Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Me in St. Louis Link Up #1


Welcome to Meet Me In St. Louis...a blog hop where you can meet new bloggers and link up with them, all while learning something new about each of the co-hosts and participants!

Why Meet Me In St. Louis?  Well, being from St. Louis, Missouri, centrally located in the Midwest, I thought it would be a perfect spot to meet up and get to know other bloggers all around the globe!

Help spread the word about this link up!  Tweet about it!!


This month's questions:

Did you keep your new year's resolutions during 2012, and will you make more for 2013?

Every year I make the same resolution to lose weight.  This year it was more important than ever since I still had some baby weight hanging around.  Did I accomplish it?  YES!  However, I'd be lying if I said that I stuck to all that I said I was.  I contribute my weight loss to chasing around a very active little boy and rarely having time to kick a few bud lights back at the momentum I once could.  (There are lots of calories in beer - the less I have, the less weight I put on.)
 

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

 A vacation.  Which is kind of cheating because it will be a reality in March.  We will be attending a close friends wedding in Rivera Maya, Mexico!  I have to admit that I will definitely miss my little guy while we are gone.  But excited nonetheless.  
I would also like to focus more on my blog.  I blogged a long time ago but got out of the habit due to a hectic work schedule and a baby.  Mainly work though...those 2 things still exist in my life, but I find blogging an outlet and plan to continue in full swing this year!

Did you do anything in 2012 that you had not done before?  

 Raised a toddler.  This is a feat in itself - and give me a whole new respect for those of you stay at home moms out there.  I'm a working mother, but being with my child all day (as I've been this past week ) is sometimes harder work than my IT job which is at times quite stressful!!  We are both learning as we go; he's learning that I mean business when I use my mom voice.  I'm learning that he knows what "NO" means but just doesn't care.  ;-)  Its a process...

What was your biggest achievement in 2012?

Changing jobs and going back to a full time employment position.  For the past year prior to 2012 I had been a contract employee for a large financial institution.  I made great $$, but the stability just wasn't there.  Don't get me wrong, I never had breaks between contracts but there is always that loop hole that a client can cease your contract at any time due to whatever they want.  With budgets being what they are at large company's, that doesn't make you feel very stable.  And I've been in a first hand position where I've seen and had to let go another contractor just because we were over budget on a project.  SCARY!  I moved back into the full time employment working for a telecommunications company - with benefits, retirement, the whole shebang!  I'm very excited!   

Do you have any big plans for 2013?

Not yet any way...we have some weddings, some friends having babies, but nothing directly involving my family.  I guess you could say that our vacation to Mexico for our friends wedding is big plans!  I'd like to have 2 vacations this year, but I just don't know if that can happen with hubbys vacation schedule just yet! 

Special Welcome to this months CO-HOST, Sarah at All Things Blogs!

Photobucket

Did you keep your new year's resolutions during 2012, and will you make more for 2013?

I completely forget my new year's resolution for 2012, I'm not entirely sure I had any last year, but my resolutions for 2013 will probably be to take my blog to the next level, get more personal with my readers and followers, try to get more involved with those who don't have blog that read my blog.
And I would love to get way more involved in the blogging community, like guest posts, co-host linky parties, spotlight other blogs, and much more!

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

To get way more involved with all the bloggers, and my readers.
To really take blogging up a level, and really make my posts shine and come out of the blog, I'm going to be posting about crafts a lot more, things in my life, and blogging tips and tutorials.
I also lacked thanking my followers, like with giveaways, so I would like to do giveaway much more often.    

Did you do anything in 2012 that you had not done before?  

