LAFF: Accidental Science Experiments….

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is β€œdedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

**This week only she is also donating 25% of all sales on her ENTIRE site to TWLOHA

***ALSO September 10 (tomorrow) is WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY and The Leaf Pile will be offering a large piece 9Γ—12 for $30 ($15 of which will go directly to TWLOHA)


The last two months of our lives have been a blur. Adopting Riley, my foot accident, and Chad starting a new job at a new company have turned out lives upside down.

Just how busy have we been?

I present to you Exhibit A:

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I see you are confused. Let me walk you through this.

Yes, this is a picture of a bowl of carrots in a dirty microwave. (Pay no attention to the dirty microwave πŸ˜› ). Why is this the symbol of too much busyness in our lives? Because this is what awaited Chad as he attempted to heat up frozen baked chicken last week. It’s not every day you open the microwave and are greeted with cooked food. It would have been somewhat of a miracle if not for the fact that the carrots had been in there for three days.

Yeah. I told you, we were busy. Let me explain:

Chad called me a few nights ago to say that he’d be home for dinner and could I start by nuking some carrots in the microwave? Of course I could and did. After they were done cooking, I left them in there to stay warm because Chad hadn’t come home yet.

Can you see where this is going?

Yep, Chad was actually unable to make it to dinner and we both COMPLETELY FORGOT about the carrots until we were making dinner 3 days later and discovered them, sad, soggy and a little bit moldy.

We learned two things from this experience:

1. We may never be able to enjoy cooked carrots again without feeling tinges of guilt

and

2. We may desperately need a vacation!

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Throwback Thursday: To the Time We Got Kicked Out of a Weird Al Concert…..

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is β€œdedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

**This week only she is also donating 25% of all sales on her ENTIRE site to TWLOHA

***ALSO September 10 is WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY and The Leaf Pile will be offering a large piece 9×12 for $30 ($15 of which will go directly to TWLOHA)


Ok, so maybe “kicked out” is a tad melodramatic. Technically we didn’t get kicked out of the theater till the concert was over and the meet and greet for Weird Al was about to start. The meet and greet was only for a select few that paid for VIP badges.

And we had no stinkin’ badges. πŸ˜›

So at the end of the concert where we were in the very back row, I decided I wanted to try going down to the front of the theater and looking up into the balcony.

As I’ve mentioned before I live with agoraphobia that makes it nearly impossible to enjoy theaters and stadiums without tremendous bouts of anxiety. Through the years things have gotten a tiny bit better and I’ve even been able to enjoy concerts and go to the theater without anxiety. This day was no exception.

I had no anxiety throughout the entire concert. So afterwards, I decided I’d be really brave and see if I could go down to the front to the stage and look up at the balcony.

This was something that in the past if I’d been able to tolerate the venue, I’ve NEVER been brave enough to go down front and look up.

And guess what? I did it. I went down to the front, turned around and looked up. It was a glorious anxiety free moment I never thought I’d have in my lifetime.

Then the voice of doom spoke out behind me: “Ok, we are about to start the meet and greet, so that means if you don’t have a VIP badge, that mean you gots to go!” In between wanting to correct his grammar, giving him my blog promo cards in an attempt to let us stay and explaining to him how big this moment was in my life, we decided to forgo all of those options and just head back to our hotel.

For the entire drive back to our hotel, I was basking in the glow of my victory. When I was a kid I never believed that I’d one day be able to go into an auditorium/theater without a lick of anxiety and at the end of the show go down front and look up.

So how did I get to this point of success? I have to say it took TIME and it wasn’t always pleasant. πŸ˜‰

1. I think one of the biggest things that I did was starting to go to a very large church in a large auditorium when I moved back to the Midwest about 5 years ago. I do have to be honest and admit the first two or so times Chad and I went I was pretty anxious and I had to sit in the back near the door and I clung to Chad’s arm the whole time, but the more I went, the more comfortable I became.

2. After I became used to our church, I was able to gauge how big a space was and if I’d be able to handle it based on if it was roughly the same size. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of a panic, this can be hard to keep in mind, so I was glad when I had friends around me to remind me of this. It was because of this reminder that I was able to go to The Grand Old Opry and see Loretta Lynn perform.

Highlight of my life!

3. I married a concert junkie! πŸ˜› Seriously, Chad LOVES concerts and music. And because he also enjoys spending time with me, I’ve gone along to many a concert in our almost decade long relationship. This has helped to desensitize me to venues and situations that would have caused anxiety for me in the past. It should be noted that for some of these concerts I DID have anxiety, but the more I went, the less I had.

