March 2015 archive

Best Ways to Use your Phone Internationally

Spring break is coming up for many families and lots of you may be taking a trip out of the country.  Of course you think to take your passport and clothes, but do you think ahead to how you will stay in touch with the people back home? You’re on vacation enjoying yourself, but you want to talk to your family and send them that picture of you zip lining through the rain forest.  What is the best way to do this without costing you an arm and leg?

The first thing to do is check with your provider as to what your plan offers in terms of international status.  DO THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE ON YOUR TRIP. You may have more than you think (or less).  Once you know what you have on your plan, then you can start searching for the best ways to use your phone to contact people back home.

cell phone use

What is the the best way to contact people back home?

If you don’t have an international plan here are some Apps you can keep in mind to use when you’re out of the country. This is just an Overview so always check on them in depth before using them and make sure you have spoken with your provider prior to leaving the country.

  • VIBER- Send free messages, free calls, and video calls on any device and network in any country. Finds friends. However Viber crunches through your data plan.
  • FRING-This one is for iPhone and android. This is used for buddy messaging and video chatting up to 4 people.
  • WHAT’s UP-Free for the first year and $0.99 after that. Works on iPhone, android, blackberry, Nokia etc… This is for texting, attaching pictures, audio clips, emojis, Can only text people who have this app- Glorified chat option that uses the data plan.
  • REBTEL 2.0-International texting App  for iphone . Save 60% when used on international texting.  Creates a local # to route text through. You’re charged by your local carrier for a local text depending on your plan.

Some other things you may want to look into are local SIMS cards and google voice.  These just give you a starting point to research prior to you leaving the country.  Always know how you’re going to stay in to with your family back home before you leave.

If you are going on vacation soon, I hope you have safe travels and an amazing, relaxing time with your family or friends.  Hopefully this post will give you something to think about when you’re looking for phone options.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

March Favorites

It’s my favorite time of the month when I can share with you some of the items I have been trying and loving. Hopefully you enjoy these blogs and can get out there and try several new things as well.  Change is a good thing and you won’t get anywhere in life unless you are constantly evolving.

Interior Design

Robeson Design- If you are into interior design as much as I am, you have got to head over to youtube and check out Robeson Design.  I have been watching Rebecca Robeson for about 2 years now and I am in love with Rebecca and her designs.  Her Christmas videos are my favorite and I am obsessed with all her projects. She can’t put out videos fast enough for me.  She works with several of her family members and Greyson, the artist, also does an amazing job.  Having one of his paintings is literally on my bucket list. If you watch her too or decide to check her out please let me know.

Book of the Month

The book I have been loving this month is called Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottline. She has quickly become one of my favorite author’s.  Her books immediately hook you. I finished it in  2 days; which is hard for me to do these days.  The book starts off as Jake (father) and Ryan (son) are trying to put their relationship back on track when a tragic split second decision will change their lives forever.  This dramatic book has many twists and turns and will keep you turning pages into the wee hours of the night. The author has many questioning what it means to be a parent and how far you would go for the ones you love.

Skincare

Kiels moisturizer Creme D’Elegance Repairateur for very dry skin is what I have been using for my face moisturizer.  In the winter months, I need a little more to combat against the harsh weather.  I have very dry skin and I’m really noticing the harsh weather has started to take a toll on my hair and skin.  I can get away with using clinique during the summer months, but during the winter I need to use something that readily aborbs into my skin and leaves it feeling silky and moisturized throughout the day.  Kiels is a little pricey, but it leaves my skin feeling like I’ve had a spa treatment.

Daily Devotional

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is my daily devotional.  My girlfriend gave it to me for my birthday and I read it religiously.  If you are looking for a good daily devotional that is quick, but effective, this is the perfect one.  I love it and have heard so many other people speak very highly about this one.  It gives you a lesson built around several paragraphs for the day and a couple bible verses that expand on the lesson.

