Bye Bye 2013 ... Hello 2014

A year in Instagrams

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Holiday Edition of Old School Blogging #iPPP

First things first: 1 Holy Night or 8 Crazy Ones? (Do you Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both?)

Actually we do Yule and Christmas.

Peppermint or Chocolate?

Peppermint Mocha! latte with soy milk

Sing us into the Holiday Season, what is your favorite Carol this time of year?

Tell us about a Favorite Family or Personal Holiday Tradition?

Christmas Eve with my mom =)

C’mon you remember your favorite  (Christmas, Hanukkah) gift, tell us all about it:

My 35mm SLR (thanks mommy!)

That magical moment? (Your favorite scene in a Holiday’s okay if you have 2)

The kids faces while opening up presents!

Kissing under the mistletoe? Who do you hope is standing underneath (We know it’s normally your spouse, if it didn’t have to be, who would you choose?)

I like to, but don't get to. I would like to kiss my pseudo boyfriend under the mistletoe this year.

Swans a swimming, lords a leaping, golden rings; which gift of the 12 days of Christmas would you like most?

Two turtle doves

Play Secret Santa, what inappropriate gift would you love to give this year?

Butt plugs! Don't ask lol

Martha Stewart or the Grinch? What is your decorating style? 

I wish I was Martha Stewart but I barely get around to decorating.

What is ONE WORD that defines the holiday season for you? (Examples: Believe/Wonder/Bah Humbug?)


If Santa could assure its delivery, what’s the first thing on your CHRISTMAS LIST?

MacBook Pro with the CD drive attachment!


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Stay at Home Moms Work Hard

For reasons I will never understand many people think that being a stay a home mom is easy work. Or that's it isn't work at all. I know I share stuff like this a lot but I really do think it's important topic. But I was given this infographic to share with my readers and I loved it.

Click to Enlarge Image

Misconceptions About Stay-At-Home Moms - Brought To You By FamilyCord

Being a work at home mom is probably the hardest job I have ever had. And it pays little in monetary ways but is so rewarding. I want to make that clear, it's hard but so worth it. I love being able to be home with the kids, even though it drives me nuts sometimes.

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Shockingly I'm a Night Owl

I took a quiz over at Fast Company to see which kind of productive type am I. Surprise surprise I turned out to be a Night Owl. I'm sure everyone knew that already considering the vast amounts of coffee I need to function in the morning. Or that my night wordy posts are late at night after the kids have gone to bed. You know if I can stay awake. 

The point of the quiz, they give you some tips on how to make your productive style to your own advantage. Like I should schedule my tweets to when my audience is awake to be more effective. They also give you app recommendations to help make your productive style more efficient.

Pretty nifty stuff, and look it gave me a blog post  =)

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Hey Guys!

You might have noticed something new here ... I bought my domain. GoDaddy has them on sale for 99 cents and if you use blogger you get free Google hosting. Woot woot! I also made a new about me gadget. There is also new pages in the works.

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Road Less Traveled

I think I always take the road less traveled. Why? Cause I like to do what I think is best. It is usually the hard way, the uncommon way, the weird way, meaning that not a lot of people do it.

But Amanda why would you purposely do this to yourself, why would you want the hard way, the weird way? Well that's simple. I'm a big picture kind of person. Meaning that I don't just see that it's hard right now, that it's the difficult way and that I'm going to get upset (cause I do) and frustrated (do that too) but I look to what is going to happen later on, and realize that if I keep going this way this will happen and it will be awesomesauce. But that if I go that way I'll be unhappy and the kids will be sad, etc, etc.

For example, let's take that I'm a single mom that works from home. This is a very unusual thing. It's a very hard thing too. But I do it cause I looked at the big picture and felt that it was the better option right now for me and my kids.

Mostly the main driving force behind that decision is a simple one. I looked at the money. I make very little but since I live with my Papa I can afford to make little, we have enough to get what we need and that's the important thing.

But if I were to say ok I'm going to go find a job outside the house I would need to find daycare for the kids. (BTW daycare is outrageously expensive people!) So I looked up how much it would be to put both kids into daycare, taking into account the time AJ would be in school and that he would need to bused to the daycare not the house. Got a rough estimate of the amount. Then went back to my old pay stubs and looked up how much I made a week at my last full time, more than minimum wage job, with benefits and all that jazz.

My gross pay wasn't even enough to cover daycare fees for one week!

I shit you not. I was like $100 short in my gross pay on what the daycare fees would be. Now let that sink in for a minute. My gross pay, not my net pay, you know how much of my check I actually saw. Meaning that I would in reality be over $100 short for daycare fees and that would leave no money for anything else.

