Monday, November 30, 2015

Coming Soon: 12 Days of Blogmas

Last year, I came up with the great idea to host a 12 Days of Blogging Christmas event. It was fun but didn't go quite as I had hoped. Life got busy and I found that blogging took a back seat to the stress of work and deployment. This year, I was talking to my friend Nora about topics for our blogs for December (something we do often). I was telling her about my 12 Days event from last year and we decided to bring it back. This time, I've got help and we've already got everything planned and ready to go! In fact, there's already a growing Facebook group of other bloggers that are interested!

Not sure how a blogging event works? No worries - I'm about to share all of the details of our event with you below! You can technically join the fun without ever joining the Facebook group but the group will give you some added benefits, including daily reminders and share threads! Plus, I'll be using the group share threads to share across social media in December!

The 12 Days of Blogmas event will take place from December 9 - December 24. There will be a prompt for each weekday of the challenge. The prompts are based around the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and can be found below with a small description. Each day, you'll create a post for your blog based on the prompt of the day. Then, you'll come back to The Coastie Couple or The Petite Mrs to link up your post. After linking up, you'll be able to check out other blogs who are participating. We do expect you to share the love with fellow bloggers that are participating in the event.

You can find graphics and other goodies for all of the prompts in the Facebook group, but I'm also going to list them here for those of us that don't want to add another group to our list.

Day 1: Holiday Tradition 
(December 9, 2015)

It's the first day of blogmas, so you only have to share one thing today! Share your favorite holiday tradition with us. Maybe it's wearing matching pajamas or baking cookies for Santa. Whatever the tradition is, we'd love to hear about it! Remember: traditions are something you do year after year.

Day 2: Random Acts of Kindness
(December 10, 2015)

We're big believers in showing kindness to others - especially around the holidays. Today's post is all about showing kindness! There are several different directions you can take with this post - including sharing things you've done for others or things others have done for you! Remember, it's the second day of Blogmas so you need to share two things with us for the topic!

Day 3: Signs of the Season
(December 11, 2015)

What are the things that signal the holiday season for you? Is it the appearance of the Starbucks red cup or is it the lights downtown? Use your senses to share three ways that you know the holiday season has arrived! (Throwback to elementary school: Your senses include sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.)

Day 4: Holiday Quotes
(December 14, 2015)

It's time to dig out your favorite books, songs, and movies for this prompt! Find four quotes that represent the holiday season to share with the rest of us! Don't forget to share where we can find the quotes!

Day 5: Golden Memories
(December 15, 2015)

The holidays lend themselves to many memory making opportunities. Today, we're asking that you reflect on your past. Share (five) favorite memories with us in a little trip to the past today.  

Day 6: Holiday Movies
(December 16, 2015)

I love holiday movies! Today's post will probably be one of my favorites. It's time to create a list of your top six holiday movies. I can't wait to see which ones we have in common!

Day 7: Winter Activities
(December 17, 2015)

Build a snowman, sip hot chocolate, make gingerbread houses...the list of holiday activities is endless. We want to hear your top seven winter activities. Hopefully, you inspire us to try something new!

Day 8: Holiday Food & Drink      
(December 18, 2015)

The holidays bring lots of fun food with them. Get in tune with your stomach today and share your favorite foods or drinks with us. You could even describe your perfect holiday dinner if you'd like! Creativity with the prompts is highly encouraged!

Day 9: Holiday Songs
(December 21, 2015)

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells... I can already hear the holiday music starting in my head. Take some time today to figure out which ones are your favorite. I'm looking forward to creating a new playlist from all of the great suggestions!

Day 10: Facts About Me
(December 22, 2015)

At this point, we've learned a lot about each other but I know there's still more to learn. It's time to share a little bit about yourself with our "facts about me" prompt. It's time you shared a little bit about the blogger behind the blog!

