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Showing posts with label sponsored. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sponsored. Show all posts

Nov 19, 2020

Date Night Essentials

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias

As newlyweds, AJ and I like to try to go on dates once in a while.  We love exploring our town, trying out new restaurants, and we've recently gotten into the habit of going out once a week and just sit down to have dinner and really talk.

I love those little dates, because they give us a chance to really connect after a busy week.  I'm learning quickly in marriage that it really takes intentionality to make sure that your spouse feels cared for.  Life can get really busy, and so it's important to set aside time that's free of distraction to spend together and focus on one another. 

No matter where we spend our date nights, I try to never leave home without some basic essentials in my bag!  There's nothing worse than setting out on a date and getting derailed because of a minor ailment like a headache, or just being uncomfortable because you forgot something or you have an outfit mishap.  I put together a little Date Night Essentials kit with a bunch of products that are must-haves in my option so that date night never gets cut short!

Here's what's in my purse on any given date night:

Advil Tablet Vial // Advil is probably one of my most-important purse essentials for date night or any day of the week!  Use Advil tablets for headaches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, muscle aches and pains of the common cold.  Keep the convenient, purse-friendly Advil Tablet Vial in your bag for any little ache that threatens to cut date night short!

Nexium 24HR // Let's face it:  having heartburn is enough to ruin any evening out with your man.  Having Nexium 24HR in your bag can help give you heartburn protection.  (May take 1 to 4 days for full effect.  Use as directed.)

Emergen-C // I always like to have some Emergen-C on me in the event that I feel something coming on.  I just feel good about having that little extra boost at my fingertips!  With over 20 varieties of vitamin supplement drink mixes, Emergen-C offers the formula, flavor, fix, and FUN you're looking for!

Lint Roller, Static Guard, & Stain Remover Pen // These are some of my biggest must-haves!  Having these practical items in your bag will ensure that you keep your date-night outfit looking picture perfect!

Deodorant // I can't tell you how many times I get so caught up in my morning routine that I almost forget to put on deodorant.  There's nothing worse than realizing that you left the house without smelling good, and keeping a small deodorant in your purse can come to the rescue in this sort of situation, or when you just need a quick refresh!

Nail File & Clear Polish // Keeping a nail file in your purse is a no-brainer...if you break or snag a nail, there's nothing worse than not having a way to fix it.  Having a nail file in your bag is a quick and easy fix in this situation!  Having a bottle of quick-dry clear nail polish is important because it not only can stop chipping, but it can also stop a run in your tights!

You can find all of these date-night purse essentials (and more) at Walmart!  One quick and easy shopping trip was all it took for me to put together the essential purse survival pack that's perfect for any and every date night!


Oct 22, 2020

5 Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

I was in first grade when I first started wearing glasses.  I'm sure that somewhere, there's a photo of little 7 year old me, big pink wire frames gracing my face.  When I got to 6th grade, I somehow convinced my mom to let me get contacts.  The prospect of being able to see without glasses on my face was super exciting, and middle-school me was totally sure that ditching the glasses would make me cooler.  

While I'm not sure that that was true, (especially now that glasses are super cute!), I am grateful that I was able to start wearing contacts at a young age.  As a photographer, having contacts makes my job a bit easier, and I like not having to worry about my glasses breaking or being smudgy!  With over one in ten people wearing contacts in the US today, contacts are super common.  

Our eyes and eye health are so important, so it's really imperative to be careful about your contact lens health!  That being said, here are a few health tips that I've found to be super helpful if you wear contacts:

1 // WASH
When you go to the optometrist, they always have you wash your hands before putting in your contacts.  There's a reason for this!  Your hands can pick up first and bacteria throughout the day and you don't want all of that transferring to your eyes.  Make sure to always wash your hands with soap and warm water before putting in or removing your contacts!

Changing your contact solution (and using contact solution...not water!) is very important to keeping your contacts in their best shape.  Always clean and rinse your lenses in the proper solution and dispose of that solution after storing your contacts overnight.  Start with fresh solution each day!

3 // TOSS
Be sure to toss out your contacts on the right schedule!  Regularly changing your contacts is imperative for reducing the risk of eye infections.  Not only does a fresh pair of contacts contribute to the quality of your vision, but it's important to remember that contacts can have a build-up of films and deposits over time that can cause irritation or cloudy vision.  Wearing your contact lenses longer than the suggested duration can also lead to eye damage form bacterial infections and oxygen deprivation.  If you wear disposable contacts, be sure to remove and discard lenses according to your optometrist's instructions!

