Travel

June is here… and now Summer is officially here as well! Are you and your family traveling? As a family of 5 we often have to start packing many days in advance. If your family is anything like mine.. packing can feel like an Olympic sport. The problem with our packing is it is usually last minute… like right before we are leaving I am still packing lol!

I know you are probably thinking right now… why the heck is this woman giving me tips when she is a last minute packer… well the reason I am doing it is I have a really great way of packing and I usually do not miss a thing!  I say usually because the first time in about 2 years I forgot shorts for myself on our last trip to VA.

We are leaving this week for Beaufort SC.. our future retirement home. I can not wait to get back to Beaufort. It is so slow and just makes you feel amazing! In the words of my dad… “It makes you feel like you are actually living”. Okay so back to packing…  These are a few of my favorite tips for packing for vacation!

1. Make Lists
I know making lists sounds so elementary but it seriously works. I do not know if you are a computer list maker or a paper list maker. I write everything down on paper. I seriously have lists all over the place. It drives my husband crazy.  I make a detailed list for everyone traveling. I read the lists off to my kids and then take my husband’s list and mine to our room. These also go into the suitcases so that on our way home we make sure that everything makes it’s way home.

2. Fold clothes smartly… Work smarter not harder
I am sure you have seen those nifty pictures floating around the internet that show how to fold your clothes…. It seriously works! I mean it! I have been using this style of folding for the last year. I have taught my babies how to do this because it works! It makes insane space and helps with making sure you do not have to have a lot of baggage while traveling. This is a wallet saver because you will not have to pay those pesky overage fees!

 

Found at: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-organized-traveler-packing-1-152442

Found at: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-organized-traveler-packing-1-152442

3. Check the Weather…
I know this may sound like a no brainier but really check the weather. Nothing sucks more than getting to your destination and freezing your butt off because you packed for warmer weather. I check the weather about 4 days out and then again the day before we leave. It just helps in case last minute weather changes have occurred and you will be able to adjust.

4. Expect the unexpected!
Expect to bring something special home. It does not happen all the time but it doesn’t hurt to make a little extra room just in case. You will thank me later ( I will be here waiting lol) and it will not stress you out for it.

5. Make arrangements for your 4 legged babies
It is ideal to make sure your 4 legged babies are okay when you leave. There are many things to think about while packing and your pets can often be last minute thoughts. If you are boarding your pets, ask what you are allowed to bring. I usually try to bring their favorite blankets and their toys. It helps them to feel a little home while they may be scared. I also make sure they have their little travel bag with food, leashes, bowls, etc. when we travel as a whole family.

 

I am not saying here that I am reinventing the wheel here… I am however saying that these tips work for my family. I hope that these tips can help you with the stress that often comes from packing and traveling… let me know your favorite tips!

Until next time…

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dearformerfriend

Why does it hurt  when people unfriend on social media?

Today while traveling to Alabama I remembered a friend that I hadn’t seen on Facebook in a while. I looked her up and low and behold she had unfriended me. I will be honest we were friendly but never met in person. We worked together for an event online.. blah blah. It wasn’t anyone who was going I was going to miss greatly but to be honest.. it hurt!

Sometimes we take things a little to heart. It will not affect my life in any way. I have noticed more lately how people don’t want to hear about how my heart still breaks for my brothers death or the challenges I face on a daily basis with my new role of  being a caregiver for my husband. I guess it hurts because things or times that were hard for them I lent an ear or shoulder to cry on if necessary. So their crisis were more important than my situations… well guess what that ends today. I am writing an open letter to all former friends who decided that I was no longer one of their friends. I am not a weird poster. I do not post 24 hours a day. I just post about my kids, my family, and fun things here and there.

