Valentines&Strawberry Crinkle Cookies!

HELLLLO EVERYONEEEEE!!!

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Happy February! I can’t believe we’re almost half way through month two of 2017! I love February, because there’s a lot of LOVE in this month. There are family birthdays, Valentine’s, mine and Jim’s anniversary..and also something else happened that I loved. In case you didn’t hear…..THE PATRIOTS WON THE SUPER BOWLLLLLLLLL!!!! YUPPPPP

Sorry not sorry to my Pats hating readers. Which I’m sure, there are many. Unless you’re from the NE area. But I’m a born and raised New England girl, and the love I have for the place, the people, and the sports will never leave me, no matter where Army life takes us.

But any who…on to the real point of this post! Valentine’s treats! Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s, Galentine’s (which I still celebrate, and will have a post coming up soon about the gals in my life!) or even if you have one of those anti-Valentine’s party, everyone loves FOOD! I made some yummy Strawberry Crinkle Cookies on this snowy Sunday. Jim and I had some, and I’ll be bringing the rest into the office for a Monday pick me up for the team!

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If you want to make these yummy treats here’s what you’ll need:

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-1 box of Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix 

-1 8oz tub of Cool Whip

-1 egg

-Powdered sugar

-Decorative sprinkes

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees!

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Grease your baking sheets with your Pam cooking spray. I love the olive oil spray for a lower fat alternative.

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In a large bowl (preferably a red or pink one 😉 ) slightly beat the egg, and then add your Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix and Cool Whip!

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Mix it all up, and then start rolling the mixture into little blobs and rolling them in the powdered sugar until they’re covered all around!

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Sorry bout the lack of photo for this step, got a bit messy….

Place your cookie blobs on your greased baking sheet, an inch apart and add your sprinkles!

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Mine were in for the full 12, so keep an eye, as mine started to brown a little too much around the edges, and we don’t want that..

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While they’re baking, enjoy the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens..I mean, whats better than one of the most aesthetically pleasing magazines, and the smell of baked goods filling your house?

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…..and once the time is up, pull them out the oven, and let them cool!

&ENJOY!

STEP BY STEP FOR SCREENSHOT:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease baking sheet with Pam (insert link) spray
  3. In a large bowl, slightly beat the egg, and then add your Pillsbury Strawberry Cake (insert link) mix and Cool Whip
  4. Mix it all up, and then start rolling the mixture into little blobs and rolling them in the powdered sugar until they’re covered all around
  5. Place your cookie blobs on your greased baking sheet, an inch apart and add your sprinkles
  6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes
  7. Let cool, and enjoy!

img_2875I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s, Galentine’s or anti-Valentine’s. Whatever you do, just be sure to spread love, light, and positivity. Because the world needs it. 🙂

 

//xo

 

Home for Christmas

Happy Thirsty Thursday friends!!

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It’s currently Sunday. We’re just lounging around the house. We went to breakfast at Longways Diner this morning, and have no other plans really for today. Just gonna clean up around the house, maybe grab some groceries and just prepare for the week ahead. It’s 13 degrees outside here at Drum, and we got quite a few feet of snow dumped on us this week. So I’m just gonna hang out in my fuzzy socks and enjoy my Christmas decorations just a LITTLE while longer…;)

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So, this post is gonna be a recap of our trip home for the holidays! This may get long, but these are some of my favorite posts to look back on. Unfortunately even though Jim had been on block leave for a bit, I had to work up until the night before Christmas Eve. We headed to MA on the 23rd, right after I got out of the office.

SOMEHOW we managed to stop only ONE time on the way. Grabbed gas, went pee and grabbed some food for the road. I swear, I must’ve played the bladder cards right that day, because I drink a TON of water everyday, but we did it!

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Christmas Eve was so much fun. I started off the morning, heading to my hometown, while Jim stayed at his parents house. I’ve never been so excited to go over that bridge onto the island. I was so blessed to grow up in such a beautiful hometown, and though there is a lot of beauty in Northern NY, there is nothing like be surrounded by the ocean, and gorgeous views daily. It’s truly motivating and inspiring. The ocean brings me so much peace.

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I went to lunch at the absolutely breathtaking new hotel, The Beauport with my Mom, her boyfriend Farrell and his sister. I was in so much awe of the architecture, and the stunning Christmas decor and the views from our table I didn’t take a ton of photos! 😦

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After lunch, I headed back to the Wollinger house for dinner, and family time. Jim’s Aunt and Uncle came by and we had a Yankee Swap. I was pretty pumped about my gift. Dunkin’ addict over here 😉

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I bought this educational game for Andrew, my little brother-in-law a few years back, and he plays it with me every chance he gets when I am over. It’s been so fun seeing how much he got out of that gift, and how much his knowledge has grown over the years. He is a math wiz.

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Christmas used to be all about tradition for me. Since my Dad passed away Christmas has been veering further and further from the traditions I grew up with. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love the change. I now have two incredible families to celebrate the holidays with. My two brother-in-laws are still at the Santa stage of their lives, so Christmas morning is always a blast with them.

