Wednesday, January 29, 2014

4 Legs Too Many..

I do not like eight-legged creatures, in fact, I hate them and they all deserve to die and unfortunately, much quicker than aerosol spider killer works. You see, I want them to die on impact and sadly, aerosol spider killer simply is not that efficient. As I'm screaming, I continue to press the trigger, the spray continues to jet out and the arachnid I'm trying to kill is still squirming in a sea of toxins. At this point, I'm a murderer. I'm okay with that, and I'm quite sure that it's far more traumatic for me than the spider that's taking too long to die.

I know you're probably thinking, "why not just step on it? or squish it with paper?" There's several possible answers. 1. The damn thing is too huge. You know the ginormous ones that you're afraid you're going to feel when you step on them because they are so big. 2. I'm afraid it might escape my attack and crawl on/up my hand/leg/whatever body part it's near. 3. I simply don't want to get near it - I don't even want to pick up it's carcass. 

My family can attest that the majority of my night terrors have an eight-legged beast playing the leading role. They scare me and I hate them, but Allie from Hyperbole and A Half makes me feel like it's okay to be dramatic, even when I see a "huge" one the size of a small freckle, because let's face it...

When it comes to venturing my hand into the unknown, I sometimes say a silent prayer, but most often I verbalize one (and 99.7% of the time they go unanswered) when I'm moving a box or going under the bed/near a crevice that I can't really see. It's like those little shits get a kick out of scaring the crap out of people me. I swear, I never move as fast as when I'm confronted by a spider and although terrified, I'm usually impressed by my quick reaction time.

You know...some girls have on their "Soul Mate" list: Tall, Funny, Smart, Great Job...and these are all great, but ranking high on my list is "Spider Assassin." Kill those bastards with your bare hands, baby - that's hot.

Frankly, spiders have four legs too many and even the smallest of ones are still too big and like the e-card floating around Pinterest (I may have modified it slightly) suggests, let us take a moment and thank Sweet Baby Jesus that spiders don't fly. 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Yours Truly - Letters from the Heart

My typical morning routine consists of waking up later than I should and then laying in bed for a few minutes scrolling through my teacher account Twitter feed (to creep on my students) and catching up on the latest in pop culture. I enjoy perusing the latest in the celebrity world, but what really piques my interest is the stories about everyday people that have done wonderfully extraordinary things.

I often cover up my sentimental/sweet nature by being a smart-ass (defense mechanism), but at the depths of my core, I'm all heart. Admittedly, today's human interest story made me tear up (And totally cry while writing this post tonight. I'm literally like Snot Face McGee. The real reason I called you early tonight, Gramman - Didn't want you to worry), tugging at my heart strings as I figure out what direction to take this post in. I want this blog to be something that's real, and with that in mind, this post will no doubt, explore my softer more vulnerable side (Don't get use to this. lol)  If you're not into emotional or lengthier posts, I suggest exiting this page and carrying on with your day, if you are a softie too, maybe you might want to grab a tissue.  (Gramman/Mom - sorry to make you cry) 

I love my Gramman. She is one of my best friends, so is my mom. And I can't leave out my Dad, he's like my Bestie with Testes. I put on a strong act sometimes, but since my Grandad passed away, many of my thoughts have taken a morbid turn and I often struggle with anxiety about losing those three people. Does anyone else feel this way?

While I was in high school my great-grandmother passed away. From that day forward, my Gramman would call her dad (My G-dad) every night at 8pm and she continued to do so for several years. He passed away while I was in college and the day that he passed away, I started calling her at that same time so that every night at that time, she could have something to look forward to and not be so sad about missing her Daddy.

While life has gotten in the way and I'm not always able to call at the exact time every night, I still call (unless I have obligations that prevent me from calling before she goes to sleep or I fall asleep on the recliner) which has now evolved into me calling her in the morning too on my way to school. Almost every night, when I say "I love you and I'll call you tomorrow," she responds with "I'll be here" and I always want to say back, "One day you won't and I'll be devastated. I love you so much." She is sassy, tells-it-how-is, creative, loving and the greatest grandmother any girl could have. My life will not be the same without her.  (Mom - If I decide to one day have babies, I know my child will feel the same way about you).

