Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stop & Chat - December 30

The Commissary has a coupon section up front. WOOT!


I dunno what I think of the title for this series. I'm rolling with it, though, because I like the idea that I stop at the end of the day to chat with my bloggy buddies! SO! On with my December 30th!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

South Korea Bound! And Arrived... December 26-30

Our view of the city.
Oh, hi there! I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but I disappeared from the blogosphere because I finally left for over yonder, which I can now say is South Korea! WOOOOOO!!! I've had to take a few days to try and settle in and get accustomed to the time difference. It's 3:15 in the morning as I type this, so I would say I've failed at the second part. I'm also not settled in at all; the contents of my bags are strewn everywhere on the floor. In short, I have failed in all aspects of this move. Ah, what can you do!
I contemplated writing an entire post about how my travel day(s) went and my thoughts on that, but I still get upset and panicky when thinking about it so I'll instead do a semi-quick synopsis.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Blogmas - December 25: Merry Christmas!!

Today was another busy day for me. I worked on soap and making labels and packaging and labeling soap that wasn't ready to package for Mom to package and label once it's ready. I also took some time to take pictures of some more noteworthy soaps that I knew I would want to write about eventually. I know I won't have time to post anything while here, but I'll have a bit of free time once over yonder and I'll want something to do during my scheduled down time over there. :)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Blogmas - December 24: Family Day!

Today I saw my Mom, Dad, and my brother for the last time until I get back from over yonder. I fly out while they are visiting family.
I spent several hours after they left packing. I'd say I'm between 85-90% packed. Probably less. I just want to have time to really think about what I'm bringing with me. I also don't want to have to scramble for anything at the last minute so the more stuff that's packed the better.
After I'd done as much as I possibly could to pack and clean with my sanity intact I made my way downstairs to work on some mass soaping.
I ultimately made two more batches. One, a CPOP soap that behaved well until I cut it later. It's a bit crumbly and it smells really weird. Almost rancid. It can't be scorched goats milk, as this was not a goats milk soap. I've used all of these fragrance oils with no issue. I don't know what went bad this time.
My second batch was a hot process soap. I used up the rest of my milk & honey fragrance oil, then filled out the rest with green tea and strawberry. The soap is colored a deep brick red. I used oats this time but ground them up to a very fine texture. I was a bit put off by how scrubby my last milk and honey batch went, so that's why I wanted to make this batch a bit less wacky.
I won't be able to make as many more batches of soap as I was hoping to. I realized while messing with my last batch that I only had lye for one, maybe two more batches. Oh well. I guess the soap I've made so far will have to tie the family over until I return :)
After the soap, Rachel and I spent some time watching some behind the scenes stuff for The Hobbit, then set up our VHS player and watched some old, old family videos. I haven't watched any of this stuff for over 6 years. A lot of the videos were things that I no longer remembered. Like one of my birthday parties being mermaid themed so we had to wear trash bags on our lower halves to represent the mermaid's tail and fins until we found our crown. Then we became human again. Yup... Don't judge younger me.
We couldn't get through the last of the videos as it's getting close to eleven... and I'm tired. Tomorrow is Christmas but I'm not sure I feel the spirit right now. This will be my first Christmas ever without the rest of my family. I'm here with Rachel, yes, but over half of our family is missing! All because of my ticket. Oops.
On one hand I'm feeling Christmasy because of all these holiday movies and home videos we're watching, and the Christmas lights and music. However, I also know that tomorrow will not be special in any way over here. We will wake up and go about our day like any other, because Christmas for our immediate family was early. It's also bittersweet knowing that these are my last days here, but I get to see my husband soon.

Anyways, off to bed for me. I don't know when I'll next take the chance to comment and respond, but I'll make up for it once I finally get around to it.

Do you have old family videos that you watch every so often?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blogmas - December 23: Scrambling

Remember all that cleaning I'd done? Yeeeeah...
I woke up right before 7 to an email that very quickly had me scrambling. I have my date and time! And it's a lot closer than I expected it to be!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Blogmas - December 22: I'm Running Out of Titles

My soap that had the scent die off. Pretty, but no scent.
Today was a lazy day in this house. I went downstairs around nine and brought my laptop just to make sure I spent some time around the family. I worked a little bit on my Sniff My Tarts haul, but it was hard when I had my family looking over my shoulder the entire time. "What's that?" "Oooooh, you have a blog?" "Is this on Tumblr?" (from my sister) "What do you write about?"
It's that reason why I tend to work on the blog upstairs in my room. I don't mind them knowing I have a blog, but they can be kind of nosy in a way that makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. I just want to make the world a more smelly/polished place, dangit!

