Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Office Of My Dreams

When we moved into our first home, I didn't know where to start! I could barely believe we were able to get financing so quickly. Sometimes, I guess the universe likes to drop some good luck into your lap every now and then.



I have always wanted an office in all of the houses we have lived in over the years. I just never had an extra room to make that happen. With a son and a daughter, all of the rooms were taken up by kids and we surely could not afford more bedrooms than we needed. Now, I have enough rooms to have my office and a guest room for when they come visit!



After we finished the bedroom, living room, and guest room, I could finally start on my office! I started with the rug and went from there. I had a great time painting my desk (it needed it). I've always wanted one of these cube shelves with removable storage bins. I have so many cords to things that I have to keep and those bins are perfect for keeping them handy. 


One of the essentials I definitely need is a space heater. January and February are the worst. Add that on top of my feet always being cold, I was glad New Air reached out to ask if I'd review their portable heater! I have worked with them a few times before so I knew they would be great. No more cold feet! 





I liked the heater so much that when they asked if I'd like to review a Limited Edition Pepsi Mini Fridge, I accepted happily. When I first started thinking about an office, I didn't really think I'd need any appliances, but I was wrong! It's so convenient for when company comes over as well. I drink a lot of soda (it's my only vice) so a full beverage cooler equals a very happy me!




I put some decorative things up (my husband spoiled me this holiday season)  and I think it's just about ready. Maybe I can actually finish that book this year. I was hoping to publish by the end of last year, but life happens! January is the month of setting goals and mine is to definitely focus more on work. Once I get a printer and a desk chair, it will be perfect. I started out with no idea of what I really wanted for my office, to making the perfect office space just for me. 

GOAL: By March of 2019, finish my office. Done, January 2019!





I am considering sash windows for our next project: WINDOWS. But, that is still months away. I love the windows in our house, but they really need to be modernized. It's like watching money fly right out the window every time I turn the heat or ac on! We wanted to focus on the essential (meaning cheaper) things first, though and I'm so glad we did!

How would your dream office look? What are your office appliance essentials? Do you have a current project? Tell me about it in the comments!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A New Game For Fashion Lovers: Lady Popular

I have a confession to make.

My name is Stephanie and I L O V E mobile games. 

Oh, I've played them all. Farm games, Time Management games, there's even a Sims game, and you can bet I've played it.  My favorite mobile games are the fashion games. I love being able to dress up virtual paper dolls as I wait in line while running errands.

I was searching for a new fashion game when I was invited to try Lady Popular! I couldn't wait!



Lady Popular falls under three categories: dress up, time management, and simulation. When you first sign in, you're greeted by Emma and asked for your player name. You can pick from one of the hairstyles, eye brows, skin color, and smile and you're ready to play! 



Emma is your guide through the game and gives you your challenges. Your first challenge will be to go to city and find the beauty salon. In the next challenge, you must go to the mall and find a new outfit.




Once you've found the mall, you get to try on and purchase a new outfit.






The more style points you get, the more things you can purchase! Every challenge comes with certain points (style, fashion, generosity, charity, creativity, devotion, etc) that you must build up to advance to the next level. 



After you have assembled your perfect outfit, makeup, and hairstyle, you are ready to participate in a challenge with another player!



Once a player is found, you are ready for your duel. So far, I've won all of my duels so I don't know what happens if you don't win. After you win the challenge, you keep checking your popularity bar to see what points you need to build up for the next round.



I am thoroughly loving Lady Popular and I hope you like it as well. Use this link right here to sign up (you can play on your mobile OR desktop) and get 40 diamonds for free! There is also a great forum where you can find tips and tricks from other players.  Let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Orange Theory Fitness Center Grand Opening In Greenville, NC

Here's something that I never thought I would do: I attended a fitness grand opening class on Tuesday!



Maybe it's the beginning of a new year, or finding out my cholesterol is WAY too high, or because I was working on losing weight after healing a broken leg and hit my plateau and got frustrated, but when I received the invite to cover the grand opening of Orangetheory Fitness in Greenville, NC on Tuesday I accepted right away!  

