Tuesday, December 16, 2014

B. Tillman Restaurant in Savannah-- My Review(:

**Giveaway closed. But B.Tillman is still awesome!**

So, I'm super excited today because I've got a giveaway! You may be confused because the title says a review, so let me back up.

Last week, I had class at our main office in Savannah, and afterwards, we grabbed lunch at B.Tillman a few blocks away. I've had lunch there a few times; you have to catch them because they close between lunch and dinner and I always enjoy myself. This time, I ordered the Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese, which sounds a little plain, but, believe me, was ANYTHING but. The thing with grilled cheese at restaurants is sometimes, the bread is toasted a little too hard. You know, like when it kind of scratches against the roof of your mouth? (Maybe that's just me). But this bread was toasted perfectly, not too lightly and not too crunchy. And sooo much cheese! And a tomato! Hint: I suggest you try the tomato even if you're not a fan of tomatoes. Had I realized it before ordering, I would have requested they leave the tomato off, but I'm so glad I didn't; it really set the whole sand-which off. The bisque was equally amazing and soo creamy. I haven't been there for dinner yet (it's on my list, trust me!) but I would definitely recommend this spot for lunch. Perfect if you're already in the area for Christmas shopping.


Anyway, so B. Tillman is the restaurant, but they're connected to the cookie shop next door, Byrd's Cookie Company. At the end of our meal, our waitress brought us over a few 15% off tokens to use at any of the Cookie Company locations (there are several in Savannah and Pooler). So I've decided to give them away to you, my readers. The contest will go on for a week. To enter, simply like my new Facebook page and comment on this post to let me know you've done so. Next Tuesday, I'll pick three winners and, if you win, I'll contact you for mailing information and send it right on over. Good luck, everyone! And of course, don't forget to check out B. Tillman's; that place is amazing.

Hinesville Lifestyle
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Monday, December 15, 2014

My New Fave Way To Eat Pork Tenderloin!!

Okay, so a few weeks ago, the hubby and I found a recipe online that we wanted to try. And. It. Turned Out. AMAZING! (Excuse me for a few minutes while I pat myself on the back). So here's the recipe, if you want to try it.


You may notice, the recipe mentions pork chops while my title is pork tenderloin. We decided to go with a leaner cut and it turned out just fine. If you decide to go with that option as well, turn the heat down on your oven and note that you may not have to cook each side as long as it calls for in the recipe (we kind of felt it out).

Another piece of advice, when it says stir that sauce for a few minutes, it MEANS stir it for A FEW MINUTES. Otherwise, it will turn out like this:


Which honestly, actually tasted like one of those fruit candies that your grandma always has in her purse. Anyway, we had to scrape the first batch out of that bowl and into the trash; the second batch, you can bet I followed the instructions exactly!

So that's pretty much it. We've made this dish a few times since then, and the last time, I actually made an extra batch of sauce because we liked it so much. The meat always comes out super tender and that raspberry flavoring just sets everything off. Have you tried this recipe before? Tell me about it!

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Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (no need to go out, get to the grocery store and try this dish!)
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Awesome Tip For Those With Septic Systems That Are Hosting Guests This Season (or any time for that matter!)

So it's that time of year again, when the stream of overnight guests seems endless. You've got your parents staying for Christmas, your cousins visiting next weekend and your sister and her husband staying for New Years. My hubby and I, for one, love having people spend a few nights with us every once in a while. This past summer, we had a huge housewarming party a few months after we closed on the house and we were full to the brim. We had a blast.

The biggest thing we always have to remind everyone about is proper care for our septic system. Those of you out there that have septic systems of your own have an idea of what I'm talking about. No running the dishwasher, clothes washer, and shower all at the same time. No garbage disposal, the list goes on and on. But how many times have you caught a guest tossing something in the sink that they shouldn't? And do you secretly worry that someone may use waaay to much toilet paper? (Perhaps, that last one is just me. I am, admittedly, a huge control freak after-all).


Last month, we had my family over for dinner and my mom accidentally burned some butter on the stove. My brother-in-law, trying to be helpful, went to toss the butter down the drain. I think my mom and I probably hollered at the same time. We ended up setting it out on the counter to harden and then scraping it into the trash can. No harm, no foul, but my mom came up with a brilliant idea for letting your guests know about your system, which I'm now sharing with you.

So you know how you may, sometimes, set out a bowl of fresh fruit, or maybe put some snacks and bottled water out if your guests are getting in really late? Along with that, you may want to consider adding a nice note explaining about your system and just listing a few of the big no-no's. Nothing fancy and it doesn't necessarily have to be hand-written, just something that says "Thanks for staying with us, we have a septic system, here are the rules". That way, you don't have to waste time explaining the same thing over and over again and your guests won't end up pouring melted butter down your drain.

Do you have your own ways of handling holiday guests? Tell me all about it, below!

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Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (in Richmond Hill, but worth the drive, TRUST ME)
What to do
Where to live

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Let's Give Thanks on Thankful Thursdays!

Okay, so I've been slacking on the Thankful Thursdays, but I'm back! I've decided to keep it going for a couple of months, so here goes. What am I thankful for this month? My job. Which may seem a weird thing to be thankful for. But the truth is, I love what I do. When I first got my real estate license a few years back, I looked at it as a way to make a little money until I finished school. Fun fact: basically, I was a little spoiled, my mom was ready to cut me off, and I needed a real job to make real money. (Bath and Body works was super fun, but it wasn't going to cut it!) But after I was in the field for a while, I realized that I really liked it! And I'm pretty good at it too, if I must say.

thankful thursdays


Since then, my job has actually evolved. I now work on a team with a few other agents and admin folks and it's my job to keep in contact with everyone in our database. I'm basically a glorified pen-pal. The best thing about my job? That I can do it ANYWHERE. Which means I do a lot of work on my couch in pajamas or leggings. And when I take a few days vacation, I STILL get paid because I can still take calls and send emails if I need to. Another plus: I'll be able to take this position with me whenever we PCS (we're keeping our fingers crossed that won't happen for another few years, but you never know). So, we could be stationed at Fort Polk, and I'll still have a job available. Pretty cool, I think. So that's it for this week. I want to hear from you! What are you thankful for this week?


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Where to eat (review coming soon!)
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Buying a Home in Hinesville & Ft. Stewart: What's The Process (Part II)

Okay, so you already know about getting pre-qualified, right? So you've spoken with your lender and you have a number in mind for both final price and monthly payment. What's the next step in the process of purchasing your home?