This is one of the most important tips, in my opinion.  Removing your lenses before sleep or exposing them to water will help contribute to good eye health.  Sleeping with your contacts in can deprive your eyes from a break that they need, and can lead to eye damage, so don't forget to take them out before you hit the pillow!

5 // CHECK
I can't stress how important regular eye exams are!  Whether you wear contacts, glasses, or neither, it's so important to have your eyes checked regularly by an optometrist.  The American Optometric Association represents approximately 39,000 doctors of optometry, so there's bound to be one in your community.  If it weren't for a regular check-up to her optometrist, my mom might not have found her eye cancer when she did.  We love our optometrists!

Check out the American Optometric Association for more info about healthy contact lens habits, and check out this infographic for more info about contact lens health!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Oct 12, 2020

Get Outdoors this Fall!

Like just about every other blogger out there, fall is by far my favorite season.  Hands down.  Between the glorious weather and all of the fall activities, it's the easy winner.  Apple picking, pumpkin carving, warm drinks, and bonfires are all on my list every fall, and I love being able to bundle up in a warm scarf, a vest, and some boots and enjoy all of it!  

I've always loved spending time outdoors in the fall, and lately, have been loving cheering on our favorite football team this year!  When I was growing up, my parents would often put us in the car and take off on an adventure.  They called it "new japippin" and we literally just drove off to some location that we didn't know.  They always insisted that we were exploring some place new, but in hindsight, I'm pretty sure they knew where we were headed!  As an adult who's now married, AJ and I love taking adventures of our own.  Whether it's heading out with a picnic or to a bonfire or just to find somewhere new to explore, or out on a photo-taking trip, we love to just get out and go!

We've found that prepping for a day out is really important, and we've fallen in love with our Stanley Brand gear for keeping our food and drinks while we're on the go!  We love throwing some chili into our Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Vacuum 3QT Crock, putting some hot chocolate in our Classic Vacuum 2QT Growler, and popping our Adventure Stacking Steel Tumblers into our bag for an easy on-the-go meal that will stay hot and be great for tailgating or trailgating! 

Stanley products are awesome for taking with you on any adventure.  They're built for life and perfect for tailgating at the game or taking on your next fall hike, and are big enough to share whatever you pack with friends.  We wouldn't consider anyone else for our outdoor gear.


Oct 9, 2020

Crab Alfredo Pasta

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my grandmother was make meatballs.  She made the best homemade meatballs and whenever I'd be at her house after school and she'd be making them, I'd end up being the one to mix all of the ingredients together.  Of course, I think she was happy to have me there to do it, as it always involved getting messy and sinking your hands into inevitably cold ground beef and raw eggs, feeling the sticky gooeyness of the ingredients mixing together.  She was probably thrilled on the days where she didn't have to take that job!  

Between my grandmother's meatballs and her homemade sauce, I learned some of the basics of an Italian kitchen.  We ate pasta regularly and of course, can never have enough bread.  My grandmother's meatball recipe is one of those age-old family secrets...we've passed it down from generation to generation, and I'm sure I'll pass it on to my own kids one day (when I don't feel like getting my hands cold and messy and instead, coax them into mixing the meatball recipe up the old fashioned way!).  

What I think I love most about our family's kitchen, though, is that it's always been a place of gathering.  Whether it's a day of baking for the holidays, making a family-favorite meal, or even just sitting around a box of pizza, the kitchen is always a place of good conversation and community.  I've sat at my mom's kitchen island and chatted while she prepped dinner many times.  I can't count how many times I hung out and baked cookies (or made meatballs!) in my grandmother's kitchen as a teenager and gushed about boys or complained about school.  My aunt and I have made great memories in her kitchen as we've cooked and eaten together.  Food brings people together, and the act of cooking it is a bonding experience.  

As someone who comes from a beach-loving Italian family, the marriage of seafood and pasta is a dream come true.  A cheesy combination of Alfredo, crab, and light Angel Hair?  That's a match made in heave, if you ask me!  One of AJ's favorite pasta dishes is a shrimp pesto pasta, and I personally love anything with shellfish, so pasta for dinner is a no-brainer.  

We came up with this crab alfredo pasta concoction the other night and it was a big hit.  It was super easy to make and can be adapted with your favorite sauce, shellfish, and pasta!  

1 box of Angel Hair Pasta (we used 1/2 the box and had enough for 3-4 people)
A few clusters of frozen snow crab legs (we used two nice sized clusters)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

HOW TO // 

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in one pot, and 3-4 cups of water to a boil in another large pot with a steamer basket.  

