Meal Ideas for When You’re Eating Out of Your Pantry

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Meal Ideas for When You’re Eating Out of Your Pantry

Whether you’re trying to make food stretch or are not interested in taking a trip to the grocery store, it’s always great to have food in your pantry that you can use to whip up a great meal. If you pair enough of the right pantry items with a few fresh or frozen foods, you can extend the time that you have between visits to the grocery store. Consider the following meal ideas when you’re eating out of your pantry.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers

If you have canned black beans, you can make black bean burgers. Once you’ve pureed the black beans in a bowl, add your fair share of seasonings such as cumin, paprika, and parsley. In terms of fresh ingredients, an egg will be beneficial in binding everything together. Add some salt, pepper, and onion powder as well. Pull some fresh garlic out of the pantry to finely chop and add to the mixture. Once you’ve created your burger patties, drop them in some breadcrumbs for crunch and texture. You can fry or bake them. Once they’re finished, put them between burger buns and add your choice of condiments and toppings.



Lasagna is a beloved staple in most households. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to prepare. Plus, the majority of the ingredients are found in the pantry. Pull out the pre-packaged tomato sauce, lasagna noodles, and seasonings. From the refrigerator, you’ll need the ricotta cheese and the mozzarella cheese. You can sprinkle those in the mix if you have dried Parmesan cheese or dried Romano cheese in the pantry.

Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties

Tuna patties are delicious on their own as an entree. They also go well on a burger bun. When most people think of tuna recipes, they automatically think of tuna fish sandwiches. However, you can make tuna patties using canned tuna, seasonings, and more. Fry or grill them before you serve. Look up other tuna recipes that show you alternate uses for tuna than just sandwiches, like casseroles, pastas, and salads.

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Pasta is the perfect pantry staple because it’s filling and delicious. For pasta salad, use an option like rotini pasta. Once you’ve boiled the pasta, add canned olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, and seasonings. Add a little bit of olive oil and Italian dressing to get the perfect taste.

In most cases, if you have the right seasonings on hand, you can make any meal taste delicious. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with getting creative to try new recipes. As you stretch your ability to master your pantry, you’ll only improve your ability to consistently produce spectacular meals. Taking a few simple ingredients and transforming them into an incredible meal is a skill set that will serve you for the rest of your life.

About Author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, and biking.

How To Practice Self-Care

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How To Practice Self-Care

When you think of self-care, what comes to your mind? For a lot of us, that would be going shopping, getting a pedicure, booking a massage, or spending 7 days on the beach.

But, do we always need to spend a ton of money in order to practice self-care? I don’t think so. 

I also believe that you need to be practicing self-care each day, so if you did have to spend money to take care of yourself, you would end up going bankrupt – haha! 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good massage and shopping trip, but I just do not think that self-care boils down to that and only that. Here are a few self-care tips that you can and should do each day:

Take a Warm Relaxing Bath

Squeaky Clean

Sometimes, all you need is you to feel clean. I know that sounds so simple and weird, but if you are feeling down, hop in the shower or bath to feel a bit better. If you want to take a shower, make sure it’s long and hot. 

Play music, really take time massaging your scalp when you wash your hair, and even try exfoliating your body, or trying out a new soap that you’ve been waiting to try. 

If you have the time, a bath is a great option, too. Grab a glass of wine, or a cup of tea and a book, throw on some relaxing music, fill the tub with Epsom salts, essential oils, and whatever else you like and hop in. 
Once again, take your time and enjoy yourself. When you get out of the tub or shower, take your time getting ready and focus on your skin. Apply your favorite products to your face and body and do your hair, if you have time. 

Seriously – this will make you feel like you are starting fresh and new again and will completely restart your day.

Throw on Some Clothes

Throw On Some Clothes

After your shower (or even if you do not have time to shower), throw on some clothes…but not just any clothes! When it comes to getting dressed, I really want you to choose something that you feel great and confident in. 

