January 2014Back Home Again: January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Five: The Answers

I was hoping that I would get five questions since it's five on Friday, but I only got three! Oh well, I guess it's three on Friday today :-)

1. What is your favorite travel destination that I have already been to?
This is a really hard question to answer. My immediate response would be to say London, or England in general as that is my obsession. However, I have been to some other really cool places too. I really liked Chamonix, France and Rome. Rome is probably my favorite city outside of London.

2. Which blogger would you most like to be like and why?
Again, a difficult question! I follow a lot of blogs, in different niches, and I like a lot of them so it's hard to choose just one. I really like Casey over at We Took the Road Less Traveled. I really like her writing style and her photos. She's the one who originally inspired me to write about my own travels. Plus, I am super jealous of her being able to live in Europe!

3. What's your favorite post you've written? 
Again with the difficult questions! (Not really, I love it :-) ) I really like the post I wrote for a link up on Wifessionals way back about breastfeeding. It's something I'm really passionate about and while it didn't work out how I expected with Ewan, I was still able to do it for a year. Of course, I also really like Ewan and Cecily's birth stories, even though reading what I wrote right after Ewan was born makes me cringe because I hadn't even begun to process what happened to me.

And there you have it, some answers about me. I'm off to a wine and canvas birthday party for a good friend of mine tonight - I can't wait!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Travel Thursday: Hawaii

Since I'm outside in the cold for work today, I thought it would be nice for this week's travel to again be about someplace warm :-)

I have actually been to Hawaii twice, once when I was in fourth grade and again when I was a junior in college. I got to go in college as a member of the Wind Ensemble because we played in a competition in Honolulu. It was awesome because the only thing I had to pay besides spending money was $100. Sometimes, it really does pay to be a band geek! :-)

The clarinet section

Since I had been there as a child, I already knew several things I wanted to do this time around, number being climbing to the top of Diamond Head. When I was a kid, we went into the crater, but never climbed to the top and it was something I never got out of my head that I wanted to do.

The climb was difficult, probably as much as, if not more so than when I climbed Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. But, it was so so worth it once I got to the top. The views were incredible!

I also made the mistake of getting a bad sunburn the first day we were there! This is actually the trip where I started wearing sunscreen it was so bad.

I matched the octopus,  I was so burnt!

We went to Pearl Harbor and I also got to spend some time with my mom's cousin, who used to live on the Oahu. Susan and I re-inacted the time my mom got stuck in the elevator at the top of the Aloha Tower, explored the capital and went to the windward side of the island, where we explored Valley of the Temples, a cemetery with really cool Japanese architecture.

And of course, what trip to Hawaii would be complete without going to a luau?

What's your favorite tropical destination?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

My new friend Candace, who I met on Twitter is guest posting today about a cause close to her heart. As a sufferer of rheumatism myself, this is just heartbreaking to read about her daughter. I will let her take it away now...

What I would like to talk about is JIA or Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

This medical auto immune Disease can be described as:

            Juvenile - means that the arthritis began before the patient was 16 years old.
            Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown.
            Arthritis - means one or more joints are inflamed.

Arthritis is not an old persons disease.  They type of arthritis people get as they are aging is called osteo arthritis this is where the bones are thinning and starting to wear against each other.  There has bee some campaigning through out the world to rename one or the other as the cause of each illness really do not have any links to each other.

The Girl (now aged 10) has suffered from JIA for the past 3 years.  She also has hypermobiliy (which used to be known as double jointed).  It has a great effect on her everyday activities and cause much pain and frustration.

She has regular physio appointments and exercise that can take 30 to 45 minutes each day.  Try explaining to a 10 year old why they can't go out and play with there friends because they need to do these unpleasant exercises. 

It's so heart breaking seeing her in pain.  It's hard to explain to someone that she gets up each morning and is so stiff she can't bend her legs but in order for the stiffness to go she must.  There are tears most of the time.

There are lots of blood tests to be had.  