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This picture is in my in-law’s living room. I used an app. Andrew totally believed me. Mikey, not so much. He sai he wasn’t falling for it 😉

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Cadence loves her Papa

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After Christmas we headed to my Momma’s house for round two. We are always so spoiled by the amount of gifts we receive between the Wollinger’s and the Benson’s. We are so blessed to have so many loved ones that care so much to go out of their way for us. Jim’s parents and Andrew soon followed and we all hung out at Momma B’s house, ate some good food and hung out. Christmas felt a little empty sans Grandpy and Uncle Jimmy, but I felt them there in spirit. ❤

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Don’t mind the jar of queso…I got hungry…

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My Mom is the cutest. Home decor GOALS.

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Wouldn’t be a holiday at the Benson household without an appearance from Alex!

We ended Christmas over at my big brothers house–but not before making a quick pit stop at the Lobstah Trap Tree. Like the most Gloucester Christmas thing evah.

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Kyle, Stephanie, Jim and I hung out in Kyle’s new hot tub for the rest of the night.  I am NOT a fan of winter, and didn’t think I’d be real into going into a hot tub in the freezing cold, but it’s actually amazing!!


December 26th is my little bother-in-law Mikey’s birthday!

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Mikey is one of the sweetest, silliest, kids in the world. He is so curious about the world, and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any human being have been with this kid. I can’t believe he is 10 years old.

We started off the morning curing out Christmas hang over at Cape Ann Coffee’s. YUM

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Seriously tho…Massachusetts just does breakfast better then NNY….

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&Went for a ride around the Backshore before visiting my brother at the firehouse.

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All my life I looked up to my brother as my hero. He entered Marine boot camp just before the attacks of 9/11/2001. I was too young to fully understand the impact of that tragic event on this country, but I knew Kyle was going to protect us. &Now I see him thriving in his role as a fire fighter. His passion to protect and serve is something I so respect. I am so proud of him. &Visiting him at work, brings me so much happiness.

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Cadence loves her Uncle Kyle

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That afternoon we headed up to celebrate Mikey turning 10. I loved listening to Mike and Andrew and their cousin Maggie chatting amongst themselves. A child’s perspective of the world is so pure and innocent. I don’t ever want them to grow up.

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After the birthday celebrations we didn’t have anything planned, and ended up meeting up with one of my best friends, Marissa at the mall. I was helping her pick out some interview clothes and then we went to dinner. I try to stay away from chains when I’m home because there are so many great food places on the North Shore, but we REALLY missed the 99s.

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Sorry not sorry for the silly Snap filters

The 27th was a REALLY warm day at home. We had some sibling time with Jim’s sisters. Went into downtown Newburyport, and had some delicious lunch at Agave, played Cards Against Humanity and waxed some body hair. #casual

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Since the girls had plans for the night, we headed back to Gloucester and took Cadence for her first real walk on the beach. Good Harbor never fails me. We went just around sunset, and it was stunning. When I’m by the ocean I can feel in every inch of my bones, the work of God. He has created such beauty. Photos can’t do it justice.

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“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the hands of his work.” Pslam 19:1


The 28th was a LONG day. So much adventure. We started out the day at our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOT EVER. (&If my brother Snapchats me from there one more time, Im gonna punch him.) Red’s in Salem.

Breakfast was spent with Nana Janice and Momma B. It was so nice to spend time with them. We went to the House of the Seven Gables, surprisingly its one of the places I’ve never been to in Salem. Neither had Nana Jan! She was born and raised in Salem, and her mother was a tour guide at the house, but she still had never taken a tour! When people find out I am from the North Shore area of MA, Salem is always a topic of conversation. It truly is an awesome area. If you’ve never been, go. &The House of Seven Gables is a quality “tourist attraction.” Not kitschy by any means.

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Once we got back to Gloucester, we wanted to soak up some more time in the nice weather. With all the snow and low temperatures here at Drum, Cadence hasn’t gotten many walks in, in the past few months. &We were heading to Boston that night, so we wanted to get her energy out. We took her for a walk at Ravenswood. I love walking trails. So peaceful. &Cadence was happy too!

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Jimbo and I went skating at Frog Pond for date night–back where he proposed over a year later!

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The rest of our time home, was spent hanging around with friends and family, and soaking up as much New England as we could.

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We even spent almost 2 1/2 hours chatting it up with one of the owners of Sully’s. &He was pretty frickin Boston. Definitely will never forgot that conversation, and I hope that won’t be the last time we speak with him! Sly is one of the coolest guys around!


There is nothing better than being home for the holidays. But I am so happy to be back in our home, at Fort Drum. I miss everyone and everything back home–but Im so happy to be back in my routine, and spending time with the hubs. I can’t wait to see with 2017 has to offer, and though I can’t believe Im saying this–Im PUMPED for the Spring semester to begin!

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Happy New Year everyone!

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What are some of your goals going into 2017?

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23 Things

HI GUYS!

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I wrote this post some time ago..it’s been a cray busy holiday season between work, and traveling home for the holidays..so let’s step back in time for a moment, and talk about birthday things.

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So, I’m writing this on Sunday morning.  I’m almost one month into 23. Jimbo is watching some movie about Watergate (he’s a huge history buff) with Cadence snoring on the couch both in food comas from Sunday brunch &Im here sitting at our dining room table, looking out at the Winter Wonderland that is Fort Drum right now. I thought it would be a good time to get a post together. I haven’t posted in a bit, and I’m in need of some blog therapy.