Dessa's Homespun Scents - Cranberries & Cornbread

Scent Description: Traditional tart cranberries with our old fashioned cornbread and baked them together in a cast iron skillet.
Weight Melted: 0.81 oz. I cut this in half, thinking I would melt half upstairs and the other half downstairs. I never did that.
Cold Sniff: 4/5 Pleasant sweet berries with a hint of spicy bread.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 The bread became a little more dominant as this melted but it was still a slightly sweet spicy bread. No tortilla chip smell. The cranberry was a nice addition to this.
Scent Strength: 1/3
Scent Throw: 3/5 This filled the bedroom and some of the upstairs hallway. I should have melted the whole tart at once and the entire house would've been filled!
Melting Power: 3/5 I got about 9 hours from this half tart before I called it quits.
Repurchase: Yes, so long as when I melt the next full tart I buy it performs as well as I am thinking it should.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Blogmas - December 21: *Insert Star Wars Theme Music*

 Nope, no pictures. Unless you really want to see the ginormous pile of groceries we picked up today.
Today started off like any other day. I woke up earlier than the sun and earlier than anyone else.
Where that differs, however, is why I was up so early.
Star Wars, that's why!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blogmas - December 20: Soapy Soap!

I get stuffed animal buddies when I play video games.
I got nine hours of sleep last night. I woke up right before nine feeling very refreshed and a little confused. The sun was up! I didn't have a headache! Nobody woke me up!

Haul: Brambleberry December 2015

When I found out that I'd be staying stateside for a bit longer, I figured I should stock up on some secondary soap making oils. While I did that I bought a few bits and pieces that I've been wanting to try.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blogmas - December 19: Bah Humbug!

I am not irresponsible in bringing coffee to an active soap making session. Nope.
I woke up right before 5 due to some noise my brother made. Normally that's not a big deal, but today I found myself unable to fall back asleep! According to my fitbit I got 3 hours, 57 minutes of sleep. Oh goodness.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Blogmas - December 18: Hodgepodge

Yummy yummy in my tum- I mean nose.
I woke up extremely early today. Before 6. I spent that time messaging Michael and he ended up giving me a video tour of the apartment!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blogmas - December 17: WHEEEE!

No new pictures so how about some soap I have yet to post about?!
Today started off spectacular! I woke up before 7 feeling a lot better and started my day spending time with my family before Will headed off to school.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blogmas - December 16: 100.2 Is Not a Radio Station

I'm very mature. Instead of 'dogs' I call them pooper doopers.
I didn't really do much today. My cough/sore throat that I've been dealing with for the past couple weeks finally culminated into a fever and I've been bedridden since midafternoon. Ended up taking my temperature and that thought for the Blogmas occured to me while looking at it. I'm silly when I'm sick.
I'm just making myself type something because gosh dangit I've been doing so well with everyday posting! I'm in one of those lows where I feel slightly human and coherent but if that cohesion deteriorates over the course of this post I apologize.

Haul: Dessa's Homespun Scents

Are you ready to share in the awesomeness that is my small Dessa's haul? Deb has been posting about her experiences with this vendor's wax for a while now so I thought I would try it out!
Onto the goodies!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Candles From The Keeping Room - Wild Passionfruit

Scent Description: A vivacious and bright fragrance, this exotic passion fruit is blended with melon and mandarin. I've never smelled the Yankee fragrance this is based off of so I can't comment on how accurate it is but it's a very pleasant scent. The mandarin and passion fruit are the strong notes here with just a hint of melon to sweeten up that tartness that's borderline sour.
Weight Melted: 0.85 oz
Cold Sniff: 2/5 I wasn't quite sure about this when I sniffed it. That tart & sour note that I picked up on was really strong and I worried that it would be too much when warmed.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 The melon really helped to tone down those bad notes I'd picked up on, making this a very pleasant fruit medley of flavor.
Scent Strength: 2/3
Scent Throw: 2/5 I didn't get very good performance out of it. This stuck to my room and a little of the hallway outside.
Melting Power: 3/5 I got 8 hours out of this before deciding that I wanted something else.
Repurchase: I'm on the fence about this. I wouldn't make an order just for this scent, but if it were there while I was buying other things I wouldn't mind picking it up. It's a perfect scent for summer days at the pool, that's for sure!

