Anniversary Date Surprise!

The husband and I are celebrating our nine year anniversary this year with another epic trip to Italy. However, because of timing and my need to hoard vacation days for another vacation later this year, our flight schedule has us landing in Rome on our actual anniversary with massive jet lag and still a full day of travel before we get to our first destination. Since sleeping on planes and trains and dragging our luggage through cities doesn’t scream anniversary, I decided to plan a small surprise before we left town.

I struggled with ideas for the surprise. A fancy dinner didn’t seem appropriate, since we are about to eat our way through all of the delicious Italian food and wine. A movie date didn’t seem right either. Instead, I booked us a time slot at iFLY Dallas. If you haven’t been before, it is basically indoor skydiving. They opened in Frisco about two years ago and we hadn’t tried it out yet. It seemed like a fun way to celebrate nine years of marriage – by doing something completely different!

I booked our appointment online and decided to add on some additional minutes to the package so that we got a bit more flight time in. We had to trek all the way to the suburbs for this, so I wanted to make the trip worth it! On the way there, I played a custom playlist to give him hints to where we were headed.

Blake guessed on the first song. Perhaps I should be a bit more obscure with the lyrics next time.
Blake guessed on the first song. Perhaps I should be a bit more obscure with the lyrics next time.

After we checked in, we had about 15 minutes to watch one of the groups before our safety class. Although I had seen some video online, watching in person was way better. By the time our safety class started, we were both pretty excited.

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Before getting geared up.
Before getting geared up.

After a safety video and some important information from our instructor, we geared up with suits, goggles, earplugs, and helmets. A few pro tips:

  • Don’t wear any jewelry. There are lockers to secure your valuables, so put them there or leave them at home. This includes wedding rings.
  • Wear shoes that lace up tight. Slip on shoes can fly off and no one wants to be in a wind tunnel with your shoe.
  • Go casual – jeans or shorts and a t-shirt is just fine.
  • Your hair will be a disaster after you are done. Just own it. Bring a wide-tooth comb or just plan to rock a crazy style until you get home.

Once we were geared up it was time to start our group’s turn. I have to say it was a pretty awesome experience. You can’t hear anything in there, so it is all hand signals and maybe some lip reading as your instructor sees you are ready to try a few tricks. Blake and I learned how to move forward and back in the tunnel, as well as up and down vertically. We also learned to spin a bit, although mine needs a bit of work. I made good friends with one side of the tunnel wall.  Oops!  For the last 30 seconds of the second round the instructor grabs your suit and takes you for a fun spin up and down vertically. I loved every second of it.

After you are done, the instructor will give you a certificate and go over with you how you did and give you some pointers for the next time. Blake and I happily signed up for another package, then went out for margaritas to celebrate.

 

After! Big smiles.
After! Big smiles.

It was definitely a good choice for our anniversary and I’m glad we did something other than the usual nice dinner and drinks. What are your anniversary traditions? Share with us in the comments – I’m going to need some new ideas for the 10th anniversary next year!

Kendra Sig

Urban Living, Dallas Style

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Everything is bigger in…Dallas

In a few short months, my fellow NonBlonde Amanda will be moving to the suburbs permanently. I recently visited her part of town and I was surprised by how out of my element I’ve felt! I’ve lived in the city for almost nine years and I’m no longer used to the daily life of suburbia. Although I would say Amanda’s new part of town is still just a little bit country too. 🙂

I love living in the city. We can walk to our neighborhood bars and restaurants, there is a great local coffee shop, and we even have a movie theater now. A short bike ride puts us in Deep Ellum or the Arts District, and a 5 minute ride on the #2 DART bus puts us right in the heart of the Main Street District.

Surprisingly, even land-locked Dallas County has some great natural beauty. The Trinity River runs nearby and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail runs in between the levies and is a great place for biking or walking. The city noise fades away and you can enjoy some time in a natural space, with the downtown skyline just behind you.

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nature

I’ve spent the majority of my life living in suburbs or smaller towns. Moving into a more urban area was a whole new adventure. Our part of town is under a renovation of sorts, so many of the residents were new as well. Within two weeks, my husband and I had met more neighbors than the two years we lived in North Dallas. Everyone had an interest in knowing their neighbors, for various reasons. First of all, the neighborhood still had some rough parts, so knowing who should and shouldn’t be on the property is important information. Second, many of our friends and family didn’t live close enough for regular gatherings, so meeting neighbors led to new social circles. Once we learned a nearby restaurant had half-price food on Wednesday’s, a group of neighbors regularly met there for delicious food and good company. Our new home had a true community feel, something I didn’t even know we had been missing.

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View from the neighborhood

Will we live in the city forever? Who knows! Every now and then we drive through other neighborhoods farther away from the city center, but it always comes back to how much we love our community, and we aren’t quite ready to leave that.