Well, this is the fun part: start your search! If you end up working with an agent on our team, we'll bring you in for a consultation at our office before taking you out to check out homes. This may seem like an unnecessary part of the process, but it's actually pretty important. For one, it's a safety measure. Meeting you at the office and getting a copy of some form of ID helps us to make sure you're not an ax murderer of any sort (and vice versa!). Also, it allows us to sit down with you, face-to-face and without distractions and really discuss what exactly you're looking for in a home.

Perhaps you want to be in certain school district or near a specific gate at Fort Stewart. Or maybe a neighborhood with a community pool and golf course is important to you. Perhaps you want land. We like to sit down with our clients and go over their needs and wants in great detail; that way, when you start looking at homes, we can make sure you're looking only at homes that have the greatest potential for being your dream home.

We also like to go over the entire process (which is why I want to add that if you can't wait for the next installment of this series, you can sign in here and request a one-on-one appointment).What to expect when writing up your offer, what up-front costs you can expect to pay, etc. This is also the time to ask any and all questions you may have. Maybe you'd like more information on incentive programs for first-time and military home-buyers (believe me, there are tons!) or perhaps you're just unsure of the process as a whole. As your agent, it's our job to fully educate you, so no question is too small!

One more thing to remember, this is also the time when most agents will go over the difference between a client and customer with you. On our team, we like to go ahead and have you sign the agreement that gives us legal permission to represent you because we want to do our jobs as efficiently as possible from the very beginning. As a customer without the documentation, some advice we're just not legally allowed to give you. And if you're still interviewing agents and haven't made a decision? That's okay! This first appointment is the best possible way for you to decide whether or not you'd like to work with us.

Quick question about the processing of buying a home in Fort Stewart? I'm all ears... or eyes, or whatever.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Yes, I Use My Military Discount and I Use It With Pride!

So, military discounts. We all know about them. A few of us will ask if one is available when dining at, say, a Ruby Tuesday's or shopping at Old Navy. But how many of us refuse to use military discounts at all?

In one of my Facebook groups, a woman asked a question about whether the military discount at our local movie theater was available for family members or strictly active duty. Apparently the guy working at the counter told her family members or dependents are not eligible. She was simply asking if anyone else had experienced this. The responses that followed were interesting to say the least. Some wondered why she would want to take advantage of a discount that was supposed to be for the "soldier to thank him for his service". Others asserted they didn't even ask about military discounts when out and about because it "made them feel weird". Someone even mentioned how upset it made them when wives tried to use their husband's rank or importance to get their way. (For the record, I go to that theater all the time whether I'm with my husband or not and I've ALWAYS gotten the military discount. And when I had a military ID because my dad was prior military, I received it then as well).

The whole thing was just a little strange to me. On the one hand, I get that some wives can develop an unhealthy sense of entitlement due to what their husbands do; they may feel they deserve special treatment or are better than those whose husbands aren't serving. And that's a little crazy. You definitely won't find me in a "I've Got The Toughest Job In The World" t-shirt or expecting to be "thanked for my service" on Veterans Day or anything like that. But this woman wasn't asking for any of that. She was simply asking a question about a military discount.

And what's so wrong with a wife asking for a military discount? At work, my team leader, for example, is the local affiliate for the Homes for Heroes Program. We offer rebate/ discounts to soldiers and their families purchasing homes in the area. And I can tell you, 99% of the time we're dealing with the wife initially because that's who typically starts the process of buying a home by inquiring online or what have you. Are they asking discounts for military buyers? Sometimes. But even if they aren't you can bet we're telling them about it upfront because  it's an awesome opportunity that we want everyone to be able to take advantage of. Besides being a discount on a larger scale, how is that concept any different from the discount at a store or restaurant?

Most fine print for those discounts will list the eligible parties; i.e, active duty military and/ or their families. And, in my opinion, the discount is a marketing ploy any way! At New York and Company, for example, I can use my military ID to get a 15% discount off of my entire purchase OR I can use one of the many coupons they email me (you know the ones, $100 off of $200, all jeans, Buy 1 Get 1 Half Off) NOT both. Most times, I end up going with the latter because it's a better deal. So the assumption that those discounts are put in place as a way to thank soldiers for their service is probably inaccurate, at least where the bigger name stores are involved.

As the wife of a service member, I do not, by any means expect special recognition or treatment out in the world. I do not suffer from the delusion that my position as his wife is harder or as hard as what he does for a living, nor do I base my entire identity on his job. BUT. Being an army wife does come with its own set of circumstances that can be different from those of other professions. Year long deployments, moving to new places every three or five years, packing your home up for each said move. Just a few of the issues we have to deal with.

And there are also some good things. Getting to meet new people. Getting stationed in bases all over the world and learning about different cultures. Not to mention TRICARE. Say what you will about the system, but the fact is, it's affordable health insurance. I know a ton of my non-military friends who would love that specific benefit. And then you have military discounts. In the grand scale of things, they're pretty small. But they're just one way we can save money whether we're dining out or shopping for a winter coat or even ordering a home inspection. On small perk of either serving yourself or being married to someone who serves. And what is so wrong with accepting that small positive and using it to your advantage?

I want to hear from you! What do you think about using your military discount?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Obsessions!

What are you excited about this month? Here's what I'm obsessed with:

Savannah Festival of Lights
So by now, I'm sure you know Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. And what better way to celebrate than Savannah's lights festival? From November 28th til December 28th, there'll be over 80 super awesome light displays over on Hutchinson Island (where the Westin hotel is). You can walk or drive through the displays (some are a mile high); then stop at the Westin Savannah Harbor for a ride on the Ferris Wheel or a mug of warm hot chocolate. Oh, and if that's not reason enough to check it out, all proceeds from the event will go to support several local charities. Give back to your community and have a good time all in one night!



Christmas Parties!
The other reason this is my favorite time of year? A chance to get all dolled up, have a few drinks, and dance the night away! Our team is planning a little something for later in the month and right before Christmas, Keller Williams is throwing a huge bash at the Westbrook at Savannah Quarters Country Club. A few days after that, my mom's social club is throwing their annual Christmas party at Club Stewart on post (this one's open to the public, so if you're reading this and want to attend, comment below!)

New Insanity Program
So yesterday, Beachbody released their new Insanity Max 30 program, or, in other words, one more tool to help me fit into all those pretty party dresses I've been pinning. My coach is starting a program in January and I'm super excited. I've never done Insanity before, but the good thing about this new program: the workouts are only 30 minutes! I figure I can do any workout for at least 1/2 an hour even if it is super hard. By the way, the challenge group is open to the public as well. So Facebook either me or my coach, Porcha, if you'd like to join us(:


SpouseBox
Okay, so technically the first SpouseBox won't ship out until the first week in January BUT it's been available to order since earlier this week so that makes it a December obsession in my opinion. SpouseBox is a monthly care package, each $24.99 that will come filled with freebies, samples, and gift certificates from companies that love and support service members. January's box, the Goal Digger Box is already sold out, but you can sign up for updates so you'll be the first to know when February's becomes available!