So..you know that saying about “birthday blues?” Well, Im no stranger to those. Maybe it’s because my amazing childhood celebrations set the bar to high for adulthood, maybe it’s because just before entering adulthood I spent a birthday watching my Dad go through chemotherapy. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last two birthdays away from Jimmy? But I have to say…22 was good to me. I had some extreme lows..but I don’t think anyone goes through a full year of life 100% on high. Ya know? I want to reflect on the memories of the roller coaster that was 22. This may be a long one. So..lets go over 22..with 23 things.

  1. 22 Celebrations.

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I started off my 22nd year sad because Jimbo was away for basic training. But one of my best friend’s Marissa, came to the rescue. We went to the nail salon, and blasted “22” by TSwift. &On the night of my birthday, I got a call from Jimmy, and then went out with my sister-in-law, Amber and Riss to West End Johnnie’s. Now…I am in no way a “clubber” or “party girl.” Not to say I don’t have fun when Im out..because I do. But, I’d rather be at home, in a onsie baking something good, and watching a movie. But I truly have never had more fun than I did that night with those two girls. Running around Boston, taking ridiculously 22 year old selfies in nasty bathrooms after last call, and eating giant cookies at 2am from Bovas. So, thank you ladies, for making my 22nd celebrations so special. &Of course I spent the next day in bed with Riss, napping, watching New Girl and chugging Gatorade, until my little brother-in-laws told me to come downstairs, because in true Wollinger fashion, we had a birthday cake with the whole fam. Cant say it was my cutest Wollinger family party look..walking down the stairs in an oversized tshirt, last nights make up, and sweating Grey Goose…but, at least I had fun!

2. Enchanted Village with Momma B

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Momma B and I went to the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture. If you don’t know what that is…lets just say, its a very Massachusetts Christmas thing to do. This huge furniture store has a whole village with these dolls, showing different scenes of Christmas scenes from the 60s and 70s. A display that they had taken from Jordan Marsh. They have an ice rink, Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins galore, and a 4D showing of the Polar Express. I felt like a little kid again, and had such an awesome day with my Mom.

3. The Wollinger Ugly Sweater Party

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Maybe it was all the Mike’s Hard Karla and I drank that made this holiday party so amazing!? Maybe it was cousin Shayna’s ugly sweater….but what played such an amazing role in this evening…was NANA. LOOK AT NANA WOLLINGER GO ^

4. Jimmy coming home for Holiday Block Leave

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Watch this super sappy video from when I picked Jim up at South Station. That day was such a fun day. Even though he stunk, like an Italian sub, from his 48 hour bus ride from Benning. After he showered, and we hid him in Gloucester for a few hours, we got Jim in a giant box that his parent’s amazing neighbors wrapped, and surprised his mom and dad. That was just the beginning of the surprises that weekend. I took Jimmy to his surprise Christmas present. A stay at an extremely historical hotel, the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston. It was so beautiful..breathtaking architecture. Which leads me to #5.

5. Getting engaged the day before eloping.

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Yep. You read that right! Jim &I were “running away to get married” that weekend at Cambridge City Hall. Well, our families knew. haha We just plan on having an actual wedding in 2019, so we didn’t really tell everyone that we were eloping first. The night before, Jimmy and I took a walk through the theater district of Boston (one of my FAVORITE areas, right near my future school, Emerson.) and he took me down to the gazebo in Boston Commons, a place where he had “fake proposed” many a time, embarrassing me in front of hundreds of passers by..and he said to me..”Wouldn’t it be cool if I literally proposed to you, before we were married?” &I said to him, “Well, you’re kind of running out of time buddy..” So this fool, gets down on one knee..and me, thinking he’s faking again (with TONS of people around because it was Christmas time) tells him to get the heck up. But he pulled that gorgeous ring out of his pocket..and it was legit. Here’s our beautiful engagement photos taken by the incredibly talented Gerri Mazzeo.

6. Celebrating Amber’s Birthday

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I had another awesome night with Amber, for her “Quarter Century Celebrations” between our interesting, edible, Uber ride to Storyville, and 3am pit stops to an iHop, with Amber in pajamas…it was a night to remember. With the following day looking similar to my birthday, with cake and boozy sweat at the Wollinger home.

7. Trip to Savannah and Jim’s Basic Training Graduation.

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It was an interesting….journey down with Momma B. But Savannah is my favorite “city” next to Boston. Southern charm, adorable shops and restaurants downtown…and SUNSHINE AND PALM TREES. Nothing makes me happier than sunshine. I had so much fun with my Momma, and even got to meet up with Mariah, and baby (legit baby, HES SO LITTLE IN THESE PHOTOS!!) Levi.. &After our little vaca we got back in the Rogue for the 4 1/2 hour journey to Benning to see Jim graduate from OSUT! I’ve never been more proud of him, mostly because I could see the pride in his eyes for his accomplishments and his dedication to this country. It’s truly an amazing experience being a military spouse. ❤

8. Bruin’s game with Jill and the Masquerade Ball with Kira

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It was rare that I got to spend time with my IFS girls outside of work, and these two nights made 22 an amazing year for me. ❤

9. Moving to Fort Drum

This may not be my choice place to relocate to…though I will always love the North..it’s a tad rural for me. But moving out of state, and especially just out of my hometown, has been eye opening. &Living on a military instillation, has been humbling. Seeing, and now living the military family life is an honor. There are a lot of sacrifices we make losing time with our family member, and worrying about their safety..but I am so proud of Jim.&I love this country.

