Updates …

Hello friends! So many things to write about, but seems like there’s hardly any time to do anything! I’m just going to ramble on, so excuse the incomplete sentences and thoughts!

We just got back from a mini-vacay to St. Augustine, Florida. We visited the historic colonial district, went to the fort that is there, and saw the July 4th fireworks by the water. It was beautiful, but unbelievably HOT, and I couldn’t bear the weather at all. I was actually thankful to finally leave because I missed our new home. Oh, it wasn’t that I liked Georgia better, or Florida less, it was that I missed sleeping in my own bed, my furniture, my living space — you know, home is wherever your pile of dirty underwear is at.

During the car ride down to Florida, I crocheted an adorable hat. I put it up for sale on Facebook because it didn’t fit me (or my mini-me), and I figured it was too cute to just donate to Goodwill like I do with all the other stuff that I don’t want. Instantly, I had people who were interested in buying it (I put it up for sale for $5); and then I decided why not create a Facebook page for it. Only, I didn’t want it to be a page where I sold stuff, because my crochet stuff are handmade, so it’s not like I can mass produce a product. Instead, I wanted a page where I could showcase my work (some good, mostly novice messes), meet new people online and most importantly — get new patterns by others sharing. You know, like an actual Facebook page before Facebook turned everything into an entrepreneur goal.

After I set up my page, I then realized that I needed a blog too — because lets be real, as much as I love crocheting and my other craft hobbies, nothing comes before my love of writing. I figured there wasn’t enough space on a Facebook post to actually write what I wanted, so I created a blog solely for my crafting. Then the next day, I made an Etsy page too — yes, I’ve become one of those. Don’t worry, my stuff is legit (the most expensive item is only $30 for a handmade baby outfit, a definite bargain since it took like three days to make!); there’s nothing worse than those pyramid schemes to buy their vitamins, coffee, makeup, or whatever nonsense — no thanks, I’m not interested in your beach body goals for $39.99 for a packet of whatever that crap is.

While on our little holiday getaway, the principal of a charter school in Georgia called me for an interview for Tuesday, and the county school district called me to put me on their sub list. She told me I would get lots of calls because I’m certified; which is nice, but I’m not sure I want a full-time gig, being that there’s a lot of things I want to focus on at the moment.

I still have not gotten beyond a chapter of my book, which is still due at the end of November.

A producer at CNN also contacted me via Twitter to tell me that he wanted to air a clip of my hubby; I finally got back to him yesterday because I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even checked my Twitter in a while — I have to make a selfie video, and I just don’t have the time to submit that yet. I guess I’ll get to it when other things have settled down at the moment. I do want to do it because I want to share with the world how proud I am of my hubby.

I also haven’t submitted any articles either, so today I wrote one for Thrive Global, and hopefully it’ll get published soon.

In the mean time, for my loyal followers/readers, check out my new blog (specifically for my crocheting and crafts):

https://lovebirdscraftclub.wordpress.com/

Check out my new Etsy shop, for adorable crochet and (available soon) other super cute craft gifts:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LoveBirdsCraft

And lastly, go give my new Facebook page a view, and don’t be shy — click the like button, I need attention, ha!:

https://www.facebook.com/lovebirdscraftclub/

Home Sweet Home

Thanks to my AMAZING husband for buying me my living room set today!

I had given away all my furniture in Iowa to my friend Amanda, and once we got to Georgia I donated a lot of my hubby’s stuff to the Salvation Army. (They are one of the few charities where your monetary donations actually goes towards the mission and not the pockets of corporate executives; we are a huge supporter of them and the Boy/Girl Scouts, as well as the ICRC.)

We’ve looked at two other furniture stores, and were considering the PX; but my husband wanted high-end furniture, I was okay with the inexpensive stuff at Walmart (their online home furniture actually has some really nice affordable stuff). I am not too peculiar about that stuff, I am not looking for heirloom quality, just something that looks nice.

I had already set up the donation pickup for the Salvation Army, so my wonderful hubby asked me last night if I wanted to get my living room set today, and he got me everything I wanted today at Ashley Furniture for our new sweet home together — we got the complete Ilena living room set: sofa, love seat, oversized chair, and ottoman. It’s an overstuffed style, with a tweed-like fabric (it’s actually herring-bone weave), and nail-head trim. So we actually did end up with heirloom quality furniture after all, ha!