Dear former friend,

I noticed you and I are no longer friends. I am not sure what I may have done to make you no longer want to see what is going on in my life but you are missing out greatly. I have a lot to contribute to friends and you will one day think of me. I was there for all your ups and downs. When you needed someone to talk to and did not want others to know what you needed. I was there. I was there when you were happy or needed to sale something. Remember that people have feelings and using them for what is in it for you is just plain mean and classless. I wish you NOTHING but the best. Thank you for taking yourself out of my life… I need people who want to contribute to my life and not bring it down.

Your former friend

Now don’t get all preachy about make real life friends and other blah blahs because I know. I do have friends in real life but with our constant moving lifestyle I like to keep up with friends I have made around different duty stations and with technology we are able to do so online. I just needed to vent and say my peace. Thank you for your encouraging words because to means more than you will ever know.

Until next time,

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blog me

I know this sounds a little self absorbed but I thought today I would write about a day in the life of me. Today’s post will be more docile than the days that are crazy and filled with appointments.  My life is not really that interesting but here we go…

I wake up at 6:30 am. I usually wake a few minutes before the alarm wakes me up. Now that we have a puppy.. I have to clean any messes that we may not have gotten to the puppy in time for during the night. I then get dressed and get the dogs outside and ready for their day. I have my husband’s breakfast ready when he comes down stairs. If it is a day where I do not have to go with him to work, I usually wait for my breakfast so I can eat in peace.

When I give my husband his kiss and see him out the door I usually sit down and schedule my posts for my Facebook page and start looking for different ways to make my blog better. My kids usually join me around 9 in the morning and we start our crazy day. We do our chores for the home ( many hands make for easy work) and then I sit down around 11 am to do a few hours of homework. This allows me to be able to make wonderful progress for my school. ( I attend Western Governors University and I LOVE IT!!)

Around 3 pm every day is snack time in our home. It is always fun to figure out what we want for snacks. I usually know what I am going to make for dinner ( I make a menu for 2 weeks at a time) so dinner items get started. I usually cook around 6:30 in the summer and around  5 pm when school starts. ( Holy moly can you believe that school is almost ready to start!) We eat dinner as a family and then one of the kids does dishes ( the kids rotate nights for dishes.) During school time the kids then take turns getting into the shower. They go to bed at 8 pm during school time. During the summer we do showers whenever they want and then bedtime is a little slacked and around 9 pm.

My husband and I usually make our way up to bed with all the dogs and whatever he is bring to bed to work on. I am usually exhausted no matter what time it is ( Have I told you that chronic fatigue sucks… I am tired right now and it is 9:15 am ) so I am eager to get into bed. There is no better feeling than sinking into your comfy bed at night and then slipping into dream land… so does my day look like yours?

 

Until next time…

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Top 5 apps that military spouses need now!

 

In today’s society we are glued to our phones. Our phones have replaced our alarm clock, T.V., computer, well you get the gist… With this obsession with our phones we have become dependent on apps. I am not saying it is wrong because apps help me on a daily basis… if I did not have them I would go completely crazy! These are my Top 5 Apps that I believe every military spouse needs now!

 

picture found www.cozi.com

picture found www.cozi.com

1. Cozi
I know weird name but a life safer! Long gone is the time where we put all our activities on a calendar in the kitchen ( Forgive me but I still do this every day only because I like to see it everywhere). We are often away from home and need to know when we can schedule this appointment so we can still take baby 1 to her appointment and baby 2 to his sports event. Cozi allows your family to have a central calendar where you can input your events and everyone will be able to see that event when they schedule theirs.  This app actually helps with my husband and I. I am his full time caregiver and I attend a lot of meetings with him. He knows when he can schedule an appointment without it affecting what I still have to do in my personal life as well. This app is free but has an upgraded feature for $30 a year ( which I did upgrade so my husband can have a month view instead of just weekly view.)

 

picture found www.mint.com

picture found www.mint.com

2. Mint
No this is not just for gum anymore! Mint is a fantastic app that allows you to input your financial information and get your finances on track! Nothing like seeing where all your money goes and learning how to fix it. I have it on my phone, tablet and computer. You can get bill alerts to help remind you to keep your payments on time. The app also shows you in pie graphs where all money goes. If you need an eye opener for your financial present and future… this app is a must for you!