Then there are constant meds, every day without fail and then treatments under general anesthetics:


JIA can also effect eyes as well as other organs so we have 3 monthly eye checks at the hospital.

As a sufferer of Rheumatoid Arthritis, I understand the pain and frustration encountered on a daily basis as a result of this incurable disease, A of of people just think arthritis is wear and tear on joints due to old age and don't even realise children can have this illness too.  Rheumatoid arthritis is nothing to do with old age.  It is your own body fighting itself.  You have done nothing wrong to go it.  Yo got dealt a different challenge in life.  RA is an invisible disease, sometime you can look like there is nothing wrong, other times you are in absolute agony.  This is what can be different to explain to others who struggle with the fact you look ok ad can do something one day then wake up and you can't.  The Girl has been at the end of a lot of remarks such as she is making it up or putting it on to get out of doing something she doesn't want to do.  Nobody should have to deal with such behaviour from others.

I would really appreciate it if you could spread the word about JIA and RA and if able donate on my Just Giving page where I am hoping to raise £100 for Arthritis Research UK.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

More information can be found here.
Please share this to help raise awareness. Thank you for reading.

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK

Charity Registration No. 207711
Arthritis Research UK is the charity leading the fight against arthritis. More than 1 in 6 people are affected by arthritis, it is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK. We’re working to take the pain away and to help people remain active, doing the things they love.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hockey Game and Children's Museum Galore!

I realized that I haven't posted much the last few weeks about what we've been up to as a family. It's really because we haven't been doing anything all that exciting lately. We've been battling stomach bugs and colds mostly. Spending a lot of time at the local children's museum on the weekends. One of my best friends from college came to visit last weekend. I have taken some photos though so I thought I'd share!

 We went to an Evansville Icemen Game

 One of the few times the kids didn't pick on each other!

 We went to the park one day when it was warmer.

 Spending a lot of time at the Children's Museum of Evansville

 I LOVE this photo!

What have you been up to lately?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Know Better, Do Better

My sister-in-law recently watched Hungry for Change on Netflix and was telling me that after seeing it, she had no idea what to even buy at the grocery store anymore because it opened her eyes to how scary our food supply really is. 

Who doesn't love a cute photo of Ewan at six months :-)

She got me thinking about my personal mantra that I have adopted. Know better, do better. I know people that are even remotely considered crunchy get a bad rap a lot of the time because they come across as sanctimonious at times and for the majority of us, our tendency to let others know about them. I, for example, have a tendency to let others know about birth and about food. The thing is though, a lot of us have taken the time to do our research into the things we do and have found that time and time again, they are proven to be better not only for ourselves, but for the environment in general.

Case in point. I remember when I was in England going to the grocery and seeing the tiny fruits and veggies in the produce. I was blown away to learn that those same fruits and veggies here in the US were ginormous because they were genetically modified and that GM foods were highly controversial in Europe. I came back to the States and did my own research because I was curious. This was in 2002. 

I have known for 12 years how GMOs and pesticides are not good for you, and have purchased the dirty dozen organically whenever I can ever since. But, it hasn't been until the last year or so that I've really realized how bad processed foods in general are for you. So now that I really do know better, I'm making every effort to do better. 

We're all trying to do what's best for our families, so once you know better, how can you at least not try to Do better?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Quirks About Me

You know how everyone and their brother posts Five on Friday posts? Well, I decided to post my own Five on Friday post. All about me!

1. Wet paper totally freaks me out.
I know this is really weird. But, I cannot stand to touch or even look at wet paper. It's all mushy and gross, blech! It seriously makes me want to vomit. When I use paper towels, I make sure there are enough between the wet paper and my hand so I don't have to touch the wet ones.

2. I can't stand driving behind vehicles larger than mine.
My mom used to say that I always had to be queen of the road. This is somewhat true but it's more that I like to be able to see what's ahead of me and if there's a semi or SUV or van in front of me, I can't see and I don't like that at all.

