A Grace Full Life

12.19.2014

Netflix Is Making Me Watch Madagascar and A Giveaway!



No they aren't.
I just couldn't think of a better title.
But no, I have never seen Madagasar.
When they announced this new series on Netflix called All Hail King Julien, I was all....ohkayyy.
Crickets.


Those who know me well know that I don't follow movie/television show/ music trends.
I like what I like.
Not what is the newest/latest/trendiest.
I started appreciating Snoop Dog in 2003 people.
I am aware.

So I decided, I need to get on the King Julien band wagon because I don't like being left out in the cold.
That is until the holidays hit.
I got a case of the holidays, people.
I can't focus.
I don't have time to watch my favorite shows, I haven't seen an episode of Scandal in almost four weeks.
FOUR WEEKS.

Between driving all over God's green Earth for cheer practices, games and competitions; having to make "mandatory" gingerbread cookies with the six year old because "every friend in my class is"; trying to keep up with the laundry situation, trying NOT to gain ten more pounds to bring me back up to where I was last year- I. GOT. NOTHING.

We have only watched one Christmas movie so far.
I don't honestly know what has happened to me.
Well, I do know but I am not going into it amid a Netflix post.

Today, All Hail King Julien begins airing on Netflix so join in me in putting down the molasses, putting away the car keys and fabric softener and propping our feet up to watch.
I might even pop some corn.
LET'S NOT GET CRAZY, NOW.

Netflix is going to be my BFF over Christmas Break because I plan to use that time to watch all the Christmas shows, like Love Actually (MY ALL TIME FAVE), Madagascar (because HELLO), Christmas With The Kranks (my teenager's favorite movie) and get caught up on Scandal....after the little one goes to bed, of course.

Netflix is going to be your BFF too because they have generously given me the opportunity to share a year of Netflix with one of you lucky people out there!


I want you to write why you want a year of Netflix.
I would love for this to go to someone who wouldn't do this for themselves because its just one more thing to pay for.
So tell me what you would watch, why you would love to have it, share it all with me in a comment below.
I will draw names out of a hat on Christmas Eve in front of my family (we are all honest folk) and I will announce the winner on my blog Facebook page!

That means you need to follow me on Facebook to be a winner, so go to the sidebar up there ^^^ and press like!
That is it!
I can't wait to hear what you write and I can't wait to give one of you an early Christmas gift!!
I honestly wish I had 1000 of these to give away....maybe next year, Netflix?
Good luck!

A special thanks goes out to Netflix for generously providing this.
I love to play Santa, so thank you for letting me do this for one of my amazing readers.




I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.

12.18.2014

How CVS Minute Clinic Will Help Me Put Down the Big Mac's and Get Sexier In 2015

I have a problem.
A serious problem.
Every year I have my come to the river moment after the holidays.
About my weight.
I love to eat, that is no surprise to those who are close to me nor to my readers who have been on this roller coaster weight loss journey with me since 2010.

Last year, I lost 25 pounds!
I was exercising, eating better and keeping on top of what I put into my mouth.
Get your head out of the gutter.....
I was so proud of myself, I felt amazing and I was wearing my pre-pregnancy size again!
For the first time in seven years!!

Then I got sick with pneumonia around the same time a certain weight loss plan decided it was going to charge me double what I used to pay for just an app.
It all went downhill from there.
Here is the thing: I need to be held accountable.
I need someone to be my partner, hold my hand and slap the bad food out of my little mitts.
When I don't have that, I eat things like Big Macs with extra Mac sauce or Portillo's cake shakes with extra cake.

So when I found out that CVS Minute Clinic offers a Weight Loss Program, I squealed.
This you need to know about my relationship with CVS Minute Clinic: it borders on obsessive.
It started three years ago with a sinus infection, my regular doctor being on a cruise and a nurse practitioner who I may or may not have hugged.
I even became friends with one of the nurse practitioner's at my local Minute Clinic.
Her son came to my youngest daughter's birthday party last year.
I swear on my underwear I am telling the truth.

Knowing that I can go in to any Minute Clinic and get a weight loss assessment, without an appointment and possibly make a new friend, makes me very happy place happy.
They offer customized coaching tailored to your goals and lifestyle.
So maybe they can account for that occasional Big Mac binge?
No?
Yeah probably not.