Kendra Sig

Jackets, Joggers and Jeans: How to Dress Your Man

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Joggers are here to stay

Floral Hawaiian shirts and pleated Dockers.  That was my husband’s outfit of choice when I met him fifteen years ago.  We were twenty years-old and in college and Michael didn’t even own a pair of jeans!  He’s a smart, witty, kind guy who is basically an IT genius but he has zero interest in clothes.  So when he mentioned he would love for me to help him out in this area, I knew we were meant to be.

I’m lucky enough to have a guy who is willing to be my blank slate when it comes to fashion for men.  I try to keep his look “timeless” by picking classic patterns and colors and not picking things that are going to go out of style.  Michael understands my passion for fashion and his only rule is, “Please don’t make me look stupid”.  He’s willing to try skinny jeans, joggers and cardigans.  And he also doesn’t mind being inspiration for his clone Antonio.  Somehow, these two don’t mind twinning.

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#Twinning

There are a few basic rules when dressing a guy.  Comfort, cut and style.  The most comfortable fabric is cotton, so I tend to stick to mostly cotton pieces that will not chafe or rub.  Cut is important because like women’s clothes, men’s clothes can differ greatly in size depending on the brand or department store.  Familiarize yourself with brand fits by trial and error and yes, you have to drag your man to the store every once in a while so he can get a good fitting.  I hardly ever take Michael shopping anymore because I stick to what I know works for him…Nordstrom’s, Banana Republic Outlet store and Gap.  Style is a tricky one to explain.  The best way I can describe it is don’t put your guy in an outfit that doesn’t reflect his personality.  Michael is the kind of guy that can pull off preppy or hipster-inspired outfits, but I wouldn’t dare put him in biker outfit or a Axl Rose inspired ensemble.  Unless it was Halloween of course!

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Why, yes! Those are leather pants on both of us!

When it comes to fashion, I find inspiration browsing through Pinterest.  Here are six Pinterest inspired men’s fashion outfits that I asked (O.K. bribed) Michael to model (Thanks babe!).

Dressy shorts.  Just because your man is in shorts doesn’t mean it has to look sloppy or like he’s about to do yard work.  I found this dapper shorts and sweater look on Pinterest and put Michael’s outfit from existing pieces in his closet.  I dressed it up by putting Michael in a wrinkle-free button down shirt, but your guy could easily just wear it with a t-shirt underneath.  It’s all about comfort!

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Shorts don’t have to be boring.
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Feeling a Zoolander moment.

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet $51.99

Sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (similar) $47.99

Shorts:  Kohl’s Urban Pipeline $24.99

Shoes:  Canvas slip on shoes $45

Jogger inspiration because guys in joggers are hot.  You can dress them down or up and they are appropriate for almost any occasion.  I bought Michael a pair of joggers online and asked him to keep an open mind while trying them on.  After a moment, he said they felt comfortable and he was glad he didn’t have to wear a belt with them.  Success!  So, joggers may not be for every guy but if you’re man is willing to go out of his comfort zone and try them, you may get lucky like I did.  And to be honest, I think they are way better than cargo pants.  No matter how old a guy is, if he’s wearing cargo pants, he always looks like a little kid.  #notafan

Below are three ways your guy can wear joggers.  A simple polo paired with a pair of joggers looks casual yet stylish.  For a more rugged look, put your man in a flannel in joggers.  Again, he can be comfortable by keeping his shirt untucked and wearing sneakers.  For a dressier look, put him in a clean and crisp button down shirt with a pop of color.  Volia!

 

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Embrace the jogger look!
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Flannel + joggers = perfect
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Babyzilla photobombed our photoshoot!

Shirt: Banana Republic Outlet Polo $21.99

Shirt: Plaid Flannel (similar) $24.99

Shirt: Gap Wrinkle Resistant standard shirt (similar) $59.95

Pants: Gap Utility Jogger $59.95

Shoes: Calvin Klein Chukka boots from Nordstrom’s $120

Jeans and a Blazer.   Every single guy out there should have a pair of nice jeans and a blazer they can throw on for a date night or special occasion.  Jeans and blazers is a classic yet sophisticated look for any guy.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a nice blazer…we found this awesome style and cut at Kohl’s!  So, get your Kohl’s cash and coupons and start shopping.  The point is, your guy can wear a nicely tailored blazer and a t-shirt and jeans and still look like a rockstar.

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Grilling and modeling. We know how to multi-task.

Shirt:  Boss Sharp Fit Check Dress Shirt from Nordstrom’s $125

Blazer:  Haggar’s Suite Jacket from Kohl’s $100

Pants:  Gap Skinny Fit 1969 Jeans $69.95

Shoes:  Calvin Klein Chukka boots from Nordstrom’s $120

The Gingham shirt.  If you don’t know what gingham is, it’s the picnic blanket pattern and it’s extremely timeless and fresh on guys.  A gingham print shirt is a must for any guy of any age and it looks amazing paired with jeans.  Michael is wearing the black version of the Gap skinny jeans and it’s a very 50’s inspired look.

