Friday, March 30, 2018

A Surprise In The Beauty Supply Aisle

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

There are so many gorgeous hairstyles out there! I am constantly looking for new products to use in my hair and new hairstyles to show off. Like this crochet hair! I love this style!

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that my hair has begun to change. The texture is thicker, it's a little dryer. And just as I have with other parts of my beauty regimen, I am constantly looking for new hair products to try and share with everyone. 

It's the least I could do for you guys.

I decided to look at wigs today after coming across the above style. You wouldn't have to worry about damage from dying or any other harsh chemical processes.  It would be easy to switch hairstyles on a whim with wigs. I spent a lot of time browsing the Black Hairspray Beauty Supply website.

They have gorgeous wigs and all kinds of beauty supplies! I knew I was going to get in trouble. I can not be let loose in any beauty supply around here but let me sit on my couch and browse all of the beauty supply stuff?

Yes, please.

I picked out some hair masks and filled my cart up with way too many other things.

Which I am definitely going to need because, I caved.

I dyed my hair again. 

Good haircare can feel so luxurious. What part of your beauty regimen feels luxurious to you?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Turning Your Passion For Music Into Money

If you have a passion for music, whether you love listening to it or making it, then chances are you
would love to spend your days living and breathing music, music and more music. Well... do I have
good news for you - there are numerous ways that you can make good money from your love of
music. Here are just some of them:

Sound Engineering

Training as a sound engineer is a solid move if you want to be absorbed in music during your
every waking hour. As a sound engineer, if you are lucky, you will get to work with lots of interesting
and eclectic musicians. If you’re really good at what you do, you might even get to work with some of
the biggest bands on the planet, either in the studio or behind the scenes at live performances, It’s a
very technical job, but it’s one where you can earn a good living, and you will be exposed
to music in all its forms all of the time.


If you love listening to music and you think you have pretty good taste, then get yourself some
equipment from, build up your record collection and start learning some basic DJing
techniques. Start small by offering to do a set in small local venues or by playing at your friend’s
wedding and before long you’ll be able to get paid doing what you love on a regular basis...well
you will if you are truly dedicated, and you never give up anyway.

Talent Scouting

Talent scouts are the people who get out there and listen to lots of live music in a bid to find the
next big thing. So, if you love live music and your passion is finding great new music, this could be
the job for you. Obviously, you’ll need to have a very good ear, and you’ll need to be willing to spend
lots of time in music venues and clubs all over the place - that’s pretty much heaven to a true music
lover- but if you have those skills, pursuing this avenue could be the best career move you ever make.


The internet hasn’t killed music journalism, despite what many people think - it’s just moved it online.
So, if you love music and you have the ability to write about it in a way that is accurate, informative and
engaging, why not start your own music review blog? If it garners attention, you could end up writing
for a big website or magazine like, and it could become a lucrative and exciting career
for you. Imagine the people you could meet!


An easier way to get into the music industry is by turning your love for music into marketing power.
If you’re passionate about music and you have a knack for infecting others with that passion, working
with musicians and venues to build a buzz and sell tickets will not only be a fulfilling occupation, but it
could get you up close and personal with some of your favorite artists - it will certainly gain you free
entry into a whole lot of shows. Start locally and branch out from there.

Making money from music isn’t always easy, but as you can see, it is very possible.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fun In The Fog At Grassy Creek Cabooses

For Valentine's day, my husband surprised me with a trip to Grassy Creek Cabooses in Fancy Gap, Virginia. 

It was so nice to get away

The Blue Ridge Mountains have always been my favorite place to visit. I hope to one day live there. In the interim, I try to visit as much I can. 

We checked into our caboose and got settled. It was so neat to see how the cabooses were renovated. They were so comfortable and QUIET. Plus, a hot tub.

A glorious, glorious hot tub.

We had arrived a little late in the day, so we decided to get some much needed rest that night. Luckily, we planned in advance and brought some groceries with us, although I was wishing for snack delivery at that point! We woke up early the next morning ready to explore. 

The weather had other plans.

We got in the car and started our trip down the mountain. We missed a turn and the GPS rerouted us to the curviest road I have ever seen. It was terrifying. 

For those of you who have never had the good fortune to drive on The Blue Ridge Parkway, in some parts there are no guardrails or anything right next to giant drops and cliffs. The fog did not help the situation at all.