If you don't have time to head in to the clinic, you can take advantage of the online coaching as well.
I love this for those negative 35 degree days here in Chicago or for when I don't want to get out my jammies but need to know if I am allowed to eat that donut.
WHAT?!?!
This program also gives you membership to DASH which is a portal to give tips, recipes and lists that are based on the popular DASH Diet.
Normally a $69 value!
That is a lot of Big Mac's.


And if you didn't think the CVS Minute Clinic was dope enough, they also offer services such as Eyelash Lengthening Consultations and comprehensive Smoking Cessation programs as well!
So if looking skinny, sexy and not hacking up a lung is on your resolution list for 2015, I think we both know where you need to be.
Heading to your local CVS Minute Clinic to find a new friend who will slap that Big Mac out of your hands. 

Enjoy your holiday and eat all that fruit cake.
But after January 1st, I will be heading down the street to my local CVS.
After hitting the McDonald's drive-thru.
WHAT?!?!

The above was sponsored by CVS Minute Clinic, a company that I stand behind.
Although this post was sponsored, all opinions are my own.

12.15.2014

Fun Holiday Ideas That I TOTALLY Didn't Rip Off of a Certain Magazine, Cough Cough.

I used to love the magazine Real Simple.
For years, I would go to Amazon on Black Friday and order the subscription for myself as a Christmas present to me.
For the past two years, I have been getting the subscription for free by taking surveys.
And only receiving the actual magazine like once every couple of months.
Probably because of the whole free scenario.

Over the years though, I have noticed a difference.
Either in how I see the world or how the world sees me but Real Simple became, for lack of a better word, pretentious.
I joked on Instagram that it should be retitled Real Expensive.
Because I don't need to spend $150 dollars on a pencil skirt for a holiday party.
And neither do you.


I am not their demographic, I get it.
I shop for groceries at Target.
I buy most of the shoes that go on my feet at Payless.
I don't buy makeup from a department store.
I am not their target customer, I understand.
But it makes me sad because I like to make my life simple too!
Why can't I create a cool Christmas table without ordering a tablecloth from West Elm?
Why can't I organize my basement without a trip to an Elfa store?
Why can't I go to a holiday party without a trip to Banana Republic?


In a recent issue, a reader wrote to them about this amazing wrapping paper storage situation.
IT CHANGED HER LIFE!!
I WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFE TOO!!
My wrapping paper is straddled all willy nilly all over our storage area of the basement; bows and tape all over the frick frackin' place.
I want a wrapping paper situation!
I googled the name of the wrapping paper storage situation and found that the "life changing" wrapping paper organizer cost $150.
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOUBLOONS?!?!?!?!
What the ever loving crap????

As I got deeper into the magazine, I found an article that caught my attention.
And I suddenly remembered why I can't quit you, pretentious Real Expensive magazine!!
100 stress reducing ideas to help with the holidays!
I want to have less stress during the holidays!
Some of the ideas were silly, some were helpful and some were just amazing.
So instead of making you wade through the Burberry ads and Elfa inserts, I am sharing the most real and valuable ones with you!
Consider it my present to you.
I AM HERE FOR THE PEOPLE.

photo credit by pixabay.com

 


~ Other than fresh cookies, the happiest smells in our house come from the all-natural holiday decorations we use; pine cone centerpieces, fir wreaths, and cedar wrapped votives. Jessica Alba

I am sure Jessica is not headin' out to the Piggly Wiggly herself to pick up her wreaths and pine cones this holiday season but it is a good idea and a cheap one too.
A few years back, my youngest daughter and I went on a walk on a snowy early December day and she found tons of pine cones at the park near our house.
We picked them up and used them in our Christmas decorations around the house.
Every time I looked at them, I thought of her scrambling to pick the cones up and shove them in her winter coat.
Wait.
Were we allowed to take them?
Now that I think about it, did we steal pine cones from.......gasp......nature?
OMG I FEEL LIKE A CRIMINAL.


photo credit en.wikipedia.org



~ We make ornaments out of oranges. Just push cloves all over them in patterns. Their scent combined with pine needles is heavenly. Heath Goldman

This is not a new idea, my mom did this with us growing up and it smelled amazing.
Oranges aren't that cheap but compared to running to Pottery Barn and buying decor, it is a steal.
And for me, the smell takes me back to my childhood Christmases.




photo credit flickr.com


~ Caramelized bacon is always a hit. I serve bias cut pieces in a bowl in the bar area. First dredge the bacon in light brown sugar, then pop it in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 for 8 minutes a side.  Amanda Hesser

