Top Ten of 2014



Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!  Another year has passed and that means it's time to look back and reflect on everything that has happened with a Top Ten list.  Every year I come up with a list of 10 significant things that happened that year.  My best friend, Daniel, started this tradition a lot longer ago than I'd like to admit, and when we all first started compiling top ten lists they had to be 10 good things that happened during the year.  Daniel was tired of people complaining about how bad things were and wanted to focus on the positive.  The rules have changed over the years because sometimes something happens that is profoundly significant, but not necessarily good.  This year was an interesting year.  I wasn't as productive as I'd hoped, but 2014 was no 2011.  As I've said before, not every year can be a 2010 or 2012, but I have a feeling 2015 holds some pretty amazing things.


  • 01.  My Aunt Maggie died.  This is, without a doubt, the worst thing that has happened to my family.  Her death has left a hole that cannot be filled, and has fractured our extended family more that I could or would possibly say.  Maggie was the kindest, most generous, and selfless person I've ever known and will likely ever know, and the world is a darker place without her.  I don't like to post things here that are of such a personal nature, but leaving this off my list would be a disservice to my aunt's memory.
  • 02.  Jack and I flew to Florida to attend my aunt's memorial service.  Flying with a toddler is interesting yet manageable.  I only wish the trip were under better circumstances.
  • 03.  Dennis, Jack, and I flew to Washington, DC to see my aunt interred at Arlington National Cemetery.  Maggie was in the United States Air Force Reserves her entire adult life, served in Desert Storm and Afghanistan, and I am very proud of her service.
  • 04.  I ran in 3 5K races this year:  the Bayou City Classic, Run Wild, and the Zombie Run.
  • 05.  I cut off all my hair.  And I can't believe it's already been 11 months since the Big Chop.  I've had a lot of fun with my new short hair, but am definitely ready for it to grow out!!!  I went to a barber shop for a while to keep a nice shape to my do while everything grows out, and my hair is now long enough to need an actual hairdresser, but it's not quite at a flapper girl bob length, and I'm ready for my damn bob already!!!
  • 06.  I think I've actually become a runner.  I still don't quite consider myself a runner because I'm still doing an awful lot of walking when I go out for a run, but other than this holiday season, I've consistently run this whole year.  And it's felt great!!!  I look forward to continuing to run in 2015.
  • 07.  Even though I fell off the blog wagon and hardly wrote anything this year, I finally bought a custom domain for my little space on the web, and attended Blog Elevated again this year.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll actually manage to monetize over here, blah, blah, blah.
  • 08.  I became a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant.  As a part time stay at home mom, I need to bring in extra money for the family, and direct sales is a great way to do that.  I LOVE having my nails done, so Jamberry has been the perfect fit.  Jamberry is an amazing company with a fun product, and I am so glad I decided to sign up as a consultant!
  • 09.  I did more contract work this year.  It was much more difficult fitting in the time especially since Jack is more active and needs more attention/play time (silly me thought it'd be easier since he's mobile and can independently play - boy, was I wrong on that point).
  • 10.  I discovered Pinot's Palette and have become rather obsessed with painting while drinking.


Also noteworthy in 2014:  Jack finally learned to walk; I visited my Mom every month again this year so she and Jack can see each other; one of our vehicles died and we had to buy an new-to-us-used vehicle; I was the most stressed out and scatterbrained than I have been in a long time; another year of parenthood under my belt; I discovered the coolest new smartphone game, Ingress; I continued my photo an hour project, but only did it on Instagram.  And that's the tip of the iceberg for 2014.  How was your year?  I'd love to see your top ten lists, wrap-ups, and reflections if you've written them.  I'm including a link-up that will be open all month if you want to add your posts.  Here's to 2015!


7

Jamberry Joyful Holiday

Jamberry Nails, Joyful Holiday, Christmas nail wraps, nail wraps, Christmas gifts, gift boxes, nail art, nail wraps

December is upon us already, and I don't know about you, but things are full steam ahead Holiday mode around here.  We're getting the tree this weekend, our house is lit up, and despite the warm weather, I've probably already had gallons of hot chocolate.  When I was a teenager, I would observe the holidays by dying my hair to match the holiday (green for St. Patrick's Day, pink for Valentine's, red and green for Christmas - it was so much fun!!!).  Nowadays, I don't have that kind of time or budget, so instead I like to do holiday manicures and I'm LOVING all the different Christmas nail wraps from Jamberry!

