To ring or not to ring; bling is the question

 

So, I was listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Jackie Reed’s topic of discussion was about engagement rings.  Apparently Jessica Biel is not wearing the ring Justin Timberlake gave her because she doesn’t like it.  I almost choked on the coffee I wished I was drinking when I heard that.  Yes, that’s how much what I heard shocked me.  I understand getting engaged is a magical experience; I was there once; actually twice, but there is more to an engagement and life than the size of the ring. 

My sentiment aside for now, this is what the discussion went on to say.  A man should know what his fiancée to be likes or dislikes and should match her taste accordingly.  Really?  Also, it was said that a woman is going to be wearing that ring everyday, so it should be something she’d want to flaunt and be happy wearing.  Really?  There were some other things said, but by then I had to park and go inside and I was in part, rather sick of what I was hearing anyway.  I don’t dispute that a man should pay some attention to what a woman likes or dislikes when it comes to rings/jewelry and if he’s going to propose, present her with something he thinks she’ll like, but dammit why should it ALL have to be about her?  Yes, she’ll be wearing it and flaunting it to anyone in eye shot, but geesh, shouldn’t there be so much more to it than that?  Okay, celebrities are in the fortunate position of having enough money to buy an enormous ring, but size/quality, doesn’t always make for a pretty ring.  These things are subjective and unless the fiancée to be has made a specific call to a specific ring/style/size etc, I think he should still be within his right to purchase what he also likes or what he likes in general; hell HE’S paying for it whether he’s a celebrity or not.  Women need to stop being so shallow.  They want to get married and sometimes demand to be married, so that in and of itself should be reason to be happy.  The size, weight, clarity of the ring does not a successful marriage make no matter who you are.  

When I was in marriage discussion with my now ex-husband, he had an idea of what I liked in terms of style etc for a diamond and I knew his budget.  I’m not a materialist woman and while I wanted a nice ring, it didn’t have to be the top of the line and it certainly didn’t need to meet his pre-determined budget to the dollar.  It was a custom-designed and made very pretty ring, which was later nested into a custom-designed and made band, but it didn’t have to be.  He could have gotten what he got, given it to me, and I’d still have been happy.  Why?  Because the simple fact that he wanted to marry me was sufficient.  Truth be told, I wore my engagement ring with limited frequency because I worked where I needed to put my hands in equipment and do things where having a ring on was a hindrance to my productivity.  I wore my alternate band on my ring finger which carried the same weight of significance and importance as my high-end ring/band did.  For me it wasn’t the size or quality, but the intent and purpose behind it.  Again, the REAL reason for it in the first place.  I’ve heard some women who are still wearing their original engagement ring say that their husbands had promised bigger ones over time as they bought what they could afford when they proposed and a good many of them refused the newer ring because it wouldn’t mean the same thing.  It wasn’t the size etc., of the ring that mattered, but the fact he bought her a ring.  Yes, for some of the more sophisticated or high-maintenance women out there, they’d be nagging their man for the upgraded version the minute he was financially able and that’s they prerogative; however, no new ring can ever redo the original proposal, the original significance, and the real love, time, and effort he put into getting the first.  

My man and I have discussed marriage and I’ve stated that I do not want an engagement ring.  I said I wanted a nice band as it still symbolized our love and commitment to each other.  He was quite taken aback and I think even a tad offended by it, but I spoke the truth.  I don’t need two rings to symbolize us; one is sufficient.  The ring I’ve looked at costs less than $1,000 dollars; yes, another blank stare, but it’s what I like and would want to wear.  Actually, I think the ring costs about $650.  I know the nay sayers are gagging at the bit for my decision and choice, but I don’t care and I don’t have to please them.  The engagement is not for their purpose or approval.  I’m very hard on my hands and could very easily chip or damage my ring; another reason why I don’t need one other than my band.  Should he decide he wants me to have an engagement ring; I still do not need anything fancy or grandiose and I’d be happy what whatever he presented me.  His proof of love is not in the ring, but in his actions, his intent, and his commitment to our future life together. 

That is all! 

I came across this and thought I’d be remiss in not reblogging. It’s a inexpensive, creative and practical DIY project that will be the centre of discussion during your next social gathering.
That is all!

SUGAR & CLOTH

DIY slate cheeseboard

What’s better than cheese and crackers? A good excuse to eat them. And that, my friends, is exactly what this super cute slate cheeseboard will give you– All for under $5.

1 | Slate tile (you can get free samples at tile & flooring stores)

2 | Felt Circles

3 | Olive oil

4 | Chalk marker / chalk (optional)

how to make your own slate cheeseboard

1 | Scrub (thoroughly) and rinse your slate piece, and pat dry.

2 | Coat all surfaces of the slate with olive oil, then scrub and rinse slate again. This will condition the surface and help create a barrier between the slate & food. Once you’ve scrubbed and rinsed the second time, apply one last coat of olive oil and dab away the excess. *

3 | Apply adhesive felt circles to each of the four corners.

