Wednesday, February 27, 2013

P U P P Y =]

Puppies have a magical power to make you feel better in every situation. Holly and Blu are both snuggle bugs and have foot fetishes. Holly likes to lick toes and Blu likes to bite teeth (ouch, those puppy needle teeth!).  Blu has learned how to scale things, just like Holly did at his age, and he also loves his "babies."  This usually involves a small, colorful lion toy that I got him from PETCO.  I'm also trying Nylabones with him, as well as toys you can freeze.  Today we got him reusable puppy diapers and liners.  The first use was rather unfortunate, leading to a very gross interaction, and me informing Ryan that's what having a baby consists of (lots of diapers).  For some reason, I felt very much like a mom. Although Ryan and I have talked about having babies, I think having Blu and Holly was a very real reminder of what goes into raising and developing anything, from a dog to a baby.  So enjoy this video of Blu and Holly romping around.  The song is "Sweet Thing" by Keith Urban.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

Blog Changes & Too Cute: The Blu Wilhelm Edition

Before I go into the details of our adorable dog, I wanted to introduce a few changes on my blog.

The first is that I think I'm going to do "bedtime posting" (aka later hours).  I usually try to have it posted that morning of, but I find that I prefer to read through blog posts after work.  So expect more posting in the later hours and my next change involves sponsorships.  I still have my free ad space labeled the Falalala Friendship Ad. You can have your blog button (100x250) in my sidebar for FreeNinetyNine!  In exchange, I ask that you feature my blog through alternative social media methods rather than having my button.  Hey, if you still want my button, go for it! 

I've found that if you like my blog, we probably have a lot in common, including similar readership.  I would love to get to know more about you and your readers.  I have been invited to participate in mass giveaways to promote The Simplicity of Being Curious.  Honestly though, I appreciate all of your genuine comments and would rather not have someone forced to "like" my blog to win something.  I write for myself, but the blogging community is therapeutic and there are so many bloggers out there that I would love to meet!

Now I've left the "alternative social media methods" open-ended because I want to work with you and your needs.  If you would like to do Twitter shout-outs about my posts, Facebook links, feature me at the end of one of your posts, or have me come over and do a guest blog post--that's all up to you.  Those are just a few ideas, and I'm always game for anything.   

There is also a new sponsorship feature called: Weekly Shoutout.  On my Monday posts, I'll reserve half of it to showcase your blog.  Not only do you get a sidebar ad, but the opportunity to interact with my readers (who are pretty cool folks). I can't leave my sponsors hanging, so to top it off, I will also dedicate social media outlets to you for that week (i.e. Twitter, Facebook blog page, Instagram).  It's the perfect ad option if you're starting to invest in your blog and getting quality readership established and it's only $5.  If you want to get maximum ad exposure, I highly recommend the Granddaddy of 'em All ad space.  You are featured at the end of every single blog post.  Y'all know me, I love posting, aka you get a ton of exposure.  Not just that, but you get a guest blog post, sidebar ad, and social media blasts for the entire month!  It's also a really good deal.  That type of offer usually goes for $30 and here you can get it for $12

Now it's time for

P U P P I E S!

Have you seen the show on Animal Planet called Too Cute?  Our friend Hannah introduced it to us when they came to visit and see Blu, our new puppy.  Yes indeedy, we have another dog and his name is Blu Wilhelm.  I also call him Paddington Bear, Scrappy, and Little Man.  He is fricken adorable.
So in case you haven't seen the show, its premise is showing you adorable baby animals, especially puppies and kittens.  We saw Sharpei Puppies, Boston Terrier Puppies, Cairn Terrier Puppies and even an episode with itty bitty kittens.  I'm allergic to cats and so I'm absolutely lovin' the opportunity to ooh and ahh over anything that cute without getting itchy, watery eyes.

In celebration of a new dog in our home, here is Blu Wilhelm's edition of Too Cute:

It has definitely been an adjustment process for Holly, but she is doing a great job!  She has had to learn how to share toys, the space and domain of the house, and she is kind of adjusting to being a "momma" to him.  It's taken her a few days to understand that he's smaller than her so she can't play quite as rough.  With the assistance of a few time outs for both of them, they've learned to love playing with each other. 