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Gingham…that’s hot
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Gingham and BBQ…and Babyzilla

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet Gingham Shirt $51.99

Pants:  Gap Skinny Fit 1969 Jeans $69.95

Shoes:  Oxford shoes from Banana Republic Outlet (similar) $148

Dress Shirt and Chinos.  Work clothes don’t have to be boring.  Chinos that fit can make a difference between looking outdated and looking like a young professional.  Pair them with a button down crisp shirt and some dress shoes and you’re ready to tackle corporate America.

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Business casual with style

Shirt:  Urban Pipeline button down shirt (similar) $24.99

Pants:  Banana Republic Outlet Chinos $44.99

Shoes:  Cole Haan Wingtip dress shoes (similar) $129.90

Classic blue dress shirt.  The dress shirt has made it to the weekend.  Michael is wearing a pair of comfy chinos and a chambray dress shirt to show how you can keep it casual and look like a boss while manning the jalapeno poppers.  The great part about the weekend is you can wear dress shirts and not have to tuck them in.  This act alone makes the shirt look appropriately casual while also serving as an alternative for a t-shirt.  I can tell you right now Michael has no idea what chambray is but he does know this button-down blue shirt looks good and feels great.

Another great thing about the dressy blue (chambray) shirt is how you can take it from a casual look to a dressy look.  I paired Michael’s chambray shirt with a bowtie and a long coat and it creates a completely different look than before.  Simple acts like tucking in a shirt or putting on a blazer can completely change an outfit.  Pretty cool, huh?

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Weekend casual just got fancy
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Bowties and jean…oh my

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet tailored chambray shirt $51.99

Pants:  Banana Republic Outlet Chinos $44.99

Coat:  Zara (similar) $299

Shoes:  Cole Haan chukka boots (similar) $120

Does your guy have style?  Or, do you help him look his best by taking over the shopping duties?  Tell us your favorite men’s fashion trends your guy likes to wear and your favorite stores to shop.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

It’s THAT Time of Year: A Guest Blogger Helps Ease Parents into the School Year

I’m excited to introduce our readers to our friend, Teddi Fulenwider. I met Teddi through a local running group (many years ago when I still ran more than 10 seconds at a time). After over 30 years of teaching, Teddi decided to step away from the school environment and make a full-time dedication to educating other teachers. She also launched an iPad app that parents can use and customize to help with teaching kids to read, and getting them excited about reading. As an avid reader, I share her excitement about creating an environment that cultivates life-long readers, so I invited her to guest blog today on preparing kids for school. You can learn more about the Read with TedDee app, as well as connect with Teddi through her website at http://www.readwithteddee.com/

I know some of you are thinking what time of year?   Tax time?  Elf on the Shelf time? Diet time?  No, that time of year when parents feel they have not done enough to prepare their child for school – preschool, Kindergarten, doesn’t matter.  I want to tell you – you have!  I can say that.  I have the credentials to say that.  I have been in the education profession for over 30 years.  I have taught Kindergarten.  I have and continue to train teachers.  So again, I can say you have prepared your child for school.

Let me be clear, I am not bashing teachers or teaching at all.  In fact, the opposite, I have the utmost respect for teachers.   After all, I was one, came from a family of teachers and have a daughter and daughter in law who are teachers.  However, the line between the teacher’s job and the parent’s job has become blurred.

I visit with many parents who are upset and overwhelmed because they have been told or have heard from the BFF that their child needs to know all the letters and sounds before they enter school.  They need to know all the numbers and count to 100.  They are led to believe that the child should be able to write his or her name before entering school.  My response is always the same…Sooooooooo what will the teacher be doing once school starts?  Likewise, I have had teachers proudly share with me that they send home packets of ‘stuff’ for children to do over the summer so they are ‘prepared’ when they enter school.   Again, my response is…..Soooooooooo what exactly is YOUR job?

 For children in Texas, many of the skills teachers would like children to have are exactly the skills that are taught that year.   Would it be nice if every child entered school already able to do everything?  Absolutely!  That would be a teacher’s dream child.  You see, it wouldn’t matter what I did as a teacher, that child would be successful.  That leaves time for me, the teacher, to do ‘fun’ stuff that has nothing really to do with learning – enrichment yes.  Per the State of Texas children are not required to leave Kindergarten being able to read a book.  Many do because of what they are exposed to.  But it is NOT a reason to hold a child back or make a parent feel guilty because their child can’t.  Reading is a developmental thing as is most things we learn. (So a little side note – when your BFF shares with you that her child is reading at 9 months, just smile politely and realize that your child is doing something ahead of hers. It’s all developmental.)

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So what is YOUR job as the parent?  Your job is to provide experiences for your child, read and talk to your child.   Your job is to increase your child’s oral vocabulary, which in turn increases his or her background knowledge (schema) and in turn enables that child to make connections.

Your job is to use purposeful talk.  Instead of general talk, use specific language. It really is easy!  Here are some examples.

