Year-End Resolution Review – 2014

With 2014 quickly coming to a close, I’m weighing my new year resolution options. I decided the best way to determine my goals for moving forward would be to look at the goals I set for 2014.

That was a terrible idea.

Last year, I posted a blog with the following resolutions for 2014:

  • HOS and I resolve to dedicate more time to our relationship by having monthly date nights.
  • I resolve to pay more than the minimum payment on my debts while saving money weekly.
  • I resolve to decrease TV and technology time, so I can increase one-on-one time with my family.
  • I resolve to be thankful for the blessings given to me and mine.
  • I resolve to read one new book each month.

Little did I know, I was setting myself up for failure!

I was apparently thinking very highly of myself when I created this list because I chose not one, not two, not three, but FIVE goals. Who does that? Most people can’t complete one resolution, and I thought it best to set five.

Makes sense.

I can’t say that I failed completely. HOS and I did not achieve our monthly date night every month. We were probably around 75 percent, but we did it! We took time for us.

Ugh. Money. I’m going to be honest. I am terrible with money. I am terrible at saving. Let’s hope HOS takes over all monetary business when we get married. I did, however, pay more than the monthly minimum nearly ever time, so there is that.

We have made a lot of positive strides regarding Charlotte’s excessive desire to only watch TV and/or play a game on one of our games. It’s an uphill battle, especially with technology being so engrained these days. I’ll keep nagging HOS to put his phone away. He loves that.

Charlotte and I have been working on thankfulness. I think I could spend my whole life focusing on my blessings and giving thanks, and I would still owe God or someone a debt of gratitude.

Lastly, and sadly, I had hoped to read a book every month. That definitely did not happen. I bought a lot of books. I heard about friends reading books. I, myself, may have read a few books. I started reading some books, but never finished.

SO, all-in-all, if I were to grade the result of my resolutions, I would grant myself a C. Knowing all this, what should I resolve to accomplish in 2015?

What is a resolution that will really matter for me or my family?

*sigh* I was trying to think of something witty, but I realized what I need to do in 2015.

In 2015, I will set aside my fears, distractions, insecurities and general excuses and I will make a concerted effort to get Charlotte’s Mr. Elephant books published.

What is your new year’s resolution?

My Name is Angie, and I Was Scammed By *IC FREESHIPPING

I learned today that I have been incurring fraudulent charges on my credit card since January 2013. Oh, yes. You read that correctly… I have been duped for the past 22 months!

I know that many other “young” adults in my generation (and the generation after mine) are terrible with money. Emphasis on TERRIBLE. I am no different. I’m working to change my ways, and this new journey to financial security/freedom requires a long, cold walk through the depths of my student loan debt and what little credit card debt I have accumulated.

I’m learning just how oblivious I am/was in terms of my own money! Let’s set aside the wasted spending at the gas station and lunches out with friends for another day so we can focus on the topic at hand…

TWENTY-TWO MONTHS of fraudulent charges? I’m embarrassed for a number of reasons:

  1. I obviously haven’t read a credit card statement in nearly two years.
  2. I have paid more than $250 in charges I did not incur.
  3. The fraud continued despite a recent credit card number change.
  4. The look on HOS’ face when I told him how many charges have hit my account…

I pray that you are all far better at managing your money than me. If not, then I beg you to at least read your credit card and bank statements! Don’t just give away your money like me!

Here are a few tips to avoid being a credit card fraud sucker:

  • Request both paper and email statements, so you’ll see at least one version.
  • Review all transactions to verify authenticity.
  • If a transaction is suspicious, call your credit card company right away! My card card provider, Chase, offers 24-hour customer service.
  • If you see a $12.97 charge from *IC FREESHIPPING.COM, cancel your card immediately, and call your fraud department. This is the group that got me!
  • Do your research. In my case, a quick Google search shows *IC FREESHIPPING.COM fraud complaints going back as far as 2010! This is a good way to learn more about the vendor when faced with the possibility of fraud.
  • Stop buying things online. Ok, so I know this is nearly impossible, but it’s the best way to prevent issues! If you’re going to continue shopping online, vette out retailers you’ve never used before.

Take it from me – the dummy who let an old trick get the best of her for nearly two years – pay closer attention to your money! If you’re not watching your financial back, who will?

One last note and an unsolicited plug – use a trustworthy credit card provider. Chase was awesome on the phone today. They were kind and understanding, while still inquisitive to make sure I truly was experiencing fraud. In the end, they paid me back for all the fraudulent charges and are sending a new card. What would your credit card provider do for you?

