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Celebrity Spokespeople vs. REAL People

 

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Do you ever watch television and see a celebrity pushing a product or service and wonder “Why him/her?” For example, Tommy Lee Jones promoting Ameriprise Financial and Catherine Zeta-Jones trying to get you to sign up for T-Mobile. I wouldn’t associate these people with the things they are trying to sell you. In fact, I am never swayed by celebrity endorsements. These people are getting paid millions to promote products and services that they have most likely never used themselves. They may get a ton of free products being a spokesperson, but do they really use these products and would they HONESTLY endorse them if a big, fat paycheck wasn’t being dangled in front of them?

One sector that really irks me are the weight loss companies. I am an obese person. I would love to lose weight.

I think it’s great that Jessica Simpson, Marie Osmond, Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Fisher lost weight. I truly do! And I’m NOT putting these beautiful ladies down or discrediting their weight loss. Especially Jennifer. WOW!

All of these celebrities have money. They can afford these programs as well as personal chefs and personal trainers. I think anyone could be successful with a weight loss program if they had someone preparing their meals for them and a trainer to help whip them into shape. Even someone who has never been successful in the past would probably do very well if they had a chef and trainer. I know I would.

What I would love to see if for the weight loss companies to have REAL people as their spokespersons. People like you and me. Someone who does not have the financial means to hire a chef or even afford to join a gym. For me that would be a true testament to how well something works.

Each year People magazine has their weight loss issue where real people share their weight loss stories. Often popular diet plans are mentioned. Those are the kinds of endorsements I want to see. These men and women are not paid to endorse the weight loss plans. No one is giving them millions of dollars to tell people to hurry up and join.

Gym

I would love to see someone like me promoting a weight loss program. A busy mom with a career and a home to take care of. Someone who has to scramble to make their family a healthy dinner every night and someone whose only current form of exercise is walking the dog. I would love to see how they incorporate a weight loss program into their busy lives, and how they can incorporate the program into their family life. It’s not always easy to microwave your dinner while cooking a different meal for your family. If you have ever been on a “diet” (I hate that word) you probably know what I mean. It’s hard to make your family chicken parmesan and pasta while you are eating a tiny piece of Salisbury steak and a dollop of mashed potatoes.

I wish I had a personal chef who could create healthy meals for not only me, but also my family. That would be wonderful.

I cannot afford a gym membership. I might be able to swing a few small pieces of equipment, but that is about it. My family would love to have a treadmill, but they are outside of our budget.

I know I could turn on my TV and pop in a DVD and follow along with a exercise video but it’s not the same as having someone next to you, encouraging you and pushing you to do more. Not someone like Jillian Michaels. She scares me. :-) I don’t want someone to yell and scream at me. I require a more gentle approach.

Sometimes I find exercise videos hard to follow along with. They move faster than I do and some of the moves I physically can’t do. If I had a personal trainer they could help me to exercise at my own speed and recommend other moves I can do based on my needs and limitations.

I wish these weight loss programs would ditch the celebrities and hire REAL people to share their weight loss journey. I would be more likely to use a program that show real people with real results – without outside help.

I’m sorry for my little rant. It just irks me. I’m NOT trying to discredit any of the weight loss plans. I have tried the three most popular and I have had success. They all work, you just have to stick with it and have the money to stay with it for as long as you can.

Do you feel the same way about celebrity endorsements? Have you ever purchased a product or service based on a celebrity endorsement?

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Diet

Kimberly

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Resolutions, Diets, Inspiration and Laughter… oh my!

 

Healthy lifestyle

Did you know that almost every day of the year has something special assigned to it? Most of these “holidays” and observances are unknown to most of us. For example, February 28, 2014 is National Pancake Day. This coming Saturday (January 4, 2014) is National Spaghetti Day.

There are also weekly and monthly observances. Bald Eagle Appreciation Day are January 18th & 19th this month. February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month and March 25th through the 29th is Termite Awareness Week.

Raise your hand if you celebrate Termite Awareness Week?

It would be very interesting to learn about how these observances began and how others got on board with it. Is it easy to do? Can I declare May 1st as National Love a Blogger Day? LOL!

I did a little research and found some observances for this upcoming week.

New Year’s Resolutions Week is January 1st to January 4th. I think most people are on board with this one. After all, the New Year is when most people declare that they are going to eat healthier, stop smoking, get more organized and better their life.

I don’t make resolutions. I used to but I stopped doing that years ago. I felt like resolutions don’t life up to all the hype. Instead I set goals for myself for the New Year. I realize goals and resolutions are the same thing. I just find it easier to accept the term goals more so than resolutions. I see things differently when I label it a goal rather than a resolution. Resolutions to me are “fluff”. Goals are more “meaty” and have ore meaning behind them. At least in my opinion.