10. Easter away from home.

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I burnt the bacon, and got nothing but sh*t about my cooking for Easter dinner from Jim and Sheps. But–I loved it! ❤

11. Grandpy passing.

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This was so hard for me, between living away from my family and watching the death of my Grumpy Grandpy just bring out the worst in some family members…this was a harder death to grieve than my own fathers. But I have comfort in knowing my Gramps is now in a better place, and that I will again see him someday, free from the stress of human life.

12. My blog post about Emily 

This blog post about ANSTO Emily, is the piece of work I am the most proud of from my 22nd year. She inspires me on a daily basis, and to have the chance to tell her story, was such an honor.

13. Uncle Jimmy passing

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Another pit fall of my 22nd year was yet another family member, and male figure in my life passing away. He lost his battle with addiction. Addiction is something  I will never stop preaching about. People turn to drugs, typically when they’re in a very vulnerable place, and they just take a hold of your soul, and suck the person you are right out of you. But in his death, I do feel relief, that he is in a better place now. The best place, with our Lord..in his eternal rest. No more hurt, no more pain. My Uncle Jimmy spent a large chunk of the end of his life in Beverly, MA at the River House. The River House is a shelter that helps to guide individuals to a self sufficient life. They provide the resources for those who may have fallen off course to find stable income, find a permanent home, and they provide a lot of love and support. If you have the means–please donate to the River House. You can do this in a monetary donation–and every dollar counts, no amount is too little–or through providing a meal. Click that hyperlink to learn more. 🙂

14. Meeting the Gariss’!

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We’ve made a lot of new friends here on Fort Drum. But the Gariss’ are by far our closest and best friends. Trever and Caroline are two of my favorite people in this world. I never want to play Cards Against Humanity again without the raunchy humor of Caroline. She has quickly become one of my best friends in the world. &Little Wesley has become like another honorary nephew for us. I love that sweet, happy little boy with all my heart and soul. No matter what distance the Army puts between us, my friendship with the Gariss’ will not break. I love you guys. 🙂

15. New job, new work friends!

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Moving from MA was hard for a million and one reasons. One of the biggest was leaving my employer, the Institution for Savings. IFS is an incredible employer, and a place I still intend on continuing my career with if we move back home. But a new home, means a new job, and I knew it was going to be hard to find a place that competed with IFS, with the way we treat our customers like family, to the wonderful people I worked with, to the opportunities to both grow in my career, and help my community. But my new employer has done that for me. Northern is incredible to their members, they care so much for their community, and they have amazing people that work for them. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity in my 22nd year to have worked for two amazing companies.

16. VISITS AT DRUM

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Not really sure what was happening in this photo…

I had the opportunity to visit home a lot this summer, unfortunately two of the times I was home were for funerals, but it has been so nice having so many friends and family come to visit us at Drum. Momma B came up for Mother’s Day, Jim’s parents and little brother visited for a weekend in the summer before Jim’s deployment, his sister’s and brother-in-law came to visit–and we had SO MUCH FUN–my Mom and brother came up, my best friend Alex, and her boyfriend AJ came to visit us, and next weekend, we’re expecting my best friend Mariah, baby Levi, and her husband Spencer to come visit! I am SO excited to finally meet her hubs!

17. Old Forge

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As much as NNY would never be my residence of choice-there is a lot of beauty up here. Especially in the summer time. We spent a day at Old Forge. It was so adorable and charming. Adorable little shops, yummy restaurants. It was so much fun!

18. Father’s Day Weekend

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We went home for the weekend of Father’s Day, and normally–that’s a pretty crappy day for me. This year especially. No Dad, no Grandfather, no Uncle Jim. But I luckily have the best Father-in-Law in the world, and it was so nice to be able to celebrate with him. We went with my sister and brother in-laws to our favorite breakfast place, Red’s and took a walk around Salem, MA. It was such a beautiful day, and a huge highlight of my year. My heart was so full on the drive back to Drum that day.

19. Mariah’s Bridal Shower

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My best friend Mariah is a Navy wife–and as I’m sure a lot of my fellow military spouses know, sometimes you have to do things slightly out of order. We both eloped, and are having our weddings in the future. But, this past summer, my fellow bridesmaids and I threw her a bridal shower! It was a blast, and all the hard work we all put into this, was so worth it. It came out beautifully, and it was so nice to be able to all be together in MA, to celebrate Mariah and Spencer’s love. ❤

20. Jim’s First Deployment/Homecoming

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Photo by Marissa Frederick Photography

My 22nd year, definitely revolved around Jimmy joining the Army. But one of the biggest parts of this year, was Jim’s first deployment. We were “lucky” so to say, that he only went for the tail end of the deployment, but it was still tough. I was in a new environment on my own–and it was such a transition to be on my own, working and living in a totally unfamiliar place, and then a huge transition again to go back to life together. It’s easy, because you love one another, but it is hard to go from the routine you had living by yourself, and the routine he had with the Army overseas, back into marital life. But I was so blessed to have him come home safe, as well all know–that isn’t the case for all military personnel. I am so proud to be with a man, so devoted to his country.&I love this country I call home, so very much.