He is an absolute joy!  He has longer fur than what Holly had as a puppy and it makes him look like a small bear, hence the reasons I call him Paddington Bear.  I call both of my dogs my baby bears and love nuggets...they're so cute!  He is basically potty trained and I can't stress enough how awesome that is.  However, with every set of good news is bad and we have had to reduce his water intake because he just loves drinking water.  Not normally a bad thing, but since he's developing an understanding of his kegel muscles, he occasionally "leaks."  It's not even a full on pee, it's just a few drops.  Nevertheless, it gets old really fast.  After taking him to the vet, the doctor basically explained my already existing thoughts on the problem.  He's perfectly fine, just a baby.  This does lead us to carry him everywhere in a towel, otherwise you risk the chance of getting pee droplets on you.  Awesome, I know.  This has quickly turned into the Too Cute, Reality Edition.  Tomorrow we're going to try a dog diaper on him, so that he becomes a little easier to carry around the house.  We've had troubles having him play with Holly on carpeted areas due those pesky pee droplets.  I also had to utilize dog wipes in wiping his belly and legs down quite frequently. 
Each of our puppies has had a unique issue while growing up.  Holly, when she was about a month older than Blu is now, used to pee & poop in her kennel and then stomp in it.  Ryan and I grew up with labradors and we had never seen that behavior before.  We had to wash her kennel out multiple times a day.  It took a trip to Wisconsin and a stay with several our labs back home to help her understand the concept of potty training.  So to say the least, I am incredibly happy that Blu is potty trained, I just hope his kegel muscles catch up with him. 

We learned so much with Holly.  This time around we're using a play pen and a kennel for Blu.  The play pen serves as his "home" and play area on the linoleum flooring and he loves it.  I prefer this to having solely a kennel for him because if he has to go outside, he cries (it's awesome that he understands that at a young age) and I can quickly grab him, the towel (you don't want to forget that) and take him outside.

Tomorrow I'll share some cute videos of his little adventures around the house and yard :)

Thanks for Reading!

Be sure to check out this month's awesome blog:


Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Autumn and a Stranger's Hamburger

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Love nuggets! What is a love nugget exactly? It is one of many names I hand out to my dogs and anyone else I am infatuated with.  Now you may think, um you just compared me to your dog.  That's a huge compliment, my dogs are like my children.  Wait, you made that plural. That's right folks, be prepared for the awesomeness that is Blu (post to follow soon).

Until then, I have my kick ass sponsor, Autumn, stopping by from her blog The Unreal Life.  Now many bloggers say something along the lines of, omg I love my sponsor.  But I really do for these reasons:
1. She is hilarious.
2. She is honest.
3. She has dated probably the same number of d-bag royales that I have dated (wahoo Autumn, let's make a club).
4. She tweets me back and I get to pretend that I'm a cool kid.
5. Her writing is super witty and is just a great read.

So that really should be reasons enough to become biffles with her, but if you have doubts, check out her awesome post below and leave her some love.  

Hello lovely readers! My name is Autumn, and I blog at The Unreal Life. I'm so pleased to be back guest blogging for Kim again! Kim has been such a supporter of my little baby blog, and I'm grateful for this chance to share it with you. My last guest post highlighted some really awkward, unreal situations I got myself into on a road trip. But what happens at the end of the road trip? More awkward, unreal situations. 

When I first moved to Missourah, I ran into a lot of situations with strangers. They were everywhere (duh, I just moved here), and they were all just really, really nice. Looking back, there were multiple times where I'm certain I shouldn't be alive. But I am (Thank God). I just have this immense inability to say no. And yes, it is as bad as it sounds. So without further ado, let me use my inability to say no to strangers to entertain you (I mean, it's gotta be good for something, right?)!

Stranger Danger: Hamburgers
Some friends and I went to a bar to watch a Cardinals game shortly after I moved here. This city is intense (understatement of the century) about their Cardinals. People literally were let out of work early because the game started at four. The bar was standing room only. And of course baseball is really boring slow, so the only thing there is to do is stand. And drink. Stand. And drink. And of course it's too busy to order food and you're standing shoulder to shoulder so you don't have a table to put your food on anyways even if you did get some. So all you do is stand and drink. Stand. And drink. Hopefully this paints a good picture for you of the awesome level of drunk fun I was flying at when this story took place. Finally, after nine innings of standing and drinking, we got a table. I made a beeline to the bathroom, but a very attractive man grabbed my wrist on the way by (warning flag: this bar was filled with very grabby people) and pulled me towards him ( am I alive? A sober normal person would have run at this point.). He started chatting me up about how gorgeous I was and what was my name and how he'd love to take me to dinner and I was slightly paying attention when over his shoulder I noticed his friend was chowing down on a delicious, greasy, gorgeous HAMBURGER. 