I would list my goals in this post, but I’m still trying to hash them out and select my top five. Right now I have a lot of possible goals. Too many is not good. Having too many is only going to set me up to fail. Instead I need to pick out 3-5 realistic goals and stick with them.

Do YOU have any resolutions for the New Year? Feel free to share them with me in the comments section. Sometimes writing things down help you feel more obligated to see them through. It makes you accountable for your actions.

Healthy Food

It’s seems fitting that January 1st through January 7th is Diet Resolution Week. I HATE the word “diet”, don’t you?

I have been on almost every diet imaginable – Slim Fast, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Optifast, Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins, Special K, laxatives, starvation, exercising like a crazy person, binging and purging… there is nothing I haven’t tried. I even have weight loss surgery (Roux En Y). I lost almost 200 pounds in two years but gained back weight when I got pregnant. I’ve been 100 pounds overweight for the past 17 years.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these diet plans (Slim Fast, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins…) ARE GREAT. Most offer delicious foods and much needed support. The problem is that once you go off them chances are you’ll gain back some of the weight (if not all) that you lost. No one can live on pre-packaged foods for the rest of your life. You need to learn to eat in the “real world”.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the fundamentals of losing weight – Make healthier food choices, watch your portion size, drink plenty of water and exercise. That’s it! That is what you need to do.

I tell my kids all the time they CAN have Oreo cookies, but it’s better to have two and not six. They CAN have ice cream every day, just have a little bit and there is no need to drown the ice cream in candy, cookies and chocolate syrup.

I feel blessed that my kids will often opt for raw baby carrots instead of cookies or chips when they get home from school. Or grab a yogurt instead of candy. I’m not saying they don’t enjoy chips, cookies and candy. They do. They just know that they need to balance the “bad stuff” with the “good stuff”.

I’m obese. I don’t eat bag full of chips and a ton of candy and soda. I just make wrong choices, I don’t watch my portions and I hate to exercise. I would rather have a bowl of cheese tortellini with butter and black pepper than a cupcake or slice of cake. What I SHOULD make is a salad and grilled chicken or tuna. I’m just lazy. It’s easier for me to boil water and toss in some tortellini.

As for exercise – I hate it! Walking is fine but other than that I hate to exercise. We do have a gym in our condo complex that my teenagers use a few times per week. I SHOULD go with them, or go during the day when they are at school. Bu do I? No. I need to change that. “Moving” is one of my goals. I can’t sit at my desk all day long and no move.

Laughter

An interesting observance this week (January 2nd to January 8th) is Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week. There is a Facebook page set up for this week (I’m sorry but I can’t find the link – I did see it earlier today).

My husband was just at the Cardiologist a few days ago. He sees one every six month because heart disease runs in his family. His father died of a heart attack, as did his older brother. His mom had heart disease and had many surgeries as a result (she died from Pancreatic Cancer, not a heart aliment).

The reason why my husband went in to see the Cardiologist before his six month check up is because he was having an argument with our 16 year old daughter (teenagers, as you know, can be such a “joy” at times – mean sarcastically of course). He actually broke out into a sweat and had a tight feeling in his chest. The Cardiologist examined him and found him to be in great health. He said the tightness he felt was his esophagus spasming due to the stress of the heated argument.

What it boiled down to is that my husband is overly stressed out between parenting teenagers, his job, money worries and a few other things. The Cardiologist and I discussed with my husband ways to de-stress and how he needs to not freak out over the littlest thing. I have seen vein pop out of his head when the cat pukes on the floor or if the dog needs to go out late at night. These are not things that he should stress about.

Stress is a response to things seen as a physical or psychological threat. The cat throwing up is not something that would be seen as a physical or psychological threat, but our body and minds are weird and some how my husband’s body feels it’s a threat and he reacts by getting stressed out. It’s also due to a feeling of not having control over the situation.

Stress

The doctor told him he needs to “find his happy place” (to quote the doctor and Finding Nemo). Some place where he can mentally travel to when he’s feeling stressed to help him to calm down. He’s still working on finding such a place in his mind.

I also told him to “be a duck“. Duck’s feathers are some what waterproof. Water just rolls off of them. I want the things that would normally stress my husband out to just “roll” off of him. I also told him he needs to pick and choose what to stress about. Getting stressed out because we have no money to hold us over to the next paycheck IS a reason to stress out – stressing out because someone spilled a glass of water on the floor is not.

It has been proven that laughter has health benefits too. Some experts say it can help you to live longer. Laughter improves both your physical and mental health.

Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week is meant to remind people that they need to find more laughter in their lives, even if it means finding laughter in situations might not seem funny when they are happening.

Have you ever been in a situation where at the time it was not funny, but days, weeks or years later when you look back on it you some how find humor in the situation? That is what is meant by Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week - find humor in every situation.

What do you think about these “weeks”? Now that you know about them do you think you’ll participate in them?

What is the weirdest observation week/day/month that you have ever heard of?