So that's what's keeping me going this month. What are you guys excited about? Let me hear it!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do (hello, the Lights Festival! No link necessary)
Where to live

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spring Hill Suites Marriott Review (Pinehurst Location, outside of Raeford NC)

Okay, so, as you know, we were in North Carolina for Thanksgiving with family. My Uncle's house was full so we stayed at the Spring Hill Suites Marriott hotel about 15 minutes outside of Raeford. My review, as promised:

Walking in, the hotel itself was pretty nice. Large, open space, well-decorated. Comfortable couches and chairs in the lounge area and a flat screen T.V. that was turned to the news if I remember correctly. Check-in process was smooth and quick; we requested to all be on the same floor and the guy at the counter was able to accommodate everyone accept for one room (we had four rooms between me, my aunt, my mom and my grandma).

The rooms were HUGE. I wish I had gotten pictures, but by the time we got in that night, we were all too exhausted to do anything but fall into bed. There was a nice little separate area right when you walked into the room with a sofa and little kitchenette. The beds weren't too bad. Normally my hubby and I would have probably gotten a King room which may have been a little more comfortable, but we split with my sister and her husband. So we squeezed into our double beds which was actually kind of hilarious. My brother-in-law swore he hadn't slept in a double bed since before he went away to school. The shower the next morning was piping hot, water pressure was just right. The only real negative with the room was the pillows. Two of ours were kind of stained and gross looking. Again, we were half-sleep at the point, so I simply tossed them on the floor and we slept on one pillow each. Had I noticed it earlier, I would have requested new ones.

Can't comment on the breakfast the next morning, as I had an apple and a cup of juice (had to save room for those leftovers!) but from what I could tell, it was pretty standard stuff; eggs, bagels, cereal, etc. And it was free, which I suppose counts for something.

If you're reading this and considering staying at this hotel, one more thing to consider, they DO add a $30 charge for incidentals which goes away after checkout if you don't charge anything to your room. I don't remember reading this on the website nor was it mentioned to us at check-in. Not necessarily a problem, but we thought it was a tad strange given that there weren't really a lot of "incidentals". The breakfast and parking were free and they don't have room service or anything like that.

Would I stay here again? Probably. There were hotels that were closer to my Uncle's house, but this one was a little nicer, and the drive wasn't too bad once we figured out where we were going. It wasn't my favorite stay but, it definitely served it's purpose.

Hinesville Lifestyle
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Monday, December 1, 2014

How Was Your Thanksgiving?

Mine was pretty awesome. We visited my uncle in North Carolina for the day and had a blast (we stayed at the Springhill Suites Marriott, check out my review here!). For the first time in what has seemed like forever, my grandma (on my mom's side) had all of her children and all of her grandchildren under one roof which was nice. (and a perfect way to celebrate her and my grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary which is coming next month).

I also got a little Black Friday shopping done. Did I brave the crazy crowds and fight my way into a line to purchase an pair of shoes or some extra makeup? Absolutely not! I ordered online!! It was so easy and painless, I couldn't believe I'd ever even considered leaving the house early Friday morning to grab anything. And I just started shopping through EBATES (I'm super late, I know) so I got cash back on a lot of my purchases. Talk about a score.


We were back home by the weekend, where we celebrated my birthday for the second time (it was on Monday; the hubby and I threw a cocktail party the weekend before and then on Saturday we spent time with the family) and also started working on the tree! I know, I can definitely hear some you going, a Christmas tree? This early? But I COULD NOT resist. We even played Christmas music!


Adding the ornaments tonight, updated pic coming soon!


So I want to hear from you! How did you guys celebrate the holiday?

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursdays! What Are You Thankful For This Week?

So last week, I was thankful for family. This week, I'm thankful for financial solvency. When I was in college, I struggled a bit. Perhaps I should re-phrase that. By no means was I stuck eating ramen every night or anything like that. But I definitely lived off of my refund check and depended solely on help from parents for things that I needed/ wanted. I took advantage of every possible grant/ scholarship but I definitely had to take out loans as well. The last few years, I worked at Bath and Body Works, which I loved, but everyone who's ever worked there will probably agree with me: it's definitely not a pay-your-bills kind of job. More like a little extra spending money on the side.

A few years ago, I decided to get my real estate license. The 75 hour course was extremely boring and required a lot more effort than I was used to. The one thing that kept me motivated was the thought that I would finally be able to make enough money to take care of myself completely without my family's help.

Fast forward to now, and, I have to say, the hubby and I are pretty blessed to be where we are. I'm on a few wives' groups on Facebook and every other day, some poor soul is asking for help with diapers and formula or rent. And if you take a quick look at any of the fundraising sites there are thousands of folks asking for help with this or that. We try to donate where we can and give back, because we both realize how lucky we are. We're not 100% to where we want to be. We eventually want to purchase investment property and have kids, but we've agreed to hold off on both in order to build up our nest egg and focus on doing the fun things we're able to do now like vacations and meet friends for dinner.



I guess this post will probably go right back to family because I also want to add that we're both blessed with parents that instilled in us the value of a dollar and a strong work ethic from early ages. My parents, for example, didn't let me work through high school (they wanted me to focus on school) but I was given an allowance and encouraged to budget and think twice before spending anything. This helps now, when we're purchasing things for the house or paying bills. So, thanks, Mom and Dad! What are you thankful for this week? Tell me below!

**Quick note, you probably won't hear a lot from me next week until my next Thankful Thursday post. I'll be taking a few days off for my birthday on Monday and Thanksgiving! Talk to you soon!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Are You Avoiding Drama This Season? 4 Tips to Stay Sane and Keep the Zen

So today, I want to talk about drama. Or, more accurately, how to avoid it. A few posts ago, I mentioned that this time of the year is basically my favorite. Not because of the temperature (I could definitely take that or leave it) but because of excitement of the holidays period. Christmas music, shopping for presents, spending time with loved ones on Thanksgiving. For me, November and December kind of meld together into one big super-month full of fun stuff to basically distract me from my job every day.

For some others though, this season is full of stress and drama. Maybe you're dreading making that ten hour drive with three kids and two dogs to see family or fighting the crowds on Black Friday for the 65" your husband and/or kids are dying to have. Or maybe you're SO is currently deployed and you'll be spending the holidays without them. Admittedly, these things all suck. But they don't have to completely ruin the next few months. I'd like to share a few of my favorite tips for avoiding drama, and you know, saving it for your mama (I couldn't resist!)