Well, I never had a blog that actually stayed with me about a year.
But other than that, I made money from my blog, sold ads, took a ton more pictures than ever before.
I made a ton of crafts than, ever before for this blog and me.
I created many more friendships over the internet with bloggers, many have inspired me and helped my blog shine and grow.
I got together with Kate @ A Creative Cookie a ton more, and we talked about our blogs and worked on them.
I got a Schnoodle, for the first time, and named her Pepper.  Pepper is a spunky 2 yr old dog, who is crazy enough to run through the house full speed, for no reason at all (when this happens you have to duck behind cover.)
But other than that, she's a super sweet dog, around 30 lbs, super cute.  I wish I could tell you about all the things she does, but that will have to wait for another time.

What was your biggest achievement in 2012?

Probably to me, having a blog with 1000+ followers, and having around 31,000+ total page views, it might not seem like much to some of you out there, but it means the world to me, and I am so totally grateful for it.
I love knowing that I can write about anything and anytime on my blog, because it's mine.
I had the feeling that I could only write about a couple things and they had to be spaced out perfectly among the week, but ya know, it really doesn't matter, because it's YOUR blog, it's time to take control of it.

Do you have any big plans for 2013?

To make many more crafts, blog a ton more, and to take my designing to another level!
I plan to advertise my shop a ton more, and add so many new products!!
That's pretty much it!
But I'll let you know if there's something I'm planning on doing in a post on the ol` blog!

Rules:

**I ask that you follow each of your hosts**

**Click around and take a look at some of the other participants blogs and like them too.  Make sure you leave a comment on their blog letting them know you are a new follower and put a link in your comment to your blog so they know who to follow back.**

**Promote this link up via twitter, facebook, placing the button on your side bar, etc. - whatever you typically do!**

**HAVE FUN!  Make some new friends, get to know some new people.**

Do you have some questions that you would like to see answered by some other fellow bloggers?  Send them to me here!  If your question is chosen, you will be that months featured HOST automatically!

 

I'M LOOKING FOR CO-HOSTS!  IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP!!


What's in it for me if I'm not a co-host?  

Thats a great question!  Prior to each link up, I will post the "Meet Me In St. Louis" questions for those who are interested in linking up.  This way, when you have a new visitor to your blog, they can get to know you a little better right off the bat!  All I ask is that you participate in answering the questions, linking up to your "Meet Me In St. Louis" blog post, and add my button to your post.

Here's all the details:

**The Link Up will go live the 1st Tuesday of Every Month.**

**There will be 3-5 questions answered by the hosts each month. For others participating in the link up, you will need to link up the post where you answered the questions. (I can email you the questions in advance if you would like more time to prepare your post)**

What does it cost me to participate?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for co-hosts and participants who link up.


Can't wait to link up with everyone and read all kinds of fun facts about all my new and old friends!

If you are interested in co-hosting, please email me at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Questions for 1/1 Meet Me In St. Louis Link Up #1

As promised, here are the questions for my first link up, Meet Me In St. Louis.  Please create a post and link it up when the hop is published and live on Tuesday!  

Here are the questions for this month:

  • Did you keep your new year's resolutions during 2012, and will you make more for 2013?
  • What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
  • Did you do anything in 2012 that you had not done before?  
  • What was your biggest achievement in 2012?
  • Do you have any big plans for 2013?
 I hope you will join us and get to know some fellow bloggers while gaining new friends!  Don't forget to submit your questions for the following months hops.  I look forward to meeting all of you and reading your posts!!

If you would like to be a featured co-host in a monthly link up, please email me at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com.  There is no charge to be a co-host.

Cheers!



Friday, December 28, 2012

My Amazing Photographer

I know that many of you that follow may not be in the St. Louis area, but I have to give a shout out to my photographer, Jenny at JHP Photography for the amazing photos she took of my family. 

Here's a peek:




Healing Onions?

Have I mentioned I hate onions?  I despise their smell, their taste, unless fried, and then sometimes I can bear to eat them.

So on Christmas Eve, we go to my mother in laws and there is a halved onion in a bowl on her counter.  When I asked her about it, she said it was a healing onion.  Confused, I thought some medicinal whack job had convinced her to buy a "healing onion" and scamed her selling her just an ordinary onion.  That was not the case, she said that she heard about it on TV.  Crazy...or so I thought, then I started looking into it a little deeper.

