Feeling Restless

wanderlust

Last week I was a puddle of emotions. Crocodile tears spilling out with very little coaxing. I read a story online about a dog at a shelter and was ugly crying because I couldn’t handle thinking about how sad he must be. Yes, seriously. I chocked it up to a death in the family while feeling sick, having to adult instead of being able to wallow in my emotions and possibly some out of whack hormones.

This morning I was grateful to not feel like I could burst in to tears at any moment, but now I’m feeling super restless. It was a snowball effect that started with a trip to World Market. I remembered that they sell the Pocket Coffee that was all the rage with us Americans when we were in Italy last year (I’m pretty sure our obsession with Pocket Coffee also started with a stop at an Autogrill). Then as you stroll around the store you see pieces from lots of different cultures, which led me to then start reminiscing about our trip to France a few years ago. My next stop was The Fresh Market, where while perusing the aisles, I found a Mozart Chocolate bar (the same brand that our German exchange student gave us when she arrived!).

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When I got home I slipped on my new Tieks (recent purchase that reminded me of Italy because they’re made of Italian leather) and ate a Pocket Coffee while flipping through the photo book I put together from our France trip.

Then I was mad at myself because I haven’t made an album from our trip to Italy. Putting on the to-do list now! With a deadline or it will never get done!

I have a love/hate relationship with traveling. I love going to new places, trying new things and having new experiences, but I wouldn’t say I really love the act of traveling or being away from familiarity. I usually get the brunt of the planning duties, I have horrible anxiety leading up to the trip, and if we’re flying I have to keep myself doped up on Dramamine the entire flight and STILL hope to have a relatively tame journey or I’ll get sick anyways despite the meds. Even with all of that though, I think it’s time to start planning the next journey. I’m longing for somewhere new and fresh. I’m yearning to explore new places, ignore reality for a few days and get lost in making memories.

New York, Chicago, Seattle, Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon (I’ve been, but the rest of the fam has not) are all on my short list. Of course I’d love to travel abroad again, but that’s a much bigger trek and I need something that scratches my itch sooner rather than later. What’s on your short list? If you could take a trip somewhere in the next year, where would you go?

Did you know?

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Every TWO minutes an American is sexually assaulted and there are almost three.hundred.THOUSAND victims….every.YEAR!

Wanna know something else…

Jailed-rapists December 2014

WHAT THE WHAT?! 

Only 2 out of 100 rapists will spend even one day in prison?

It’s mind bogglinginfuriatingscary

and true

I hope my daughter is never in the position of needing to defend herself, but the truth is, 1 in 5 women are targets of attempted or completed sexual assault while they are college students and in 90 percent of the reported cases, the victim knew her or his attacker.

I think it’s extremely important for ANY female to know that they are strong and completely capable of fighting back against an attacker.

So, last Sunday, I dragged my teenager with me to an Abduction & Rape Response Tactics class. It’s a monthly class offered by The Women’s Defense Company here in town.

We’ve all heard various ways to keep ourselves out of dangerous situations…

  • be aware of your surroundings
  • have your keys ready before getting to your car
  • lock your doors
  • don’t walk alone

And all of those ways to keep yourself safe are important! However, as important as prevention is, I think it’s equally important to know what to do if you are actually attacked. We can be aware of our surroundings, but having your guard up 100% of the time is very unlikely and that is when you may find yourself in a scary situation.

In the A.R.R.T class over the weekend, we learned about which body parts on an attacker are the most vulnerable, which of our body parts are good weapons and a some basic moves to get out of common attack situations.

I have to say that one of the biggest “a-ha” moments I got from the class was…”attack your attacker”. It sounds a bit crazy and totally opposite of what your mind might be telling you to do, but after the instructor explained it, it made total sense. If you’re about to be attacked, chances are your attacker will just run after you and he/she will catch you from behind…which is a terrible position to be in. So, unless you’re confident in your ability to outrun an attacker (marathon runner? Not me!) or help is a short distance away (not likely), you’ll have a greater chance of getting away from your assailant if you incapacitate them before running to get help. By facing your attacker and preparing to defend yourself, you stay in control of the situation and more likely to have a favorable outcome.

In addition to learning some great defense techniques in the class, we participated in two simulated attacks. No matter how much knowledge you have, if you can’t put the techniques to use in a real life scenario, that knowledge is basically useless. I can’t even describe how nervous I was to be pretend attacked. I knew it wasn’t “real” and I knew I wasn’t really going to be hurt, but my heart was pounding in my chest, my adrenaline was pumping and I was sweating buckets. The first attack I didn’t fair so well. I got away from my attacker, but I panicked at first and forgot most of the techniques! Which is totally normal, but it’s why the simulated attacks are important. In the second one, I performed a lot better and used a few of the defense moves we were shown.

