Crystal, my brother’s wife, just passed away and I’m still devastated, and my husband’s sister Carinda.  I have a few step-sisters also and former step-siblings.

O – One Wish:  my house and my Highlander…it’s a combo wish, but that’s what I want.


P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last:  my sister in law Carinda

Q – Question You’re Always Being Asked:  how’s the new job going?

R – Reason To Smile:  aside from the obvious…clouds make me smile : )

S – Song You Last Sang:  “Weak” by SWV…I have no idea why but it just popped into my head so I started singing it.

T – Time You Woke Up:  8:12am…I’m off this week for bereavement so I’ve been sleeping in.  So rare.

U – Underwear Color:  black with multi-colored polka dots…talk about tmi…


V – Vacation Destination:  the beach…we just came back from Myrtle Beach, SC and I wouldn’t mind spending a couple of weeks right now at my favorite Carolina Beach, NC : ) 

W – Worst Habit:  I procrastinate.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had:  bone x-ray when I was a child and broke my collar bone, chest x-rays because I had asthma when I was younger, and teeth x-rays more often than I’d like : (

Y – Your Favorite Food:  this is hard, I could answer favorite food category better, but I’d say my favorite food is shrimp because I love seafood and I love shrimp a number of ways.

Z – Zodiac Sign:  Scorpio baby!!

That was fun!  I tried to go off the cuff and give the first thing that came to mind, but some of these questions I had to really think of an answer.  That’s why I love doing these type of surveys.  I’d love to see some of your answers : )

I started this post on Saturday with the intention of posting it on Saturday but here it is Thursday and I’m just now finishing it up and posting it.  It’s been a really rough week with my sister in law passing and her services being earlier this week.  This is helping to take my mind off of it some.  Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Be Near

I would love to share all things vacation right now but I can’t.  Maybe later.  But now, my family is going thru a very difficult time and I can’t just post as if it’s not happening.  If you know me personally then you are well aware but for those of you who are not… my sister in law, my brother’s wife is currently fighting for her life in the hospital.  I say fighting for her life because that’s exactly what she is doing.  I won’t go into detail, but it caused me to want to share something.

I haven’t had a lot of death and tragedy in my life.  I remember when my Great Grandma Josephine passed away from Leukemia in the summer of 1996.  It was the summer between 8th grade and 9th grade and it changed me forever.  I was devastated.  I was in Philly for the summer and she was in the hospital for most of June and I would go visit her but I couldn’t look at her, couldn’t touch her, I was so afraid.  She passed in July and it was truly awful for me.  I broke down during the processional and I wanted to go into the casket and get her.  Ever since then, I’ve avoided funerals and anything of the sort.  I have had a few people pass in my life and have gone to funerals for only those close, but this is the first time anything has come this close to me since the summer of 96.  I have strong faith but I’ll admit it’s being tested.  I have been at the hospital every day since getting back into town from vacation, with the exception of today.  I can feel myself rambling, so let me move on…

When bad things happen, you don’t have the right words.  No one has the right words.  If I was just in a car wreck you can’t come tell my husband, oh she’s going to be ok, everything’s going to be alright…that’s not going to make him feel better.  It’s not about the words you say.  It’s about your actions.  It’s about being near.  When someone is hurting and you don’t have the words to say, just be near.  We all face tragic events in our lives, we all know someone who has gone thru something completely unimaginable.  Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, you don’t want to hear Annie saying the sun will come out tomorrow.  It’s true, that it will, but it’s not helping the person right then and now.  I’m the first to admit that I don’t know what to say in some situations, and that’s okay.  Just being near is what counts.

So how can you be near?

Well, physically you can be around the person in need.  In my instance, I’ve been at the hospital as much as I can.  You can feel love.  You can feel encouragement.  You can feel support.  It doesn’t take words, it takes action.

The power of social media really helps if you can’t be near physically.  Just a simple I love you or I am here for you means the world to someone who feels like their world is falling apart.

Love is a verb, which means it’s an action.  Any act of kindness or love that you can show is more than appreciated.  Sending flowers, making a meal, offering to take care of something for them, donating towards expenses, any and all of these things are great examples of being near by showing love.

If you can and are willing to donate, my brother and sister could really use some help because hospital stays, especially lengthy ones are not cheap.  I continue to pray for my sister and my brother and my niece and nephew and I trust God. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's Ok


In spirit of one of my favorite sections of Glamour magazine, I decided to share a few things running through my mind right now…because frankly, it’s okay because it has to be.  No other choice.

It’s ok that I’ve been a huge blog reader as of late, and not so much of a blog writer.

It’s ok that I haven’t tried to really lose weight pre-vacation. 

It’s ok that in addition to the beach, I’m looking forward to eating all that I can.

It’s ok if I’m super slacking at work because, how can you expect me to work when I’m about to go on vacation?  Seriously, I’m super productive but I’m super slacking at the same time, if that makes sense…when else am I going to read all of these blogs I’m stumbling upon?

