Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge {Vol. IX}

1. October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?

Yes, I have seen all the movies. My favorites are the original and part 2. I didn't care too much for the last movie. In the fall of 1985, I was only 7 years old so I was doing typical 80's kid things. 

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past?

I really don't know. Sometimes I think it would be cool to visit the past and sometimes I think it would be cool to visit the future. But, there are also times that I think that no one should mess with the time continuum. I always wanted to visit the 1920's and 1950's. And of course revisit the 1980's.  

3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass).  Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good? 

Sometimes I think that technology is taking us over. Technology has taken away the simple things in life and replaced them with a gadget. The internet can do more harm than good. Cyberbullying is a major problem. 

4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food?

My favorite slow-cooker dish is probably my cube steak. It's just the steak, organic beef broth and either fresh chopped onion or a package of onion soup mix. The beef has a wonderful onion taste and the broth makes it so moist and it never dries out. Another favorite is pork tenderloin cooked all day in my homemade Carolina BBQ sauce and then shredded up. 

My favorite fast food is Raising Canes. I always order the Caniac meal, no slaw and extra fries with a Large lemonade. However, there isn't one nearby. So, my next favorite is Five Guys. I always get the Bacon Cheeseburger, no bun, with ketchup, lettuce, grilled onions and mushrooms. The husband and I split a large cajun fry.  

5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now? 

Make time. I need to make time for everything in my life. I'm failing. 

6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel?

The "pond". On my family's property there was a small pond where we went fishing. Over time, the family built a small "clubhouse" with 4 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and screened porch. I used to spend a lot of time there growing up, spending entire weekends or even weeks there. When I was in high school, my uncle moved into it. It's no longer the clubhouse but a residence (not sure who now but I think his ex-wife). 

7. Describe your comfort zone.

With those that are closest to me. Otherwise it takes awhile for me to warm up and actually be sociable. I also prefer to be in a quiet, familiar place. I'm not a club type of person or anything like that. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

To be honest, we've never been Halloween people. The last time my kids truly dressed up was probably 2006. We bought some costumes back in 2012 but we didn't go anywhere. So, this year my kids decided they wanted to dress up and go to the local homeschool group's Halloween party as well as some other local events. So, I am happy to say that I have pretty much finished shopping for costumes. The main items for 6 of the 7 costumes are purchased. I will buy the remaining few items as well as my teen's costume on Thursday. The costumes for this year are: 1920's Flapper, Maggie from The Walking Dead, Devil, Angel, Beth from The Walking Dead, Bride, and "army guy". I want to be a Peacock Princess. But, whatever. I created 4 of the costumes myself using things we already had or thrift shop finds. Pictures will be coming later. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Project Tell Their Story, Week 3

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Ashley at My Angel Lives came up with this awesome challenge to talk about our angels this month. The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month. Her challenge is set up to have one prompt per day for the month. However, I am going to do mine a little different. I will post a week's worth at a time. This post will contain Days 12 - 18 of the challenge.

Day 12: When my Angel Passed I was Comforted By...

     First and foremost was my boyfriend (now husband). I did not receive any comfort or help from anyone else until after my second miscarriage in 2001. That was when I found the group Pain - Heartache - Hope on yahoo groups ran by Robyn. The group no longer exists under that name; however, it can be found on facebook under Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support October 15th. I am still in contact with the founder, Robyn, as well as several of the ladies I met through the old group.

Day 13: Because of my Angel I am Aware That...

     I am aware that life is fragile. I am aware that tomorrow isn't promised. I am aware that even the smallest of beings are not guaranteed life. I am aware that each child, and person for that matter, is precious. I am aware that I can survive massive heartbreak.

Day 14: My Angel Has Pushed me To...

     Be the best mother I can be to my living children. To be the best person I can be. To be there as a support system for other pregnancy and infant loss moms (and dads too).

Day 15: Today I Light a Candle for my Angel...