{EDIT:  Want to see what amazing designs Jamberry has out for the 2015 Holiday season?  I know you do!!!  Just click here to learn more about Jamberry's Holiday Gift Boxes for this year!!!}

I'm sure you've all seen the intricate and highly detailed nail art floating around Pinterest, and I don't know about you, but as much as I love all those fancy nails, I don't have the time, patience, or skill to artistically paint my nails (or the money and time to pay someone else to) only to have them chip and be ruined the next day.  Jamberry to the rescue!!!

For those who might not be familiar with just what a Jamberry is, let me explain:  Jamberry nail wraps are salon quality nail wraps that are heat activated and pressure sealed to the nail.  They last about 2 weeks on fingers and 6 weeks on toes.  They're non-toxic, chemical free, animal friendly, vegan, and with proper removal, won't damage your nails.  Basically, they're AMAZING high tech nail stickers.

Right now I'm wearing three of the wraps from Jamberry's Joyful Holiday gift set:  Joyful Laughter (the bows on a tinted background), Joyful Celebration (the red sparkle), and Joyful Season (the snowflake pattern), and even though these bad boys will last about 2 weeks on my nails (I know, right?!?), I'll probably be changing them out every few days so I can WEAR ALL THE JAMS!!!!


Jamberry wraps also make great stocking stuffers!  One sheet of wraps has enough wraps for 2 manicures and 2 pedicures with some leftover for accent nails, and Jamberry wraps are always Buy 3, Get 1 FREE, so you can pick some out for yourself and a friend!!!  If you want to order for Christmas delivery, make sure to get your orders in by December 10th for delivery by the 24th.  Head on over to my Jamberry consultant site to place your order.


I'm also giving away a full sheet of Poinsettia wraps to one lucky reader!!!  Check them out on my friend, Sonja (so sparkly!!!).  We paired them with Peppermint Patty, and I think they look so festive!!!  What do you think?  Head on over to my site, http://reinventing.jamberry.com, and let me know what your favorite holiday wraps are, and make sure to enter the giveaway!!!






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I'm posting along with over 70 other bloggers to bring you our Countdown to Christmas!  Click on this button to head on over to The Quintessential Mommy to see all the other countdown posts!!!

25

Back For Black - Jamberry Nails Black Friday Deals



Black Friday is upon us, and as usual, Jamberry has some amazing specials going on right now!!!  For the first time ever, Jamberry is bringing back some of the most popular retired designs!!! Twelve of the previous Sister's Style Exclusive designs are back, but only until 11:59 pm MST, Monday, December 1st.  Whaaaaaaaaatttt!!!!

I'm so excited about all the designs that are being brought back!  Pop Star is my FAVORITE of the bunch, and even though it was previously only available for one month, was THE highest selling wrap EVER!  Let's just say I plan on stocking up on that one.

Plus, today ONLY,  if you spend $50 or more, this EXCLUSIVE wrap will be added to your order FOR FREE!!!  And I know the website is seeing record high volume, so if you have trouble placing your order (today only), send me an email and I'll not only get your order placed for you, but I'll also give you FREE SHIPPING!

Don't let these deals pass you by - Jamberry wraps make an excellent stocking stuffer that is guaranteed to please any of the ladies on your gift list, and since they're always Buy 3, Get 1 FREE, you can get something for yourself and a friend!  You can order yours here, and if you want to have fun at an online party and possibly won some really cool free stuff, head on over to my Facebook Mystery Hostess party!

EDIT:  THIS JUST IN!!!  DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND, JAMBERRY HAS EXTENDED THE EXCLUSIVE WRAP THROUGH CYBER MONDAY!!!  WOOT, WOOT!!!