Self-care is all about feeling the best that we can possibly feel, so wearing something that we love is the perfect way to add just an extra touch of self-care into your getting-ready routine.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat Up

Once you have finished getting ready for your day, it is time to eat! Many people have the goal of weight loss in the new year, and it is impossible without healthy eating. You know the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen.” 

Well, it’s true. Weight loss aside, a healthy diet can help you become more energized, it can help with disease prevention and your overall health. 

“The nutrients in the foods you eat support the activities of day-to-day living, protect your cells from environmental damage, and repair any cellular damage that might occur. Protein rebuilds injured tissue and promote a healthy immune system. 

Both carbohydrates and fats fuel your body, while vitamins and minerals function throughout your body in support of your body’s processes. Vitamins A, C, and E, for example, act as antioxidants to protect your cells against toxins, and B vitamins help you extract energy from the foods you eat. Calcium and phosphorus keep your bones strong, while sodium and potassium help to transmit nerve signals. 

Without a healthy diet, you might compromise any of these essential functions,” says SFGate Healthy Eating. The great thing about eating healthy is that it will also boost your mood and support your body as a whole, so it really is the perfect way to practice self-care.

Find the Sun

Find The Sun

I’m not sure about you, but I love going outside when I am practicing self-care. Why? Maybe it’s the fresh air, or Vitamin D, or just a change of scenery, but I always feel so refreshed during my time outside and afterward, as well. 

If you have extra time in the morning, I highly recommend sitting outside for a bit – maybe while drinking your morning cup of tea or coffee or while you journal or read a chapter or two in a book that you’re reading.

See a Counselor at Ray of Hope Counseling Services

See A Counselor

Last but not least, talking with a counselor is always a great way to practice self-care because if you are not in the best shape when it comes to your mental health, then you probably have a hard time feeling great about yourself and your day-to-day life. 

If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or other problems, please seek out counseling. Ray of Hope Counseling Services might be a great place to start if you are looking for a therapist in Athens, GA, Marietta, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Canton, Peachtree City, Conyers, or Lawrenceville. 

Ray of Hope Counseling Services is a professional counseling and therapy service that helps individuals, couples, and families heal, strengthen, and overcome life changes or challenges. 

They are a group of counselors and psychotherapists who are committed to helping you. Some of their areas of expertise are imago therapy for couples, cognitive behavior therapy, equine therapy, stress and anger management, addiction therapy, therapy for abuse and violence, therapy for depression and anxiety, and more. 

While talking with a counselor is probably not an everyday thing, it should be an every week, bi-weekly, or monthly thing that you do to practice self-care because everyone could benefit from it. And don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be expensive either! Ray of Hope Counseling Services accepts most forms of insurance and Medicaid for your convenience.

Disclosure: Post is sponsored by Ray of Hope Counseling Services

How do you practice self-care in your day to day life? I would love to hear all about it!

Dollywood Reopens with Flower & Food Festival

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Dollywood Reopens with the Flower & Food Festival

Great news!  Dollywood’s inaugural Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health blooms to life with a vibrant new event that adds another touch of dazzling color to the natural beauty that already surrounds the award-winning theme park. 

While visiting Pigeon Forge, TN, make sure to check out these other exciting attractions and restaurants too.  Also, check out our time at Dollywood.

Originally scheduled for mid-spring, the breathtaking festival now begins when Dollywood reopens to season passholders on June 15. During this spectacular event, guests can explore larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms. These colossal displays reach heights up to 14 feet and create breathtaking displays celebrating the spirit of the Smoky Mountains. Floral carpet beds envelope walkways, embellish buildings and fill flowerbeds throughout the park.

Throughout the festival, the park stays open until 9:30 p.m. every night to allow families more time to make memories together. Additionally, each evening concludes with a fireworks show to put an exclamation point on the day.

“I know everyone is tired after being cooped up inside for the last few months, but I think all of us probably appreciate our family and friends even more right now,” Dolly Parton said. “I’m glad we’re able to start welcoming folks back to Dollywood with a brand new festival to help them make fresh memories together. Things may look a little different, but when they see all those beautiful flowers in bloom, I think it will help them take a bit of a break from everything that’s been going on.