I don't know about you Amanda, but not many people I know have a "bar area".
But I would totally leave this in my 'house area" because BACON CANDY?!?!
Totally making it this Christmas.
Or all year long.


photo credit youtube.com




~ A cocktail rimmed in edible glitter telegraphs "holiday fun". I buy the glitter on Amazon. David Stark

What up with the unnecessary use of quotation marks "David" "Stark"???
This is kind of a cool idea, quotation marks aside.
I went on Amazon and sure as sand, there was edible glitter.
I could totally put edible glitter on everything.
Pizza? Donuts?? BACON?!?!?!
This could be a game changer, folks.


photo credit en.wikipedia.org



~ Our family eats Danish Kringle from O and H Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin on Christmas morning......Christopher Morocco  


We live an hour from Racine and I have only had Kringle, like, two times.
It is really good, not like OMG I NEED TO HAVE IT ALL THE TIME good but mmm yeah this is some good sh#$ good.
And now all of a sudden I feel like we need to have it on Christmas morning.
Ah the persuasion of the media. 
By the way, I ran the Color Run in Racine a few years ago and one of the swag items was rainbow colored Kringle.
I ate the whole thing the night before the 5k.
I KNOW I AM DOING LIFE WRONG.
If you don't live an hour away, you can order it online here.



photo credit commons.wikimedia.org



~ This year, I'm using little snowflake cookie cutters to dress up hot cocoa for a holiday party. I'll spread whipped cream on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer. When it's frozen, I'll cut out the snowflakes and use them in place of marshmallows. Stephanie Sisco


I know Stephanie didn't come up with this herself, you know how I know?
It's called Pinterest and I have seen this idea everywhere!
It's such a cool idea and as soon as I saw it, wished I had thought of it myself.
But I don't have little snowflake cookie cutters, just ones shaped like loons or the state of Missouri..
So I will be making hot cocoa for my little posse here with marshmallow shaped like a north woods bird or the Show Me State.



photo credit commons.wikimedia.org




I love a doughnut bar for a holiday party. Buy plain ones and set them out with toppings like flavored icings, chocolate and caramel sauce, sprinkles and candy. Mary Guiliani

I love you Mary, it is like you have a window to my soul.
My little donut/doughnut eating soul.
Is it donut or doughnut? Does anyone really know?
I think Mary knows because Mary got printed in Real Expensive magazine.
Oh that Mary.....you doughnut pimping sexy beast you.
I am totally making a doughnut bar happen this holiday season.
Or on a random Sunday in the New Year.
I think I just thought of Ellie's birthday party food idea.......


photo credit newarkadvocate.com




We have a Christmas Eve picnic under the tree and every family member gets to choose a favorite guilty pleasure indulgence to be served. It never makes a real meal but it's the best "meal" we eat all year! Andrea Carter Wilson


WHAT IS WITH THE UNNECESSARY USE OF QUOTATIONS???
Just because a "real meal" in your home doesn't include mac and cheese or I am guessing, anything non- organic, why must "meal" be in "quotations"??
But I do love this idea, "Andrea".
Although we eat spaghetti and meatballs every Christmas Eve, since I can remember, so that can be a little messy "under the tree".
I am going to implement this "idea" though and surprise the girls some random weeknight.
While eating "dinner".



credit en.wikipedia.org





My family has Bloody Mary's on Christmas morning, even though the kids have us up at the crack of dawn. It goes: coffee, Bloody Mary (pretty much). Then we're primed for our nap after the stockings and gifts are open. Elizabeth Passarella



I like your thinking Elizabeth!
You lush, you!
Only I have never in my life had a Bloody Mary but since Christmas is all about traditions and family, I am sure I would be more than willing to try an alcoholic beverage that is new to me.
And I bet I can get my mom, aka my sidekick, on board. 
Or just stick with mimosa's.
Extra champagne, light on the OJ...wink wink. 
But this is what it would look like in my home: mimosa, then candy bacon, followed by mimosa, then candy bacon, then mimosa.
I love Christmas.




photo credit flickr.com



We open stockings before breakfast and gifts after breakfast. The meal in between calms down the present opening craze, especially effective when my sisters and I were little. Heath Goldman


