Monday, June 1, 2015

June Obsessions!!

So I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while, but I'm BACK in full force, and back with my obsessions for this month! Let's dive right in, shall we?



SpouseLink
I'm always looking for interesting articles to share on the Facebook page. A few months ago, I stumbled across this interactive website. Created by the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, SpouseLink is a completely free site that posts free content (pop culture, interesting articles and blog posts, etc.) daily for milspouses (and sometimes authored by), If you haven't checked it out, do it now! Well, finish reading this post, and then go check it out.

BEACH SEASON!!!
You may think putting that in all caps and adding three exclamation marks is overkill, but if you knew me in real life, you'd know it's just right. I live for the beach. Love the sand, love the crashing of the waves, looove the excuse to run around in a bikini. The beach is big reason why Summer is my favorite time of the year. Check me out on Instagram (if you're not already) to follow my adventures this Summer; I'm planning on hitting every beach within a 100 mile radius this year!

The Summer of Curves
Speaking of beach season and bikinis, can I just quickly mention how awesome it is that highwaisted bikinis are now back in style?! With more bra-sized tops and fuller bottoms available to accommodate a little extra jiggle, I feel like, this Summer, designers and stores are finally getting it. We're not all a size four! And just because we're not, DOES NOT mean we should be condemned to the dreaded one-piece (I'm speaking for myself with the one-piece, waay to much fabric for yours truly!). Looking for inspiration? I snagged mine a few weekends ago at Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, and ASOS have fabulous options as well.

John Mellencamp in Savannah This Month!
Technically, this isn't an obsession because I'm not the world's biggest American Rock fan (though I do appreciate a good Journey album, if that counts). But I feel compelled to let you know, in case you're interested, that he'll be in Savannah this month on the 19th at the Johnny Mercer Theater. The performance is part of his Plain Spoken tour, which began in January; purchase tickets HERE.

Hinesville's Mini Art Day Camp
All the details in the pic below; need I say more?
So there you have it, everything I'm excited for this month. What are freaking out about??

Hinesville Lifestyle
What to do (who doesn't like blues and BBQ??)

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Friday, May 29, 2015

What Exactly Is Homes For Heroes?

If you've been following the blog, you might have seen me mention the Homes For Heroes Program a few times. This year, my team leader (and Mom), Lisa Scales was recognized as the #1 Homes for Heroes Affiliate for 2014. Basically, that means she gave away a butt-load of money to our Military, Clergy, First Responder, Medical, and Teacher clients!

So what is Homes For Heroes? We did a super fun interview a few weeks ago to explain just that, which I've embedded below.


Interested in taking advantage of this awesome program? Contact me below! Or register with us on www.LisaScalesTeam.com.

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do
Where to live

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LiveLoveArmy24

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not Another "How To Stay Busy" Blog Post!


Okay. So this was supposed to be another one of those "ten ways to stay occupied while your Soldier is away" posts. Mine was recently in the field for about three weeks and he'll have to be gone for another few weeks towards the end of this year. There were several things I did specifically to keep myself from going crazy with boredom and I was going to recount them for you here. I seriously got about three paragraphs in and then I just stopped. Why? I guess I decided the Internet does not need another "ways to keep busy" post.

Not that I'm hating on those types of blog posts and articles. I've read a few and probably posted a few on the Live Love Military Life Facebook page. But something about actually sitting down to write this one gave me pause. It just seems like, sometimes, those posts make it seem like, we, as military wives have nothing else going on in our lives except our husbands. Many of us have full-time jobs (inside and outside of the home) are raising kids, have social lives, hobbies and all the other things that constitute an actual life. Though well-intentioned, posts like that always seem to assume that when hubby's away, we're completely lost and need activities to keep us from going crazy or getting into trouble. What my grade school teachers used to call "busy work".

If you're a wife (or husband!) that finds these articles helpful, please don't take this the wrong way. I am by no means trying to insult you or make you feel silly for enjoying reading them. And I know some of the ideas can be helpful or inspiring when you're six months into a year and 1/2 long deployment and feeling a little nuts. Perhaps it's just me and the fact that my post was going to be based largely on my experience with the hubby being away for only up to about 3 or 4 weeks at a time (we haven't yet jumped the deployment hurdle). It almost came off condescending, like I was writing for a small child. The whole, "how to cope while Mommy and Daddy are gone" thing. So I'd love to hear from my readers? Do you find the "ways to keep busy" posts helpful? Irritating? Sound off below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (I tried Caviar for the first time here!)
What to do
Where to live
Where to eat

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Fort Stewart Cheat Sheet!

tips for those moving to fort stewart

So a few weeks ago, I posted about the six things you need to do/ locate at all new duty stations. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to point out those things for anyone new or PCSing to Fort Stewart. (If you're reading this and you're already here, I encourage you to add your own tips!) So here goes:

Available Housing
That's an easy one. You can check out our website for a comprehensive and ever-current list of homes available both for sale and for rent (higher BAH rates mean most folks opt for off-post living). If you're planning on sticking around a while and have time to build, consider new construction. You can pick out your plan and neighborhood and you won't start your monthly payments until the home is actually complete and you've closed.

Shopping
As far as grocery shopping, Hinesville features the usual suspects; Walmart, Kroger, and a relatively new Food Lion off of E.G. Miles Pkwy. We also have a small (but awesome!) health food store, Farmers Natural Foods. And, there's a Parks Korean Grocery which is located right outside of Gate 1 next to Pizza Hut.