 

picture found www.groovebook.com

picture found www.groovebook.com

3. Groovebook
I know this one you are probably thinking… groovebook? I am not looking to make a book or get my groove on. No let me explain.. It is an app that you download and it is $2.99 a month. You upload 100 pictures from your cell phone and they will send you a book of 4×6 pictures in a little neat book! No additional shipping no additional charges. Every month you upload your 100 pictures and get memories in the mail! We constantly take pictures each month and forget about these precious memories. Now you can have them sent to you, your parents back home, grandma who love pictures or anyone! What a great way to help keep memories tangible and spread the love! If you are a picture junkie like me… this app is for you!

 

picture found www.talkandroid.com

picture found www.talkandroid.com

 

4. Songza
Oh… My… Goodness! What an amazing little app to help you pretty much do anything! You download this app and you will be able to pick a mood for your music!  If it is a Monday Morning for example you can choose to listen to the Monday Morning music mix. You are then able to choose what genre of music you want to listen to ie Country, jazz, rock, pop, etc. If you are on the road and need to have a pick me up like I frequently do this app is totally for you!

Picture found t2health.dcoe.mil

Picture found t2health.dcoe.mil

5.LifeArmor
I know this app may seem a little weird just from the name. It is actually an app from the DOD. It is an app that helps military members and their families learn different techniques and tips on how to deal with different topics that people in the military lifestyle see on a frequent basis. There are tips for alcohol & drugs, anxiety, families and friendships, TBI, PTSD, and so much more.  This is a free app and it really does have a wealth of knowledge! I hope that this app helps you as much as it has helped me!

What are some of your favorite apps? Seriously I love to learn more about apps so please share and I will add them to the list!

 

Until next time,

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verizon

*This is a sponsored post that can contains affiliate links.*

It can be hard sometimes when spouses are having to constantly put their career on the back burner. We have to take whatever jobs we can find. Most of the time you are not able to work somewhere with flexibility that is often needed as a military spouse because anything can happen at any moment. We all know that as soon as our military member deploys the washer will break and the car will have a flat tire. I know it has to be a certain law ha ha!  It is so important to find a job and spread the word when we can, when we find something that everyone can benefit from. That is why I wanted to tell you about Verizon!

Picture from: http://www.verizon.com/about/careers/military-spouses

Picture from: http://www.verizon.com/about/careers/military-spouses

I was presented with a great opportunity recently and I just had to share with all my friends who are military spouses! Verizon understands how difficult it can be for military spouses to secure employment and the need for flexibility to care for family and stay connected with loved ones.  Deployments and relocation can make sustaining a career or finding a new job tricky. Verizon wants to help and is honored to support military spouses across the country with employment opportunities, career resources, state of-the-art technology and benefits exclusive to military families.

Picture found: http://www.verizon.com/about/careers/military-spouses

Picture found: http://www.verizon.com/about/careers/military-spouses

If you are interested in this amazing opportunity or if you know of someone who can benefit from this opportunity please join the military network, view current openings, and learn more about the program here: http://www.verizon.com/about/careers/military-spouses

Please let’s spread the word so that we can help as many military families be able to enjoy just a little more financial freedom with a rewarding job that understands our not so typical lifestyle.

Until next time,

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**Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. I did not receive any compensation for this post.**
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weight loss

 

This post will NOT be easy. Weight never is. It is almost like you have admitted to yourself that you have a problem. As of today, June 28th 2015, I am embarking on a new journey starting today. I am starting the Atkins low carb diet. While I love and I mean LOVE all bad carbs… I mean that is what we have trained our taste buds to enjoy. Today is day 1 and I am going to tell my weight.