"I'd love to take you to dinner, beautiful. Show you how we do it round here."
I pushed his advances away. "OH MY GOD," I shouted at his friend over the really loud, bad bar music, "IS THAT A HAMBURGER?" 
The man stared up blankly at me and replied, "Uh, yeah. You want some?"

Now what would a normal person do at this point? Say no and go order their own. Am I normal person? No. Am I lucky to be alive? Yes. I promptly screamed "YES" (at which point the man stopped flirting with me, probably recognizing I was a huge hot mess) and proceeded to eat a stranger's hamburger. Yes, I ate a stranger's hamburger.

Now some of you at this point are asking "WHO EATS A STRANGER'S HAMBURGER?!?!"
But isn't the real question who gives their hamburger to a stranger?!?!

(Answer: As soon as I sobered up I did have an emotional moment realizing that while I was currently the weirdo eating a stranger's hamburger, I would one day be the weirdo giving my hamburger to a stranger. It's a slippery slope.)


Those are just a few examples of my inability to say no to strangers. Others include: giving a homeless man my phone number (everyone deserves a friend!), accepting rides home from a stranger I met on the MegaBus (she wouldn't kidnap me in front of her granddaughter!), always stopping for the pollster or advocate on the corner with a clipboard and going to a "post party" at my bartender's house. The problem with these awkward stranger encounters is that so far, they always turn out OK so I still haven't learned my lesson 100%. It wasn't until I went home for my first Thanksgiving break and was relaying these stories to my sisters that I thought "holy am I still alive?" 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I hope it brought a little laughter and joy to your day! If you liked this post, there's plenty more of my awesome awkward adorableness and "is this real life?" stories over at The Unreal Life--so please stop on by! As I like to say, it's 50% Tina Fey meets Khloe Kardashian, 50% Jaqueline Novogratz and 100% unreal. You can live vicariously through my inability to say no to strangers, assholes and another shot of vodka.

Oscars 2013 Recap: A Night of Music in Movies

I promise this is not a political post about the Oscars, just my strong feelings on the importance of arts and also just some basic manners (the usual).

Before I go into everything that I loved about the Oscars, I have a problem with folks bringing up Michelle Obama, our First Lady, being a presenter.  Did no one listen to the intro she gave?  She is an advocate for the continuation of arts programs in schools and communities.  She is a lover of movies and talked about how they inspire young people to test their imaginations and to follow their dreams.  I think that's a fairly safe and positive message, whether or not you're a fan of either side's politics.  Several bloggers and of course others (I just follow an extreme amount of bloggers- curse you giveaways!) on Twitter were crying out, "keep politics out- these are the movies!" or anything along those lines.


Sidebar: Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and Argo are all political movies...just sayin'

It's the Oscars aka an awards show for acting.  
I'm about to blow yo minds...  acting = an art.  
These are people who came from arts programs whether while growing up at their local Y or a random ass class they took in college.  This inspired them to become actors and potentially become great actors worthy of winning awards.  The escorts who helped present, yeah, film and communication arts (radio, tv, film) students.  Did you not see their interviews? They were stoked out of their ever-living-minds!  The awards show is going to showcase the art and future generations of filmmakers, actors, costume designers, sound technicians, etc. Plus this is the First Lady, regardless of politics, she is a representative of the American people.  Not only is she incredibly eloquent and classy, but she gives a damn about the arts and the kids of America.  Now not everything in the political sphere is hunky dory right now.  That's an understatement.  There are several elements that have gotten twisted and made people very angry, but that's not my argument here.

I'm saying that as someone who was privileged with the opportunity to participate and grow in several art mediums, I wish that opportunity for every kid.  Not just wish, but advocate for it.  As I've matured in different art elements, I'm found that I'm considered incredibly talented at some, ok at others, and the rest maybe I should leave behind, but you all should still have the opportunity to figure that out.  I have friends who are musicians, dancers, actors and when they perform their art- it's incredible, moving, breathtaking, exhilarating, and you know that what they're doing is truly art.  I know that I will continue to support these programs because they helped me develop into the person I am today and they help several kids out there, regardless of race, creed, and socioeconomic background.  So when the First Lady is encouraging people in a way that involves movies, tv, film, radio, acting, music, vocal performance, etc. providing people with a passion and drive in their lives, I think that's a wholesome message.