It’s ok if every day leading up to vacation, that I’m waking up like, dang it’s not Saturday yet.

It’s ok that as the Mom, I have to do all of the packing…I accepted that a few years ago…it comes with the territory.

It’s ok that I want to call out desperately tomorrow but I’m not that girl.  And stupid work ethics aside…selfishly let’s not use up all of this time off in July…I have the rest of the year to get through.

It’s ok that my body signals to me that it’s hungry for lunch at 10am…actually this is so not ok.  But all this week, it doesn’t help that I don’t want to work, but that I’m working (or not working) hungry. 

It’s ok that I just scarfed down two Krispy Kreme donuts…thanks to my colleague who offered them to me.  Usually I respond with a resounding NO and this time I responded with GLADLY.  Smh

It’s ok that I totally just wrote this post to make me feel better about the slacktastic day week I’ve been having.

What’s even better than okay is the fact that I have made it through this day.  I’ll do better tomorrow. I have tons to do tomorrow so my day will definitely not drag both at work and home.  That’s the plan anyways : )

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's Really Working!!



Can you hear them?  Can you see them?  Or is it just me?

That’s what I hear or see when I come to the blog…by no means am I trying to keep taking these mini blog breaks…I’ve just been overworked trying to work as much overtime as possible leading up to vacation.  My vacation begins in 8 days.  In 8 days we will head to the shark land and enjoy a much needed, much anticipated week at the beach.  I absolutely cannot wait!!!

Seems like every other day my state is making National news about these shark attacks.  Would love to say it makes it better that I won’t be in NC…but I’ll be in SC and that doesn’t make it better lol.  But I have no fear.  I just won’t go out as far and be very mindful, and I’ve never been one for being near a pier…that just doesn’t make sense to me, to swim where people are fishing, but hey, it’s just me, you do whatever you want!


And maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it a coinkydink that all of these shark attacks were happening right before Shark week? Lol

Anywho… I have heard the tumbleweeds blow past my blog and I decided to share some of the good things that’ve been happening in my life and hopefully I can’t get back on the blog train. 

I’ve shared before some of the things that I’ve consciously manifested with the law of attraction…you may recall my Sam’s Club membership or my beach trips from last summer and those were really great, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve really been able to bring things into my life.  I’m excited to share and excited to continue to share in the future as I truly get a grasp of this thing.

Now let me say that I am not a law of attraction teacher or guide or anything like that…but in my years of learning little tidbits, there weren’t always a lot of sources for inspiration, like when I was looking for hair styles for my daughter a few years ago there were hardly any blogs and videos about little black girl hairstyles and now they’re all over the place…long run on sentence to say that I’m just sharing my stories, not a teacher…if you’re looking for a teacher then I introduce you to my friends Melody and Kelli.  You’re welcome.

I will say that one of the most important things one must fully understand when deliberately manifesting what you want in your life, is to feel good now.  And that my friends, has probably been the hardest aspect for me.  I can have the faith, I can put the desire out there, heck, I can even let it go and release it, (for the most part), but where I was struggling the most was in the “feeling great now as if you already have it”.  What I failed to realize in years past was that I was still putting out a feeling of “I don’t have it yet”  “I really need it though, why don’t I have it yet”  And that my friends, will keep you in the same spot.

I’m not perfect at it, but I can tell that I’m getting better at it because I’ve begun to see real tangible manifestations and it makes me excited!  It really got the ball rolling for me and when good things are happening it’s easier to stay in this good vibe and continue to attract great things into your life.  In order to keep this from turning into a short story… I’ll just briefly list the things I have manifested in the past few weeks:

*my first real lottery win $100
*same week won $25
*received an expected check in the mail $82
*received an unexpected check in the mail $278
*received an unexpected $100

yes, this is my ticket and I could of wiped all the specks off lol 

And that’s just to name a few things!  I’m really excited about what I have brought into my life and all that I will continue to bring in.  Right now I’m working on something and the last item I listed, I received today as part of an experiment I’m doing.  I will report back very soon, but I cannot guarantee it will be before our week at the beach…then again, who knows, I may be inspired!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My First Erin Condren Life Planner

I am beyond over the moon excited right now!!!  I recently ordered my very first Erin Condren life planner and it came this weekend!  I had never heard of an Erin Condren anything about a month or so ago.  I had watched a YouTube video of one of my old time faves Dulce Candy and she showed her Erin Condren life planner and I was instantly hooked.  In high school and college I was always best with my student planner and as I got out of school I just never could find a planner that worked as well as my student planners did.  I have tried to use my phone and it’s great for so many things but not for the way I like to keep organized.  These are definitely worth the price of $50 in my opinion.  But before I get too far ahead of myself, let me digress.