     I used to have a candle reserved only for my angels. I would light it on their special days, October 15th, any time they were weighing heavily on my heart. However, that candle is still packed up with all my stuff in my home state. I wish I still had it with me. I wish I had all of my stuff that represents my angels. I did not light a candle this year. The only candle lit was the one in my heart.

Day 16: I Imagine my Angel Would Have Taken After...

     I have 7 rainbows in addition to my 3 angels. I have watched them grow and I see their personality and physical looks. The only thing I can say with certainty is that they would've been a perfect mix of the two of us.

Day 17: When my Angel is Heavy on my Heart, I...

     When this occurs, I usually write a letter to them or one of them (depending on the reason like an upcoming angel day, etc.). I will also listen to my In Memory of My Angels playlist on Apple Music. Other things I have done is write a blog post about them or make a facebook status on the page I have in their memory.

Day 18: On my Angel's Heavenly Birthday I Celebrate by...

     I used to celebrate by having a cake and release a balloon. I also used to buy a special token in their memory such as an angel figurine or something similar. I slacked off over the years but I think I would really like to restart this tradition. Many of my rainbows are now old enough to really understand everything and be a part of this. Dakota's day is coming up in about a month and a half so I may plan to restart this tradition with him. I am ashamed that I allowed my life to become too busy that I allowed my angels to be pushed to the back burner.

** Part 4, Days 19 - 25, will be up on 10/25
** Part 5, Days 26 - 31, will be up on 10/31

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge {Vol. VIII}

1. What's something that has recently 'tried your patience'?

Oh, word. In one word? Kids! They worked my nerves yesterday. I love them dearly but my goodness they wanted to walk that very thin line. 

2. Do you think patience comes to us naturally or is it something you have to learn as you grow? On a scale of 1-10 generally how patient are you? (1=I blow up at the drop of a hat and 10=I've got all the time in the world).

I'm a psychology grad student. I'm all about the nature vs nurture debate. I tend to lean more towards patience being innate. My patience level is around 1 or 2. I am not a very patient person at all. 

3. Share about a time when you felt like you could fly. Or a time you wished you could fly. Or a time you felt like you were flying.

Ummm... when I was having my c-section? I actually felt like I was floating/flying. Creepy feeling. 

4. Your favorite song with the word fly in the title or lyrics, or your favorite song that relates to flying in some way?

Well, it doesn't specifically say fly but it has "soar above the sky" in the lyrics. 

5. What's in your fall picnic basket and where are we picnicking in your neck of the woods this time of year?

I would usually say salami, cheese, and crackers along with some fruit. But, since I can't eat crackers anymore, I guess everything I listed except those. I'm not big on picnics, honestly.

There are several parks around my city that offer picnic spaces. Any one of those would work out great.

6.  Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping...which skill would you most like to possess and how would you put that skill to use today?

I honestly do not desire any of those skills. That's what the yellow pages are for. :) My dad can do electrical, my husband can do construction (and I've even helped with that), so I am going to say landscaping. I would use it to fix up the jacked up landscaping around my complex. Although it doesn't matter to me, I'll be leaving here soon!

7. What's something you think is too expensive to justify buying lately?

Almost anything non-essential at this point. Um, probably a new football jersey. The player whose jersey I buy usually gets released/traded within a year...

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have two weeks left in my current class. Then I am on a long break for six months. I have a list of things to get done in that time and the list just keeps growing. But, I am excited for this break. I really need it. I should have taken a longer break between my bachelors and masters degrees, but I didn't and now I am paying for it. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Project Tell Their Story, Week 2

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Ashley at My Angel Lives came up with this awesome challenge to talk about our angels this month. The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month. Her challenge is set up to have one prompt per day for the month. However, I am going to do mine a little different. I will post a week's worth at a time. This post will contain Days 5 - 11 of the challenge.

Day 5: Others Can Help me Remember My Angel By...