This is a good idea in theory AND adds to our Mimosa/Bloody Mary time as well!
I do, however, see problems with this in my little family.
The problems are two fold:
# 1- my youngest gets up on Christmas early enough to milk the cows.
And feed the chickens.
And possibly birth the baby calves.
Which in turn leads to the # 2 of my two fold problem- our 14 year old will not be happy to get up in darkness/cow milking hour to NOT open presents.
The stockings are fun, yes, but the presents are what they are really waiting for.
So I need to work on my girls all through December to make this happen because I love this idea.




photo credit commons.wikimedia.org




I cut up holiday cards from the previous year- the decorative parts not photos- and use them as gift tags. Donna Smallin


This would be so hilarious if you actually cut up the photos and used them on gift tags to that person!
Kind of like a holly jolly ransom note!
No??
Moving on.......



photo credit flickr.com



Friends of ours hang tinsel curtains in the doorway to their living room while the kids are sleeping. In the morning, the kids get to burst through it as they run to find their presents under the tree. Mary Duncan

Love, love, love this idea!
But the living space where we open gifts doesn't have a door way so I want to do this to the girls doors to their bedrooms while they are sleeping on Christmas Eve!
Hopefully they don't freak out when they come out of their door's half awake, in the dark,  being attacked by little shiny paper snakes.
OK this just might be the worst idea known to man.
And JUST the thing I need to kick off opening presents!!


Let me know if you are doing any of these things this year!
Or none of them.
Pass the mimosa.....






12.05.2014

My Name is Ella and I am AMAZING.

Normally I don't use this forum to vent.
Oh yes, occasionally I write about things here and there that bother me but in an oh so snarky way that keeps me out of trouble.
But I blame social media for my cup a boiling over.
And the hard part is that I am in part to blame.
Not me personally but my blogging/website writing/ tweeting sisters and brothers.

Why do we need to know so much?
I am not talking about current events, don't even get me STARTED on the stupidity that is going on in this world.
Why do I need a list of Five Things NOT To Say to Your Daughter?
Why?
Why are we offended when someone says WOW YOU LOOK GOOD FOR YOUR AGE?!?!
Why do we need to sue Target because boys sizes offer more than girls sizes?
Better yet, fine, go ahead and sue Target but why do we need to share it with GMA, Huffington Post and Blogher?
Why?
Why???

It was an "article" and I use quotations because I don't even know why it was written, that got my blood boiling.
An "article" about the naughtiest girls and boys names in the USA.
A full list of names highlighted with Nicest Girls, Nicest Boys then Naughtiest Girls and Naughtiest Boys.
Some "survey" of 650 children or some nonsense was given according to things like principal office lists blah BLAH BLAH.
It even went on to mention which names in particular received the least amount of accolades.
Which names equated being looked over for achievements.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???
Why?

Who even cares?
Have we run out of things to read?

So this is why it bothers me so much- it is personal.
My youngest daughter's name is number one on the list.
And in turn, number one for being looked over for accolades.
Interesting. 
When I saw the list a few days ago, it gave me a pit in my stomach.

Trust me, we have amazing teachers in our district but when something like this is written and a teacher reads it, don't you think it puts a mental Post it note inside their brain?
Oh yes, she is an Ella. 
That explains a lot.

I know, I know....I am totally overreacting.
Over tired from taking care of two sick kids this week, I have other posts that I need to write but instead, I am writing this one.
Venting about how sick I am of reading how we are doing every frigging thing wrong from how we talk to our daughters about sex and how we shouldn't be telling them they are beautiful.
How we shouldn't make our sons feel entitled yet also don't make them feel bad about themselves.
It is exhausting.

So this is what I am going to do.
For every naughtiest girl and boy name, I am giving a personal anecdote.
To how amazing they are.
To stop generalizing, and make it personal.
I am doing this for all the Ella's and Olivia's out there who are amazing in their own right.
That a name is just that- a name.
You parents who named your kids unusual names are laughing right now. 
I see what you did. 


Ella- when I am sick or sad, she brings me a blanket and water and she rubs my feet with lotion. Every time.

Bethany- she was a neighbor of ours and she was always sweet and fun to play with because she was one of the only tomboys on my street.

Eleanor- lets see...she was only the first lady of the United States and was one of the first delegates of the United Nations.

Olivia- she helped my little Ella with her turkey house for school because she wanted it to look nice and get a good grade for her.

Laura- every single Laura I have ever met was sweet, kind and loving and OMG LAURA INGALLS DAMMIT.