Looking to improve your Summer wardrobe? (Or Winter or Spring or whenever you're reading this). We do have a well-stocked Cato in the Walmart plaza. Other than that, you'll want to check out the two malls in Savannah, Oglethorpe and the Savannah Mall (both off the main drag, Abercorn). You'll also find a Marshall's, Kohls, and TJ Maxx. When you're ready, venture down town for even more shopping, including a Free People, Urban Outfitters, Kate Spade, and Marc Jacobs. And of course, can't forget our newest addition, the Tanger Outlet Mall located about 40 minutes out, right off of I-16. (I'm kind of a shopping addict. Can you tell?)

Trustworthy Service Providers
An awesome reason to check out the area Facebook groups. You can easily get opinions on any car repair shop, handyman, photographer, etc. Also check out our Chamber of Commerce. And feel free to request a Welcome Packet on our website. We always include information about local businesses; restaurants, service providers, etc.

Hospital, Police Station, and other Important Locations
If you're Military, you'll know the easiest access hospital would be Winn Army Community Hospital, located on Fort Stewart just a few blocks from the main gate. There's also the Liberty Regional Medical Center which they tell me has plans to expand throughout Hinesville. Check out our city website for information on our police and fire stations (you'll need to know the location of the latter if you're purchasing a home and applying for Homeowner's Insurance).

School Research
Greatschools.org is a super helpful website to check out the ratings for the schools in Hinesville as well as surrounding areas you may be considering for your family like Ludowici, Midway, and Richmond Hill. And some of the wives groups on Facebook are perfect forums to get others' experiences and opinions.

Fun Stuff to Do!
Okay, so I feel like Hinesville gets a bad rap as far as the whole "nothing to do" thing. In my opinion, there are always events, festivals, etc.; you just have to know where to look. Check out the Hinesville Public Relations Facebook page for up-to-date info on area invents. And watch this blog too, I always try to post about upcoming events. If you're into the whole nature thing, we've got the beautiful Holbrook Pond right off of Hwy 144, perfect for picnicking, taking the dogs for a walk, or just a few hours in the sun. There's also the recently opened Bryant Commons which features tons of walking trails, a gazebo for shade, and a dog park which they'll be expanding in the next few months. We also have the Farmer's Market which convenes every Thursday from 4-7pm in Bradwell Park (across the street from the Police Department) during the Spring and Summer months.

If you don't mind a bit of a drive, there are beaches (Tybee, Hilton Head, and Jekyll Island to name a few), countless festivals, tours, and events most weekends in Savannah. My favorite thing about being stationed here is how centrally located Hinesville is. We're relatively close to Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charleston, etc.

So there you are. Everything you ever wanted to know about Fort Stewart. More questions? Feel free to ask below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth!)
What to do
Where to live
Where to shop

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

So, What's The Deal With Personal Trainers?

choose the right trainer for your needs

Brace yourselves, folks. Bikini season is coming. In my quest to get rid of the lb's I gained from my indulgence over the holidays (and, let's face it, probably a few 'happy wife' pounds in there as well!) I've been considering working with a personal trainer. The hook? Personal trainers are, well, personal. They work specifically with you at your fitness level and can design programs around where you are currently and where you want to be. Some even help with nutrition and meal planning. And all will give you that extra kick in the butt a few times a week, hold you accountable, and make you stick with the plan even when you're ready to give in and swing by McDonalds. I figure I could use a little "tough love" now a days. But how to even go about finding the right trainer?



That's where Will, Savannah and Richmond Hill based trainer at 24 Seven Fitness comes in. I met with him a few days ago to get the skinny (no pun intended!) on what to look for in the perfect personal trainer (yep, that's a tongue twister).


The most important thing? Certification! Will, who has been working in gyms since the age of 18 and has been certified for last 17 years tells me asking about your trainer's certifications are the best way to know if they actually know enough to help you. And how your trainer has achieved that certification may matter as well. While you can get most of the necessary credentials online; there is sometimes a difference between the online versions and multi-day seminars where you meet with other professionals and actually put what you're learning into practice. Some good ones to look out for? Any ACE (American Council on Exercise) or AFPA (American Fitness Professionals & Associates) certs are good. Will recommends a good CrossFit certification as well.


You'll also want to meet with your trainer for a trial interview before agreeing to work with him or her full time. You want to make sure your personalities will mesh well and your trainer will also want to get a feel for what you're hoping to get out of a specific session. It's also good to establish schedules, payment plans, etc. Will, for example, is a take-no-prisoners, hardcore trainer. He DOESN'T sugarcoat anything and will call out any client whom he feels is not pushing towards his or her true potential. He acknowledges, though, that some clients will require a softer touch, which is why he has several other trainers that work on his team each to meet a different set of needs and work with specific personalities. (I note that I, for one, have what the old folks call a 'thin skin' and would most certainly need someone to sugarcoat!)

So, I know what you're thinking. Just a few months ago, I was all excited about home training systems and free online workouts. And I still am. I love the flexibility of getting up in the mornings, throwing on a sports bra and going to town. Will isn't necessarily against using training videos at home as "homework". But let's be real, there isn't a whole lot of accountability when you're training by yourself. The beauty of working with a personal trainer is having someone to answer to at least a few times a week. Knowing I'll have to explain why I skipped yesterday's workout for an extra hour of sleep would certainly get me out of bed in the mornings! If you're reading this and you've been mulling over the idea of working with a trainer, I say take the plunge! And if you're already working with one or have worked with one in the past, tell me about it below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
Where to live
What to do (perfect way to get in some exercise and learn about the city's history all at once!)