22. Home Decor

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They say home is where the heart is, and I left a HUGE piece of my heart back in Massachusetts. That will always be home to be. But currently, my heart, my life, and my man–are here on Fort Drum. I hear a lot of military wives that struggle with feeling home, in a place they know is temporary. But no matter the time spent in one location with this Army lifestyle, I want my house to be a home. I love interior decor–I get it from my Momma. I’ve had so much fun making this house a home, since we’ve been here. &I especially love the Christmas decor we have up currently. It’s so cozy to come home to at night, after a long day of work. I know someday we will leave this home we are in, and though I will always be excited for the next adventure, I will surely miss this place.

23. CADENCE

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This is quite possibly the best thing that happened to me at 22. I adopted the sweetest little Boxer mix in the world, Miss Cadence. She is my baby. She came to us, a bone wreck, with Kennel Cough, with such a sad back story–and to be able to nurse her to health, and give her a happy life, makes my life worth everything. She is so good with people, children and other dogs. She loves her stuffed monkey, chicken flavored treats, and carrots. She’s the biggest cuddle bug, and my number one fan club. I love my Cadence. ❤

 

Here’s to 23..the year Blink 182 says nobody likes you….here’s to hoping my handsome hubs continues likin’ me 😉

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Photo by Gerri Mazzeo

Welcome Home Jimmy!!!

HELLLLLOOOO GUYS!

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It’s been a bit! I know I promised a Game Day recipes post a ways back. But  I had a little bump in the road, where I had a great opportunity with an awesome sponsor..but we just couldn’t agree. I got really hard on myself for a while, and was thinking to myself–where is the blog going? Do I want to stop it all together? Do I want to go full throttle, and make it more of a center piece, and make it a full time income? &The answer is still…I don’t know. I love blogging. It’s my favorite hobby. It keeps me sane, it keeps me excited, and it gives me so much opportunity to connect with people I would have never had the ability to before. It’s such a wonderful creative outlet, and I don’t ever want to hate it. But yeah. So I think maybe later on next week, I might post some more rambles, but for todays post….JMMY IS HOMEEEEEE!

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole photographer thing, but then I realized…“Who am I kidding? Im Autumn Benson…when do I not go overboard?” I was sooo happy when I had reached out to a lot of talented photographers in the Fort Drum area, and found that Marissa Frederick had an opening! I have been admiring her work since before we moved here, and when she had an opening, I HAD to jump on it.

Marissa did such an amazing job capturing one of the most special moments in our lives. Jimmy came home from his first deployment. Though we were lucky this wasn’t a long one, that didn’t change the worry in my heart, the restless nights, the pit in my stomach..and the absence of my other half weighing on me.

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This photo is actually from the photographer for 2-87 ^^^ The rest are all Marissa 🙂 

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Wesley realizing it’s BOBO!!!

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Since then we have just been enjoying each other and life is back to normal! We went home to MA to visit family. Had dinner at the Wollinger’s in honor of Jim’s coming home.

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Jim and his dad give me life:

PLEASE WATCH THIS 

&Spent some time with the Benson fam, as my Daddy was honored along with all the other Gold Star Families in Massachusetts with a beautiful statue in Taunton, MA. We didn’t end up going to the ceremony, because I just knew it would be too emotional for me right now. But I am so blessed and honored by my Father’s sacrifice for this country. I am so proud to be a part of both the Benson/Wollinger families.

Also, we celebrated this little cuties 2nd birthday!

Oh yeah! &We had our closest friends up here come over for the Pats game, made some yummy food and just hung out 🙂

 

Wesley booping Sheppy^ So adorable!!

So that is all for now. I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend. I know I will. I am very excited to be spending time with Jimbob and my Cadence. Until next time! ❤

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

//xo

PS–Im a blonde again!!

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PS PS–LOOK AT THESE CUTE TARGET DOLLAR SPOT FINDS:

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IM BACK IN MA!?!?!?

HI GUYSSSSSS

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&haha to the readers I got with that click bait 😉 I am actually REwriting this post. This was due to be posted on Tuesday. I was having technical difficulties, and decided today would be the day…and I ended up losing the whole post. I was attempting to upload it on my new domain, that I have been working on for so long now..but alas it was a fail. But I drank a cup of coffee in hopes it would give me the energy to put away my mountain of laundry, but it didn’t. It did motivate me to get this rewritten and put on Netflix in the background! SO–where have I been? Where am I? Whats new?

There’s been lots of rumors going around that I moved back home, and one creepy app in particular had some nasty individuals speaking about me being “back home, and broken up with the Army guy.” Not sure where all that craziness got started, but I did not move home, and “Army guy” and I are still happily together. Well, in heart, not distance. But we’ll get there.

I DID GO HOME FOR A QUICK MINUTE THOUGH! It was rough timing with Jim, but I drove home for the weekend a couple weeks back with the pup for my family’s 6th Annual BBQ Reunion, and my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower! I had a blast, and also came back to Fort Drum an exhausted mess. I swear Im only now getting back to normal, and getting Cadence and I back into a good routine.

The morning of the BBQ started off a bit rough. I got into MA around 1am, after working all day, and then hopping in the car with my pup.

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I headed to my brother’s house to help him out with some cooking and run errands–but the morning ended up being me stuck in tourist trap beach traffic, and then having to tend to my frantic Momma B who took Cadence to the carwash. My crazy rescue pup got a little nervous and went “cray cray” as Momma B would say, chewing on the dashboard of her brand new car, and biting at the water on the windshield. Traumatizing for Momma and Cade. But alas, after all the craziness, the show went on!