After we whiteknuckled down the mountain, we found the lovely Aunt Bea's Barbecue restaurant. I didn't think I would be able to eat anything with my stomach still doing a gymnastic routine, but as soon as we walked in and I smelled all of the deliciousness, I couldn't wait to devour the entire place. I had a huge plate of barbecue with two heaping helpings of collard greens. Yum!

We drove back up the mountain the right way this time and took a walk around the grounds to see all of the other cabooses and the larger cabin.

By then, the fog had lifted and we were able to sit on the deck and enjoy the gorgeous view. We were able to reconnect as a couple, something we often forget to do with our busy lives of work, kids, and life in general. We talked about our future plans and goals. We talked about so many things. Most of all, we remembered what it was like to just be us.

I was a little sad to leave.

We came home refreshed and rejuvenated and maybe a little pruny from the hot tub. I felt more in tune and in touch with our relationship and positive about our future. We also decided that we really needed to get away, just the two of us, more often.

If you find yourself in the Blue Ridge Mountains and need a place to stay, I highly recommend Grassy Creek Cabooses. The owner is so nice and happy to talk about this wonderful project of his.

Just check the weather first and don't miss any turns.

Do you know any awesome places to visit in the Blue Ridge Mountains? I would love to hear about your adventures as well!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Singlecare Prescription Savings Plan

For the first time in my married life, I have had to deal with health insurance.

If you don't already know, my husband just retired from the Navy last year. For over twenty years, we used Tricare and didn't really worry about copays and prescriptions, etc. as Tricare covered everything. 

Everything changed, however, when he retired. We actually have to pay for our health insurance every year now. It's not an exorbitant amount and we have Tricare still, but copays for visits and prescriptions and everything in between is definitely a thing now. I'm learning.

BUT, please don't get me started on veterans' benefits or our healthcare system, we'll be here all day and that's not what I came here to talk about! What I did come here to talk about is Singlecare

It's a great prescription cost slasher program. There is a medication that I take that is not completely covered by Tricare and so I always have to pay a huge copay for it. 

However, I came across this program and I really like the benefits that they have to offer which are:

  • Up to 80%* off your prescriptions
  • 55% savings on dental visits
  • Access to 200,000 providers nationwide
  • Price estimation tools
  • A free account with no membership fees

*Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.

Tricare has been swapping back and forth between CVS to Walgreens for a few years now. I'm not quite sure why, although I have my suspicions. Because of that, it can be frustrating to pay one price at one pharmacy and then have to turn around and pay a different price, sometimes a higher price, at another. With Singlecare, I can search my surrounding area to find the best price at participating pharmacies! This has especially come in handy since moving into a (huge) city!

I have a serious phobia of the dentist. But, as scared of dentists as I am, I am even more afraid of the dentist's bill. Our dental insurance, even with Tricare, has never been the best. I have always had to supplement it with something else and since learning about Singlecare, I have decided to use their free service to knock those bills right down, phobia or not. 

For a free membership, it certainly has a lot of benefits I didn't expect. I really like the price estimation tool and video visits features. They are definitely the most useful.

I am going to save so much money.

Right now, they have a HUGE discount on Myrbetriq! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Into my room
On whispers

Where I
Wait for you

Into my thoughts
The darkness
Fading the more
You stay

Away if you must
Leave the whispers
Of you
On the floor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In The Silent House...

It has been interesting to watch my children grow up with technology. Things that they often took for granted (YOU LITERALLY HAVE A LIBRARY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. GOOGLE IT), I would have LOVED to have growing up.

I'm that middle generation. X, if you please.

The first half of my life there was no internet and computer technology was in its infancy. 

At the beginning of my twenties, the dot com BOOMED. Businesses popped up and burst over night. My old Kaypro 4 couldn't handle it. Commodore 64, Tandy, Windows95 came and that was it. The internet was a success.

It was amazing.

I recently was asked to test a silent keyboard that reminded me so much of those early days. 

                                             Available here

It could seriously be one of my first keyboards! 
So retro.

Anyway, I tested it out and ended up liking it a lot. They keys are extremely silent (no more tippy taps all over the keys from you, KAREN) so it's great for the office. It works just like a modern keyboard, with an old school look and feel. 

It's not a bad price, either. Pick it up on Amazon for a little nostalgia.

Friday, March 16, 2018


I was stumbling through YouTube yesterday and came across this documentary on Vice News. It was incredibly interesting and I just had to share it. It covers, essentially, what got us to where we are today. It focuses on Syria, Ukraine, China, and North Korea. I learned a lot.