“When we had the idea for this festival, I definitely gave them some input because you know how much I love flowers,” she added with a laugh, “but I was just delighted when my creative team told me their idea for the biggest flower display would be my mama sewing the Coat of Many Colors. I was so surprised, and I know she would be so proud they represented her in this way.”

Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival brings Dolly’s dreams to life with floral displays blooming in a kaleidoscope of colors. In partnership with internationally-acclaimed Mosaicultures flower sculpting team, a multitude of flowers come to life throughout Dollywood as Smoky Mountain turtles, raccoons, frogs and black bears. Dolly’s rich influence through song comes alive thanks to tributes of “I Will Always Love You” with a floral heart umbrella, as well as “Coat of Many Colors” with the marvelous scenic sculpture of her mother Avie Lee sewing the priceless garment.

The festival takes its blooms and brilliance throughout Dollywood, starting with photo opportunities as soon as guests step foot through the turnstiles. Once in the park, guests quickly find themselves under an Umbrella Sky, an awe-inspiring sight which features more than 600 hundred umbrellas dancing above their heads.

Special “Instagram-able” photo locations allow families to capture special memories that will live on long after the festival flowers bloom.

The colorful splendor created by an artful array of flowers and plants is accented by delicious dishes of mouth-watering festival flavors. Dollywood’s team of culinary experts dug deep into the traditions of Southern and Smoky Mountain cuisine to create garden-fresh items sure to delight.

Items on the menu include grilled citrus shrimp over delta peas and rice, gyros, Greek orzo pasta, grilled chili lime skirt steak, chicken stir fry, zucchini fritters, lobster rolls, charcuterie in a cone, and pork sliders with pineapple chutney.

Dessert highlights include chocolate-dipped macaroons, toasted coconut cupcakes, blueberry tarts, and chocolate ganache brownies. Guests looking for a way to cool off have a number of refreshing beverages to enjoy during the festival. The selection includes strawberry guava, blueberry lavender lemonade, blood orange lemonade, and watermelon lime fresca.

After much careful preparation, Dollywood Theme Park and Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park open June 15 and 16 for season pass guests only. Both parks open to the general public on June 17.

Social distancing guidelines will limit the capacity of the parks on a daily basis. As a result, season passholders will be required to reserve the date and time they wish to visit, and general admission guests will purchase a date-based ticket to ensure all have a safer, socially-distanced experience. Reservations can be made at and on the Dollywood mobile app where a how-to video will demonstrate the process. Guests should book their reservations early to ensure the date of their choice.

Additional information and a video detailing the safety and operational changes at the park are available for review at and on the mobile app.

Are Cooling Weighted Blankets Worth It? Check Out the Benefits

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Are Cooling Weighted Blankets Worth It?  Check Out the Benefits

Have you heard of an all-season weighted blanket?  Let say you have, but wondering if they are worth the cost?

Let me tell all of you; having a weighted blanket is life-changing, especially the ones you can use all year long!  Yes, having a cooling weighted blanket is a must-have in your household.

At first, I thought a weighted blanket was just that, a heavy blanket.  However, weighted blankets have many great benefits. After using one, you’ll feel like a completely different person giving you that feel-good feeling, and rejuvenation, naturally.

Moonbow by DubsLabs Cooling Weighted Blanket

The Benefits of Weighted Blankets

1. Better Sleep– When it comes to being wrapped inside a weighted blanket, it gives you that forever, calming hug to put you to sleep faster.  When Mr. M and I are in bed, for me to fall asleep, he must wrap himself around me, but instead of him in uncomfortable positions so that I can sleep soundly, I use the weighted blanket as an alternative sometimes, giving his arms a break.

2. Helps Anxiety– Anxiety can really have you overwhelmed and feeling uneasy, and with a weighted blanket, it gives that firm yet gentle hug that put your mind at ease.  All that is going on around us has caused a lot of people, including myself, anxiety. And having a gentle, long, deep hug from a weighted blanket is a helpful way to reduce it.