Embrace The Crazy
I know this seems counter-intuitive, but, honestly, some things are just out of your control. Take a quick survey of everything that's currently stressing you out. I'll bet 90% of those things are completely outside your control. So acknowledge the stress and then try to move on. Maybe engage in an activity that relaxes and calms you (for me it's reading and working on this blog). And try to focus on the positive things that are happening in your life. As for the crap you can control, do something about it. Maybe this is the year you DON'T stand in line outside of Best Buy in the early hours Friday morning. I've read that Cyber Monday sales are typically just as good anyway.


Lean On Your Friends/ Family
This goes especially for you if your SO will be deployed during the next few months. Spend time with friends and family who understand what you're going through (and if they don't, hopefully they're good at offering a shoulder to cry on). And if it's your family that's stressing you out? I suppose the easy answer is to just not go. But I'd say go, drink the eggnog, eat the free food, and be graceful. Remember, it's a few days out of your entire year and then you can resume your normal life. And when your Aunt Annie asks for the third time why your SO was not allowed to come back for the holidays, take a deep breath, paste a smile on your face, and give a vague answer. And then spike your eggnog with something extra (Kidding! Sort of...)




Take "YOU" Time
This is a given during any other time of the year, but it's even more imperative during the holidays. You must take time out for yourself even if it's 30 minutes at Starbucks enjoying a coffee or a little online window shopping (another of my favorites, I basically have my whole winter wardrobe planned out). During a time that tends to shift much of your focus towards others (your mom wants to know what dish you're contributing for Thanksgiving Dinner, you STILL haven't finished Christmas shopping, you're volunteering to help with the church play, etc.) it really helps to spend some time every day being completely focused on doing what you want to do. I think I've mentioned this before and I feel it bears repeating; this advice is especially important if your a "milspouse" or significant other. We spend so much time bowing to the needs of the Army (insert whatever branch you or your SO serves here) and it's nice (and healthy!) to attend to our own needs when we can.


For God's Sake, Avoid the Facebook Groups
I read an interesting post the other day about the things we as spouses/ significant others need to "get over". I have to say, it was dead on. I would only add these Facebook groups. Don't get me wrong, they're an awesome source of information and support. I'm a member of several for Fort Stewart alone. But you know how when someone posts and you can almost tell they're having a bad day? And then some well-meaning person responds and then all of sudden, there's an out-and-out fight laid out for everyone else's entertainment (or irritation). I always wonder what's going in those people's lives to make them snap on social media like that. Okay, yes it's possible, they're just miserable human beings who like to cyber-bully others for sport. But couldn't it be that they're just having a sucky day and whatever comment is was ended up being the last straw? For me, it's safe to say Facebook groups are not where you should go to vent or fuss. The odds are against you that someone will comment something that ends up upsetting you even more and then you're right back where you started. Need to rage for a bit? Why not do so with the people in your life who actually know you and care about you. I guarantee it makes for much better results. And if you happen to be a commenter on one of these crazy posts? Perhaps a few kind words of encouragement are in order. Or you know, you can do what the old adage dictates and say nothing at all.


What are some of your tips for avoiding stress during the holidays? Tell me below!


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Home For The Holidays! Savannah/ Hilton Head Airport is Giving Away 2 Round-Trip Tickets

If you've got a family member stationed elsewhere who calls the Savannah area their home, this contest is for you! Savannah/ Hilton Head International's Bring our Heroes Home for the Holidays program is giving two very luck service-members round-trip economy class tickets to come home for Christmas.



The Fine Print:
--Must submit a letter (300 words or less) on why the service-member deserves a round-trip ticket (Service members cannot nominate themselves)


--Must be a resident of Appling, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Emanuel, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, McIntosh, Montgomery, Pierce, Screven, Telfair, Truetlen, Wayne, Wheeler counties of Georgia OR Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, Jasper, counties of South Carolina


--Must be Active Duty


--Must be eligible for Leave (Must obtain that Leave within 14 Business days of selection)


--Travel dates must be from December 3 through January 31


--Deadline for all entries: 12AM on November 26th (that's in 9 days!!)


Click here to download the Official Contest Rules.


This is such a cool program! So many soldiers end up stationed too far away from there original hometowns and can't always afford the trip home for the holidays. Kudos to Savannah/ Hilton Head International for attempting to help a couple out. Will you be entering for your son, daughter, uncle, cousin, etc.? Good luck!




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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Club! The Darkest Child

So, last post I mentioned I had joined a book club. We're on Facebook if you're here at Fort Stewart and would like to join us! If you don't live here and would still like to participate (or you just want suggestions for new books to try) I'll be posting every few weeks what we're reading and as well as my review on each book. This week, we're reading The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips.


I've actually read this one already, for an African American Lit class in college, but you know how it goes with assigned reading. I probably had to write a paper on it which means lots of speed-reading and SparksNotes, so it'll be much more fun to read for enjoyment this time around. Pick up your copy today to join in, let me know what you think!


Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (they used to have another place called Loco's that closed down a few months back. But this place is still here and amazing)
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Don't Miss The Homes For Heroes Event to Benefit Hounds 4 Heroes!

So a few weeks ago, I gave you guys a sneak peek of tomorrow's community event and what to expect. If you're in the Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart area, I want to extend the invitation to come on out! We'll have food, fun, games, and a demonstration with the service dogs. And, of course, we're giving away a Four Wheeler. Raffle tickets are at $10 a piece and we've still got a few left. Hope to see you there!





Can't attend but would still like to help out? Donate here



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursdays!

So, in conjunction with my #100HappyDays, I decided to do Thankful Thursdays for the rest of the holiday season (perhaps, I'll push it into next year, not sure yet). Anyway, I figure there's so much to appreciate in my life, too much to put all into one post so why not stretch them out? First things first, I'm thankful for my family. This is my hubby's second duty station (first one with me) and we're BOTH thankful that we get to be so close to our families (his parents stay about 2 1/2 hours away, mine are right up the road from us).

Growing up, I've always been pretty close to my family and I think I appreciate them now even more as me and my siblings continue to grow and get older. Having done this all before (you know, the whole being married to a soldier thing), my mom is the perfect source of advice for and my younger sister and I talk on the phone several times a week, trading stories about our lives. It's a pretty cool relationship. And given that there are so many families that aren't quite as close as we are, I'm thankful for the ability to go to anyone for help, advice, or just a good laugh.



What are YOU thankful for this week? Tell me below!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Buying a Home in Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart: What's The Process?

One of the first questions a new client will ask me when we're just starting out is, "What's the process for buying a home? How do we get started?" I'm always a bit surprised at just how little some people understand about the whole thing; to be fair, that's probably because I'm around it ALL THE TIME. The average person will probably buy a home only a few times in their lives. And that process is a tad different in every state, so it's not that big of a deal if you're a little lost. That's where I come in. Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you the most important steps in purchasing a home. And if you're purchasing here, near Ft. Stewart? You know who to call.