I intended for this post to focus on my love for film, cinema, and beautiful dresses, but it really made my blood boil to see that.  I have friends who came from communities that struggled to keep their arts programs going, but they managed to somehow keep them together and those kids are some of the best artists in the country.  Their performances have brought tears to my eyes and have raised the bar on what is considered to be worthwhile talent.  Expression through the various forms of art, is one of the few naturally beautiful elements we have in life. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled Oscar gifs! 

I absolutely loved this moment of the night.  Seeing guys, boldly and without hesitation, act as gentlemen is so refreshing.  Plus, I love Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Did anyone see B.Coop in "The Words"?  I loved that movie and I love Zoe Saldana as an actress.  I did indeed catch him on the red carpet and Kristen Chenoweth was trying to match up height with him mom when she lost her shoe amongst the layers of her dress.


Was I swooning? You Betcha!

The Oscars always blow me away and I particularly loved this year's Academy Awards.  Admittedly, I was a little skeptical to have Seth MacFarlane host, because as great as he is as the creator of Family Guy, his jokes can hit a sour note quickly.  There were definitely those times throughout the show (i.e. jokes about the domestic violence case of Rihanna and Chris Brown).  You could see it on his face that he had to think about the joke before he presented it.  As if his conscience was saying, this is a really awful idea.  However, I enjoyed the vocal numbers and cute dance sequences.  Plus Jennifer Lawrence's cameo in the the Boob Song was sassy and too perfect for that moment. 

Jennifer Lawrence GIF, Oscars GIF

As excited as I was for Jennifer Lawrence, I was thrilled that Anne Hathaway won an Oscar and so did Christoph Waltz and I was going crazy!  His performance in Django Unchained was incredible and one of my favorite film characters, ever.  Anne Hathaway saying this was her dream come true was absolutely wonderful.  I can't imagine how thrilling it must be to win an Oscar.  Yep, I'll stay star struck
Totally Adorable!
That moment when he got choked up thanking his wife and finally his daughters was definitely cheer worthy.  I know, like many other people, were disappointed that he was not up for Best Director, but Ben Affleck won the show with "Argo" taking it all :)

I know several speeches had to be super speedy, which is understandable since it's such a long awards show, however I definitely wasn't a fan of the "speed it up music." It was very reminiscent of "Jaws" and I thought very deprecating of people who just wanted to thank those who helped them out.  It was loud, gaudy, and to me not Oscars-like.  All of them worked their asses off and might not ever be on the Dolby Theater stage again, give em a few more seconds or at least subtle music.

I'm completely and totally out of order with this but it was all a lovely blur by this point in time.  I adored the dance number by Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.  They looked lovely and Charlize is just timeless.  I feel like she is so symbolic of classic Hollywood, from her face to her charm and acting abilities.

I'm always a sucker for musical performances and loved everything from "All that Jazz" from the musical Chicago (performed by Catherine Zeta-Jones), the beautiful Jennifer Hudson, to the full cast of Les Miserables on stage.


If you caught the Oscars, hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I did.
I officially have placed, "get an Oscars invite" to my bucket list.
Thanks for reading and go arts in the community!

 Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Annual BLOGSCARS

Welcome to

 photo blogscarslogo_zps560b6acd.jpg

It's a night where your favorite blogstars are featured wearing jeans, tees, yoga pants, and other deliciously comfortable clothes as they blog away and create those amazing posts that you all love!

As you saw yesterday, there are four categories and amazing bloggers featured in each one.
Enjoy the night and make sure to visit these awesome bloggers.
Stick around after the video post to see my commentary.


All of these bloggers do a phenomenal job with their blogs, that's why they were chosen as nominees.  They stood out from so many contenders and as I said in yesterday's post, I kept it short and simple with only four award categories.  There could be so many! The blogging talent out there is something that I personally love to discover and I hope you enjoyed this fun awards show.