3. Relieves Stress– Having a stressful day can really bring a person’s mood down, but with a weighted blanket, it gives that deep pressure that helps stimulate the mind, taking you into a tranquilizing atmosphere.

4. Improves Sleep Quality– Some people toss and turn while they sleep, and some may have insomnia creating poor sleep quality.  Having a weighted blanket gives a restful night sleep, waking up well-rested.

5. Boost Mood– If you’re feeling down and depressed, a weighted blanket can give you that snuggly squeeze that boosts the energy you need without using any drug stimulants.

I have been using a cooling weighted blanket lately because my emotions have been all over the place.  I haven’t been feeling like myself lately and needed to start taking better care of myself.

When people think of weighted blankets, they assume that they can only be used during the fall and winter months.  That’s true; however, a cooling weighted blanket can be used during all seasons.

Moonbow by DubsLabs Cooling Weighted Blanket

Moonbow by DubsLabs Cooling Weighted Blanket

Moonbow Cooling Weighted Blanket is 72″ x 48″, soft, and double-sided. One side 100% polyester and the other side 100% bamboo fabric. Bamboo is an eco-friendly renewable resource with a remarkable thermo-regulating ability to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Gridded double stitching keeps the blanket’s glass micro-beads evenly distributed across your entire body, creating a “deep touch pressure stimulation” to increase serotonin (a lovely feeling of happiness and well-being).

Including melatonin (the natural, sleep-inducing hormone we all have inside us)

And decrease cortisol (an evil stress hormone literally no one likes).

The Moonbow Cooling Weighted Blanket is a drug-free, insanely comfy, intense relaxation designed for sleep time or anytime you want to wrap yourself in it.

Moonbow’s weighted blankets are designed to be approximately 10% of your body weight.  Their 15lb weighted blanket works best for people up to 180lbs, and their 20lb one is perfect for individuals that are 165 pounds and up.

Moonbow by DubsLabs Cooling Weighted Blanket

How to Care for a Cooling Weighted Blanket

With a blanket so heavy, it requires special care.

  • Spot Clean or Hand Wash with Cold Water

If you’re looking to relieve anxiety and stress, look no further and get yourself a cooling weighted blanket from Moonbow.  I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer!

And act fast, right now you can get $60 off, sale ends 7/13.

Disclosure– I am a partner of Moonbow, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you ever tried a cooling weighted blanket before?

Getting Summertime-Fine in this Tropical Romper and Straw Tote

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JustFab Tropical Romper and Straw Tote

It’s time to become summertime-fine by bringing out our cute sundresses, rompers, and bold statement accessories!

I hope you been enjoying my fashion picks from JustFab, and today, I wanted to share my latest picks with you.

I’ve shown you fall, winter, and spring styles, so it’s time to show off my summer picks.

I didn’t want to choose another dress since I showed you that last month, so I wanted to showcase a cute romper this time. Also, I changed things up a bit; instead of getting shoes, I got a stylish straw purse instead to show that JustFab is more than just an online boutique with just clothes and shoes; they have accessories for purchase as well.

By now, you know I have a thing for floral prints, so I grabbed a topical floral wrap romper that I saw on the website, and to go with it, I picked out the cutest round straw tote purse.

Due to COVID-19, delivery was delayed, taking me to receive my JustFab merch over two weeks, when it usually delivers within a week. But, I wasn’t in any rush to get it since I’ve been spending more time at home anyways.

Once I got my package, I started examining my goods. The first thing I noticed was the romper’s plunging neckline. This is a no-no for me since I have a large bust area. I’m not trying to have my girls all out on display for the world to see! To correct this problem, I had to wear a tank top underneath.

JustFab Tropical Romper and Straw Tote

Also, I’d like to mention about the romper, it’s hard to zip all the way up in the back by myself, so I had to get Lauren to do it for me. So, if I’m out in public and need to use the bathroom, that would be a problem. I like rompers with stretchy material, for easy on and off, like the ones I get from New York and Company. The topical floral romper from JustFab fabric is 100% Polyester.