The Orangetheory of fitness is a science based, FULL body workout that uses technology to measure performance so members can see that they are improving. During a 60 minute class, the target is at least twelve minutes in the orange zone. After twelve minutes in the orange zone, your metabolism gets a boost and keeps burning calories for the entire length of the 36 hour recovery period afterwards. 



And, you better believe I'm still feeling it today.

You aren't alone through your workout. You get to participate in a class with a bunch of other folks because, this workout is really for everyone. Your coach is your guide through the different workouts. Having the coach also makes this workout incredibly fun! 


I arrived at the Orangetheory Fitness studio inspired and ready to learn about this class. They set me up with my OTbeat , asked a few questions about past injuries, current fitness regimen, and what my goals are. 




Ater a quick tour of the facilities, which includes showers, a blow out bar, and lockers, I met our coach, Toni! Toni was my favorite! The girl is F I T and ready to get you fit, too. After an awesome pep-talk as a group, we walked into the gym. I set my eyes upon my old nemesis

So we meet again...TREADMILL...

and got ready to begin. Toni told us exactly how the workout would go and what to expect. We found our stats on the monitor above as she ran through how to work the equipment, demonstrated exactly how to do each exercise, and assigned us our numbers that would correspond with the machine we would be using. Toni turned the music up and away we went!

Toni, my coach

My first machine was the rower. I actually like this one because I am focusing so much on my arms lately. After 3 minutes, we were on the floor with weights. We ran through three different exercises: 8 reps of lower ab leg kicks, 12 reps of goblet squats (which are now known in my mind as the DEVIL because OMG), and 8 lateral arm raises. Next, it was on the treadmill as I started to feel it. After treadmill time it was back to the rower, and then I was really feeling it. On the monitor it read that I had got myself into the orange zone! More floor exercises with the 8, 12, 8 reps again. A big push on the treadmill and just like that it was time for cool down! I hadn't even realized an hour had gone by! We got a complete rundown of our workout from Toni with suggestions and how many times a week she'd like to see us in a class.

FINAL VERDICT

I had a blast! The class theme for the day was endurance and they weren't kidding. I really, really liked the quick change up of exercises then machines. Everything was super simple to follow along with and it was fun meeting other ladies in the class (at least I wasn't the only beginner!). I felt motivated and didn't get bored, as I had found myself getting with my normal routine. Two days later, I feel amazing. I took a break on Wednesday, even though I wasn't nearly as sore as I imagined I would be, and actually got up today ready to hit my old routine! Toni suggested that I come for 3 to 4 days a week and I love that schedule because I really feel like I could stick to it. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. 

The Orangetheory Fitness Center of Greenville, NC is open everyday from 5am to 8pm. You can find them at 518 Greenville Blvd. Suite D in Greenville, right by the Greenville Mall. There are also locations across the United States so click here to find one in your own area. Tell them Steph sent you!

Have you visited an Orangetheory Fitness? I'd love to know how you liked it!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Holiday Hangover

How was your holiday? Mine was exhausting.



I had a great visit with all of my family and caught up on so much that I don't think my brain has started to function properly again. It's been rough trying to get back into the swing of things but I was suddenly revived today when I realized I hadn't spent any of my gift cards yet.

SIGH. I guess I have to shop again. Darn.



So, it was off to DealSpotr once again to find some awesome deals! I found one right away and jumped on it! Right now for their grand opening TotallyFab.us is offering 25% off sitewide! TotallyFab is a ladies fashion website that has, well, just about everything! I am a self-confessed T-shirt hoarder so that's exactly where I went first. I couldn't decide between



or


So, the logical thing to do would be to buy both, right? Don't worry, that's totally what I did.

I moseyed on over to the home decor section and lost.my.mind.


I don't think I'm ever going to get tired of decorating our new home. It feels so adulty. Like real fully grown adults live here and it's not a Lord Of The Flies free-for-all of toys, clothes, and JUNK everywhere. An adulty house, with adulty stuff. Talking about adulty things over adulty food. Yep. 


Anyway, don't forget to put the code STEPHSTEB in at checkout on DealSpotr to get your 25% off! I'd love to know what you liked and/or bought!