Picture found: www.pinterest.com

Picture found: www.pinterest.com

They say if you put yourself out there you will get the motivation and the accountability that is required to keep pushing forward. I have done Atkins before and it was fantastic! I felt amazing and I pushed forward. I lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks and never once worked out. It was just watching my carb count and ate amazing food.

Picture found: www.lowcarbdownunder.com.au

Picture found: www.lowcarbdownunder.com.au

Atkins is really a great diet for me and I guess it isn’t so much a diet as it is a way of life. You get to eat healthy fats and filling veggies. I am excited and kinda scared about these next two weeks. When I am stressed out I tend to eat my emotions instead of talking about them and my life is pretty stressful these days. My go to is chocolate and anything fried!

Picture found: davidduke.com

Picture found: davidduke.com

 

Yesterday was Sunday and my husband I went to the store to get some last minute things like milk and pool salt. I was nervous but I told my husband that I needed to do this for me and that I was going to start the low carb lifestyle again. In the past when I would tell my husband I was doing this he would try his hardest to sabotage my goal and often succeed. This time was different and he agreed with me and gave  me his support. It is almost lunch time and we will not be home until after 3 pm. My husband and I made a plan for me to eat somewhere that has a salad bar for me to get the lunch that I need.

feet-on-scale

Sooooo here is my weight as of today June 28th, 2015- 222.8

I have a goal to get under 200 lbs. Even if it is just 199, I will be excited and happy. I know you may be thinking… she did this before why is she having to start over?

Picture found: achievefitnessboston.wordpress.com

Picture found: achievefitnessboston.wordpress.com

I have done this before and it was kinda hard the first two days then easy peasy. I have to start over simply because I allowed stress to become a crutch for me to enjoy foods that are not good for me. Instead of choosing that salad I would pick the quarter pounder. Instead of fresh fruit, I would choose that ice cream and a strawberries and cream pie. I made poor decisions because I just felt like it was okay to say that stress made me do it.

Picture found: www.blackstoneorthopedics.com

Picture found: www.blackstoneorthopedics.com

Today I am making a change. I have been very sick since February and I am hoping that with a better diet I will be able to overcome this sickness and better manage my symptoms. So all in all this me coming to you and asking that you will help me to be accountable for my diet in the next 2 weeks ( It is the induction phase) and then forward until I reach my goal of under 199. As of now I need to lose 23.8 lbs to reach this goal.

Picture found: www.endtheweight.com

Picture found: www.endtheweight.com

Thank you for being my support… and if you would like to join this journey with me let’s do it! I would love to have some accountability partners! <3

 

Until Next Time…..

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Front of cabin

That moment that you wake from the shock when you hear that something is not right with your Marine…. The craziness starts to sink in. Our life has been absolutely crazy since August 30th. While in our welcome aboard meeting for Wounded Warriors I was given a packet with information for Boulder Crest Retreat….. This is and was an amazing opportunity and something I was wishing we could do. I took the chance and filled out the application and crossed our fingers. We were approved to stay for 2 days in a beautiful cabin out in the middle of nowhere.

We were giddy (except my love because he is never giddy) and anxious to get to the cabin. When we arrived at the retreat it took my breath away. The well-manicured grounds and breathtaking scenes made us really excited! We arrived at our cabin 1 and I just could not believe that we were able to stay there! This was our home away from home for the next two days. Boulder Crest Retreat is a retreat to help wounded military (active or retired) to enjoy some alone time or family time. It is there to help families to relax and have no worries. This is a free retreat for the military member and their families. They have many activities to be able to enjoy for free or a small cost. They have fishing, archery, and hiking for example. We visited their garden which you are able to pick any fresh organic veggies or herbs that you would like to enjoy.

 

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Our view from our back porch! So beautiful!

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Walking up to the cabin!

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Cardinals are special to me. It is so awesome we stayed in the cardinal cabin!

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View outside on the back porch! <3

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Beautiful Front Door from inside with an awesome trash can that was electric!