When the 3 quarts of water are boiling, add in 1/2 of your box of Angel Hair (or other desired pasta - follow cooking directions on box), and boil for 4 minutes for tender pasta.  Strain and set aside.

When the 3-4 cups of water comes to a boil, rinse your frozen crab leg clusters to remove any ice and then place in a steamer basket over the boiling pot.  Cover and steam for 6-8 minutes.  (Crab legs should be already cooked, you are just heating them through.)  When the crab legs are warmed, remove the meat and set aside.

In a separate microwave-safe dish, heat 1/2-2/3rds of the jar of Ragu Alfredo Sauce in the microwave (this can also be done on the stovetop), stirring occasionally.  

Combine the pasta and sauce, season with Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  Top with crab meat and enjoy!  (Try adding a spoonful or two of Ragu Tomato & Basil sauce for an added kick!)

Ragu carries on the family tradition of Assunta Cantisano and her Italian heritage, and stems from an age-old family recipe.  They use farm-grown ingredients with no artificial flavors and no high fructose corn syrup, making it a great choice for your next family dinner!

Oct 6, 2020

Things My Dad Taught Me: Changing Your Oil Isn't That Hard!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DIYOilChange #CollectiveBias

My dad is an aircraft mechanic by trade, and that means that I've essentially never paid for car repairs.  He is the kind of guy who can fix anything and, well, he fixes everything.  He believes in taking care of things, and taking care of them well, and that means that our cars have always been on strict maintenance schedules.

Last year, when I bought the car I had had my heart set on for so long, a VW Jetta, it came with a pretty hefty oil change price tag.  Taking it somewhere to have my oil changed would mean shelling out over $80 for someone else to do what I knew I was capable of doing.  So I asked my dad one day to teach me how to change my oil, and he was happy to oblige.  (This is also the man who insisted I knew how to change my own tires, and I'm incredibly grateful for that, especially since I've had two nails in two different tires in the past 8 weeks!)

I'm pretty independent, and I pride myself in being able to take care of myself for the most part, so learning basic car maintenance has been a really empowering thing for me!  When AJ and I got a flat tire a few weeks ago, I was so proud that I knew exactly what to do!  (For the record, so did he, and he did 90% of the work....but I could have if I had needed to!)  While changing my own oil seems daunting, it is a skill that's good to have, especially in the event that I would ever be in a situation where it would be necessary.

As it turns out, changing your oil in your car on your own isn't rocket science.  Choosing the right oil takes a little bit of research (check your owner's manual for the specifics), some skill, and attention to safety.  AJ is a huge believer in using the best products to take care of your car so that it will run smoothly for a long time.  We chose Pennzoil's Platinum full synthetic motor oil for a few reasons.  It provides complete protection for your engine, and if you've ever owned a German car, you know that repairs aren't cheap, so it's important to us that we take good care of our VW!  We liked that Pennzoil Platinum helps keeps your pistons cleaner, delivers better fuel economy, helps protect from loss of power, and provides industry-leading protection from friction.  It's also backed by a warranty, which is important as well!

If you're changing your oil for the first time on your own, here are a few tips to help you get started:  

1 // Get guidance from a seasoned pro.  By "pro" I don't necessarily mean a mechanic, just someone who knows the ropes and can help guide you in the process!  Like I said, it does take some skill, so having someone around who knows what they're doing is helpful.

2 // Follow safety measures.  Wearing gloves and even goggles are great measures of protection for your skin while changing your oil.  Other basic safety measures that are important include putting something behind your tire to make sure it doesn't roll while you have your car jacked up!

3 // Consult the manual.  Make sure you check your owner's manual so that you get the right weight and grade for your vehicle.

4 // Keep it clean.  Changing your oil can be messy, so make sure you have paper towels or rags, a funnel, and maybe even an owl tarp or towel on hand in case of any spills!

5 // Don't skimp!  There are a lot of options out there for choosing your oil, but only top-of-the-line brands are worth it.  Remember that your engine will run so much better with better oil.  Go with Pennzoil Platinum for optimum engine protection and performance!

We were able to easily find the grade of oil we needed for our car at our local Walmart.  Look for the Pennzoil bottle and take advantage of Walmart's wide selection!

And for more info about changing your own oil, check out these 5 oil change tips!  


Oct 5, 2020

Gift Giving Made Easy with Sesame Gifts

It's really hard for me to believe that we've reached October already.  Last week, we gathered together all of the volunteers that keep our creative arts afloat at GT and spent some time appreciating them.  The theme of the evening?  Christmas.  I spend Wednesday evening putting together a little Christmas scene and I can't tell you how many people walked by me and commented on how it was "too soon" to think about it!  But when you work for a pretty large church, you start planning Christmas during summer, so it's never really too early.  