Blogmas - December 15: Lazy Day

Oooooh, aaaah, haul picture!
I left my room a little before 8 AM. I tried sleeping in but I was just laying awake and thinking for about 45 minutes before I decided I should go ahead and start my day. I actually went downstairs just in time for Mom and Dad to tell me to get ready to go to Will's school.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Blogmas - December 14: Packages, Packages!

Teaser for a haul post I'll do... eventually? :P
Today I didn't end up making soap, but I sure got some packages that I've been eagerly awaiting!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Candles From the Keeping Room - Spun Kiwi Raspberry

Scent Description: Sweet cotton candy frosting & green kiwi with a sweet yet indiscernible berry note. The kiwi really keeps this from being a sweet overdose.
Weight Melted: 0.85 oz
Cold Sniff: 5/5 I was a big fan of this back when I got it as a sample in my March order. Sniffing it again before turning my warmer on nothing had changed.
Warm Sniff: 5/5 This smells exactly the same melted as it did on cold sniff.
Scent Strength: 1/3
Scent Throw: 4/5 The entire upstairs was filled with this scent.
Melting Power: >4/5 I let this go for about 12 hours before I got bored and switched the scent out. I have no doubt it would have lasted much longer had I let it stay.
Repurchase: Yes! I very much liked this. I think instead Carol sells a Spun Kiwi Strawberry variant but I can't imagine it would smell much different from this.

I'm still waiting on my Dessa's order to come in. It got held up somewhere in Colorado so it didn't arrive when expected. I don't have any holiday tarts to melt while I'm waiting, though, so I'm kind of in a weird spot with the scents I've been melting.

Blogmas - December 13: Soapy Soapy!!

Black Raspberry Vanilla & Pink Sugar. Yum!
Hoo boy has today been a jam-packed day. I really want to write all of my thoughts and feelings here but it would take away from a post I have upcoming so I apologize if my hyped about day turns into a really short post!

Rosegirls - Strawberry Serendipity

Scent Description: A 50/50 blend of strawberry and serendipity. For those of you who don't know serendipity, here it is: sweet vanilla with powdered sugar, sweet cherry, sweet orange and citrus, and coconut. Serendipities either have a strong cherry aspect or a stronger coconut aspect. I'd say this one was stronger on the cherry.
Weight Melted: 1.73 oz. Maybe I should have cut this in half after reading through a particularly drama-filled comment thread that spawned from an innocent question about the performance of Rosegirls wax.
Cold Sniff: 2/5 I'm not much of a serendipity fan when the scent is by itself, and this smelled exclusively like serendipity.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 The strawberry really came to light as this melted and I would say no scent overpowered the other. They just melted and created a sweeter serendipity with a hint of berry.
Scent Strength: 1/3 Pretty light on the nose
Scent Throw: 3/5 This filled my bedroom and a fair amount of the upstairs but due to its light nature I feel like it didn't get very far.
Melting Power: 3/5 I got 8.5 hours of scent from this before I turned it off.
Repurchase: Probably not. I'm used to better performing wax from RG, and the blend itself isn't one of those that I'm typically willing to pay a higher price tag for.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blogmas - December 12: Squeaky Clean!

It was dark by the time we got home so indoor artificial lighting will have to do!
So... uh, today my family and I went a little bit crazy over the $2.50 Bath and Body Works hand soap sale Deb was so kind to tell me about.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blogmas - December 11: Christmas Shopping!

I've quickly outgrown my fragrance shelf.
Today I was supposed to make another batch of hot process soap. That ended up not happening because I left my bedroom much later than I wanted to and didn't have time before we went into town to pick up Mom from the airport. Bummer

Friday, December 11, 2015

Blogmas - December 10: The Return of the Science Room!