Okay, so Step #1, also known as the most important step ever: GET PRE-QUALIFIED! For every client I have that admits to being completely clueless about the home buying process, I get 10 others who come armed with a list of 10 homes they want to see as well as there "wants" and "don't-wants" already mapped out. But what they always forget about is the pre-qualification stage. Speaking with a lender BEFORE you start your search is super-important because it lets you know exactly where you stand financially, You'll know BEFORE you fall in love with that 200k, 3000 square foot home with the gorgeous granite counter-tops if you can afford it. And if you can't? No harm, now foul and you haven't wasted your time looking at homes that are way out of your price range.

So you're probably thinking, "Well, I can just use one of those online calculators to figure out my mortgage payment." The short response? Yes, you can. But the thing to remember with those pesky calculators, is they sometimes automatically factor in a 3% down-payment. If you're a soldier/ active duty family member and you're reading this, you're most likely taking advantage of the awesome, zero-down VA guaranteed loan. So that 3% won't necessarily apply to you. (Go here for an accurate idea of what a specific monthly payment will look like),

**Helpful Hint: Looking to purchase within the next year? You may also want to check out the Homes for Heroes. It's a national program that offers rebate/ discounts for military buyers. (There are a few other groups too, so it's worth taking a look whether you're military or not). So that's it for now! Can't wait for Part 2 of the Home Buying Process in Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart series? Register here and request a one-on-one appointment!


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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Helpful Hints From an Admittedly NON-Expert Newlywed

Let me clear, I'm NO expert on married life. The hubby and I are coming up on our one year anniversary in a few months, and I still feel like I have a lot to learn in the marriage department. But even so, I've learned a lot about myself and about my husband in the last year. My first year as an army wife has been much harder than I expected but also rewarding, fun, and exciting. I'd like to share a few words of encouragement for others who are either just starting out like myself or getting ready to take the big plunge. And if you're reading this and you've already been married for quite a while, I would love your opinion! Or, you know, you can at least have a good laugh at my expense.



The First Year Is NOT The Worst
Right before and right after we got married in January, EVERYONE had advice they wanted to share with us. The number one piece I heard over and over was that the first year (or two) is always the worst. We've got two months left, but I have to say, I disagree. I think what folks mean by that is it's adjustment period. You go from thinking about yourself and what's best for you to considering how your every action affects the other person. And that's hard for some people (including me, don't get me wrong),  but it's also eye-opening and truly a learning experience. I was watching a talk-show the other day and one of the hostesses mentioned that she feels like her husband makes her a better person because she considers him in her every day life. Not saying now that you're married, your life has to be all about your spouse. But I think it's sweet that caring for your spouse (your wife OR your hubby) and considering their opinions and thoughts can make you feel like your best version of yourself. It's definitely different than what I was used to as a single person but I'm enjoying the change (most days).


There's Still So Much to Learn About Each Other
Before we got married, me and the hubby would talk for hours. About future kids, finances, everything we could thing of that might be hot-button issues in our marriage. And we did pre-marriage counseling as well (which I HIGHLY recommend). But even with all that, I still feel like I learn something new about him just about every day. Whether it's something small like a certain dish that I can't stand or an opinion he has on something on the news that totally surprises me, we're constantly "getting to know each other". I, for one, hope we never stop surprising each other.


Some Days You WILL NOT Like Him/ Her.
And that's okay! Obviously, I'm in love with my hubby, but some days (especially after a big fight) I'm not what you'd call his biggest fan. And I'm sure some days he feels similarly towards me. But the thing to remember is these feelings are temporary. We've both said some pretty hurtful/ unfriendly things during a fight or just accidentally in passing, but even when I can't stand him, I get that eventually someone will apologize, we'll talk it out, and that'll be the end of it. And sometimes we just need a break from each other. I think going from living alone to all of a sudden this other person is there all the time is a big change. Sometimes it's cool to hole up in your own space and get your head together.


Compromise, Compromise, Compromise!
This one's almost expected, it's in all the books, magazine articles, and blog posts about maintaining a happy, healthy relationship. But I think it bears repeating especially when you're talking about being married to a soldier. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on following my hubby from duty station to duty station. In a perfect world, would I rather just stay here? Of course! But that's part of what I signed up for as an army wife so I kind of have to go with it. As a "dependent" we'll always have to compromise parts of our lives because of what our soldiers have to do for their job. It sucks sometimes, but those are the cards we've been dealt so we have to learn to figure it out. This leads to my last tidbit,


Have Something For Yourself
Yes compromise is important. But I think it's equally important to have something for yourself. Something that you do solely because that's what YOU want to do. I meet with a book club every few weeks (more info on that later), and I have this blog, because it makes ME happy. For me, having parts of my life that are independent of my hubby make those aforementioned compromises so much easier.


What have you learned being married or engaged to your soldier? I'd love to hear!


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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Low Down on Miss Swifty's Latest, 1989

Okay, so I've been a fan of Taylor Swift from the very beginning. My first year of college, my then roommate set me down one afternoon, asked, "Okay, have you ever heard this song?", played, Our Song, and I was pretty much hooked. So when 1989 first became available for pre-order on ITunes, I didn't even need to hear a single track. It was clear I would be ordering.

I've basically listened to the album non-stop since it dropped last week, and the first thing I want to say is how much I like the apparent change and growth. You compare songs and the vibe of 2006's Taylor Swift to this year's 1989 and it's easy to see how much she's evolved as an artist. With lyrics like "...his hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room." and "tangled up with you all night", 1989 showcases a much more adult Swift. I suppose the parents of Taylor's tween fans may not appreciate this (to which I say, probably monitor what your kid is listening to, but that's a whole other blog post) BUT for grown women like me who are constantly ridiculed by our friends for listening to "teenybopper music" this a nice change from Red (which I also pre-ordered, don't judge me!).

The best songs on the entire album? Easy:

Shake It Off
The first single to drop a few months ago, and it's no wonder. This song is bubbly, upbeat, and pretty much classic Taylor. I've normally got this blasting either on the way to work or while I'm getting dressed for work (or both). You literally cannot listen to it and be in a bad mood at the same time. Need extra laughs? For God's sake check out the video. Her awkward dancing makes me feel soo much better about my own random dance moves when I'm out with friends!

Wildest Dreams
By far my favorite track EVER, Wildest Dreams brings to mind the excitement and complete freedom of new love (or a new relationship, if you're not quite there yet). Everyone remembers the feeling of being with someone new before you've had your first fight, maybe before you've realized your parents hate him or her. It's just you and the other person and that's all that matters. (this song is basically the soundtrack to every relationship I had in high school).