0

#HelloKeurig

I am a very lucky lady because I was chosen by Influenster to test the new Keurig 2.0 brewing system!!  I love coffee.  I am completely useless without it, so to say I was excited to be picked as part of this campaign is a bit of an understatement.  I'm already the proud owner of a regular Keurig (and in case you live under a rock, a Keurig brews single cups of coffee instead of a whole pot), and now I own it's big brother, the Keurig 2.0.  Sweet.



What's different about the Keurig 2.0 is that it can brew both single cups of coffee and carafes of coffee (the carafes hold up to 4 cups of coffee).  The 2.0 has smart brewing technology and can tell if you're using a single k-cup or a larger k-carafe and with the touch of a button, you're brewing the perfect cup or cups of coffee.  There's a touch screen display with programmable date and time, plus the 2.0 remembers your preferred settings so you don't have to think too hard pre-caffeine.

 What I really love about the 2.0 is there's a larger reservoir for water, it's quieter when it's brewing (a plus when your sleeping child is just on the other side of the kitchen door), it brews carafes (hello, enough coffee at once for guests), and it's just all around more sleek and futuristic looking (does your brewer have touchscreen technology?).  The only drawback for me is that I can't use my refillable k-cup coffee pod thingy.  Dennis and I have some off-brand of reusable k-cup and we use our own coffee in it instead of the disposable pods - this is for two reasons - 1) it's MUCH cheaper than buying individual k-cups and 2) we're creating less waste.  So to continue to use the 2.0 on a long term basis, we're going to have to find a solution to using our own k-cups.  I admit I haven't even gone out looking for a different variety of refillable k-cups, but I'm sure there's something out there that will work (and if not right now, then somebody will come out with something in the near future, so I'm not too worried about it).

Included in the package were several k-cups and k-carafes, and even though I do like to use my refillable k-cup, the convenience of not having to think or do at all before having my morning cup was pretty nice.  Did I mention how useless I am before my morning coffee?  Pretty damn useless.  I really liked the variety of k-cups included, too, there was everything from flavored coffee (which I really like, but Dennis - not so much - so I'm able to have some fancy coffee while Dennis has his manly black coffee), different teas, and even some cider (which I'm waiting for cooler weather to try - so I might not ever get to try it #houstonweathersucks)

I'll say, Keurig really stepped up their game with the 2.0.  All the convenience of single cup brewing with the added bonus of the ability to brew pots of coffee.  Win-win.  Add in a sleek new design, smart brewing technology, and a fancy touch screen, and you've got me, hook, line, and sinker!  Plus, my cats approve.  You can't go wrong if the cats approve.

You can get your own Keurig 2.0 right here!!!


I received this product for free for testing and review purposes.  All opinions are my own!!!
1

Blog Conference Fashion 101



Blog Elevated is this weekend, and I've been digging through my closet trying to figure out what to wear All.Week.Long.  I rarely get the chance to dress up, and I would change my outfit for every lecture if I could so I can WEAR ALL THE CLOTHES.  But that would be weird, and I'm not staying at the conference hotel, so taking my wardrobe with me would be....difficult.

The trouble I'm running into (besides still not fitting into some of my clothes) is that I'd describe my personal style as chameleon-like - I dress for the occasion & have stuff in my closet that runs the gamut from goth to soccer mom - and I'm struggling to put together a few outfits that feel like 'me' without being the same few things I wear to work every week (ugh, I am so sick of those outfits), and that also don't look like I'm trying too hard, oh and that fit.  And I'd like to wear heels.  I never wear heels, but I always want to, but they seem impractical when I'm just running to the store for milk while wearing my yoga pants.

Here are  few things I keep reminding myself as I try to pick out my outfits and that might help you if you find yourself in my shoes, and, yes, I have been talking to myself in my head and telling myself these things all week:

This is a blog conference and NOT a runway!!!  We all want to dress to impress, but now is not the time to try out all the newest trends.  Try picking one or two trends or statement pieces to try out if you want to refresh your style a little, but don't go overboard.  Sure, you'll want to look good and be remembered, but not for being a red hot mess of all the trends.  Unless you're a fashion blogger, but if you're a fashion blogger, you're probably not reading this because you already know how to dress yourself - so disregard this whole post.