I didn't sleep very long last night. I stayed up until almost midnight messaging Michael and woke up before five. When I woke up I spent that time messaging Michael again. When he went to bed I tried to go back to sleep, too, but my mind was racing too much with thoughts about what I wanted to do with my day.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blogmas - December 9: Mini Haul & Filthy Hobbitses

I lied when I said I bought some candles from Bath and Body Works' $8.50 candle sale. In reality I mentioned it to my mom who is away on a business trip and she ordered these for herself. I would have gotten some candles if I didn't already have other wax coming to me. I'm supposed to be cutting back and melting through this, not buying more, dangit! XD
In any case, I'm still telling you guys about what mom got because I heavily influenced her decisions. Magic power of daughter-ness, go!

Candles From The Keeping Room - Christmas Wish

Scent Description: A strong holiday scent, love all year around, blend of pine, orange and spices.
I got heavy mint with a hint of something sweet and tangy when smelling this. Truly Christmas in a Tart
Weight Melted: 0.78 oz.
Cold Sniff: 2/5 I wasn't too sure about this on cold sniff. The pine was extremely strong and smelled like an overload of peppermint, oddly enough.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 The pine/peppermint muted down considerably and you were able to pick out the orange and spice notes, making this a perfect Christmas scent.
Scent Strength: 3/3 Man, that peppermint (I know it says pine in the scent description but gosh dangit I got peppermint!) really helped the scent get in-your-face. I didn't get any complaints from my family, though, so that's good.
Scent Throw: 5/5 The entire upstairs and most of the downstairs got to enjoy this lovely Christmas blend.
Melting Power: 4/5 I let this go for about 16 hours before I wanted something new.
Repurchase: Yes! Now I'm wishing I had made it to Carol's recent openings to pick up some more of her holiday blends. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blogmas - December 8: They're Taking the Hobbit to Erebor!

I contemplated not posting anything today as I have done nothing of note, but I'm really getting into the bloggy spirit and I figured even if this ended up being a short post I would be content.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jaimie Lauren Cupcakery and Confections in Wax - Apple Butterscotch Cake

Scent Description: A sweet and cakey bakery scent with a huge amount of apple.
Weight Melted: 1.56 oz
Cold Sniff: 3/5 I'm not usually a fan of apples, so either my nose is changing what it likes or this had enough bakery to make it a more pleasant to me scent.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 I really liked this! The apple is definitely the main scent here but there is just enough generic pie crust bakery scent that I'm loving it.
Scent Strength: 2/3
Scent Throw: 5/5 This threw in the entire upstairs and most of the downstairs entryway and dining room. Definitely a strong one!
Melting Power: 4/5 I got a solid 15 hours from this tart before I got bored of the scent and turned off my warmer. The scent still stayed for several hours after the fact, though.
Repurchase: Yes! I think I'm finding that apple scents don't bother me as much as they used to. Oh, the possibilities this opened up!

Blogmas - December 7: What Month Is It?

View from the upstairs back porch.
I don't know about you but this does not look like Christmas to me! It was warm, in the high 70s, with very little breeze in the middle of the day. If I hadn't melted something winter-esque I doubt I would have felt the Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Blogmas Bonus! Winter Pine Handcrafted Soap!

I've decided that I like the word handcrafted over handmade. So that's what I'm going to go with!
This soap was fun from start to finish and I love how the final scent turned out! Unfortunately this was one of those soaps that I let cook a little too much, so it has quite a few bubbles throughout. Live and learn!