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Monday, March 23, 2015

6 Things to Do at EACH New Duty Station

Yes, I am a newbie Army wife myself. This is my first duty station with the hubby. But definitely not my first duty station period. Remember, I'm a third generation Army brat and we PCS'd A LOT when I was younger. So it was lucky that I picked up some tips for adjusting to your new duty station to employ when we move and also to share with you!


Research Available Housing
Back when my mom and dad were doing the PCSing, we didn't really have social media the way we do now. Having it now makes it that much easier to check out available housing both on and off post. Join the Facebook groups for your new duty station and ask questions; the ones in our group will sometimes even take video of their homes and neighborhoods so that you have a feel for what you're getting into. If you're considering off-post; of course there are tons of helpful sites that will give you information on homes available for rent and for sale. Deciding between neighborhoods?NextGenMilspouse shared an extremely helpful article just this month on picking the right neighborhood for you and your family.

Locate the Shopping!
No, I don't just mean the mall and the nearest Kohls (though those are important too). In case you're not completely sold on the commissary and the PX, you'll want to know where the nearest grocery stores are. The hubby and I, for example, will shop the commissary for meat and during case lot sales. But we prefer Publix and Whole Foods which are about 30 minutes and an hour away respectively. And in case you're PCSing to Ft Stewart and wondering, all the good shopping is about an hour away in Savannah.

Note the Locations of Fire Department, Police Station, Hospital, Etc.
If you're living on post, this information may be taken care of. Your hubby's Sponsor will likely take you guys around to all the pertinent spots and suggest directions. If you'll be living off post, you may want to look up that information yourself just in case. There's nothing more crazy-making than having a family emergency and having to stop to Google the address of the nearest hospital.

Check Out Good Dentists, Car Repairmen, Etc.
This is also where those Facebook groups come in. They are a goldmine for reviews on all kinds of services and companies, so just ask the question! This is also where you should try to request a welcome packet online (contact that City's Chamber of Commerce; they may be able to help you out). On our team, we like to send out welcome packets to prospective clients with all sorts of information about the area.

Research The Schools
No kids? You can go ahead and skip this one. But if you've got them, you've probably already noted this step in your head. Definitely check out the nearest schools; meet with teachers, the Principal and Guidance Counselor, whatever makes you comfortable. I know the Principal at Long County High School came to speak to us one Summer and they actually do tours of the facilities to let parents see exactly what the schools are like.

Figure Out Some Fun Stuff to Do
Of course, for the first few days, you'll be so insanely busy with moving, grocery shopping, etc., that you won't have a lot of time leftover for fun. But inevitably, there will come a time when you're bored to tears and have no idea where to go or what to do. If you're PCSing to Fort Stewart, lucky you, this is where my blog comes in. Otherwise, I would suggest the old Google, the city's name + fun things to do and see what pops up. You may also check the county calendar for upcoming events.

By the way, I've created a post where I address all these points for Fort Stewart, so if you're PCSing here anytime soon, check it out!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do
Where to live

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Friday, March 20, 2015

New Bakery Alert!

I'm huge sweet-aholic so I was super excited to learn there's a new bakery, Angie's Cakes & Sweet Treats, here in Hinesville! My mom and I stopped by yesterday afternoon while running around grabbing video for clients and I'm so glad we did. The owner, Angie, is a Veteran but also a certified pastry chef. So, when you grab a chocolate truffle or one of her sweet, chewy lemon bars, you know your getting a real treat. (I don't know about you, but I hate to waste calories on a dry donut from Walmart or wherever).
Creamy, sugary goodness!
We had one of the lemon bars and a fresh strawberry cupcake. I can't comment on the lemon bars (my mom scarfed it down without even offering me a bite!) but I can tell you the cupcake was life-changing. It was moist and topped with this amazingly thick frosting. And it had that fresh and sweet flavor that can ONLY be achieved through the use of real strawberries. So, suffice it to say, this place is super cute, I'll definitely be back, and YOU should check it out.
 
Yes, I like to take pics with cupcakes. I'm weird like that(:



Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (I mean, need I say more? This place! Especially if you're like me and love a good cupcake)
What to do (the Farmers Market is back!)
Where to live


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NOT Your Mother's Meat Loaf

**This post contains affiliate links**

I haven't done a favorite recipe post in a while so I decided to do one for you all today. I've actually fixed this meatloaf a few times over the last Summer for my sister and brother-in-law and a couple times this year for the hubby. Everyone says they love it (I'm assuming they're not just lying to me to make me feel good) so I thought I'd share it with you.


So, the first time I came across this recipe, I was kind of reluctant to try it. I've had meatloaf once or twice that was actually pretty good (once, when my cousin made it when she visited us in Arizona) but too many times to count where it was... awful. But we were kind of in a food rut (you know, pasta or veggie burgers every other night) and something had to give so I gave it a shot. I made a few key changes because, as previously mentioned, the hubby and I like a little more flavor than most.

Number one, I used flavored saltines instead of plain ones. I found these Rosemary & Olive Oil ones in Walmart for around three bucks.


Tossed them into my food processor with everything and went to town. Number two, I put the ketchup and brown sugar on TOP of the loaf instead of in the bottom. Read that advice in the comments and I had to agree. I just couldn't see being able to get all of that flavor by sticking everything in the bottom. Also note: in case you're a super novice cook like me and wondering if you HAVE to use the specified Dutch oven or 7x9 dish or whatever. NOPE. I used my old faithful Rachel Ray casserole dish and everything turned out just fine. Better than fine, actually. It was perfectly moist and perfectly seasoned. I think the last time I cooked this dish, we added baked sweet potato, and steamed mixed veggies.
By the way, I totally switched up the order. You're supposed to do ketchup first and THEN the brown sugar!