JustFab Tropical Romper and Straw Tote

As for the purse, I love the metallic design throughout the straw tote. The straw tote has two different handle options to wear it around your shoulders or carry it with your lower arms and hands. It’s a great versatile purse! Also, inside has 1 interior pocket, and purse closes with a loop clip.

JustFab Straw Tote Bag

This tote can be worn with many summer outfits, so I will get good use from it this season.

JustFab Straw Tote Bag

I wanted to love this romper from JustFab, but the top fit was ill-fitting in my bust area. I feel they create their clothes more for people with a slender built from top to bottom.

But do know, JustFab offers clothes in plus sizes too. It’s just that I’m not quite plus size, I’m just large on top, so I’ll have to make adjustments sometimes when it comes to their clothes.

JustFab Tropical Romper and Straw Tote

Will it stop me from getting clothes from JustFab? No, I’ll continue to get some of my outfits from there, I’ll need to start paying more attention to what material is used and if it’s stretchy like spandex fabric for better fit.

Disclosure– I am a JustFab partner, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What are your thoughts about this month’s JustFab picks? Are you a fan of rompers?

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer

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Summer is officially here! With the starting of Summer, why not celebrate with some low-calorie cocktails?  (Check out these non-alcoholic mocktails too) Easy to make – with minimal ingredients required – these first days of summer cocktails are great for toasting to warm weather, poolside parties, and fun summer adventures ahead.

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer- Mango Sunrise

Mango Sunrise


*3 oz. Mango Lemonade Sparkling ICE

*1.5 oz. Tequila

*Splash of Grenadine syrup

*Lemon slices and mint for garnish (optional)


Using a tall Collins glass, pour tequila, then Mango Lemonade Sparkling ICE over ice. Stir gently to mix.

Top with a splash of Grenadine syrup.

Garnish with lime slices and mint sprigs.

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer- Summer Lovin'

Summer Lovin’ 


*4 ounces of VOGA Italia Premium Sparkling

*1 ounce of vanilla flavored vodka

*A splash of pomegranate juice

*Lime for garnish


Add vodka and pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake gently. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top off with VOGA Italia Premium Sparkling. Garnish with a lime. 

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer- Teeny Bikini Coffee Martini

Teeny Bikini Coffee Martini 


*3 oz. RealBeanz Diet Cappuccino

*1 oz. vanilla vodka

*½ oz sugar syrup

*Coffee beans to garnish


Combine all ingredients together with cubed ice in a Boston and shake. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with coffee beans.

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer- Beach Breeze

Beach Breeze 


*3 oz. VOGA Italia Sparkling

*.75 oz. Strawberry Liqueur

*2 oz. Strawberry Puree

*0.5 oz Lemon Juice

*1.5 Tsp. Sugar

*Mint leaves for garnish


Combine VOGA Italia Sparkling, strawberry liqueur, strawberry puree, lemon juice and sugar in a glass. Stir and garnish with mint.

5 Cocktails to Celebrate the First Days of Summer- Pool Party

Pool Party


*3 oz. Lemonade Sparkling ICE

*1 oz. white rum

*Mint leaves



Muddle mint leaves with rum.

Strain and pour over ice.

Top with Lemonade Sparkling ICE.

Garnish with a fresh lime and mint leaves. 

Which cocktail drink would you like to try?

15 Awesome Paid Survey Sites for Teens in 2020

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15 Awesome Paid Survey Sites for Teens

Does your teen need to make some extra money, but aren’t quite ready to get a job yet? Consider signing them up for paid survey sites. Today, I’m sharing with you 15 awesome paid survey sites for teens.

MySoapBox is a popular survey website and a huge fan favorite. With them you can be 100% assured your teen will be paid and they have a ton of survey options available. You can cash out with them via gift cards.

LifePoints requires that all their members are at least 14 years of age. Your teen will just need to sign up and wait for the surveys to roll in. As with other survey panels, they will be able to cash out via PayPal, gift card, or physical prizes.