So last night, a friend of mine shared the below post:
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu...
Many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser. She said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu, and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:

Thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmer's story...but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia, and, needless to say, I was very ill... I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs...sure enough it happened just like that...the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

This is the other note. Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don't know what to blame. Maybe it's the onions that are to blame. Onions absorb bacteria is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu and is the very reason we shouldn't eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open.

LEFT OVER ONIONS ARE POISONOUS

I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist.

Ed, who was our tour guide, is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially-made mayo is completely safe.

"It doesn't even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary." He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the summer picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table, and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.

Ed says that, when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the 'victim' last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It's probably the ONIONS, and if not the onions, it's the POTATOES.

He explained onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.. He says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator.

It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hotdogs at the baseball park!). Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you'll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you're asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.

Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.

Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.

Please pass this on to all you love and care about.

My first thought was NO WAY!!  Then I googled the first line and my first 2 pop ups were snopes.com and urbanlegends.com.  So the whole thing is a hoax!

However, onions and garlic do have immune enhancing  effects which help to fight cold and flu.  You can read the whole article on Livestrong.com here.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twittering Thursdays Twitter Hop #2

Welcome to Twittering Thursdays Twitter Hop!




Are you interesting in Co-Hosting next Thursdays Twitter Hop?  Email Deandra at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com
There is no charge to participate!

Please help spread the news about this TWITTER HOP!
Its only appropriate to TWEET about it!


RULES:

Please follow each hostess.






2. Leave a comment if you are new and want us to return the follow.
3. Grab the button and display it on your sidebar or link it to the post.
4. Have fun and meet new friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meet Me In St. Louis...Link Up: COMING SOON!


Welcome to Meet Me In St. Louis...a blog hop where you can meet new bloggers and link up with them, all while learning something new about each of the co-hosts and participants!

Why Meet Me In St. Louis?  Well, being from St. Louis, Missouri, centrally located in the Midwest, I thought it would be a perfect spot to meet up and get to know other bloggers all around the globe!

I'M LOOKING FOR CO-HOSTS!  IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP!!


What's in it for me if I'm not a co-host?  

Thats a great question!  Prior to each link up, I will post the "Meet Me In St. Louis" questions for those who are interested in linking up.  This way, when you have a new visitor to your blog, they can get to know you a little better right off the bat!  All I ask is that you participate in answering the questions, linking up to your "Meet Me In St. Louis" blog post, and add my button to your post.

Here's all the details:

**The Link Up will go live the 1st Tuesday of Every Month.**

**There will be 3-5 questions answered by the hosts each month. For others participating in the link up, you will need to link up the post where you answered the questions. (I can email you the questions in advance if you would like more time to prepare your post)**

**I'm shooting for the first link up to go live on January 1st**

What does it cost me to participate?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for co-hosts and participants who link up.

**I ask that you follow each of your hosts**

**Click around and take a look at some of the other participants blogs and like them too.  Make sure you leave a comment on their blog letting them know you are a new follower and put a link in your comment to your blog so they know who to follow back.**

**Promote this link up via twitter, facebook, placing the button on your side bar, etc. - whatever you typically do!**

**HAVE FUN!  Make some new friends, get to know some new people.**

Do you have some questions that you would like to see answered by some other fellow bloggers?  Send them to me here!  If your question is chosen, you will be that months featured HOST automatically!

Can't wait to link up with everyone and read all kinds of fun facts about all my new and old friends!

If you are interested in co-hosting, please email me at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twittering Thursday's Twitter Hop! #1

Welcome to Twittering Thursdays Twitter Hop!




Are you interesting in Co-Hosting next Thursdays Twitter Hop?  Email Deandra at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com
There is no charge to participate!

Please help spread the news about this TWITTER HOP!
Its only appropriate to TWEET about it!