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Goal

Kimberly

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A look back at 2013

 

2013

With the dawn of a new year hours away I thought I would take this time to look back on 2013 and reflect on it’s ups and downs.

2013 flew by – literally. I think this was the quickest year I have ever experienced. I can still vividly remember watching all the New Year’s festivities on TV last year. It seems like only yesterday. I know that is an expression but it really does feel like it was yesterday.

This past year had many highs and lows. It’s the lows that I am looking forward to putting far behind me.

In 2013 we FINALLY sold our condo and found a beautiful house. My whole family was excited about finally having a house and space. I even created a Pinterest page where I pinned house hold items and décor that I wanted for our new house. Sadly that all went sour. We had to back out of the purchase of the house due to some very important information the mortgage guy failed to mention to us. And we had to cancel the sale of our condo. We even did the right thing and reimbursed the buyer the money she paid to have our condo inspected.

I TRY and think of that whole fiasco as a blessing in disguise. We would have been “house poor” in a matter of months.

We have given up on owning a house. We’re trying to make due living in our shoebox sized condo.

My dad passed away earlier this year. I never had a chance to say “good bye” or to tell him that I love him. :-( I find comfort in knowing he’s with my mom now. He’s never been happy since she passed away 10 years ago this month.

Mom and Dad

My aunt passed away this year too.

My blog even got hit with some bad stuff this year. About a month ago something happened to my site which we still can’t figure out. Google knocked me off the map. At one point you couldn’t find me if you Googled “She Scribes”. It’s as if I never existed. That part has finally been worked out but my page rank went from a PR4 to N/A. Ouch! That hurt A LOT. It’s also effecting my traffic. That is very bothersome too.

This past year did have some highlights.

Our daughter turned 16. It’s hard to believe that we have a 16 year old.

My family spent a beautiful day on the Hudson River on the Spirit of New York cruise ship. That was amazing! I have lived in New York all my life and I have never seen New York City from that vantage point. The ship’s captains even invited my family to hang out with them for a bit in the control room.

One other time we went to New York City we went to the top of Rockefeller Center (aka “Top of the Rock”) and saw some breath taking views of the city.

Speaking of New York City – I had an amazing time at Hellmann’s 100th Anniversary. We were treated to the show, The Chew. I was even seen on TV! I also had my picture taken with Chef Mario Batalli (I had met him earlier in the year as well).

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At the Hellmann’s 100th Anniversary there was the World’s Longest Picnic Table which will go into the Guinness Book of World Records. At that same event I got to briefly meet Andy Cohen (Watch What Happens Live). I even snapped some pictures with Andy with my friend Mitch (GayNYCDad.com) and Jackie (MySentimentExactLee.com). That was a fun day.

Andy Cohen

My family and I also attended the “Green” Carpet Premiere of the film Epic. I had the chance to meet and interview Colin Farrell, Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari, Amanda Seyfried and director Chris Wedge.

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There are a few more things but I don’t want to bore anyone. :-)

Now 2014 is just hours away. I have to admit that I’m a bit “down” right now. I know I should be hopeful and look forward to what the new year might bring. I just don’t feel that way right now. I wish I knew why.

I don’t make resolutions. I used to but I found that making resolutions was just a way to set myself up for failure. Instead I opt to make “better” and “conscious” choices in my life. Instead of saying ”I need to go on a diet and lose xxx pounds”, I am going to make a conscious effort not to eat more than one cookie, or make an effort to walk the dog for 15-20 longer than I would normally do.

This year I want to organize my time better so that I am not blogging at all hours of the night to keep on top of things and not able to do things around my home like I need to. I want to try and get posts written and scheduled ahead of time so that I can have a “me day” once a week to catch up on things, read a book, take on a hobby, or persue other activities.

I hope my readers won’t mind if I throw in more personal posts this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still host giveaways and do reviews, I just want to add MORE to my site. It seems like all I do are reviews and giveaways. I want to offer readers MORE than that. I’m a forty something year old woman, I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I have thoughts and ideas. I would like to share these things with my readers. I would love for my readers to get to know the person I am.

I also want to add some more fun and interesting things to my blog. I want to post things that will get you thinking, posts to make you laugh, posts where I can connect with readers and more.

She Scribes Logo

I don’t know how I am going to accomplish all of this, but I’m sure going to try and figure it out.

As 2013 comes to an end I want to thank each and every one of my loyal readers and followers for sticking with me throughout the year. Without all of you I would not be where I am today. I owe my blog’s existence to everyone who takes a few moments out of their day to stop by and see what I have to say. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

For all my new readers and followers I hope you’ll stick around and stay with me throughout 2014.

I would love it if you would all “connect” with me on the various social media outlets.