If your teen is age 14 or older Ipsos I-Say is a great survey panel for them to consider. This panel pays out in points for each survey taken and like the others on this list they can cash out in a variety of ways with one being PayPal if they prefer cash versus a gift card.

VIP Voice accepts users ages 13 and up. Your teen just must sign up and wait to be matched to a survey.

Kidz Eyes looks to survey users between the ages of 6 and 12. They pay in points; however, every 1000 points gets them a $10 check.

Toluna is another veteran survey site. They accept users ages 13 and up. The number of surveys your teen receives depends on their demographics. It’s a great site for any teen that’s looking to earn some pocket money.

Valued Opinions accepts teens 13 and older. However, parental consent is needed for anyone under 18. Payment options range from Visa cards to gift cards.

E-Poll accepts users as young as age 13. However, the surveys will have to be sent to the parents for the teen to participate in them.

SpringBoard America is another survey site where teens ages 14+ can join. They pay via PayPal and check, however, before your teen can cash out they will have to meet the minimum threshold of $50.

Mindfield Online caters to those 14 years of age an older. When it comes to earnings you have options that range from gift cards, check, and PayPal.

14+ is the age for completing surveys with American Consumer Opinion. They reward their users with points, however, it’s a little unclear as to what these points can be converted into. Therefore, before signing your teen up for this site you will have to perform a little research.

If your teen is 14 years of age or older they qualify for Harris Poll. This survey site also uses a point system. Points can be converted into gift cards.

Focus Forward will have your teen taking surveys as soon as age 13. In addition to surveys they may also qualify for focus groups. All payments are made via check.

Teens ages 14 and older can sign up for YouGov where they will be paid to give their opinions. YouGov gives out points for each survey taken and these points can be converted into gift cards.

TestSpin accepts users ages 14 and up. However, it’s not clear about the payment terms so do some digging before signing your teen up for this site.

Calling all teens 13-17. Join Smart App Community, the new and exciting online community for survey takers where you can share your experiences about how you use the internet. Get Smart Rewards for sharing your thoughts and Opinions!

Has your teen ever done paid surveys before? What survey site do they like the best?

Life Update: Getting Through the Pandemic

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Life Update:  Getting Through the Pandemic

Hey, Y’all! It’s been a long time since I last made a life update, and I wanted to do a post about what I’ve been up to. There has been so much going on around me that my life seems to change weekly…even daily.

With all that is going on like COVID-19, racism, police brutality, elections, stay at home orders, fear-mongering media, mothering, and running a business, it got me overwhelmed and tired.

It’s like so much is being thrown at me and wondering, “What’s next?

So much information and opinions, I found myself getting sucked into it, mindlessly keeping up to date with it all in fear I will be missing something. All the while, it makes me fall into a deep depression returning to the days that I would always worry, living in fear.

I needed to start taking care of me and my mental health, so I began to shut off social media, re-purpose content here, to be more present with my family and get back better.

I can’t be all of me if I’m not all the way there.

Memphis, Tennessee Beale Street

Beginning of the Year before the Lockdown

Before the world seems to start falling apart, I was getting ready to head off to another adventure, this time to Memphis, TN.

The tourism of Memphis contacted me directly, and I had lunch with one of them here in Atlanta to chat about all things Memphis in March. My family and I were scheduled to visit Memphis and share our experiences with you during the first week of April.

But, I’m not worried about missing out on our trip to Memphis, there is always next time. But I appreciate that they reached out to me, giving me the opportunity.

Tourism of Memphis read about my previous travels to Memphis back in 2015 and wanted me to return to see the latest happenings in the city of Blues. As the saying goes, you never know who is watching you. Those Memphis posts were like a personal diary of my travels there, so I was stunned that Memphis tourism enjoyed it.

Some of you may know that I would visit Memphis for my family reunions yearly, but I stopped going for personal reasons, and I mentioned that with Memphis Tourism. However, they wanted me to come back since I have knowledge of several famous tourist destinations there and wanted to include updates on my blog.