It's a 2 hour documentary, so grab a snack and settle in. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments, positive or negative, so please post them below!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Eco Friendly Toothbrushes Do Exist

I am a child of the 70s. I am aware that ages me, since when have I cared about my age? My mother was a teenager in the 60s. As you can imagine, I have been aware of eco friendly products from pretty much the beginning of my life. 

My parents used cloth diapers. We used cloth towels/rags instead of paper towels and napkins. We had recycling bins before they were mandatory. As more and more eco friendly products became available, the more choices we had to buy and buy we did! As I grew older, I tried to implement these things into my everyday life.

My current pet peeve is plastic. I have been trying for years to reduce our plastic use in our household. Why?

                                                  photo via

Pretty gross, huh? That's the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it's basically plastics and microplastics that are just swirling around in a trash vortex in the Pacific Ocean. According to Columbia University, it takes about twenty years for plastics to decompose. That's already half of my life! It really motivated me to try my best to eradicate plastics as much as possible.

I came across news of the soon to be launched in my wanderings and I am so very excited! Finally, I can stop side-eyeing my toothbrush.

Me = 1
Plastics = 0

MyEcoKiss works in tandem with to not only bring you biodegradable bamboo handle toothbrushes, every time a purchase is made fresh water is provided to those in need. As you can imagine, I was over the moon! I'm pretty sure it's not usual for someone to get excited over toothbrushes, but I'm out for the fast death of plastics and this is one of the few things I can do to hasten that. 

I ordered the regular bristles, but they do come with charcoal bristles. I wasn't sure how a bamboo toothbrush was going to feel, but I was pleasantly surprised that it really wasn't that different from a regular toothbrush. I was expecting a "woody" type of taste but I didn't get that at all. I really like the handle much better than plastic ones. Four come in a package and at $10.97 it's not any different in price than buying four plastic toothbrushes.

Luckily for you, it will be even cheaper! Since I was so excited about my purchase (die, plastics, die!), I was given the opportunity to offer all of my readers a discount! All you have to do is enter the code EcoSteph12 during checkout for 12% off!

It is a little thing, but little things can often make a huge impact

I'm coming for you, plastics.

                                                                              photo via

Do you have any tips on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle? I would love to hear them!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hurricanes And Calm Seas

My husband and I have been married for twenty years. It will be twenty one years this year and together for twenty three.

Over the years, many people have asked me how we have stayed together so long. To which, I always answer:

"I have no idea."

It's the honest answer, because I truly don't.

When I met my husband, I had no intentions whatsoever of getting married, or having kids, or living any type of domesticated stay at home mommy life.

Nope, nope, nope. Not for me. I am modern. I am sophisticated. I am completely and totally FINE

I was wrong.

He got me.

                                               photo via

It wasn't right away. I held out like a good girl, naturally. We met when we were 15 and were friends up until we were 19. I mean, we're still friends, obviously but we didn't date or start dating for four years. I truly believe that is what built a strong foundation for us in the beginning.

That's not to say that we haven't had our blow outs or don't fight at all. Just ask my children, we've had some roof rattlers. However, we've always managed to work things out through honest communication. 

When I say honest communication, I mean, we don't hold back.
At all.

There's been plenty of times that I absolutely was worried for our relationship. There has never been any infidelity or domestic violence (and in those cases, my advice would be to GET OUT, RUN, DON'T LOOK BACK), he is a good man so I have been lucky there. There were times, though, that I thought the hurricanes were going to take us and blow us away.

We have fought about parenting. We have fought about money. We have fought about friends. We have fought about family.

We have fought about where to put the television in the living room.

You know, the normal things every couple argues about.

Eventually, we always returned to calm seas.

                                                photo via                             

That's not to say that love isn't a part of our relationship. I have known this man for more than half of my life now. His life is my life. His people are my people and vice versa.

The roots are deep. I don't have words for the respect I have for him as a person. He gave me the life I never thought I wanted, but ended up being perfect for me.

So, when people ask me how to maintain a long term relationship, I have no idea. 

I really don't.

I just know that I can brave any hurricane marriage throws at me, for just one day of its calm sea. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Voices Of Social Media

It is amazing how much social media dominates people's lives.

I started my journey into the internet way back in 1996. I was twenty years old.

It's really hard for my kids to understand that no, the internet did not exist in my life until I was 20. They have always had the internet. 

Windows 95 had just hit critical mass and everyone had a desktop computer in their house. I was a new mom and started out looking for tips on pacifiers in a chat room and twenty one years later, I literally would not have a job without the social aspect of the internet. 

It is insane to sit back and think about how important social media is not to just us, but the entire world.