When my Grandad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I remember telling him that I really wanted him to write me some letters. Sadly, he brushed it off, although he almost made up with it with my Compass Necklace.  I told my Gramman the same thing and she basically was like "No, that's weird" (we've since had a breakthrough on this).  My parents had a similar reaction - in my heart of hearts, I hope this blog post makes them reconsider. 

This morning on People was a story about a father with cancer who has written his daughter a note on her lunch napkin every day since she started school. He has a rare form of cancer and although he's currently in remission, it has returned three times and his oncologist has told him that he will die from it. He's on a mission to make sure that every day, until she graduates from high school, she has a napkin note (They aren't all lengthy notes - most are more inspiring or are quotes ranging from Yoda to Eleanor Roosevelt) in her lunch box - that's 826 notes he's planning on writing for her, so she'll never have to be without one. Those notes certainly won't replace her father. but it'll keep a part of him with her when he's gone. She can run her fingers over the words and feel him with her. There will undoubtedly be a day when she needs to be inspired, will need advice, will need to be comforted or she'll need them  simply just to feel him close to her - she'll get all that from his notes.. which is exactly the reason why I asked for some - they'll serve the same for me. 

I think one of the hardest things about being one-foot-in-the-30 door is that the people that I love the most are getting older too. When it comes to those people, you don't ever want to think about experiencing the calm and stormy seas without them. Knowing that one day you'll have to brave the journey without them, wouldn't you want a note map of sorts to help you navigate? I know I do.. and I'm not great at directions, so I'd really like several.
To my mom and Gramman - even without your handwritten notes, I carry you in my heart always. LUMUHAND

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Operation Break Bad Habits - Mission Report #1

You might recall reading this post. about me being a Good Girl with A LOT of habits

From the look of things, this blog has Accountability 101 covered, which means that blogging about these bad habits was/is a good idea when it comes to Operation Break Bad Habits. 

Accountability 101 
- Document, Document, Document
- Let other's know what and how you're doing
- Frequent Personal Reflection

Here's the abridged version of the habits that I'd like to break in 2014, along with my current progress. 
 I definitely think these will keep me busy all year. Even though my mother already informed me that I'm missing some.

1. Stop Biting Nails : I've been riddled with anxiety this week - I've been nom noming the hell out of my nails. It hasn't been pretty. I am disgusting.

2. Stop Procrastinating (as much - I'm going to be realistic on this one.) : When it comes to my work life/coaching life/theater life, all is well in this department. On the domestic home front, yeah... I'm still an example of procrastination at its finest.

3. It's okay to say "No." Going to take a break from community theater for a little bit, so you could say that that's a "No." I need time to work on these bad habits, along with making time for myself and my boo/friends/family that I've been neglecting. 

4. Unhealthy Eating Habits: It's now been several days after the bad habit post, and aside from skipping several meals, breakfast of choice one day was Peanut Butter M & M's. The PB is a source of protein, yes? I had McDonald's like 10 at night.. Damn those late theater, nights. Cast party last night = lots of good eats, including the most amazing pickle cream cheese things. I'll be sure to post a How-to.. you need that deliciousness in your life. #amazeballs

5. Drink More Water: I had a mustache water bottle filled on my desk at school. Didn't take many sips, but thirst will win at some point - maybe this week. Clearly, the intention is there. This is a milestone in terms of progress. Aside from an occasional disposable dixie cup during the dry throat moments in the show, not much H20 happened this past week... 

6. Work Out Regularly: Yeah.. this still hasn't happened, unless you count exercising my mouth frequently. I've got to get on this..metabolism is a slowin' and the body is a growin'.  

7. Keep Up With Laundry: The same amount of laundry from last week is still piled up, with some added items of apparel that I've worn this week. Maybe this week.. 

8. Work Through Hang-Ups, Mental Baggage & Trust Issues: I'm going to pretend like this one doesn't exist this week. 

9. Track Finances and Budget: Please see above...which is a shame....since I just got paid... gah.

To sum up my progress, I've pretty much been an epic failure this week, however, I'm encouraged with the fact that my play ended yesterday, which means my available time has just significantly increased, as has my motivation.

I hope those of you working towards progress are finding some - I will live vicariously through you. 