3. I cannot stand things around my neck.
There's a reason almost all of my shirts have are v-neck or boatneck or some variation that comes nowhere near my neck and it's not because I like to show off my massive cleavage. I cannot stand things around my neck. At all. I feel like I'm choking and panic. I never wear necklaces for the same reason. I can wear a scarf when it's cold outside but it has to be loose and a lot of the time I wind up taking it off because I freak out.

4. I'm not afraid of flying, just crashing to my death.
The flying aspect of flying really doesn't bother me, it's the thought of being the one in a million that crash that scares the you know what out of me. I also hate it hate it when Alan flies for work. I'm so incredibly tense until I know he is on the ground and I'm constantly checking flightstats.com so I know where he is. I dunno, I guess I feel like if we were meant to fly, then we would be born with wings!

5. Everything has to be symmetrical. 
Seriously. If it's not even or symmetrical, I have to make it so it is or it drives me crazy!

Leave me a comment asking a question, anything you want, and I will answer them next Friday!

What would you like to know about me?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Travel Thursday: Venice

Venice was the last place I visited during my time studying abroad in England before returning to the States and you could say that I did it on a budget since I came back with literally $5 in my bank account! 

What everyone says about the city is true, it does smell. But, it was a really cool place. Probably my favorite part about it is that while it's like a maze, you really don't need a map. Just follow the signs and you'll eventually wind up at St. Mark's Square, which is probably the most famous spot in the entire city.

The church dates to the Byzantine Empire and is full of these golden mosaics. As usual, photos weren't allowed, but trust me. Gorgeous!

One thing you might want to keep in mind if you ever visit is not to eat in St. Mark's Square. The pigeons are ferocious! Since we were broke college students, we packed our lunch and ate in the square. Let's just say that we wound up doing a dance around those crazy pigeons!

I was there right before Christmas as the last leg of a trip through Italy. Since I was broke, I really just wondered around the maze of streets and explored. You could find so many random things that you never would've seen that way. Probably my favorite moment in the city is when we saw Mark Whalberg coming out of a hotel. We weren't entirely sure that it was him, but we camped out for the rest of the afternoon to see if it really was him haha. Little did we know that he was there filming The Italian Job.

Venice is somewhere that I want to revisit. There are so many things that I didn't get to do the first time around!

Have you been to Venice? What is your favorite thing about the city?

While I'm thinking about it. Don't forget to help Ash celebrate her birthday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

February Featured Blog Giveaway!

I know there's still just over a week in January, but February is coming up on us and fast. Therefore it's time for my February Featured Blogs of the Month Giveaway!

I really hope you decide to enter. I have really enjoyed getting to know the three ladies currently gracing my blog, which if you haven't already checked them out, you really should! I hope they have enjoyed having me stalk their blogs too :-)

Good luck!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome Back Holly!

I posted in my January goals that I was going to join a gym. Well, I actually did that at the beginning of the month, but it's only been this weekend that I have finally been able to go. 

 Rockin' out to some circa 2009 Black Eyed Peas...Boom Boom Pow!

I haven't been to a gym other than the apartment fitness center since grad school. While working out at 32 v. 26 is definitely harder (or maybe I'm just that out of shape!). Some things never change. 

For instance, there are always the tiny girls that are just there to "hang out." Then there are the guys who are definitely there to check out the girls that are there to hang out. Who knew GTL existed in Southwest Indiana? 

Me, on the other hand, was there with my circa 2006 iPod and its playlist that hasn't been updated since probably not too long after that. Pop, lock and drop it anyone? 

Regardless, I have had amazing workouts the last two days in a row and have left feeling great. I also found my absolute favorite thing at the gym tonight, the standing ab machine. I used to be able to do 100 lifts without stopping back in the day. Tonight I was able to do 30 in 3 reps of 10. I was very proud of my old, out of shape self! 

However, I am going to be so sore tomorrow....