Which means that in order to pay for daycare AND for the basics needs of living, like food, clothing, etc, I would need to work 2 jobs. Which means I would need to pay even more for someone else to watch my kids. So I looked up how much a private baby sitter would be. Wouldn't you know it's not much less than the daycare fees for a week.

Basically the kids would never see me and I would never see them. I would be working to pay for someone else to watch the kids and I would have little money left over for what we need. OR I could work from home, not have to pay daycare fees and still have little money to pay for what we need, but be able to see the kids and interact with them. I mean this is only possible because I live with family yes, but honestly even if I didn't live with family and needed to go get a job I would probably end up working 3 jobs just to pay daycare and rent.

Which goes back to a whole other issue I have about how much people get paid vs how much the cost of living is, and how ridiculous unbalanced it is. How most people working their butts off are still receiving welfare benefits. Then how we are a people look down on those on benefits instead of realizing how messed up it is that someone working full time still needs to be on them! That's the real outrage there people, not that they are on benefits but that they still need them to live!

On the flip side of that I've had people ask me why I don't just go on benefits myself. But that's another post. Cause I have been there. I was on benefits. And I'm here to say that right now it's not worth it for me to go on them. Do I qualify? Yup. But I choose not to be on them right now. Again if I didn't live with family I would need to be on them, but I do live with family, so thankfully I don't need to be right now.

Stop by my photo site Moon in a Cup

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Photog Gifts

quirky photog

Have a special person in your life that is a photographer? Or just a photography lover? Or if you want to buy me a gift (kidding)! Check out my Pinterest board of some cute and quirky gifts for photographers. Why? Cause everyone has been posting these great posts on photographer gift guides. But they are all pretty much useful ideas, great ideas really I would love anything off of them. But I would also like something fun.


On Being Plus Size

So Rebecca Hains posted on her blog about plus size clothing about how it costs more to buy than normal sized clothing. She asked us, her readers, what we thought about it, if it's right. She even talked to someone in the field of clothing design about what goes into the process. Basically she states that what we plus sized women are paying for isn't more fabric like most people think. We are actually paying for the labor, for more skilled sewers, which really, honestly just pissed me off. Here is part of the blog post, read it for yours, and definitely stop by her blog and read it in full.  
She said that the basic slopers for most commercial women’s clothing are designed for a size 2, 4, or 6—but that bodies of different sizes don’t have identical proportions. Once manufacturers get into the “plus” size range, then, these slopers aren’t as transferable. “In the plus-size range, you have to have slopers created by skilled and experienced pattern technicians for every 3-4 sizes,” Lourenco says, “rather than for 6 or 7 sizes. These slopers have to go through extensive testing and adjustments before they can be used to create pattern pieces in each size, so having them created is a significant investment for a company.
“The manufacturing of larger garments does take longer than the exact same garment in a smaller size,” she continues. “It requires more thread and notions, and the larger patterns can, at times, present challenges that require more experienced and higher-paid sewers to handle.
“Really, it’s the labor involved that raises the pricing on larger sized clothing,” she adds. “Your sewers might only be able to finish 6 garments in a size 20 in the same time they could produce 10 of a size 2.”
From the blog of Rebecca Hains
 Now why exactly does this piss me off you might be asking? If you aren't a person that wears or has worn plus size clothing you probably won't get it. I know that, that's why I want to explain it. For those that do wear plus size clothing you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Let's talk about the difference between regular clothing and plus size clothing. They talk about how they have to hire more experienced workers and make specific slopers for plus size clothing but what they don't tell you is that you can't go into the regular section see something cute and find the same thing in the plus size. For us bigger girls we get a smaller selection of styles and they are nothing like the other clothing. They are garish colors. They are about $10 more than the regular size clothing. They are cheaper quality, meaning they fall apart faster than the regular clothing. 

And that is what pisses me off. They are hiring more experience, skilled, higher paid sewers to make plus size clothing then why do they fall apart so much faster?! 

Now don't get me wrong, there is some cute things in plus size clothing for not too much more but you have to hunt for them. And what usually winds up happening is I go and buy the biggest size in the regular clothing. Which sometimes makes me look sloppy since it doesn't fit right. And if you want to go buy something that looks decent in a plus size you have to pay an arm and a leg. Seriously I went into Lane Bryant once to look at regular clothes and laughed out loud and walked out of the store, $50 for a shirt! A shirt! The only thing I go there for now is bras and panties and I only go when they have the semi annual sale (cause you get 2 bras for the price of 1). Most of the time I just go to Target that has some pretty decent plus size clothing and buy one or two thing that I just wear over and over again. Yeah this would be why I don't post outfit posts. 