  • Participate in an October 15th event
  • Like my page in remembrance of my angels     
  • Donate to a children's hospital in memory of my angels
  • Participate in an Angel Tree or similar program
  • Allow me to talk about my Angels and my feelings.
  • Light a candle on October 15th. 

Day 6: My Angel's Symbol of Hope Is...
  • Alexis Marie: Teddy Bears, Aquamarine 
  • Dakota Lee: Dinosaurs, Tanzanite
  • Ashleigh Rose: Roses, Aquamarine
  • All Three: Angels

Day 7: My Angel's Song Is...

There are many songs. In fact, back in 2003 I had made myself a CD of songs in memory of my angels. I wish I still had that CD or at least the playlist for it. I would love to add them all to my Apple Music playlist for my angels. However, below are 3 of the songs I listen to for my angels.
  • Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
  • Help Pour Out the Rain by Buddy Jewell 
  • Gone Too Soon by Daughtry

Day 8: Telling My Angel's Story Makes me Feel...

     First, it makes me feel bittersweet. I am happy that I am at a place where I can talk about them; yet, I am sad that I have to talk about them. 

     I also feel cautious. Some people don't think they should be talked about. This also makes me sad because they deserve to be remembered as well. 

     I get scared when I talk about them because I never know who I am going to offend with my story. Or if anyone really cares about my story. I have kept it all in my inner circle for so long that I get scared to bring it up to others. 

     But, most of all I get sad and weepy. These sweet angels were a part of me. Even though I only had them inside the womb for 6 weeks or 12 weeks, they were mine. I shouldn't have to live my life without any of my children. 

Day 9: Before my Angel Came Along, my Life Was...

     I'm not sure how to answer this. My very first pregnancy resulted in my first angel. I never knew the love of a parent for their child before my angel came along.

Day 10: Since My Angel Has Come Along my Life has Been...

     Since my first angel, I have realized the meaning of a child being a gift. Since my angels, I have made my living children my priority. Since my angels, I have learned not to take anyone in my life for granted and to treasure every moment I have with those I love. I battle with bouts of depression since my angels.

Day 11: The Resources That Help Me Grieve My Angel Are...

     When I miscarried Alexis, I had no idea what to do. I knew no one who had ever miscarried. I lived in a small town where there wasn't support groups for things like this. Travelling to a bigger city for a group was not an option. When I miscarried with Dakota, the internet age had just begun. I started researching and I found Pain - Heartache - Hope (now Remembering Our Babies) ran by Robyn Bear. I found a great support system of women. I joined the effort to have October 15th recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I even served as the Virginia State Leader for the campaign. Along the way, I have had some special people touched my life with gifts. Some purchased angel figurines for my memory shelf. One special lady (I wish I remembered who she was) made me two blankets for Alexis and Dakota in their memory (this was before Ashleigh). I am grateful for these people who touched my life.

** Part 3, Days 12 - 18, will be up on 10/18
** Part 4, Days 19 - 25, will be up on 10/25
** Part 5, Days 26 - 31, will be up on 10/31

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Product Review:

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I was contacted by to try and review their product. It's been a long time since I have shopped for a pair of frames. I was impressed with their product selection. They have great selection of cheap glasses beginning as low as $19.95! This includes prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses

The website was easy to navigate and I could easily find what I was looking for. A nice feature of the website is the Try On feature. The consumer can upload a photo and see approximately how the glasses look on their face.

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I chose to try a pair of black Hilton rectangular glasses. I loved how these glasses looked, especially the hinges of the temple.

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The quickness of receiving my order was sufficient. I placed my order on August 22nd and received my order on September 8th. While I am a little critical of how I look, I think these frames didn't look that bad on me.

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Overall, I recommend to anyone in the market for new eyeglasses or sunglasses. The ease of the site, turnaround rate, and quality of product make it a win! 

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If you would like to give a try, you can receive your first pair free of either prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses (just pay S&H)!