Don't run to the mall!  I know it's tempting to go out and buy all new clothes for a special occasion, but stop and take stock of what you already have on hand.  You might still need to get a couple of new wardrobe items (see above), but you don't need a complete fashion overhaul.  I know just adding a new pair of pants or shirt to my wardrobe makes me appreciate what I already have even more.  If you're wearing clothes you already love (and know that fit you and look good on you), you'll be more comfortable and enjoy yourself more.

Wear clothes that fit!!!  You'll be sitting in lectures all day, and frantically running around between sessions.  If your waist band is too tight and you can't breathe, you won't be paying attention to the speakers you've paid good money to hear.  If your skirt is too short, you'll drop your phone while tugging at your hemline.  If your shoes hurt your feet, you'll fall on your face in front of all the people you want to impress.  Plus nobody wants to make friends with the weirdo who is constantly pulling/adjusting/straightening/smoothing/fidgeting with their clothes.

Be yourself!!!  Dress in a way that shows off your personality.  Play up what sets you apart from the crowd.  If you're a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, don't plan to wear dresses, even if you think you need to dress up.  A nice top and cardigan or blazer works well with jeans, too.  Likewise, if you're a girly-girl who loves skirts and dresses, don't think you need to dress down.  If you love NKOTB, rock that concert T, if you're a crazy cat lady, wear that cat skirt with pride!  (I also saw a quote about dressing to match your online identity - GENIUS!)

Comfort!!!  Make sure you're comfortable in the outfits you choose.  And not just that they fit right.  Make sure you don't feel self conscious in what you're wearing (no crazy trends you're not sure about or jeans you think make your butt look too big).  You want to be confident at a blog conference and not feeling comfortable in your clothes can be a major blow to your self confidence.  There's been a time or two I wasn't sure about an outfit but wore it anyway, and I ended up being so preoccupied thinking about what I was wearing that I couldn't do whatever it was I was supposed to be out doing.

So, I hope this little list helps you prepare for your blog conference (or any other conference for that matter).  And if you still don't know what to wear, check out this funny post about what NOT to wear to a blog conference.  In the mean time, I'll still be digging through my clothes because I'm so indecisive.
16

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread


pumpkin cranberry bread, pumpkin bread, pumpkin recipe, baking, bake pumpkin bread, basic, fall, fall baking, fall eating, pumpkin baking


I love to bake.  And I love all things Fall.  The temperatures here in Houston have been unseasonably cool this past weekend (under 80 - whaaaaaat!), so I used my imagination and pretended that Autumn is actually on it's way and did some baking.   I haven't written about baking here because I usually just make stuff from a boxed mix, but since trying to eat more organic foods, box mixes are pretty much out of the picture.  So what's a girl to do?  Start baking from scratch, that's what!  And I decided to start off with a loaf of homemade, organic Pumpkin Cranberry Bread!  This post contains affiliate links - I get a small commission from anything you buy through this post at no extra cost to you!

I know baking from scratch sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you're used to using a box mix, but let me tell you, it's super easy and doesn't really take that much more time.  I promise!!!  This recipe took me about 10 minutes to mix (not including the time it took to take pictures, ha!), and then all I had to do was sit back and wait for it to bake.

Here's what you'll need to make your own Pumpkin Cranberry Bread:



  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour - I used organic all purpose flour, but you don't have to
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar - again I used organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice - I'm sure I could find an organic version of this, but the amount used for this is so small it didn't matter much to me
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda - there's not really an organic version of this (at least not to my knowledge)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder - again, I'm not sure this even comes in organic
  • 2 eggs - and you guessed it, I used organic free range eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) - you know, organic!
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil - just pretend I used an organic version of this - I just used what was on hand this time (but plan to replace this with organic when it runs out)
  • 1/2 cup water - orga---wait, nevermind
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional) I don't like nuts, so I didn't use any














See?  Super easy and fast.  And oh so delicious!!!  I've been enjoying mine with some pumpkin butter I got from Dewberry Farm a couple of years ago, but it's also great plain.  Some other ways to enjoy your Pumpkin Cranberry Bread are toasted with butter, or even as French toast!  I bet this would also be awesome bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, too!  So how are you going to enjoy your Pumpkin Cranberry Bread?