At the grocery store

  • Color words in the produce department
  • Describing words with fruit- rough, smooth, prickly
  • Specific Words – apple, pineapple, lettuce
  • Concept words – sit in the cart, walk beside the basket
  • Math – weight, size

Parking lots – Math concepts

  • How many steps from the car to the door?
  • Which one is farther away?
  • Which one is nearer?
  • Color words – Do you see the red car?
  • Specific words – Jeep, SUV, car, motorcycle, tires, bumper

Playgrounds – besides having fun

  • science words, insects, (everything isn’t a bug!) grass, dirt, soil
  • high, fast, swing
  • position words- on the swing, under the slide, beside the slide
  • Writing with chalk

In addition to reading to your child everyday, purposeful talk is the most important thing we can do as parents to make sure our child is ‘ready’ for school.

And truth be told, your ONLY job to do before sending your child to school is to love your child and hopefully raise a compassionate person.  The actual learnin’ stuff is the job of the teacher.  SO the next time a teacher tells you what all you need to be sure and have your child know before coming to school you have two options.  First, you can smile politely and just say okay, thanks.  Or two, you can say, So, if I teach him or her all of that before I send him or her to you, what exactly will YOU be teaching?  Most of you are probably nicer than I am so my guess is hopefully you will at least do number one.   Promise me you won’t feel guilty and teach it all to your child!

 

Valentine’s Day Shenanigans

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Us. I LOVED my Bloomindale’s dress!  Yes, I totally copied J from J’s Everyday Fashion!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about couples.  About six years ago, a tradition was started with my sisters when we decided to do a couple’s Valentine’s Day celebration which includes a fancy dinner and possibly dancing…we call it Valentineapalooza.  At the time, we were trying to coordinate babysitters (ahem, my parents) and it just made sense to all go out together instead of trying to coordinate who would get to go out for Valentine’s Day.  Plus, we love hanging out with one another, so we knew it would be extra fun to go out as new parents and have a good time celebrating together.

The formula to a successful Valentineapalooza consists of of four things:

1. Great company -Valentineapalooza #6 took place in Lubbock, Texas and consisted of six couples we love dearly, but don’t get to see enough.  Your group definitely doesn’t have to be this large.  And if you’re single, your group can consist of all ladies.  This can be done with a co-ed group that are not necessarily couples either.  It’s really up to you.  The point is to plan a fun night out with a group that you love. And to have fun!

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Our entire group in front of the Texas Tech Club

2. Fancy dinner – Reservations for Valentine’s Day must be done very far in advance, especially for larger groups, so make sure your group can make a decision on a place to eat and book it ASAP.  We had the pleasure of having a connection to The Tech Club and got to dine overseeing an amazing view of the Texas Tech football field.  Also, our group was large enough to be accommodated with a private room, so we had a cozy time.  When your daily dinner plans consist of Chick-Fil-A takeout or quick, homemade meals, this is quite the treat.  Getting waited on hand and foot on this special night makes us feel like kings.

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Fancy dinner time! Check out that view.

3. After hours fun – There are several options for after-dinner fun.  This year, ours consisted of taking a limo and riding to different destinations for drinks and dancing.  We chose to get a limo because it made it easier for all of us to travel together and also to avoid drinking and driving.  In previous years, we stayed at a Marriott hotel that was walking distance to The Shops at Legacy where there is an abundant night life.  The point of Valentineapalooza is to get out and have fun, so there’s many options for after hours activities.  At the end of the night, we took our limo to Whataburger.  Yes, we are so classy.

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Limo fun

4. Kid-free hotel stay – I don’t know about you mother’s out there but at my house, kids get put in their own beds and somehow our three year-old always wanders over to my bed and ends up being my backpack for the remainder of the night.  A Valentineapalooza hotel stay without little people waking me up in the middle of the night or at the butt crack of dawn is like heaven to both my husband and me.  We had the luxury of staying at the Overton Hotel which is located right across the street from The Tech Club.  As parents, we can’t even shower or take a bathroom break without little feet following us around.  Having a long, hot shower and taking my time putting on my makeup without getting it swiped by Babyzilla was nice.  Michael took a long nap while I got ready because that’s what he does when he gets a moment to slow down.  I watched the news instead of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  It’s the small things people.

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My husband is The Flash

Valentineapalooza has become a tradition for us and we plan to continue planning it for years to come.  I also want to say that for my husband and myself, it’s important to make this event about us and enjoy each other’s company.  We typically have a Kid Valentine’s Day celebration prior to our Valentineapalooza date night event because we love our kids too.  Do you have special Valentine’s Day you would like to share with us?  Are they kid-free or kid friendly?  Share your ideas with us in the comments.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Saving My Sanity

It's like someone is taking a picture of me at night, creepy but accurate.
It’s like someone is taking a picture of me at night, creepy but accurate.