For example this skirt is a regular sized skirt that I bought in the largest size because the ones in the plus size section didn't come with the same pattern and they were flowy not flared. I wanted the flared style. It's one the times that it works to buy in the regular size. But the fact that I couldn't find the same style in the plus sizes is what bothered me! I would have paid extra but they didn't have the same style of skirt. Why should I have to pay extra for something that isn't comparatively the same as the regular sizes? 

Because it's not about the workers, or the fabric, or whatever they want to label it as. It's that they don't want big girls to feel sexy or attractive. Or they feel if they want to look sexy they should pay extra for it. Anything that draws your eye to a women's figure would be sexy, my skirt is sexy cause it hugs my hips and butt. Which is why I like it cause they are awesome. But the plus size version was made to camouflage the body, it hid everything. It flowed over the body, the stripes were bigger, there wasn't the same amount of panels. 

That is what bothers me. We are paying extra to hide our bodies. 

Full or Empty?

Is the cup half full or half empty?

To me there's just room for more coffee. I'm not really an optimist, definitely not a pessimist. I'm a realist with a positive outlook. I see things the way they are and look for the happy. So the cup thing to me, just is that there is more room for coffee. Shocking right?

Operation Christmas Child {Sevenly}

About The Charity

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 100 million children in more than 100 countries. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. Operation Christmas Child works with churches around the world to bless children and share the true meaning of Christmas and the Good News of God’s love through Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes were delivered to children in more than 100 countries

 The Problem

We believe every child deserves joy. Yet, there are many children around the world that have never even experienced the simplest of joy in receiving a gift from the heart. In areas of extreme poverty, families are too poor to afford gifts for their children, let alone basic necessities such as a toothbrush and soap.

The Solution

This holiday season, we have the opportunity to deliver shoebox gifts to children in need. These shoebox gifts are filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys. When a child receives this gift, not only are their basic needs met; they are filled with joy.

Check out the full deal on Sevenly

More or Less

Here goes my second month of NaBloPoMo. This is an every month thing. The theme this month is More or Less.

Not sure what I'm going to be. Hopefully I'll go for more. Though this time I am using the BlogHer prompts not a challenge like last month.

Future Thoughts {Day 30}

So I missed some days but I did every prompt so that I'm happy about.

My hopes for this blog. My hope is for it to be an outlet, a place to talk and express myself. A source of income. A place to connect with people. Most of my hopes have come true. The income part is still a work in progress but it is coming in. And I love my blogging and interwebz friends.

Confession Time {Day 29}

Hmmm a confession? I don't always love being a work at home mom. Yes I love being with my kid everyday. I love seeing them grow. I love not having to miss any moments. That we get to have fun. That I get to teach them. But sometimes I really wish I could take a break from 24/7 mommy duty. But I know most stay or work at home moms think the same thing. So I'm not alone.  =)

Embarrassing {Day 28}

Most embarrassing moment? That's funny, nothing really pops out at me. The last time I was really embarrassed was walking around Target with the two wonderfully mischievous faeries of mine. They requested popcorn. I naively bought them and head into the clothing section.

Where they dumped the popcorn out into the cart.

Then proceeded to stomp it through the holes onto the floor. And I still had shopping to do through the whole store. I walked around with my face bright red grabbing what we need as quickly as possible.

My kids are now called trouble one and trouble two by one of the managers.

In my closet {Day 27}

Right now just clothes and shoes, a yoga mat, photo frames and odds & ends. Most of the time during the day there is a 2 and a half year old in my closet though. She thinks it's fun to hide in it.

Hidden {Day 26}

What's my hidden talent?

Belly dancing. Shocking right? But I do actually love to dance. And I was studying belly dancing on my own before I got pregnant with AJ and I've been trying to make a point of dancing again. Why? Cause it's fun for one, cause it makes me smile and cause it's amazing for you body. I love it. Not to mention its one of the few exercises I can do that don't make me hurt afterwards. I know I'm only 29 years old but I have a bad back and bad knees, so most things that require physical exertion leaves me in pain afterwards. There's about three that don't bother me are yoga, swimming, and belly dancing, or really any dancing. 

Pin-up #MermaidMonday

via deviantART
Pretty pin-up mermaid for Mermaid Monday! 

Regrets? {Day 25}

I don't have any regrets so I can't have a biggest one. I know a lot of people say that, but I mean it. Everything that I have done good or bad has made me the person I am today, so I wouldn't change a thing.

Attractions {Day 24}

What attracts me in love? Wow. Considering I am the perpetually single mama .... this might come out as a dating advert. But oh well.