Are you recovering from the holiday hangover yet?

Friday, January 4, 2019

Why You Need A Mentor

When you started your first serious job, did you have someone that you learned the most from? Did someone help you out in your career path, and you consistently went to them for advice? Do you still seek them out for advice?

That's your mentor.

In many different professions, mentors are an important part of what makes a business great. I had a mentor when I first decided to quit law and get serious about my life and work. My mentor talked me into pursuing my writing, and helped me with so many decisions along the way. I found my mentor's advice so useful that I still keep in contact with him today, to still ask for advice and what he thinks about certain choices I have.

He is invaluable. Priceless.

Matt Redhawk has been an entrepreneur, an executive producer, a philanthropist, and most importantly, a mentor.

Matt Redhawk has had success in multiple ventures and his main priority is to help families become self-sufficient by teaching them to live off the grid. Some great photos of people living their simple life off the grid by Parker Michels-Boyce with The Washington Post can be found by clicking here. Redhawk also wrote Drought And Dreams: Stories of Self-Reliance During America's Darkest Times, a project that came about from his studies of The Great Depression. It's great and full of information! He wants everyone to have easy access to the supplies they need to be prepared for anything. His inspiration came from his own experience of living in the mountains in Northern Idaho. The more self sufficient you become, the more confidence you have in yourself. This helps you work through any critical problems that may arise on your own.

Matt’s dedication to the preparedness movement has led to him becoming a prominent authority within the community. In recent years, he has produced several movies. His first movie, Radioflash, showed what it could be like to live and survive after a natural disaster or other disruptive event. The incredible success of this movie led to him creating Home, a brand-new short movie touching on similar subjects.

He always has his hands in numerous projects, but he's never too busy to mentor up and coming entrepreneurs and philanthropists! He is based in Salt Lake City, but does a lot of work in Northern Idaho. 

Mentors are invaluable and can help you grow as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. When you first start out in any industry, it's always nice to meet someone who knows the ropes. The resources and help you receive from your mentor are inestimable and should help you with anything that may come up for years to come. Mentorship is a great way to put your best foot forward and focus on the future of your venture.  I know I wouldn't have been able to make it without my mentor!

Who is your mentor? How did they help you? Tell me about your mentor in the comments below!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Your First Home Purchase

When we finally decided to start shopping for a house, I really had no idea what to start looking for. We didn't have a set city or state that we had to live in, we could go anywhere. Finally, the US Navy isn't telling us where we have to go next! I knew what kind of home I wanted, but I just didn't know where!

At the time, my daughter was attending college (Go Rams!) in Richmond, Virginia and my son had moved to Wilmington, North Carolina for work. So, I got out my map and started looking for a place that was close to both of them and found that Rocky Mount, North Carolina was exactly two hours away from both of them. Finally, I found the location and began looking for houses. 

I found our current dream home completely and totally on accident. I didn't realize it at the time, but it turned out to be perfect. 



We've been moved in since August and I am so happy with our decision. The kitchen was renovated right before we moved in so I have brand new cabinets, floors, and appliances. The French Doors to the dining room make me feel glamorous.  I have a shelving unit for my books built right into the mantle. The  TV fits perfectly above the fireplace. Finally, my living room is super cozy.



However, not everything has been peaches and rose'. Since moving in, we've found some places that need work. They need work as in for the first time in my life, I have to call for roofing services

It's not our house roof, but the workshop roof. Hubs has an entire little house in the back that is set up like a workshop/garage (and yes, he is stupid happy about it) and the roof sustained damage in Hurricane Matthew.  The house roof is brand new, it had to be replaced after the same hurricane. Oak City was hit pretty hard by it! 

We had the hardest time at the beginning of the winter with our heat. The air conditioning works wonderfully well but we could NOT get the heat to turn on. After about 4 times of the guys being out here to work on it, they finally got it working. Yeah, I don't think that was a brand new HVACC system...but things happen. 

Our driveway has a giant hole right as you are turning in. Hubs drives a truck so it's not a problem for him but no one else can park in the driveway. I don't even know where to begin to fix it but, it's on the Honey-do list, definitely.