Like all marriages and relationships, you learn new things about your partner almost daily. One of the things I learned about my darling husband is he hasn’t had his adenoids or tonsils removed. If you sleep next to a wonderful man who turns into a freight train at night you know those adenoids or tonsils could be the culprit. I am a light sleeper, a mouse fart will usually wake me up. So low and behold, my better half is a snorer.

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Thankfully mine doesn’t bitch he just rolls over.

As with all things, I have gotten used to the snoring for the most part. But there are always those nights where I couldn’t sleep or he was sick and it was worse than normal. Since our former home had extra beds/rooms, one of us would temporarily relocate. Now we are in our temporary rent house and the extra rooms are a home office and storage unit, we don’t have an escape plan when things get crazy. This led to a little research and a wonderful new discovery.

Ladies, if your man is snoring and you need some quiet, check out the SnoreRX. The hubs heard about this little wonder device from a co-worker and was interested in keeping me as sane as possible, so he bought two!

 

The SnoreRX reminds me of the mouth guards football players wear so they don’t end up looking like hockey players. And it was extremely easy to get ‘set up.’ Soften the gel in hot water, cool it just a bit in cold water, then put it in and bite down for a few seconds, then cold bath again and voila, no more snoring! What is so different about this device is the fact that there is an adjuster on the side that ever so slightly moves his bottom jaw forward just enough to shut him up help him sleep more soundly.

Tip: We had no problems moulding the first bite guard the second we learned a valuable lesson. Get the hot water to a boil then transfer it to a bowl before you dunk the mouth guard. We had a slight separation of the gel from the frame on the second one. Luckily it still works like a charm.

 

adjust side

 

My hubs is a man of few words most of the time and wouldn’t let me I convinced him to let me take a pic with his mouth piece in. This is his ‘interview’ on how he likes the SnoreRX.

So good looking with a mouth guard and stubble.
So good looking with a mouth guard and stubble.

 

Me: Do you think you are sleeping better with the SnoreRX?

Him: Um, it’s hard to tell. I don’t feel like I am sleeping worse but I don’t notice any changes.

Side note: I am a flopper in bed so that could be me moving all the time.

Me: How uncomfortable was the device in the beginning?

Him: It wasn’t super uncomfortable it was just big. It’s designed to fit everyone but not any one person really well. It is a generic medium. For some people it will be too small,  for some it will be too large. I have a smaller than normal mouth so it is a little large.

Tip: If SnoreRx could make these in multiple sizes like everything else in the world it would be much better.

Me: Is it less noticeable now? (1 month + of use)

Him: Yeah

Me: Would you recommend this to others?

Him: I don’t have a problem with it, it takes a little getting used to but I don’t wear it to help me sleep. So the question is would you recommend it?

Ahhhh, the things we do for love. #BestHusbandEver and way to turn the tables on the interviewer.

Me: I don’t think I would be blogging about it if I didn’t love it, so YES!

Me: What are the downsides?

Him: Having to buy denture cleaner under the age of 40. (A must to keep it clean and stink-less.)

Me: Any last comments?

Him: Negative Ghost Rider.

 

So ladies, who is ready to buy 12 of these for their husband? Or who has had success with something different?

Amanda Sig

What My Marriage Is Not

In April 2014 I walked down the aisle of a church with 12-15 friends and a couple of family members looking on. I married the most patient, kind, considerate, and wonderful man. In April 2015 I did it again, with the same man and with 40 friends and family looking on from a beach in Mexico. We have a little joke when things get crazy, “You married this, twice!” In the short time we have been married I have learned a few things. I am no expert by any means but this is what I do know.

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Marriage isn’t all skittles and rainbows. One of my best friends told me this years ago but I didn’t understand it fully until I met the hubs. I don’t want skittles and rainbows all the time. That would be boring and scary. If all I ever had was skittles and rainbows I wouldn’t know how my husband would react when the world is shit storms and licorice. I now know how he will respond when loved ones get terribly sick and pass away, when I lose my job, when I am stressed to the point of tears at that stupid job, when you have to break up with friends or family, when the finances get tight, or when life gives you lemons and no vodka. I also know how he will react when he makes me do something absolutely terrifying like jumping off a cliff in New Zealand. I cherish the good times but also the bad because in those times you see a persons true character.

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Marriage isn’t about water bottles. One of our biggest fights as a couple thus far started out about a water bottle. What I learned (& I think he did too) was that when you keep things in and don’t communicate, it gets worse. I have always said communication was a key ingredient to a successful relationship and I didn’t know how true that was until I was married. I also know that can mean picking your battles wisely. There have been times when I was irritated at something insignificant and wanted to react and “communicate” but I have learned that if I give it some time and thought, I usually realize it wasn’t about the ‘water bottle’ but something I needed to let go of because it wasn’t worth bringing up. Communicate what is important to improving your relationship and let go of the rest.