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SheScribes

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/She_Scribes

Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/SheScribes

Instagram: SheScribes

On a side note – if you could take my 2014 demographics survey (click on the “check mark” graphic on the side bar —>) that would be very helpful.  It’s totally anonymous and it will help me to get a better understanding as to what kind of content and things my readers are most interested in. You DON’T need to enter an e-mail or anything personal and it’s only 10 quick questions. Thank you!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have a happy and healthy new year. May all your hopes and dreams come true in 2014.

Happy New Year

Kimberly

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Please Join Morris the Cat on Morris’ Rescue Watch And Help Provide Food To Homeless Cats & Learn How You Can Win a Year Supply of Cat Food

 

Pet Collage

Clockwise: Velcro, Kitty, Padmé, Anakin, Bella and Espn.

If you are a long time reader of my blog you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for animals. I love them! I would have a farm – or a zoo – if possible. I would especially love to have a shelter for homeless pets of all shapes and sizes if I had the money to do so.

We have five cats, a dog and some fish. Four of our cats were adopted from the local animal shelter (one of which we fostered the entire time so she never actually stayed at the shelter). One of our cats was born to feral parents in our condo complex. A neighbor hand raised them so they would be adoptable. Otherwise the kittens would have perished in our complex (many others were hit by cars or climbed into the dumpsters only to be taken away by the garbage men :-().

Our dog Espn (pronounced Es-pin) was adopted from the local animal shelter and one of our fish was won at a local county fair (we bought the other fish to keep him company).

My family does what it can for our local shelter. We donate food, litter, blankets, money and even items we don’t want/need that they can sell to raise money too. I was even a volunteer for a while, taking photos of the available pets to be used in local publications and PetFinder.org.

Kitty

Kitty

Each and every one of our pets bring such joy and happiness to our lives. I love that they each have their own personalities and “quirks”. For example, Kitty (the Calico above) loves to like windows, mirrors and eat tape (we have to hide the tape from her). She’s also VERY friendly and is always one of the first to greet visitors. When she wants attention she takes my kid’s stuffed animals and drags them into the living room and meows as if she was a lion who just caught it’s meal. LOL!

Anakin is the comedian of the group. He’s also known as “Boobie Boy”. The cat has strange obsession with boobs (no kidding!). He loves to reach out and “fluff” them up with his paws. Crazy cat!

Anakin was ASLEEP hanging off the cat tree like this.

Anakin was ASLEEP hanging off the cat tree like this.

Anakin in the tube

Velcro is our oldest cat. He has Diabetes and needs injections twice a day. He’s a true  “scaredy cat”. He’s afraid of his own shadow. But he’s also a brute and lets all the others know that he’s “boss”.

Velcro

Velcro

He doesn’t look as healthy now as he does in the photo. The Diabetes has made him lose a lot of weight and his fur and skin look horrible these days.

Padmé is the “mom” of the group. She takes care of all the others. She’s also a sweetheart. She used to sit on my shoulder like a parrot when she was younger (she’s too big do that now).

Padmé and Velcro

Padmé and Velcro

Padmé

Padmé

The baby of the group is Bella. She’s our foster kitten that we adopted. She tends to get a bit more spoiled than the others because she has a bunch of health issues including Thyroid problems, three leaky valves in her heart and severe asthma. I have to give her an inhaler (a people inhaler) every day through a special mask called Aerokat. Despite that’s he’s a very sweet little girl too and probably the most friendliest of them all.

Bella & my husband asleep on the chair.

Bella & my husband asleep on the chair.

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Bella always finds weird places to sleep.

Bella likes to sit on our laps when we take her to/from the vet/animal hospital. We only let her do it when we are almost home for safety reasons. She loves to look out the window.

Bella likes to sit on our laps when we take her to/from the vet/animal hospital. We only let her do it when we are almost home for safety reasons. She loves to look out the window.

Of course there is our dog Espn. Espn thinks he’s a cat. He loves to play with cat toys, he LOVES fresh catnip and he’s even been caught sleeping ON the cat tree from time to time. LOL!

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I’m sure many cat lovers are familiar with Morris the Cat? He’s the famous face for 9 Lives Cat food. He’s been around for many years – even when I was a young girl.

Morris the Cat has teamed up with the ASPCA to help out shelter cats across the country.

Did you know that Morris was once a shelter cat? Before he had a loving home, a comfy bed, and a slew of squeaky toys, Morris the Cat was adopted from a shelter. Since then Morris has made it his mission to help cats everywhere live well.

Morris the Cat

You can help Morris and the ASPCA provide food for shelter cats simply by watching funny and entertaining cat videos. For each view on the special Morris Rescue Watch website, 9 Lives will donate one meal to a shelter cat in need – up to 1 million meals.

In addition you could also turn your cat into a super star and win a year’s supply of cat food AND a $3,000 donation to a shelter of your choice. Simply submit a silly, sweet or hilarious video of your cat (or cats) to the Morris Rescue Watch website.

