Monday, September 16, 2019

National Working Parents Day + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Today is "National Working Parents Day."

When you're a working parent, you really have very limited "me" time. 

Personal development goes down the tubes.

Any real time is spent with your kids

Any leftover time is spent with your spouse, or if you're single, doing what would have been your spouses share of the work done at home.

Sometimes the yard and home don't look like you've spent hours on it. Probably because you've chosen getting a few hours of sleep over taking care of the yard. I certainly get it!

My single friend is a teacher at a charter school and she has a son and two dogs at home. She is so talented and is always volunteering and helping others when she isn't working. You might guess what gets put at the last of the list...Her yard. It's not terrible, but it's not designer and manicured like some of the other homes around her. I sincerely hope that her neighbors take that into account and aren't talking about her behind her back! Maybe some of them even help her occasionally with her yard work. There's my optimistic and altruistic thinking coming out!

It takes an extremely special person to handle parenting and working full-time.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 61 percent of families with children have both parents working outside the home.

I would be happy to see more paid time-off for parents of school-age and younger children. Children are so vulnerable and society would be well-served to see parents who work have the option to do more parenting, especially when their children are crying out for it. 

At my job at a local Middle School, I have seen young teachers or staff members working, with a baby on the way. I've talked to some who are very unclear about what their work future will be. Our school district does provide paid leave for new moms and dads, but many have said that it isn't long enough. The standard leave is 6 weeks. One mom decided to ditch the job and stay home with her baby. Another mom, after having her baby, is back to work! It's all what they decide is best for their situation and how they can work with the benefits provided. 

I know that many feel guilt because they can't be there for some of those amazing milestones, like the assemblies, the award dinners, the many sports events. They sometimes also can't be there when their child is sick. They need to rely on pre-arranged plans or spur-of-the-moment favors. Some parents pay exorbitant child care fees because they don't want to entrust their children to just anyone. Because we've all heard the stories...

What I do know is that working parents are no slouches. Some of them go through extreme fatigue and pressure just to make sure they fulfill their job at work AND their full-time commitment to their families. To those who I see doing this, I am in awe and I salute you!

I love what Ann Landers said because it's so true!!! If we can remember and take comfort knowing that "It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings", then we can be confident that we have done our very best and they will remember our good intentions and the hard work that we did for their best life! So,here's to you working parents! Thanks for all you do!
 Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of the week's best original content. It's all about posts from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize(Affiliate links welcome) 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Getting Into The Halloween Spirit Early + #MyPostMonday - Week's Best Original Content

My husband is feeling pretty smug lately. Unbeknownst to me, he purchased a couple of horrible, furry, black spiders to be used for Halloween purposes! That's right, Halloween. We're in the 2nd week of September so nothing like that should be around yet, right?

I guess it had been too long since he had gotten me good, so he played it up. He furtively planted one on my side of the bed and let things play out. 

When I'm just done with the day and can't keep my eyes open anymore, that is when I will head up to bed. I'll yell out, "I'm going to bed, G'night!" and as quickly as my head hits the pillow, usually I'm out.  So I'm heading up and he is in the next room, probably just waiting for what  will happen next. I do my "git 'her done" face wash routine and teeth brushing, throw on some sleep wear, and go around the bed to get in. On the floor is an awful sight that I just can't deal with right now. 

I'm so scared that all I can muster is to do a sharp intake of breath. I'm thinking, "This is the biggest wolf spider I've ever seen. Either that, or a tarantula, but I've never seen one in these parts....I'm too experienced with the ways of Athropoda to even think of screaming. That would startle it and send it scurrying to who knows where?" This all goes through my head in all of 5 seconds. Then I realized that it was my dearest, playing brilliant "let's scare the wifey" games. I yelled at him hard! He laughed and I thought it was over. But no, it wasn't over. I pulled the covers back, and there was another the bed! He's so done for. Just wait!

Of course then he tried it on the dog! He planted the spider where she would happen upon it in her travels. And of course, he's waiting in the wings, as I am too. 'Cause now, I'm an accomplice. I thought for sure she would either attack it or jump back, but I think it was too much like some of her other furry dog toys, so she just didn't register much at all!

I think there are many other people who just can't seem to wait until actual Halloween. They are so into it! I actually love the idea that some guy with a drone came up with. He attached a grim reaper to it! You've seen the YouTube videos where people are duped by fake scary things and they start running like crazy! If you haven't already, this grim reaper video is so funny! It's epic! So to get you in the Halloween Spirit, here's the link!! Enjoy!

Are you looking forward to Halloween or are you all about one of the other post summer holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas? Any others? 
 Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of the week's best original content. It's all about posts from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize(Affiliate links welcome)    

Monday, September 2, 2019

I Left It On Clayton Peak + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Happy Labor Day! It was a much-needed long weekend because I went back to work way too early! I needed just one more last hurrah before Fall really begins. 