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anchors Aweigh - My Recent Old Navy Haul

It's no secret that I have an affinity for all things nautical (It reminds me of Downtown Annapolis - swoon), and while trendy now, done in the right way, anchors are timeless. I mean, I have a small navy blue anchor tattooed on my ribcage, a sparkly gold one incorporated into the design of this blog, several anchored accessories in my treasure trove of jewelry and a few items now in my closet, courtesy of my recent Old Navy haul (THANK YOU to my employer for my one-time bonus this month)

I'm a recovering shop-a-holic/I buy my feelings, and haven't been clothes shopping in a while..wanting to save money/current lousy body image is definitely a factor in this *cue mild depression *Commence the begging of more hours in my day/motivation to work-out/eat right to please engulf every fiber of my being

I ran into Old Navy to see about a cheap shirt as part of my costume for my recent community theater production. Of course, I stroll in there and see a zillion things that I'm like, "Oh, you would look lovely in my closet." Then I see a whole section dedicated to the Nautical realm and I'm like "Ahoy! I've found some new outfit pieces." Then I look at my bestie, Kiki La Rue (or if we were Roller Derby Girls, Kiki La RUDE) and I'm like, "I've got to check the funds." Needless to say, the funds weren't there - it was after Christmas, and I only get paid once a month - all my bills had been paid, and I was conveniently, but routinely, at the pretty much broke phase before getting paid again. I tried the clothes on, took a mental note of sizes and was like, I'll look into these online.

Fast forward... funds now weighing heavily, for the briefest of moments in time, in my account and I'm like, Old Navy wants me to drop anchor on their site, which I did, and thankfully, the items I fell in love with at the store were available and I'm like, "Oh, Welcome Aboard my Shopping Cart." Interestingly enough, the items were cheaper online and then, on top of that, I got to use a 20% off my entire transaction deal (Promo Code: TAKE20, good until 1/29 - Can't be used with Super Cash)

So, here's what I scored:

This one comes in red too... I'm not going to lie.. I also got that one...

Anchors Aweigh - can't wait to rock my Sperry's with one of these looks.

Go Navy. Beat Army.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hi. I'm Rachael and I'm addicted to Starbucks.

For my family and friends, it's no secret that I love Starbucks. (Thanks Mom & Dad for the re-loadable monthly card! Greatest part of my Month) I'll be the first to admit that my love has evolved into an addiction. If Jesus made a concoction to drink in heaven, it would be my drink - the official welcoming beverage at the pearly gates.

And I know it's going to sound quite odd, but I must admit to you, that I don't like coffee. I like the smell of flavored ones brewing, but how people drink the stuff without all the frou frou fixings is beyond me.

Go ahead and judge me, while being concerned with my veins crystallizing, but MY drink is an iced non-fat caramel white chocolate mocha with caramel drizzle, no ice, so fill that puppy up with milk, please. No ice, fill it up = more yummy drink... I love the 'bucks, but they can jip you with that ice. 

What does happiness taste like, to me? This drink. What improves a lousy day? This drink. What helps reduce my stress? This drink. Some people eat their feelings (I'll admit to this sometimes) while others drink their feelings. I'm going to go with the latter, but a non-alcholic route. Hello, Starbucks. You're cheaper than therapy and decent booze and I invite you to dance with my taste buds. 

Let's say my boo were to find himself in the doghouse (If you're reading this *HINT HINT*) - forget the flowers. Take me to, bring me my drink or send me a gift card - you'll find the way to my heart and get back to my good graces (real quick) when it comes to Starbucks.

Now, can I go without it? Yes. Do I really need it? I could argue this, but technically, No. More importantly, do I want to give them up? Hell to the No. But, I have a problem that I need to face head on - My pants don't fit like they used to and I would really like to save more $$$.  So... while I'm working to get my swagger back and building up my savings, I've going to cut back on my sugary, calorie-filled liquid happiness.

I might try to start going the DIY route (it's on my 101 list). Apparently Starbucks now sells the goods to make your own home concoction. I've got some $$ in my PayPal account from some freelancing work.. how convenient that Starbucks online accepts PayPal...

I'll no doubt miss my frequent visits with my favorite baristas - we talk as if we're old friends. I love them as people and,well, they are my enablers. I don't even have to order my drink anymore, they see me coming and whip up my delicious beverage on the spot. #bliss

I know that cutting back will have me looking forward to my visits more, my drink will probably taste even more delicious, and my wallet and waistline will be a little happier too.