I Wore Yoga Pants to Work won the Popular Blog Link-Up because in its simplicity, it was perfect for every blogger out there.  We live in a society in which people don't like to talk about themselves.  That's why people get weird about interviews.  Bloggers are a different breed.  However, we don't always get that opportunity to bring up random stuff about ourselves.  It was a brilliant link-up so kudos to Whitty :)

Craft, Interrupted won the Best DIY Birthday because it was just one of those birthday parties that you knew that if you were a kid, you would have loved it!  Let's be honest, you love it now as an adult.  Not only did they post about the birthday party but they provided free tutorial and printables in follow-up posts.  It was creative, affordable and fun.  I always love kids' birthday parties that are interactive, engaging, and are more than opening presents and birthday cake (although I do love me some birthday cake).  All I've got to say is that they are some awesome mommas!

Vicki Christine won the Best Mommy Moment because of her writing style throughout her entire pregnancy.  She allowed us into her birthing room with her family and it was intimate and very personal.  She also included humor and honesty with the post, and makes motherhood looks easy and awesome.

Lindsay from Trial by Sapphire won the Down-to-Earth post because she covered a topic that I feel often fuels the blogging world.  Everything is really face value.  You might not ever meet your favorite blogger but you love to hear about their life, the people that choose to sponsor them, and the things that they buy.  At the chance of winning an expensive prize, we follow X number of blogs and may or many not win.  Sometimes it can be about keeping up with appearances and she gives a brilliant post on establishing your self-worth and loving who you are without basing that on others' opinions.  I loved each of the Down-to-Earth posts but that one just rang so true and I felt that a lot of folks could appreciate it.

Thanks for reading and watching!
I hope you enjoyed it and I hope next year is just as fabulous with more categories :)

Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

Friday, February 22, 2013

The BLOGSCARS: Your Guide to the Blogging Stars

I love award shows.  So it seemed incredibly fitting to me that some of my favorite bloggers get awarded for their efforts during the past year.  You see great content, beautiful photography, and a wonderful relationship they build with their readers.  Building a blog is a craft and there can be uplifting moments and pitfalls.  You may have seen my "blog obessions" posts in the past, but this month with inspiration from the Oscars, I present to you:

 photo blogscarslogo_zps560b6acd.jpg

It's an idea that I came up with to celebrate some of my favorite bloggers and the great posts that they have written. I have so many favorite blogs, so just like the Oscars, not everyone is represented in tomorrow's Blogscars. However, it is my first attempt at this and I want it to be as fabulous as ever.

Now it wouldn't be an awards show without some promotional material:

The categories, with their nominees are as listed:

 Popular Blog Link-Ups
Northern Belle Diaries
Sami's Shenanigans 
Living in Yellow
I Wore Yoga Pants to Work

Best DIY Birthday
Little Baby Garvin
Craft, Interrupted
Pillow Thought

Best Mommy Moment
Pillow Thought
Vicki Christine
Crunchy Catholic Momma 
Raechel Myers

Down-to-Earth Post
Mish Lovin' Life
Today, I'm Bobbi
Trial by Sapphire

As you're reading the nominees, I'm sure several posts are popping up in your head that aren't listed here.  I chose these bloggers and these posts for very specific reasons, many of which you will find out tomorrow.  Some of the bloggers you may know, others are just starting out or have "smaller" blogs and I really appreciate that diversity.  These writers have blogs that I frequent often and look forward to their posts.  You can see their whit, character, and true selves in their writing.  Many of them are also fan favorites.  I chose these four categories because I felt like they really encompass many of the blogs that you see out there.  I could have chosen "cutest pregnancy," "best outfits of the day," "most original instagram," however, I decided to keep it short and sweet.  There are a ton of bloggers with fantastic posts, and also a ton of bloggers with mediocre ones as well.  That's why I like to call attention to blogs and their specialties and what we can learn from them.  Thank you all of these bloggers and those reading for sharing your story with the public and readers who just love to blog.  Tomorrow I will post a video/content post on the BLOGSCARS and I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for Reading!

Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Favorite Aspect of Our New House

Here is a segment from a video tour that I made for our family of our new house!
My favorite aspect of our house is in the video, so make sure to check it out :)


Thanks for Reading!

Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

Marital Lessons Learned in a Roadtrip

 Spending 8+ hours a day in a car with your spouse can be an invigorating, frustrating, inspiring or just downright rip-your-hair-out experience.  Ryan and I have two very distinct personalities.  My husband is one of the bravest, smartest, and funniest people I know.  However, he still pisses me off sometimes.  I'm stubborn, can be selfish and sometimes I just need him to understand what I want or need, even if I can't communicate it effectively.