Here is a little more information about Morris’ Rescue Watch campaign and contest.

Before he had a loving home, a comfy bed, and a slew of squeaky toys, Morris the Cat was adopted from a shelter. Now, the most famous cat-celebrity in the world, Morris the Cat of 9Livescat food, is giving back. 9Lives Morris’ Rescue Watch is a campaign to generate food donations for local shelter cats by encouraging cat lovers to do what they love and already do anyway– watch cat videos! Anyone can participate by simply watching 9Lives Morris’ Rescue Watch videos on MorrisRescueWatch.com. For every view 9Lives cat food will donate one meal to a shelter, up to 1 million meals!  Additionally, now through October 18, 2013, Morris is encouraging fans to submit their own fun cat videos to MorrisRescueWatch.com for a chance to be one of three winners to each receive a year’s supply* of 9Lives cat food and a $3,000 donation to a shelter of their choice.

It’s time to put the hours we spend watching cat videos to good use!” said Morris the Cat. “Whether you’re watching one of the videos or sending me a video of your own kitty on camera, each view will help care for a cat in need.” 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CUE THE CATS!

Morris and 9Lives brand cat food are proud to support the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to help cats most in need.  With the ASPCA’s help, the 9Livescat food donation of up to 1 million meals will go to shelters where they can do the most good.

9Lives Morris’ Rescue Watch is a fun, easy, and interactive way for cat lovers to help feed and care for cats in need across the country,” said Carrie Schliemann, Director of Cat Food Marketing at Del Monte Foods. “With the increased popularity of watching and sharing funny cat videos, we know fans will help make a big impact on the lives of shelter cats. We’re thrilled to partner with the ASPCA in a continued effort to ensure that every cat lives well.”

MORRIS ON A MISSION

Throughout the years, Morris has made it his mission to help cats live well. In 2006 and 2007, Morris led Morris’ Million Cat Rescue adoption campaign and traveled the country to raise awareness and facilitate more than 1 million cat adoptions.

Morris and 9Lives are proud to support the ASPCA. Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. Like the ASPCA, 9Lives believes that all cats deserve to live well, and living well starts with eating well. 9Lives cat food offers great taste and nutrition to help keep cats happy and healthy.

To support 9Lives Morris’ Rescue Watch by watching a funny video or submitting your own video, visit MorrisRescueWatch.com. For additional information on 9Livescat food, visit 9Lives.com.

*A year’s supply calculated as 15 bags of 13lb cat food to be awarded in the form of one (1) Visa gift card; approximate retail value: $142.50 USD.

It is so easy to help cats in need. All you need to do is watch adorable cat videos. Sounds great to me! Who doesn’t love to watch cats doing cute and silly things? Plus the more videos you watch the more food is donated to help cats in need. The videos are only about a minute or two long so you could easily watch all the videos during your lunch break or anytime you want a laugh.

I wish I could find a video I did not too long ago of our youngest cat Bella playing with a toy. She did a tumble that was so funny. Even my family got a good laugh out of the video when I showed it to them. I can’t seem to find it now.

The only ones I could find (aside from videos I took for the vet of Bella having asthma attacks) are these videos. The first one is literally just a few seconds. It’s a video of Bella closing the door on a toy barbecue.

 

 

 

I love the one of Bella rubbing up against my daughter’s damp hair. Bella LOVES damp hair – especially long hair. She does that all the time to my daughter. She goes out of her way to do that when she knows my daughter came out of the shower. I don’t know why she likes it so much.

The last video is of Bella when she was a kitten. I thought it was cute (even if the quality is poor). Bella loves her “Lambie” toy. She’s had is since she was a newborn. We fostered her and her sister (who had to be put to sleep at 3 weeks old :-() since they were one day old. I gave them the little stuffed lamb so they had something soft to cuddle with. Bella played with it all the time. I even saw her run around with it in her mouth. She still has the toy and plays with it.

Bella and Lambie

If you love animals as much as my family does, would you please consider taking a few minutes out of your day to check out the adorable videos on the Morris’ Rescue Watch website. You get to enjoy sweet and funny videos and a cat in need will receive food. It’s a win-win situation.

For more information please visit Morris’ Facebook page and 9Lives.com.

To learn about the ASPCA visit www.ASPCA.org.

Please consider donating to your local animal shelter. Donations of food (both for adults and puppies/kittens), litter, blankets (used is fine including sheets, pillow cases and pillows), cleaning supplies, office supplies as well as cash is always appreciated and needed. Volunteering to help walk the dog and socialize with the animals is also welcome.

Do you have a pet that you rescued from a local shelter? Feel free to tell me about him/her. If you happen to have any funny, sweet or silly cat videos be sure to upload them to the Morris’ Rescue Watch website for your chance to win a year supply of food AND a $3,000 donation to your local shelter.

Feeding time at our "mini-zoo".

Feeding time at our “mini-zoo”.

