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From my Hart: You Don’t Own Me

I awoke at 5 a.m. on Monday morning from the most vivid of dreams.

It’s not fair, I don’t want to relive this, and I hate that it’s still with me. I thought to myself.

It’s been three wonderful years since Three’s a Crowd, and I’d love to report to you that it’s been three blissful years without reminders, or nightmares like the one I had the other morning; but I can’t.

After one of my first nightmares, I reached out to my cousin, who truly understands what I went through. I was so panicked that I had had this dream- how could that be, I’ve moved on, what’s wrong with me?

She assured me that nothing was wrong with me, and that unfortunately, this was to be expected. It’s not as simple as just walking away after closing a door and never returning.

As I sat there Monday morning, I felt haunted. I wanted nothing more than to erase completely this part of my past. I’d love to keep the lessons learned, but not the act itself.

I hate that I can be shook three years later. I’m stubborn and hard headed, and want to just keep walking around better off and not be effected negatively from it all.

What caused the dream?

This is something I became fixated on, so that I could avoid, if at all possible, ever having this encounter again. Not possible friends.
It could have been that while searching for a contact in my phone I stumbled upon his brother’s number and thought for a moment on his adorable kids & wondered how they were doing now.
It could have been that I was talking through the grief process and forgiveness with someone who is going through something eerily similar.
It could have been that someone asked me how I got so good at finding information.
It could have been a million different things I wasn’t even aware of- but… that doesn’t matter!

The bottom line is, in the moment, I was giving this dream too much power.

Yes- it was a shock at 5 a.m. and caught me completely off guard. Yes I went through some stuff in life, & thank God I did. Yes I’m so much more happy now. But dang it that burned three years ago, and still burns today and that’s okay to admit.

I am so frustrated with myself. I mean really, I write this to try and help others because I’m sure there are people who can relate on some level. You work so hard to get yourself out of a hole and then… boop- something tilts you back or knocks you completely back in.

Now what?

I took the morning to get myself out of the “shook” state. Writing helps me process things, so thank you so much for providing me that outlet. I made the choice not to give in and think on the thoughts, and I certainly wasn’t going to allow one dream to ruin my day.

These little random, out of the blue hiccups are meant to derail you. Do not give them that power. We’ve all been through some things in our life. It is your life though, your choice, you have the power to think on things, to respond to things, to let things effect you in a certain way.

Grab that power deep down inside of you and rise above it. I know you can do it, no matter what has happened in your past!

Take a hint from my dream… the last thing I remember was me parading through a hotel singing “You don’t own me” with him trailing behind. It’s pretty bazaar… and did not coordinate with any other part of my dream, but it’s pretty powerful in terms of dream analysis.

“You don’t own me.” Your past doesn’t own you now. A crappy experience doesn’t own you. A bad person doesn’t own you. Bad decisions don’t own you. You own you!

 

From my Hart: Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Father’s Day was a holiday I would scoff at in my early years. Growing up, my biological father was never around. I have an amazing Grandfather who showed me just how a man should love his family, and a Mom who did more than just fill the mom-role.

I grew up wanting nothing more to be independent, because that was what I had to work with. Then entered my Dad, Mr. Hart, right in my horrible middle school years… God Bless him haha!

Since Father’s Day is Sunday, I thought I would devote a little post to Dad!

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My Dad

Taught me how to drive

Picks me up when I fall

Celebrates my accomplishments

Gives me advice

Loves me unconditionally

Makes me laugh

Teaches me new things

Looks out for me

Guides me

Loves and cares for my family

Supports me

Pushes me to be the best me

Spends time with me

Picks me

Butts heads with me, because we are so similar

Loves God

Has always been there for my life events

Does the best he can

Appreciates me

And on, and on, and on!

Thanks Dad!

Thank you for stepping so wonderfully into this Dad role and filling this hole in my heart. For being there, and loving me. For all the things I wish I could put into words but cannot. Thank you & I’m so glad to have you in my life. Happy Father’s Day!

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From my Hart: Wedding Guest Costs

I was on LinkedIn the other day when I stumbled upon the article above, written for guests attending weddings. I thought it was filled with a lot of great information for guests who are trying to save on costs. Kudos to Cain for writing a unique take on wedding costs from the guest perspective; I love spinning new angles on topics!

I did think of a few things while reading that I wished Cain touched on. So, I thought… why not add my own tips? Below you will see my addendum to Cain’s article on saving money as a wedding guest.

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I try and put myself into the couple’s shoes, as they have invited guests and want them to attend. However, I’ve had to RSVP no to some weddings because of the distance and time of traveling. PTO, and the additional costs associated with traveling can really be a burden for some!

If you can, go in with other guests, as Cain mentioned, to cut costs is ideal. This could be done by going in on hotel room, get two queen beds and split the cots with four friends, or by sharing airlines miles, etc. Also, as Cain mentioned, booking early is key!