If you’re in the Jacksonville area, I highly recommend The Women’s Self Defense Company. They were very professional, friendly, knowledgable and eager to answer any questions we had. I’ll definitely be going back for more classes and taking my friends and family members with me. Practice makes perfect and as a bonus, it’s pretty empowering to feel strong and capable.

How do you think you’d fare if you were attacked? Have you taken any self defense classes? If not, what are you waiting for?

#MicroblogMonday

The countdown is on! In 27 days, the teen and I will be driving to Orlando to start our journey to ITALY!!!!  I’m so freaking excited! But also, in true Katie fashion, I’m getting really anxious too. I’ve already had a few traveling dreams where things go horribly wrong and I know I’m crazy, but I’ve already started my packing list and gathering my list of what I need to take other than clothes. Obviously, I need a chill pill sumthin’ serious! That or yoga. I should really make yoga a priority in these next few weeks. I always feel so zen when I go regularly.

Since I haven’t been to Italy yet, here’s a throwback pic to that time when the teen and I went to France (2013).

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I’m always looking for better/easier/less stressful ways to travel…What’s your best travel tip?

 

I bid you adieu

Dear Cupid,

Hello, you adorable winged cherub! Aren’t you just the cutest? Flying around shooting love darts into people.

It’s so good to be in love, isn’t it?

Which is why you have a such a hold on people. Humans love to be in love.

However, I’m sorry to inform you that I am now disenchanted with you and your day of love.

I have come to the realization that today is just another day.

Why did I ever let this day make me feel bad for not being in love or having a Valentine or get my hopes up that you, Cupid, might pick me to shoot your arrow in to so that gorgeous man I set my sights on would fall in love with me? Why should I feel so privileged and lucky that I got some cheesy stuffed teddy bear holding a red heart on a day that told my boyfriend/husband he should buy me something so I would know how much he loves me? (Btw, it doesn’t show love. I got a huge teddy bear for Valentines Day one year and then got my heart broken 2 months later. So, yeah, it means nothing.) Why should I be upset with my husband/boyfriend when he doesn’t make me feel like a princess on this one day out of 365?

You know what I figured out? I actually don’t like to get those gifts that every Tom, Dick and Harry are buying for their girlfriends and wives. I don’t want a dozen red roses that eventually die. I don’t want to go out to dinner with the rest of America. Sitting in a crowded restaurant on one of the busiest nights of the year is not my idea of fun or romance.

No, I’d much rather my husband show me love whenever he feels it. I’d much rather go out to a nice meal on a quiet Tuesday. I much rather be given a gift when my husband finds something amazing that he knows I’d love or buy me something I’ve wanted, but wouldn’t buy myself. He’s rather good at that, you see. He likes to buy me presents and spoil me for no reason.

It’s the little things too though. Like when he takes me to bed after I’ve fallen asleep on the couch at the end of the night. Or when he takes the dog out at night because it’s cold outside and he knows I hate it. Or when I find hearts made out of unconventional materials in random spots around the house. Or when I get a text in the middle of the day with a song that reminds him of me.

Yep, those are the things that show me my hubby loves me.

So you can keep your chocolates (mostly made up of ones that I take one bite out of and then put back), your red roses, your stuffed teddy’s that are sold on the side of the road, your $79 diamond pendants, and the rest of your love themed presents. ***

I’ll stick with my husband showing me love any day he chooses.

Signed…Happily Married in Florida

***this does not apply to my sweet kiddos. I love getting anything they give me whenever they want to give it! 🙂

P.S. This doesn’t mean I’m a Valentine hater. Just deprogrammed from being needy on this particular day.

 

If.

If last week was my “get ‘r done” week, this week is the opposite…NOT gettin ‘r done.

I’ve gotten a few things accomplished…like starting to learn Ruby (yes, a kids book! I gotta start small), doing a little work on a part time gig and finally finishing To Kill a Mockingbird.

That’s the extent of my “work” this week though.

It started over the weekend. I got a little (okay, a lot) complacent and distracted and it grew from there.

The weather certainly isn’t helping my productivity. It’s overcast and cold and I just want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of hot coffee loaded with rich, thick buttery cream and sugar-y goodness.

This morning I desperately wanted to crawl back into my warm bed with the hubby instead of making sandwiches for lunches and driving the kids to school.