While I'm mostly excited that fall weather is starting to arrive and nowhere near ready to start thinking about Christmas lists myself, Thursdays meeting did make me think about gift giving.  We've had a lot to celebrate in my family lately...both my brother and I got married in the span of a month, AJ and his sister both graduated from college, my cousin and his wife are going to be having their first baby in November.  It's a season of celebration and it's been really fun to find thoughtful gifts for each person to celebrate their unique accomplishment or milestone.  

I've always loved giving gifts.  I was the kind of kid who would give my parents their Christmas gifts early because I just couldn't stand the anticipation of giving them whatever I had found or made for them.  And now, as an adult, I love trying to select the perfect gift for each person I love or sending gifts "just for so" as a surprise and a way to make someone's day a bit brighter.  I think the simple act of gift giving is a great way to show someone that they're on your mind and let's be honest:  who doesn't like receiving a surprise gift?

That's one of the reasons I love Sesame Gifts...they make it so easy to surprise someone that you love by simply choosing a gift box online or on your phone.  I decided to try out Sesame for myself to check it out before I relied on it to send a gift to someone else, and I'm so impressed.  From the packaging to the sweet little air plant and planter I received, to Sesame's thoughtful hand-picked and hand-packed gift sets and attention to detail, I can't wait to send some fun surprise boxes to friends!  

Sesame has graciously offered to gift a few Heavens to Betsy readers with a code for $15 off of a box!  Check out their website here and enter below! And right now, with Sesame's "Gift More, Get More" campaign, for every $100 you spend on Sesame gift boxes, you get an additional $20 in credit!  Check out Sesame on Instagram at @SesameGifts for weekly #SesameSunday giveaways!  

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Sep 30, 2020

Let's Talk Insurance

I turned 26 this month, and let's just say I really liked 25.  I work at a job I love, but only part-time.  Thankfully, I have some creative outlets that supplement that income, and up until this year, I've been able to stay on my parents' health insurance.  However, now that I'm 26, that last part changed and over the past few weeks, I've been facing the task of choosing the right insurance plans.  From health insurance to accident insurance to life insurance, there are a plethora of plans out there and sometimes it's hard to know what you need, how much you need, and when you need it.

Fortunately, I rarely go to the doctor.  Most of the time that I'm in my doctor's office, it's for my yearly check-ups.  But we can't predict sickness, whether it be just a simple sinus infection or a much more serious illness.  And so, insurance, obviously, is important!

We probably all know about your typical medical, dental, and eye insurance, but did you know that there are other voluntary plans that you can purchase to supplement these coverages?  I've teamed up with Aflac to answer some basic questions about open enrollment and these plans!  As I've been researching health care options, I've found myself scratching my head on more than one occasion.  

What exactly do you mean by Open Enrollment?
Fall is open enrollment season for most companies in the US.  It's a time when employees are able to review the benefits offered to them by their employer and choose policies that meet their financial and healthcare needs.  Taking the time to research your options can help you choose the right protection for you and your family.

How do I know what my health care needs are?
It's rare today that benefits options are one-size-fits-all.  That's why voluntary insurance can help.  Voluntary policies are available so that employees can select a plan to best suit their own needs, as well as the needs of any dependents they may have.  

What is voluntary insurance?
When an unforeseen medical event occurs, many people will find themselves needing to pay copays, deductibles, and treatment costs, and 66% of workers would not be able to afford these costs.  Voluntary policies complement your major medical coverage and help pay for those out-of-pocket expenses.  The cash benefits of voluntary policies can also be used to help pay living expenses such as rent, gas, groceries, and more.

What voluntary insurance policies are available?
There are a variety of voluntary policies available through Aflac, and they include Critical Illness Insurance, Accident Insurance, Cancer Insurance, Hospital Indemnity Insurance, Life Insurance, and Disability Insurance.  These policies can supplement your major medical insurance and help you handle the out-of-pocket costs associated with an of these unforeseen medical events. 

Even if you're young and healthy, it's worth considering these voluntary policies when examining your insurance coverage.  AJ's grandfather always said that you don't have insurance for when you're healthy, you have it for when you're not.  He is so right!  We never plan for a major medical event to happen, but it's good to know you have the reassurance of insurance and supplemental plans so that all you need to worry about is getting better when you face something unforeseen.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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