I'm attracted to love, passion, honesty, compassion, a sense of humor. The ability to make me smile when I'm crying. To make my kids giggle when they see you. Make me go weak in the knees when you kiss me.

What about you?

Whoopsies (Day 23)

Ok so I got my dyslexia thing going and mixed up today and yesterday's prompts. So today was suppose to be if I won the lottery and yesterday was suppose to be my worst habits. So I'm just going to go with it and do yesterday's today.

Worst Habits. 

I smoke, though I've been using the blu ecig this week. 
I swear like a sailor. 
I start tons of projects at once. 
I forget to take care of myself, a lot. 
I tend to get stuck in ruts and stay there.

Oh if only {Day 22}

If I won the lottery I would get a newer car, a new MacBook (cause I'm going to need that for college next year), an iPad Air cause they look so cool. New clothes for me and the kids.

Sadness {Day 21}

What makes me sad? Saying good bye to my son for a week while he goes to his dad's. That my daughter doesn't get to see her dad since he moved to Texas. That people litter over our beautiful Earth. That there is homeless people. That we as a people feel the need to judge people based on their looks. That we pass by people that are in need. That we teach our children to hate. That people put others down for petty reasons.

Happy {Day 20}

What makes me happy?

My kids. 

Crunching through fallen leaves, long hair, cuddles, forehead kisses, new beginnings, the smell of the beach air, floating past the current, having fun colored hair, playing with the kids, watching movies with my kids, toes in wet sand, the sounds of my giggling kids when they are being mischievous faeries, vanilla soy lattes, Godiva double chocolate cheesecake, quiet time to sit and read, keeping busy, being an oxymoron, being me, mermaids, ren faires, faeries, the smell of incense.

AJ telling me he loves me cause "you're my mommy and I'm your baby boy."

Ariel telling me she missed when I leave the room for a minute.

So Shocked I'm Sure {Day 19}

I'm sure this is going to shock you, my favorite movie. It's going to be so surprising.

The Little Mermaid. 

I know right you would never guess it right?  =)

 I'm a little obsessed with it actually. I blame the fact that she was the only redheaded Disney Princess when I was a kid. I was the only redhead in my family, or really that I knew, so I loved that she had red hair. It could also be that I love the ocean, and mermaids. I love to swim. The smell of the sea.

Or maybe it's that despite everything, all the obstacles in her way, she fought for love. She fought for what she wanted. I know the Disney version shows that she loved the human world and the Prince Eric (who didn't?) but in the original story, she loved that humans had an eternal soul, since mermaids don't. They lived 300 years then turned into sea foam. But Ariel, she wanted an eternal soul.

Day 18 - Moi!

Just me today being well me. 

November Old School Blogging

A bit about me.

Where is your cell phone? On my night table being quiet.

Your significant other? Imaginary? Invisible? Maybe a faerie ...

Your hair? Cherry Crush, cause it got too light for me. I'm trying to let my natural red come back.
Your mother? Awesomesauce. She is, seriously.

Your father? Ummm.... next

Your favorite thing? Read not that I get to do it often, write though currently under writer's block.

Your dream last night? Nada, cold medicines knock out dreams.

Your favorite drink? Starbucks!

Your dream/goal? To make a good living doing what I love.

The room you are in? Bedroom.

Your fear? Too many to list.

Where do you want to be in six years? Happy.

Where were you last night? Here in bed, dude I have a cold I've been lazy.

What are you not? Pessimistic.

Muffins? Made some blackberry muffins

One of your wish list items? A Starbucks gift card

Where you grew up? Newburgh, NY

The last thing you did? Answered an email.

What are you wearing? My jammies.

Your TV? Ni Hao Kai-lan

Your pets? Papa has Taco

Your computer? A MacBook

Your life? Exhausting

Your mood? Is sleepy a mood?

Missing someone? My son, but he comes home today from his dad's house.

Your Car? Station wagon, filled with odd toys and car seats.

Something you are not wearing? Makeup hello I have a cold.

Favorite store? Barnes & Noble

Your summer? Finally got my mermaid girl to the beach

Like someone? Possibly ...

Your favorite color? Ocean blue man

When was the last time you laughed? A few minutes ago when Ariel was "hiding" behind me

Last time you cried? A few days ago over stupid shit, I'm emotional lately.

What is one thing on your To-Do list? Buckling down on my NaNoWriMo and Project 365 and NaBloPoMo ... YIKES!

Tag yourself man, whoever wants to play, that is.

Favorite Blogs! {Day 17}

Update! My mom's blog is one of my favorites too: Mrs Kooshie's Random Thoughts

And so many more, I love blogs, I love connecting with people. Honestly most of my friends live in my computer. These are also in no order what so ever.