So early this morning, like 4am early, I started to get ready for an "easy"  hike up to Clayton Peak, a hike my husband assured me would be done in 4 hours, tops!

We started out at around 6:15, a little bit behind schedule. We always like to start before sunrise to beat the heat (today it was a sweltering 100 degrees in the valley, so around 80 up in the higher elevations.) But intent and execution are two different things---We always have good intent to get off early, but we rarely execute our intent! 
 We climbed and climbed. We actually went off-trail and found our own route. And what was supposed to have been a 3.5 round trip ended up being a 6.66 round trip! But hey, more time with my babes! 

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Heart and Soul #Giveaway $200 To Del Sol!!

This blog accepts product samples to facilitate an honest and fair review.
This is the time of year when we are all trying to squeeze in every last bit of summer fun that we possibly can because we know that it won't last for much longer. We are putting our hearts and souls into the last strains of summer!

And for good reason.....summer is when the sun is at its peak and we can do more outside than any other season! 

Del Sol is a company that is ALL heart and soul! They use the power of the sun to make us feel great about ourselves and about the things we're doing! When the UV rays are out, their many developed colors become visible to the naked eye. When the sun isn't involved, the only creatures that see those colors are, strangely enough, bats! (Bats love the dark....)

Del Sol's panel of chemists from around the world have tested tens of thousands of color-changing product variations! Because of that, they are always finding new ways to enhance various products and their inventory is constantly changing and expanding!

Here are some of my favorites

Solize Sunglasses! 100% UVA and UVB sun protection, with a 100% replacement guarantee! So many styles to choose from!

Del Sol Nail Polish! Two different colors in one application! One color inside, one color outside! You'll never get bored, that's for certain! 

Del Sol Tee Shirts! These are the most fun shirts ever! So comfortable, made from 100% premium cotton and the designs are all heart and soul! 

Del Sol Beach Towels! An extra large color-changing beach towel that will be your favorite beach accessory, especially when people around you are amazed at the burst of colors that explode when you bring it out of your bag! 

Del Sol Charm Bracelets! Get the charm bracelet that you can accessorize with the symbols that represent you! They show what you are all about. These make such cute gifts for girls of all ages!  

Del Sol Hair Accessories! These hairpins and hair decorations are the most creative way to put some heart and soul into your hair style! 

Del Sol Beach Toys! These are toys that you typically see at the beach, but you also see them everywhere where there is some sunshine! I think these are the BEST gift ideas for active kids, teens, and young-at-heart adults! 

These are just a few of the things that I love at Del Sol. What is your favorite? I'll bet you can't keep it at just one! Also, make sure to take advantage of this exclusive 20% Discount Code! Use GAL20 at check-out for a 20% total discount!

Now for the giveaway!!! One person will win an incredible $200 eGift Code to spend at Del Sol! You could seriously get much of your Christmas gift-giving list done with this prize! Or you could really get decked out in color changing apparel from now through the end of 2020 if you wanted!  You could get towels for every one of your favorite munchkins! The possibilities are endless! Thanks so much Del Sol! You are truly Heart and Soul!!   Follow Del Sol on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada. One entrant per household, please, and you must be 21 or older to enter! Enter once or enter daily, you choose! Thanks for checking us out and keep your face lifted to the sun!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Open to U.S. and Canada!  A GAL NEEDS...received product from this sponsor to facilitate the review of this company. Affiliate links may be present.
Must be 21 or older to participate, one entrant per household. Winner will be contacted by e-mail after 09/10/19.  Must respond within 48 hours.
Entrants with invalid entries will be disqualified.
Sponsor, Del Sol, is responsible for delivery of prize package. In the case of non-delivery, A GAL not responsible for delivery.  

Friday, August 23, 2019

Heart And Soul With Del Sol #Review And 20% #DiscountCode

There is a saying that says, "In the end we won't remember the most beautiful face or body. Instead, we'll remember the most beautiful heart and soul." 

Del Sol is the company that shows heart and soul with everything it does. They make their fashion out of a desire to show you that life is beautiful! Life is fun! And that you are amazing! When you put on one of their designer tee shirts or their Solize Sunglasses, you know that you can get out there and just be you! You can be all heart and soul! 