Blogmas - December 6: Standstill

Instead of another no picture post here's our Christmas tree!
Today I spent my morning texting Michael until he boarded his final flight. He's still in the air as far as I know. I don't know when I'll next hear from him, but this was to be expected. Doesn't mean it's any less hard, lol. I dealt with lots of grogginess as I was up in the middle of the night texting him while he waited for that final flight. Sometimes I start to think about how I'm supposed to be on that flight with him and I get upset at the situation all over again (seriously, how hard would it have been to send that automated email sooner??) but I'm trying to stay positive. It's just frustrating that I essentially have to put my life on hold for this. I was supposed to get a job and we were supposed to be getting settled into our new living arrangements and begin to explore this new world together. Instead we're stuck waiting until... well, I don't know when. All we've been given is very, very large time frames for when this could possibly get resolved. As my parents and everyone around me is saying, "Welcome to the Army." Bah. Maybe they get away with this because you guys say that instead of making a stink about it.
Sorry, I had to vent. I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset about it, but I'm looking at the positives as well. More time with my family, more time to make soap and experiment (the next time we go out I'm going to pick up some goats milk), more time to decide what I'm taking with me and leaving here.
I tried to go out on the porch and take more pictures of my wax and soap so I would be prepared for any posts I felt like typing up but it was too windy and I could only get pictures of 3 or 4 things before I decided to call it quits.
After that I figured I would finish the Halo 5 campaign. I'm sitting down and typing this after I've had about 30 minutes to think on the ending, and I'm still not sure if I liked it. My first feeling was of disappointment. Regardless of any story arcs or surprise villains there wasn't really a good ending. I played through what felt like a very good buildup only to have what could have been an amazing ending snatched away. I'm not even willing to give the campaign a second playthrough to fill out my understanding of the story more. I'll get the same disappointing ending regardless. The second team we were playing (or I suppose main, as Master Chief was a side character/team) was lackluster. The only reason I cared about them was because of Nathan Fillion's character and all the sass that actor brings to the table.

On the bright side I did get in an order from Brambleberry. I had to restock on some secondary soaping oils and picked up some extra bits and pieces that will help me in making better soaps. I almost picked up a SMT and Rosegirls destash from a Facebook group but I talked myself down from it. If it's still there in the morning, though, I may end up caving. Especially since I had to defer my Glitterati order since Janine was unable to guarantee a timeline for my potential order to arrive. In my head she could have just prioritized my order first but I understand she needs to be as impartial as possible. I'll just have to wait longer for it. Assuming she can even send it to my new address, whenever that happens.

I feel like today was an all around bad day. lol. Humor me complaining though, as I find it somewhat cathartic since I can't talk to my best friend about it.

How has your day gone?

Blogmas Bonus! Lavender Handmade Soap!

I made this soap on November 20th for my Mom, who is an insane lavender fan. Besides some crumbling and acceleration issues I had this was a really fun soap to make!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Blogmas - December 5: Til Next We Meet

My silly hubby while painting the porch.
Today was a rather emotional day for me. I didn't outright cry but there were times when I thought I might. It was frustrating me. I don't like being emotional for no reason. I'm going to see Michael again, it's not the end of the world!
We spent all morning playing video games. What a shocker :). We continued playing through the Halo series and finally got to Halo 5 today. We're about half way through it. Couldn't finish it, though, because Michael needed to get the last of his stuff together and packed up. It took longer than I thought it would because Michael had to repack a few bags and shower.
Michael cooked his last meal, a mixture of chicken and red beans and rice. It was delicious. After that I drove him in to the airport where we met up with some of his immediate family. There were no lines for the security checkpoint so he got to stick around a little bit longer. When he finally went in I had some difficulties with getting to the right shuttle to take me to the right parking lot. It was a combination of me not paying attention and lack of detailed signage. Mostly me, though.
That was really all for today. My Dad built a fire in the fire bit and my siblings and him and I spent a few hours sitting around it being silly and telling funny stories. Now I'm typing this up as my siblings prepare a multiplayer game of Halo for the three of us to play together, just like the good ol' days of 5+ years ago.
A pretty boring day all in all, but I still wanted to keep up with Blogmas.

I did get in a Bath and Body Works order thanks to Deb's reminder about the candle sale. I had completely forgotten about it until I read her post!

Are you missing any family right now? Know anyone that might have to spend Christmas all by their lonesome?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Blogmas Bonus! Essential Depot Mini-Haul

Ooooh, aaaah, marvel at these shiny bottles!
As I mentioned here, Essential Depot had a crazy Black Friday sale that lasted most of November where they were offering 75% off of their fragrance and essential oils. It was hard to get one really good order in as things went in and out of stock like crazy. After casually stalking the website for a few weeks, there was finally a day where I picked up my must have's and then some. If I'd known I would be staying in the States longer than expected I would have picked up a lot more, but I'm still happy with what I got.