Sitting in a car for numerous hours with him can be a dance.  There are moments when it's a beautiful waltz and we're laughing and sharing stories.  Other times it's the beginning lesson and you're avoiding painful stubbed toes and awkward movements.  You don't want put yourself out there for a solo if you can't back it up with your own credibility.  Sometimes I'm just there, by myself, freestyling because somebody has to be the ballsy one.

There were moments when something would just be a downright argument or fight.  You don't want to take the blame or own up to a mistake.  There were times when we forgot to show that we appreciate each other.  Patience had run out and so did windshield wiper fluid.  Of course this was the exact moment that a semi was driving in front of us and managed to kick-up as much slush and dirt as possible on the window.

It's all about understanding that sometimes, you have to put aside selfish desires or thoughts because your spouse needs you.  Ryan gets stressed about things and if I can contact someone that has the right answers or simply Google it, it makes life infinitely easier on him.  For me, I appreciate the security that he provides.  He is the most responsible young man I know.  I always call him an "old man" because of his tendencies and mannerisms but he is my favorite person.  Every time I look at him, I just fall in love.  He is the handsomest man I have ever seen.  Being able to look over from the passenger seat and see the mountains of Tahoe National Park in the background was breathtaking.  It put everything into perspective.  We are driving to our new home that we will share together for four years and that is a beautiful thing.  This will be home that we'll most likely have our first baby in, we'll make memories and friends, and our families will visit us and say, "our own babies are so grown with babies of their own." 

My favorite parts of the trip were the moments he would say, "Kim, look at that! Take a picture."  I would pull out my camera and snap a few shots of the absolutely stunning scenery.  I so greatly appreciate the route he chose for us to drive on because the landscape was incredible.  The mountains were truly "purple mountains majesty" and the snow was sprinkled across the most beautiful trees, making them sparkle.  I know that by verbalizing how much I loved the view, Ryan felt a sense of pride.  I don't always tell him that I appreciate the things that he does for me and he does a lot.  He sacrifices his comforts and concerns to make me happy.  He is an incredible husband and sometimes do fight but I can't stand being mad at him or to see him upset.

There are the moments when you need to breakdown and the only cure is a kiss from that wonderful bearded man.  When I am at my worst and am hating everything that is going on, he pulls me into a strong hug and kisses my head, kisses my lips, and tells me everything will be fine.  We work better as a team and celebrate our small victories with elaborate high fives.  We cheer each other on for our accomplishments and are there to pick up the broken pieces of our failures.

3 days later and we're at the place that we call home, together as a family.

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to check out this month's featured blog:

What Goes into a Military Move

I've moved quite a few times in my young life and every time I move, I learn something new.  I'm sure the spouses of service members who have been in the military for years make it look easy, but I always learn something valuable in every new place.  Some tips are fairly solid and I thought I would share with you, because they're valuable for any move, regardless if you're in the military.

Stage 1: Receiving Your Orders
Although sheets of paper, orders are quite literally what their title stands for- military orders directing you on where you will be stationed.

This is key to the process because you need orders to do anything with a military move.  This verifies to whomever you're renting from that you'll need to end your lease.  It tells cable/internet/phone that you're canceling or moving it to a new city.  It also allows you to put a down payment or reservation on a new house/apartment or live in base housing.  You're able to work with the Traffic Management Office (TMO) and get your household goods moved from point A to point B.  You can also do a DITY move or a partial DITY, where you move your household items on your own.  Usually since

With your orders, you're able to go around and accomplish aspects of out-processing, which is a necessary aspect in moving.
Stage 2: Planning Your Move
At this stage in our lives, many of us have accumulated furniture sets, so we'll be working with a few moving companies.  There is a company from the town you're living in and the company they'll switch to at your new residence.  There may even be an additional company thrown in the mix for the drive between point A and B.  They will contact you and do a brief walk through of your existing home.  This gives them an estimate of how long it will take them to pack and how much weight they're actually packing.  What was wonderful about my first military moves was that I had a moving representative in contact with me the entire time.  I can call or e-mail the representative if I have any questions or concerns and they call me on days that anything is happening with TMO to make sure all is well.  It's really awesome customer service.