RULES:

Please follow each hostess.






2. Leave a comment if you are new and want us to return the follow.
3. Grab the button and display it on your sidebar or link it to the post.
4. Have fun and meet new friends!

Me, Myself & I December Link Up





1) What was your favorite gift given to you as a child?

My favorite gift as a child was my little tykes Kitchen.  I remember playing with it, but I think the best memory are those that my family shares when they talk about the Christmas morning that I got it.  I made everyone breakfast, including cracking the plastic eggs so hard that the plastic cracked.  I kept this kitchen until I was well into my teens and even though I never played with it anymore because I was way to old, it was still hard to part with.



2) Christmas is almost here, what is that one Christmas song you could listen to on repeat?

Chipmunks Christmas Song


Although up until a couple of years ago, it was Mariah Careys "All I Want For Christmas is You" but the radio ruined that for me by playing it on repeat for me!

3) What are a few of the items on your Christmas list this year?
Bissel Spotbot
MAC Makeup Giftcard
New riding boots

4) Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions? Explain.

Every year since I was a kid, my mom always had Christmas Morning Breakfast at her house.  This is still a tradition.  We visit my in-laws on Christmas Eve every year and spend X-Mas morning with my parents.  Even now that we have a child.  Its just tradition.

5) Which do you prefer: wrapping paper or gift bags? Why?

Up until I had Drew, I preferred gift bags for the simplicity.  Now, I prefer wrapping paper because its so much more fun to watch the kids tear into it.  However, the adults usually get gift bags still.  I also like receiving gift bags for the simple fact that it provides a way to transport all the new goodies home with me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: "Bared to You" by Sylvia Day

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire #1)
Berkley Publishing
2012

Format: e-book

First Line(s): "We should head to a bar and celebrate."  I wasn't surprised by my roommate's emphatic pronouncement.  Cary Taylor found excuses to celebrate, no matter how small and inconsequential.  I'd alwasy considered it part of his charm.  "I'm sure drinking the night before starting a new job is a bad idea."

Synopsis from Goodreads: “If I were to recommend any book today to readers who enjoyed 50 Shades…this would be the first one I would offer….scorching love scenes.”—Dear Author

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...


My Thoughts:  I read this following the 50 Shades of Grey series.  These are not typically my "normal" type of read, however I had to see what all the hype was about.  This series was recommended to me by a friend after I told her that the 50 Shades of Grey books annoyed me due to the whiny heroine in the books.


The plot of this book is a little too similar to the 50 shades of grey books.  But it also had its differences which in my opinion made it a tad better than the 50 shades books.

Similarities:

  • The hero (Gideon Cross) is a late 20's, tall, dark and irresistibly handsome billionaire, afraid of commitment, until he meets Eva.
  • Gideon needs to be in control and is very obsessive when it comes to the heroine, Eva Tramell.  Very jealous personality as the book continues in both the hero and heroine.  Gideon maintains friendships with past lovers which Eva cannot tolerate.
  • Everything with Gideon is sex...its always the matter of topic and on his mind non-stop.
  • Gideon has commitment issues due to being abused as a small child.  He is not into relationships, but Eva is different.  With her he desires more than just sex, he wants her commitment to him - to give her the title all women dream of....girlfriend.
  • TONS of sex...
Differences:
  • There are no contracts, BDSM (yet anyway, they reference some remarks about it, but as of the end of this book there is none of that taking place).
  • Eva is jealous, but no where near as whiney as Ana was.  She is able to communicate and speak her mind.  She is way more confident than Ana, but with anyone who dates a young, handsome, billionaire, she is constantly wondering why he is so into her when he can have anyone he desires.
  • Both Gideon and Eva were abused sexually as children (at least I assume Gideon was based on my interpretation of what I read).  This shapes the characters into the people that they are and how they handle their relationship and take it to new levels.
  • TONS of sex...only more graphic and more of it than 50 Shades.  Christian Grey doesn't hold a candle to Gideon in my opinion.

