Comfort in Sorrow – Remembering Amy Hild

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Comfort in Sorrow

Remembering Amy Hild

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Laura, Jeni, Me, Alicia, Sara, Laura, and Amy

The fourth Wednesday morning of the month started out just like it does every month.  We had Social Media Breakfast in Mason City.  In fact that’s where most of the North Iowa bloggers met and then we grew from there.  We looked forward to learning and discussing social media every month.  It was a common interest we all shared. This past Weds was not like the other Weds though. It took a tragic turn that none of us saw coming and it’s still hard to believe.

Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

Amy Elizabeth Hild – September 9, 1987 – February 25, 2015

The breakfast was over and a few of us were still talking. Amy waited for me to tell me that the roads were getting bad and we should head home.  We hugged and walked each other to our cars …. I made it home and she never did. She was tragically killed in a car accident.  My friend Laura called me crying and I knew what she was going to tell me. I. Was. Devastated.

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Back (L to R) Alicia, Jeni, Me, Amy Front (L to R) Katie, Sara, Beth Ann Photo Credit: Deb Brown

Amy was not just one of my fellow North Iowa bloggers. She was so MUCH more!

Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

I seemed to be glued to her Facebook profile all day Wednesday. I kept refreshing it, hoping it had all been a terrible mistake and waiting for her to post something. As I glanced through her pics I have never been so thankful for selfies!

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Amy loved supporting the Cupid’s Undie Run

Amy was so full of life! She had a smile that was contagious and she could make any one smile. A group of friends sat around together yesterday afternoon and again in the evening sharing stories and memories about Amy. We laughed and we cried. Amy lived her life more fully than some 80 and 90 year olds. She was such an example of how to live life to the fullest and how to treat others.

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Amy photobombing Katy, Beth Ann, “flat Donna”, and “flat Laura”

 

A local paper wrote a beautiful story on Amy here.  I kept replaying Weds morning over and over. I asked the questions, what if I packed up quicker, what if I stayed and chatted longer, and more.  I couldn’t quite grasp reality, in fact I’m not sure if I totally do yet. It just doesn’t seem real.

Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

Spenser & Amy Photo Credit: Seneca Epley

Last night some of us attended a prayer service for Amy’s family and fiancé, Spenser. Yes, she was going to be married May 15 of this year.  She was so excited too! She loved him so much and talked about him constantly.  She already had Amy Gruis printed on her notebook in anticipation. She had even found the perfect dress.

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Amy and I at Kelly Gau Studio

3 weeks ago Amy and I were crafting together at Kelly Gau Studio and check out what we made.

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Photo Credit: Kelly Gau

Did you read it? We made these 3 weeks ago! Kelly did a beautiful post on it.  I cried this morning. Again.

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Sunset 2/25/15, Mason City, IA Photo Credit: Unknown

Another friend of Amy’s posted this Wednesday night after her accident.

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We went to a painting party last month. Back (L to R) Amy, Katy, Laura, and Mary Front (L to R) Me, Alicia, Jeni, and Jen

 

Waves of emotions crash over me – sadness and numbness seem to be constant.  Even in the pain though the feeling and emotion that is loudest is comfort.

Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

God knew Amy’s last day would be Wednesday.

A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. Job 14:5

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4

Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

Making wreaths together (front to back) Alicia, Amy, Me, Beth Ann, Val, and Jeni

 

God also knew she’d be leaving behind a fiancé, family, and friends that would be hurting.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:12

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Cor 1: 3-4

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

amy hild bright light Comfort in Sorrow - Remembering Amy Hild #AmyHild #ModernRuralLiving #NorthIowaBloggers

Amy is going to be so missed! It truly won’t be the same with out her, but I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with her.  I rejoice in the fact that I’ll see her again.

Amy’s Obituary

Amy Hild Memorial Fund

Tribute Wall

What Happened

Amy’s Blog

Have a post about Amy? Please feel free to add it to the linky below.