Fellow Starbuck addicts unite - What's your favorite drink from Starbucks?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Scratching the Surface: The Pros, Cons and Laughable Moments of my Job

Every job has its pros and cons, even the jobs where our passions lead us. I'm a former professional event planner and am dying to get back into planning weddings/events again, but even with doing what I love, there were still some downfalls.

Currently, I'm a Freshmen and Sophomore English teacher. I definitely like my job, but I'm not head-over-heels in love with it, like I was with event planning.

With that said...

Let's talk about the good, the bad, and the downright hilarious. 

The Good : 

1. Summers off, Christmas Break, Fall Break, Spring break and occasional snow days.
2. In the state of KY,  teacher retirement is AWESOME. I save for retirement (I'll make a little more monthly in retirement, since they won't actually be taking out the amount I put in to retirement every month.) and I never see the money, so I can't miss it. I'm not sure I could easily save for retirement if I had to see the money and cut a check every month.
3. Having a classroom to decorate. LOL.. My current theme is mustaches.
4. The variety - no day is the same. You deal with multiple personalities everyday - some lessons get the kids excited, while others make you want to offer them some cheese with that whine.
5. The light bulb moments when students finally get something! 
6. Developing a rapport with your students and co-workers. I've met some of the greatest people through teaching. 
7. The products of innovative assignments. I recently had a group of kids recreate one of the scenes from Romeo & Juliet using only Instagram. I was impressed with outside-the-box thinking.
8. Innovative Lesson Planning - it's fun to get enthusiastic over lessons that you know students will like.

The Bad: 

1. Too many snow days will mean the school year has to be extended - no bueno.
2. Your job isn't safe until your tenured, meaning you're riddled every year with anxiety until you've been offered a job.This can make it difficult to plan for buying a home, etc.
3. Definitely wish we got paid a little more. A lot of teachers take on additional part-time jobs (me included), or take on extra-service roles (include me in this, too) in order to make a little more cash flow.
4. In the district where I work, we only get paid once toward the latter part of the month (and in the Summer, we get paid for July a week after we are paid for June) Budgeting is not my strong suit.. I'll have all this money for like a week and a half... then bills are paid and I'm poor for almost 3 weeks.
5. If you have to take a sick day, or personal day, doing sub plans is a time-consuming pain. It's almost easier sucking it up and teaching when you're under the weather.
6. There is A LOT of stress associated with the grades that are tested by the state (10th grade is a testing year - GAH!)  You want the students to do well and the accountability, at this point, rests mostly on the teachers shoulders.
7. Babysitting the unmotivated, apathetic student or constantly redirecting negative or distracting behaviors 
8. Some professional development opportunities are COOL, while others are a total snooze-fest.
9. Seeing the effects of bullying
10. Grading A LOT of papers. With English, it can sometimes take 5-10 minutes per paper, multiply that by 150 students, for one paper assignment. That time adds up.
11. Lesson Planning 

The Downright Funny:

With students, you NEVER know what kind of answers you are going to get. I love to offer my own commentary too.. bahaha

Taken straight from some of my student's work... 

This student decided to use her inference skills to suggest that some of these micro stories are about strippers and moody girls on their period. My commentary is in blue.

After wrapping up the historical context surrounding Shakespeare, this student decided to rename the Bubonic Plague...

And in encouraging them to defend their opinions in their writing, this is what a "Would you Rather" supported opinion looks like... Enjoy. 
What are some things that have you made you laugh while on the clock?

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finding Inspiration from Your Favorite Author

Growing up my favorite author was Roald Dahl, the mastermind behind some incredible books (if you haven't read them, you may have seen their cinematic counterparts) like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and The Giant Peach, The Witches and Matilda.

He's written countless short stories and books, some hilariously charming while others are innovatively witty, albeit a little off-putting like his Revolting Rhymes. His version of Cinderella has Prince Charming chopping off the ugly step-sister's heads. I love introducing the latter to my students (I teach freshmen and sophomore English). They get a kick out of him too!

His books are magical and his invented words are thrilling to say. I spent many hours lost amidst the pages of his books, entranced with his stories and the characters he created. So much, in fact, that many of them are in terrible shape with pages falling out and torn/bent covers. I hope to eventually replace them and have his entire collection of stories in my personal library. I'd also like to have a few of his quotes hanging on the wall of my home, one day. Here are a few of my favorites:

How has your favorite author inspired you? Do you have some quotes you'd like to hang on your wall?