Six Steps to Embracing Your Curl

I feel the need to preface this post with a few notes.

1. I am not, nor will I ever be, a fashion/glamour/beauty/whatever blogger.

2. I still burn myself with my straightener, curling iron and diffuser.

3. I’m not confident that I can put a curl in my hair without the awkward kink at the end signifying I turned the barrel the wrong way.

4. I was raised by an amazing woman who never used conditioner on her hair. She didn’t use product, and she brushed out her beautiful curls.

Now that my disclosure is out of the way, I would like to talk to you about frizzy, curly, uncontrollable hair.

Let’s be real, no curly hair is the same – inherited or not. We all have to figure out what type of hair we have and what product may or may not be successful long enough to finish the bottle.

Lord knows the next bottle will be a waste because your curl, like a bacteria that wasn’t completely killed by an antibiotic, will adapt to that product, rendering it useless. And your curl will be that much more powerful…

Or maybe that’s just me?

I’m going to be completely honest. I was in hair denial for about 10 years. I scorched my hair into place or pulled it up in a ponytail. I refused to acknowledge the curl.

For a while, I went through an incredibly awful stage. I went to work with wet hair nearly every day.

I have one question. Where were my friends? Who looked at me and thought, “oh, yeah. She is working that wet dog look.”?

Finally, I discovered Pinterest contained more than ridiculously unhealthy recipes and impossible crafts. I came across a blog about curly hair that changed my life! I learned what the heck the claw thing was that attached to my hair blow dryer; and it would help me!


In all seriousness, who would know that is a diffuser or what that thing does for your hair? It looks like a car part… Or a ray gun! It sure doesn’t look like it would help curl my hair.

I experimented with different methods for using the diffuser: upside down (successful), pre-styled (not so successful), over one side of the head and then the other (successful).

I tried different sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. I don’t remember why but it’s supposed to be better for curly hair. The AG brand smelled terrible and made my scalp very oily. It was disgusting.

I also tested different products. I have no less than three different curling products at any given time. If the instructions include a step for twisting your hair, throw that bottle away. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Ok, so… I have not mastered my curls by any means, but I am now proud of my hair. I wear it curly 90+ percent of the time.

This is the method that works for me:

1. I wash my hair with Hempz Couture Volumizing shampoo and conditioner. This is not for everyone. I have thin hair that needs a boost!


2. For the best volume and curls, I rinse the conditioner from my hair upside down. Yup, flip my hair over my hair and bend my neck forward to rinse my hair. It’s worth it!

3. I squeeze out excess water. I shake out my hair and scrunch it all little with my fingers before wrapping my head in an old, very thing towel. I don’t want it to dry, simply stay out of my way.

4. Remove the towel and massage a quarter-sized dollop of L’Oreal’s EverCurl Sulfate Free Hydracharge Leave-In Cream into the end of my hair, working upward toward the roots.


5. Begin diffusing upside down, focusing on the front hairline. Tilt head to the right and diffuse. Tilt head left and diffuse. Fluff hair with fingers in between. Lastly, diffuse the back and fluff. Make sure all the hair us dry!

6. Style bangs, if needed. Use light hold hairspray on curls.


(Insert funny remark about the awful duck face.)

Not bad for a girl who used to look like a dog in from the rain. You, too, can learn to embrace your curl with these six simple steps!

Or maybe not. Like I said, every curl is different.

I would love to learn from other curly-haired people. How do you style your hair?

Mother’s Day – A Day Like Any Other

I know. I know.

EVERYONE is blogging about Mother’s Day today. I promise to keep it brief…

Today felt like any other day. Sure, I received a card, but HOS randomly buys me cards anyway.

Sure, the message at church was about moms being awesome, but that is common knowledge!

Sure, I selfishly expected to not lift a finger, and was hoping for thoughtful gifts I could brag about at work tomorrow, but how is that really any different from any other holiday?

It was a day like any other, except for one thing… When you’re a mommy, “a day like any other” doesn’t exist.

Not really.

Little things happen every day that make it special, but we fail to recognize those moments. But not me… At least not today!

There were a few things that made today special, and they had nothing to do with Mother’s Day. My favorite moment was at bedtime, after Charli and I said our prayers, I held her hand through the openings in her crib. I kissed her fingers, and she giggled. I asked her for a kiss, and she scooted her body over to me. She lifted her little head, and kissed me between the bars.