I didnt get a TON of photos (unlike me) but I was really just enjoying my time, and trying not to get to sad with all the “Where is Jimmy?” questions. Even some of the Wollinger fam, and even their super awesome neighbors, The Palen’s came by!

Cadence had a pretty overwhelming day and had to have a nice nap with baby Levi.

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Later on my adorable big brother had his coworkers that were on duty come by for some food and brought all the children at the BBQ out to see the fire truck!

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The night ended with lots of laughs with old friends, a couple rounds of beer pong, and this epic Momma who couldn’t let Levi who thought it was still party time, cramp her style!

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The next morning was the morning of my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower!!! I am her maid of honor, and I have to say, that with the crazy distance, and mess that was planning this, us bridesmaids did a pretty banging job with the partayyy.

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&Of course before Cadence and I headed home (with lots of technical difficulties..) I had to show this pup the ocean, and what she gets to look forward to every time we visit, and when we finally do get to bring her back to our home. She couldn’t stop sniffing the air. Neither could I. Miss that salt air..

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But back to reality, and Cadence and I are home in Fort Drum! Had a crazy past few weeks in the office, and finally got the house picked up and things back in order this weekend. Aside from that mountain of laundry… But things are a little different in the Benson/Wollinger household….because Jimbob is DEPLOYED. Yep the D word has finally become reality and it sucks. We’re being told this shouldn’t be a long one. But I won’t say too much more in the name of OPSEC. But I can tell you, that I miss that dude like crazy. Things have been all over the place lately, but I am settling in and getting into a routine, and crazy office life/preparing to finish my bachelors has been keeping me busy. But getting into bed, and having his side be empty is not easy. This house being so quiet…is strange.

I wasn’t sure how I would do with him leaving this time. After all, the first week after he left for OSUT I was a MESS. That was our first time being separated. But I was at home, with my friends and family, in familiar territory.

But honestly…this time around I’ve been more “okay.” If that is the right way to say it. It’s scarier because I know my man is now in a dangerous place. But..I’m holding it together. Not crying in my room and thinking the world is ending, and all that teenage angsty stuff. Because life goes on. Living on post has given me the opportunity to be surrounded by all of these Army families. Might not be my family…but it’s inspiring to see all of these families, with small children keep on going, when their husbands and wives are deployed. Because if my Dad taught me anything, it’s that life does go on. Whether you chose to be present or not. &This time, I chose to be okay. Because my life will continue to move. I will continue to hustle and build my own career, and take care of my baby Cade. &Hold the fort down until my handsome man is back by my side farting and stinking the place out, and making strange noises, and whistling the Hunger Games whistle when he’s hungry.

So here’s to all the military families KILLIN it with keeping it together when life hands you orders.

 

Until next time.

 

“Im gonna put my body first, and love me so hard till it hurts….gonna love myself and I don’t need anybody else.”–Hailee Steinfeld (This song is my jam)

//xo

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What I’ve Been Up To/Rambles

Hi guys.

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Things have been pretty mundane in the Benson/Wollinger household. But I haven’t blogged in a while, and I felt inspired to write. So, I apologize if this post becomes wordy, all over the place and maybe a semi recap/spill my guts session.

So, lets start with the recap…here’s what I’ve been up to:

Jim and I went back to my home town a couple of weekends ago for my Uncle Jim’s service. That service has a whole lot to do with things that have been running through my mind lately, but we’ll get there later. I didnt take too many photos while in my hometown, but we had a really good time spending the day with my brother and old friends out on the boat. Made some memories I certainly will never forget.

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Before we headed back on Sunday, we took Jim’s Dad out to breakfast for Father’s Day, at our favorite spot, Red’s in Salem, MA. His little brother Andrew, sisters Karla and Amber and brother in law Rob were there too, so obviously we had to do a photo shoot.

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THEN, my BFF Caroline who is the best person ever introduced us to the North Country’s version of a beach. Wasn’t half bad…still no comparison to the beaches back home….but the “lake beach” off Lake Ontario was pretty awesome. Any day is a good day when Caroline and the little dude are involved. ❤

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Jim’s sisters, and brother and law made a surprise visit too just for a night last weekend! We had SO MUCH FUN. We had a family dinner together, with our friend Sean as well–Jim and I were freaking out we were so excited…we’ve never had that many people at our table. Jimbo may or may not have been our “DJ” for the night while we had drinks and played Cards Against Humanity…. and this is actually the only picture I got of the entire trip….caption it in the comments:

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Sunday we went to Old Forge! For those of you who don’t know what/where that is–it’s a beautiful place in Upstate NY….basically what I imagined it would be like when I moved up here…but alas…you have to go about an hour and a half from post to see the true beauty of this place. We drove up jamming out to some classic rap songs until we lost service..and once we finally got there (Jimmy yells at me for not following the GPS….this kid took us like 20 min out of the way…don’t let him tell you any different..) we stopped for lunch at Walt’s Diner. We didn’t have too much planned, so we just walked around all the shops, and acted like the tourists we are.  I definitely got a cute little ice-cream shaped treat for my pup in honor of National Ice Cream Day! I actually didn’t have any ice-cream though! 😦

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The banker side of me got REAL excited when seeing the Life is Good store had an old vault…though they did fill it with Crocs…haha

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OH! That brings me to this! One last thing to catch you up on…..drum roll please….(for those of you that follow me on ANY social media, you already know)…BUT, let’s give an official blog fam welcome to CADENCE WOLLINGER!