What's your favorite way to cook meatloaf? Tell me below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do (sounds fun, right?)
Where to live



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Love This Place! 5 Spot- Savannah Review

So I've been to the 5 Spot now several times and I'm just now getting around to doing a quick review (I know, bad blogger!). Anyway, the first time I went was last year with my sister and brother-in-law just before New Years. I'd heard about it on Facebook, etc. and convinced them to check it out with me. I had this amazing chicken salad croissant and a side of beer-battered truffle oil French fries (yes they're basically a heart attack waiting to happen and yes, they're as yummy as they sound!). My brother-in-law ordered the Chorizo dip as an appetizer to share (of which I was too busy scarfing down to grab a pic) Just know that it was warm, creamy and just about perfect. I definitely recommend ordering.

The last time I went I had a BLT which was just as good as the croissant and this chocolate brownie that was downright life-changing. If you're picturing a small, brown, dry square that you may get at other restaurants, think again. That brownie was basically a slice of heaven. And topped of with salted caramel ice cream and syrup which complimented the chocolate quite nicely.

The place itself is pretty easy to find, located right on Habersham, not technically downtown but away from the hustle and bustle of the main drag, Abercorn St. There's a cute little pet shop across the street which I've been meaning to take a peek into as well as a yoga spot. Perfect to pop in during a day of shopping or maybe a lazy Sunday, as I've read they do brunch as well.

Another thing I appreciate about this place: everyone, from the lady that greets you at the front to the waitresses, is super nice and helpful. And we're always seated in less than 10 minutes (I have "hangry" issues, so this is important to me).


Have you checked out the 5 Spot? What'd you think? Tell me below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (here of course! And then come back and post pics!)
What to do
Where to live

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thankful Thursdays!





So this week's post is a little different. I reached out to my awesome Facebook friends to find out what they're thankful for. It's always nice to reflect on one's own life for positivity but I love hearing from friends and acquaintances about what they're enjoying in their lives as well. Hopefully these gems will bring a smile your face as they did mine:


I complain about bills all of the time, but this week I am thankful to even have the $ to pay those bills-- Tamra


I hear a lot of people complain about the heat but just a few days ago it was too cold. I'm actually thankful for this weather, I love this time of year -- Zshmara


I'm thankful for having a family that supports me in all my endeavors! -- Hillary


Salvation -- Tim


Is Girl Scout cookies a legit answer? Lol --Brittany


I'm thankful for life-- Delvon


As for me; this week, I'm thankful that the hubby only has a few more days in the field, can't wait to see him. Although Girl Scout cookies are definitely a close second!


What about you? What are you thankful for this week?



Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (grabbing dinner here tomorrow night. Review coming soon!)
What to do
Where to live


Follow Me
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LiveLoveArmy24





Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Totally Marry a Soldier

Or date one! If you're single and reading this, dating a soldier is definitely an option. And to be clear, I'm not knocking firemen or businessmen or those that work in retail. This list is, admittedly, biased and based completely on my experiences with my own soldier. BUT there's some good stuff in here, I promise! So, without further ado, five reasons to marry a soldier:


He's Typically Down For Whatever You Have Planned
I know with the hubby, he's usually cool with letting me plan everything from dinner, to where we vacation, to what we actually do on said vacation. Which works for me because I'm a planner. We went to Disneyworld last month and you better believe I'd had that particular trip planned down to the minute for the last three months or so. The one time neither of us planned anything was last Fall at Myrtle Beach and it was kind of a disaster. I was trying to give him a break and be more of a "go-with-the-flow kind of gal" and the hubby finally looked at me and said, "I think next time, you should just do your planning thing". Enough said!

He Loves and Appreciates Family Time
I am super close with my own family. So when I was dating, finding someone that was as close with their family as I was with mine was a huge must. We're lucky to live so close to both of our families, and the hubby not only enjoys spending time with his folks but with mine as well. I think when you spend so much time any given year away from your family (going into the field, 24hr duty, deploying, or even just getting stuck working late which my hubby experienced for a while) you learn to value any time you can spend with them that much more. This makes for amazing quality time for us but also tons of opportunities to hang out with his folks and mine.

You Can't Beat Those Perks!
No, I'm not about to talk to you about Tricare or shopping at the commissary. One of the perks the hubby and I have both enjoyed are the couples retreats. I'm still a newbie, don't get me wrong. But it seems to me, the days of "if the Military wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one" are long gone. Yes, of course, there are still crappy things we have to deal with, but I love the programs that are in place specifically to help work on the bond between the soldier and his or her spouse. And most of these programs are FREE to participate. The last one we went to was all about strong communication and setting goals for our family and it was at a beautiful hotel in Florida. Definitely looking forward to the next one.

He's In Shape!
Kidding! ...kind of. If you're already married to a soldier, you know about the five-day-a-week PT thing. My hubby works his butt off every morning and sometimes in the evenings too. I don't know about you but that inspires me to get my own butt in the gym every once in a while. Full disclosure: I am in know way saying you should feel obligated to work out or crappy about yourself if you're not a lean, mean, fitness machine. But we all know getting active a few times a week works wonders for your body and my hubby definitely inspires me to do so. A few times, we've even done a few of his PT workouts together (NOT for the faint of heart, let me tell you).