I hope that if you live with agoraphobia like I have, you’ll find hope in this post. Also please be aware that although this has been my experience, this may not work for you. Remember you are NOT alone!

Cheers!

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Β I got all fanicified for the concert πŸ˜‰

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Passport to Flavor Greek Tzatziki…….

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is β€œdedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

**This week only she is also donating 25% of all sales on her ENTIRE site to TWOLA


Ok, I gotta be honest with this one guys, I have NO idea what this is or what it’s supposed to taste like. But fortunately on the bag there is cucumbery things and what looks like sour cream, so I’m assuming this will be a sour cream and oniony thing. There also appears to be a sprig of cilantro in the dip.

Dear Lord, help us all! πŸ˜›

Let’s open the bag!

Smell: OK, WOW. I was WRONG!! It’s not sour cream and onion or even cucumber, but CHIVE. VERY VERY chivey aroma.

Appearance: If they are going to taste cilantro-y, at least they are the rippled brand. Seriously if these had been just the plain flat ones, I’d probably be inclined to chuck this entire review and just pretend these don’t exist. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, they look exactly like sour cream and onion chips, but it’s already been established that this is a complete lie and the green flecky bits are actually chive.

Yummy! **Insert here a photo of a Veggie Tales character that is a chive but you can’t remember their name. Also you can’t do a google search and do this yourself because you don’t want to get sued for copyright. #murica!** πŸ˜›

Taste: Sour cream with a refreshing zing of cucumber. I really like it. And as I keep eating them, I can’t detect any other flavors. So, yeah. That’s it, I guess.

Pretty unpretentiously delicious chips.

Crap, now I have to decide which one of these 4 were my favorite. Gah! Can I have two? I mean choosing between these and the Szechuan Chinese Chicken chips is like trying to choose between two woefully inadequate political candidates.

#TooSoon??

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Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Passport to Flavor: Brazilian Picanha (Steak and Chimichurri Sauce)

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***


Today I’m reviewing the third Passport to Flavor option from Lay’s: Brazilian Picanha (Steak and Chimichurri Sauce). This one will be short and sweet. Let’s get to it:

Smell: Like a regular potato chip. Nothing really special in the smell. They look like sour cream and onion potato chips. And they smell similar to them.

Look: The exact same as sour cream and onion down to the green bits, but instead of dill, it is parsley flecks.

Taste: Oniony with a food truck meat undertone (aka slightly smokey). A slight parsley flavor comes through at the end. no heat. The more you eat, the more you get a creamy sour cream flavor with a splash of parsley. Light not heavy tasting.

If Lay’s decides to keep these around after the campaign ends, I won’t be mad about it.

Bon-Appetit’ Y’all!!

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A Charge For Back To School: Be Kind; It Gets Better…..#TWLOHA

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

It is back to school time in the states. All over Facebook, children with shiny backpacks and a determined smile have been spotted on their first days of school. But there was one headline about back to school that made my heart sink. It was about a high school student who committed suicide the day before classes started.

Now this kid attended school at my alma mater, and although I didn’t know him or his situation, one question did come to mind. I wondered if he had been bullied.

Back in the day, bullying only consisted of mean taunts on the playground, but with the rise of the internet and social media, bullying has been taken to scary and ridiculous levels never seen before. Kids aren’t even immune to bullying when they get off the school bus and enter their homes.

It’s everywhere. And at times, it can seem too dark and hopeless to ever end.

But there is hope. Below are some steps you can take to combat bullying in your school:

1. Find a student who is sitting alone in the cafeteria and sit with them.

2. Make a new friend every week.

3. See someone being bullied? Step in and stand up for the person being bullied. Be brave. If it’s too much for you to do, tell a teacher, guidance counselor or principal.

To those being bullied:

You have worth, you have a purpose and you have a bright future ahead of you. Don’t believe the lies your bully is trying to tell you.

I’ll even tell you a secret that most of us don’t discover until years after we get out of school: EVERYONE in middle school and high school is awkward and insecure with varying levels of sweatiness. They are just trying to figure out how to navigate life and get through those years that are awkward, insecure and sweaty.

It gets SO much better when you get older. You realize that life isn’t all sweaty and awkward. Life is beautiful and rich and full. The world is a wonderful place and needs you in it to do the work only you can do! The world needs your talents, your passions, your joy.

Just hang in there. You are loved more fully than you will ever know. And I’m in your corner, cheering you on.