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Don’t mind my pants covered in fur..we had JUST picked her up, so the cats in the humane society were all OVER ME. 

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We have been searching and searching for months for our forever pup, and we rescued this sweet girl from the Steven Swan Humane Society in Utica, NY. Her name was Candy (not quite sure if that was her name originally) and she was lovingly renamed Cadence. She has acclimated to the name very well…and as some of you know, back home we have a family dog named Lola..

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She’s on the left, that sweetie on the right was her pup Cadence….so it was a tribute to her, as well as a tribute to our love for the US military. ❤ Cadence is a boxer mix, and she was a boney wreck when we got her. She had kennel cough and her nipples were basically dragging on the floor. We think she may have been used as a breeding machine, and dumped at the shelter…but she is in her happy forever home now..and boy does she feel it!

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Ok…now that you’re caught up on some of the goings on around here…ramble time. I’ve had so much on my mind lately. So many things are coming up in my life that are pretty exciting/scary/just all the emotions. Some of those things include me going back to school at night to finish up my bachelors….that’s super exciting to me, but scary, because it’s going to be a lot with working full time, but ya gotta do what you gotta do as an adult–I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again! 🙂 My best friend Mariah has her wedding coming up, and I’m her Maid of Honor–so we’ve got lots of planning, and bridal showering, and things to get done before I fly to Savannah in December. THAT being said, there has been a lot going on personally that have been weighing on my mind. I won’t go into too much detail, but I can tell you that its making my heart hurt. I’ve seen some people I love recently just do things and say things…that just aren’t ok. It’s hard growing up and thinking that the world is one way, and believing in people so much, only to have your eyes opened to realize that people you thought you knew…aren’t who you thought they were. True, genuine, kind, loyal people, family members, aren’t very common. &The ones that are, need to be cherished. When I love you, as a family member, as a friend, as a significant other–I love with everything. I was raised that way. I love you with all my might, defend you till the end, but let you know when you are wrong, and expect you to do the same for me. Every big moment in your life, is a big moment in mine. Since my Grandpy and my Uncle’s passing…it’s been way too much. Because you see…Grandpy and Uncle Jim were two of those people that I loved so fiercely. &Seeing others agendas play out during a time of grieving is hard. But it’s a part of life, and another thing I’ve learned in this crazy journey as a 20 something. Life is short, spend time with those you love, celebrate the happiness, and smile through the darkness.

That’s all for now. &If you made it all this way…thank you for letting me ramble. I needed this writing session more than you could imagine. &I promise to get back to happy blogging. I’ve had enough moping around for a lifetime.

 

“You and your girlfriends need to stop calling each other ‘bi*ch,’ there is enough hate in this world, you young ladies don’t need to be talking like that.”-My Daddy

//xo

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RECENT FAVORITES

HELLO FRIENDS!

How are you all!? I apologize for the lack of post the last few weeks! I just started a new job, and it’s pretty intense with training, so by the time I got home and cooked dinner, and ate…I was pretty much ready to hit the sheets. Also, Jim’s parents and my little brother-in-law Andrew came to visit Memorial Day weekend!

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Had a perfect bun till the humidity got to it…. 😦

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This post though I want to go over some of my recent favorite items/products/things. I definitely haven’t done a favorites post in quite some time. I thought about doing a monthly favorites type of thing, but I don’t switch it up too much with products and things like that. I’m a bit of a creature of habit. BUT–before I dive in, I just want to take a quick moment to appreciate my hubs. You all know how obsessed we are with one another, but I think he just deserves a shoutout. I’m forever in awe of him. &I know that is why God placed us in each others lives. I am in just awe of his selflessness, his ability to make me laugh every single day, and his constant need to protect. Myself, his family and his country. I know some of you might be reading this and silently (or not so silently) yaking. But I just wanted to take a moment to shout out my favorite hunka burnin love.

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OKAY–lets get back to business, and talk about a few of my favorite things…

  1. AMLACTIN

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This stuff is AMAZING. I hyperlinked it, so if you want to buy it, it’s all yours! So…some of you may know what I’m talking about right now, and some of you may not. I have a “rash” that’s basically permanent on my upper arms, thats referred to as “chicken skin.” The scientific term for it is, keratosis pilaris. Basically red, bumps. &They get a little splotchy sometimes. They don’t itch or burn or anything..they’re just kind of there. They say this is a common thing, and that it can be hereditary, and I know my Mom has it, though not as severe as myself. It just makes me super self conscious about wearing anything short sleeved. BUT–a good friend of mine suggested this lotion. It says to apply it twice daily, and IT SERIOUSLY WORKED. It’s not gone completely, but it has dulled so much of the redness and smoothed it out. I’ve tried SO MANY products to do the job, and this is the one that’s worked for me. I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t take before and afters…but if any of you try it, please share your before and afters with me, if you’re comfortable!

2) My Paula Dean pan.