It’d been a few weeks since I treated the kids to hot chocolates before school so we made a detour on our way downtown to get something warm to drink. Well, the kids got something warm, I got my usual iced latte. I’m a creature of habit. I stick to my favorites and don’t like to venture out of my comfort zones.

I started out semi productive today, but then I started binge watching House of DVF on demand. Have you guys seen this? Did you know it existed? I’m not sure how I missed this show being on tv! I’ve started to realize lately that I really, really love Diane von Furstenburg’s designs so I was ALL OVER this reality show. Hence the getting sucked in part. The show was just okay. I was in it for the fashion really and to see DVF. 😉

This photo has nothing to do with me being a slacker, but I’m so in love with my pretty pink girl that arrived in the mail last week. I’ve been staring at her daily while she hung out on the mantel for awhile. She’s now residing on top of my dresser in the bedroom.

freckledlatte_shannonbotakisShannon Bonatakis print

Today is our Friday because the kids have a 4 day weekend and I’m not sure what we’re doing other than History Fair projects, but we MUST do something productive! And something fun!

I know it’s not yet the weekend for most of you, but do you have anything good planned?

The Good and Bad

The Good // I am almost recovered from my race on Sunday. I’ve been sore from exercise enough times to know that the 24-48hr time frame is when it hits me the worst and Monday night, like clockwork, I thought I might die. But, as usual, I woke up Tuesday morning and was on the upswing. Tuesday was better than Monday and today, better than yesterday! My toenails are still hurting though and that’s a little annoying. They aren’t black or blue though so hopefully they won’t fall off. 😛

The Bad // I’ve been so focused on Thanksgiving and then my race that I had a little mini heart attack when I realized that I only have 14 shopping days left! Holy what?! 2 weeks people…2 weeks! I think I’m turning into a bit of a scrooge. I wish I could just skip to January 2nd. I like celebrating Christmas and I love to spend time with family, but it all gets to be a little overwhelming. If I had bottomless bank account and a personal assistant, that would make it so much more enjoyable!

Bear with me a sec while I daydream about how awesome it would be to have an assistant to help with the holidays…

…My house would look like a magazine shoot because I would show her a bazillion decorating ideas from Pinterest and have her go to town making it festive!

…I might actually have lights up on the outside of the house too. Not too many, but a tasteful amount.

…I’d give her my list of people to buy for, tell her what to buy, and then she would do all the running around.

…I’d have her make these cute little DIY gifts for teachers (from Pinterest of course!).

…She’d clean my house so when we had company, I could enjoy having people over instead of being stressed from getting ready for the party.

*sigh* Doesn’t that sound heavenly?!

Who am I kidding. I’m a control freak. I probably wouldn’t be able to hand over the reigns for most of that stuff. 😛

The Good //tonight we’re finally going to get our tree put up!! Better late than never!

The Bad // our naughty little elf, Manny, has still not made his arrival. Maybe tonight is the night!

The Good // I got my new BloggingForBooks book today! It’s a holiday book and it’s perfect timing since I just finished my current book.

The Bad // it’s eggnog season and I cannot control myself! Let’s not even talk about the fact that I bought some of my favorite bottled iced coffee and found out that it is delicious with eggnog added to it!

The Good // There is only one more school event for the kids before Christmas break!

The Bad // There are only 6 more days of school left before Christmas break. This is a good and bad thing really. Only 6 more days of packing lunches and getting up early to drive across town, but also only 6 more days where I don’t have to actively hide from the kids if I’m doing something Christmas related!

The Good // I’ve been crossing off to-do list items like mad!

The Bad // I still have a laundry list of to-do items left.

Care to share any Good/Bad’s from your week? Are you a holiday lover? If not, could you be if you had an assistant?

I saw this video today and it made me rethink my Scrooge-ish attitude. I’ve been pretty emotional lately so maybe it’s just me, but I leaked a few tears while watching.

Internet Bullies (and trolls)

Do people not have anything better to do than to spend their time criticizing people they don’t even know, from behind their computer screens?

I think about how easy kids have it these days by having access to the internet. So much knowledge waiting to be absorbed with the stroke of a few keys and a couple clicks of a mouse. When I was young (I’m dating myself here, but whatevs) my mom bought a big set of encyclopedias for us to use as reference, but all other references had to be procured by physically going to the library and browsing through books on the shelf that may or may not be useful. I couldn’t type up a research paper and email to my teacher for credit either. Nooooo. I had to type it out on a typewriter (using white out or white out tape when I made a mistake) and hand it in to my teacher.

But, then I think about kids being bullied and judged through the internet and then I realize that while there’s so much information easily obtained for them, there are also downfalls to the world wide web that we never had to deal with.