4

Zombie Run 5K ~ Shreveport



I promise, despite evidence to the contrary, I am not obsessed with zombies.  Sure, I did the Zombie Walk in Houston a couple of years ago, I was a Walker with Mom in The Walking Dead Escape, and I train with the Zombies Run! app, but I swear I'm not obsessed with zombies.  Really.  I prefer vampires - and not sparkly whiny bitches (Team Jacob all the way) - real, honest to god, Anne Rice, Vampire: The Masquerade, rip your throat out in a scary sexy way, vampires.  But there aren't any vampire 5K training programs or races, so zombies it is (and they are fun to run from).  Besides, humans would never be able to out run vampires - but now I'm getting weird, so I'll just move on to talking about the run.

The Zombie Run 5K was held in my hometown, Shreveport, and I just so happened to be in town visiting my mom.  I signed up on a whim, and despite the run not being very well organized (but what can you really expect because:  Shreveport), I had a good time and enjoyed the run.

The run was on the jogging trail next to Clyde Fant Parkway which is a great place to run alongside the Red River, but not when there are over 300 people trying to run from zombies.  I will say, this was probably the best place to have a zombie run in Shreveport because the trail has trees and bushes and places for zombies to hide, and there's plenty of non-paved grass for runners to spread out.



Jogging strollers weren't allowed on the course because it was a trail run and not a road race, so I have one of my BFF's, DeNeena, and her daughter, Kylie, come out and watch Jack while I ran.  They ran into some friends who were also running (but I didn't get their names, d'oh!).  The race was at 5:30 pm (the hottest part of the day - WHY?!?  Or rather, why not after dark???)  We were all already sweatin' balls before the start gun.




All the runners wore 3 flag football flags that the zombies on the trail were trying to take - each flag you lost, one minute was subtracted from your official time.  At the turn-around point, you could get back one flag if you had any taken from you.  The first quarter-mile or so of the race was a "safe-zone" without any zombies, and right before you got to the turnaround/water station there was also a safe-zone.  (more about that later...)

The organizers did a good job with putting up signs and caution tape and various other signs of a zombie apocalypse along the running course.  They even had a guy in a golf cart playing sirens and announcing that we were in the contamination zone and to watch out for zombies.  It was hard not to nervously giggle at it all.

things got a little crazy with runners coming back along the trail


notice we're all walking at this point

All the zombies were volunteers and were great zombies....some shambled, some hid and jumped out at the runners, some chased us - it was all around a fun time.  There was a kid zombie in a gas mask and a little girl zombie in a tutu.  One nice thing about having a lot of runners on a small course was easily being able to avoid most of the zombies in the crowd of runners.





I ran my slowest 5K since I started this whole running thing.  But I did manage to come in 16th (out of 47) in my age group and 151st overall (out of over 350), so it wasn't really all that shabby (in contrast, my PR race in Houston I came in almost last in my age group and overall).  I really don't run well in the heat (even with zombies chasing me), and since this wasn't a road race, trail running/off road running slowed me down.  Breaking an ankle would've ruined my day.  The crowds were another obstacle to time, especially since the fast runners had already turned around and had to come back along the exact same trail to the finish line, oh, and it took me almost 2 full minutes to get water from the only aid station along the way (see what I mean by poor planning?)  And I ended up walking a good portion of the way back because of stupid shin splints.



I managed to only lose one flag - well that's not 100% true - I only returned to the finish line with one flag.  I out maneuvered several zombies on the way out, but on the way back, one zombie did manage to nab a flag.  I decided to walk after that because most of the zombies weren't even trying to get the flags of people who were walking and I was just too hot to keep running (I really shouldn't've worn the race t-shirt and just gone topless - I mean sports bra).  When I got to the final safe zone I decided to run again because who wants to walk across the finish line (answer:  no one).  As I was running past a couple who was walking, I heard the guy say, "There's one now" and the chick reached out and grabbed one of my flags.  They were zombies who were heading back to home base and not even acting like zombies - they were just walking and chatting (way to break character assholes).  If I'd known they were zombies I wouldn't have been running so close to them and anyway, I was in the fucking safe zone.  Needless to say, I was pretty pissed about losing that flag and told the official timekeepers, so they only wrote down me only losing one flag.  My official time was 44:35.6 - SUPER SLOW (almost 6 minutes slower than my PR)!!!