I'm sold on the packaging

These are very personalized calendars/planners and even if they weren’t I still love the message they give each time you open it.  When I watched the video on YouTube, the calendars were on sale for $30.  I went to the website and they had so many cute ones to choose from and personalizations available.  They were on sale because, of course, we’re already at that point, more than a quarter into the year.  I didn’t buy at that time and probably a couple of days later when I went back to the site, they were all out.  I was pretty bummed that I had missed out and would have to wait until later in the year to order my planner for 2016.  I decided to sign up for their newsletter so that I would be kept in the know.

I took the "stronger" sticker and put it on the back of my planner

The other day, I got an email that there were some “Ready to Ship” or pre-made life planners available for sale now for only $25.  So I checked it out.  I wanted to be sure I wasn’t being short changed.  I jumped on the deal pretty much immediately!  Yes it’s pre-made, but that’s okay.  I wanted it that badly because I only see my year getting busier and I want to be able to stay on top of it all.  It came with a coupon code for a free cover personalization which I thought was cool.  I will be using that for sure.

attention to detail 

Because of how fast the last offer went, I decided to do something for myself for once.  I had planned to use my Ibotta money for holiday shopping, and I still will; but with how much I’ve been earning, I decided to transfer the balance to my PayPal and order my life planner.  I’m so happy with the decision and it gives me even more reason to use my Ibotta app  to make money so that I can treat myself from time to time.  I deserve it : )

ahhhhh the unboxing!

just a sneak peak at the typical layout

Here’s a video from Erin Condren explaining the life planner.

To discover Erin Condren life planners and all of her goodies, click  Get $10 off!!!

Right before I uploaded my post, Erin posted a detailed video about the 2016 life planner that launches on June 9th!!!

Now I must find me the perfect handbag to house my perfect life planner : )  I need a new bag regardless, and this is the perfect excuse!  I will probably do a post in a month or so, or when I’m ready to order my 2016 life planner, to show how I use my planner.  It’s actually pretty crazy how I have seen people go all the way to the left in how they design their planner.  I am excited to get a few stickers from some shops on Etsy but that’s where my creativity will stop : )

~this post contains affiliate links

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Easy Dinner Ideas

I have been trying to shake things up a bit when it comes to dinner ideas for the family.  I’m tired of making the same old things and they’re tired of eating the same old things.  As I shared in my favorites post, I want to get more cookbooks, but in the meantime I’ve been scouring one of my favorite websites, Pioneer Woman Cooks, for the past couple of weeks; looking for recipes that I think the family will eat and that I am capable of making : ) 

Ree Drummond is one of my favorite people  : )  A dear friend in my head.  I love her food and confessional blogs and I love her show.  When I watch her show I feel comforted even when she’s making things I would never eat.  I can’t wait to get her cookbooks.  In the meantime, her food blog is the best I’ve seen.  I appreciate that she breaks it down with pictures for people like me, who need to see everything step by step.  I wanted to share a few of the recipes that I’ve tried in the past week or so that my family and I have really enjoyed.  

Blogs by Aria

This was super easy to make and the family enjoyed it.  I didn’t eat it, but tasted it, and it was good, but I’m keeping it low on the carb intake and ate something else.  The only complaint, was more meat, less pasta from man of the house, so I’ll keep that in mind next time.


Yeah, I’m sure many people have made this and do so all the time and this is like making eggs to them…but to me, honey I’ve just hit a gold mine!!!  We all absolutely loved it!!!  This is in my repertoire for sure and it’s super easy so much so that I don’t have to look at the recipe again.  We don’t do onions and peppers in this family and it seems as if every recipe Ree has includes onions.  I know they can add flavor, so I did slice very finely a very small piece of an onion and I don’t think anybody noticed ;-) I did, but it wasn’t horrible : )


To be honest, the crowd was mixed on this one…my son and I liked it, my daughter didn’t care for it and my husband didn’t understand the presentation.  I thought the chicken marinade was delicious, I didn’t even marinate mine for the whole hour as instructed and it was still tasty.  I liked the bacon and the cheese on top, similar to what I’ve seen in chain restaurants.  So I will make this again because I like it and when two out of four like a dish, it stays on the drawing board.


I actually tried this recipe a while back, like several months back and it was a huge hit!!!  We loved how cheesy and delicious it was and the kids even asked for seconds, which is a huge deal.  With this meal, you want to buy fresh mozzarella and fresh parmesan cheese, not the pre-shredded stuff, it melts differently, trust me (after Ree told me to trust her lol) it’s worth it.

If you are cooking for a family such as mine, where it’s very hard to please everyone, I suggest giving these easy meals a try.  I mean, my husband won’t eat casseroles of any kind, my son eats better than my daughter but they’re both picky in different ways and if I’m strict in my own eating, I’m not eating anything that they eat!  Pasta works for them and not for me, but I’m all about pleasing them when it comes to food.  My job is to feed my family and it’s always nice to hear “mmm this is good Mommy” instead of, “do I have to eat it all?”  Suffice it to say, you might find that one of these options may be a hit out of the park with your brood.  I’m on the hunt for even more to try!


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