It doesn’t just extend to kids though. For those of you who aren’t all that familiar with blogland and online sites, people will go online and post extreme comments/opposing views on articles and blogs, just so they can watch the craziness unfold. Maybe they just want to be entertained by the drama that ensues, maybe they have nothing better to do with their life than to annoy people?

For example, I made this comment on that ridiculous article of feminism I linked to last week

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I know that feminism is a hot topic and while I am open to opposing views, there are people that just take it to the extreme. Here are two people who decided they would “reply” to my comment.

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At first I read them and wanted to respond, so I did…

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.33.28 AMAnd so did someone else…

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.32.57 AMbut then I started going through the other comments and I realized that these two people (and others!) were making ridiculous comments on everyones posts. They must have spent hours reading, commenting and replying. They are clearly sad, pathetic souls and I had to ignore my impulse to entertain them by replying any more. They’re just picking a fight and to quote Mark Twain, “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” People who comment just for the sake of arguing are called “trolls”. They troll the comments and hot topic articles just to fight with people for entertainment. They cannot be reasoned with and aren’t worth your time. They also feed on your replies and crave the attention. Note the above reply that was made when no one was taking their bait.

Just yesterday I was reminded about another crappy part of the internet…a site called GOMI. It’s short for “Get Off My Internet”. In a nutshell, it’s a whole website/blog/forum dedicated to criticizing bloggers that they don’t like. It makes fun of their posts, makes fun of their looks, makes fun of who they are. You name it, someone on there is complaining about what so and so is doing or wearing or saying. My question is WHY? Why do you care what someone is doing? If it’s not hurting you, why do you care?! Why are you spending your time on an online forum complaining about people? The sad part is that it’s mostly WOMEN cutting down other women! These are grown ass women bullying other women. Ridiculous!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s weird to put bloggers on a pedestal and sometimes people get idolized for an online persona that isn’t real life, but even still, I’m also not going to waste my time by sitting around a forum all day and trash talking them. If someone annoys me online, guess what? I simply don’t visit their site. I don’t read the comments of peoples adoration. I just go on with my life!

It’s also saddens me that people can be so judgmental and mean. Just let people be whoever they want to be and if you don’t like it, don’t look at it!

*stepping off soapbox*

Thankfully, my little blog is still a diamond in the rough and not widely known so I haven’t had to deal with bullying or online criticism, but I’m curious if any of my readers have? If so, how do you handle the haters?

I’m kinda addicted

NaBloPoMo for November is over and I made it all 30 days. *insert a wild raucous of hooting and hollering*

Yet, here I am…still staring at my blog daily…feeling the itch, the visceral need to type something…anything. Even though I have nothing particularly interesting rattling around in this head of mine that I want to share.

While the whole blogging every day thing was sometimes a hassle and harder in some ways, it was also easier. When I’m blogging daily, I don’t feel the need to make sure that I write about something interesting. I would sit, knowing that I have to write something so whatever came to mind and spilled out onto the keyboard, was what I blogged about that day. But then I start to wonder if that’s a good thing or not?

A couple thoughts I’m pondering since the end of my 30 days…

I need to spend less time typing out a blog post :: I take so long to write a post that it ends up monopolizing my time and I get very little done outside of blogging. When I get this figured out, then I’ll be able to actual schedule some posts!

I need to work harder at creating content :: While I find my posts to be amusing or worth reading, I do realize that I probably feel that way because I’m IN them and it’s about MY life.

I really like blogging daily and just letting things flow, but I feel like I need to strike a balance between daily just saying whatever comes to mind and talking about things that are interesting enough for people to keep coming back.

Or maybe not? I don’t know. I haven’t found it yet, but I feel like I’m at least getting closer to finding my voice.

What do you all think…is content or consistency more important in a blog you visit often? A mix of both?

P.S. I devoured this whole bag of popcorn today. THIS is why I can’t have yummy things in the house! Meanwhile, my hubby, who has never drank a green juice/smoothie in his life, has decided to go on a green smoothie cleanse.  🙄

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He had a dream…

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and I’m pretty sure, this wasn’t it.

If you’re living in the United States, you would have to be in a bubble to not know what’s been going on lately.