4 | Using a chalk marker, label the cheeses.

5 | Display and…

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Holding on; holding strong

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 Lamentations 3:21-26

21. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. 22. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 .”The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25. The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.  26. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 

This week; in fact the past couple weeks have been filled with an anxiousness bordering on discomfort as I forge on through the journey of reclaiming and rebuilding my life from the crazy it went through for almost two years.  Facing each day with a new sense of hope is sometimes all I have to hold on when it still seems like I’m not really advancing, but when I read The Word; especially scriptures such as these; I’m then reminded that it will be okay and I’m going to come through the trial to claim my triumph and receive the victory that’s mine to have. 

I used to smile to keep from crying, but realized I’m only delaying and compounding the actual pain if I don’t address it, deal with it, and then move on, which is not always easy because sometimes I don’t know when that emotional moment is going to hit.  But I take solace in knowing that if these moments happen at work, I’m fortunate to have my best sister/friend, a co-worker who has proven himself to be a valuable confidante, and my pastor, who also happens to be a dear friend right there in the building to give me the compassion, comfort, and strength I need to make it through.  In addition, God has blessed me with a daughter and (maybe) future son-in-law in whom; despite their youth, give me encouraging and comforting words to hear in addition to their love and companionship. 

The trials of life won’t be forever, but instead will turn into a testimony I can share and encourage another with.  Readers, whatever you’re going through and wherever you are, know and trust there is someone out there who can and will lend and ear or a shoulder.  Do not think you have to go it alone; how I have tended to be; and you can and will be victorious.  And if there is no one around when you need them, just start talking to the Lord as He already knows what’s on your heart; He just wants to hear it in your voice.  

I’ll duly note that not everyone who reads or may read my blog is a Christian, but I do hope they do have a faith/spiritual path they follow; and if nothing else, I hope that the sharing of what I go through good or bad will help, encourage, or inspire another.

That is all!

The Plans…

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

This is one of my favourite scriptures as it always reminds me that in spite of myself and/or what I’m going through there is still a Plan B if Plan A fall apart.  Since we’re human and it sometimes takes us a few times to get it right, God ensured that He said “plans” and not “plan”, we could and would have many chances to get it together.  It also shows that He will not easily tire of us.  

On Monday, I unexpectantly ran into a young lady whom I’d actually voted for when I was a judge for a pageant and we engaged in a wonderful conversation where she asked if I would be a speaker at a workshop she’s putting together.  I was humbled that she asked as mentoring and speaking to young women has been something I’ve wanted to do; now I have the opportunity.  I immediately thanked God as I see now the timing was all a part of His plan and it truly did renew my hope for the future.  

I heard the song that supports this scripture just yesterday and I immediately felt renewed, encouraged, and inspired.  After the past two years I’ve had, I know I need this scripture now more than ever and I truly trust and believe in His word to keep me going.  We make plans for our lives and when they fall apart, we’re often left wondering what to do next or what will happen next, but God always finds and makes a way.  Our ways are not His ways and sometimes we think we have it all taken care of and it’s not until things get out of sync that we realized, we don’t know it all.  I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”, well, some of our choices/decisions, the scripture, song punctuate that we aren’t really in control.  

When things go south and we think we can’t go on, I recommend reading this scripture for some uplifting and also give this song a listen; nothing like a little spirit boosting to get back the hope you need to go on. The lyrics are as follows:

I Know The Plans – Martha Munizzi

I know the plans I have for you
I know just what you’re going through
So when you can’t see
what tomorrow holds
And yesterday is through,
Remember I know,
the plans I have for you (repeat)

To give you hope for tomorrow
Joy for your sorrow
Strength for everything you go through
Remember I know the plans I have for you

I know the plans I have for you
I know just what you’re going through
So when you can’t see
what tomorrow holds
And yesterday is through,
Remember I know,
the plans I have for you
(Repeat verses 1 & 2)

 That is all!

The many uses of hotel toiletries

Hotel toiletries, while not always the most complimentary to your skin; can provide a multitude of uses.  The following is how I have found ways to use and/or repurpose them:

  • Save them for overnight stays at friends or families homes
  • Use then in your Road Ready bag
  • Donate them to Girl or Boy Scout Troops for their camping trips
  • For your own camping trips
  • Donate them to shelters, the Red Cross, or to military bases for troops overseas
  • Use them in your guest room/bathroom in a basket for easy access and use

Now don’t you feel better about those little bottles?

That is all!