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm a Good Girl with A LOT of Bad Habits

I'm far from perfect, and there are many facets of my life that I would like to improve upon. One of the reasons I started blogging is to have a means to hold myself accountable for those improvements, be able to track my progress and to connect with other good girls with bad habits, who are striving to do some of the same things.

I can't recall where I heard it, but apparently it takes 21 days to form a habit. I'd like to know how many days it takes to break bad habits, like, does the 21 days apply to habits you've had for more than two decades?

So, here I am. Practicing some vulnerability (It's scary, putting yourself out there) and exposing some of my fatal flaws with you, in the form of bad habits, hoping you'll help keep me accountable and encourage me to actually make 2014 the year of Change.

Disclaimer: This is not an entirely exhaustive list, and the habits are in no particular order. 

1. I bite my nails. I know it's disgusting and I REALLY want to stop. I've tried the horrible tasting stuff to help deter from nail biting, but it only works in the short-term. Same thing with manicures and that shiz costs $$$. At this point, I don't want to get engaged (I have a LONG time until this is even close to being a possibility) and have fingers/nail beds that look like they've be mauled by piranhas.

2. When it comes to myself, I am a procrastinator. I will put what I need to do on the back burner, to get things done for others. While I joke that I do my best work during crunch time, I would save myself a lot of stress if I would stop procrastinating. 

3. Not telling people, "No." My schedule is ridiculous and I hardly have time for myself because I'm doing this, or that, or this, or that. I will commit to doing things or being somewhere and I literally have no time. I definitely burn the candle at both ends and I'm honestly getting tired. 

3. My eating habits are dreadful and I don't drink water. I hardly ever have a stocked fridge or cook meals because I don't have the time, but in retrospect, I don't really make the time either. I tend to skip meals or eat unhealthy foods. I am a frequent $1 menu orderer.

4. I don't work out like I used to/should. As a result, my body definitely isn't where I would like it to be. I have a closet full of outfits that I'd like to wear, but simply can't fit into them. I've got to make this a priority and I verbalize the desire but the action fails to come.

5. I don't do laundry consistently. I probably have 10+ loads waiting for me to wash and fold. Between the lack of time and motivation, I'm not sure which one is the biggest deterrent.

6.  I'll have to write a blog post about the devastating break-up, but I definitely have some issues that I still need to work out - they are certainly precluding me from being able to really give of myself and be in a fulfilling romantic relationship.

7. I don't track my finances or budget. It's all based on guesstimation. I've got to start being better about the "dolla dolla billz ya'll"

This is probably enough to focus on for now - I seriously have got to get my shit together. I'm one foot into the 30 door and although lovable, I'm a hot mess.

I'm never going to be perfect, but I can certainly settle for being a good girl with some bad habits, in lieu of a lot. I've gotta start making it happen. Perhaps tomorrow will be Day 1, for a habit I'd like to change.

What are some bad habits that you'd like break?

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To overcome or not overcome fear - That is the question.

When I first moved to Paducah in January 2010, what started out as a "one-time thing" to cross off #10 on a bucket list, has turned out to be so much more.

I remember how nervous I was to audition for a production with Market House Theater. I had no prior theater experience and didn't know the first thing about auditioning, or even how to act for that matter. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do something that I'd never done before, partially to prove to myself that I could do it, but to also put myself out there in hopes that I would make some friends. You see, I moved to Paducah from the suburbs of Louisville (Go CARDS!) to 'start-over' after a devastating break-up (I'm sure this will be a post one day).

Following the first audition, I was cast in a small role as the jilted fiance in a production called, Getting Sara Married. This role led to me playing another small role, the teacher in A Christmas Story. No doubt, by this point, the theater bug had bitten. I started to become active with the theater's Murder Mystery Troupe, which is essentially a dinner theater where we act out a short script, interact/improv with guests who work together trying to solve the crime, followed by the acting out of the solution scene. Taking on the persona of a character and interacting with guests is SO FUN.