You got this, Boo.β™₯

LAFF: A List of Things We Used to Take For Granted……

Our life has changed in many ways since Riley became a part of our family in June. Lack of sleep and making sure he’s not too rough with our other cat is one change. But there are a few activities we used to take for granted that take much more planning and strategy now. Case in point; tying ones shoes. Seems easy and straightforward. But add in a rambunctious kitten and you get this:

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Just to reinterate, I was simply trying to tie my shoe and someone lost their little kitty mind.

I’ve also noticed that he tries to grab the string when I floss my teeth.

Seriously, this is our life now.

Another thing we take for granted? Being able to eat a meal without the constant barrage of cat noses and paws on our plates. We thought we had a solution to this. We were wrong.

Very, VERY wrong.

So we normally eat dinner in the living room on our couch. Mostly because our kitchen table is normally cluttered with stuff, but also because it’s somewhat comfortable. Well, since Riley has arrived, this has become a bit of a hazard because he’s so curious about the smells coming from the plates that he just can’t control himself. Last night our table was cleared off so we decided it’d be easier to eat at the table.

So we sat down at the table like grown ups thinking we had bucked the system and would enjoy our meal kitty free.

Again, we were WRONG!

First of all we’ve discussed putting a bell on Riley because little boy kitty is a freakin’ ninja when it comes to navigating the house. He will be in one room one minute, I leave the room thinking that he’s still in there, and he shows up in the NEXT ROOM I WALK INTO with a look on his face like, “Hey, where have you been??” So we thought of putting a bell on him just to avoid a coronary from the element of surprise. But the downside of this is that we’d have to get used to constant jangling around the house and I’m pretty sure we’d actually sleep LESS then we are now, which isn’t a lot.

So anyway, back to the nice quiet dinner Chad and I were having. Keep in mind there was food on our plates. We were dining on baked chicken and mashed potatoes.

We were deep in conversation about the state of our economy (Maybe. My mind has been full lately and my head is a little fuzzy on the details πŸ˜› ) when all of a sudden a furry gingery head popped up from underneath the tablecloth and launched himself onto the table.

Not missing a beat, Chad says, “No Riley! Down!” as we are trying to teach him not to climb the table. (Side note: Yes I realize this will more than likely be a futile activity and we are in a way wasting our energy scooping him up off the table, but please let us just live in denial a little bit longer. Thanks. πŸ˜€ )Β 

Riley, not to be outdone by being placed on the floor again, walked over to my chair and two hops later his foot was…I wish we would have been able to photograph this…. inches away from my mashed potatoes and when Chad again said, “No!” it startled him and his butt came within millimeters of the baked chicken ON. MY. PLATE.Β 

With that our dinner menu was changed to baked chicken….with essence of cat butt!!Β 

You won’t find that at KFC!Β  πŸ˜€

So while we didn’t get a picture of this ridiculous display, we did manage to get a shot of him right after I scooped him up before he almost sat in my chicken!

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We ended up having to eat in shifts to finish our meal.

Shifts.

So as a public service, the next time someone tells you that kittens are easy and you are over reacting to whatever craziness is being thrown your way, please direct them to this blog post.

Your sanity will thank you! πŸ˜‰

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Passport To Flavor Chinese Szechuan Chicken……

Thank you for joining us for day two of my Passport to Flavor review. Let’s get down to business:

Smell: Exactly like a Chinese Szechuan chicken.

It’s kind of amazing that they were able to put that big flavor into a single chip.

Appearance: Pretty unremarkable, ordinary potato chip with a smattering of green and red flecks.

Flavor: WOW!! Holy mother!! Guys, this tastes EXACTLY like Szechuan chicken!! A chicken flavor that morphs very quickly into a spicy explosion of Hoisin sauce.

These actually may be my favorite of these four. Seriously, I’m still disappointed in the Tika Masala chips flavor. I think they could have been so much more. *sniff* 😦

I never realized I like Hoisin sauce as much as I apparently do.

I may blame PMS for this one. πŸ˜›

Boy, as I continue to eat these I’m remembering back to jr. high and high school when my sisters were in college in our town, and on the weekends they’d bring their friends over for Sunday dinner and we’d have some sort of international dish like home-made Chinese wontons or something with rice, black beans and cilantro. (Yes, I do have some happy memories of cilantro and used to actually enjoy it. Until that fateful day in college where I ate it and got sick. Ah, the innocence of youth! πŸ˜› )

So to sum up, these are definitely in the running as my favorite this time around.

Bon-Appetit’ Y’all!

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I still can’t get over the fact that these were my favorite so far! πŸ˜€

FTC DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored. All products purchased by me. I never thought I’d grow up and have a hobby like eating potato chips and telling people about them on the internet, but here I am, doing it like a BOSS! πŸ˜›