Overall, I had a good experience with this run.  It was poorly organized (no water at the finish line???  WTF?!?), and the course was tough to navigate (so many hills!), but I'm glad I was able to participate.  I'm definitely looking forward to Fall and cooler temperatures so running won't be quite so brutal.  Running from zombies is definitely fun, though.



6

Blog Elevated, Business Cards, and Ball Gowns

 

Well, it's official!  I just got my ticket to this year's Blog Elevated conference!  Woot woot!!!  I know I've been MIA from the interwebs for a while, but I've been busy not doing a whole lot working behind the scenes thinking about the changes I want to make around here.  The first of which was purchasing an actual for realsies domain name!!  I mean, I've only been doing this for over 3 years, so what's the rush, right?  I attended Blog Elevated last year and left feeling pumped!  I hope attending this year will fuel the fire under me to give this little blog a major overhaul (WordPress, I'm looking at you.....)

Knowing the amazing networking opportunity ahead of me, I've spent the better part of today trying to choose business cards to hand out.  I knew it wouldn't be easy (confession - in my past life I think I was a graphic designer, but none of the design skills transferred to this life - just a profound appreciation for aesthetics), and picking out just one design has been next to impossible.....I mean, the pressure of knowing these 500 cards are going to brand this blog, and by way of this blog me has been difficult to say the least.  Add to the mix my almost crippling inability to make definitive decisions about anything, and let's just say it's been a long day.  

I think the most difficult part of the process was differentiating between the designs I liked and the designs that actually felt like me.  I realized I really (and I mean really) like vintage designs.  But there's nothing that vintage about me - hey, maybe I can reinvent myself to be more vintage - after all this here blog is all about reinvention.  Anyway, this is what I decided to order:



I know, I know - there's a feather on the front and the back (which seems to be the new trendy I'm sure it's not trendy anymore way of putting a bird on it), but I like the colors and I do actually like feathers (disclaimer:  I do not have any feathers tattooed on me anywhere).  I just hope I don't end up feeling like I have to live up to the card's expectations of me <---------------whatever aren="" cards="" hand="" handmade.="" have="" i="" least="" ll="" means.....at="" out="" p="" t="" that="" this="" to="" year="">

Other than the AMAZING lectures that are on the agenda for Blog Elevated, I am sooooo looking forward to the Beauty, Bubbles, and Bites event on Friday night.  Like, seriously excited.  THERE'S GOING TO BE CHAMPAGNE AND CHEESE AND A POP-UP SALON AND I GET TO DRESS UP.  That's right, I freaking get to dress up, drink champagne, and get my hair did.  Plus, swag bags.  BRING IT ON!!!  WOOOOO!!!  FUCK YEAH!!! {sorry, Mom}  Now I get to spend the next two weeks talking myself out of buying a new dress and instead trying on everything I own, and then probably still buying a new dress.  Which may or may not match my business cards.....
5

I'm Still Alive!

Summer 2013

I know, I know.....I kinda just dropped off the face of the blogosphere back in May, but everything is okay, I promise.  I was feeling kinda bitchy, had a touch of the writer's block, was CRAZY BUSY, and had some family stuff to deal with, and all that took precedence over writing.  Things have calmed down a bit around here and so I think I'm ready to start writing again.

Taking time off from the blog also gave me a chance to think about how things are organized around here and what I really want this blog to be about.  I named this blog The Reinvention of Jessica because I want to transform myself into the person I want to be instead of the Red Hot Mess that I usually am.  I also would like to make a little money from my time spent blogging and I feel like in the last several months I haven't always been myself around here (both in an effort to gain readers and to make money - neither of which seem to be working out all that well).  I've gotten caught up in what other successful bloggers do and write about and I just haven't always felt truthful to myself.  Which is probably why success is eluding me.