Holly- one of my closest friends growing up was a Holly. I will never forget when she ate an entire industrial sized bowl of popcorn at my house in fifth grade. Right after she got braces. She was a gem and still is.

Courtney- one my oldest daughter's friends helped watch my Ella at a football game this fall so I could enjoy watching Anna cheer.

Amber- I got nothing. Sorry Amber's. I need to meet more Amber's apparently.

Caitlin- this is spelled in a myriad of ways. Is it only this spelling, Miss Writer? Because the Katelyn I know is very sweet and a good friend to my child.

Jade- again, I don't know a Jade but I bet she is nice.

Joseph- DOES NO ONE READ THE BIBLE????

Cameron- nope not a one but the guy in Ferris Bueller wasn't a trouble maker, FERRIS PUT HIM UP TO IT. Where the hell is Ferris on this list?!?!?

William- my nephew. You don't mess with my family.

Jake- one of the nicest teenage boys I know. When he was little and I was babysitting him, he left me a note saying I make good lunches. I still have that note somewhere.

Joshua-  I know no Joshua's. Do we notice a trend, there is like two Duggar names so far...hmmmm.

Jamie- this is both a girl and boy name. So you are telling me that the boy Jamie is bad but the girl Jamie is good? I didn't even know boy Jamie's existed any more? Is that even a thing???

Lewis- is anyone naming their kid this? Is this list from 1980??

Benjamin- Come on, GENTLE BEN?!?! Geez.....

Ethan- There are like a trillion Ethan's. I mean come on. OF COURSE they are gonna be on the list. It is a ratio thing.

Luke- as in Danes? Or as in Dylan from 90210. Don't be messing with my Luke's.


So I guess what it boils down to is that for every bad Ella or Luke, there is an amazing Ella or Luke.
So why put a list out there like this?
Is it for a reference point?
Is it so we stop naming them these names?
Do we really think a name will cause a child to be bad?
No.
It was a slow news day at Yahoo Parenting, that is all.
So go name your baby Bethany Olivia.
I dare you.



12.01.2014

Mom's Shrimp Dip Reminds Me of the 70's. Without the Shag Carpeting Aftertaste.

I have vague fond memories from the 70's.
I say vague because I can only remember bits and pieces as I was only ages 0-9 in that decade.
I do remember the music, the clothing, and of course, the shag carpeting.
We listened to Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Carole King among many others. 
I recall my dad wearing lots of plaid pants and my mom wearing owl necklaces.
We had spider plants in macrame plant holders, watched Dorothy Hamill during the Olympics and ate casseroles, casseroles and more casseroles.
That wasn't the only thing we ate but casseroles were to the 70's what organic food/paleo food/ quinoa is to 2014.
They were the sh$%. 





It was my happy place decade because I lived at home with my parents, brother and grandma.
The only care in the world I had was what I was going to wear to school or if my mom cut the crusts off the sandwich in my lunch.
I hope I am creating the same kind of shag carpet/Dorothy Hamill childhood for both of my girls.
Creating the illusion of idyllic with some Roseanne and Family Guy thrown in for good measure,  is what I think I am actually doing.





To say the fondest memories I have revolve around food would be an understatement.
If my parents had known this upon me coming out of the womb,  they could have saved a ton on road trips and name brand cereal.
Almost every great memory I have growing up,  has an equally amazing recipe that goes along with it.
Christmas usually meant chocolate crinkle cookies and bacon wrapped water chestnuts.
Halloween immediately takes me back to apple cider, homemade donuts and macaroni and cheese fresh from the oven.
I can smell the apples being cooked for the apple sauce from the orchard picked produce,  the tomatoes being boiled in preparation for canning.
I can hear the popping of popcorn on the stove, hear my mom and grandma's voices while baking Christmas cookies, smell the chicken roasting in the oven on a Sunday evening.
To this day, when I make pancakes on a rainy Saturday morning, it takes me back so vividly I can actually hear my dad's newspaper rustling in the other room. 
Homemade food = security in my world.
The kitchen was the center of my Universe, even as a child. 






Appetizers are one of my favorite all time foods so a few times a year, I center an entire meal around them.
Because appetizers don't require commitment like a ham or a meatloaf or even hamburgers on the grill do.
Dip is just dip.
You make it, get crackers or veggies to dip in it and that's it.
You don't need to spend a day making it or a fortune paying for it.
Even if you like fancier appetizers, like brie, you just slap the cheese on a plate, stick a knife in it and add fancy crackers and boom, you got yourself dinner.