THAT was the best gift!

Today was like any other day. It was a blessing, and it was filled with amazing little moments!

How was your day?


Bathroom Etiquette

Do you recognize and follow bathroom etiquette when you are in a public facility, or is this something made up entirely by me?

We are all aware of dinner etiquette. Ok, so we may not be ready for dinner with the Queen of England, but we know not to put our elbows on the table!

I imagine there is a proper etiquette for nearly everything – business etiquette, phone etiquette, driving etiquette… You understand what I’m saying. So why do I consistently encounter violators of bathroom etiquette?!

Now, I realize that we are all different in what should or should not be proper for a public restroom. No offense, men, but I hope to never learn what is proper in your case. For women, there are is one primary rule (to me).

If at all possible, do not… I repeat, do NOT sit in the stall next to another person.

Why would you want to?!

I was a victim of poor etiquette today. I was all alone in a bathroom of TEN stalls when the offender entered. There were seven empty stalls waiting patiently for her with their doors wide open. She bypassed every last one of them to sit in the stall directly to my right. Seven missed opportunities to demonstrate proper bathroom etiquette.

As the tips of her black, faux leather heels with cream colored stitching came into my view, I could hear her breathing… Suddenly, I had to go. I had to get the heck out of that stall and quickly!

As I washed my hands and bolted to my desk, I couldn’t help but wonder, did I make up bathroom etiquette?

Please tell me it’s a real thing!

There is Something About a Letter

There is something beautiful about a hand-written letter.

Someone sat at a table or desk and drew the letters that swirled, looped, dipped and slanted into words across a blue-lined paper. Hand writing is a dying art replaced by emails and text messages that can now be created by talking at a machine.


A hand-written letter gives a deeper message than any electronic device. Letters become wrinkled with tears and tattered with anger. Letters convey personality and conviction or fear and sadness. The written word, literally written, is as close as it gets to sitting next to a person while she speaks.

I suppose an electronic device could input closed captions like [weeping], [yelling] or [frightened tone]. … But doesn’t that sound awful?

I received a letter from my child-hood piano teacher today because I wrote her a couple months ago. Her letter, as brief as it was, touched my heart. It reminded me of my mom sitting at the kitchen table writing letters every Sunday. It made me feel happy, sad, grateful and proud. I heard her voice in the words and imagined her face.

There is something so beautiful, so magical, in a letter.


Early-Year Indifference

At the end of the day, I spend 2.5 hours with Charlotte each night. And that breaks my heart.

Lately, this 2.5 hours have been filled with distractions. I may be physically with Charli, but I’m not there mentally and emotionally. Work is getting busier and busier. Charlotte isn’t sleeping well. Volunteer hours. Friends. Family. Events….

Somewhere in the last few months, I lost site of my real priority.

Last weekend, I hit a point that I will refer to as “Early-Year Indifference.” I no longer care about the board I sit on. I don’t care that my inbox is constantly overflowing with emails. I would rather stay at home than attend anyone’s anything. No offense. It’s not you; it’s me.

I want nothing more than to pass the time with my daughter. I want to enjoy every precious second I spend with her without being filled with guilt that I’m not doing something else. I want to be surprised and proud when she says a new word, and I want to revel in it. I want to feel the excitement radiating from her. I want to dance around the kitchen, sing while giver her baths and watch her sleeping in her crib.

I want to be moved to tears when Charlotte reaches her arms up to me and says, “Pwease!” because she wants me to hold her.

And I’m tired of missing out on these things because my mind is elsewhere.

I am indifferent to almost anything unrelated to my daughter.

I am not sorry for that.

Maybe this “Early-Year Indifference” will give way to “Mid-Year Motivation.” Who knows? For now, I’m going to be grateful and take advantage of every possible moment.


My Little Sous-Chef

I love to cook.

I’m not a talented chef who knows how to pare different flavors or anything like that. I simply enjoy the act of cooking. Of course, I have a toddler running around so setting aside time to cook – I mean, really cook – is rare. Cooking actually takes away from mommy time with Charlotte.

(Lots of household activities encroach on time with Charli, but I use it to my advantage in most cases!)

Instead of completely giving up on one of my few hobbies, I’ve started engaging Charlotte in the cooking process. I ask her to choose between two different recipes or two vegetables or two fruits. I realize that her choices are probably based on what is most visually appealing at this age, but I’m hoping that this practice encourages her to make decisions for herself. Being an extremely indecisive person, I really want to teach her to importance of making decisions!