I've been wearing Del Sol clothing for 9 years now and they are a company that makes me feel great about myself! Their clothing makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I love tee shirts. They are my comfort zone. Del Sol tees are so comfortable, fun, and unique!  And, of course, every one of their many products is color-changing!
 Del Sol Solize Sunglasses have a life-time guarantee and they are 100% UVA and UVB sun block protection! I love them because, first of all, they're hecka fun! People are always mentioning that they love my shades because they are stylish AND they change colors. I love them as well because they block out sun glare like a boss! My eyes are so sensitive to sun, that I think I must be half vampire. So these sunglasses are a must for me for that reason alone! Right now I'm loving my Top of The World Solize Sunglasses! (Keep reading for the exclusive 20% discount code!)
This site accepts product samples to facilitate honest and fair reviews. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are used for information purposes.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Laugh At It + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

I have a ding on my front lower calf that is lingering a year later, after the incident originally happened. But every once in awhile, when I look at it, I am reminded of a couple of lessons I learned because of it.
It was late summer of last year and I was taking a walk with my dog in a beautiful part of where I live. I saw a massive storm cloud coming in quickly from the south. It was really close, but it wasn't raining on me. And so I watched the rain from a distance as I continued my walk. The rain shower was short. But then the most gorgeous rainbow appeared. It was a perfect bow and it seemed so close that I could literally touch it. I was blown away by the beauty of it.

Monday, August 12, 2019

One For The Books + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Well darn! Just when I thought I had this summer thing down really well, thinking I can live my best life like this, it's time to go back to work! I don't even know how teachers can call their break a vacation because they have to be back in the classroom at least a week before school starts, and the stress of knowing that starts at least a week before that. I guess any vacation is better than no vacation! I'm sure they know it's good to give teachers at least some time off! It really saves those attrition rates and mental break-downs in the classrooms! I say this as a teacher's assistant. I don't know how they do it! 

Time is going so dang fast, I probably should just go ahead and start planning Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They're practically here already!

My summer basically was spent doing some hikes, some gardening, some reading, and some napping. We didn't travel anywhere because I'm still a live-in care-giver for "Grandpa", my dad, who is now 90 years old! He gets really nervous if he is left alone. He becomes disoriented and paranoid. So we'll forego vacations for awhile. It's so pretty around here anyway, that I don't feel like I'm missing much by going elsewhere to unwind. But someday, we'll get to travel more! In the meantime, me and my dog, we go sniff out some trouble!
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I visited my neighbor today and enjoyed that so much! She's a little older than me, but she has so much joie de vivre, it makes me wish I had half of her motivation and drive! She and her husband are retired and just one of the things she does is volunteer at the church history museum in Salt Lake City and gives tours for the different exhibits. The exhibits change approximately every 3 -4 months  and every time they do, she is given an assignment to learn about what will be in the exhibits. The next upcoming exhibit is going to be all about Women's Suffrage in Utah. It's quite an important historical topic because Utah was the first state to give women the right to vote. This was before Utah became a U.S. territory/state. When Utah became officially a state, the right to vote was revoked by the U.S. Government. So Utah was ahead of the game when it came to women's right to vote. The first woman Senator was from Utah as well. 

 I've been loving my bike rides thoroughly, getting up really early, while it's still dark and doing a 10-mile ride up the canyon. I stop along the way, sit on a rock and watch the river go by. It's been such a wild weather year this year. I can't believe that Utah is still considered a desert for all the rain and snow we have received.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Bright Smile #Giveaway! Alightener Foam Teeth Whitening Kit

Everyone wants a bright smile and now it's easier than ever to get one! Alightener Foam is easy to use, with no mess, and can be used with any retainer! 

Just spray the light, great tasting foam into a dental tray or retainer (including Invisalign Retainers), wear it while you do something else, and have whiter teeth in minutes! 

Read about my experience with Alightener Foam and also follow my Invisalign braces adventure this year!  I'll definitely be using Alightener Foam to keep my smile bright and also the Alightener Retainer Cleaner!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Teeth You Can Live With! Why I Chose To Have Braces

I had started noticing that my teeth were shifting about 6 years ago. It wasn't very noticeable, except to me. But around 2 years ago, my husband commented on what he saw, as well as my son. They both thought that I had chipped my lower tooth because one was higher than the other. I assured them that I hadn't chipped any teeth, but that they were moving. Uh oh....people were starting to notice. That wasn't a good sign.

The thing that I notice and hate the most is when I do videos for this blog, usually on Instagram. I literally see my bottom tooth jutting out like a snaggle tooth when I talk. I really don't like it. I'm not saying that small irregularities in teeth aren't attractive, not at all! In fact, I like little irregularities in a smile because it makes it unique. But I personally didn't like what was going on in my lower bite. It's all great if I'm doing a still shot...
               But start talking and then it's obvious!
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I started doing some research and having consultations with different orthodontists. If there is one thing I know, you want to straighten your teeth utilizing someone who has been extensively trained to do that.  In my book, a dentist just doesn't cut it. Their role is for cleaning and maintaining gum and teeth health. Some dentists do, however, offer teeth straightening services--especially with the new computer simulated 3-D images that can be done of your mouth. Once taken, the images are sent in to a lab where they will make a set of special retainers designed to obtain the ideal look to your teeth, as well as the ideal bite. The retainer you wear changes as your teeth move. I took pictures of the shots that were coming across the screen of my simulated outcome vs. the current dentition. This is just from one angle.
Current dentition
Simulated outcome
The leading company that does this is Invisalign. The first orthodontist I went to didn't even deal with Invisalign. He  claimed he hadn't gotten good results with it. He recommended that I go with the traditional wire braces. His nurse told some stories about how Invisalign patients were generally not pleased with the results that were achieved with the Invisalign product.She said that she had done Invisalign with another dentist and she wasn't pleased with the results. Later she went with this Orthodontist and was very pleased with the traditional metal braces she went with. I totally bought her story, until I went to some more orthodontists. That is when the picture came into focus for me. 