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When I moved into my first apartment, I totally snagged this pan from my Momma. She’s had it FOREVER and it’s seriously my best pan. It’s such a pretty blue, and aside from that–it just holds up and does the job. All of our other pots and pans are kind of just cheap crap we picked up at Walmart when we first moved out on our own. They do the job too, and we just make food for the two of us, but I seriously love having such a nice, good quality, heavy duty pan. I want to get more from her line. I couldn’t find a link for just the pan, but here is one to the whole set!

3) MY KEDS

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Yes, I’m aware of how gross they are. But I wear them ALL THE TIME. Keds are just such classics and you can wear them so many different ways. I love them with simple outfits like jeans/shorts and a plain tee, but they even look cute to dress down an outfit and make it more casual. I like to wear them with skater skirts and breezy tops too, for a comfortable shoe choice when we go walking around on date nights.

4) The 30 minute power clean

Now this idea I got from Amber Fillerup  If you haven’t checked out her blog before, you have to. She’s the queen of braids, such a sweet down to earth Momma/wifey, and not to mention, her blog is just so atheistically pleasing. &She’ll make you get the travel bug REAL quick. BUT–the 30 min power clean is just 30 quick minutes at night where before heading to bed (or to binge watch Quantico) you clean up some area of your house. Whether it be just mopping the kitchen floors, wood polishing your furniture, or picking up the cyclone you made while getting ready for work after your first six alarms wouldn’t get you out of bed…it’s a great way to keep things in order during the week when you just don’t have that motivation to “clean as you go.” &If you have a roommate or spouse or what have you to power clean with–it’s a fun way to be competitive with who can get more done in the 30 minutes! So set your timers, and GO MOMMA B CRAY CRAY on those dishes!

5) My dinner chart, which I referenced before in a post.

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I’ve really been trying to get us to eat in more. Better for the wallet, and we tend to cook healthy..and when eating out we view it as a treat, even if we’re eating dinner our six nights/week… So this chart just helps me keep track of what I need to get at the grocery store, and helps us plan some yummy meals that we WANT to stay home and cook! Found it at the Dollar Spot at Target!

6) THIS SONG 

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You know sometimes when you randomly hear a song in a tv show or movie, and you HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IT IS? Well I heard the song Pumpin Blood by NONONO when watching the adorable romance movie (duh) Endless Love. &I. Am. Obsessed. I listen to it when doing my 30 minute power cleans 😉 &It’s definitely one of my favorite songs to run to. It just pumps you up. For lack of better ANYTHING, “it’s lit.”

7) THESE HEADWRAPS

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photos courtesy of Google

I love these…but I’ve yet to actually venture out and purchase them, because head wraps and head bands NEVER stay on my head unless I pierce my skull with a billion bobby pins. But I need these in my life.

8) So…I will never get too old to fan girl. I just think that people who aren’t excitable, just must have the most boring lives. Like–at what age do we decide that jumping up and down and clapping, and scream laughing about things wasn’t acceptable? I mean, just look at this lady with her Chewbacca mask. HAS ANYTHING ever made you that happy!? But anyways, fan girling. Yes. Taylor Swift. It’s a thing. It’s my thing. She is my life, my idol, and my musical Godess since I was 13 years old. However, I haven’t escalated to the point where I made an Instagram fan page…and that’s because I worry that people might judge me at 22 for doing so…but that doesn’t mean I don’t follow copious amounts of them. My absolute fav is seeherwiththelightsout  If you’re a crazy Tay fan girl like me, CHECK HER OUT.

9) ASIDE from the Chewy loving lady, some of my other favorite viral videos I’m loving include this one of this adorable little girl wanting a boyfriend, and her Daddy insisting that she is “gonna work for God.” (Their accents just MAKE this vid) This one on how to store veggies. SO many necessary tips. I even started storing my asparagus properly! &This English bulldog vid. YAS.

10) My new drug store mascara obsession, is this one by Maybelline. I’m normally a Two Faced, Better Than Sex mascara kinda girl, but this one is awesome too. &A lot more affordable. It’s brush is flexible, which works for me, bc my lashes tend to grow downward, &it really helps to brush them out. &The black is REALLY carbon black. My lashes are also super light blonde, so I look like I have none with out any mascara. I went with my Wollinger fam to Alexandria Bay up here in NY over the long weekend, and knew I’d sweat my make up off in the heat, so I just threw on this mascara and was good to go! My lashes were nice and thick and dark, and it woke my eyes right up!

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11) &Last but not least….my copper mug. You all know of my sick obsession with mugs. Grabbed this baby at the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I’m OBSESSED with this. If I ever have a kitchen with an island, and one of those things up above to hang pots and pans with, I’m doing all copper. So beautiful, and minimalist.

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ALSO, here is a sneak peak of some of the things I’ve gotten for my new cubicle! (&A random face wash I picked up…couldn’t find my usual Yes To Tomatoes exfoliating scrub.) You know I have the most fab cube in the office. I’ll soon have the full Nate Berkus collection of all the gold office supplies.

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QOTD: What would you like next weeks blog to be about? My weekly office eats? Or cubicle decor? If I get an equal amount of votes on both, I’ll do both! Let me know in the comments down below, or on any of my social medias!

“The secret to happiness, is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.”

//xo

 

~Rest in peace my sweet, and silly Uncle Jim…may our good Lord heal you of all you pain and suffering. I love you very much.~

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