We are finally complete with our home decor and furnishings. I am so happy that my hubby let me re-decorate our home, especially the sunroom (which will be my “sewing room”). When we were at the store finishing our sales order, I gave my hubby a kiss because I was so happy, and the sales associate helping us said, Oh, I can tell he spoils you! Ha, he most certainly does — every woman should be so lucky to have a man treat them as great as my hubby treats me. ♡

Afterwards, my daughter and I went to introduce ourselves to our neighbor who has a daughter the same age as mine. My daughter wanted a play-date, so I asked her parents if it was okay for her to come over to our home to play.

My daughter is very friendly, and I see how easy it is for her to make friends, so I’ve kind of been taking cues from her as an adult trying to build new friendships; this is especially difficult as a military family because we won’t be in Georgia forever, and it’s hard establishing relationships without roots.

I think our neighbors are Indian, they spoke with an accent, and they seemed very traditional. I am glad that my daughter is getting the cultural exposure she was lacking in Iowa. When they opened the door, the smell of curry and other spices were overwhelming, but I wanted my daughter to be culturally competent, and as a social studies teacher it’s so important for me that my children are worldly and culturally sophisticated.

I grew up speaking two languages at home, and studying a third language all through junior high school, high school, and college. When deciding to pursue teaching, I didn’t want elementary like a lot of young female teachers choose, I wanted social studies. So diversity is extremely important to me as a parent.

Today was a lovely day, and I’m so grateful for everything that God has blessed me with, especially my husband. ♡

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

We’ve been in Georgia for a week, and I’ve been feeling a bit lonely and depressed, so my amazing husband purchased orchestra seats at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts to see Cinderella. He’s not into that kind of stuff, so instead it was a mother-daughter date with my mini-me.

She’s never seen a live theatre performance before; of course, being a New York City gal, nothing compares to Broadway though… but unfortunately my mini-me only spends a few weeks each year in New York City, so this was something special for her.

The show was different than the Disney Cinderella that she’s used to, but she still loved it. She loved all of the dancing and twirling, and Cinderella’s beautiful dresses. She was twirling all over the place while we waited for my husband to pick us up — she kept saying what a special day it was.

We found her a dress that matched mine, and a hot pink purse that matched mine too — she truly is my mini-me. I love having a daughter. ♡

Thank you to the best husband in the world, who is also the best father to our daughter, for getting us the tickets for our mother-daughter date night. We are so lucky to have him, he’s our real Prince Charming. ♡

Patriot ☆

I am so proud of my husband — the Army called us while we were on our honeymoon to tell him that he is receiving a Bronze Star for Afghanistan. ☆☆☆

I love that I’m married to a grunt. Most civilians think every person in a military uniform is on a battlefield, that’s a huge misconception; actually most service members are never in direct action and are instead garrison on big bases while deployed — so extra love to all the infantrymen out there doing the dirty grunt load!

Shout-out to the best matron-of-honor ever (and also the baddest female Marine there is — combat instructor, Marine SOI, she’s a big deal). She is the ideal female Marine, and sets the standard for all others. ♡

My Experience as a June Bride ♡

I am so thankful for such a wonderful mom-in-law, not enough credit is given to these women. Sure, everyone knows about the monster-in-law, and most brides hope for a mother-in-law, but very few are lucky enough to have a mom-in-law.

My guy wasn’t very involved in the planning, so it was his mom and me who planned it mostly; and it gave us an opportunity to get to bond with each other. We had a $10,000 wedding budget (we originally had a $5,000 budget, but then decided that wasn’t realistic for what we wanted).

For those in the surrounding Cincinnati area, our beautiful venue was at Norlyn Manor. They offer an inclusive wedding package that includes everything from linen to centerpieces. The starting price is $4,000 — our venue cost came out to about $7,500 alone; but we had upgraded our menu, included a cocktail hour, and our ceremony on site.

One of our tables in our reception room on the day of our wedding.