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Marriage isn’t about how you load the dishwasher. If you know anything about me, you know I can be strong headed, bossy, and somewhat of a control freak, in the most loving way possible of course. I usually think I know what is best and tend to ‘correct’ those who don’t do things my way. I had always heard that couples will sometimes fight over the dumbest of things and I found that out one night early on in our relationship after my wonderful husband loaded the dishwasher. I of course told him he did it incorrectly and showed him my way (aka the right way). What I learned that night is that there are two ways to load a dishwasher, just like there are two ways to skin a cat, and that neither are right or wrong they are just different. In attempting to keep the silly fights at bay we also have our own toothpaste so the other one doesn’t squeeze it wrong, when we make the bed I get more of the sheets because he ends up stealing them, and when we build the new house we will have a 3-car garage because I tend to park more in the middle. Learning to compromise on the little things makes it easier to compromise on the big things.

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When I was young (& albeit a little dumb) I thought I wanted a husband that drove a certain car, had a certain type of job, did this or that, came from here or there and a few dozen other ridiculous things. What I have learned is that God knew what I needed and gave me a man that grounds me when I get irrational, calms me when I get impatient, and lets me run like a headless chicken but stops me before I jump off the cliff.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned from marriage or a relationship? We are only a year-ish in so I will gladly take any pointers you have to offer.

Amanda Sig

2016: 3NonBlondes Make Their Resolutions

It is that time of year again! Each New Year we make plans for the upcoming 365 days – how we will change bad habits, or goals we want to achieve. Not everyone participates in this annual ritual, but I’ve found it is a great way to set my focus for the year. This year I even convinced my blogging cohorts into joining in on the fun. So read on to see the plans we have made for ourselves for 2016.

For me, resolutions are more about putting focus on things in your life. There are so many different directions we have to go in each day, adding focus to just a few areas really helps me to make some progress in those. I try to switch up the focus areas each year, but some of them do repeat while I continue toward my goals. Here are my 2016 focus areas:

1 – Sewing – I really enjoy it, but it tends to get pushed down the to-do list first when things start getting busy. This year I’d like to (finally) finish this skirt I’m working on, plus take a draping course at Petite Atelier. A longer term goal is to construct a top using the skills I learned in the 2nd sewing course I took in 2015.

2 – Health – This is probably going to be a focus every year until I quit making resolutions. My goals are around being more comfortable in my own skin. That includes things like fitting into my pants (hellooooo Christmas meals), eating well so that I feel energized, and getting enough rest. I also need to schedule my first ever mammogram, which I’ve been procrastinating on since late 2015. I’m sure Amanda will be happy to remind me about that one!

3 – Career learning – I put this one in almost every year, but this year I’m going to put my focus toward improving skill sets where I’m weak. I usually focus on achieving a certification in something I enjoy working on, so the studying and testing part is usually fun. However, this year I’m going to tackle some practical networking skills that I’ve long avoided. It will really be an asset in my current job and I’m sure any future position I consider as well. There will probably be a future post about losing my hair trying to understand some concept!

4 – Mindfulness – This one is specifically for when I am spending time with family or friends. My brain is often making to-do lists in the background or worrying about something I need to take care of. Through meditation and practice I hope to put the focus on the people I am with, and not the chores I need to tackle.

Kendra Sig

It has been several years since I made New Year’s resolutions. Not because I lack bad habits or goals, but only because I couldn’t pinpoint exactly how and what I wanted to improve.  This year, it has become very clear to me that I need to focus and have some specific goals for 2016 since 2015 was all over the place.

1- Family – Spending time with my family will continue to be a priority for me.  In the New Year, I want to do things with my family that makes us spend time together while also giving back.  I recently took my seven year-old son to a Meals on Wheels outing through an organization called WeeVolunteer.  They organize volunteering opportunities for preschool and elementary school age kids with local Dallas charitable organizations.  I hope to take Isabella to a volunteer opportunity soon and make it a family outing.

My goal is for my family to volunteer at least once a month.

It’s never too early to show my very spoiled children the world around them is bigger than our very comfortable north Dallas suburb.

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Meals on Wheels Deliveries with Antonio

2 – Health – Ohmyfreakinggosh I have gained at least 10 lbs during the past 8 months.  It’s time to hit the re-set button and focus on the health of my soul, mind and body.  Similar to Kendra’s meditation exercises, I typically start my day by reading a daily scripture from Our Daily Bread.  It helps set the tone of my day.  What I have failed at doing in 2015 is sticking to a regular exercising routine.  I want to continue my bootcamp class and also add a training program for running a half marathon.  I used to run 2 half marathons a year and call myself a “runner”.  I am embarrassed to say the last time I wore my running pants for the actual purpose of running was… around December 20th.  I ran a total of 2.77 miles in December compared to 54.4 miles in August.

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Celebrating December 30th: International Bacon Day

Time to get in shape!  And of course the pain in exercising would not be able to pay off if I don’t also eat clean, so I may have to cut back on the bubbly just a tad.

My goal is to run a 10K in the Spring, a half marathon in the Winter, and eat healthy year round.