Just like anything, one needs practice to become proficient at something and that includes orthodontia. The more the orthodontist practices, the better he/she becomes. I went to a few more orthodontists who worked almost exclusively with Invisalign, specifically because of great results with patients. Because of what I found out, I went with Invisalign. It is easier to manage with other dental work, it is less obvious that you have braces, the orthodontist can adjust movement at any time, it is guaranteed for 5 years after treatment, and you can take them out if you really need to (like a special photo shoot, a speaking engagement, a job interview, etc.)

One more thing about Invisalign or "retainer" braces. You need to do your part and wear them almost constantly, except for eating. If there would be a challenge for me, that would be it---finding excuses to not wear them. But I am up for the challenge and am ready to do this!

I finally decided on the orthodontist I want to go with. I chose Dr. Michael Cook because of the many success stories he has and the fact that he is listed on the Invisalign site as an expert in Invisalign braces. This is no easy task. It involves expertise, success and great recommendations from patients. 

When I visited his office, I was impressed with the friendly staff, the overall information that was shared about Invisalign, and the professional courtesy shown to me by Dr. Cook. He is very personable and put me quite at ease. 

Stay with me through this next year for updates on the progress I'm making with my teeth. Does Invisalign really work? What are the pros and the cons? We'll definitely find out!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Price Of Shopping + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

When it comes to shopping, there are so many ways to go about it. There is online, department, thrift, bulk, grocery, high-end, low end, U.S. based, foreign based, and specialty stores. If you think about it, we've never had so many choices and so much variety. Yet I, for one, still want to get the very best bargain, at the least trouble, but with the best quality that I can possibly get! 

These past weeks, in my shopping adventures, I've had some good luck and some bad luck. It showed me that if you're not careful, you can end up with a less than stellar deal!

Let's start with the good deal. I have been searching for a good protein bar that doesn't taste like something half-baked and lacking several ingredients. If I'm to be honest, most protein bars, for me, leave a lot to be desired. There are some that are fairly good--good enough that if I'm on a hike or need a quick snack that has protein I will actually half-way enjoy them. But that was then, this is now. I found a great-tasting bar with a fair amount of protein and the taste is amazing! It's like I've started eating candy bars again after 20 years of avoiding them. Have you heard of Chef Robert Irving's Fit Crunch Bars? It's a six-layer bar with a cookie center, peanut butter, chocolate coating, more peanut butter, more chocolate and drizzle! Each bar has 16 grams of high-quality protein, only 3 grams of sugar and it's gluten free! I feel that it's totally worth the cost of about $1.55 per bar!
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Now for the not-so-good buy. It happened because one of the students I work with was simply fascinated by the YouTube videos that have actually gone viral about this candy company. 

It shows the candy being made in huge mixers, with huge paddles, and then being made into different flavors and being cut and packaged. Somehow it's very fascinating to a lot of people, including this student. He begged me to order some--That I'd love it so much. I guess I was feeling very obliging that day. I told him I'd look at it and maybe order some. I figured I would see what all the hype was about. I guess for one thing, instead of high fructose sugar or some other synthetic sweetener, there is actually real sugar in the candy. Didn't that used to be standard back in the day?  I went ahead and ordered their citrus blend. I thought I'd get it before school was out, but I waited and waited. Finally about 2 weeks after school was out and the student who wanted a report (and most likely a sample) of the candy was long gone into summer break and not likely to be seen again by me. The package came. It was a tiny little package, only 2.75 ounces, and the shipping cost was as much as the price of the candy. So for this little bag of candy, I paid more than 11 dollars! I thought how excellent this candy must be! But when I tried it, it wasn't any big huge deal. It basically tasted like old-fashioned hard tack candy. Which leads me to wonder and maybe research, "Is that kind of candy so rare these days?" Maybe in further research I'll find out what the big deal is and why the price seems to be so crazy exorbitant. Until then, I'm sticking with my story and saying that it wasn't one of the best buys I've ever made!

So much for my shopping adventures. I think that with the game of shopping, the price of having such bounty to choose from is occasionally getting a less than stellar deal.  I think I'll still take my chances!! Shop on!