We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

My Life

Tidbits, random happenings, inspiration, plus my personal struggles through this wonderful life...

Easing Into A Vegan
December 7th, 2015

Sounds kinda dirty, doesn't it? I can't help myself.

I'm about four days into my newfound interest into vegetarianism, and every time I open my fridge or look at delicious cheese or think about eating a succulent steak, all I can see in my mind is animals being tortured. It's the worst, mostly because I really enjoy eating animals, especially bacon and cheese.

We went to Happy Hour tonight, and I tried to plead my case without being obnoxious or high-and-mighty. I think that's the thing I hate most about this: I could totally give up all the meat I love for the love of animals and the planet, but I feel like I look like a jackass. Every time we go out, are my friends going to look at me and wonder what I'll eat, what I'll pass up, and if I'll make others uncomfortable by talking about my newfound beliefs? I worry about Christmas, when my sister will be preparing an amazing rare prime rib for dinner, and all I can think about is a cow suffering. What about when my boyfriend comes back and finds that our favorite pastime (ahem, eating) has to now be carefully planned? Will I hold to my beliefs, along with holding their interest? And furthermore, why should I even care? It's not like I'm trying to convert anyone, but I feel like I have to have an explanation. I have been devouring bacon like it's going out of style, and I've not had much regard for where food comes from since I was 9 years old. I take pride in eating everything, especially being able to eat more than dudes. Who am I without these pieces that I have allowed to define me? Will I still be interesting, sexy, and fun while standing up for what I believe in?

This experience is frankly, terrifying so far. I've had to start over from scratch a few times in my life, but this is altogether a different experience. There's such a negative, uptight stigma surrounding vegans and vegetarians. I don't want to be one of those people that my friends roll their eyes when we go out to eat. But I also can't eat irresponsibly anymore. Here's to trusting it will get better...

What They Don't Tell You
December 5th, 2015

I am so deeply proud of my military man.

When we decided to be "boyfriend/girlfriend", I knew it would mean staying together through his eight-month deployment. We made the most of the time we had together here, and crammed fun activities into every moment until he left. I had no idea what dating someone who deployed would be like, but I got my first taste on the drive home from the airport. I cried the entire way back to my house to crawl into bed, all the while trying to get it through my head that this was not forever. The emotional side of me always wins.

After my tears dried up, I took action and researched, mostly because I'm a giant nerd and partly because I refuse to be a Mopey-McGoo for eight months. I read a bunch of articles from military wives and girlfriends, pieces about what to send in care packages, and how to generally cope with a deployment. What I learned was that the process goes something like this:
1) Take up a hobby. Done, I am a workaholic and obsessed with crafts.
2) Start a daily schedule, and stick with it. I'm terrible at this, because I'm super ADD. This is still not getting done.
3) Find others to hang out with and provide support. I have the most amazing, supportive family and friends, who never tell me I'm annoying them with all my "miss my boyfriend" talk. Done.
4) Be overwhelmingly positive when talking to your partner, they are under a ton of stress. Not great at this one, but I'm trying to be better.
5) Send care packages, write letters, Skype. Done and Done. The best part of my day is when we get to text or video chat. And I love sending packages! The post office ladies have been incredibly kind and patient with my ignorance about shipping overseas.

These are all helpful bits of knowledge, and I am so thankful for the Googles. I couldn't help but wonder if the articles purposely leave this out; but no one talks about the loneliness and worry and guilt that is the daily life of the SO. I am in no way complaining about my relationship; I am counting down till he gets back home, and I think we're doing an awesome job making the best out of this deployment. But all the articles in the world could not have prepared me for the emotions that I've experienced over the past few months. Having the strictest schedule every day wouldn't make me worry any less; having friends and family doesn't make me less lonely at night, when I just want to know that he's home and safe. And then there's the guilt... I have a wonderful life; I get to do whatever I want, eat whatever I want, go anywhere at anytime; and he is stuck. I tell him everything, but there's always that guilt in the back of my mind, like I'm rubbing it in. In reality, I'm making mental lists of all the things we get to do together next year.

In conclusion, I would give this advice to anyone facing a long deployment, especially for a first-timer like me:
1) You WILL get lonely. Don't stray. If you find yourself doing something that you wouldn't do with your SO around, stop.
2) You might cry some days more than others, or not at all. Don't let your emotions interrupt your life here.
3) Send care packages often. They're so fun to put together, and only cost about $12 to ship to an APO.
4) Keep busy. Men can be wonderfully time-sucking, and a deployment provides a perfect opportunity to be a little selfish and do something only for yourself.
5) Tell your SO everything. Communication is the only thing you have to keep your bond strong over the months and miles.

Thank you to all who serve our great country, and to their families who also must sacrifice.

Ignorance is Not Key
December 4, 2015

I like to watch random videos in bed before I force myself to start the day. It's not something I'm necessarily proud of, and it's probably a terrible habit, but it happens. I'll go on Facebook, which has oh-so many random bits of nonsense, and watch clips, which lead to other similar clips, and so on. I have a knack for finding the heart-jerkers, like dogs welcoming their military owners home after a deployment (those are my fave), and can sit there and just cry. Feels good most of the time. But this morning, I followed the wrong string, and wound up a changed person.