 

Road Ready

Depending on where you live, the chances of being stuck on the road during inclement weather could be pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared at all times.  The following are essentials that you should have in your vehicle:

  • An emergency road kit that you can easily purchase at any auto parts/supply store (Keep in your car year round)
  • A small First Aid kit, a small to medium blanket,  a small pillow (Keep in car year round in a medium duffel or similar type bag)
  • A collapsible shovel, small bag of ice melting salt or cat litter if you live in an area that gets snow (Keep in car during winter months)
  • A large Ziploc bag containing a travel sized toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, wipes, deodorant, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, change of socks/underpants, wash cloth and hand towel.  Also, purse sized tissues, a roll of paper towels, and flashlight (These go in your medium bag)
  • A liter bottle of water and snacks such as Peanut Butter crackers, Granola Bars, or similar type snacks that can be sustained in your bag

Having these staples in your car prepares you for any misadventures that can occur and/or provide you with the minimum bath essentials if you visit a friend and you hadn’t planned on staying, but did.

Preparedness is something most take for granted, but it’s a essential for your safety, survival, and comfort.

Sidenote:  Similar preparedness should be employed at home also.  Have the following ready and available in a large tote box in case of a power outage or similar event:

  • Flashlight – always check batteries throughout the year
  • Emergency candles and a butane candle lighter
  • Foods that can be prepared and eaten without heating
  • 2 or 3 Gallon bottles of water; more depending on family size
  • A 5 gallon bucket with lid (may be necessary as a toilet)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes

Extras:

  • Full propane tank. If you have a grill and weather permits, you can cook canned foods on it
  • A means of egress and a place to go if necessary

That is all!

Creative Housekeeping/Service Exchanges

As a mother and woman who strives to make a dollar out 15 cents, I’ve found some creative ways to use or repurpose products and items used in our daily lives.  I also make the most out of dining out.  The following are some suggestions for you to use or consider:

Baby wipes instead of eye makeup remover pads – Any unscented brand will do.  They come in large containers, are cheaper, and equally useful in removing eye makeup.  You use them in the same fashion you would Name Branded eye makeup removed clothes are, but you save money.  BJ’s brand come in a 500+ count box for less than $6.  Even if you buy Huggies, Pampers, Walmart, etc, you can still save.

Candle Jars – Candle jars; usually the larger  ones, but the smaller are equally effective can be repurposed into storage jars.  Once the wax has melted, put the jar in the freezer to remove any residual wax.  Remove the jar and use the blunt end of a fork or a butter knife to pop the wax out and removed the glued wick base.  Wash in warm, soapy water, and once dry, it’s great for cotton balls, Q-tips, or other items that require storage.

Candle Wax – Don’t you hate when you burn a scented candle and the wick burns out before all the wax does?  Well, you can salvage the wax by freezing the jar for about 10 mins (same process as above), pop the wax out, and save it for use in a potpurri burner, hot plates for wax holders, or other similar heating device. 

Baby wipe containers – They too can be used as storage containers for various household products outside of being used for refills.

Dryer sheets – Great for wiping dust of monitors, TVs, wood furniture if you don’t have a microfiber cloth handy.  They’re also great for putting under vent plates to make the house smell nice instead of buying the more expensive air freshners.

Childrens Clothing – This is a no-brainer.  Save clothes your children have grown out of and pass on gently worn clothes to friends with children younger than yours or solicit clothes from friends of older children.  You save money and know for sure the clothes are going where they’re intended.  Some donation bins are picked through by employees or are actually shredded to make clothes, which are sold as cleaning rags.  *Sidenote: Adults can do the same.

Service exchanges – If you’re good at something and a friend isn’t, offer to help them get a chore done in exchange for them helping you with something you’re not good at and they are.  You save money on calling in professionals and the work can be done on at mutually agreeable time.  I do my BFFs hair in her home for a nominal fee, which saves her scheduling appointments and having to be at the mercy of the customer and the hairstylist.

Coupon exchanges/donation – When you get the circulars and have secured the coupons you’ll use, consider offering the remaining coupons to a friend who may use them or donate them to a church or similar group where they can be used.

Liquor/Wine bottles – Some bottles are pretty enough that they can be washed and repurposed into storing vinagers and oils.  You can take garlic cloves, peel them, and put them into the bottle with oil or vinegar; not only do they look nice, but can save space if the oil was bought in a large can.

Meats – Consider buying the family packs if you have the storage space.  They’re often a little cheaper and save you time in buying at a more frequent rate.  Clean the meats and pre-season them with whichever dry spices or liquid you prefer, freeze them and they’re ready for you when you need them. 

Soups/Sauces – When making soups/sauces, consider making a little extra and freezing it, so you have them when you’re in a hurry to cook a meal.

Portion control – Some restaurants serve huge portions, so consider sharing the entree to cut your portion and save on the bill.

Groupon/Living Social – Being a foodie, I enjoy trying new places or dining out in general.  Using Groupon and/or Living Social has allowed me try try new places or save money on food.  They offer discounts on restuarants where you can eat for 50% or more on the bill.  Example: pay $15 for $30 worth of food.  Each company offers many other services also from Spas to vacations.  Give them and other similar sites a try.

These are some of the things I do; I hope they can help you too.

That is all!