Operation Smile

As someone who is very self-conscious of their smile, I am so glad that I came across this very inspirational organization, Operation Smile.

Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that provides reconstructive surgery to children born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. One in ten of those children born with a cleft will die before their first birthday because they usually are unable to eat. Not to mention even speak, socialize or smile if they make it past their birthday. As a breastfeeding mother, I experience first hand the special bond that happens when you're feeding your baby and even thinking about what a mother of a child with a cleft goes through knowing that their child is likely starving because they cannot eat is heartbreaking. 

It only takes $240 for one surgery to fix a smile. For most of us, that's not that much in the grand scheme of things. Donating just five or ten dollars would help immensely. For me, that's one trip to Starbucks. 

Probably one of the best things about Operation Smile is that they make so easy to donate. A portion of every text book rental from CampusBookRentals.com is donated toward this wonderful cause. So if you're in school and use this awesome service, then you're already donating!

If you get a chance, please check out their website. You may just make a difference in someone's life!

I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions are my own.

Things I Love Since Going Paleo

Coconut Water

When I first tried it during the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I thought it was disgusting but now I love it. My favorite "drink" is now coconut water on the rocks with a splash of lime juice and true grenadine.

Coconut Oil

I don't know what hole I've been living in but coconut oil is awesome! As evidenced by the giveaway from Tropical Traditions going on right now, coconut oil has so many wonderful uses and properties, from cooking and baking to using it on your hair and skin, and even using it as an antifungal. I remember a friend of mine using it on her hair in middle school and thinking she was nuts to put grease in her hair. Well, 20 years later and I finally understand why!


You may remember this post from last summer when I tried to make kale chips. I couldn't stand kale. At all. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was sauteeing it for dinner one night. I took a bite and immediately thought how yummy it was. My, how things change...

Raw Cheese

I used to buy raw cheese from the Amish at Booth's Corner when we lived in PA. It was so delish; it would be gone within a week. Once we moved back to Indiana, I didn't know where to find it locally so we stopped eating it. I've now found a source again in my local real food group and holy cow is it good! I know dairy isn't paleo, but this is one of my few exceptions :-)


It has been YEARS since I ate real bacon. Do you know how delicious it is?! While I do like turkey bacon, there is just something about eating real bacon that is divine.

Most of all I love the fact that I have to be creative with what I cook. I love trying out and creating new recipes. One of these days I will post a few more on here!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Food and Your Skin

This is something I haven't really talked about on here, but I am suffering from the worse bout of ezcema, psorasis, whatever it is in my entire life this winter! Ever since I can remember, I have always gotten really dry skin in the winter. I get red, itchy patches on my arms and legs. This year though, I've gotten them worse than ever before. It's so bad on my hands that I can't wear my wedding ring because my fingers are so swollen with those red patches. 

I noticed it after I got some weird fungus on my hands this summer from playing in the yard. I had researched natural remedies to treat fungus and one of those was to use a hydrogen peroxide soak. It was perfect because that's something we readily have in the house. And it worked like a charm! With one small problem. My hands totally dried out and the red patches appeared with a vengeance :(

Gross, I know. 

Once I began the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I noticed an improvement on my hands so I originally thought it was yeast - and maybe some of it was - but once the weather got cold and I started sliding down the hill and eventually fell off the detox/paleo cliff during the holidays, those ezcema patches became the worst they have ever been. I had been told that once you go gluten/sugar/dairy free for awhile that you might notice symptoms of an intolerance once you reintroduce it into your system and guess what? That's absolutely true!

Did you know that ezcema is an autoimmune response to an allergen? Some of the most common food allergens are dairy, eggs, nuts, soy and gluten. Once I started the detox again after Christmas my ezcema hasn't completely gone away, but it has gotten tons better. And I definitely noticed a difference when I had a piece of Ewan's birthday cake, which contained all of the above allergens, a few weekends ago because it got way worse again for a few days. I guess this is just another reason for me to stick with paleo for life.