Everyone knows I love bacon. I love steak and beef and pork and chicken and eggs...I truly enjoy eating all of God's creatures! Until this morning. I was a carefree bacon-lover when I woke up this morning. Flipping through randoms, I saw a video about almond milk. "Hey, I like almond milk!" I thought to myself, and continued onto the next recommended video. This one was about dairy farms. I clicked Play, even though I typically avoid this kind of content. It's upsetting, I always cry, and then my eyes are red and face is puffy for the rest of the afternoon. This morning, for whatever reason, I watched the entire video about a secret investigation into dairy farms in Australia (funny thing is, the same thing happens here in the good old USA). It was horrifying. You wouldn't think that something as simple as milk would cause so much abuse and pain for the cows, and especially not the calves, but it's rampant and disgusting.

I could deal with the babies being taken away from their mothers, even while the cow is running after the vehicle that has her newborn calf...I could deal with the fact that cows have to give birth once per year in order to keep milking, although it was borderline upsetting...What tipped me over the edge into full-blown sob-mode was watching the farmers (can you even call them that?) kick, punch, throw, and drag baby calves around; trying to get them away from their mothers, throwing them into trucks, using electric prods in their faces to move them along the conveyor belt to slaughter. I understand there may not be a financial need for a calf in their eyes, but why torture them during their short lives? I don't understand. You can check out some really horrific videos at milkiscruel.com.

I pulled myself together after a bit and decided that a Starbuck's breakfast would make me feel better. After all, I don't drink milk, and I am totally addicted to their Bacon Gouda Breakfast Sandwiches! But when I pulled into the parking lot, I pulled right back out. The thought of putting food in my mouth that had likely been tortured, regardless of how utterly delicious and salty it would be, was no longer an option. I've lost it. I've lost my love of bacon. Which is a sad, very sad realization for me; but not as sad as seeing those animals being tortured.

I wanted to document this, because it's going to be hard. I want to remember how I feel right now, and remember that no matter how much shit people may give me, it's not their decision. It's mine. And I'm not going to go around preaching about the terrors of meat to everyone. I just choose not to participate anymore in mass-produced meat and meat products. It's because of the torture, not because I think we aren't supposed to eat animals (because I totally do).

So my goals now are to: 1) Clean out my fridge and give everything I no longer want to my bestie. 2) Find a local farm to buy eggs from, supposing they are free-range. (BONUS: I get to support local farmers who do the right thing). 3) Arrange a visit to the local slaughterhouse for me and my mom. She's totally down, and I'd like to see what happens. 4) Find a local farm who treats their animals humanely, to buy steak and chicken from (and maybe even bacon). If I can't find a place, I can live (mostly) meat-free. I already buy organic chicken, hoping it's free-range, but if I could purchase from a humane source, that's what I'll do. Plus, I could eat fish forever. This gives me an excuse to get the super-pricey fish special when I go out instead of the filet mignon!

Stay tuned: This is just the beginning.

IT Dummy
November 3, 2015

I am not a "computer person" per se, but Google has become my best friend in recent years. I Google everything, from sore throats to how to properly format a newspaper ad (yes, they still have newspapers here in Colorado). Today was the day I needed Google to show me how to make my email signature gorgeous with all my social media buttons. I maybe spent a bunch of time on this last night...and last week...until I was nearly ready to secede and swallow the fact that I would simply have a plain-Jane email signature.

Just as my heart was sinking, my eyes opened and I realized I had been totally misreading the directions! You know when someone else can clearly see what you cannot? It was one of those aha! moments when I wanted to slap my forehead and laugh (or cry) out loud. As I was reading the many forums online about this same topic, I noticed there were a select few in my same tribe who just couldn't figure this out. And the folks on the other side trying to help just kept repeating themselves. Not helpful; very frustrating. So I wanted to share my step-by-steps so we can all have the beautiful email signatures we want. I heavily referenced this forum for assistance along the way.

I work for a smaller company, so we don't have a specific "IT" department, let alone one expert to call upon for my many needs and questions. Many businesses across the U.S. likely function this way, especially those who have started your own biz and have no other staff. So without further adieu, let's get you a pretty signature! (PS- I use Microsoft Office 365, so these steps may vary for other applications. I'll also review how to properly add this to your iPhone sig.)

First, take your company logo and social media logos and upload them onto a free hosting app like tinypic.
Next, go to Outlook--File--Options--Mail--Create or Modify Signatures for Messages.
Click in your signature the place you'd like your image, then click the image button on your toolbar.

Go back to tinypic (or other hosting site) and choose your image. Highlight and copy the "Direct Link for Layouts" web address.
Back to Outlook: Paste your image's address into "File", and click the drop-down arrow, choosing "Link to File".

Boom! Your image should now show on your signature. Repeat this for as many logos/icons as you'd like!

When your clients open up your emails, you'd probably like for them to be able to click the image and go to your website. To accomplish this, head back into your Outlook signature editor, click the logo you'd like to link, then hit the Globe/Link icon:

Type the web address for the link, and press OK. Done!

Now for customizing your iPhone sig...
Send yourself a test email from your desktop Outlook account. When you receive it on your iPhone, select the entire signature text and copy. Then go to Settings--Mail--Signatures--Select the email account you'd like to populate with this signature. Shake your phone to undo attributes, this should take care of the auto font changes Apple makes.
Compose a new email message on your phone. Don't send this message! Hit cancel and save to drafts.
Go to your Drafts folder, copy entire signature piece, and go back to your iPhone settings to paste into the Signature area for your account. Shake your phone to undo attributes, and you should be all set!

I hope this is helpful to those who may not have access to an IT guru. Be sure to test your new, fabulous signature before sending it out to all your clients!

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