The cabins are absolutely amazing! We had 3 bedrooms. The master bedroom had a king sized bed along with a great bathroom. All the cabins are ADA Compliant. Our second bedroom had a queen size bed and the third bedroom had a bunk bed for our boys to enjoy. We had a full sized kitchen that was stocked with pretty much anything you would need to cook and enjoy your meals. You bring your own food to eat. We had a 52 inch T.V. with cable. We also had a wonderful gas fireplace to enjoy and if you know me… I took advantage of that!

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We were greeted with this amazing gift basket!

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Closer view of basket

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This was our dinning room for the weekend… I love that flag!

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The boys bunk beds for the weekend!

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The kids bathroom and they were in love!

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My daughters room for the weekend!

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I know you are thinking … what is this? It is the coolest bear rug without the bear ha ha!

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This is the Master Bedroom.. very nice King size bed and very relaxing!

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Closet with games, umbrellas, walking sticks, playpen and so much more! They think of everything!

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Closet with games, umbrellas, walking sticks, playpen and so much more! They think of everything!

Our first day there we got there pretty late. We unloaded our things and then went to look at the garden. I wish I could have gone whenit all was ready because I would have enjoyed it all. We were able to drive around Bluemont,VA and the charm of that small city is absolutely amazing.  We ate our dinner and then we went ahead and retired for the night.

Our second day was full of fun fishing and getting a little relaxing. We were given all the fishing gear we would need in order to fish in the pond and release the fishes we caught. We caught 9 fish and our youngest caught the most! That was a relaxing experience and fun for my husband to teach his knowledge of fishing to our babies! We fished for 2 hours and the time just flew by. We went home to make some lunch and then we lounged around. The cabin had games and we used them. Our kids played Monopoly and as a family we played Clue. I won both times we played.

 

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My kids getting ready to go fishing! They were excited!

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The beautiful waterfall in the middle of the pond! So relaxing to hear it.

We lounged around and watched a few movies and watched the rain fall outside. The mountains just look so majestic when the rain falls upon them. We took the babies out for ice cream at the general store around the corner from the retreat. This general store is what you would expect from a little town. Milk is delivered once a week in glass containers, saddles and different leather works. This was just a beautiful little store with friendly people. They have pretty great ice cream. Just another great memory to add to our wonderful weekend.

I cannot say how grateful I am for the opportunity to relax with my husband, watch him teach our kids new skills and our family was able to come together and grow stronger. I want to encourage you to look into Boulder Crest Retreat. Please share with your friends and let’s get the word out about this fantastic opportunity for our Wounded Warriors. They deserve to have time to relax and feel good again. Healing begins when you are able to fully relax.

Please share this with everyone you know http://www.bouldercrestretreat.org/ and let’s help heal our wounded and their families!

Until next time…

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Rebirth picture

 

I guess the title says it all… I am gearing up for my blog return.  2014 was a very hard year and please excuse my language but it was a bitch. I don’t normally talk like that but right now that is really the only way to describe it.

In 2014 I moved from my amazing life in Beaufort, SC to Jacksonville, NC ( if you are here let’s be friends!!!). We are so incredibly blessed to have such a beautiful home and land to go with it. Within a week of moving to Jacksonville I found out I was pregnant. This pregnancy quickly ended in a miscarriage. To say we were shocked would be a complete understatement.. because I had my tubes tied 6 years before…. so year it was crazy.

My husband deployed to Japan for an UDP in August. If you asked me, I would tell you that it was the day he left that was the start of the real hell in my life. On August 30,2014 I was headed to Beaufort, SC to hang out with my best friend and her family. An hour from her house I got a phone call from my mom and she informed me that my only sibling, my baby brother, had been killed early that morning around midnight. I completely felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. You always expect your parents to die and you and your siblings to be together… but you never dream of your siblings dying.  That was the beginning of a downfall for me. I started to have panic attacks and could no longer sleep. I finally talked with my doctor and we found some things that helped me to get through the time.