Thanks so much for reading my blog.  March was a record month for new readers and I really appreciate all the support you guys have given me.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Spring Table Settings

Easter is a holiday that gives me such hope. Not only are there my religious beliefs behind this holiday, but the timing of the year this holiday falls under; SPRING!!!  Everything is new again.  You are pulling out new decorations, clothes, and the flowers are starting to bloom.  Spring just reminds me of LIFE.

I thoroughly enjoyed decorating my house this year for spring and Easter.  Especially my dining areas. I love all the table settings that I own for this holiday.  They are very different and each special in their own way.  Some are playful and fun, while others are sweet and delicate.  Both work, depending on what type of event you are hosting or look you are going for.

The off white set with the orange bowls are perfect for an everyday fun look. It is casual, yet elegant enough to make a statement.  The ripple in the dinner plates really make it have a dressier look, while the orange in the bowls make this casual and acceptable for everyday. I love how it is set up at the bar for a breakfast or a family brunch.  My bowls are from One Kings Lane.  However, you can recreate this look with similar bowls from Target in several fun pastel colors.

Casual Place Settings

Breakfast Brunch

Breakfast brunch bowls from One Kings Lane

 

Easter Brunch Set up

Beautiful Easter Brunch with your Family

 

place setting

Gorgeous place setting for 4

 Formal Place Settings

My bunny plates are from Williams Sonoma.  The baby blue color is the main color used in my motif. However, I did choose to stay with the spring pastels using pink plates as well.  I love how all the bunnies have pastel ribbon around their necks.  It just gives that extra touch.

Easter Place Setting

Easter Place Setting with William Sonoma Plates

 

center piece

Beautiful Center piece gives your table pizzazz

You can’t forget the goodies.  The holidays wouldn’t be complete without some form of dessert.  I thought it would be so cute to do lemon Cadbury egg cupcakes.  Nothing says Easter candy like Cadbury Eggs.  Any child would love to see these at an Easter party or in their Easter basket.  To make things easier on me, I went to my local bakery and purchased these lovely, lemon cupcakes and just added the Cadbury eggs from the store.  You can make the cupcakes with your kids if that is what your family prefers. If you’re looking for a recipe to put Cadbury eggs in the middle of your cupcakes (see blog post here) or visit Courtney at http://www.pizzazzerie.com.  She has a great recipe and I think her cupcakes turned out fabulous.

Cupcakes

Wonderful lemon and Cadbury cupcakes

 

Goodies

Easter Goodies finish off the table

You don’t have to do an elaborate table to pull off a successful Easter meal.  Just gather your family and enjoy your time being together.  I hope you can get outside and enjoy the longer days and the start of the warmer weather.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

TEEN TALK SERIES- The Duff

I feel passionate talking about teen issues every once in a while because that is a huge part of my life.  I have a fifteen year old and in less than a month, a 13 year old. Plus, after teaching for so many years, teen issues are just part of my life. With two teenagers in the house there are lots of things to talk about and lots of questions to pose that we can discuss and help one another out.  I’m glad I can I can use my blog to get input from experienced mothers who have gone through walks of life that I haven’t reached yet.  Every milestone and age is special, but I am entering unchartered waters here with some milestones coming up in my children’s lives; driving, dating, college.  I would love any feedback my fellow readers and bloggers could offer.

The one that has been on my mind lately sparks due to the movie THE DUFF.  If you’re not aware of what that is; Dufff stands for designated ugly fat friend.  So apparently, in groups of friends there is a friend that is the less attractive one that makes everyone else’s self esteem just shoot through the roof.  I had never really thought about it until this movie came out, but it got me thinking about social status and pecking order.  I can’t imagine what these kids go through on a day to day basis if this is what they are dealing with from their actual friends.  Can you imagine what it would be like if you were dealing with someone that didn’t like you?

Now I would like to know if there is some scientific standing behind this.  We do tend to hang out with friends that have the same interests.  And I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but it is just human nature that we tend to find friends who are in the same social status that we belong to. It is just what people do.  They gravitate toward people that are like them.