But like I said, there is always next time, Memphis will be there for my upcoming arrival, and I’ll share about my time once I return.

So as for trips now, I may have to wait it out due to this virus or do more outdoorsy travels that are easy to social distance. Plus, there is another thing holding me back from traveling.

Female Guinea Pigs

Meet Our New Guinea Pigs

If you have been following me on social media, I shared that we now have guinea pigs! Our baby guinea pigs have changed our lives big time, and everything that we do now have to revolve around them.

Having pets, getting up and going on a trip is not as easy. Now, we have to decide do we take the guinea pigs with us or find boarding for them?

For short-distance trips, for sure we can take them with us, like when we visit the Smoky Mountains.

If you haven’t had guinea pigs before, you should know that they are a lot of work! Not a beginner’s pet, that’s for sure. They poop a lot, and I do mean a lot! Very messy! So, the girls and I are continually cleaning after them several times a day.

So, if we decide to take them on trips, are handheld vacuum cleaner will be our holy grail to keeping things neat and clean.

I do like to mention that before we got our guinea pigs (well, technically they are Michelle’s piggies), I was going to start taking fewer vacations anyway because my girls are in middle school and high school, which are critical parts of their lives. Missing school days to travel can set them back a lot. And it would be selfish of me pulling them out of school, just for me to take trips for business.

That means fewer trips, and going during peak season when they have breaks from school.

These little piggies, Paulanka and Lumi, have been putting my mind at ease, keeping my focus on them and away from all the world noises. They make my heart happy, bringing fun and joy in our household.

There was an instance of sadness when one of the guinea pigs died suddenly due to having an upper respiratory infection and eye infection shortly after getting her.

Female American Guinea Pig

It hurt us a lot, seeing our piggie Juniper sick and then dying. We spent the majority of May in and out of the Emergency Pet Hospital, trying to get Juniper better.

First, it seems like she would pull through, but all that medication the hospital had her on was too much for a baby guinea pig, which led to her death.

If you’re near Duluth, Georgia, I would not recommend using All Species Animal Hospital. I don’t believe they have the knowledge of taking care of sick guinea pigs, and according to their reviews, other guinea pigs died in their care as well.

Female American Guinea Pig

You’ll be seeing quite a bit of both Paulanka and Lumi, especially on Instagram, so stay tuned to that!  (Did you see Lumi making an appearance on one of my posts?)

Female American Guinea Pig

Business is Booming!

If you have been following me for a while, you know that my blog business was hurting last year due to my old graphic designer negligence. Well, I’m happy to report that my blogging income has returned to 2017-2018 totals, but not quite 2016, which was my biggest year.

Due to the lockdown and everyone spending more time online, and Google’s latest algorithm update, my traffic to my blog started to rise, fast!

With the reopening of different states now happening, I’m still getting a lot of traffic to my blog that I’m very grateful for. I was putting all that hard work into my blog last year, and the corrections my new designer did paid off handsomely!

I can see 2020 being my comeback year!

Also, so many brands have been reaching out to me, finding me on social media. Remember, you never know who may be watching you. I’ve heard that my name has been coming up in meetings, and recommendations from previous people I’ve worked with. Awesome!

Even though I’m getting approached more, I still only work with brands that fit my current lifestyle. I don’t work with brands just for the money, filling my blog with random stuff. There have been times I turned brand offers down, no matter how much the offer is. Not all money is good money.

However, I like sticking with working as a product review affiliate marketer because it makes me money monthly, paying for my lifestyle. Plus, I get to blog about what I want. I don’t care for one time deals with brands. That’s like a vicious cycle of chasing money. No thanks!

Life Update:  Getting Through the Pandemic

Girls Returning Back to School

Even with this pandemic happening, the girls’ schools are returning in-person. There is an option for digital learning, but my girls are not wanting to stay at home.

With them being older, they are good at making sure they keep their hands clean, keeping their distance from people, and wearing masks when it’s needed. I keep their immune systems healthy by regularly going outside, getting that vitamin D, and eating healthy.