This past week was opening week for a production where I am playing a more substantial role, Louise, in Fox on the Fairway. I'm actually the "Fox" in this golfing comedy and although it has been time consuming, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I'm surrounded by actors who have been doing this for 20+ years and the director of the show has been the Executive Director of the theater for a looooong time. He is so talented and I have learned so much from his direction. My cast mates have become my friends, and together we're part of a close-knit Market House family. I have met some of the most amazing people through this venture, (Check out Al in his epic "Days of Our Lives" themed headshot beneath mine in the program) and I've gotten to be on a billboard, although the designer could have hooked me up with a little arm slimmage (The intended hard-core workout/diet regimen never came to fruition) but admittedly, it's still hella cool to be on a billboard.

I think Eleanor Roosevelt was on to something when she suggested that you, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Although I tend to play it safe often, auditioning is definitely scary and performing in front of a live audience is even scarier.

What fear did you overcome in exchange for a wonderful experience or memory?

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Monday, January 20, 2014

You've Got Mail

I bet you thought this post would be all about your email in-box, since it's reminiscent of the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan classic RomCom, but it's actually about our modern-day Pony Express and how much I LOVE to get things via snail mail (I also love to receive email that isn't a) work-related or b) SPAM.. Feel free to show my in-box some love).

One of the things on my 101 in 1001 List (a lengthy, short-term bucket  to-do list), is to mail a card/letter to someone, once a month for the entire duration of the list (I haven't really done the math yet, but it's like just shy of 3 years).

My mailbox is typically full of unwanted junk mail (credit card offers, go away) and definitely unwanted bills (frankly,those can go away too) but on occasion, I get something great, whether it's an unexpected note from a long-distance Bestie, with pictures from a recent trip (Thanks, Kitty Kate!), or a FANTASTIC subscription box, that I literally wait ALL.MONTH.FOR.

Let me introduce you to one of my guilty pleasures and favorite things to receive in the mail: The PopSugar Musthave box.  Since I'm just introducing you to this fantastic subscription box (I'll start doing monthly reviews starting next month) let me give you the details.

1. It's a monthly subscription box, filled with products that PopSugar editors are raving over. From edible products, to full-size beauty products, to gift cards to redeem products to adorable accessories, etc. etc. etc. Items in the boxes provide a fun alternative to the undesirable mail that crams itself into our mailboxes.

2. They have various subscription plans. "I get paid the big bucks, " said no teacher ever, so I go with the monthly $39.95 plan. They also have pre-pay plans that give you the boxes for a discounted-rate. With any plan though, shipping is Gratis!

3. The value of the box is TOTALLY worth the price you pay. You get quite a bit of bang for your buck. I once received an awesome blanket scarf, sold at stores like Nordstroms and valued at $68. This month the box contained the following: Bag of truffle popcorn, a full-size (Malin+Goetz) detox face mask, Rifle Paper Co. Cities around the World illustrated calendar (Adorably whimsical!), Revlon by Marchesa box o'files, Jack + Lucy touch-screen digitally friendly gloves, and The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes for Fresh Juices and Superfood Smoothies book, along with a 30% coupon for juices/merchandise.

4. It auto-renews with the monthly plan, but you could sign up for a monthly box and make it a one-time box (just cancel after you've ordered the box and it's been shipped) or sign-up and get a 3, 6, or a full-year plan to give as a gift. It's also a perfect gift choice for a girlfriend that is hard to shop for!

Disclaimer: Obviously since I'm new to blogging, I am clearly not receiving the PopSugar MustHave box for free, in exchange for a review on the fantastically, fun products that are contained in said box, to be read by hundreds of fabulous followers.  

Shameless Plug: Like Jeminy Cricket says, "Honesty is the Best Policy." I will totally review subscription boxes in exchange for a review. #SorryNotSorry #NoShameHere

If you want to spruce up your typical snail mail loot, I definitely recommend checking out PopSugar's MustHave box. I also recommend, today, taking a few minutes to send a little note or "Thinking of You" card to someone special (Your Boo, Bestie, Sibling, Parental, etc). You'll brighten the recipient's day when they see an unexpected surprise in their next mailbox haul.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blog Inspiration from The Most Meaningful Gift

Since we're still in the getting to know you phase, I'd like to share the inspiration behind the incredible blog design that Brianna at Sparkle Out Loud created for me. I probably will mention her a million times, since I'm head-over-heels for this blog design, but you can't deny - that girl's got talent.