Teens

Finding a true group of friends can be hard.

 

In college, there was this one fraternity that I hung out with that had this theory.  They had this guy who was a little more attractive and they had him out front at all events hoping he would bring in the ladies .  It was their intention and goal to use him for this purpose.  They felt once the girls were in then it was every man for himself. But that was this guy’s role in the fraternity. It was kind of funny, but everyone knew about it.

I’ve seen it work the opposite way too.  I’ve seen where if you have really attractive friends and you are out together then they are getting all the attention and there is no spotlight left for the rest of the group.  There have actually been studies done on both sides of this coin.

So my theory is, find a couple of really amazing friends that get to know you for you.  They don’t care if you wear your glasses at night time.  They let you be yourself around them at all times.  Your true feelings can come out and you don’t have to put on an act for them or try too hard like you have to do everyday at school with just your acquaintances.  You could sit around on a Saturday and just watch your favorite shows and that is enough.  You don’t have to be out entertaining each other to have a great time.  That is when you know you have truly found a friend for life.  My daughter and son each have a handful of friends like that and I thank God they have them in their lives.

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I hope this DUFF theory is not really true and it is just a Hollywood term to bring in box office dollars.  Let’s make sure we are present in our’s children’s lives so we know who they are hanging out with and can keep an eye on all these new fads.

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If you have any topics you think would make a great one for the next teen talk please leave a comment below and I would love to hear what you think about this segment.  I know it’s new and a little different, but every once in a while I feel I need to talk about issues going on in the teen world.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Finding Your Passion

What is Your Passion?

Is there something in your life that you are very passionate about?  Something you just have to do to stay sane. I don’t mean a love for your family and friends or world peace. Of course we all put our family or our religious beliefs at the top of our priority list.  However, in this case I’m talking about something that is just for you and gives you true joy. Pause here and truly think about something that makes you insanely happy.  Something that gets you exciting to start a brand new day with a huge grin on your face. Well there are several things that I enjoy doing and some of them I’m kind of decent at.I enjoy decorating and party planning and I think I do a decent job at them.  But that “something special” that I truly enjoy that people might not know about me, is the gift of MUSIC.

I love music.  I love everything about it.  I love the lyrics. I love the instrumentals. I love going to live concerts. I listen to all genres of music from classical to rap.  I have immersed my children in different types of music as well.  They know tons of songs from the 70’s on up to current chart topping hits on the radio.  Here’s the kicker though….wait for it, wait for it.. I have no musical talent what so ever.   I can’t sing at all.  I am comfortable around my family singing in the car, but it is really our standing family joke that I’m quite horrible at singing.  (They love me any way) 🙂  I did play the piano for 2 years and the clarinet for 2 years but that is the extent of my musical career.  It is really sad that I’m SO bad at something I’m so passionate about.  I guess as my favorite artist Taylor Swift would say, “Shake it Off.”

Taylor Swift’s 1989

If you haven’t already picked up Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, stop what you’re doing and get one.  She has really grown in her personal life since the RED album and it shows in her songs. On this album, she is speaking more about finding love, friends and her independence rather than break up songs where she is licking her wounds and we’re guessing which boyfriend she’s singing about.  The album does have a pop vibe, but she was already headed in that direction on her last album so it didn’t come as much of a surprise.  I really liked all the songs.  A few of my favorites were; Style, Blank Space, Wildest Dreams, and Bad Blood. My sister and I are seeing her in concert again this year in Raleigh.  We saw her and Ed Sheeran for the Red tour last year in Raleigh and it was a great concert.  I’m really looking forward to going again.

Thanks for stopping by.  Be glad you guys are not traveling with me or you would be hearing me sing.  Let me know what you’re passionate about and if you’ve picked up any great albums I need to check out.  I love hearing from you guys.

Yours Truly,

Jenn