On October 1, 2014 I got a phone call telling me that my husband had almost died and he was in a Philippine hospital with kidney failure. Just when you are starting to get better… just one more thing gets pilled on! That was a whirlwind of trying to make sure things were ready for my husband very early return. My husbands health slowly returned, thank you Jesus, but his body would never fully recover. Fast forward to June 2015…. I am now my husband’s full time care giver. He is having problems with his TBI and he has finally admitted that he does indeed have PTSD. His back is really messed up with crushed discs and spinal cord compression.  He often forgets what you tell him so I have had to become his memory. It is an honor to serve this amazing man who has given so much to our country. He is now with Wounded Warriors BN and I have to say they are absolutely amazing. He is finishing up his treatments and then will be placed on a medical board for retirement.

When I woke up on Jan 1, 2015 I told myself there were a few things that I wanted to make sure that I accomplished this year.

1. I wanted to determine what would happen with this blog.

2. I wanted to make sure that each and ever day I found a blessing no matter what.

3. I wanted to finally commit to my weight loss and get it back on track.

These things I have been doing except the weight loss. I am fighting a mystery illness and I am having to work with doctors to find out that is happening. Goodness me… this is no joke either but I am thankful that I am able to get the help I need.

I am planning on bringing this blog back to life. I want to start making friends with other blogger friends ( so let’s be friends) and learn how to grow my blog and brand. I will start talking about business, around the home such as cleaning and cooking, and decorating and crafts. I hoe that you enjoy this blog and if you don’t please speak up!

 

Thank you for hanging in there with me… you totally rock!

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happy-new-year-2014-card-hd-inn

 

We are a few days away from the new year. It is normally a time of getting things organized, trying to lose those last few pesky lbs and save money. I want to take a moment and talk to you real quick about your attitude towards the new year! We are how we believe… will you believe that the new year is a blessing to start a new? Will you start the new year off with a bad attitude? Will you smile on January 1 with a smile on your face blessed to be living in 2014?

Your attitude will have 100% how the new year will be towards you. When we say “ 2014 will suck for me like 2013 did.” We have just spoke life into our new year! Our tongue has a mighty power to speak life and death. We have to be careful the things we put to “death” before it even has a chance to have “life” I want to encourage you on January 1 to try something new!

Start January 1 by saying how amazing it will be! Say how it will be the best year yet! Declare how on January 1, 2014 you are going to live the best year to date and that you and your family are about to be extremely blessed! We have that ability to state these things with our tongue!

You and yoru family are worth it so why not go ahead and just declare it! Prepare your body and mind for this amazing change for 2014! I believe in you and I know that you are about to have the best year of your life!

Happy New Year my friends!

Sonia

 

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product-burst-chews-mint

 

 

Guess What!!!! I am going to host a giveaway!!! Do you want to get your hands on theses really yummy Beauto Bursts???? I sure want to make sure you get a chance to try them!! So here is the deal! I am going to go ahead and give you the chance to win it!  IF you are totally lost in the sauce and not sure what I am talking about with Beauty Burst- I want you to click here and read all about them!

Here is the quick run down for them:

They are super yummy! They are like eating candy ( for me it was like eating tootsie rolls!)

They contain all natural collagen that is fantastic for your nails and hair…not to mention your skin!

I want to encourage you to give these a try and I want you to win your first bag! You can also buy them… Oh yes they are online and if you just can not wait to purchase them- buy them here.

Well… without further a due… here is the giveaway!

It is really easy to enter the giveaway! All you have to do is follow the few things below! Good Luck! I sure hope you get the chance to win!  Giveaway starts December 8, 2013 at midnight and ends December 13,2013 at midnight! Make sure you get your friends signed up as well!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

* I was compensated with a bag of Beauty Bursts- the review that was given was my own and true to how I felt! This post may contain affiliate links*

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