Something Cain didn’t mention in detail, is the planning of your finances. When the save the date comes out, or as soon as you get wind from the couple that travel will be involved, start budgeting! I take any expendable / extra income I have (babysitting, lunches out, etc.) and start putting that money aside for the wedding. You’d be surprised how quickly by consciously saving early, you will have enough money to make attending the wedding less stressful.

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In the realm of etiquette, I am shocked whenever I see guess breaking these two simple rules, it makes my blood boil, total pet peeve.

1. Do not wear white
2. Stick to the dress code

Please for the love of all that is good, do NOT wear white, to a wedding. White dress shirts for the men, fine, ladies- stay far far away. I’ve seen guests wear a white dress to a wedding- only the bride should be in white, unless otherwise specified.

As a footnote to the above: if you know the colors of the bridal party, don’t wear that specific color either. Let those ladies and men have their shining moment as a standout member of the bridal party. Yes- I’ve seen quite a few people be mistaken for bridesmaids at weddings.

For the dress code, please adhere to it. The couple is putting in the effort to create a magical moment for guests and having a dress code can help set the mood!

How do you know if there is a dress code? Easy!

1. It’s listed on the invitation or wedding website.
2. A night wedding is always more formal, unless otherwise specified.
3. Look to the location: barn weddings tend to be less formal & don’t wear jeans to a ballroom, etc.
4. Still unsure? Ask, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Fun Fashion Fact: The Mother of the Groom’s dress color should complement the Mother of the Bride’s dress color

Gifts

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The cost of your wedding gift should, in theory and by traditional standards, offset what the Bride and Groom are spending on you as a guest per plate. Let’s say the average cost per head is $100 for dinner, you and your plus one should aim to spend $200 on your wedding gift.

Get creative! I love when guests have themed gifts. For my Big’s (big sister in the sorority) I did a “drunk in love” theme and purchased some really like drink wear, etc. for the gifts. I also always gift thank you cards. Even if the couple designs their own thank you cards post wedding, there will never be a time that these won’t come in handy.

Further, don’t forget to think outside of the box and add some smaller items to a big gift! Cute napkins and a sugar dish in addition to a Ninja Coffee Bar really pull the gift together, and let the couple know you’re thinking of them.

Do not wait until the week of the wedding to find a gift. Not only will this cause undue stress, but it will also cause your costs to go up! Rush shipping is not a fun price, neither is checking the registry and seeing everything purchased. Womp Womp.

Key factor here: Cain points out sending a gift even if you RSVP no, is proper etiquette. Don’t feel obliged to go crazy on the gift, especially if you are RSVPing no due to finances, however you should still think of the couple, as they so clearly thought of you.

Overall thoughts?

Weddings are fun. Attending weddings are fun! The celebration of love should forever remain at the forefront, even when budging and planning out gifts, etc. The article above, as well as my addendum, are tips. You should never let any of the above become more important, or all consuming than enjoying yourself with the bride & groom.

Wedding season is officially upon us! Enjoy & spread the love!

 

the images from this post were all free icon images from various sites: medialoot, vector guild & freepik.
The feature image is from my sister Katie R.

From my Hart: Seasoning Fave

With this lifestyle blog, I want to share with y’all a wide variety of things in my life. That being said, I’m seriously addicted to this new seasoning & want to share it with everyone.

My Mom had gotten the seasoning to make bread-less bagels. It was delicious and tasted just like an everything bagel. The seasoning then sat and sat, all alone next to our stove.

I grabbed it one morning and sprinkled a little bit onto my sunny side up egg. WOOOOOO YAS! I will admit, you must like how an everything bagel tastes. Each morning I am now treated to something simply delicious!

I love the subtle garlic and onion flavor, as well as how pretty the white and black sesame seeds look sprinkled on my egg. It’s so yummy, my mouth is watering right now!

I then decided to sprinkle some on top of biscuits I was making. The family raved about them- such a hit!

Now I’m wracking my brain about all the ways I can spice up other foods! I’m thinking about adding it instead of pepper on my salad, maybe add it to a potato dish for the family? The sky is the limit, and this seasoning has spiced up my life!

Run to Trader Joe’s and grab you some- Enjoy!

 

From my Hart: Royal Wedding Recap

Hello all! I love me some love, and I love history! Naturally so, I have a fascination with the Royal family due to their rich history. I currently love watching The Crown and their retelling of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

I woke up early to watch the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding in 2011. I could not resit watching them get married, and still find following them to this day to be wonderful!

However, I was not as eager for this past weeks wedding. I opted to sleep in, and caught up, as I could, throughout the day via social media. That’s not to say I’m unhappy for the couple, just that I wasn’t as invested.

There are a few wonderful things I cannot get enough of though, and I’d like to share my day-of favorites with you!