My mom's shrimp dip is a childhood favorite appetizer of mine.
Every time we would have a gathering, mom would make the shrimp dip.
It's like it wasn't a party without it.
My baby shower?
Shrimp dip.
Our rehearsal dinner?
Shrimp dip.
Getaway weekend in Louisville, Kentucky?
Mom brought shrimp dip.

My husband and children even love it and they are the pickiest eaters on the planet.
Ella doesn't know that there is actual fish in the dip.

AND DON'T YOU DARE TELL HER.

Every year when we put our Christmas tree up, we serve appetizers for dinner.
It is a tradition we all look forward to each year.
We sit around the table and eat all sorts of fun piggy in a blanket-y types of foods.
Some years it's dips, cheese balls and mini corn dogs.
Others it's pizza rolls, chicken tenders and cheese and crackers.
But it always, ALWAYS includes mom's shrimp dip.

For many reasons, because it is hella good, it is easy to make and everyone loves it.
But mainly because it is like she is with us while we are trimming our tree and eating our dip.
With every bite, I am transporting my little family back to our 1976 sunken family room in Lake Zurich, Illinois.
My mom, grandma, dad and little brother are there and we are listening to The Carpenters and decorating our artificial tree with handmade ornaments and macrame Santa's.
Funny how food and music can take you back.

So this holiday season, enjoy my mom's famous shrimp dip, turn on some Stevie Wonder and let yourself go.
It's alright, Dorothy Hamill would want you to.






Mom's Shrimp Dip

1 small can of shrimp ( drained and rinsed )
1/2 C. celery, chopped fine
1/4 C. green onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. Miracle Whip ( we substitute mayo all the time too)
1 small ( 3 oz. ) cream cheese, softened
Ritz crackers or Triscuit crackers

Mix all except the crackers and chill until you serve.




A special thank you to our family friend Terrie, who reached out to me to suggest writing this post.
She has fond memories of the parties my parents threw in the 70s and what was front and center?
The shrimp dip, of course.

11.21.2014

What I Wish People Would Write On Facebook

I would like to credit my friend and fellow writer, Alison Lee for this idea, this brilliant idea.
She wrote this post back in October about random thoughts and ideas that don't make it onto Facebook.

So I commented: 


 I have a way with words....

Then a few days later, Alison wrote:



So if Alison Lee says to please do it, you do it!
Because Alison Lee is awesome.
And so pretty.
I am not a stalker.
She is glad she lives in Malaysia. 
Far, far from me.



I could have gone the "real life statuses that don't make it Facebook route" but I went another way.
The "OMG the things that would mortify us if people knew" route.
The "things that are so hilariously wrong that they are so right" route.
Welcome to my brain, open 24 hours a day and on holidays as well.










































































Have a great weekend!

11.17.2014

Flat Kari. Let's See What That Crazy Minx Has Been Up To

I know what you are thinking.....I dropped the ball.
On Flat Kari.
Don't pretend you haven't been paying attention.
I know you care.

To be fair, I didn't really drop the ball.
I made a spreadsheet type list, I typed up an email to those who volunteered to take "her" for a few weeks.
I sent out the messages, stayed on top of people to get "her" to the next destination, I did maneuvering.
MANEUVERING, PEOPLE.
I was on my A game.

But then I got lazy.
And tired.
And hungry.
Okay that has nothing to do with anything.
Anyway, my hosts would share the pictures on Facebook and I figured, hey, if its on Facebook, its as good as a blog post.
Amiright??

Only, it wasn't on my BLOG Facebook page.

Then I thought, I really should be writing posts about these Facebook pictures.
My hosts were going to delicious extremes in some cases to put pictures of me out there.
And I let them down.
Hanging head in shame.


So without further adieu, here is where "I" have been!
First stop, my friend Melanie's home in Illinois.....




According to Melanie, my hand "pissed off" her cat Monkey.
It's alright Monkey, I piss myself off too.
A lot. 





But Clementine liked me.
You are my favorite...shhhhh.



OMG Melanie's captions made me laugh.

"Kari does yoga. Wow, she's so bendy with her brass joints! Namaste, bitches."

She really needs to write my blog.