I got all my bridesmaids a bracelet from Amazon. (I bought myself one too.) The girls got their dresses from Forever21. I gave them three choices to choose from, they ended up all choosing the same dress. The guys got their suits at Men’s Warehouse, and the Dr. paid for their suit rentals. My reception dress I bought from an online retailer. My wedding dress I bought online from China (if you’re skinny enough, buying a dress from China will save you a few hundred bucks if you don’t mind waiting for the long shipping date).

You can’t tell in this picture, but there is a heart charm on the last link, and when you hook the clasp on a link, the heart dangles from it.

My flowers were the traditional red roses. My mom-in-law could have saved a lot of money if she had went with sunflowers (or any other flowers besides from roses). We used the centerpieces from our venue; so my mom-in-law only needed bouquets, corsages, and boutonnières… and decorations for the gazebo and table-toppers for a few “special” tables (our sweetheart table, the place-card table, etc.) — we had beautiful red roses in vases at these tables too.

Our beautiful red roses that were on our gift table, at the bar, our place-card table, etc.

I made all the prints myself, including the invitations. I used Gartner Studios kits, and they had so many bird themes. (Our wedding theme is lovebirds.) The only prints that I used a professional service for was our rehearsal dinner invitations, and that was a huge disappointment. I used Wedding Paper Divas; they were expensive, and there was a print error on the back of one of my cards; but the cardstock quality was excellent, so I’ll give them that.

I made the place-cards and all our invitations myself (except for our rehearsal dinner invitations). We saved A LOT of money on DIY printing.

Our wedding favors and engagement party favors I ordered online. For the wedding, we got stemless wine glasses engraved with birds on a branch and our names and date; for the engagement we got a lovebird salt and pepper shaker set from Amazon, (I wished I had ordered those for the wedding instead, they’re perfect!).

We got the Dr. and Mrs. a high-end Cuisinart carafe maker… it might be too high-tech for the Mrs. though, so the Dr. will have to program it instead. The guys got a really nice engraved drinking set in an engraved metal case as their gift.

Our wedding website was the Knot, and they even have a lovebird theme that matched our invitations. We registered at BB&B and Amazon.com because they are partnered with our wedding website; and our chosen charity is the US Fund for UNICEF — which is also partnered with the Knot for registry donations.

We went with the recommendations from our venue on the DJ (Steve Bender Entertainment, and our DJ, whose name was RJ, was excellent). My mom-in-law chose a bakery that she’s used before. I let her choose the design; she went with a tiered cake with red roses cascading down, and I bought our rehearsal dinner cake topper on Amazon. It’s two blue lovebirds with a top-hat and a veil.

Our beautiful wedding cake. (We saved the top layer, and it was left un-cut for our anniversary next year.) ♡

With the wedding itself, we did it within our $10K budget; but we had help from the Dr. and Mrs. on some of the expenses, and they also host our other events for us like our engagement party (unfortunately his grandpa got very sick around that time); and our rehearsal dinner was paid for by my wonderful brother John. We were very fortunate that they were able to help us out financially with some of the expenses because most couples have to foot the bill entirely on their own.

The whole thing cost closer to about $25,000 though if we included our honeymoon and things outside of the actual wedding; like all the traveling expenses for our wedding, the hotel for our wedding night, etc.

We are honeymoon-ing on an island resort with its own private beach! (I can’t wait, I miss being by the ocean, even if I don’t know how to swim, ha!) ♡ My hubby is never allowed to book a vacation ever again. I definitely felt he could have gotten a better price for our honeymoon if he had shopped around, but he doesn’t have the patience for that kind of stuff. Oh, well. I guess since it’s a honeymoon it’s okay to be extravagant and over-the-top, and even splurge a bit.

[Book Review] Puppy Training

Today I received a book to review: Puppy Training: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crate Training, Potty Training, Obedience Training, and Behavior Training — by Julia Chandler.

It’s a good instruction book that is best suited for a first-time dog owner. It has beautiful photos of various dogs which helps the book a lot visually. It’s an easy read with some great tips. The paragraphs are broken up very neatly instead of being long and compact. There’s some really good info in the book like poisonous plants, the kind of collar to choose, click training, etc. I highly recommend for someone who is getting a puppy for the first time.

Thanks to Ms. Chandler for the opportunity to review her book, and the best of luck for her success with it.