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this because I support causes that help animals in need. Any opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.

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Hallmark’s Get Carded Challenge

 

Mailbox with cards

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter, card or postcard in the mail? For many of us such sentiment is few and far between.

I miss the days of getting actual “snail mail”. I’m not talking about envelopes marked “DUE NOW” in big, red letters. I’m talking about a letter from a long lost relative or a “just because” card from a friend you haven’t spoke to in a few years, or even a postcard from Grandpa from his trip to Europe. I miss that.

I used to collect postcards. I have postcards from around the world from my parents, grandparents and biological father. I still have them too. It’s fun to read them and having my parents and grandparents “speak” to me again (they are all deceased).

These days people don’t even send cards. They shoot you an e-mail or write a post on your Facebook wall. It’s just not the same as opening up a card.

I’m glad that I saved many of the cards I received as a child, as well as cards my kids have received over the years. With the way technology is today who knows what the future holds for cards.

Do you know what the best kind of cards are? The ones that you don’t expect. I love those kinds of cards. Cards from family and friends just to say “hello”, “thinking of you”, “miss you” and “I’m glad you are in my life”.

I used to give those kinds of cards to my hubby. Some where along the way I stopped doing that. I need to get into the habit of doing that again. I used to love to leave cards for him tucked in his laptop bag, in his car’s glove compartment or in his coat pocket. :-) Some of the card were romantic, others were just silly to make him smile.

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Hallmark reached out to me last month asking if I would like to participate in their Get Carded Challenge. This fun challenge was designed to help encourage people to  connect and reconnect with loved ones, whether it’s a friend, old college roommate, neighbor, colleague, parent, sibling or significant other.

I really liked that idea. When we almost moved upstate I was going to be closer to my family and friends – many people that I haven’t seen in 20+ years, but whom I keep in touch with from time to time via e-mail and Facebook. I liked the idea of sending them an unexpected surprise – a card from me!

Hallmark sent me an assortment of cards. All I needed to do was write a message on the inside, address the envelope and mail it out. Here are the people I chose to send cards to.

Day 1: My cousin. We grew up together. She was like a sister to me. She lives in another state. We rarely get to see each other. Family, work and distance keep us apart. We have tried to have mini-reunions over the years, but it’s certainly not enough. Especially for someone I have so many wonderful memories with. I wanted to share some of my favorite memories with her and let her know that I missed her.

Day 2: Another cousin. She’s had a rough life. Things never seem to go her way. It’s such a shame too because she has a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back or her last piece of food if you were both hungry. Life just has not treated her kind. I wanted to reach out to her and let her know that I missed her and that I was always thinking of her.

Day 3: A childhood friend. This is someone that I have known for almost 40 years. We met at Sunday School at our church and became instant friends. We literally grew up together. We have not seen each other since our son’s were about a year old. My son just turned 14 last week. Needless to say it’s been a while. I sent her a card to say “hello” and to let her know I valued our friendship over the years.

card-collections_482-natures-sketchbook

Day 4: Best friend. I’ve known her since we were in 5th grade. She lived a couple of miles from me when we were kids. I used to ride my bike to her house all the time. We were REALLY close. We spent every moment together. Time, marriage, children, jobs and distance kept us apart. I wanted to let her know that I miss her and I was looking forward to moving back upstate (at the time I sent the card we were going to move) so that we could “re-connect” and get together for coffee one day soon.

Day 5: A “computer friend”. We met years ago. I’m thinking about 12+ years ago, give or take. She was customer of mine when I had a home business. Some how we just connected and have been friends ever since. We have never met face-to-face. She lives far, far away. I would love to meet her in person some day. I treasure her and value our friendship. I wanted to let her know I was thinking of her. Day 6: Another computer friend. This special person (actually family) came into my life under unusual circumstances. She was also a customer of mine, but due to a family issue I didn’t charge her for the order. I also connected her with another friend. They too became best of friends. We have never met face-to-face (she’s on the West coast). I would love to meet her and her family. She is another person whose friendship I value and appreciate and I wanted to let her know that.

Day 7: One of my son’s teachers. I know this one was a bit “odd” but we absolutely adore her. She is by far the best teacher either of my kids have ever had. She went out of her way to help our son in 1st grade. Our son is in 9th grade now and STILL talks about her to this day. There is just something so special about her. I wanted to send her a card to let her know how much we appreciate all she did for our son and how she’ll always have a special place in our hearts and thanking her for all that she has done.

If you read my blog often you know that I write A LOT at times. I did the same thing with the cards! I wrote “mini-novels” inside of them. I know I shouldn’t have. It’s just how I am. I have Carpal Tunnel too so my handwriting was not that neat.

card-collections_482-between-you-and-me

It was fun to drop them off at our mailbox each morning. Each person, except my son’s teacher and one cousin, reached out to me to thank me for the card. They all said the same thing – they were surprised. None of them expected anything like that in the mail.