Education {Day 16}

My thoughts on education?

Oh well. I feel that education is very important but I feel there is more of a learn this by rote in education than a building intelligence and a love of learning. I also feel that most schools are a social setting instead of a learning center. Yes they teach you things, but they don't teach you on a personal level.

Once I had kids I really thought about homeschooling, and while AJ does go to school I still enrich his learning at home. I went to the same school he is in now, and one of the things I loved about it was they always challenged me. If I was done with my work they got me something else to do. They encouraged me to read, they sent me to other classes to help out, they also are responsible for my knowledge of how to use a computer by often sending me to the computer lab to help out. But they also set me up to expect that when I moved on to junior high and high school and sadly that didn't help.

Moving to the higher grades and schools, I became one of the crowd. I wasn't a bad kid, and I completed my work on time. I was smart and independent. So I was mostly left alone. But here's the thing, they give you dittos. Don't know what a ditto is? It's busy work, it's a worksheet, and man do some teachers love those things. As I got older I started skipping classes, and entire days of school. Why? Honestly I wasn't challenged, I was bored. I had one teacher that gave out a packet of dittos every quarter, I finished them in 2 days, and that's what we would do in class, why did I want to sit there and go over something I already finished? I started skipping her class and just showing up for tests and quizzes. I finished her class with a 96 average, and I skipped the majority of the class.

That is my problem with the education system though, not education itself. Which is why I work with the kids at home. My kids speak some Spanish, some Mandarin, some German. AJ can count to 30 and sometimes beyond. He also has incredibly logic skills. We work on ASL. I'm constantly complimented on their manners. They have a love of books and they asset dangers when playing.

Education is a very important thing, sometimes I feel the education system needs a tune up though.

Always 5 Years {Day 15 Catch Up}

With these prompts it's always 5 years. I did one over the summer. I was happy and excited about a new relationship. I was planning things I should have probably waited on. But I was happy.

Now? Who knows where I will be in 5 years. I'm still planning on having my own place by then. Running my photo business. Having my graphic design degree. Living a comfortable life. Hopefully a happy one.

Holiday {15/365}

15/365 project

The one fun thing about the Holiday Season, beside you know the Holidays is that Starbucks does the Holiday BOGO! You buy one of their signature holiday drinks at a certain time and they will give you another one free of charge! Meaning that I got a drink and my friend and favorite model got one too, I'm now her hero.

Healthy Habits {Day 14}

Three healthy habits. I walk a lot. I eat yogurt everyday. Talk my meds and vitamins everyday.

Boots {14/365}

14/365 project

Ariel got some new boots! Aren't they fancy? And they were clearance too.

Fridge {Day 13}

What's in my fridge?

Butter. Milk. Juice.
Eggs. Blackberries. Cheese.
Hot dogs (Ariel is obsessed with them lately).
Jello. Half & half. Ketchup.
Mustard. Salad dressing.
Olives. Jelly. Jam. Walnuts.

Umm we need to go shopping.

The freezer has some pie crusts.
Pizza papa bought and never ate.
Pizza rolls. Chicken nuggets. Ice pops.
Some frozen veggies. Meatballs.

Yeah we need to go shopping.

Just on a note we have tons of stuff that I bake with that doesn't go in the fridge. I just made some blackberry muffins for the first time and they are pretty damn good. I'm going to make up some scones tomorrow I think.

And seriously once we buy fruits and veggies they are gone in days.

Her Spot {13/365}

13/365 project

If you had been to my house while she was alive, you knew this was her spot. I was taking photos of Ariel and Taco, but I had left my camera in the car for a little too long (thought we were going back out). And I was having some fogging going on. It gave the photos an interesting look. I was also sitting on the floor to be on their level and looked at her spot.

Grandma's Chair.

Remembering {12/365}

12/365 project

The other night I couldn't decide what I wanted to capture for my Project 365. I went to take a shot of Ariel sleeping but my flower chains caught my eye and I remembered my fun times at the Ren Faire.

Dr. Scholl's® For Her Cozy Cushions

See those white fluffy things in my shoes? Those are Dr. Scholl's for Her Cozy Cushions insoles. They keep your feet nice and warm during the winter and comfy too. 

I would recommend throwing them into your boots, which is what I wound up doing with my, laceless Cons don't enough room for them. 

They are super easy to size down too. Just flip them over and trim the line that matches your shoe size. And ta-da they fit and your feet will be comfy and warm in no time at all. 

Thanks to Influenster for sending me these in my RoseVoxBox!