The movers spent a day at our house packing up our items and then came back the next day to load them on a truck.  It was always a tip given to me to provide food and drinks for the movers.  Because of this, I always have water bottles and snacks but every time, the movers already bring their own lunches and snacks.  Anyways it's still good to have.

Stage 3: Staying in Hotels
Base hotels are some of the best deals you can find when it comes to hotel accommodations.  They have pet-friendly rooms and are often priced at 50% the cost you could find on sites like Expedia.  When I make reservations to stay at base hotels and it's part of a PCS, make sure that they know that.  During your move, you can be reimbursed for your stay at base hotels (TLFs) and are given a per diem allowance to stay at hotels during your move.  Based on the route we took, I looked on Expedia for hotels in those areas.

If you're traveling with a dog(s), or any other animal, it's important that you actually contact the hotel to ensure they allow your breed and size of dog.  Many hotels, like apartments, don't allow dogs over 25 lbs.
Notes on Expedia or Using Any Other Hotel Search Site: 
  • The numbers listed are usually the main line for the chain of hotels versus that specific hotel.  Plug in the name of the hotel and city in your search engine of choice to find the exact number.  At least three times I called the number that Expedia provided and had to talk to operators.  
  • Although hotels list that "pets are allowed" they all have their own policies that they inconveniently don't list on Expedia's site.  Call ahead and make sure your pet is allowed.  Most have a pet fee as well, which is not listed on Expedia's site.  We encountered two pet fees, one hotel was $25 and the other $10.
  •  By calling ahead, you can also check to see if there is a military discount.  I found that with a couple of hotels, the military discount was $10-$20 cheaper than Expedia's or any other search engine's site. 
  • If you do book your reservation online, make sure to include that you have a pet in the comment box.  I requested that our rooms be on the first floor with easy access to a useable exit.  This ensured that getting our dog outside to relieve herself was as easy as possible.  It's also convenient for moving your things in and out of your car.
Stage 3.5: Traveling with Pets
Not only are you moving yourself, your family, and your things across country, but your pets as well.  Woof, this can get tricky.  It's important to have your animals' documentation on you.  Hotels may require copies of their vaccinations, so it's good to have a few copies on you.  If you're staying in a base hotel, you will definitely need this.  You will also have to book pet-friendly TLFs in advance.  They are incredibly convenient, but bases usually have only a few pet-friendly rooms and they get booked up fast.
With Holly, we had a backpack designated solely for her things and we had her large, collapsible kennel in the trunk of the car.  That was probably the bulkiest item of our entire trip.  In her backpack, we had a large stuffed animal, a large Nylabone, a smaller bag of dog food, pig ears, her teeth brushing tools and ear cleaning solution.  Of course, we had her harness and leash because leashed pets are required everywhere.  Her dog bowls were also packed into our car.  What was nice about Nature's Variety dog food is that they have a smaller bag and this was perfect for the trip.  If your dog food brand, doesn't have a convenient zipper bag, I would highly recommend filling up zip-lock baggies with each day's amount of food.  Every night that we would get to a new hotel, we would establish this area as a new space for her by having her bowls out, giving her a pig ear (or any other treat), and making sure she had her bunny (the large stuffed animal).  Holly loved going to hotels because of it.  It became a treat for her.
We've also flown with Holly before and that's a whole other ballgame.  That requires having all of her documentation, a permission letter from the vet, contacting the shipping aspect of the airline, etc.  The travel kennel has to meet certain requirements, with the main one being that she can turn around in the kennel and isn't bunched for hours.  You also need travel dishes attached to the travel kennel.  We packed a gallon zip lock bag of her food on the top of the kennel and they would refill her food and water dish from the outside of the kennel.  The dishes have to be easily obtainable, without opening the kennel door.  She was only a few months old at that time and it wasn't a part of a move.  We had to drop her off several hours before her flight and she could not be sedated.  She did just fine, but each dog is different.
When you move, check the requirements.  Some cities require that you register with their counties and sometimes you have to register your dog with the base.  Although we lived in our previous city for less than half a year, we had to register Holly and it was pricey.  It's important to look into all of that and prices often differ between ages and whether they are fixed or not.
Stage 4: What to Pack
This is still a challenge for me because I often over pack.  Movers won't be at your new location as soon as you arrive to your new base, so it's important that you pack what you need.  They could show up a few days after you arrive or a few weeks. For me it was including military uniforms and warmer clothes for our new climate.  You may want to pack workout clothes and gym shoes since you may have time to workout.  We also packed pots, pans, and utensils so we could save money instead of eating fast food/restaurant-food.  It's a lot of calories, a lot of fat, and a lot of money if you don't take this route.  Although you will be reimbursed for several aspects of your move, you still have to pay for it all up front.  This can get expensive very quickly.  We traveled in a car, so we decided to send a box of our kitchen supplies to our new address via UPS.  This was perfect for us.  When we arrived, the box arrived at our house that afternoon.  We had forks, plates, cups, etc. all for our use right away.