A virtual global free market has sprung up because of it! 

I started out with chat rooms, was a moderator on a forum for awhile, started my blogging career on XANGA, and then MySpace happened. 

Then onto Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and now Pinterest. It is ever moving. A new social media site was just announced last week. You guys can join it, but I am exhausted.

                                                photo via

Social media is where the majority of people get their fake news, nowadays. I love Twitter, I go to Twitter first for news. Facebook is friends and family stuff. Instagram for photos and Pinterest for everything I am planning. It's like the first and last step of every day. Wake up, check, have a day, check, sleep.

Back to that virtual global free market, did I mention that I love it? I have met and done business with people from all over the world due to social media! I have found some great products and met some great folks to network with. Sometimes, because of luck. Sometimes because of social media optimization. There are many different ways to call attention to yourself on the internet, that's for sure. Social media and advertising are besties because of it!

In order to do business, you have to attract business, right? I never thought I would be the type of blogger to use any SEO tactics but now I am surprised I hadn't sooner! Sometimes, it can feel like you are screaming into the wind but because of the internet, specifically social media, there is always the chance that someone will hear your voice through the jumble. And that's all bloggers really want, I think. To be heard through the noise.

How do you drive traffic to your brand?  Have you noticed how well social media and advertising work together? 


brought again to me
That word
throughout these walls
trying to hear my home
But the birds have flown away
and he
marches no more
Leaving me with nothing
except memories whispering
in the walls
as I am reminded
that life marches on and
on and on
this slow and winding
You can only watch
the March flowers
for a short while
that word
right off my lips
All it brings
is absence.

                                  photo via

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Indolent Books Needs To Learn More About Copyright

I can't believe what happened to me today.

Someone stole a picture of me from my private facebook profile, slapped some terrible poetry on top of it and PUBLISHED IT ON INSTAGRAM!

Do I have to remind them of intellectual property? I know it's the internet but it's not like I wasn't following them (which is how I saw it) and they aren't following me. I am incredulous that a publisher would think it is ok to do that? I hope whoever's poetry they used (it wasn't my poetry on the photo) wasn't stolen as well. 


It breaks my heart that people don't know this, especially a publisher.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Evolution of Print Media

I was worried for the state of printed news. Everything is free on the internet these days so why would you pay for a newspaper?

I get it. Capitalism.

Printed anything dying is a little scary to writers. If you start with newspapers, next is books, and then I'm out of a job.

However, I really don't think it's dying, just like technology, it has progressed. 

The world still needs writers. They need bloggers.

Brands and businesses still want to get their name out and what better way than to ask bloggers on the internet? Since I've been blogging, all I have talked about is stuff I like and stuff I don't like. It seemed inevitable that I would blog reviews about different household items. I started this blog back in November and I have been having a great time connecting with brands and businesses for promotions! I started this new website with a new look, new social media pages, and new attitude! I love my modern writing job! 

And, as always, it is a job. No one wants to promote fake news false information about any brands or businesses so you research the brand and/or business and learn all about it. That takes time. Better take some photos so it looks nice. Add time. Then you piece your blog together. More time. 

Don't get me started on writes and rewrites. FOR-EVER-TIME.

So, if someone asks me if I want to be compensated for blogging about a product, yes. Yes, thank you for finally recognizing the work we put into our writing. Finally.

Writers LOVE to keep writing.

After spending time focusing on my books, it's nice to try something different for awhile. I returned to blogging to find that the state of print media is alive and well right on the internet.

Shiny new package. Same old thing.

I started out thinking that I would freelance here and there, but once I started getting sponsors, I ended up realizing that this turned out much better. I started pitching on more jobs and got picked for a few and even received payment on time! 

That last one I liked the best.

If you are interested in setting up your own blog and getting sponsors, there are quite a few agencies out there. I googled away one day and found pages and pages full. 

For example, has a lot paid blogging jobs. It's a worldwide business so they need bloggers from around the world. I have gotten a few jobs from them, including this one, and have found it to be one of the best and easiest blogger assignment boards to navigate.  If your domain authority is over 5, there are plenty of jobs on the boards. Like a few other agencies, I check the website every day to see if any new jobs are posted. If you know of any other agencies, please post them in the comments. 

Print media is evolving. I think I am going to like it. How about you?
Please drop a link to your blog and/or your favorite blogging agencies! I would love to know about your experiences with them!

A Breath Of Fresh Air

Tendriled down
to land on my
That little flitter of
is delicately calling.