I Know Places
If Wildest Dreams is about new, untainted love, I Know Places speaks to that inevitable point in any relationship where EVERYONE seems to know more about you guys then you do. Everyone's got an opinion, everyone's got advice. This one's all about protecting you relationship (or your life, period) from those that don't necessarily wish you well.

How You Get The Girl
More classic Taylor on this track. The kind of addictive earworm song you'll be humming for days after hearing, How You Get The Girl is kind of like a hopeful and vibrant version of a break-up track.


I want your opinions! What did you think of Taylor Swift's latest album? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!

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His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Obsessions!

November excitement! Go!





My Birthday, Of Course !
The year I was born, my birthday fell on Thanksgiving (the story goes that my mom's younger brother arrived just after and had the nerve to ask my mom if she was still cooking Thanksgiving dinner). This year, it falls on a Monday, so we'll probably be celebrating the weekend before. Most likely by having friends over and going to see the new Hunger Games movie!! (please excuse my extra exclamation marks, I've read the books a few times each and am waay too excited about this franchise).



Homes For Heroes Kickoff to Benefit Hounds 4 Heroes
A few weeks ago, I posted about a new awesome program we're partnering with, Hounds 4 Heroes. On the 15th of this month, we're holding a benefit for the group and we're all pretty excited about it. If you're in the area and you haven't yet RSVP'd, do so now, you don't want to miss out! And if you can't make it but would like to purchase a raffle ticket, you can call our office at 912-877-7100 and they'll square you away. We're giving away a freaking 4 wheeler!

Homes for heroes giveaway


Thanksgiving Dinner
So Thanksgiving and my birthday pretty much mark the beginning of my absolute favorite time of the year. (Yes, I'm a total cliché; I love any and everything about the holidays). This year, we're heading to North Carolina to visit my uncle, his wife, and their kids. It'll basically be a full house with ALL of my mom's mom's (aka my Nana) kids AND grandchildren in attendance. In true foodie form, I'm also overly excited about the food. My uncle's wife's sister does a Sweet Potato Soufflé that will knock your socks off.

Richmond Hill Farmers Market Extended This Year!
Hinesville's Farmer's Market ended last month, but the one in Richmond Hill is still going strong (at least, until the end of this month). Every Tuesday from 3-7 in JF Gregory Park. I've never been, but now that the one at home is on hiatus, I may check it out. See you there!

extended hours 2014

#100HappyDays
So I've seen this hashtag on various social media platforms and have wanted to look into for a while now. So last week, I finally took the time to Google it. Apparently, creator, Dmitry Golubnichy, started the project after going through what he called a "slump of sadness". His friends and family told him he had much to be happy about in his life and he decided to document these moments of happiness on social media. It caught on (like wildfire) from there. I just love the idea. I love my high-energy job but it can also be high-stress and I figured something like this is just what I need to help focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Want to join me? You can join the project here. And find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your own #Happydays!


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Monday, November 3, 2014

You MUST Try Bubba's Bistro!

So this afternoon, I was in Richmond Hill getting video for out-of-town clients, and so I decided to stop in Bubba's Bistro, a super laid-back lunch spot in Richmond Hill right off of 17. If you follow my blog (if you don't you SHOULD!) you know a few weeks ago, I posted about welcome packets for anyone PCSing to Fort Stewart. I found a pamphlet for Bubba's Bistro in the Richmond Hill welcome packet and so we decided to try it. Let me tell you, me and my mom were NOT disappointed.


Walking up to the restaurant, my first impression was that this place was kind of low-key, unassuming. Tucked in a quiet shopping center next to a yoga studio. Out door seating, floor-to-ceiling windows. The food. Was. Amazing. Okay, so arguably, I've said this about every other restaurant I've reviewed so far. (either I have really good taste picking restaurants, or an especially easy-to-please palate). But I'm not kidding. It was soo good. I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT with a side of fries. The fried green tomatoes were fried to perfection and cut with just the right amount of thickness (not too thin, but not so thick they overrode the entire sandwich). I added bacon and Smoked Gouda; the only think I would do differently next time is leave off the bacon. The sandwich already comes with a bacon aioli; I added bacon strips because, well, what's a BLT without the bacon? But I ended up pulling some of the slices off; it was just too bacony. Is that a word? Anyway, this may not be a problem for the bacon obsessed, but for me, it was a bit much.


My mom ordered the fried shrimp and grits. I cannot personally comment on this dish because I was too busy stuffing my face with my own food to try hers, but she says it was pretty good. The ONLY negative about our visit: they seemed a little under-staffed. Don't get me wrong, our waitress was wonderful, but she was basically taking care of most of the tables in the place and she seemed a little rushed. I would maybe have an extra server to assist during lunch hours.


We'll definitely be back. We're doing more and more business in Richmond Hill and Savannah, so I'll have an excuse to stop in once in a while. Have you checked out Bubba's? Tell me about it!


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

PCSing to Ft. Stewart? Consider Hinesville Living!

The number one question I get when speaking with soldiers and their families PCSing to Fort Stewart: where to live, Hinesville or Richmond Hill? Some of our clients end up going with Richmond Hill. They prefer the schools or the proximity to Savannah. But Hinesville and it's surrounding towns (Ludowici, Midway, Allenhurst, etc) are pretty great places to live too. Hinesville is actually one of the fastest growing cities in Georgia by size AND population (I like to think our new construction helps contribute to those numbers). If you're reading this and you've already made your decision as to where to live, there's probably not a whole lot I can say to change your mind. But if you're still considering all of your options? I'd like to tell you what I love about the area.


First off; contrary to popular belief, there ARE tons of things to do here in Hinesville (and I'm not just talking about on Ft. Stewart). You've got the Midway Museum open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10-4pm. Home to tons of original furniture, paintings, and other historical artifacts, this place is a super fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Or you can check out the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center. Some of their exhibits feature artifacts from this area and from Africa dating all the way back to the 1700s. And they have tons of events throughout the year (at the end of this month, for example, they're having their annual Sugarcane Harvest and Art Show.) Not to mention, there are a variety of community wide events throughout the year like the Scarecrow Stroll, the Small World Festival, Blues and BBQ in Bradwell Park, etc. (these are ALL annual events, by the way).

And for when you want to just get away for a few days? We're centrally located. Two hours or less from Jacksonville and St. Augustine. An hour and a half from beaches on all sides (Hilton Head is my personal favorite but Jekyll Island is a close second). And of course, some of the best shopping around in Savannah and Pooler just forty minutes away.