It just tastes better with Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! yogurts

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It just tastes better with Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! yogurts

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I love eating yogurt for breakfast and having it when I’m craving a sweet treat.  I’m really excited about Yoplait’s newest addition to their tasty family, Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! They are a light and fluffy yogurt experience like no other.

You can find Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! yogurts at your local retailer. In fact, here’s a coupon for you so you can save on your purchase.

Not only do I love the taste, but I absolutely love the recipe ideas from Yoplait.

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For example, check out this awesome Berry Salad with Strawberry Whips.  It’s tasty and low calorie.  It’s also super easy to make!  I love that it keeps me on track with a healthy diet.  I happen to have a sweet tooth and this does great at satisfying it.  This is a great option for a snack or dessert.

Not only do I like the flavors under the lid, I like what they put under the lid:

We did it! Thanks to you, Yoplait Light now has no aspartame. We heard you loud and clear that you did not want aspartame in Yoplait Light and so because of you, and all your tweets, emails, posts, calls and letters, we took it out. But we did it without compromising Yoplait Light’s delicious taste, flavor variety or 90 calorie benefit. You’ll find it on store shelves with a special blue lid. Thanks for your help in making Yoplait Light better than ever.

It comes in many tasty flavors.  It’s great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert!  My favorites right now are lemon meringue and strawberry cheesecake.  I’m also pretty fond of the black cherry and blueberry.  Actually I haven’t had a flavor I didn’t like ;)

Are you drooling yet?  Sit down, explore the recipes, the product flavors, and download a coupon!

Signature Donna

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Don’t be Embarrassed – It’s time to remove the stigma #UnderAwareness

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Don’t be Embarrassed – It’s time to remove the stigma #UnderAwareness Screen-Shot-2014-09-06-at-8.20.14-AM

Are you one of the over 65 million Americans experience bladder leakage?  It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, in fact it affects 1 in 4 Americans.  I used to think it was funny when my mommy used to sneeze or laugh and go running to the bathroom.  She never thought it was funny and now that I’m going through the same thing I realize it’s not funny at all.

peeing-yourself

1 in 4 means that it’s affecting 25% of our population. That’s a lot of people!  To help support them and bring the condition and Depend Underwear out of hiding, Depend has created a new social movement and charitable cause called Underwareness.  Depend will donate $1, up to $3 million, over the next three years to charities that advance the research, education and awareness of bladder leakage for: Every pant drop, photo and video shared. Using #Underwareness and #DropYourPants; and every personal video made about what Underwareness means to you that is uploaded to YouTube and tagged #Underwareness and #DropYourPants.

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Here are some truths about bladder leakage and Depend:
• Depend is not just for old people! Depend is for all ages and bladder leakage is a common condition affecting 65 million people.
• More people with bladder leakage are in their 20’s than their 80’s.
• The average age of someone with bladder leakage is 52!
• More people with bladder leakage are 50 or younger than 60 or older.
• Depend is thin and comfortable to wear, it is not a big, bulky diaper!
• You shouldn’t be afraid to wear Depend! Millions of people experience bladder leakage and it’s ok to reach for a thin, comfortable option. You no longer need to think that Depend garments are for people with a condition that is ‘way worse than mine.’

It’s time to break down the stigma associated with bladder leakage and Depend Underwear to help people with the condition feel less alone.

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Don’ be afraid to turn to Depend for a thin and comfortable option for a common condition that affects millions of people! In fact, you can get your free sample here.

Depend will be donate $1, up to $3 million, over the next three years to charities that advance the research, education and awareness of bladder leakage for:
– Every pant drop, photo and video shared Using #Underwareness and #DropYourPants; and
– Every personal video made about what Underwareness means to you that is uploaded to YouTube and tagged #Underwareness and #DropYourPants

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Let’s Get Fired Up and Show Cancer who’s Boss!

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Let’s Get Fired Up and Show Cancer who’s Boss!

Let's Get Fired Up and Show Cancer who's Boss! Brett Boss fundraiser

I don’t really post a lot of things like this and I’ve never written a post about it, but this one really shook me up. It hit close to home.  You see, I have a friend who’s name is Danielle. I go to church with her, I have one of her kids in Sunday School, we were in a life group together, and I spent all day at the fair with her, her sister, and her kids this past fall. Then just before Christmas I find out that her husband has been diagnosed with cancer. The news left me breathless and in tears. I can’t imagine hearing this news about my husband. They have two kids (ages 5 and 7). I Can. Not. Imagine.  Yet it’s real and it’s happening.

His name is Brett. He’s not just my friend’s husband, but he’s a dad and a fireman.  He’s a great guy.  He is loved by our church family and community and that is why I’m posting to share about a benefit we’re having for him and his family.

Let me back up a moment – On Dec. 18 Brett Boss was diagnosed with stage 4, Ewing’s Sarcoma. It is a rare cancer that is normally only in children and ususally starts in the bone. Because it is rare there isn’t as much research or data on it as other more common cancers. The treatment is going to have to be aggressive and he’s currently receiving chemo treatments.

Now, onto the benefit.  I’ve posted the pic above, but there is a benefit being held to help out him and his amazing family. It’s being held at the Moose Lodge in Albert Lea,Minnesota (1623 West Main St-Skyline Plaza, Albert Lea, Minnesota 56007) on Saturday, Feb 28th from 3pm to 8pm. $8 will get you a Burger Basket. There will also be a bake sale, raffle, and auction. The proceeds from the benefit will be used to offset medical costs.

What can you do to help? Show up if you’re in the area. If you’re not in the area you can still send donations.  He also has a CaringBridge page.

Cancer is an ugly thing. Please help us get fired up and show cancer who’s Boss!

Signature Donna

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

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US Cellular disclaimer Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track

#BetterMoments

2015 Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

It’s hard to believe it’s already 2015!  As we start on our journey through 2015 here are a few ways to sync up your New Year’s resolutions so that you stay on track! All through December I heard people making their resolutions for the New Year. Unfortunately now in January I’m hearing a lot of people saying they have broken their resolutions.  The good news is they may be able to increase their chances of achieving their goals by just by using their smartphone or tablet to keep on track with their resolutions.

logo us cellular Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

Families are already relying on technology in their daily lives. U.S. Cellular is happy to help people leverage the available technology to enhance and simplify their lives so they can enjoy better moments with family and friends over the New Year and all year long.

Today’s technology and smartphones, such as the iPhone 6, offer a variety of apps and products to help keep users on track and increase the likelihood of sticking with any resolution throughout the year. In fact, recent survey findings by Prosper Mobile Insights indicate more than one in four U.S. smartphone or tablet owners plan to use their smart mobile device to help them keep on track with their resolutions.

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

The Runtastic Six Pack app is great for those looking to lose weight or get in shape. This free app allows users to work out from home by creating custom work outs with a virtual personal trainer which will show users the proper way to do new exercises.  This is one that I really like. I live in a really small town and the closest gym is at least 20 miles away. I love that I can work out in my own home.

UP24 by Jawbone Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

The Runtastic Six Pack and its 50 workout videos can also be paired with the UP by Jawbonea fitness wristband. It can track what you eat, any activities throughout the day and your sleeping habits, then suggest small changes that will help you reach your goals. I’ve noticed that now that I am tracking what I put in my mouth it really makes me more aware. Because of that I am choosing healthier snacking options.

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

Getting organized is another popular resolution, and we all know how hard it can be. The Any.Do app is an award winner that’s perfect for enhancing any to-do list. The app allows you to create lists of tasks that need to be completed and organize them by category and importance. You can set alarms and also easily sync your tasks from your mobile to your desktop to help stay on top of any to-do list, no matter where you are.  I am very excited to start using this one. I make all sorts of lists to help me get my work done.

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

Many people resolve to see more of their family members throughout the year. The GroupMe app allows everyone in the family to stay in touch and make plans, no matter where in the country they are located. This app allows users to create several groups in which each member can share events, photos, videos and texts.  This would be a great app to use for party planning.

Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

Another one is the Check app. This free app allows users to link bills, bank accounts and credit cards. The app then notifies users of when a payment is coming up and even lets users set up automatic payments.

Those looking for help sticking with some of the most common New Year’s resolutions can use U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G to download some of these helpful apps onto their smartphones and tablets.

Thinking of getting your kids a cellphone? Here is a free Parent Child Agreement that really helps start that conversation.

Signature Donna Sync up your New Year’s resolution to stay on track #BetterMoments

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Don’t Laugh … or Sneeze #UnderAwareness

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Don’t Laugh … or sneeze

#UnderAwareness #DropYourPants

 

I am one of four children and my poor mother would go running to the bathroom every time she sneezed.  I thought it was hilarious.  Now in my 30’s unfortunately I know exactly how she feels and suddenly I don’t find it very funny at all.  Often if I laugh to hard it sends me to the bathroom too.  It’s terrible and as I talk to my friends it turns out I’m not alone. If I’m not alone, why is it so embarrassing to talk about? It shouldn’t be.

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Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans for one reason or another experiences bladder leakage? That’s 25%!  Depend has come up with a campaign to “Drop your Pants” for Underwareness.  I’ll be honest, when I think of Depend I used to think it was basically a big bulky diaper for “old people” – like in their 80’s.  I could not be more wrong.

Depend is for people of all ages and bladder leakage is a condition that affects millions of people. I’ve also learned that Depend provides discreet products that help people regain their freedom and get their lives back. Depend is not a bulky diaper, it is a thin and comfortable solution.

You can try Depend for yourself and request your free sample here!

Here are a few surprising truths about bladder leakage:

  • More people with bladder leakage are in their 20’s than their 80’s
  • The average age of someone with bladder leakage is only 52!
  • More people with bladder leakage are 50 or younger than 60 or older!

Drop Your Pants for Underwareness is both a social movement and a charitable cause. Depend will be donating $1, up to $3 million, over the next three years to charities that advance the research, education and awareness of bladder leakage! It will donate $1 for each of the following:

  • Every pant drop, photo and video shared Using #Underwareness and #DropYourPants
  • Every personal video made about what Underwareness means to you that is uploaded to YouTube and tagged #Underwareness and #DropYourPants

You can join the movement and request free samples of Depend by heading here.

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Inspire Others

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Inspire Others

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newyears2015-toppageheader Inspire Others  #hylandsinspire #inspiration
“Inspiration tells you anything is possible. Comparison tells you everything is impossible.” – Jon Acuff
I feel like a lot of time my generation and especially the one coming up behind are very critical and insist on showing each other up. There’s nothing wrong with sharing exciting things and accomplishments, but doing it with wrong intentions is different. I remember a saying I grew up with
“Don’t blow my candle out to make yours burn brighter” – Unknown
I’m excited about Hyland’s goal of inspiring 100,000 throughout the month of January. I think it’s a great idea and a great theme to start out 2015 with.  How great would it be if everyone started encouraging and inspiring others?  It’s something small and could totally make the world a better place!  This is also something that can be done in your every day life with those around you and on social media. I believe in being kind to others ALWAYS.
Inspire Others  #hylandsinspire #inspiration
I truly believe in living life to the fullest. I get inspired by others that do the same. Life is short and I believe that you should not let fear hold you back.  I’m not afraid to try new things. If I fall down, I get up and try again. My life has been nothing short of exciting.
Inspire Others  #hylandsinspire #inspiration
I also have six munchkins that bring me inspiration. My nephews and nieces are between 1 and 11 years old. I love spending time with them and living in the same freedom as a child.  They aren’t worried about being cool (yet) and they just have fun. We have so much fun together.
Now it’s your turn! I want to know what inspires you, please share it with me in the comments below and make sure to join the Hyland’s goal to inspire 100,000 people. There will be 31 winners who get Hyland’s products and one grand prize winner who will receive a $200 VISA Gift Card!
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Getting through the Holidays with the help of Plan Z

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Getting through the Holidays with the help of Plan Z

Getting through the Holidays with the help of Plan Z Getting through the Holidays with the help of Plan Z  #lowcarb #LCHF #diet #planz

 

Can you believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away?  I feel like 2014 has flown by.  I’ve been in the midwest for almost two years and I absolutely loved my very first white Christmas last year.  As magical as it was I’m really excited to see decorated palm trees and wear flip flops this year.  Myles and I are heading south for Christmas to spend it in Florida with my Dad, sisters, and their family.  We are so excited!

I know that for my family, Christmas means family and lots of food. Unfortunately that means large quantities of  food that really aren’t good for me. My sisters can cook and it’s usually delicious and also full of carbs.  I’ve worked so hard to lose weight that I do not want to mess it up by eating too much and eating stuff that is fattening.

While on Plan Z I’ve learned to stay away from trigger foods.  I don’t want to feel sluggish and pack on the pounds.  In order to stay away from all the not good for me food I’ll be eating lots of vegetables before heading to Christmas dinner.  By arriving with a full stomach it will make the goodies less tempting. I’ll also be drinking a lot of water to keep me feeling full while at dinner.

My biggest secret weapon though is that I’m bringing an amazing Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip! It’s totally a comfort food totally none of  the guilt. I know it will be tasty and I’m not even planning on telling anyone it’s also on my diet – that’s how good this is!

Plan Z has not only helped me lose weight but I feel better. I feel better for so many reasons.  First, there is less of me.  Extra weight slowed me down and I just felt blah. Weighing less has given me more energy. This is an added bonus as I’ll be playing with my nephews and nieces over the Christmas break and I’ll need to keep up with them.

Second, I just feel better overall.  I’m sleeping better and feeling better in general. I’m sure that has to do with the lost weight and the extra energy.  I’m not sure what your results will be, I can only tell you what I’ve experienced.

Are you ready to change your life and lose weight like I have? Do you want more information? Head on over to Plan Z Diet and watch their video to find out more.

Connect with Plan Z:

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7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays

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7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

Do you have any one in the family that has everything? If there’s something they want they buy it.  What about a friend or mom you want to surprise but aren’t sure what they like.  I love the idea of giving an experiences.  I’ve found lots of unique gift ideas over at the LivingSocial Gift Shop. Here are 7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays!

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

1. A 2 Hour Paint Night Painting Event

I’ve been to several painting parties and they are so much fun!  They are able to make just about anyone look like an awesome painter and you have a piece of artwork you can hang in your home.  This is a great idea for a friend or sibling.  We did this for part of my sister’s bachelorette party.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

2. Formula or Speedway Driving Experience

Have a guy in your life that you’re not sure what to get for? How about an amazing driving experience. My husband would love to get into one of these race cars with a pro. I’m pretty sure this also applies to my dad, brothers, nephews, and pretty much all the guys I know.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

3. A Visit to a Planetarium or Museum

Have a family that you’re buying for. These are not only fun but educational gifts.  We gave a friend of ours and her girls an annual trip to the zoo this year so they could hang out and create memories.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

4. Wellness Spa or Massage

Know a single mom or anyone that works hard? How about the gift of relaxation? They most likely would not buy this for themselves, but would certainly benefit from one! This is one I’d really enjoy too.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

5. A Wine Tasting for Two

This would be great for you and a girlfriend or even a couples night.  I could get this for my sister and her husband and even throw in free babysitting so they could enjoy their afternoon or evening together.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

6. Lift Passes at a Ski Resort

This is a great idea for just about anyone.  We always have so much fun on ski days.  It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get in exercise.

7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

7. Tickets to a Comedy Show or Concert

These are always fun to personalize.  Do you know someone who is a die hard fan for a certain band? Concert tickets make a great gift!

The older I get (I’m in my 30’s) I realize that often times gadgets break, clothes fade, and technology seems to change almost daily.  As I look back I realize that some of my greatest memories are trips, concerts, vacations, and experiences I have shared with others. If you’re still looking for gifts for the holiday season or even for birthday or anniversary gifts consider the gift of experience!

Visit the LivingSocial Vlog where they talk about experiential gifting.

*All photos courtesy of LivingSocial

Signature Donna 7 Experiential Gift Ideas for the Holidays #LivingSocial #giftguide #shopping

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Help me pick out a Dress

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Help me pick out a Dress

Red carpet Help me pick out a Dress #lowcarb #LCHF #planz

One of the highlights of last year for me was attending the red carpet premier for both Thor Dark World and Delivery Man.  They were amazing opportunities and I’m so excited to say that I’ve been invited to Los Angeles again! I’ve been on the Plan Z diet now for just over a month and I am feeling fabulous.  One of the numerous reasons that I wanted to lose weight is to look good.  Yes it sounds shallow, but it is honest.  While I’m there I’ll also be attending a live show of Dancing with the Stars!

I’ve been feeling so great and love that I’m wearing smaller sizes. I decided to head into town last week and start searching for a dress. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to look good in a shorter dress! I always felt like they were just colorful potato sacks.  In fact I had such a great time shopping for a dress I bought two! I need your help with making a choice.  Here are the two dresses I’m trying to choose between:

dresses vote Help me pick out a Dress #lowcarb #LCHF #planz

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I’d love to get your opinions in the comments below as well.  I will be in LA in 2 weeks and I’ll post a picture live of me wearing the dress. I also can’t wait to show you how much weight of lost!

Are you ready to change your life and lose with me? Do you want more information? Head on over to Plan Z Diet and watch their  video to find out more.

Connect with Plan Z:

Signature Donna Help me pick out a Dress #lowcarb #LCHF #planz

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My Leather Jacket of Inspiration

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My Leather Jacket of Inspiration

I’ve told you last week about how I started my weight loss journey. I am very happy to share with you that I am down 14 pounds! In fact, here’s a picture from this past weekend when I was in California. Not only can I wear pants I have not been able to in years, but I can tell in my face that I’m losing weight.

My Leather Jacket of Inspiration Plan Z #PlanZ #diet #lowcarb #LCHF

While I shared some of the reasons I wanted to lose weight I also wanted to share with you some of the things that inspire me. Yes, I love wearing smaller clothes and yes I want to wear cute clothes again, but the truth is I’m a sugar addict.  I went through some major withdrawal and I’m learning to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits.  I do have to be intentional though and not even bring sugary treats in the house.  I’m also learning to make healthier dessert options so I get that “sweetness” I crave with out eating things that are not good for me. I’ll be sharing a delicious fall dessert with you soon!

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One of the first gifts that my husband gave me after we were married was a black leather jacket. We’d wear them out everywhere together. It was comfy and it kept me warm.  About 5 years ago it was a little bit more snug.  I can’t even get it on now.  My husband still wears his. He has offered to buy me another one but I really want to wear the original jacket I received 8 years ago.  I keep it hanging on my closet door and think about how nice it will look on me when it fits.

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I have found seeing older pictures of me wearing my jacket inspire me too. I can’t wait until it fits again!  What do you do that inspires you to stick with your goals?

Are you ready to change your life and lose with me? Do you want more information? Head on over to Plan Z Diet and watch their  video to find out more.

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I am Protective of the Things I Love

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I am Protective of the Things I Love #IAmProtective

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
-Albert Einstein

I prefer the second way to live my life because life truly is a miracle.  I have quite a few miracles that I’m thankful for and very protective of.  I grew up in Florida and we went through lots of hurricanes.  My dad ALWAYS prepped. It didn’t matter what path they predicted. If we were near the cone’s path my dad had the shutters up and all our supplies. There were a lot of times that people thought he was to cautious and overdoing it.  That all changed in August of 1992.

I was in junior high and Hurricane Andrew was headed towards south FL.  We all went to bed  thinking it was going one way and at the last minute it turned. I know we were certainly glad my dad had prepared.

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Now we have kids that are having kids I have all sorts of grown up questions that go through my mind like … How much life insurance do I need? How can I protect the ones I love? How can I keep them safe?  Even though I’m grown up I don’t have all those answers.  All I can do is prepare like my dad taught me.

I learned that life insurance is just one part of your financial picture. I was able to check out Protective’s Learning Center. I found information that helped me understand life insurance options as well as other financial issues that I could face. From college planning to life insurance basics and retirement, they’ve got us covered.

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I can’t control the weather or natural disasters.  I can’t control the decisions our kids or grand daughter will make or the decisions those around them will make. I can only prepare them and make sure they are taken care of should something happen to me or my husband.

How do you protect those you love?

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Join others to make a world of difference – Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines

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

Join others to make a world of difference – Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines

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One of my favorite memories from high school is when I traveled to Zimbabwe, Africa.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  I remember getting immunizations and shots to prepare to go to another country.  I was not prepared however for how it would change my life. I was a 16 year old, obnoxious, American teenager.  I wasn’t rude or anything, just very unaware of the world around me.  My whole world was my home, my school, and my friends and family.

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I lived with an African family and had an amazing time. I ate foods I had never heard of and even learned how to play cricket.  I enjoyed tea and milk at tea time and made life time friends. Even now, 20 years later, I still keep in touch with the family I stayed with.  They had a lovely home, but were missing some amenities that I assumed everyone had.  I learned to take quick showers to do conserving water and I even got sick when I drank the water.

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I experienced baboon crossing and learned that not everyone had a house with a TV or even beds. The family I lived with had a big house and we all had beds, but there are parts of the country where that was not the case. One of my favorite stories from when we returned home was that the youngest son, PJ, kept going in the guest room to “smell the American girls” because it smelled like our deodorant.  It was so strange to me that deodorant was a luxury.

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I was also able to experience one of the seven wonders of the world, Victoria Falls.  I saw what a third world civilization looked like and even experienced starving children barefoot begging for food and money.  I learned that white socks were more valuable than money. I traded every pair my mom packed for me for trinkets from the street market.  My trip to Africa changed me for the better.  I learned to appreciate what I had.

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I’m really excited about Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot. program where you can pledge to get your flu shot or any other immunization at Walgreens and help provide a lifesaving vaccine to a child in a developing country through the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life program.

Get a Shot. Give a Shot is a Walgreens led campaign in partnership with the United Nation Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign. From September 2nd through October 13th, for every flu shot or other immunization you receive at Walgreens, you will help provide a life-saving vaccine to a child in a developing country through the United Nation Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign.

This is the season where I get sick so I get my annual flu shot. I love that this year not only will my shot make a difference in keeping me well, but it will get a child a lifesaving vaccine in a developing country.  Together this campaign can supply up to 3 Million vaccines to kids that need it most! Will you be taking the pledge?

*A big thanks to my sister, Breanne, who took the pictures.

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What did you do last week? I lost 10 lbs with the help of the Plan Z Diet!

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donnahup Plan Z disclaimer What did you do last week? I lost 10 lbs with the help of the Plan Z Diet!

The month of September has flown by.  I have been incredibly busy and usually have a hard time telling you what I did yesterday let alone the past week.  This week is different though, there’s something that’s made my smile a little bigger and has me walking taller. I have lost 10 pounds! Yes, they’re gone and I’m not looking for them. I do not want them back.

One of the reasons that I’ve been so busy is there have been a lot of fall festivities and group outings. While we’re out my friends and I love taking pictures of each other and the fun we’re having. I was looking at the pictures and had a hard time accepting what I looked like.  I look in the mirror every day when I get dressed and I guess I had convinced myself I wasn’t “that fat”.  Fat is such an ugly word in my opinion, but it’s the truth.  I had to admit to myself I was fat and I didn’t like it.

I started thinking about how I was out of breath when I walked up and down the stairs when doing laundry.  I seemed to be having more back problems too lately.  I know it’s not healthy for my body to have all this extra weight.  I am tired of looking and feeling fat. I decided I needed to do something about it.

I started the Plan Z Diet and it has been amazing! Yes, I have been on diets before and they seem to work in the beginning and then I seem to end up right where I began.  This is completely different because it’s more a lifestyle change.

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This is what I had for lunch the other day.  I love Mexican food and this had so much flavor. I was full at the end of lunch also.  Every diet I have ever been on has had me eat their food or take a pill.  I really love that I am able to eat real food and learn. Yes, it’s great to lose weight, but my issue has always been after the diet when I say “what do I do now?”

This past week along with my weight loss I have learned about portion size.  I have also made some amazingly delicious meals.

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The grilled steak and Balsamic Onions were so good!! The onions have become one of my favorite side dishes.  I even get to have dessert! Now we’re not talking sugary junk, but really good food. I had Apple Raspberry bake the other night and it was like eating warm home made pie. So. Good.

Not only are the recipes (that they give you) amazing, but they support you all along the way.  They want you to succeed and stand behind their Diet.  I receive daily emails with tips and encouragement.  It truly is a lifestyle change.

Are you ready to change your life and lose with me? Do you want more information? Head on over to Plan Z Diet and watch their  video to find out more.

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Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres

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Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres

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I am so excited that Fall is here! Growing up in south Florida we didn’t really have seasons. Okay, we had summer and hurricane season. We also bundled up when it hit 70 degrees.  Things have definitely changed for this girl.  I love that I get real seasons! Fall and Winter are my favorites.

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I love the smells of Fall and seeing the beautiful colors.  I was trying to explain to my 7 yr old nephew (who lives in FL) last year that the tree really did have red leaves. I sent him a picture and he could still hardly believe it. I also love the activities that come with this time of year. Last week the other North Iowa bloggers made a trip to Enchanted Acres.

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Where do I begin? There is so much to do! It’s a great place for families and there is something for everyone. I love the grounds. There is a beautiful red barn and so many picture opportunities, which I made sure to take advantage of. I want to give a thank you to Jeni from Jeni Eats. She was kind enough to take my picture all day. If it’s a picture of me, Jeni probably took it.

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There was a playground with huge tractor tires, a fire pit with benches to sit around it, and animals!

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They had goats and chickens. I got to pet the goats and even hold a baby chicken!  The baby chickens from Hoover’s Hatchery were adorable!

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Inside, Shannon explained to us the difference between types of pumpkins. I had no idea certain ones were better for baking!  She has a huge pumpkin patch too! I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks and get some.

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We had so much fun making Pumpkin Pie in a bag. It was surprisingly easy. Katy from Learning as I Go and Sara from All in an Iowa Mom’s Day are working on the filling here. I’m not sure if it’s a midwest thing, but I have never made it.  I also loved that everyone could take part. Val from Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids brought her two little ones and they were able to participate also.

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Amy from Modern Rural Living and I had a modified version (no crust) so we got extra whip cream. My favorite part was trying our creation. Our pumpkin pie in a cup was delicious! This is something I would totally do with my nephews and nieces!

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We also got to participate in arts & crafts! We used duck tape and modge podge to decorate pumpkins! It was so much fun.  Make sure to check out their Calendar of Events for the different projects and story times.

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We all made a few and mine are sitting on my dining room table now.  It was such a great day. I can’t wait to go back! I highly recommend it for a day of fall fun!

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