This book is primarily porn, but it does have a story and plot.   Gideon and Eva provide a wild ride and a compelling story about obsession, lust, and heavy burdens from their troubled pasts.  I hope Book 2 of the series, Reflected in You, will give some more insight on Gideon's past and solve the mystery of what causes his horrific nightmares and hidden secrets.

Bared to You gets 3.8 stars.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Random facts...


Speaking of Random...talk about Nickelback again...and while we are at it...Dave Matthews sucks.  (Just kidding, but if you go off on my band, I'm going to return the favor!)
  • I figure skated competitively for 13 years and eventually taught lessons. Boy do I miss those days...and those thighs.
  • My brother is one of my best friends. No matter what, hes always there for me and understands me in a way that some of my very close friends never will.
  • My grandma was my favorite person in the whole world.  She died almost 3 years ago and it still hurts me everyday.  
  • I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis at 14. I've had 4 surgeries, but it keeps spreading. They told me I would never have children...proved them wrong...:-)
  • I'm addicted reading horribly written books.  No-not really, but those types of books always seem to make it into my bookshelf through a recommendation.
  • When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer and write books. I'm a very creative writer and love to write whenever I get the chance.
  • Speaking of writing, I am published. My college english/writing teacher published one of my homework assignments. A paper that I wrote for an assignment in a college writing class...a paper that I wrote at 2 am drunk as a skunk. It was a comparative essay titled... Santa Claus vs. The Easter Bunny.
  • In H.S., my best friend Val called me "dumbass" on the way to the dance for leaving the homecoming tickets at home. Guess it kind of stuck, because to this day, she still calls me dumbass....and so does her husband, and her family, and my family...and just about anyone who knows me.
  • I'm a pretty good dart player. I've played in leagues since I was 17. I used to be better than I am now...could be better than I am now, but enjoy it more as a hobby than anything.
  • I love Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, & Elvis Presley. The good ones always die so young.
  • One of my favorite movies is Gone with the Wind. My grandma and I watched it as a little girl...how many little girls do you know that could sit through a movie that long? Other favorites is the Cutting Edge, Dirty Dancing, North & South, and Pearl Harbor. I could watch those again and again.
  • I'm married the guy that I was infatuated with in high school. But he was off limits back then because he dated a friend of mine. I think after 10 years, its ok for me to date a guy that a friend dated briefly in HS and eventually marry him, although I never asked for permission either.
  • I want to learn how to play the piano. I took lessons as a kid, but hated it. Now I'm at an age to appreciate it.  I may have to live vicariously through my son once he's old enough.
  • I have a bucket list...a list of things I want to do before I "kick the bucket". I've had this list since I was in high school...although over the years, some things have been marked off and others added. I've never showed it to anyone, nor will I.
  • I am an organized mess. From the looks of things, you would think that I'm a slob, but I'm actually very organized.
  • It is my generation to have triplets. Which is ok with me...knock them out with one shot!  I used to think that till I became a mother.  Now I'm THANKFUL for only one at a time.
  • I HATE onions. Its actually the smell I can't stand...but therefore, I cannot eat them. I also hate mushy foods, i.e bananas, beans,etc. etc.
  • I share a birthday with Neil Diamond, Mary Lou Retton, and the great John Belushi.
  • I took swing dancing lessons. I'm not saying I'm good at this type of dancing, but I got some moves...
  • I hate shopping. I'm really not a girly girl. I prefer to shop online...in fact, I did all my black Friday shopping from the comfort of my home.
  • I tried to enlist in the military out of high school...but they wouldn't take be because of my health issues.
  • My favorite color is purple.
  • I don't like clubs. I prefer a hole in the wall bar over a nightclub. My "Cheers" is Rookies. I used to live there pre-Drew.
  • I can drink gallons of iced tea. It is one of my favorite drinks. No wonder I can't sleep at night!!


Thursday, November 29, 2012