So what does this mean for the blog?  First, posting might be a little light around here for a little while.  I'm thinking of switching to WordPress (with a real domain name - whaaaat?!?) and I don't think I'm going to take any of the posts from here to there (even though I have 4.5 years of stuff here).  It'll sorta be a fresh start and I can always link back to what I've written here as an archive.  Second, I'm going to be taking advertising and sponsorship a little more seriously.  Right now, I'm only using AdWords and Amazon Associates to generate revenue - not smart and not exactly bringing in the big bucks.  I've already done some sponsored posts, but that's only been for free product (which is nice, but money can be so much nicer).  I'm set up with Passion Fruit to swap ads with other bloggers and I plan to actually add some paid advertising via that platform soon.  Third, I want to focus what I write about a little bit more; sometimes I feel like I'm all over the place here.  I aim to have some consistency with my posting (hahaha - hopefully I can live up to this) while still leaving room for the randomness that is my brain.

And now, some random photos of Jack:

in the NICU - he was so TINY

"Daddy, there's a cat on my changing table!!!!"

early 2013


2014 Barbecue Cook-Off

2013 Backyard Water Park

2014 Zoo Splash Pad

2014 Jack's First Plane Trip
4

The Walking Dead Escape

zombie selfie
My mom is crazy obsessed with The Walking Dead.  It's her favorite show right now, and she NEVER misses an episode.  Ever.  So, naturally, when I told her The Walking Dead Escape was coming to Houston, she obsessed over that for weeks before deciding that she simply could NOT pass up the opportunity to be a Walker.  And not wanting to be a Walker alone, she bought both of us tickets.



Now, what is The Walking Dead Escape, you ask?  It's a post-apocalyptic obstacle course where Survivors run from Walkers.  Well, not necessarily run, but more like run, dodge, avoid, sneak past, out-smart, and escape from The Horde of Walkers.  All while not trying to lose their minds or become infected.  Good times!



Mom and I had to arrive 2 hours before our scheduled time to be on the course so we could get into full zombie makeup.  I'm no stranger to zombification and it was nice for once to not have to do my own makeup.  We got a quick lesson on how to be zombies, and then we were released onto the course.

this photo was featured on TheChron.com

We got to shamble and moan and search for braaiiiiiins for about 2 hours on the course.  We were in a prime location, too.  The Horde we were in was the very first LARGE group of Walkers that all the Survivors encountered, and our location was perfect for creating a bottleneck that Survivors had to really swerve, twist, and get crafty to get past us.  It was so satisfying to scare the crap out of everyone.  The whole thing was SO. MUCH. FUN!!!

also from TheChron.com

Dennis and Jack came as spectators to cheer us on....although they didn't know which obstacle we were stationed at.  They probably saw us, but didn't realize it.  There were HUNDREDS of Walkers, so it wasn't exactly easy to pick us out of the Horde.  I was a little worried that Jack would get scared, but Dennis said he was fascinated by everything.  When we met up with them after we were done trying to eat Survivors, and at first, Jack was really confused by me and Mom.  He didn't recognize us, but as soon as he heard our voices he figured out who we were he ran right to us.  And he had no problem whatsoever requesting a little boobie time.

see, he wasn't even phased that I was trying to eat his brains 


Mombie

Apparently, while waiting for Mom and I to get done, Jack started photobombing people when they were standing in front of The Walking Dead Escape backdrop.  It would've been great if we had remembered the makeup we were going to use to turn Jack into a little Walker.




Afterwards, we all went out to dinner; Mom and I still in full makeup.  Somehow NOBODY said anything about our appearance.  We even rode on the MetroRail and nobody said anything.  We hardly even got weird looks.  People these days....


I REALLY hope The Walking Dead Escape comes back to Houston.  And if when it does, I'm absolutely going to do this again.  Only next time, I'm going to pay a little extra to run the course as a Survivor first, then get turned into a Walker.  If this event is coming to a city anywhere near you, you should definitely check it out!

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