I’m not going to choose sides and I’m not going to get all preachy (I’m not good at that anyway). This whole thing is weighing heavy on my mind this morning and I need to get this out…

I agree that change needs to occur, but actions that can be likened to those of a feral animal, does not get your point across. Do you know what happens to animals that become feral? It’s the very thing you are rioting against. Anger and violence does not beget change. Reasoning, patience, listening, creating empathy and providing solutions is likely a good start on the road to change. I may be naive, but I have to believe that the majority of Americans are not in favor of innocent people dying, no matter their color. The majority of American’s are not unreasonable. The hatred, violence and division has to stop. Martin Luther King Jr. is probably rolling in his grave. I don’t believe he would have wanted this. From what I understand, he was an educated, quiet man, who listened and worked towards forming solutions instead of lashing out in anger and violence. Even after he was arrested numerous times and assaulted several (reported) times he still fought back using words and peaceful actions. I only wish there was someone like him now.

My thoughts are with everyone. I will never know what it feels like to be a minority and it angers me that people are treated wrongly or unfairly based on the color of their skin, but there HAS to be another way. Violence is not the answer. I really hope we as Americans can get our act together. We’re regressing instead of progressing. Let’s form relationships and work towards a solution together…not become further divided.

 

Weekend Thoughts

I’m currently sitting in the living room, hubby at one end of the couch, me on the other, listening to the teen tell me about what’s on her Christmas list and watching her practice for her school musical while emailing my crazy early shopping MIL about Christmas presents for the kids.

“Oooh, I should have been writing my blog post for the day instead of surfing Facebook!”

Annnnd, now I’m here, trying to crank out a quick blog post before the kiddos go to bed.

I have random thoughts from the weekend floating around in my head…

  • Thought #1…It was buy firewood on the side of the road weather this weekend. I think it’s a regional thing, but here in Florida when the temperature drops below 60 degrees, suddenly firewood is a hot commodity. You buy it randomly on the side of the road from the back of a pick up truck. Is that a weird thing? Do people do this where you live?
  • Thought #2…I was at Target on Saturday, enjoying a hot pumpkin spice latte wondering why I chose to escape my house and browse Target on a Saturday afternoon, when I saw this adorable new Christmas tradition just begging to be started. OLAF!! Who doesn’t love Olaf? And he’s much cuter than that Elf on a Shelf. At first I thought he was a replacement for Elf, but it doesn’t say he talks to Santa so I’m guessing he’s a just for fun thing. Thank goodness I don’t have little kids anymore!

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  • Thought #3…Does anyone else browse Target’s book section and take photos of books that look good so that you can look them up on Amazon and Goodreads? I love having a print copy of a book, but it’s so much easier to read before bed if I use my kindle. Plus, a print copy is nice if you like the book, but if you hate it…not so nice.
  • Thought #4…Also while at Target (let’s not even talk about sad it is that Target was the most exciting part of my weekend) I was debating buying the new T. Swifty album. I don’t normally buy the hard copy, but she’s all about the hard copies staying alive so it’s actually cheaper to buy the cd versus the mp3 version. That part is a no brainer, but then Target had to go and complicate things by offering an exclusive Deluxe Edition. Suddenly I neeeeeeeded those 3 extra songs and 3 audio clips!!! I stood in the cd aisle debating this for no less than 5 min. Trying to decide whether those few extras were worth almost double what the non deluxe version is selling for. :/ Anyone have the deluxe edition? Is it worth the extra $8?
  • Thought #5…I haven’t had much time to think about it lately, but in four short months, the teen and I will be headed to Italy with her school vocal class. I’m so freaking excited I can’t even stand it! Yesterday I googled and found an Italy photo to use as my iPhone wallpaper and it’s making me even more excited. I gotta get the holidays over with though before I can really start to mentally prep. (yes, I do actually mentally prep for months. I’m an anxious traveler)

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  • Thought #6…My husband is annoyingly good at having fun with the kids. He bought this Raspberry Pi thing and he’s been helping our son with it all weekend. Less helping really and more playing along, watching and answering any questions he’s had. Other than Science Fair experiments (which are finally DONE! Woohoo!), Hayden has been playing with Pi all weekend! The teen wasn’t as interested in Raspberry Pi, but she started on Khan Academy today. Hubs is determined to make them little techies!
  • Thought #7…Since I’m sure you all were waiting with bated breath on how I’m feeling after dousing myself with oils, I’m happy to report that I’m 95% better today! Yep, that’s right, 24-48hrs of oiling myself down and I’m mostly back to normal! I actually like the smell of the oils, but my husband is not a fan and I swear if he makes a face and tells me how stinky they are ONE.MORE.TIME, I’m going to douse him with them in his sleep! I know you don’t like the smell! I heard you the first 499 times! He’s also feeling better today. Coincidence? I think not.

How was your weekend? Hopefully more exciting than mine.  🙂

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copyright freckled latte 2017
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