He Encourages Your "Me Time"
I was speaking with a friend the other day about her relationship; one of her favorite things about her hubby is that he encourages her to spend time doing things just for herself. Of course, it's not just soldiers that understand the importance of their spouses having their own personal time. But so much of being married to a soldier, no matter what branch, is all about doing what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it, and where you're supposed to do it. No questions asked. I can only imagine how irritating it can be for the soldier; I know as a Spouse we get pretty tired of it. So it's nice to have that time every once in a while when you what YOU want for no other reason than your own pure enjoyment. And it's awesome to have a spouse that supports that.

Up next, Soldiers in their natural habitat and how to snag them! Joking! What are the some of the things you love about being married to your soldier? Tell me all about it!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do (in case you're considering checking out Disney now that the weather has warmed!)
Where to live

Follow Me!
@Live_Love_24
LiveLoveArmy24







Monday, March 9, 2015

March Obsessions!

So excited for this month!

Color Runs!!
So I'm finally doing it! I'm running a 5k this year. I've already started my training (the Couch to 5k app; if you haven't already tried it, know that it really does work!) so I'll for sure be prepared this time. I'm sure you've probably heard of a Color Run before, but in case you haven't, it's basically described as the "happiest 5k on the planet". They're not timed and, at every kilometer, you get doused in different colors so that you look like a rainbow by the time you get to the finish. This year's Color Run in Savannah will include glitter which I'm super excited about. I'm running with the Fort Stewart Fit Club group (if you're reading this and you live here, feel free to register with us and snag that discount!). FYI promotional pricing ends on the 15th of this month. See you in May!



Farmers Markets are BACK!
So you know by now, I'm obsessed with Farmers Markets. Which is why I'm super excited that the one here in Hinesville officially re-opened last Thursday. I love the Bountiful Baskets program as well, but the last couple of baskets have gone completely to waste because the hubby and I can never eat/ can/ freeze fast enough. I want to continue eating healthier, so I figure shopping at the Farmers Market will be much smaller quantities; therefore, much easier to consume as quickly as possible. (Check here for a Farmers Market near you)

First Day of Spring
So it's a little under two weeks away and I must say, thank God! I don't know about you, but I'm so entirely over this crappy weather. If you're reading this and you're stationed somewhere up North, than I'll kindly shut up; I know you've dealt with way worse than anything down here. If you're living here, you know we don't really have Spring in Southern Georgia. It'll be cold every day and then one day the switch will flip, and it'll be warm! Totally waiting on that switch to flip.


Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do
Where to live


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Friday, February 27, 2015

Buying a New Home In Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart (Part III)

Okay so we're finally continuing my home-buying series for the Hinesville and Fort Stewart areas. So a few weeks ago, we talked about the second step, meeting with your agent for a Buyer's Consult. This week, I want to write about what happens once you actually find a home to write an offer on.

So you're prequalified, you've met with your agent, you've seen dozens of homes, and, you've finally found your dream home. So what now? Well, that's where your agent comes in. Once you decide on a home, we help you figure out what to offer (we can pull comparative pricing from the surrounding neighborhoods and give you advice on the value of a home). Once we've decided on an initial offer, your agent will write it up (beyond a few exceptions, we use GAR forms in the state of Georgia) and submit to the folks on the other side (whether it's a builder or the Listing agent). And then we wait.
If you've offered less than the asking price or asked for a few concessions, the Sellers will come back with either a "Yes" a "No" or a "Yes, but with conditions". In the event of that third option, you're agent will go over their response with you and help you draft what's called a counter offer. Once you and the Sellers have come to a mutually beneficial decision, everyone signs and you're officially "under contract". Note: if your contract calls for Earnest Money within a specific timeframe, this is when that timeframe begins, NOT from the date you sign your offer.

Now what happens next depends on what kind of agent you're working with. If you're working with the Lisa Scales Team, we'll introduce you to  our super awesome Transaction Manager. It's her job to assist both you and your agent with all the paperwork and scheduling that happens between and now and your closing date. If you've opted for new construction (which is pretty popular in our market right now), you may need to schedule an appointment to pick your interior and exterior selections and she'll help with that. If you're buying an existing home, it's probably time to schedule your Inspection with which you'll also receive assistance.


new construction fort stewart
Lastly, if you're participating in our Homes for Heroes rebate/ discount program (more info on that later), the Transaction Manger helps you decide what to spend that money on! As always, if you've got questions that just can't wait, you can always register here to schedule your own one-on-one appointment. Not quite ready to come in? You can also message us with any questions no matter how small.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thinking About Staying In Orlando? The Caribe Royale Is It!

So the week before last, I was in Orlando for a few days, first for the KW Family Reunion and then that weekend to do Disney with the hubby (more on that later). I FINALLY got video of a hotel for you guys (see, I promised I would!) so I wanted to share my thoughts on the hotel we ended up staying in.

In one word? Perfect. And cheap. Which is two words, but whatever. So my mom and I were originally going to stay at another hotel that was much more expensive and much further away from the convention center where the event was held but we changed our minds at the last minute, and boy am I glad we did. We were searching for cheaper options when a friend at work suggested the Caribe Royale, which, incidentally, is less than 15 minutes from Disney and about 10 from the Orange County Convention Center.