The other thing to consider is the commute. Sure, on a normal day, Savannah to Ft. Stewart is around 50 minutes while Richmond Hill will run you around 30-35. But on a weekday during rush hour traffic? Your looking at an hour MINIMUM. Trust me, I've been in Savannah for work and gotten caught up, and it sucks EVERY TIME. Don't get me wrong, I've shown out there and they're both lovely places to live. But the commute is something serious. And definitely something to consider. We live about 15 minutes outside of Hinesville and my hubby loves the fact that he can swing home after PT and for lunch.

Okay last thing to consider (ESPECIALLY if you're thinking about buying a home near Ft. Stewart) the cost of living! Consider: a 125k home in Richmond Hill will run you about $1700 a year in homeowner taxes or an extra $141 a month. A similarly priced home in Ludowici? Only $116 a month. And the homes themselves tend to run a little lower as well. Land out here (especially in Ludowici and Midway) tends to be cheaper so the builders are able to pass those savings on to potential buyers. Right now, you can buy 3000 sq.ft. for right around 200k (base price); I dare you to find that in Richmond Hill or Savannah (just saying). Looking for the ultimate cheat sheet? Check out my post here where I discuss everything else you could ever think of to ask about the Fort Stewart and Hinesville areas!

So there you have it, just a few things I like about our small area. What do you think about Hinesville? I would love your opinion, let me know below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are Our Kids TOO Obsessed With Technology?

I suppose since I don't actually have kids of my own, the title of this post should read "Are YOUR kids too obsessed..." But that sounded kind of judgy; the "our" is much less so, don't you think? The other day, while procrastinating on Facebook (I typically do this early in the mornings during the snooze period on my alarm) I came across an article about Steve Jobs and how he didn't let his kids have iPads. Said that since he was around technology every day, he understood the potential damage it people and therefore tried to limit its use in his home. Interesting, no?


I asked my husband about it and he agreed. He's always talking about how he's going to force our kids (once we have them) to go outside and play and try to discourage them from sitting in front of the television all day. At first, I disagreed. When I was younger, we weren't "forced" to get out of the house and get fresh air. We went out to play because we wanted to, but there WERE days (especially dealing with that Georgia heat when we were stationed here in the late 90s) of which we spent the entirety sitting in the house and (you guessed it) watching t.v. And we turned out fine! I'm a successful real estate agent, my sister is currently in graduate school pursuing a Master's degree in Fine Arts, and my younger brother is finishing up his first semester of college.

But then I got to thinking. First of all, my kids will have access to much more sophisticated technology than we did we were younger. Today, kids have iPads and Kindles, as well as the various social networks, some of which I'd never even heard of before doing a bit of research. When I was a kid, I had the VCR and those little Gigapets that you had to feed and clean, etc. (I included the link in case anyone under the age of about 21 is reading this).

Fast forward to now, and I've got more technology than I know what to do with. A desktop computer, a laptop computer, the iPad, my phone and iPod (which I refuse to get rid of); the list goes on and on. And I've noticed lately that I've developed the shortest attention span ever. Even as I'm typing this blog post, I've sent out several text messages, paused to read yet another article on Facebook, and looked at a video my sister sent me earlier today. And trying to watch a t.v. show? Oh, forget it. I find it increasingly difficult to sit still for 60 minutes and JUST watch television. I'm either on Facebook, working on this blog, Pinning stuff for the house, etc. I literally have a hard time sitting through movies. MOVIES! How sad is that?

And do I want my kids to be like that? To lack the ability to fully enjoy something (whether it's a movie or just dinner with friends) without the aide of technology? Can't say that I do. But what's the answer? I wouldn't want to deprive my kids (or myself for that matter) either. There are some wonderful things about technology. Information is so much more accessible now (I remember painstakingly researching duck-billed platypuses on one of those Encarta computer programs, today, you could google the term and immediately come up with a plethora of relevant articles and images) and many schools are now employing iPads to assist with education. So it's not all bad. But where do we draw the line?

Hinesville Lifestyle
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I LOVE feedback! How does technology affect you and your family?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Florence Review

So, a few weekends ago, the hubby and I dined here with my parents and some friends from work to celebrate my parents' 28th wedding anniversary. Located on Victory, this place is fairly new (they opened up earlier this Summer) and named after the city in Italy AND Florence Martus, also known as the Waving Girl (look her up, she was kind of awesome).



The Florence features an attached coffee shop, but as we were there strictly for dinner, I'll talk about that. First off, the reservation process was relatively easy and very professional. I was a little disappointed at first that they aren't on Open Table (my FAVORITE reservations app, no muss no fuss) but you can send an email with all the pertinent information to request your table. We ended up with 5:30, which I was happy for as it was pretty last minute. And they called the day of our reservation to confirm which was a nice touch.

So the food! Amazing. For appetizers, we ordered the Bruschetta Grande to split. Four different pieces, one of which features smoke trout and caviar. For those that have never had caviar before, I can tell you it's not half bad. More texture than flavor but it paired nicely with the trout. For dinner, I had the Woodfire Sirloin while the hubby ordered the Cider Glazed Pork Ribs. The ribs were sweet while the sirloin was cooked to perfection (I requested medium, NO steak sauce required!) My dad ordered the Fishermen's Stew which actually features octopus tentacle for the adventurous diner.

Dessert was good though not extremely sweet (a plus for most people, but I AM  sweet-aholic afterall). I had an apple pastry while the hubby ordered the olive oil pound cake.

The Florence was actually adapted from an old ice factory. They preserved much of the original architecture which results in a industrial chic vibe (you know, exposed wood beam ceilings, track lighting throughout, the whole nine).

All in all, our experience with The Florence was delightful. The food was good. Easy access location (helpful hint: Turn on Barnard just before you get to the restaurant for quick access to the free parking garage behind the building) and amazing service from the reservations staff and our waitress, Kailey. We'll be back for sure!






Sunday, October 26, 2014

Homemade Apple Cake!

Okay, so a few posts before, I told you guys about the enormous box of gala apples we got from Bountiful Baskets. Believe it or not, they're still taking up space in my fridge (they actually keep pretty well as long as they stay cold!), so a few days ago, I decided to do something about that. I found this recipe on Pinterest, made a few adjustments and voilá! Homemade fresh apple cake!

 

We weren't really doing anything that night, so the hubby participated. Chopped apples, pulled all my ingredients, etc. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy baking/ cooking with him; we'll have to do it more often.

Helpful hint: It took about 4 apples to get 3 cups. The hubby chopped small-medium pieces




So we followed the recipe pretty closely minus a few changes. No pecans; I have this really weird thing about mixing textures, I don't usually like crunch and soft in the same dessert dish (I'm a strange cookie, I know it). Also, we only let the cake cool for about 20-30 minutes versus the two hours that the recipe requires. Mostly because we had run out of patience! This resulted in the icing kind of soaking into the top layer of the cake which was AMAZING. So, if you want your icing to actually sit on top of the cake, I'd say let it cool fully. But it's preference NOT necessity.