In the past, I utilized the Hal Higdon Training Program to train for a half marathon.  I will be utilizing Nike+ app as well as the Hal Higdon Training Programs to guide and record my progress.

3 – Career – In the year 2015, my career took some unexpected but welcoming changes.  I changed employers after working for the same company for almost 8 years, for an opportunity that fit all my criteria – compensation, location and flexibility.

It has been an incredible opportunity for me and I want for 2016 to be the year I really prove myself as a tremendous asset to my new company.

To quote Sheryl Sandberg, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.  I’m going to lean waaaay in during 2016.

What are your goals and priorities for 2016?  Share your New Year’s resolutions with us in the comments section!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

 

I guess my first resolution would be to procrastinate less but seeing as how I am typing this on January 3rd at 11:44pm, hours before we are posting, I guess I already broke that resolution. Actually, I quit making resolutions years ago because I could never keep them. I don’t think I made it even one month with a former resolution. I instead make more of a wish list. Kind of a ‘it would be nice if this actually sticks for a week’ list. So I guess in reality my only resolution I have ever kept would be that I don’t make resolutions. With that being said, I do have some great wishes for 2016.

I wish to be healthier! I know that sounds like everyone else’s resolution but for a girl who couldn’t even sacrifice her addiction of Chick-Fil-A for Lent one year, the struggle is real. I have a very bad habit of not planning a head and then getting hangry and grabbing the closest fast food possible. With the building of the new house and actually trying to save money for the move, I will be working towards planning meals and eating at home more often and maybe even packing a sandwich or two so I am not running to the closest Chick-Fil-A when I get hungry. Besides, my new, beautiful kitchen should be motivation in and of itself. Wish: cook at least 2-3 meals at home each week and take lunches more often.

I wish to fit into my favorite jeans! The old saying ‘fat and happy’ definitely took on a real meaning in 2015 for me.  Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I know I am not fat. But I am not healthy. What do they call it these days? Skinny fat? Whatever. I hear all the time that women should “be happy with their body, whatever size.” And yes, I think we should all be more content with our figures, but I know my body and this isn’t “my size.” I have been lucky to be the same size for all of my adult life with the exception of the last year and half or so. I know that we want to have kids soon and I want to be around for them for as long as possible. By working out and doing the previous resolution, I should accomplish two things, be healthy and fit into those jeans that make my butt look awesome! Wish: participate in the bootcamp I am signing up for at least twice a week and walk at least 1-2 times a week.

I wish to grow my friendships! I am lucky to know some of the greatest women in my friend circles. I have also come to realize that there are some friendships that are not beneficial to me. I intend to grow and strengthen the relationships that I feel are reciprocated and spend less time in the drama/one-sided relationships. Then there are those acquaintances that I think will grow into great friendships. The takers are no longer going to waste my time and the givers are going to get more of my time (when my hubby is traveling for work, he usually gets first dibs of my time). Life is too short to be unhappy and I fully intend on being as happy as possible. Also, I am 36, and ain’t nobody got time for drama. Wish: more girls dinners (at home, I will cook!) or more wine nights. 😉

I wish to be consistent with these “wishes”. Maybe by them not being such hard and firm “resolutions” but instead soft and kind “wishes” I will actually be more successful than in years past. I know there will be times when life gets busy but I will do my best this year to get back on the wagon as quickly as possible when I fall off. I know with my family and friends by my side and keeping me accountable I will have a great 2016!

Thank you for being a part of our beginning, here is to a beautiful 2016 with all of our loyal readers. (Thanks moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends!)

Cheers,Amanda Sig

Playbook for Date Night Ideas

Date Night Cozumel
All smiles in Cozumel

After twelve years, two kids, and three dogs, it takes a bit of effort and planning for Michael and I to go out on a Date Night.  It’s funny because we dated in college and then got married and waited about five years to have kids, yet I can’t quite remember what we used to do before the clones came along in a galaxy far, far away…No, but really, one thing my hubs and I are really good at is making time for one another.  Fifteen years ago, I met this shy, quiet nerd in programming class at Texas Tech, and he’s been my best friend ever since.  We love spending time together and because of our crazy busy lives, it takes effort to plan those delicious little date nights.

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Young and Dumb on Wedding Day 2004

I’m going to be honest…sometimes I want a romantic night out with a fancy dinner and time to talk about feelings.  Other times, I’m happy if a date consists of sitting on the couch in my yoga pants putting away pizza and champagne while watching our favorite Netflix shows.  Either way, the point is that we make time to spend with one another to make sure we are connected.  And I’m one of those people that needs to have my craziness balanced by doing a sanity check with my husband.  He’s calm, cool and collected.  To quote the Dixie Chicks, he’s the one “who keeps the world at bay for me”.  I want to share with you some of my favorite Date Night ideas which keep our relationship (and mostly me) from getting lost in our busy lives.