A couple of them thought it was an invitation to something (not a card). LOL!

I was hoping the cards would have resulted in a phone call or two. Everyone who reached out to me did it via e-mail or a Facebook message. :-( That was what I was hoping to avoid. A handwritten note or phone call is a bit more personal. None the less, it still made my heart smile knowing that they truly enjoyed the unexpected surprise in the mail.

One of my friends talked about getting together one day – maybe meeting 1/2 way for lunch or coffee. That is pretty cool. I hope we can work something out.

I enjoyed this challenge. I wouldn’t even call is a challenge, per say. It was just a way to remind me (and the recipients) the value a physical card can have over an e-mail or online message. I hope it will encourage them to do the same for those special people in their lives (my one cousin does send me cards from time to time, long before this challenge).

If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the Hallmark Get Carded Challenge simply visit the website.

If you would like to stock up on some “just because” cards to send out to your family and friends you can save 30% off at www.Hallmark.com using the discount code BLOG30 (I believe that is ONLY for cards, not for other merchandise).

Did you that Hallmark also has a rewards program? If you like to purchase cards for family and friends it looks like a great program to participate in – and it’s FREE to join!

The new Hallmark Card Rewards lets you earn a reward for every five Hallmark cards you buy, whether you buy them at Hallmark Gold Crown stores or more than 40,000 grocery and drug stores and supercenters across the U.S.  Rewards include gift cards, discounts, dollars off, and more from rewards partners that can help you enjoy more together time or even a little “me” time. Plus, you’ll receive exclusive offers and ideas that make it easy for you to continue being a thoughtful friend and loved one to so many people. And, now we want to reward your readers just for signing up.

Starting tomorrow (October 1, 2013) every 100th new member (up to 8) to sign up will receive $250! How awesome is that? Plus you don’t have to purchase the cards from a Gold Crown store. You can purchase them at more than 40,000 grocery and drug stores and supercenters across the country.

To get credit for your purchase you can use the FREE Hallmark Card Rewards app to scan the barcode on the back of the card. If you don’t have a smartphone you can simply record your purchases online by entering the UPC.

If you happen to be a Crown Rewards member your purchases will be automatically recorded when you make a purchase from a Hallmark Gold Crown store. You can track your progress online and redeem your rewards for gift cards, discounts, dollars off at places like Applebees, Lands End and Omaha Steaks.

Be sure to check out Hallmark on Facebook and Twitter too.

For more information visit Hallmark Card Rewards.

Do you like to send (or receive) cards? If you were to send a card to anyone RIGHT NOW, who would be #1 on your list and why?

Hallmark logo

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I did received free cards to do the challenge but there was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Is it REALLY Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? I don’t think so!

 

Broken Heart

I’m sure you are familiar with the quote “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Do you believe in that? I sure don’t! When you love something and lose it sometimes the pain is just unbearable. Sometimes I feel it’s better NOT to have loved at all.

If you have been following my blog for a while you know that I have always dreamed of having a house. I grew up in a house and then when my husband and I got married we moved into a condo. I really wanted a house but we barely had a dime to our names and we didn’t really plan for the future (we eloped). It was all we could afford. But that was OK. It was just us. A one bedroom condo is fine for a couple.

When our daughter came along things were OK too. We converted the dining room into her bedroom and everything else was fine. It started to get a wee bit crowded, but it was manageable.

Two years later my son came along. It was OK at first. He slept in the crib in the bedroom and our daughter still had her own room. When our son was old enough to have a bed we tried to put a toddler bed in our daughter’s room but it wouldn’t fit. So we ended up giving our kids the bedroom and we moved into the living room and slept on a sofa bed.

Over the years we slept on a sofa bed, air mattresses, a daybed/trundle set up and then back to a sofa bed.

Air Mattress

Fast forward to today. My kids are still sharing the bedroom and my hubby and I still deal with the uncomfortable night’s sleep on a sofa bed in the living room. We have stuff on top of stuff on top of more stuff because we have no room for anything.

We knew we had to do something so we put the condo on the market. We had a lot of ups and downs with that, even going so far as changing agents. FINALLY, after a year on the market our condo had a buyer. To say we were elated was an understatement.

We were so excited to go house hunting. At least my dream of having a house was finally coming true! :-)!

After looking at a dozen or so houses we found our dream house. We were only hoping to have three bedrooms and maybe one and a half bathrooms. Anything else would have been a “bonus”.

The house we made an offer on has three HUGE bedrooms (two with walk in closets), 1.5 bathrooms, eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, three season room, finished basement (aka “man cave”), garage, nice landscaping, patio, stainless steal appliances, marble counter top, beautiful kitchen…. it was PERFECT!

I am in ♥ with the kitchen in our HOUSE.

I am in ♥ with the kitchen in our HOUSE.

Notice I said “was”?

You know those mortgage calculators you find on the Internet? DON’T BELIVE THEM! They give you false hope.

We went back and forth with a mortgage guy at a bank and a mortgage broker. The mortgage broker was giving us monthly payments close to $2,000/mo. Ideally we needed to be around $1,500/mo. THANKFULLY the mortgage buy from the bank was giving us decent rates. We finally got the rate of $1,649.00. It was about $150 more than we wanted to spend, but $107 of that was the PMI which would have come off in a few years, so that was fine.

The whole “game plan” was for our father to “gift” us the money for the down payment so we could put 5% down. We couldn’t afford 20%. Then we found out from the mortgage guy that my father couldn’t “gift” us the money – it had to come from OUR accounts – money we had in savings and checking. There is no way we had that much in any of the accounts, even combined. NO ONE told us that up front! All this time we figured my father would “gift” us the down payment and we’d be all set.

OK… a bit of a glitch in the “game plan”.

We looked into putting 3% down (this is a conventional loan – we wanted to steer clear of FHA loans). We have enough in all our accounts to cover the 3%, only to find out putting only 3% down only increases the PMI dramatically – to the point where we can’t afford the mortgage anymore.

I have spent the past few days calling people, returning phone calls, e-mailing people, researching – everything imaginable to figure this out. Surely there had to be something we could do. I came up with nothing. My husband came up with nothing too.

Money

Renting is not an option. Renting around here is MORE money than a mortgage. We also have 5 cats, a dog and fish. We also didn’t want o bounce the kids around to different schools and school districts. We felt bad enough making them change schools IF we moved to our dream house.

My husband had to call our agent and tell her we can’t sell. He also e-mailed our other agent and told her we can’t buy. That’s it. It’s all over.

That is where the quote comes in – It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

It’s not better – it’s worse!

I fell in love with the house we were going to buy. I also fell in love with the idea of FINALLY owning our own house. Madly, truly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with the house and the idea of having a house.

Our daughter had TEARS in her eyes the first time she saw it. I fell in love with it instantly too. Within minutes of walking into the front door it felt like home – our home. My husband felt the same way. We knew this was the house we wanted our family to live in.

We even got into a bidding war to get the house. We ended up getting it for more than we wanted to spend, but we just had to have it. We figured we’d iron out the details later. Plus we were given false hope that we could afford it.

I had that whole place decorated in my mind. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to decorating ideas and décor that I wanted to get for our new house – Great ideas and cool stuff for our house.

Wish List

At first our kids were a bit worried about moving but after seeing our new house a few times they were very excited about it. They were planning on where to put their beds, what kind of furniture they wanted, what they wanted to hang on the walls and our daughter was already planning on having sleep overs and watching scary movies and eating popcorn in the “man cave” (finished basement).

Now I truly wish that we never, ever laid eyes on that house. I fell in love with it and as a result I am feeling a huge sense of grief and loss. I feel actual PAIN over the loss. My dream of having a house has been shattered. I don’t know where to go from here. It’s hard to turn your mind off of all the planning and plotting of having a house. I even had it set up where everyone would come to our place for Christmas dinner! I have a set of Christmas china (like the Spode Christmas Tree pattern) that I’ve had for almost 30 years and it’s never been used because we’ve never had a dining room or a place big enough to use with guests. It’s no fun breaking out the fine china just for us.

I don’t think I’ve cried this month since my mom passed away about ten years ago. I physically feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and dragged down the road. I actually feel aches and pains, and I don’t think it’s from the sofa bed.

bad dream

I wish I never laid eyes on that house. I wish we were never foolish enough to put our condo on the market in the first place. I wish we had planned better and saved our money BEFORE eloping so we could have bought a house and not a condo.

No one can truly understand just how much I want a house of my own. I have wanted my own house since I was a young girl. I want to decorate for the holidays – including my yard, host big parties and backyard barbecues, plant a veggie garden, have my own pumpkin patch, make snowmen for the front yard, watch my pets frolicking in the sun chasing butterflies… I had so many wonderful visions. And now they are shattered just like a piece of glass.

For the life of me I can never understand how people who are truly blessed to have a house let it get into such disrepair. We see houses that are falling apart and are totally “unloved”. I understand there are circumstances behind it (such as an illness or money issues) but for those able bodied people who are just to lazy to care for an appreciate their house – you don’t deserve it! Some people are not meant to be parents – and some people are not meant to be house owners either. I would gladly “adopt” a house and give it all the love and attention it deserves. If only that was possible.

I feel like we live in a “Roach Motel” (not literally – my place is spotless). Their motto for the roaches is that once they check in they can never check out. That is how we feel. We feel like we checked into the “Roach Motel” (our shoebox sized condo) and we’ll never be able to check out.

I need a GREAT BIG HUG. :-(

Roach Motel Cartoon

Kimberly

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