The room was roomy, clean, and well-decorated. The toiletries were actually Bath and Body Works Rainkissed Leaves (being a former BBW sales associate, I appreciated this touch especially) and there was a microwave AND small refrigerator (that WAS NOT crammed with tiny, super expensive bottles of liquor and wine). Besides the room, the property itself was beautiful. They had this huge pool (which was apparently heated) that featured a lovely waterfall and pathways between all the suite buildings and the main building where the restaurants are (we stayed in Building 3).

The biggest thing I loved about this hotel is their military appreciation program. Not only did we get our room at an amazingly low rate, we also got a $120 food and beverage credit. We had room service one night and breakfast the next morning completely free (for the record, we're a talking a REAL breakfast with fresh scrambled eggs, French Toast, the whole nine. NOT  the usual continental)! Unfortunately, by the time I realized how awesome the hotel was, it was too late to book for Disney with the hubby, but I know for sure where we'll be staying next time we visit Orlando!

What's your favorite Orlando hotel? Perhaps you've had an awesome experience with the Caribe Royale? Tell me below!

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Hinesville Lifestyle
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's That Time of Week Again...Thankful Thursdays!!

So this week, I'm really excited about traveling. One of our big plans for this year is to travel more, not necessarily big extravagant trips, but just get out of Georgia every once in a while. And I guess I'm thankful for the ability to do that. Right now, gas is relatively cheap, which means flights aren't as crazy expensive (by the way, Huffington Post recommends purchasing tickets exactly forty-seven days before takeoff) as they can sometimes be. And being stationed in Southern GA, as we are, there are so many different cities to visit and opportunities to take advantage of. Already, we've been to Charlotte, Orlando, Jacksonville, Hilton Head and Miami (to name a few) and this year, I want to add a few more to the list.

And while I'm on the subject, I'm thankful that I have a hubby who is as filled with wanderlust as I am. He's normally pretty cool about letting me pick the destination and going along for the ride which is pretty much half the fun! What are you thankful for this week? Tell me below!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February Obessions!

So I'm suuuper late with this post. BUT there are still some exciting, fun things going on around Hinesville and Savannah that I thought you guys should know about so, I'm writing it anyway. And next month, I promise I'll be on time!


MyMilDeals Oscars Viewing Party
So this event is literally this Sunday at the Mellow Mushroom in Pooler. Attire is "upscale casual" (basically no t-shirts or sneakers) and the first 100 guests will grab a free swag bag. There'll be raffles, a contest for best dressed, hors d'oervres, and, of course, a cash bar. And if you've got kids, the Sk8 City in Pooler is hosting a skate party exclusively for the parents attending the event, six bucks a kid which included skates and snacks. The event itself is free to get in so, hope to see you guys there!

Wine & Canvas- Savannah
So I stumbled across this a few weeks ago while I was playing around online and I seriously can't believe I've never heard of it before. Founded in Indianapolis in 2010, Wine and Canvas hosts local painting parties instructed by local artists and of course featuring wine. Can't wait to get a group together to check this out; if you've already tried it or something similar, tell me about it below!


Sojun Ru Gullah Art Exhibit
So this exhibit opened at the beginning of the month, but it doesn't end until the 27th so you've still got a few more days to check it out. Located at the Hinesville Area Art Gallery on Commerce, the exhibit features Geechee Kunda arts and crafts in honor of Black History Month. The gallery itself is open Monday through Friday from 10-2 so it's the perfect educational outing for kids that may not be school age yet (or you by yourself if you happen upon a free weekday!)


5th Annual 2015 A-Town Get Down Music & Art Festival
Blind Boys of Alabama are headlining this year's festival; they'll be joined by about 25 other bands and visual artists. The festival will feature awesome performances (click here to snag tickets) as well as exhibits, jam sessions, and family friendly workshops. Established in 2011 as a tribute to Alex Townsend who passed away that year on Valentines Day, the festival serves as a super fun vehicle to introduce the public to aspiring musicians and artists as well as give audiences a chance to catch their favorite local acts. Check it out February 21st and 22nd!


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to Pick the Perfect Engagement Ring

Okay, ladies, so I'm taking a break and talking to the guys for this post! If you can't already tell from the hundreds of new "Oh my God, he proposed!" Facebook posts every morning, engagement season is in full swing. In honor of that, I wanted to do a special post about picking out the perfect engagement ring. The hubby and I picked out my ring together but a lot of would-be fiancées take huge leaps of faith and pick out the engagement ring on their own. There's a lot of erroneous information out there so I went straight to the master, Tom, Gemologist and licensed Appraiser at Thomas Hill Jewelers for the skinny on how to pick a rock that your girl won't be able to resist.


So the biggest thing? DO NOT shop online! Tom tells me you just won't get an accurate idea of the difference in quality and detail between pieces looking at a picture on a screen, and I have to say, he has a point. (Fun fact: for the hubby's birthday last year, I ordered him a pair of half-carat diamond studs online. Got them in the mail and, needless to say, they were incredibly tiny! I ended up keeping them, but I'm the only one who wears them and he swears I owe him a re-do!).


Tom does custom pieces like this as well. Check out the ruby tail light!
The next important thing to remember: DO NOT try to guess your girl's (or guy's) ring size. Standard sizes are 7 for women and 10 for men; Tom recommends going for the standard size and bringing the newly engaged back in for a final fitting. I know, big surprise right? All those websites instructing you to subtract 10 from the girl's shoe size and then multiply by 15 or whatever. Totally wrong!

The other thing I asked about was price. When the hubby and I picked out our rings, that was a deciding factor before any other because we were also building a house. Tom's advice? Go with a jeweler that features diamonds with great quality at ANY price. Just because you can't necessarily afford the VVS, princess cut, ten carat diamond doesn't mean that you and your fiancée don't deserve something special!