This you need to know, I LOVE CRACKER BARREL.
LOVE.
Like, I go in there and literally act like a child.
OOOH DID YOU SEE THE MONKEY THAT CLANGS THE CYMBALS?!?!?
OOH OOH OOH DID YOU SEE THE GOO GOO CLUSTERS?!?!?
OOOH OOOOH OOOOOH DO YOU SMELL THE FIREPLACE?!?!?!

BRING ME THE HASH BROWN CASSEROLE.
Said in my best James Earl Jones voice.


Since we last saw "her", Flat Kari has been lots of places.
All over the Chicago suburbs, Texas, Arizona, Outer Banks, Washington D.C., central Ohio, New York and even Finland.
I get A-ROUND.





I modeled for the newest line of apple cider.
Not really.
This is the apple orchard from my childhood, in Ohio.
Cue the sounds of harp music and send in the deer.
What?
That is how I picture my childhood!
Allison knows all about product placement.
She should work for the government or something.
Speaking of the government.....




She took me to D.C.
And drew dots on my dress and shoes on my feet.
STYLIN'.
Oh by the way, mad props to my friend Kari who made the above ensemble for me!
I don't dress like that in real life.
I should but I don't.
I wear things like overalls.
And leggings with holes in them.
With 10 year old fake crocs I got at Walmart.







I got to go to Outer Banks with my friend Vikki and her sweet family.
There are so many more pictures from this trip.
But I couldn't find them on Facebook when I went back to look.
Or find in a file she sent to me back in August.
Yes, I know I am an adult.
Who blogs.
Who doesn't know how to find crap on my computer.





I got to photo bomb my friend Meggan's family picture.







I went fishing with her too.
And no there aren't any snakes in that bucket.
In case you were wondering.






I got to spend a week with one of my favorite family's and my spirit animal, Reeses.
By the way, that is the look she gives me every time she sees me.
And if I were small enough, I would totally spoon on her back like that. 




I got tatted up with my "second head", Paulette.


Me and my second head. I loves her so.






I also got drunk and slept in a sock.
Which is the paper version of sleeping in the bath tub.







I went indoor sky diving....with.....myself?







I got to dress up like a princess with my friends Andrea and Lillian!








I became a phallic symbol at an apple farm in New York.






And I had a spa day with some friends.


My biggest adventure in terms of travel is the one I am currently on in Finland with my friend Eva.




I look so at home there.
Isn't it beautiful?
"I" may end up staying there forever.



Yes.
Staying forever.


As I am writing this, another Flat Kari is on a plane to Las Vegas with my friend Jackie!
I can't wait to hear what happens.......or maybe I will never know.......wink wink. 


Over the past six months, "I" have been to California, a place I have always wanted to visit, seen friends who I have never met in person.
"I" have seen Hollywood homes, visited Johnny Cash's home, eaten at In and Out Burger, had special jewelry made for me.
"I" got to sit in first class for the first time ever, touch a real live cactus and go on a business trip.
"I" got to hang out with the Red Hat Society, snuggled with many dogs, and got to go on a photo shoot for a magazine.
"I" got to do Irish dancing, go to a blogging conference in California, and meet a famous blogger/author.
"I" got to see the Outer Banks with a family that I want to adopt me, flirt with a tour guide and got to help take a child to college for the first time.
"I" went on a choo choo all the way from Ohio to Washington DC, visited the ice cream/hamburger stand my brother had his first job and ran into old high school friends.
"I" went on many airplane rides, rode in many vehicles and became part of your families. 
I adore visiting new places, but unfortunately I don't get to travel as much as I would love to,  so through all of you, I have.
It has made my heart swell with love every time "I" have gone somewhere with you.
I have felt like I have been right by your side through all of "my" journeys.
Thank you for that.


Please forgive me if any of your pictures didn't show up here over the past six months.
Not all of them were easily found on Facebook, so if you would like your pictures from my visit to be on the blog, you can email them to me and I will do that!
Thank you to all of my amazing friends and family who wanted to be a part of this.
I didn't have to bribe any of you to take me, you welcomed me into your homes, your family vacations, business trips and personal lives.
It was so much fun to watch, so thank you from the bottom of my paper heart.


If anyone is still interested in hosting "me" going forward, you can always reach out to me via email.
There are currently four versions out there and I have none on me as of now because hello, paper me is a lot more fun than flesh and blood me.
Not really but paper me has better manners.

For more Flat Kari adventures, head here




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