Day 11: Holiday Photos
(December 23, 2015)

Maybe they're old photos. Maybe their new ones from your trip. Either way, we're looking forward to seeing what holiday photos you choose to share with us!

Day 12: Holiday Wishes
(December 24, 2015)

The year is almost up and Christmas is coming. Take a few minutes to share your holiday wishes with us. Maybe it's something you hope happens (no family drama) or a wishlist item you hope is under the tree. We're looking forward to seeing your twelve holiday wishes!

There you go - your prompts for the 12 Days of Blogmas!

Afraid you won't be able to remember them all? Don't worry - there's a few things you can do to help you remember!

1. Pin this post to your holiday pinterest board.

2. Print out our Editorial Calendar that lists all the prompts and even gives you a brainstorming section!

3. Join our Facebook group where we'll be posting the prompts and share threads daily.

4. Sign up for daily email reminders.

We're really looking forward to this event. I hope you'll join us in this awesome event that will benefit your blog a lot!

Friday, November 27, 2015

November Update

A lot has happened in the past week or two in our lives and I thought it was time to catch you up! We'll be back to reviews, travel, and other tips soon enough. Until then, here's a glimpse at what's been going on in our lives.

The first big piece of news is that the husband is back from deployment! It was a rainy day when his boat pulled in, but we didn't allow that to dampen the day. My sign stayed in the back of my friend's car but he had a great welcome home regardless. Signs don't matter as much as that first kiss after your husband returns!

The sign I made the night before the husband's boat returned. I took something personal (the Razorbacks from his home state) and turned it into a fun sign.

Normally I enjoy the rain because it's such a rarity in California. I wish it would have held off a little later on Tuesday though. It came and stuck around just for the homecoming. 

When I saw his boat pull into the pier, it finally felt real. The down side to homecomings is that it takes about an hour of watching them work before you get to actually see and touch your Coastie. The wait was my least favorite part.

The husband was super excited to be back in homeport after 104 days at sea. He had his bags already packed and was ready to get off the boat in no time.

I brought this bag full of his favorite candy (Twix) as a welcome home goodie bag. He also had a basket full of things waiting for him at home.

These envelopes were inside the basket. They are invitations to holiday date nights for all of the holidays we've missed in 2015 due to deployments. I'll be sharing more details about these in upcoming weeks as we celebrate the different holidays. Make sure you keep an eye on our Instagram for the updates!

The husband chose our dinner for his first night home. Beer cheese fondue won!

This was the first of the holiday boxes. It contained everything we would need to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday - including shirts for our Turkey Trot and mini turkeys to paint together.

 Here is a (blurry) picture of our #turkey shirts that I made for the 5k Turkey Trot that we completed on Thanksgiving day.  It made for an early and cold day but we were all smiles at the end!

We both made it across the finish line of the 5k. The husband ran the event and I did a mixture of running and walking to the finish line. It was my first 5k and I'm excited to say I finished in less time than I predicted I would! The husband also did his best time!

After the 5k, it was off to Thanksgiving hosted by a couple we know from his boat. There was a lot of great food and fun for the day.

Our apple cider sangria was also a big hit! The recipe will be coming to the blog in the near future. There was absolutely none left at the end of the night.

In addition to all of our fun out and about, we've also been having some relaxing nights in with Once Upon a Time. You can see some of our fall decor in this picture, which has now been switched out to Christmas decor.

I'm off to enjoy some more Once Upon a Time with my husband. I'd love to hear what you've been up to lately! Leave us a comment about life lately. :)

Until next time,
The Wife

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Holidays are Coming!

The holidays are quickly approaching and I thought I'd take a few moments to share two different opportunities with you that I'll be hosting. One I'll be hosting on my personal blog, Hodge Podge Moments, and the other I'll be hosting in my free health and accountability group on Facebook, Healthy Moments. Read on below to find out a few more details about each!