I'm part of the #2014BloggerChallenge. Are you?

Don't forget about this giveaway:
One Quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Just Sickens Me

So this weekend, the 60 mile long toxic chemical plume of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol from the chemical spill in West Virginia is passing by Evansville in the Ohio River.

The Ohio River today, before the nastiness hits.

While I realize that by the time it's here, it will be extremely diluted and well below the 1 ppm the CDC is recommending as a safe level. In fact, it already is. Does that mean I'm going to have anything to do with tap water over the weekend? Heck no! 

Here is the Material Safety Data Sheet for MCHM. If you look, you can see that very little is known about this chemical other than it's classified as an irritant. I'm sorry, but I don't want myself or my family exposed to this in any quantity, supposedly deemed "safe" or not. The CDC later came out and said that pregnant women shouldn't drink the water at all if this chemical is in it. Um. What happened to its safe for everyone if it's less than 1 ppm? Yeah. I think that that means NO ONE should drink it, including animals. 

Some of you may have seen this photo posted around Facebook lately. I have heard that this is a fake photo. Regardless of whether or not it is, this is serious stuff. People that have been drinking the water after it was deemed safe have gotten really sick. I feel so badly for those 300,000 people in the immediate vicinity that have to deal with this for an extended period of time. I really do. However, there are millions that are affected by this. Simply because we live downstream. While some cities, like Cincinnati, closed their water intake for the time the chemical passed through, my city cannot. We have been told that there isn't enough water to last an hour if the intake was closed because the city's reserves are already so low due to a high incidence of water main breaks. 

The best part about all of this is that it doesn't affect just our drinking and cooking water. It affects taking a shower, doing the dishes, the laundry, giving the cats water. Even flushing the toilet! You better believe that I have filled up every container I have at home with water AND bought several cases at the store, even though a little part of me died inside doing it. 

The suckiest part about all of this is that the company responsible will pay a hefty fine and cleanup fees then it will be forgotten, just like every other oil and chemical spill out there. 

Shame on you, Freedom Industries! Shame on you!

ETA: Apparently updated information has predicted that it will arrive at Cannelton Lock and Dam around 1AM Sunday. Unfortunately for us, that means that it will arrived in the Evansville area probably late Monday/early Tuesday. 

The Boy Behind the Blog: Movie Edition

It's back for 2014!  

Taken just a few days after we started dating.

This month's Boy Behind the Blog is all about movies. Let me tell you, Alan has TONS of movies. In grad school, we used to call him Alanflix because he had that many he would let us all borrow. While we have consolidated our DVD collections and gotten rid of some (and gained a whole lot of kid's movies!), we still have four large binders full. I guess we could still be considered Hollanflix?

1. What was your favorite movie of 2013? 
Considering we don't go to the movies because we have children, I've seen little from 2013. Of what I watched in 2013, I liked Safety Not Guaranteed, but I have no idea why. 

2. What is your all time favorite movie quote? 
I wouldn't say it's my "all time favorite movie quote" because I don't have a favorite, but it always makes me laugh when I watch it: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

3. What is your favorite type of movie? (Action, scary, comedy, etc) 
Randomness on Netflix
4. What is your New Year's Resolution?
To resolve. 
5. Finish the sentence: This year I will.... finish Holly's herb garden because she made a point to call me out in a previous post. Gotta love my passive aggressiveness!

I'm guest posting today over at re-solve. Please check it out!

Mal Smiles

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Introducing Ashley!