If I feel that they are not safe at school, I’ll have the option to remove them, and they can complete their schooling at home.

Well, that’s been pretty much it with what’s going on with me. I’m spending more time at home and go out doing things around town, staying local.

Times like this have me reflecting, taking care of my well-being, keeping uplifted spiritually, reminding myself that this too shall pass.

I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. Thank you for your continued love and support! Because of you, you keep me going with this little blog of mine.

Join Captured Moments Community and Win Free Rewards

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Join Captured Moments Community and Win Free Rewards

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Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

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Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

Have a fun Girls Day Out outing at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar, Atlanta’s first interactive clean beauty bar in downtown Alpharetta! Address: 26 Old Roswell St., Alpharetta, GA 30009

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

Carrie Hadley brought a new concept in the fragrance world with DIY workshops, a custom mixing bar, and gender-neutral scents. Her story of how she brought her vision to life is inspiring, and I’m glad that we can celebrate her big win with her.

One of a Kind Experience

My girls and I were invited to experience this one of a kind beauty bar that fragrance lovers like ourselves will appreciate.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

We all had a fabulous time checking out 42 independent fragrance brands from around the world, and 150 individual scents you can’t find anywhere in Atlanta. INDIEHOUSE only carries brands that adhere to strict EU laws and carefully screens brands for compliance. Also, there is a botanical category of fragrances with zero synthetics, that’s a massive hit for those looking for pure scents.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

When you first walk in the beautiful house setting, the place is bright, airy, and welcoming. It’s such a gorgeous store that will have you wanting to spend your whole day inside exploring all the different scents.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

Unlike other perfume stores, you don’t feel overwhelmed with many expensive-looking bottles all over the walls, unsure how much they all cost and have to bother store employees to bring them down to you so you can smell them.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

At INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar, all scents are labeled with price, the artisan that created it, and what country it came from. Scents even are organized together by the type of fragrances they are, for example, sweet, minimal, woody, and romantic. You can smell them all at your own leisure without needing someone to help you.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

The fun part of our experience was the DIY mixing bar when the girls and I got to create our own fragrances to bring home. Anyone can walk in and create their own perfume with a professional perfumer for an extra fee. We even got to name and label our creations, with me naming mine Lumi after one of our guinea pigs.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

And for those who need extra space for a group, INDIEHOUSE has a Scent Blending 101 Workshop Studio that is a 2-hour class that is also led by an experienced perfumer. This is more in-depth apprentice-level classes.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

The Scent Blending 101 Workshop is provided with soda, sparkling water, coffee, tea, and chilled filtered water, but guests can bring their own light bites and a couple of bottles of wine. This studio space is great to host events for bridal, company team building, family reunions, charity fundraisers, and birthdays. Everyone with a nose, over age 16 is welcome. Age 13+ is permitted when accompanied by a parent. The maximum for this workshop is 12 guests.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

The COVID-19 Guidelines at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar

With COVID going on, you may be wondering, how is INDIEHOUSE keeping their guests safe?

INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar, when you first walk in, will take your temperature, require their guests to use hand sanitizer before entering the store, and ask guests to maintain the CDC suggested six-foot social distance from other customers.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

The fragrance bar has assembled cleaning disinfectant kits and implements a regular cleaning regime that targets frequently touched surfaces. Gloves, goggles masks, and aprons are always available for guest use in the workshops.

The store has a medical-grade Carbon-Filter Air Purifier from Austin Air running continuously that is known to remove viruses and bacteria from the air.

Curbside pick-up and free shipping are available for website orders.

Workshops can be booked online and, until further notice, only six guests maximum will be scheduled per session; however, up to eight guests will be allowed at private events if they pass a health check questionnaire.

Experience Scents from Around the World at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta

Make sure to drop in at INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar in Alpharetta and experience scents from around the world.

Check out these places that opened recently in Alpharetta that are a must-visit during your day there.

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