And speaking of jewelers, consider hitting up a real jeweler versus a big box store like Kay or Jared. The thing to remember with those stores; you're working primarily with a salesperson, not an experienced jeweler like Tom. Not that there's anything wrong with salespeople (I worked as one at Bath and Body Works, and I work as one on the Lisa Scales Team now technically!). BUT. Just like I, along with the other agents on my team, am an expert in my field, Tom is the go-to guy for diamonds and jewelry. You're not going to go into his store and be "sold" on something, you're going to get more of a consultation and advice on things like quality, clarity, color, etc.

One of Tom's favorite pieces; this beauty boasts 884 diamonds!

Tom has been in the jewelry business for nearly forty (yes, forty!) years and has had his store in Hinesville on East Martin Luther King Drive for about fourteen, so he knows the score on picking out that special ring to razzle and dazzle. Every year, he and his wife travel all the way to Antwerp, Belgium to pick out the insanely gorgeous jewelry that fills their shop so you can be sure you're getting a piece that they've put a lot of thought into (he says his wife picks for beauty and he checks for the quality).

Okay, so the last few things I want to leave you with:
  • When in doubt, go for a round diamond; Tom says it's their most popular cut.
  • If you've ever wondered about the difference between and an Emerald and a Radiant cut (I know I have!) the Emerald is completely clear while the Radiant features more facets (READ: more sparkle!)
  • No matter how much you spend, get that ring insured! Most folks don't realize a diamond ring isn't typically covered under Homeowners or Renters Insurance unless it's lost in a fire or stolen during a home invasion or something like that. Tom recommends Jewelers Mutual.
  • Ask about the warranty. Thomas Hill Jewelers, for example, offers a standard warranty completely free of charge and with no extra hoops to jump through.
  • If you've ever wondered what the heck VVS refers to, it stands for Very Very Slightly, and it's as close as you can get to a perfect diamond.
The Four C's of Diamond Selection: Color, Cut, Clarity, Carats
Okay I lied, the very last thing I'm leaving you with! If you're in the Hinesville/ Savannah area and are interested in a little competition, check out the Thomas Hill Jewelers Facebook Page. Just in time for Valentines Day, they're giving away this amazing pendant to the cutest couple (you enter on their Facebook page and get your friends to vote on you) called Rhythm of Love. The diamond in the center picks up the vibrations from your heart beat so it never stops moving. Now tell me that isn't the coolest thing you've ever heard!


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Looking For Something to Do This Weekend In Hinesville? Join Us For Super Saturday 2015!

I know the feeling. It's Thursday, the weekend's almost here, and there are NO plans in site for the next few days. How... blah, right? Enter my new favorite website, www.MyMilDeals.com (if you don't already know about this site, it connects military families with awesome appreciation events as well as companies that offer perks and discounts for soldiers and their families). They're sponsoring a Super Bowl kick-off this weekend at Liberty Chrysler in Hinesville.
I'm definitely not what you would call the world's biggest football fan, BUT I'll be there with the hubby in tow because there will still be tons on super fun attractions like the Liberty Chrysler obstacle course, Chris's Curbside Grill Insane Hot Wing Eating Contest, and a free bounce house sponsored by the folks at Graceland Bounce. (Okay fine, so that last one will probably for kids only; it still sounds like fun!).
My team-leader, as the local Homes for Heroes affiliate, will also be there offering free Face painting for the kids and handing out balloons, so we hope to see you there!
PS. I don't exactly follow football, but in case anyone asks, I'm rooting for the Seahawks. Can't get enough of that Richard Sherman; he's got chutzpah which I appreciate!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Liebster Award!

So apparently a couple fellow bloggers, Maddy at Media Junkie Jungle and Alyssa at World According to Aly found my blog interesting enough to nominate for the Liebster Award! (thanks ladies!) So, if you're reading this and wondering what the heck the Liebster Award is, here are the rules:



1. Thank/ link the person who nominated you
2. Answer the questions from your nominator
3. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers (link them)
4. Create 11 new questions for your nominees
5. Notify your nominees through social media/ blogs

Okay, so first, here are my nominees:
Military Wife & Pug Life
Munchkins and Military
YankeeBayou
Slowly Turning the Pages
A Pop of Red
Life of an Army Wife
Chrystyn's View
The Hungry Traveller
Marathons and Dog Tags

(I know, that's only 9; I'm working on the last two!!)

Questions from Maddie & Aly along with my answers:

1. What is your favorite thing to blog about? Restaurants! I love trying new places and sharing them with my readers.
2. What is the most difficult thing about blogging? Honestly, the army wife stuff. I try to make my posts more about my opinion then information since I'm brand new and still learning.
3. What else do you do besides blogging? Job wise, I'm a real estate agent with H&S Real Estate Services. As far as hobbies, I read a lot, love to travel and explore new places
4. What is one item you would splurge on? Shoes and bags! Also a nice hotel room when I'm traveling. (yes, this is more than one item, whoops!)
5. What are you looking forward to the most in 2015? Traveling! We're upping our travel plans this year and I'm super excited to get the heck out of Georgia!
6. Who is the person you admire most and why? My mom, for sure. She is super strong, independent and literally takes crap from NO ONE. I feel like if I'm half as confident as she is, I'm doing okay.
7. What do you do to relax after a long day? Normally have my feet propped up (on my husband's lap!) reading a magazine with the dogs on my lap. Sometimes wine is involved!
8. What is your favorite kind of food? ANYTHING sweet; I'm partial to those Pepperidge Farm stick cookies and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding from Belfords.
9. What is your favorite genre of music? R&B
10. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? Kerry Washington!
11. What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome in the last few years? The real estate thing in general. I'm normally a pretty shy and reserved person, but you have to really put yourself out there to be successful so I've really had to step outside myself and open my mouth and talk to people!