The holidays are the perfect time to enjoy family and a little bit of magic. The lights, the smells, and the weather all come together to create something really special. They're also the perfect time to become super stressed. Buy presents, entertaining in-laws, and crazy schedules can make anyone a little frazzled. It's easy to forget the good when there's plenty around to make you stressed.

This realization is how Holiday Moments came into being. Holiday Moments is a month long series on Hodge Podge Moments featuring activities and goodies to help you keep the holiday spirit alive. There will be daily emails full of extra goodies in addition to the activities listed in a printable calendar and on the blog. Head on over to the blog today to check out more information and to sign up for the email list! I promise you'll be glad you did!

The second thing I'm hosting in December is Healthy Holidays. This is a month long challenge that will be featured in my free health group, Healthy Moments. This group provides motivation, support, and fun ideas to help you live a healthier and happier lifestyle. The members of the group are great and we have one simple rule: respect everyone in the group. It's a very open and inviting community that supports each other and recognizes that everyone is at a different point in their health journey.

In December, I'll be hosting our first full month challenge that's unique to the group. There will be a printable calendar (being posted this weekend) of daily activities to help you stay on track during the busy month of December. Daily reminders and threads will also be posted to help hold everyone accountable and to encourage discussion. I hope you'll stop by the group and join us for the month of December and beyond. Remember, it's completely FREE!

I hope you're looking forward to the holidays as much as I am. If not, then maybe joining one of the above opportunities might help you get in the holiday spirit.

I would love to hear what your favorite thing is about the holidays! Please share in the comment section. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review of Pond's Towelettes

I love getting free things - don't you? I recently received Pond's Cleansing Towelettes to sample from Influenster. I was looking for new cleansing cloths so these came at the perfect time!

*Affiliate links are used in this post. These links help you find things and help us keep the blog up and running.*

My mom and I headed up to Charlotte for the weekend to enjoy the Carolina Renaissance Festival (pictures and details for that coming later!). We decided to stay overnight so that we could enjoy a night away from home. Of course, this meant packing an overnight bag!
I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out my new towelettes. Influenster sent me a small five pack of the cleansing cloths, which was perfect for the weekend. I threw them in my bag and we were off to enjoy the faire!

There's something you should know about me before I continue this review. I hardly ever wear make up. (Seriously - ask the husband. He didn't see me all made up until our engagement pictures.) I have been playing with make up more recently and even wore it to the Renaissance Festival for the weekend.

I was hopeful for good results but I knew better than to get my hopes too high. I waited until the evening after the faire and tried them out for the first time. They were great! They got all of my make up off of my face and left me feeling refreshed. There wasn't any harshness that I've experienced with some other towelettes.

I love how convenient they were to pack for the trip as well. They traveled well and there was no leaking in my bag. I remember thinking "Where were these after my wedding when I needed to get make up off?"

To sum things up, I would recommend these towelettes. I even checked out their price at Wal-Mart and they came in reasonably around $4.00. I will definitely be investing in these in the future!

Until next time, have a great day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Find Things to Do in Your Own Town

"How do you find these things?" is a question I hear often from the husband. I am constantly finding new things for us to do near us. After hearing this question a few different times, I finally realized that it would make a great blog post. So, today I'm bringing you my tips for finding things to do in your own town!

1. Facebook

Some people love Facebook and others hate it. We have mixed feelings in our household. The husband rarely ever uses it and I use it way too often. One of the things I love about it is that it helps me find things to do. Sometimes things come up in my ads (thank you Facebook algorithms) and other times, I go searching the events section for "events nearby." It was through Facebook that I found the Sonoma Homebrewers Competition. It was a random find but I think we were both glad I found it.  Some towns and areas even have their own Facebook groups. Try typing in the name of your town in the search bar and see what comes up!

2. Craigslist

Craigslist has several sections where people will list upcoming events and festivals. It's worth a browse from time to time to see if anything is coming up. I don't use this one as often as Facebook, but I do give it a browse every now and then.