These Flowers

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Whhhhhew Lord if I had a couple million to drop on a florist for my wedding day, I’d have the church set up like this as well! I cannot get over the all encompassing simplicity and grandeur of these flowers. It’s just the most fairy tale like touch!

Prince Charles

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Now I am NOT a fan of this man, my allegiance is with the late Diana. However, the gesture of him walking her down the isle, beginning where the Royal family was sitting, was a wonderful sentiment. In my opinion, I feel it was his way of accepting and welcoming her into the family.

Also, did you notice an empty seat next to The Duke of Cambridge during the cermony? It was left empty for Diana- cue the tears.

Her shoes!

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If you look closely, the soles of her shoes are baby blue! I love traditions, and this is such a sweet way to have something blue on your wedding day. The blue also matched the aquamarine ring of Princess Diana’s that she wore.

Overall thoughts

In general, I think it was a beautiful day! The weather was wonderful, the official pictures were stunning, they both looked wonderful, and I wish them a happy marriage. I love the thoughtfulness that was given to every aspect of their big day, and I hope you enjoyed!

First two photos & feature photo are from Kensington Palace
The shoe picture is from People.com

From my Hart: Save That Money

Hey friends! I wanted to share with you two quick tools I use to try and stretch the almighty dollar.

The closest grocery store to me is actually out of state, and it’s Walmart. Oh the joys of living in the country next to the state line. I don’t mind shopping here, unlike some; I think that is because I love to go grocery shopping.

Walmart App

Do yourself a huge favor and download the Walmart App. Within this app, there the “Savings Catcher” tool. THIS COULD NOT, be more simple.

How to use the Savings Catcher Tool

When you shop at Walmart, just simply open the ap, open Savings Catcher, scan the barcode at the bottom of your receipt and select the date purchased.

I do this while I am still at checkout, just because I don’t want to forget to do it later. It takes no time at all, literally just a few seconds. You have seven days from date of purchase to scan in your receipt. In about 72 hours, your receipt will be processed and you will know what was found!

What it does

The ap searches other stores for the same items you bought at Walmart. If another store carries an item you bought for less, you get the difference!

The ap then sores all of the money and you can use it anytime you want! Initially, I was using the money every time I went to the store.

However, now I am holding on and watching it grow so I can use it during Christmas or at the end of the year to pay for an entire shopping trip!

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Ibotta

In addition to the Savings Catcher tool, I also use Ibotta thanks to a co-worker. I will say, Ibotta is not as fast as the savings catcher ap, but I find it fun!

Once you sign up, you then select the store in which you wish to shop. You can do almost any store, so this is a great way to earn money not from food shopping! Let’s stick with Walmart for this example though.

How to use Ibotta

I open the ap, click on Walmart, then scroll through all of the offers. I select the offers that I purchased. For example: 25 cents back on any purchase, or 50 cents back on Cottonelle toilet paper, $1 back on Simply Orange orange juice.

You can do this at any time! Literally, while in the store, after shopping, a few days before, day of- whatever works. Note, offers will be added so I suggest doing this after shopping to maximize your earnings!

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Once I’ve scrolled through all of the offers, I click on “my offers” then redeem. I then scan the receipt and boom… get money! I am holding onto my earnings until the end of the year as well.

You can earn money by inviting friends, and also are able to see how much your friends are earning!

Shopping Fun!

Now, grocery shopping has turned into a fun scavenger hunt for extra savings and earnings! I hope this helps you, every little bit helps after all.

This article is not an ad, nor am I sponsored by either of these apps to produce this post. I did want to share my Ibotta code, ihdolnw, in case anyone wanted to download the app and help me earn more rewards!

Most importantly, I hope these apps help you save that money & maybe add some more fun to your shopping adventures!

 

From my Hart: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all the Moms out there!

I wanted to take a moment to thank my Momma, for being just a true all-star. This woman was a single parent who never let me in on her struggles. Looking back now, I’m completely baffled at how she did it; she worked full-time and was always there for my life events. We were always going somewhere and doing something fun together on the weekends, and she exposed me to cultures, art and wonderful things that have shaped me to be the person I am today.

Today, she still works full-time, is involved in our church, in pursuit of her undergrad degree, part of a book club, is a wife, a daughter, has a social life, and still takes care of me haha. She is a woman of faith and positivity, a true example of how to treat others, and the strongest person I know.

Momma, I’m so glad I picked you. Words cannot describe my overwhelming thanks for all that you’ve done, and continue to do for me. If I could be even a 1/4th of the person you are, I know I will be okay. Thank you for your unconditional love, your support, your words of encouragement, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, for letting me figure things out on my own, for catching me when I fall, and for always being there.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

PS- go get your headshot from JDUB Photography, just like my Momma did, or any picture done from JDUB for that matter 😉