If you are already a customer or would like to order more than one pair, use the coupon code, GSHOT50, to receive 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded). 

** Disclaimer: I received this product for free from in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and photos are mine. No compensation was received by The Italian Bella Diaries for this post. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Unmotivated: Screw Grad School

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When I took my first Intro to Psychology course in community college in 2010, I knew psychology was where my heart was. I loved it. I loved all my psychology courses. But, see that picture above? That's how I look every single day lately when it comes to grad school. I am unmotivated. I would rather stare at a pen for hours than to prepare my discussion posts or write 1,000+ word papers. It's not that I hate psychology. Because, I don't. I still have a deep passion for the field. Of course, I still waver between sports psychology and clinical psychology, but I know that psychology is where I want to be.

In all honesty, I think it's my school. The school I chose, for selfish reasons, has sucked all the life out of me. I hate it. I hate how they cram a semester worth of information into 6 weeks. I hate how my life is nothing but papers, papers, papers; never a test. I hate how so much of my grade is dependent upon team assignments. Maybe, I'm just stuck in the old way of school but to me, I hate how this school is set up.

And it is affecting my grades, my GPA, my future. I have 2 weeks left in my current class and then I'm putting my grad school plans on hold. With just 5 classes left to finish, I want out. I will be taking a six month break. During this six month period, I will be doing several things. First, I will be doing things that need to be done and are always pushed to the back burner. We're looking to move after the first of the year (not new area, just new place). I have things I have wanted to do but couldn't find the time: organize my pictures, links, computer files. I want to blog more. Read more books. Spend more time with my kids. Write my novel(s). These are the things I plan to do the next 6 months.

Well, those things along with figuring out what to do with my grad school problem. Go back to a school I hate and finish it out? Or possibly lose the progress I made and find another school where I would be mentally happier.

But, in the meantime I need to find some motivation and finish my current class with a decent grade.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge {Vol. VII}

1. It's October so let's get this out there first thing...have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon? How so?

No. I don't really like pumpkin. However, I will be trying a pumpkin smoothie recipe I saw a few weeks ago.

2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible." Francois Duc De la Rochefoucauld  

What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

I'm not really sure. There's hardly anything I think is impossible. Things that seem to be impossible for me are impossible for reasons other than lack of will (like singing. I don't have the talent so it's not a lack of will but rather a lack of talent). Right now it is because of lack of will that I'm not doing better in school. 

3. The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has its own (click here to see the list). Are you happy with yours? If you were in charge what would you declare your state's flower? If you're outside the U.S. what bloom would you like to see labeled as your country's national flower?

I was born in Virginia and the state flower is Dogwood. I love Dogwoods because they were my grandfather's favorite flower. 

I call Louisiana my home in my heart. The state flower there is the Magnolia. Again, this is one of my favorite flowers.

I currently live in North Carolina. The state flower is also the Dogwood. Since I love this flower, I am fine with it. 

I would not change these 3 state flowers. I also like roses so I am happy with our nation's flower. 

4. What have you lost interest in recently?

School. I am really having an issue with grad school. It's not that I don't love psychology anymore because that is the furthest thing from the truth. I think it's just my school has made me resent being in school. 

5. In your opinion, who's the best living musician?

The best living? Oh, gosh. I don't know, Every name I come up with is dead. I loved Elvis and Louis Armstrong. I'm going to go with Kermit Ruffins, I guess. 

6. S'mores-love 'em or no? Ever make them indoors? Last time you sat around an outdoor fire? Are making s'mores and sitting round a fire pit on your autumn bucket list? Do you have an autumn bucket list?

I loved them growing up. I'm not much of a junk food eater these days. I would have to use gluten free graham crackers but, honestly, s'mores does sound good right now. I made some stove top s'mores back when I was a preteen at a sleepover. It has been a long time since I sat around an outdoor fire. I want to say March of 2000. There was a bonfire at my grandparents' 50th anniversary party. I do not have an autumn bucket list. 