In addition to making choices for mealtime, I’m starting to include her in the cooking. She will drag a chair across the kitchen and slap the seat yelling “UH! UH!” (translation: UP! UP!) until I pick her up and place her on the seat. I scoot the chair up to the counter so she can watch as I measure and mix. I talk to her the whole time, explaining what I’m doing and what I’m making.

Yesterday, she helped me make turkey chili. She poured the different ingredients into the crockpot for me. After watching me stir for a few seconds, Charli decided it was the coolest thing ever! She stirred and stirred, and was not happy when I told her it was time to cook the chili.

Charlotte won’t remember this experience with me because she is too young. She won’t remember what it was like to have me leaning over her, wrapping my hand around her hand as I taught her how to stir the ingredients. She won’t remember the pure, innocent joy in that moment.

And she won’t remember that she refused to eat even one bite of the chili when it was done.

But I will remember. At least I hope I will.

It was one of the most bittersweet moments I’ve had in a while. It was such an awesome, happy experience, and it made me long for my mom so very much.

So it seems I have a new cooking buddy, my little sous-chef. I won’t have to give up my hobby, and I won’t have to miss out on time with my daughter. It’s a win-win… If only she would eat what she cooks!

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year!

With a new year comes reflection and resolution. I’m sure you’ve all seen enough blogs and social media posts about resolutions to last you until next year. I promise, I won’t be posting about losing weight to find happiness!

These are my resolutions for me and my family.

HOS and I resolve to dedicate more time to our relationship by having monthly date nights.

I resolve to pay more than the minimum payment on my debts while saving money weekly.

I resolve to decrease TV and technology time, so I can increase one-on-one time with my family.

I resolve to be thankful for the blessings given to me and mine.

I resolve to read one new book each month.

What are your resolutions for 2014?



1. archaic derogatory
a person born of parents not married to each other.
synonyms: illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock

I was not married to HOS when we became pregnant with Charlotte. We remain unmarried. But this post isn’t about our marital status. This blog is about ignorance.

One of my co-workers was teasing a new hire about whether or not another team member had children. I told her to ignore him, and jokingly told her I’m the only one in the department with an illegitimate child. The woman who sits next to me laughingly said, “Don’t you mean a bastard child.” 

If upon reading that you felt like someone had punched you in the gut and squeezed your heart at the same time, you may have felt a little of what I experienced. Tears quickly sprang to my eyes as I fought to recover some semblance of dignity before just losing it on someone I thought was my friend. 

She was instantly regretful. She apologized all over herself, and said that she thought I would find it funny


I think Kevin Hart is funny

My best friend, Katy, is funny

Labeling my daughter with a derogatory term could not be any further away from what I deem to be funny

For the first time in my life, I felt the sting of what so many people face every day – ignorance. The old me would have lashed out with some very personal, hateful retort. I said nothing. 

I let the word settle around me as I realized that, by definition, I could not deny the label that I put upon my daughter. I had just spoken the gentler words seconds before she destroyed my precious familial-perception. My daughter is illegitimate because HOS and I are not married (according to society).

So, what is the difference between bastard and illegitimate that makes all the difference? 

I believe it’s a case of ignorance vs. knowledge. 

It’s no different from asking the difference between n***** vs. African-American or black. 

It’s not different from asking the difference between f***** vs. homosexual or gay. 

All of these examples are about people who are treated differently and given derogatory titles because of something they were born into. (This is my opinion, and I do not wish to incite any debates about how someone’s sexual preferences are developed.) 

My heart aches for my daughter because she will have questions as she grows older. She’ll wonder why my last name is different from hers. Kids will ask her why her parents aren’t married. Charli will be teased. Kids will make jokes about her parents. And some day, some asshole (pardon my language) will tell my precious child that her parents didn’t even want her. While fighting off the urge to hunt down this little jerk, I will console her. I’ll wipe the tears from her big blue eyes and remind her over and over that she is the greatest gift God has given me. Planned or unplanned means nothing. 

While this pales in comparison to the struggles of other victims of ignorance, it is still painful. In the end, ignorance is ignorance. 

I ask again, what is the difference between bastard and illegitimate that makes all the difference? 

You tell me. 

From this day on, I will never refer to Charlotte as anything but the loved daughter of me and HOS. I choose to define legitimacy my own way – born within a loving, trusting, monogamous couple.