So here goes - The Inspiration behind the Design....

Restating the obvious from my first post, since he coined the acronym LUMUHAND, the title of this blog is no doubt inspired by my sweet Grandad.

The anchor comes from my love of all things nautical and being a Navy brat, for 26 of my 28 years in existence. While I support all of our servicemen and women, across the branches, my heart will forever cheer Go Navy. Beat Army! Especially since both my dad and my brother are Naval Academy grads.

The sparkle, well... I love sparkly things.. the gold and peach, comes from my obsession with the glamour of the Gatsby era. I literally told Brianna that I wanted my blog to be the essence of "Nautical Chic meets Gatsby Glam."  

Now, the compass (and one of my favorite design elements of the blog) is inspired by the most meaningful gift I've ever received. While I'm incredibly thankful and appreciative for some AMAZING gifts I've received in my life (Thank you, Mom and Dad for my undergrad college education, my 21st birthday right hand diamond ring and a pair of round diamond solitaires for graduation) my Grandad's DIY style gift, is by leaps and bounds, the most meaningful gift I've ever received.

My Grandad scoured Ebay for a World War I compass that was still in working condition. He found one and it was incredibly tarnished. He spent hours polishing the compass, bringing it back to life. He succumbed from Pancreatic Cancer almost 9 months from diagnosis, and at this point he was several months into the diagnosis and going through intense chemo. He got a chain for the compass, turning it into a necklace and took it to an engraver to be engraved with the following message: Rachael  Provide direction & purpose & safe return home - Grandad LUMUHAND

Disclaimer: Please don't be alarmed by what looks like skin that needs some serious moisture therapy. I can assure you that it's only the embossed filter used to make the engraving message pop. 

I can't quite put it in to words, but when I hold this compass, I feel my Grandad's hand. Polishing the compass, he spent hours holding it and when I do the same, I can't help but feel him with me.  The chain length makes the compass hit at heart level and I can't help but wonder, if my sweet Grandad did this on purpose - He lives on in my heart. When I rub my thumb over the inscription on the back, I think about him doing the same and the heartfelt message catches my breath - every time. Some days, like tonight, the message is hard to read. I miss him so much.

What's the most meaningful gift you've ever received?

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Welcome Aboard!

You don't get a do-over with your first post, unless you cheat of course and go back and edit. I'm new at this, but Hi, I'm Rachael. Welcome aboard the voyage, as I navigate the calm and stormy seas of this life.

Before we get all hot and heavy, I've got to talk about how amazing Brianna is of . The Mistress of Sparkle definitely knows what she's doing and if you're interested in joining the Blogosphere, or want to give your blog an affordable facelift, SHE needs to be your new obsession. Truly. She's Brilliant and also a blogger. Trust me when I say, you want to #GetSparkled

I should probably explain the whole meaning behind the crazy acronym of a Title, LUMUHAND. I didn't just come up with it, in fact, my family and I have been using it for practically decades at this point. It's pronounced loo-muh-hand (all fast-like), and stands for Love You. Miss You. Have a Nice Day.

Long story short, I grew up on the East Coast as a military brat (GO Navy. Beat Army!) living far away from my favorite KY grandparents. We would talk weekly and at the end of every phone call, we would close with the wordier version of LUMUHAND. My uber-witty Grandad, notorious for making up words, replaced the closing of our convos with the acronym, and so a family tradition was born. He passed away from Pancreatic cancer in 2009, and since then, LUMUHAND has played an even more special role in our family, and for me personally. I have it tattooed on my wrist in his handwriting and it's on my car with a personalized license plate (LMUHND), and now with this blog. In his own words, missing him "is like a scratch in your heart that you can't quite get to too scratch."

I can't promise that all of my posts will be of high interest or be amazeballs or even be particularly helpful. And although I am a high school English teacher, my grammar at times sucks and I can't guarantee that posts will be void of error, in either judgment (i.e. dating fails, poor style choices), my attempts at a host of hobbies/trying new things (Pinterest Fails)  or grammar/mechanics/usage/spelling wise. People make mistakes and I'm only human.

I've been a blog reader for years and I'm both excited and nervous about becoming a blogger (Hello, courage and vulnerability).

I hope you'll drop your anchor and stay awhile, after all, we're both navigating a life of calm and stormy seas. 

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