Even with these little snags, I am tremendously happy with my first home purchase. There's nothing really that we haven't been able to work through. Our next project will definitely be windows. Don't even get me started about how much heat and air conditioning we're losing right out of these windows!


What was your first home purchase like?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Why Social Media Marketing Is Perfect For Public Relations

I have been on the internet for a long time, since 1996 to be exact.  As a mom married to a military service member who had to go on deployments a lot, the internet has been a very important part of my life, not only for social interaction but entertainment as well. It's really difficult to get out and socialize when your husband is gone for up to 6 months and you have two toddlers depending on you for everything.  I started with forums for awhile, long enough that I was even a moderator on one for quite a bit. 



Then, MySpace came along and social media took off. I spent every free moment I had (which wasn't much) reading blogs, writing blogs, reading, and talking to folks from all around the world. By the time Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest came along, I was all in! And as most things do, social media has evolved into being a pretty important part of everyone's life now. I have seen so many things come and go through social media, it's infinitely interesting.

The most interesting thing I have found is how brands can so easily boost themselves on social media. Considering it's literally my job now, I have been researching and reading as much as I can about social media marketing and how to run effective campaigns.

There are plenty of different ways to market on social media. You can have a blogger, such as myself (contact details on the contact tab above!), write about your brand or product and spread the word on social media. There are also PR companies, such as Behrman and PR, that can handle larger brands/companies as they generally tend to have large teams that are adept at handling all of your brand's needs. Social media marketing has become imperative for business growth these days. The ROI (return on investment) for social media marketing campaigns is very high, and brands walk away satisfied with the growth and profit from these campaigns. 




By far, social media marketing has proven to be highly effective and indispensable to not only established brands, but small and upcoming brands. With the rise of influencer marketing, more and more brands are turning to social media marketing to showcase their brands and even introduce new products to the masses. By enlisting the help of influencers, public relations, and bloggers, more brands and businesses are able to reach more and more customers that otherwise would not have the same reach (thanks, algorithms grr!) as some other social media icons do. As someone who makes a living with social media marketing, I am really excited for the future of this industry! As with everything on the internet, I can't wait to see how it evolves from here. 



How have you seen social media evolve? Have you ever found a new product because of a social media marketing campaign? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sunrise, Sunset

Everyone has dreams of what they would like their life to be when they are young. At 5, I was going to be a princess like Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. At 13, I was going to be a ballerina traveling the world to dance. At 16, I was going to be a psychologist helping all kinds of people navigate this life and healing traumas wherever I went. At 18, I began writing The Great American Novel (or so I thought at the time). 

At 20, I had my first child and all I wanted to do was be the perfect mom to my tiny little boy and my entire life changed.



Accurate portrayal of parenthood

As any parent will tell you, parenting is the hardest yet most rewarding job you will ever have. I took my new responsibility very seriously and enjoyed every single second of it. No, it wasn't cookie cutter perfect all of the time but I absolutely tried the best I could to be the best mom in the entire universe. I think every parent has those moments where they wish they could go back in time and change or fix something, and I am no different. My children are both in their 20s now and I miss them both to pieces and to death every day.

As it turns out, I get the chance to do it all over again because my oldest, my son, is going to be a first time dad in April!


Because of this, I have been on the hunt for all kinds of new baby stuff. And, as I mentioned before, I am absolutely amazed at everything they have for babies now! Just the sonogram technology alone is incredible! I can actually make out the baby's features, something that I definitely couldn't do with my own sonogram pictures! I am learning so much and finding so many cool things. One of the best things I have found is the Amazing Baby Swaddle Sack!


Designed by Lynette Damir, a nurse and mom of two, the Amazing Baby Swaddle Sack is a new product found exclusively on Amazon. As most of you are probably aware, swaddling is very important for your baby as it keeps them warm, snug and from being awakened by their own startle reflex. Swaddling is another way of telling your baby that she is safe. The Swaddle Sack comes in three stages: Stage 1 is the Swaddle Sack With Wrap for babies 0 - 3 months, Stage 2 is the Transitional Swaddle Sack for ages 3 to 6 months, and Stage 3 is zzZipMe Sack for ages 6 to 18 months. I got the Transitional Swaddle Sack and it is ADORABLE and so soft! 