3. Google

Searching for something to do? Why not start with a search engine. I recently used Google to search for nearby playgrounds to take my nephew. We found this amazing pirate playground that my nephew enjoyed a lot simply by searching "Charleston playground."  Don't have kids? Try searching for fair or festival instead. You might be surprised by what comes up.

4. Newspaper

There's always the classic newspaper (not everything has to be internet - right?). Pick up a copy of your local newspaper and give it a browse. Pay attention to the advertisements and classifieds. They are full of people trying to share their events with you.

5. Local Places

Browse fliers and ads at your local establishments. Many places allow people to post flyers or leave business cards to advertise their events. Community bulletin boards are also helpful to check out. You never know what cool events might be advertised.

6. Word of Mouth

Just like the newspaper isn't out of date, neither is the classic word of mouth. Listen to your friends and family when they're talking to you. Let them know that you're interested in cool events and happenings that they hear about. Sometimes a friend can be the best resource for finding cool new things to do.

What are your favorite things to do around your town?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Things To Do in Charleston

Most of our travel posts lately have featured locations on the west coast (probably because that's where we're currently stationed). I thought we'd take a break from the west coast and take a trip back to my home city of Charleston, SC since I'm currently on vacation from the west coast and visiting home.

I'm going to share a few of my favorite things in Charleston. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I'm sure I'll do a "Part 2" to this list in a future post. I don't want to overwhelm right now after all.

Historical Favorites

Plantations - I love visiting the plantations in Charleston. There are way too many to list them all in one post. I love that they are all at varying places in restoration and what they have to offer to the public. Some of the lands have the original houses while others have the locations marked where the original structures stood. Some of the houses have been minimally restored, while others still have families living in them. If I had to pick a favorite among the plantations, I would definitely pick Drayton Hall. The house has been minimally restored over time (primarily enough to keep it structurally sound) and you can see the layers of history in the rooms. They even allow pets on the grounds, which is always an added bonus. If you only get to see one plantation while you're here, this is the one to see.

The Charleston Museum - If you want to learn a lot about the history of the city, the Charleston Museum is among the places to visit. They have several exhibits that showcase the history of Charleston and even a few rotating exhibits that are fun to enjoy. It's not just for adults either - I once took a class of second graders to the museum for a field trip and they found the exhibits quite enjoyable.

Bars & Pubs

The Blind Tiger Pub - This is a pub in the downtown section of Charleston that has become an iconic location in Charleston. It's also where the husband and I first met, so you can guess part of the reason I love it. It's set in a historical building and has a quaint outdoor area with a tree full of carvings and lights strung around. Sadly, I've heard that this pub may be closing it's doors next year and moving to a new location. I'm secretly hoping that doesn't happen but it's yet to be seen.

Holy City Brewery - This is the brewery that created our favorite craft beer, Pluff Mud Porter. (The husband wants to wait until we are both in Charleston again to properly review this beer for you.) We enjoyed this beer for years before actually visiting the brewery. In fact, we finally visited it right before I moved to California. We wished that we had made the visit sooner - the place has an awesome atmosphere with friendly people. I highly recommend at least trying their beers if you don't make it to the brewery while you're in town.

Things To Do With Kids

Children's Museum - I first visited this museum in college for my early childhood program. I fell in love with it right away but never had a reason to return until now. Now, I have an adorable two year old nephew who we just took to the museum. I think the entire family enjoyed it as much as he did. In fact, we'll be making a return trip this week to play in the pirate ship and castle among other fun rooms.

The Beach - What kid doesn't like playing in the sand and water (weather dependent)? There are several beaches in the area, including Isle of Palms which has a playground at the county park. Grab the sand toys and bring the kids to make a sandcastle while you're here.

Like I said, this is no where near a complete list. I have lots more favorites but I'm going to save them for a part 2 in the near future. Charleston is full of many fun things to do and see.