Blogmas - December 4: Loose Ends

Today Michael and I finished up the last of the porch painting and with my Dad's help replaced the broken bits. After that I helped Michael round up all of his clothes and items and get packed up for tomorrow. We also did one last load of some laundry for him.
After that we went to the Verizon store and suspended our account with them. There I learned that our phones are unlocked, which means we can use them where we're going even if we're not with Verizon. Cool! At the very least I can keep using the phone for its wi-fi accessibility after the service shuts off.
We picked up some Papa Murphy's on the way back and that's what we've had for food all day. I've still been feeling under the weather so I didn't have very much.
While we were eating we watched American Ultra. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
Besides that Michael and I have just been enjoying eachother's company. We played some Halo and sat together while eating. It made me a bit sad to realize that we waited until we found out we would be separated for up to two months to start appreciating eachother again. Then I thought about it and realized it's human nature. Besides, we were prioritizing time with other family because we thought we would be leaving the states together.
We'll probably spend the rest of the night playing video games and do the same tomorrow until he has to leave. Maybe build a fire in the fire pit if it's cold enough.
In any case, my December has managed to be more eventful than my November, and it's barely started.

How busy has this month turned out to be for you?

Blogmas Bonus! Lavender Cotton Candy Handmade Soap!

I made this soap some time in September. I can't currently find my soapmaking sheets from my time in Georgia. As a result, most of my earlier soaps will have to be done by memory.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blogmas - December 3rd: Painting

See the upstairs porch railings? Multiply that by 2.5 (the back porch is slightly larger) and that's about how much we had to paint/stain today! We being Michael and I.
This had been something that we had told Mom and Dad that we were going to do since we first got here. Seeing as Michael's getting ready to fly out, we figured we should finally get around to it. We did most of the work today, leaving a little touch up work that I can do over the next several weeks while I'm still stuck in the States.
Today we found out that American Airlines is awfully rude when you ask for clarification on their military flights policy, and we are currently out $130 for a plane ride that I will not be able to take. So far the passport agency's blunder has cost us over $250 extra. By the end of this... eh, I don't want to think about it. On the bright side I get a lot longer with my family! :) On the downside Michael will very likely be spending Christmas by himself. I already had myself a crying fit over how unfair and ridiculous it is that the passport people not get in contact with us sooner so we could get this all worked out.
We spent at least 9 hours total today working on those darn porches. There was a break for breakfast (eggs) and lunch (goulash) but after lunch we worked until about 6 in the evening. Meanwhile my Dad did some work cutting the bushes and trimming the trees on the back right of this picture. The day went by pretty fast all things considered. Tomorrow we have to replace a few spokes (is that even what you call them?) to the porch fence, as the old ones became so warped they snapped. My hands are still covered in dry paint no matter how many times I've washed them.
We rounded out the end of the day with some Halo: Master Chief Collection multiplayer madness between my brother, Michael and I. Michael's talking about picking up an Xbox One and Halo 5 so him and I can play Halo 5 together while we're waiting for everything on my end to be settled. I'm inclined to go with these plans. We've been wanting to pick up our own Xbone for a while anyway.
Now I'm getting ready for bed and possibly sleeping in tomorrow. We'll see how my body feels about that.

Have you had to deal with American Airlines before? Is it always this tedious keeping up with several acres of land and an aging house?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blogmas - December 2nd: Hi Ho! It's Off to Work I Go!

No picture today. I never got to take a picture, and as I'm typing this on my phone I doubt the post will be long enough for one anyway :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blogmas - December 1st: Sick Days


I made the mistake of waiting until the end of the day to finally put together this post. I had so much I wanted to talk about and show you guys. Now I'm just sitting here with flushed cheeks, a sore throat & horrid cough, and congested head. I've been sick since Thanksgiving, but today just took the cake. I'd been at least functional until about 30 minutes ago, where everything seemed to hit me at once and exhaustion set in. Not to mention my headache that is brewing at my temple. I'll try my best to make this a worthy post, though. I kept telling myself that no matter what I was going to start Blogmas on time. I may have some gaps in posting when (if) we fly out, but that's a whole other story. My point is, I'm all drugged up and the side effects are kicking in. I apologize for any weird phrasing/typos ahead of time.