It is designed perfectly for your infant: there are fold over mitten cuffs that can be worn open or closed so your baby can self soothe if she needs to. The round sack and arms up design helps your baby sleep better and allows for leg support and movement. It's made of soft and stretchy breathable cotton and has a 2-way zipper so it's easy to wrap the baby or unwrap the baby for diaper changes, or whatever baby might need. It is one of the new products I have found that I am truly excited about and wish I had when my own were tiny!

I cannot WAIT to use this for my sweet little granddaughter on the way. To say that she is going to be even more spoiled than my own children is the understatement of the century! I mean, that's just what grandparents are supposed to do, right?



What baby items are a must have for you?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 8

For part 8 of my holiday gift guide, I have FINALLY found the perfect gift for my husband! 


SUCCESS. 

J Paul Skincare is having a HUGE sale right now so you know I had to check it out! It's just as awesome as I thought, too, EVERYTHING is 50% off on the site right now! Not only that, when you buy a shaving regimen gift set or an anti-aging set, you get a free J Paul manicure set. Also, when you purchase a three razor set, you get another set for free!


I could not hold back, either. My husband likes to pretend that he doesn't care about stuff like this, then turns around and spends an hour trying to get his beard juuuust right! At first, I thought it was because he can finally have a beard after twenty years in the Navy, but then I remembered how he was BEFORE he went in and he was just as obsessed then as he is now! I'm not complaining, though. The man is hot, beard or not!


 Skincare for men is just as important as they age, as it is for women! A lot of products for men these days have harsh detergents and ingredients that are actually worse for their skin! J. Paul uses the best ingredients that are perfect for good skin care such as cold pressed aloe vera, jojoba oil, vitamins C, A, B5 and E, peppermint, shea butter, eucalyptus oil, omega 3, green tea, chamomile, and kola nut! This lyposomal delivery system is thoroughly tested by a team of  certified chemists at the Loesch Laboratories and Cosmetic Labs in Houston and Dallas, Texas. Because of this, J. Paul brings an excellent skincare line that penetrates deeply to help damaged skin cells and reduce fine lines and wrinkles to produce healthy skin once again!




I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to get for him, and since the prices are so miniscule during this sale, I was able to get him a large variety of things. I am so excited for him to open them on Christmas Day! You guys definitely need to check out this sale!



Don't forget to check out the rest of my holiday gift guide: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 

Have you found the perfect gift for your loved one(s)? 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Kai's Virgin Vapor Fruitacular E-Juice

Hey, vape fam! Long time, no see, am I right?


Thanks, Loki...I think.

I have found my favorite new juice and I had to tell you guys about it! Kai's Virgin Vapor is my new love. 


Kai's Virgin Vapor is the best fruit ejuice I have tried! Their flavors are crisp and vibrant and I can definitely say that the taste is so fresh! I tried the Peach Perfect, Romancing The Strawberry, Wicked Watermelon, Razzmataz, Celestial Honeydew, and Hawaiian White Guava. I was happily pleased with each one! I tried to pick a favorite, it was really hard but Wicked Watermelon definitely surpassed all of the others. You guys know how much I love my watermelon ejuices! A lot of other companies I order from carry watermelon blends, like watermelon candy, or watermelon with strawberry, etc. but this is the first one I've tried that had so much flavor on its own! 

As you can see, it's almost gone!


All of their ejuices are 100% PG free, certified all natural, and made right here in the USA.  The prices aren't bad, either. You guys know how much I love bargains. They also have a great rewards program!

Right now, they're having a giveaway as well.  With every order, you get a mini stocking and a chance to win! All you have to do is take a photo with your mini stocking and juice and send it to them and you are automatically entered to win a $250 gift card or an e liquid prize bundle. Ten runners up will also receive prizes so you know that the odds are good!

I'm so glad that I was able review Kai's Virgin Vapor. I love their fruit flavors but they do have a wide range of other flavors to choose from. Give them a try, you definitely won't be disappointed!