I first "met" Ashley through the Cara Box exchange several months ago. To say we hit it off is an understatement. We have lots in common and have become good friends. I was so excited that she is gracing my blog with her presence this month. But, I will let her tell you in her own words why she is so great :-)

Hi all of Holly's readers! I'm Ashley from Mrs. Mama. Mrs. Mama got started after I discovered other blogs. I was pregnant for the first time at 30, and although I was older, I was a nervous wreck about everything baby. Blogs helped me so much. I found a place where moms told me exactly what to expect, what to buy, what I would feel, and what I would need. These women were awesome! They answered every one of my crazy questions but what I really loved was how they were able to put me at ease. Apparently I'm not the only woman who goes a little crazy when they get pregnant. Before too long I had formed relationships were these lovely ladies. I wanted a blog of my own! I wanted to join the cool club!

Mrs. Mama was born. Marriage and a baby all in one year. Two huge life events all at once. I needed my space to write it all our and figure this whole wife and mama business out. Blogging has a way of inspiring you and holding you accountable. 

Mrs. Mama is now a year and a half old. The blogging community has become my second family. I'm still exploring these roles as wife and mother as things continue to evolve. My road to self-discovery is one I can only imagine walking with you my dear friends.  I'd love for you to swing by Mrs. Mama to check it out and see if you want to become friends. I'd love to have ya!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things Grandparents Forget About Having Small Children

After having spent several LONG days cooped up in the house with my family due to Indiana becoming Antarctica last week, I got to thinking about several things I wish grandparents would understand/remember about young children. 

1. Being loud when you're trying to get your children to sleep.
Having the tv up super loud when you're trying to get the kids to sleep, talking loudly or just being loud in general. My favorite is when you've asked them to please be quiet and they keep talking loudly. I don't know about you, but my kids won't go to sleep if they hear my voice, which makes it incredibly difficult when you're being bombarded with questions.

2. Letting the grandkids do something after their parents have said no in the presence of the parents.
I think it's disrespectful to directly and deliberately go against the wishes of the parents.  It also sends the message to the kids that it's ok to ignore what they say. Not cool grandma!

3. Ultimately it's the parents that have to deal with the consequences of your actions.
Believe me, I get it. You want to spoil your grandchildren. And yes, you've earned that right. Within reason. However, the parents are the ones that have to ultimately deal with the consequences of those actions, whether it's getting the kids completely riled up before nap/bedtime and then leave, giving them all kinds of sweets or rearranging the house after you have specifically said not to or any sort of combination of the above. 

Now, don't get me wrong, our families are VERY good to us and our kids. And, we're very appreciative of everything they have done for us. I'm not saying that grandparents shouldn't spend time with their grandchildren and that they should treat them every now and then. It's just when it's excessive then it becomes a problem!

Monday, January 13, 2014

On Censorship

Alan says it's not censorship, it's "playing nice." He does have a point, especially in our family, where my sister-in-law made a comment on her blog about another family member that totally blew up. Almost two years later, and things still aren't back to normal. However, where does "playing nice" cross over into being completely restricted with what you can and can't say.

I don't want to be one of those blogs where you only see the good stuff but in all honesty, I do censor my posts to an extent, for various reasons. I have friends and family that read and there are certain things that I feel they don't necessarily need to know (Why it doesn't bother me if people I have never met IRL know, I have no idea). There's also the fact that certain aspects of my job are sensitive so I definitely can't post a lot about it. This is horrible to say, but a lot of the time I feel like I'm completely restricted with what I can say, both on my blog and in real life. I'm very direct; I say what I want to say and then move on. I also wear my heart on my sleeve so even if I don't say what's wrong, you will definitely know something is up. It's incredibly frustrating and suffocating not to be able to say how I feel and be forced to keep it in.

A bloggy friend put it quite nicely, there's a fine line you have to walk between being "real" and being sunshine and rainbows. I recently asked in a post what all you would like to see in my blog and the overwhelming majority of you stated that I'm a "real" blogger and that you prefer it that way. Unfortunately, I don't feel like that most of the time. So, in an effort to be more real, I have decided to write every now and then about things that are tough topics for me and that definitely aren't sunshine and rainbows. I don't necessarily want to offend anyone but at the same time if I need to get something out, I should be able to have that outlet too.

After all, this IS my blog and I should be able to say what I want, censored or not. 