One change we did consider making was using just plain old milk instead of evaporated milk. I found some interesting articles online about how to evaporate your own milk, but in the end, the hubby watched the cake while I ran to IGA and grabbed a few cans of Carnation. (If you have experience evaporating your own milk, PLEASE share below in the comments, I'm interested to hear about it!)





The recipe also calls for a 9'13 inch pan. I don't know about you, but I NEVER follow this part of a recipe. I typically just grab whatever I've got in the pantry and go with that. The mixture was so thick, we ended up with two separate cakes, the second of which I took to work the next day. It was a hit and devoured within about an hour!


What's your favorite Fall dessert recipe? Tell me below!


Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to live
What to do (super cool give-away! Be there or be square!)
Where to eat (Southern food at its absolute BEST)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Does Anyone Else Revert to Weird Single-Person Behavior When Their Spouse Has 24hr Duty?

No? Just me? Oh all right then! So last week, the hubby had 24hr duty. You know the drill, they're gone all day and night, and then have the next day off which they usually spend asleep (or at least mine does. The first time I tried to get him to actually do something on his day off, he looked at me like I was requesting that he try and grow an extra head).

So anyway, I noticed last week that without fail, when the hubby is away, I somehow forget to... wife.  I spent the entire day in my PJs. I mean, I worked and made phone calls, don't get me wrong (the good thing about my job is it can be done from home). Then I spent the entire evening on the phone with the bestie watching crappy television and eating even crappier food. Just like back in college. Seriously, I was supposed to grab bell peppers and milk from the store for homemade pizza for dinner and cereal the next morning. Didn't happen. (My dinner consisted of water and leftover carrot cake from the Cheesecake Factory the weekend before). For some reason, I had NO energy,


I guess it happens to the best of us. Some days, you just don't feel like getting anything done. I feel like that's okay as long as those days are few and far between. The next day was business as usual: a meeting at work, running errands (STILL had to grab the milk and freakin bell peppers), etc. But I did notice that I felt refreshed and well-rested after my day of  laziness. I can only attribute that to the fact that, besides work, my entire day revolved around ME and what I wanted to do. One the biggest adjustments I've made (and to be fair, the hubby has made as well) since getting married earlier this year is acknowledging how the bulk of our decisions affects the other party. That day, there was no one to be affected accept the animals and THEY certainly weren't complaining. I think that, sometimes, it's just nice to have a ME day. I definitely wouldn't say I'm looking forward to the next 24hr duty, but I at least know what I'll be eating and watching. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter cereal and an Orange and Is The New Black marathon.

What are your favorite ways to wind down while your spouse is away? Tell me below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
What to eat (authentic German cuisine, you can't beat that!)
Where to live
What to do

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Key to Throwing an Unforgettable Bachelor/ Bachelorette Bash

Now, admittedly, this post doesn't really have anything to do with Fort Stewart or Hinesville specifically, nor is it an army spouse topic. HOWEVER, I remember searching online for hours trying to find ideas for a joint party and the pickings were slim. So I thought putting my own experience out there might help a few souls trying to plan the same thing this very minute. You're welcome.


Okay so, first, the case for having a joint bachelor/bachelorette party in the first place. When I got married earlier this year, we tried to talk to my husband into doing a joint deal, but he was dead set against it. Said he didn't want to spend the entire evening with "a bunch of women". Okay fair enough. But we ended up spending money on TWO separate parties, which to me, was less than smart. I was in charge of throwing my sister's party this past summer, and I must say, the best thing about doing a joint venture is the cost. One venue, one event to cater, buy alcohol, and decorations for; you get the idea. A joint party (or Jack-and-Jill, as I've heard it referred to as) is definitely the economical option if you're looking to save a few coins. We also decided against the rehearsal dinner (too many scheduling conflicts) so this was another way to feed everyone the night before the wedding. 


Theme bachelor and bachelorette party
So once we got my sister's fiancé on board with the idea, I had to figure out a theme. As stated before, online searches offered little to no assistance (though I did find out that you can order a Fantasy Show for around 300 bucks an hour). I tried googling them separately but kept running into the same issue: bachelor party ideas were catered specifically to the men and ran the risk of alienating the female guests and vice versa. 


It was the hubby who finally came up with the idea to throw a Mardi Gras themed party. Now, finding Mardi Gras decorations at the beginning of August was not as hard as you'd think. Party City had some beautiful masks that we picked out for the bride and groom. And everything else, we ordered online. I basically googled Mardi Gras decorations and went with what came up. We kept it a secret from the bride and groom but texted the wedding party in the days leading up to the event and told them to dress appropriately (masks, beads, that sort of thing). 

Venue for joint bachelor and bachelorette party
As for the activities, I chose a few bachelorette games and switched them up a bit to include the groom. For example, we asked trivia questions throughout the night, some of them were about the bride, some were about the groom. And speaking of the bride and groom, every time anyone said either of those words, we made ours embarrass themselves (the bride was required to sing a show tune and the groom was required to dance). I also tied balloons to random chairs throughout the room; the guests were unaware until I made the announcement, but anyone sitting on a balloon chair was required to do a shot.

We also bought these awesome, huge, weighted poster boards (kind of like the kind you use for school projects, a little thicker) and circulated them throughout the night asking the guests to write their best pieces of advice. My favorite piece came from my little cousin who simply wrote, "You break her heart, I break you". 
Activities and games for joint bachelor and bachelorette party



drinking games for jack and jill parties
The venue is all up to you. Everyone was staying at the La Quinta Inn so we rented their event room (we also rented it for a few hours the next morning so everyone could have breakfast together). We didn't get a discount on the event room for booking so many guest rooms, but it never hurts to ask! 

Mardi gras decorations for joint bachelor and bachelorette party
I would say the party was a smashing success (no Fantasy Show required!). It may take a little extra digging and creativity, but the key is to come up with an amazing theme and work around that. The theme opens your options up a bit more because you no longer have to do the traditional decorations or activities. You can be a little different and still give your bride and groom the night of their lives. Speaking of which; finally, I leave you with my last idea: a drink that the hubby came up with at the party that caught on like wildfire:

The Chata-Chata-Bang-Bang
1 part RumChata
2 equal parts Malibu Rum and Orange-Pineapple Juice (you can substitute the rum for a coconut or pineapple vodka if you'd like more of a kick)
Splash of Sprite (or any other lemon-lime soda you have handy)

It'll be a but if a funny color, but I promise, it's absolutely amazing.

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