I pack a lot of sweatshirts, yoga pants, sweatpants, and the comfier outfits for traveling.  I also highly suggest bringing one "nicer" outfit.  I didn't think I would need one and we ended up in several situations where I could have definitely used something more business casual versus jeans and a loose tee.  I packed a backpack, large suitcase, larger make-up bag, and a Vera Bradley travel organizer, much like the one pictured to the left.

I highly suggest condensing what make-up/hygiene products that you bring.  It felt like a lot of items and the car got less and less crowded throughout the trip by using items that could be thrown away but it was just a lot of schtuff.

Finally, I used an accordion folder to travel with all of my important items.  This allowed quick access to my orders, Holly's shot records, hotel reservation confirmations, and anything else that is important to carry with you.  

Have you done a military move or a move in general?  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts, tips, and advice below!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

How Well Does Ryan Know Me?

How long have you been married?
Kim: 1 year and 9 months
Ryan: Almost 2 years

Where was your first date?
Kim: Well that depends. We had a date at this drive-in restaurant called the Spot when we were both in high school, but when were talking while I was in college, we usually just hung out at his house.
Ryan: Spending the night at my house

Ok so that sounds incredibly scandalous. We had been talking on the phone for months while he was deployed and he was on leave... ;)

Where was your first kiss?
Kim: His living room couch.
Ryan: The Spot- a kiss on the cheek

Touche, I counted our first full-on make-out sesh.

Who first said, "I love you"?
Kim: Ryan did! On the phone as I was about to board a flight at LAX.  He had just dropped me off and I was so sad when all of a sudden I got a call from him.  He said, "I almost forgot to say something really important...I love you."
Ryan: Kim did during her 21st birthday party.

Wow this is turning out to be a really flattering image of myself.  I texted him, while intoxicated, several times during my birthday because I was and still am, madly in love with him.

What were your wedding colors?
Kim: We didn't really have a big wedding since we got married at a courthouse.  Originally we were going to get married on a beach, so I guess more of a nautical theme.
Ryan: White, tan and blue

Uh, I have no idea what he's referring to here.

What is her most commonly used phrase?
Kim: "And I was like..."
Ryan: "And I was like..."

Nailed it...we're totes in sync.

Who is her celebrity crush?
Kim: Tom Hardy
Ryan: I want to say Ryan Lochte, but Kim actually thinks he's a total idiot.

If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get?
Kim:  Either a coke or water for myself and for Ryan, either a water or Ginger Ale.
Ryan: Long islands

What is the best meal she has ever cooked you?
Kim: Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread
Ryan: Garbage Bread

What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you?
Kim: Steamed cinnamon apples...they looked awesome at Pinterest but ended up not being that great.
Ryan: Crunchy hamburger helper, when we first got married

What is the most-played song on her iPod?
Kim: "Worldwide Choppers"
Ryan: "Africa"

What would she say is your most annoying habit?
Kim: Saying, "And I was like"
Ryan: Not answering when I am addressing her

What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed?
Kim: Usually I say I love you and try to be big spoon.
Ryan: Sits on her computer for hours while I try to sleep.

Blogger probz

If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be?
Kim: Anything animal print
Ryan: I don't know, I don't really care

I'm totally spot on about the animal print (haha pun not intended). Ryan despises animal print.

What would you say is your favorite thing about her?
Kim: My smile
Ryan: Boobies

I married a 10-year old

What's her go-to drink at Starbucks?
Kim: Vanilla bean frappachino
Ryan: Vanilla bean frappachino

What's her blog's name?!
Kim: The Simplicity of Being Curious
Ryan: The Simplicity of Being Curious

VICTORY! I've got a keeper ;)

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