7. Your favorite small town? Why?

Grand Isle, Louisiana. It's where I go to sit on the Gulf and clear my head. Or at least where I did when I was in La. Would love to go back. 

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8. Insert your own random thought here.

My daughters, Chey and Court, turn 8 this weekend. Where has the time gone? They were just babies when I started my first blog (that I got locked out of so I started this one). 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Project Tell Their Story, Week 1

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Ashley at My Angel Lives came up with this awesome challenge to talk about our angels this month. The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month. Her challenge is set up to have one prompt per day for the month. However, I am going to do mine a little different. I will post a week's worth at a time. This post will contain Days 1 - 4 of the challenge. 

Day 1: My Angel's Name is...

     I have 3 angels: Alexis Marie, Dakota Lee, and Ashleigh Rose. Alexis and Dakota were early miscarriages. Most people do not know the sex of the baby that early. I was no exception. I could have named them any gender neutral name, but that's not the route I wanted to go. I felt that we should go with our gut and give our angels a name for the sex we believed them to be. When my boyfriend (now husband) and I were early into our relationship, we discussed names we would give our future children. Alexis Marie was the one girl name we decided on. When I lost my first pregnancy, and baby, to miscarriage at 6 weeks, we felt it was a girl. Therefore, we named the baby the girl name we had chosen - Alexis Marie. When I had my second loss (third pregnancy), it also occurred early at 6 weeks. We felt this baby was a boy so we named him, Dakota Lee. Dakota was my favorite boy name at the time. We had given our rainbow baby the middle name Leighanne so we gave this baby the middle name Lee. 

     My third loss was a little different than my other two. Immediately during my next cycle after my second miscarriage, I got pregnant again - with twins. At 12/13 weeks, I lost one of the twins. The surviving twin was a girl, so we believed that it was a set of twin girls (there is a reason we do not know the sex of this baby and it will be discussed in Day 2). We named her Ashleigh Rose. Ashleigh was a name I liked and since we kept a C first name theme for our living children, I decided to continue the A first name for our girl angels. Rose was for one of my favorite flowers - the pink rose. 

Day 2: My Angel Earned Their Wings On...

     My first loss happened on March 20, 1997. I lost the baby at home alone and never sought medical attentions. Two years later, I chose that date as our wedding date so that our first baby would always be with us.

     My second loss happened on December 8, 2001. Again I went through the miscarriage at home.

     My third miscarriage occurred on March 8, 2002 (although the baby probably passed away before that date). This was ruled as a miscarriage/vanishing twin syndrome. I experienced the bleeding and rupturing of membranes. The miscarried twin had been absorbed back into my body, the placenta, or my daughter (as many lost twins in VTS are). Therefore, we do not know the sex of the lost baby. However, I am leaning very much towards them being identical, so we believe girl. 

Day 3: My Angel's Life Taught Me...

     I guess my angels didn't technically have a life outside of the womb. However, losing my angels has taught me that I am a strong woman. A lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Losing my angels has taught me that every child is a blessing. Losing my angels has taught me not to take life for granted. 

Day 4: Grieving my Angel has been...

     My grief journey has been a long one. I lost my first angel almost 19 years ago. The pain is still just as real today as it was then. I wonder how my angels would look, how they would be. I especially still take losing Ashleigh hard. I look at my daughter (her twin) and wonder how alike they would be. Whenever someone I know suffers a loss, they ask me how long it takes until the emotional pain is gone. I would love to be able to give them a timeline for grief. But I can't. I still feel immense emotional pain when I think about my angels. 

** Part 2, Days 5 - 11, will be up on 10/11
** Part 3, Days 12 - 18, will be up on 10/18
** Part 4, Days 19 - 25, will be up on 10/25
** Part 5, Days 26 - 31, will be up on 10/31