Date Night on Spur of the Moment.  I have the luxury of living a street away from my parents, so I’m going to admit that my setup is more than ideal.  Spontaneity is something that is nearly impossible when you have schedules and kids and demanding jobs, but it is still possible.  For those times, my suggestions for easy Date Nights include the following:

1. Lunch Dates.  I schedule appointments on my calendar for lunch dates with Michael.  That way, we both have our schedules blocked off and can go catch up during a quick lunch break.  We have our “Go To” places because we have been doing this for year so we know how to maximize our time.  It’s always refreshing to bounce an idea off him or share whatever struggle I may be going through that day, and I always have a better afternoon because of it.  During Holidays, we utilize lunch dates to shop for Christmas presents.  Other times, we may need to go to the furniture store without the clones hanging all over the place.  It’s crazy but this type of stuff is fun for us.  Just hanging out with each other looking at stuff.

2. Happy Hour.  Yes!  Instead of going directly home, I’ve found that if I can leave work a little bit early on a Friday and meet Michael at a local bar, we get to spend an hour or so together before our weekend full of activities begins.  That’s heaven.  It’s so simple yet so appreciated to get to escape for a little while, and just enjoy having a conversation without having to take someone to use the bathroom.

Champagne

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3. Movie Night on the Couch a.k.a. “Champagne Sunday”.  This is extremely popular in my circle of friends for obvious reasons (does not require a babysitter!).  The kids go to bed early on Sundays because they need to be ready for another productive week, so we choose to be a little bad on Sundays.  We watch our list of shows (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Scandal, Big Bang Theory…etc.) and close out the weekend by relaxing with one another.  Please note “Champagne Sunday” does not have to occur on Sundays and can be moved to any day of the week.  Sometimes, we have “Champagne Sunday” on a Thursday.  You just have to be willing to live with the sacrifice the next day.

Date Night with Some Effort.  Every once in a while, the stars align and we get a Saturday evening with absolutely nothing to do and a chance to attend something alone.  For those Date Nights, we love to do the following:

1. Going to the Movies.  Michael and I love the same type of shows and also have the same taste in movies.  It’s a treat for us to go to the local iPic theater (where you can pick your own seat!) and not have to wait in line, and watch a movie together.  We don’t get to go to the movies often so when we do go, we are beyond giddy!  We are both into the same fandoms, so it’s a real treat for us to watch a movie and then spend the rest of the night and the next day talking about it.

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TTU Football Game

2. Attending Concerts/Sporting Events.  Going to a music concert or attending a football game without your kids is magical.  Especially if it includes attending the One Republic concert which is one of both mine and Michael’s all time favorite bands.  I dance like no one is watching so I may have wet myself from dancing so hard to “Lose Myself”.   Concerts can be very pricey so it’s a real treat if we get to see an artist we both like.  On the same note, attending sporting events together is also a good way to have Date Night.  Michael and I are both Texas Tech alumni so we love cheering on the Red Raiders at football games.

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Apparently, our favorite outfits for 2015

3. Piggybacking on Work Events.  The best thing about turning a work event into Date Night is that it is usually cost and time effective!  I used to work for a company that would host Christmas parties at extravagant locations like the Flight Museum and the Dallas Symphony.  They made for a romantic backdrop to a night out alone.  Sure, it’s still a “work function”, but we made the best of it.

Date Night Long Term Planning Required.  I would consider these types of Date Nights more like very strategically planned vacations or events.

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Using the GoPro in Hawaii

1. Just Us Vacations.  These are not only fun to attend, but all of the build up and anticipation leading up to the date is also exciting.  We went to Hawaii for our 10 year wedding anniversary and planned it about six months in advance.  Anytime we were feeling frustrated over the pressures of life, we would look at each other and say, “Hawaii!!!!”.  We spent a week away from work, kids, and everything in between and it was amazing.  Every once in a while, we saw families with small children and felt a twinge of guilt.  Then, we would laugh and talk about how relaxed we felt at that moment.  Plus, those babies were in good hands (thanks Mom and Dad).

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Cozumel Wedding Week

2. Weddings.  The last few weddings we have attended have presented opportunities for us to decide on whether we should take the kids, or not?  Well, we chose to go alone.   Amanda decided to have a destination wedding so we planned to attend her Cozumel wedding as a party of two.  Again, it was an opportunity for us to travel somewhere and have a grown-up vacation.

Date Night Valentine
Valentineapalooza 2015

3. Holidays/Anniversaries.  Valentine’s Day is a staycation for us.  Five years ago, we decided to make Valentine’s Day the holiday where we get together with our sisters and their spouses make a whole weekend out of it!  We pick a fancy restaurant (usually nearby) and then go out dancing.  We usually finish out the night by staying in a hotel in town and then waking up to a late brunch the next day.  Our sisters have young kids too so this is a real treat for everyone.

No matter how busy life gets, I need to feel like my time with Michael is there.  I love our kids and our wonderful and crazy life, but sometimes it’s just gotta be “us”.  How do you plan Date Night?  Let us know how often you and your lover plan Date Nights and what kinds of activities (PG!) you do.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig