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



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


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.

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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.

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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.


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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“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



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

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Help me pick out a Dress



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Help me pick out a Dress

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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

Which dress do you think I should wear on the Red Carpet?

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!

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

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.

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

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.

Connect with Plan Z:

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I am Protective of the Things I Love



I am Protective of the Things I Love  #IAmProtective #CollectiveBias #shop

I am Protective of the Things I Love #IAmProtective

I am Protective of the Things I Love  #IAmProtective #CollectiveBias #shop

“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.

I am Protective of the Things I Love  #IAmProtective #CollectiveBias #shop

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



*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

Join others to make a world of difference - Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot.  #GetAShot #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias #africa donna

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.

Join others to make a world of difference - Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot.  #GetAShot #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias #africa donna

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.

Join others to make a world of difference - Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot.  #GetAShot #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias #africa donna

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.

Join others to make a world of difference - Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot.  #GetAShot #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias #africa donna

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.

Join others to make a world of difference - Immunizations and Life Saving Vaccines Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot.  #GetAShot #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias #africa donna

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!



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.

Plan Z Chicken Enchilada Bowl Button Plan Z Diet #review #diet #lowcarb #LCHF

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.

Plan Z Steak and Balsamic Onions Button Plan Z Diet #review #diet #lowcarb #LCHF

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.

Connect with Plan Z:

Signature Donna Hup Plan Z Diet #review #diet #lowcarb #LCHF

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Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres



Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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!

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review


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!

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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.

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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!

Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

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Signature Donna Fall Fun at Enchanted Acres #NorthIowa #Iowa #midwest #Fall #northIowaBloggers donnahup #review

13 Misconceptions about Depression



13 Misconceptions about Depression #ThisIsDepression #YouAreNotAlone

It’s been over a week and all the talk about depression has ceased.  The problem is that for those of us who battle depression it has not ceased. In fact we face it every single day.   It doesn’t go away when people stop talking about it.  I thought that it might be nice to bring up some common misconceptions about depression.

Last week I wrote my most personal post ever. I poured my heart out and confessed to the world that I have a daily battle with Depression.  I am so grateful for the *mostly* positive response I received.  I opened my email to multiple letters with multiple messages.

Thank you for sharing your story.  You are not alone.  I’m here if you need anything. If you can stand up so can I, I’m going to talk to someone.

I also lost some friends.  They were not rude, they never even said a word. They just walked away, unfriended me on Facebook, and went on with their lives with out me.  I’m not really sure why they left.  I didn’t insult them.  Maybe they were uncomfortable? Maybe they don’t know how to respond or what to say?  I’m finding as I read other articles on the web about depression it seems there are a lot of misconceptions and scary theories out there.

I’m not a mental health expert or a counselor but I have been there. Sometimes there is comfort in that alone. I remember the day my mother died.  She was very sick and I’m very thankful she is in a better place. Really, I am. I am so glad I didn’t have to watch her suffer another day (she died of cancer).  She was one of my best friends and it tore me up.   Everyone’s words and presence was greatly appreciated. There was one friend though that had lost her mom a few years prior also to cancer and just her saying she was there for me was extra special. I knew all my friends would be there for me, that they all loved me and they’d all do anything I needed.  I knew though that she “got it” She understood exactly what I was feeling even though I was not able to express it.

I feel the that way about depression.  Why am I standing up and letting the whole world know? Well if one person reading my words, the one who hides the same secret battle … if they realize they’re not alone and I (we) get it, then maybe they’ll get help too.  I read in all these posts and news articles that if you’re depressed you should get help, yet they say such ignorant things. I’m sure they mean well, but I feel that they don’t have their facts straight.  They just don’t seem to “get it” Why would anyone want to stand up and get help after reading what they think of people with depression?  My hope in this post is to clear up some of the ignorant misconceptions.

You’re just having a bad day, everyone does.

Yes, everyone has bad days.  Some even have days worse than others.  I have had bad days and good days.  I also have depression. Having a bad day and being depressed are NOT the same thing.  They’re not even close. I worked at a pharmacy through high school and college and was held up and robbed one night there. That was a really bad day.  When I slip into my deep dark funks they aren’t even close. Circumstances make bad days, feelings that arouse from those circumstances.  Depression is a state of mind.  Everything can go right on a day and I am still depressed.  It has nothing to do with circumstances around me.   I am not sad – I’m in deep dark despair.

You just need joy. You just need to be positive.

I’m not sure if you read the recent post that talked about this, but I did and I think it bothered me more than some of the other misconceptions.  This is what was said:

“In the end, joy is the only thing that defeats depression. No depressed person in the history of the world has ever been in the depths of despair and at the heights of joy at the same time.”

Seriously?  Anyone who knows me knows that I have joy and I am a joyful person. It is not an act. Just because I don’t go around telling everyone I also have depression does not mean I do not have joy. Psalm 28:7 says “the joy of the Lord is my strength” and it truly is. Holding on to that truth helps me fight each day. I love people, my family, my friends, life, living and having fun.  I am a positive person. I always see the glass “half full” and try to find the silver lining in every situation. I also have depression.

You can’t have depression because you have an awesome life.

I do have an awesome life. I have amazing family and amazing friends. I am married to my best friend who loves me no matter what. I get to travel and meet people all over. I get to do fun things for a living like zip lining, meeting celebrities, cooking, helping kids, watching movies. I constantly have people telling me they’re jealous of my life. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and continue to have.  I have a life better than I could have ever hoped for. I still have depression.  My depression never focuses on my life. It focuses on me. Here’s a few of the lies depression tells me. You’re no good.  You are so far gone that you’re only dragging down the ones you love. They would be so much happier if you were gone.  You are a waste of space.  Yes, as I type this I know none of that is true.  But if you were listening it never said anything about my job, home, the car I drive. Now, some people have lost everything and they are also depressed. I can’t imagine that added to the pain of depression and their battle may be a bit different than mine. I’m sure that plays into their depression and does not help them with the fight, but my point is you can have an awesome life and still have depression. Depression does not discriminate.

It’s not a real medical illness.

The NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) defines depression as:

Major depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. Depression is a life-long condition in which periods of wellness alternate with recurrences of illness.

I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions when people believe it’s not an illness they open the door to a lot of the other misconceptions.

It’s a choice.

I wish this was true. I would choose to never be depressed again in a heartbeat. The reality that it is not a choice is another debilitating factor of having depression.  You try so hard to fight it and it just won’t go away no matter how badly you desire it to.

You just need to get over it. Just snap out of it.

You hear people comparing depression to cancer and while it’s not the same thing, the point is it is a disease and you can’t just “snap your fingers” and be cured.  Here are some other common diseases and illnesses: Alzheimer’s, Asthma, Crohn’s Disease, Diabetes, Eczema, Epilepsy, Infertility, Polio, Tuberculosis  Some are worse than others, each is different and those fighting them have their own battles.  Would you ever walk up to any one with those illnesses and tell them to get over it? No, it’s ridiculous to even think about it.  Why is depression any different? It’s an illness too.

Maybe the problem is that the organ that is being affected is the brain.  Yeah, that must be it. Oh, wait. Tumors and cancer can also affect the brain and you would never tell anyone with a brain tumor or brain cancer to snap out of it because they can’t. I have depression and I can NOT snap out of it.

Yes, at times my illness is better than others. I can totally do things that help keep it under control. That is why I would encourage any one battling depression to seek help.  I am in a good place. It’s not always been that way and lately (the last few years) I’ve had many more “good days” then “bad days” in my fight.

You’re just being lazy.

No, I’m exhausted. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  There are days it’s a fight to get out of bed. I am that overwhelmed and drained from fighting depression daily.

It’s all in your head.

While it may start in my head it is physically painful. When I am in the deep and dark despair it physically hurts.  My chest tightens and has sharp pain. My head hurts. It’s beyond difficult to breath.  People that have had panic attacks thought they were having a heart attack due to the physical pain.

13 Misconceptions about Depression #ThisIsDepression #YouAreNotAlone

You are being selfish.

I addressed this when I talked about my own suicide attempt. The last thing I was thinking was how ending my life would be good for me. I thought about my family, my friends, the people I loved and I thought about how I’d be rescuing them and saving them from myself. Yes, it’s twisted, I know. It makes no sense and that is part of the problem. Depression distorts all logic.

I read a great post that compared depression to a person trapped in a burning high rise. It stemmed from this quote from David Foster Wallace.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.

There are some pretty famous people that have suffered from depression – Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Patton, Florence Nightingale, Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig von Beethoven and Michelangelo. I never really thought of any of them as selfish.

You just want attention.

Yes, after hearing people talk about Depressed people as selfish, lazy, and weak I thought, man I need that kind of attention. If I say it affects me they’ll see me as selfish, lazy and weak! Sign me up. Um, yeah, that thought never ever crossed my mind. You know what did cross my mind? I thought about how embarrassing and humiliating it was going to be to tell people. The day after I posted I fought depression I was sure that when I went out in public everyone was looking at me and whispering about me behind my back.  The truth is they probably have no clue who I am and don’t even care. Not that they are not caring people, but they have their own battles they’re dealing with.

Saying you have depression is a sign of weakness.

Try again.  Did you read some of these misconceptions? Saying I have depression despite people thinking I’m selfish, lazy, and weak is brave.  It’s courageous. Unfortunately it should not be this way. You never hear people telling others they’re brave for admitting they have diabetes, cancer, asthma, or eczema.  You will probably hear people telling others they’re so brave for fighting so hard when they have cancer. I know my mom was brave when she fought cancer for 4 years. We’ve already established that depression is a real disease. I should not be seen as being brave for saying I have depression. I should be brave for fighting it.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela

It will go away if you just ignore it.

Depression is a REAL disease and it does not get better by just ignoring it. In fact, it refuses to be ignored.  The longer you try to hide, stuff, ignore, and just not deal with it the more it tears you apart and sends you into a tailspin of despair and utter hopelessness.

Depression is no big deal – it’s not that serious.

Really?  Since when is death not that serious? Here are some terrifying statistics:

  • Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds.
  • On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.
  • Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people.
  • About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.
  • There is 1 suicide for every 25 attempted suicides.
  •  1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.

I don’t know about you, but that’s serious.  We need to look at the facts and stop shaming those who are just sick.  They are human beings that have an illness called depression. How on earth can you expect them to seek help for this illness if you keep telling them it’s all in their head?

If you EVER feel like it’s no longer worth it or if you’re starting to think about talking your own life please get help.  You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

13 Misconceptions about Depression #ThisIsDepression #YouAreNotAlone

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform



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

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

I have a lot of respect for soldiers for numerous reasons. They are brave, they fight to protect our country, they give their all which sometimes includes their very own life. I also have a special connection to soldiers, because my dad was one. He was a Marine.  He is a Marine. He may be retired, but it’s still part of him. Though he’s a soldier, he’s more than just a clean shave and a uniform.

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

He signed up during the Vietnam War when he was 17. He wanted to be a soldier so much that he told them he was 18.

I can not imagine being in the middle of a war and fighting other human beings no matter what the cause. I realize it’s a part of life, but I’m too emotional. I’d probably cry and get myself shot by the enemy or someone on the front lines with me. That is one of the numerous reasons I am not a soldier.


The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.  -G.K. Chesterton

My dad is amazing. Not only can he defend our country, but he takes care of our family and even enjoys being silly.

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

This may explain a lot for those of you who personally know me!  Yes, my dad is a lot of fun.  As much as we like to play and joke around he still looks like a soldier. I think it’s something that is just part of him.  He still wears the “buzz cut” and likes to be clean shaven. His clean look on the outside matches the discipline on the inside.  Yes, despite riding the shopping cart in the IKEA parking lot, he is still very polite, respectful, and well just what you would expect from a soldier.

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

That clean cut look is very important to him. He shaves every day and we just found the new Gillette Flexball Razor which he really likes.  We found it at Walmart in the shaving section.

Gillette Flexball Razor My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

It was hard to miss, because as I went by there was a motion detector that set off this display:

I remember being younger and cuddling with my dad. He would rock us in his big rocking chair.  One weekend for some reason he had not shaved yet that day and I remember telling him his kisses were prickly on my cheek.

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

All my memories (clean shaven, prickly kisses, shopping cart races, etc) remind me of what a great man my dad was and still is today.

Dad Marine My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

His good looks on the outside represent the type of quality man he is on the inside. Yet, he is so much more than just the uniform he wore to protect our country.  He is a quality man for sure, but more than that ….

My Dad the Soldier, More than just a Clean Shave and a Uniform #SmoothSummer  #shop #cbias donnahup

He’s more than a soldier, more than a clean shave, and more than a uniform. He’s my Dad!

Do you have a soldier in your life? How are they more than just the uniform to you?

Follow Krystal’s Kitsch’s board Smooth Faces of Summer on Pinterest. receives free products for review purposes, and may sometimes be compensated for posts. All opinions expressed are solely from See’s Disclosure Policy for complete details. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 


Norton by Symantec antivirus software for Back to School



This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

Norton 360

I can clearly remember being in the 6th grade and sitting with my friends by our lockers. I went to a preschool through 12th grade school and often the Seniors would cut through our 6th grade hallway on their way to their next class. I remember watching them walk by thinking “I will never be a senior … it’s soooo far away”.  I got tired of hearing my mom say that time would fly by even faster the older I got. It seems like yesterday I watched the seniors walk by and my 20 year reunion is coming up in 2016. How is that possible?!

Things were a lot different when I was in high school than they are now.  Wow, I totally sound like my mom!  I remember when I got my first phone.  I got it my senior year of high school and it looked something like this:


Yep, complete with the slide up earpiece.  I didn’t even have my own laptop until my first year of college.

Now, they give each of the kids a MacBook to bring home during the school.  Our munchkins all have their own tablets and a few of them even have a cell phone.

stacia grad logan grad


Whether you have a high school grad that is advancing to college or a preschooler graduating to Kindergarten things are different for them. They do a lot of their school work and studying on their computers. It would stink if they lost a report or their homework from a crazy computer virus.  I found found that you can get protection for up to 5 devices with the Norton 360 Multi-Device. It works on PC’s, Mac’s and mobile devices.  Right now you can even save $40 on it with the Norton by Symantec coupons .



  • A single solution 
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  • PC performance processes
  • Loss-prevention tools let you locate missing phones and tablets, while backing up files and contacts to protect them

I don’t know about you, but I want our kids to succeed. Part of that is making sure they have all the tools they need. receives free products for review purposes, and may sometimes be compensated for posts. All opinions expressed are solely from See’s Disclosure Policy for complete details. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

My Daily Battle with Depression



Some of my favorite movies are Jumanji, Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Jack, Patch Adams, Mrs Doubtfire, Hook …. do you see where I am going with this? Yes, they all star Robin Williams.  I have many more movie favorites, but really I want to talk about the tragedy from yesterday.  Unless you do not have internet, social media, contact with others then you know that Mr Williams passed away yesterday morning.  Although, if you don’t have internet, social media, etc then you wouldn’t be here on my blog. I digress which I tend to do when I get nervous.  Why would his death make me nervous? Well, it brings to light a battle. I also fight a similar battle.

My Daily Battle with Depression

My Daily Battle with Depression donnahup

This is me and what you can’t see is the battle that I fight Every. Single. Day.  I battle depression.  This smile is genuine and right now I’m in a really great place.  The reason for that is I fight every day to stay there.  I’ve read posts and comments on posts on depression today and I wanted to address some of these remarks from someone who has “been there”.

What qualifies me? Well, I’ve battled depression for a long time.  I’ve lost three family members to suicide and I have tried to take my own life.  **I want to stress I am not suicidal** I have friends and family members that read my blog and you don’t need to worry or be concerned.  I can honestly say I don’t have any suicidal thoughts *but* I did have them in the past.  My husband, sisters, dad, and some of my closest friends already know this about me and thank goodness they’re supportive and loving.  I know this will come as a shock to a lot of people that know me, but I feel like this needs to be brought to light.

One comment I heard a lot was how people couldn’t believe Robin Williams was depressed.  Depression is a deep dark sickness that is embarrassing and shameful (it should not be and I’ll come back to that).  While I can’t speak for Mr Williams, I can tell you that most people who know me would never believe I get depressed. It’s not something I like talking about. Well, I’m now sharing it with the entire world, but up until now I didn’t want anyone to know.

The other thing that bothered me was hearing that suicide is selfish.  Yes, from a logical point of view it is. I agree and I understand. The problem is when you are fighting depression you have bad days.  I call these “funks” for no other reason then it sounds better than “I’m spiraling out of control into a deep dark place”.  When I say to my husband “I’m in a funk” he knows it’s a cry for help and I need help pulling out of it.  During these funks you don’t think logically, that’s part of the sickness of depression.

niagra falls My Daily Battle with Depression donnahup

Above is a picture of Niagra Falls that I took on a dark and over cast day.  It’s one of the best pictures I can use to describe a dark day. I feel like the whole world is on one side of the cliff and I’m alone on the other side.  I know I need to get to the other side – the side where everyone is normal and happy, but I don’t know how to get there. Sometimes I start a bridge and make progress (having better days than others) and other times I’m hanging on for dear life while rejection, self hate, deep dark sadness, and despair wash over me.  It is during those dark times that suicide comes to mind.  First, it physically hurts. I mean really, really hurts.  There is a sharp and terrible pain inside and it’s hard to breath.  I just want relief. I don’t want my family and loved ones worrying about me, in fact they’d probably be better off if I were gone <— That my friends, is one of the biggest lies depression tells you.  The whole paragraph sounds crazy, but it’s how I feel when I’m in those funks.  I can’t see logic when I’m in those dark places.  When you tell someone who has tried to take their life they are selfish you are only causing them to spiral deeper into that dark place.  Let me repeat, don’t EVER tell someone that suffers from depression or tries to take their life that they are selfish.  It does not matter if you believe they are. They need help.  That is not helping.  You need to let them know how much you love them and need them.  Tell them how much you would miss them if they were gone.

The problem with depression is it’s a sickness that can’t be seen.  My mom fought breast cancer for 4 years.  The cancer spread into her bones and then into her liver before it killed her.  You could see she was sick.  She lost her hair. She lost a lot of weight. She looked frail.  You can see physical evidence when someone is paralyzed, has Parkinson’s, has a stroke, and has cancer. You can not tell by looking if someone battles depression. I am not saying one battle is harder than the other – they are different. I don’t have the first clue what someone goes through daily when trying to fight cancer or Parkinson’s.  I do know what it is to fight depression.

I feel like depression is often looked down upon because it can’t be seen and really those people that have never really fought it, have no idea what it’s like.  I know for me I don’t want people to know because I don’t want them to see me differently.  I’m still me.  So, why did I just pour my heart out to everyone?  Well, if there’s just one person that sees this and realizes they’re not alone, that other people feel the same way and they get help it will be worth all embarrassment and humiliation from making this known.

If you EVER feel like it’s no longer worth it or if you’re starting to think about talking your own life please get help.  You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Another problem is a lot of people think you can just “get over it” or “think happier thoughts”. Depression does not work that way.  It’s not a switch you can turn on and off.  I am doing a lot better.  First, I went to counseling. I also admitted out loud to my husband, family, and friends that depression is a daily battle for me. How can they help and support me if they don’t even know I’m fighting?  I also have God.  No, this is not a “religious post” and I won’t try to sell you anything, but it gives me hope.  When you’re in deep despair hope is a light at the end of that dark tunnel.  In fact the counseling was a christian counselor from church and she gave me tools to help fight my daily battles.  Each day I do better, but with any battle it’s when you stop fighting (yes it’s tiring and I feel like stopping and resting often) that the darkness creeps back in.

I hurt for Robin Williams’ family and friends.  I feel so sorry for their loss. I especially hurt for him, that he hurt so badly that he could not go on living another moment. I feel sad that someone else fighting the battle of depression lost their fight.  Here’s the silver lining – through this terrible tragedy I am seeing an overwhelming number of posts, comments, discussions and more on depression.  Do you know how many people commit suicide every day? On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.  That should bother you! I know it does me.  We need to stop ignoring this sickness called Depression.  The time is now.

*I do not mind comments with different opinions on this subject. I feel that discussion is healthy and good.  I will NOT tolerate mean comments. I don’t care if you agree with me or not on this subject. I will delete your post if you attack or bully with your words.

If you EVER feel like it’s no longer worth it or if you’re starting to think about talking your own life please get help.  You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).