Don't forget to check out this giveaway:
One Quart of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil ($40 retail value)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Please Meet Candace

  1. After being made redundant last year I did the grown up thing and ran away to live by the sea.
  2. I love knitting, crochet and scrapbooking.
  3. I have a huge shoe collection but sadly rheumatoid arthritis is putting paid to me wearing a large number of my shoes.  However, I just can't let go of them.
Candace blogs over at Us Three By the Sea. She live in Wales and I am so jealous! I have really enjoyed reading her blog and getting to know her. Her photography is amazing and it reminds me why I miss Britain so. I really do hope that you take the time to check her out because she is such a strong woman and I know you will enjoy her and her blog as much as I do!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Travel Thursday: Isla Roatan

Since it has been so ridiculously cold outside the last couple days, I thought that this week's Travel Thursday should be about someplace warm!

Isla Roatan, Honduras was a stop on the cruise Alan and I went on for our honeymoon. I have briefly mentioned it before but I wanted to talk about it in more detail since it was one of my favorite stops on the cruise. 


We did one of the shore excursions, which was paddling a clear kayak along the second largest barrier reef in the world, followed by snorkeling through it. As a bonus, we went through the little zoo that was also there. I had never snorkeled before so I was very excited for the experience even though I was a little apprehensive. Some of you may know that I have a fear of fish, so we were a little worried how I would react swimming amongst them. However, I loved it! We had our waterproof digital camera and I had a blast taking photos of everything. It also didn't hurt that we saw maybe three fish :-)


Alan, however, didn't like it at all. He cut his knee on the coral at the beginning and had to swim with a bleeding knee through everything. Then when it was all over, they had him pour vinegar on it. Now, I definitely know the power of vinegar, but ouch! He has said on numerous occasions that that will be his first and last time snorkeling.

The little zoo was pretty cool. We got to be up close and personal with macaws, monkeys, lizards and all sorts of other animals.

As well as with the locals! 

One of my favorite things about our adventure on Isla Roatan  (and Belize) is that we got to travel across the entire island, which allowed us to see not just the touristy areas, but how people truly live. It's definitely different than here in the US and it makes you grateful for what you do have.

Don't forget about my coconut oil giveaway from Tropical Traditions!

This post may contain an affiliate link.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DressFirst Dresses

Did you know that I only went to my senior prom? And that I had a horrible time not only finding a dress, but one that was fashionable and affordable as a plus sized teen? It was honestly awful. I had this baby blue, empire waist dress that looked horrible on me. But, it was the only thing I could find that fit me. 

What I would've given for something like DressFirst.
A-Line/Princess Sweetheart Floor-Length Taffeta Organza Prom Dress With Lace Beading (018025298)  

Dressfirst.com is the leading website for affordable wedding dresses and other special occasion dresses, such as prom dresses, and accessories. These affordable dresses are custom made to order and shipped worldwide. 
A-Line/Princess Strapless Floor-Length Satin Tulle Prom Dress With Beading Feather (018014241) 

These dresses are absolutely beautiful and there is a style to fit every body type. The best part is that their sizes range from size 2 to 26W. Each dress comes in a multitude of colors making them truly customizable to you and your style.

They have tons of accessories too. Accessories are something that I didn't have with my prom dress because I just couldn't afford them. I wore sandals I already had that totally didn't go with my dress and carried the purse I used everyday. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that DressFirst carries everything from shoes to wraps to handbags to jewelry. All at incredibly low prices. If only my daughter were a little older, she would be set for her prom!

Prom dress 2014 season is several months away. However, it's never too early to plan, especially because semi-formal season is upon us now. DressFirst always has a sale going on where you can get anywhere from 30% to 70% off. Right now prom dresses are 60% off with free shipping! I now know where to go whenever I or my daughter need a dress for a special occasion. I hope you do too!

I was compensated for my review of dressfirst.com. However all opinions are my own.
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