1. What is something you feel strongly about? I wrote a post about this a few days ago, but I really HATE all of the bashing that's out there towards wives and women in general. So much judgement and I'm just over it.
2. Something you always think "what if" about Did yet another post on this, I've been freaking out a little about our next duty station. We're hoping to stay here but you never know. 
3. Five weird things about you Oh, God, do I have to? Okay, 1. I enjoy cleaning out my ears waay too much. I probably clean them out way more often than is required because I like the sensation. 2. Kind of alluded to this earlier, in real life, I'm a lot more shy and reserved than I project. I put myself out there though because I realize no one necessarily wants to interact with the quiet, shy chick that doesn't have much to say. 3. I hate soft and hard textures in my food. It needs to be all soft or all crunchy. 4. I get like crazy, she-Hulk angry when technology doesn't work the way I expect it to. Seriously, it's almost embarrassing! 5. I CANNOT fully relax until I've changed out of my work clothes and put on some pajamas. Seriously, I can come home starving to a plate of hot food and I need to first change out of work take all of my jewelry off; etc. Sometimes I like to light candles too.  
4. How you hope your future will be like Mostly, I want to be happy with the hubby and our four-legged babies. Possibly a few two-legged babies!
5. Something that you miss My first dog, Sarabi. We gave her to a family friend when we PCSd to Germany because my folks were told it was difficult keeping a dog there. We lost touch with the friend and I still wonder what became of her.
6. Something you are proud of Oh, my real estate license for sure. I actually took the class twice BUT I passed my state exam on the first try (most people don't) which I'm super proud of. Hands down, the scariest test I've ever taken!
7. Where you'd like to be in 10 years. Same thing as I noted for #4, but I'd like to add that I hope this blog will be flourishing and maybe making me a little money on the side. 
8. If you had a million dollars what would you do with it? Invest most of it, give to family, and maybe set a little something aside for a fabulous vacation. I've always wanted to go to Fiji or Greece
9. A moment you were most satisfied with your life BESIDES the real estate thing, when I first met my hubby. I actually spoke to him first. which I normally would never have done. Boy was that the smartest decision ever!
10. Hobbies and interests? Reading, shopping, travelling, trying new dishes. And this blog of course
11. Five pet peeves 1. Crappy drivers 2. Judgey people 3. Unsolicited opinions (if I don't ask you, obviously, I don't care!) I'm sure there are more, but those are pretty much the top 3 I can think of right now

Okay, so now, time for my questions:

1. How long have you had your blog?
2. Where do you see your blog going in the future?
3. What's your number one tip for sharing your blog/ gaining more followers?
4. How did you decide to get into blogging?
5. What's your "day job"?
6. What's the most interesting place (state/ country/ city, whatever) that you've visited?
7. Where would you love to visit but have never been?
8. What's your favorite feature/ characteristic about yourself?
9. What article of clothing do you own that you couldn't live without?
10. What was the last thing you splurged on?
11. What advice would you give to your fellow bloggers in general?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Are You Freaking Out About Leaving Your Current Duty Station?

So for the longest, I've been nagging the hubby about next year when his tour here at Ft. Stewart is officially up and he'll get orders to either stay or relocate to a new duty station. I've been asking him for the longest about applying for stabilization (when my dad served, you could apply for stabilization at a specific base for one reason or another and your superior officers would do what they could to honor that request. This helped when you had school-age kids or lived close to family or just really liked your current base). Apparently, now, the process for stabilization is a lot more complicated than it used to be. For one you have to be of higher rank than the hubby currently is to even be considered for the process. So that's off the table, BUT I told him he could at least request to stay here for three more years because the only thing they can say is "No". His response? "I know, but I don't want to get your hopes up".

Okay, so I'm by no means the perfect wife. I'll admit, I snapped back a little bit. I, being 26 not 6 understand that we don't always get what we want and that sometimes when we ask for something, we don't always hear the answer we'd like to hear. That aside, I had to admit one thing. He's kind of right. 

I looove it here at Fort Stewart. If you already live here or you're PCSing here and have looked up our base online, you may have heard a lot of the negative already. But let me be the first to tell you, Fort Stewart is not that bad of a base. We're within an hour and 1/2 of glorious beaches in whichever direction you drive. And we're less than an hour from historic Savannah, known not only for being one of the scariest cities in the country, but also for being one of the most picturesque cities in the southern United States.

For me, though, what makes this base so special is proximity to family. I'm definitely a big family gal and I love that my folks are right up the street, while his are only about two hours away. And we've built a life here! I have my awesome job, great friends, and we actually just bought our first home last year.

I suppose these are thoughts similar to those every military wife has at one particular duty station or another. How do you get through it? I'm reminded of a quote from a book I read while in school, "Women will do whatever they have to do". And I guess that's pretty accurate, not just for us ladies but for humans in general. We'll request to stay here and pray our butts off that its granted, but there's definitely no guarantee. So the only thing left to do is enjoy our time here while we can and prepare ourselves for the possibility that we'll have to leave soon.

I want to hear from you! Which was your hardest base to leave? How did you cope?

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