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Cricut BrightPad Go Unboxing and Review

The Cricut BrightPad Go is a must-have for anyone who needs concentrated light that helps with design for sewing and craft projects, but is perfect for anyone interested in diamond painting or transferring an image to another surface, like copying a design on graphite paper.

What is in the box?

I have an old Fiskars Light Boss that has been a sturdy and helpful companion over the years, but it is limited to a 120v Fluorescent bulb and isn’t very bright. I still use it and love that it was built well and has lasted this long. My vision has not held up as well, and I require a brighter light and need the convenience of being cordless, as I don’t always have access to a plug near my work areas.

The Cricut BrightPad Go isn’t an inexpensive tool, but it is a tool and not a supply for your craft room. It has many uses and will hopefully work for many years. As I show in the unboxing video, I love that I can use the pad to align fabric edges and patterns. This will be especially helpful with dark fabrics. As you can see below, I enjoy to use it when I am working on my diamond paintings. I’ve used a lamp, but the pad is superior, as the light source comes up through the canvas and makes the design legend symbols easier to see. It helps reduce eye strain and doesn’t light up the entire room instead of my work area.

One thing I’d like to point out is that the manual, for lack of a better word, states that once charged, you won’t need to recharge for a few months. This is misleading. I was so excited, believing that I would get a long use out of the pad before it needed charging again. A fully charged pad will work for two hours on the brightest setting. The quoted multiple months are what one can expect when the pad is charged and just on idle waiting to be used. Meaning, the battery doesn’t have a quick drain if you don’t use the pad.

So far I’m really enjoying the Cricut Brightpad Go and look forward to sharing how it holds up!

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Amazon Prime Day Deal: Hiboy Electric Scooters

Hillary, my Siberian Husky, believes that every morning must begin with a run alongside my Hiboy Electric Scooter. Nothing gets her out the door faster than asking if she is ready for her “zoomies” and trip to the park. Every dog needs exercise, but if you’ve ever had a Husky, you know that they have an incredible need and desire to run and get out their energy. A few romps of play in the yard or even a walk in the park isn’t enough exercise for her. The Hiboy Electric Scooter makes us both winners, as my knees are saved from running on concrete, and she gets the much needed running time she loves (and her nails are kept trim as the running on hard surfaces keeps them short).

It is a very sweet ride.

Amazon Prime Day is here and so are the deals on scooters! You can save 20% – a savings of $92.00, plus you get that sweet free shipping, on the following scooter: Hiboy MAX V2 Electric Scooter – 8.5″ Solid Tires, Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH, Front & Rear Suspensions, One Step Fold Electric Scooter for Adults, Commute and Travel

Hiboy S2 Electric Scooter with Seat – 8.5″ Solid Tires – Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH Folding Commuting Scooter for Adults with Double Braking System, Rear Suspension and App

This is the scooter I own. The current deal offers a coupon to be used at checkout for a savings of $50. See the product description on the product information page at Amazon for more details.

One of my favorite things about the scooter is the seat! Yes, you can either stand or sit down! I find it easier to stand when she is running alongside, but the ease of removing and installing the seat is a breeze and makes it an easy transition. The seat is used most often for a leisurely ride when Hillary is home.

photo courtesy of Amazon and Hiboy

Purchased in September 2020, the Hiboy scooter has been a much needed outlet for both of our energies as we have navigated the times of the pandemic. It has really helped keep both of us active during periods of limited travel. The wonderful thing about the scooter is that is is so lightweight (35 lbs) and folds easily for quick runs to the park. Hillary does a thirty minute run every morning, and I only need to charge it once a week.

The scooter is stable and durable. My feet have plenty of room on the deck and the bell and double breaking system make me feel secure while riding. The scooter operates silently and it really can pick up some speed as it approaches 18 miles an hour.

Check out the deals and get ready to give your dog some overdue exercise. *Please be careful when exercising your dog in the heat. We go early morning, but even then there are days where I have to be extra careful with her level of exertion to ensure that she doesn’t approach heat exhaustion. Also be careful with the surfaces you ride/run on, as dogs can burn their paw pads. The only thing missing is a compartment for storage. I keep her water, collapsible bowl, and poop bags in the Hiboy Waterproof Scooter Storage Bag.

She could use a little cleaning, but she is well-loved.

The Hiboy scooter is definitely an investment, but they are quality products that will support your needs for exercise.

Here is a helpful video that I watched prior to my purchase. I’d love to hear your views and see pics of you with your dog in action. Safe scooting!

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Buying Tickets To Walt Disney World: A Little More Complicated Than 25 Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago, buying tickets to Walt Disney World consisted of showing up at the gate and purchasing a ticket. It was simple, and it didn’t require much more effort than having money in the bank to afford them. Now, thanks to our new normal that includes living with COVID among us, buying tickets to visit Disney World is a little more complicated than the last time I did it in 1996.

image of tickets and text save money on your tickets

2020 & the Dawn of the Park Reservation System

Prior to the March 12, 2020 closure of Walt Disney World, the park reservation system did not exist. Once the park reopened in July, it was necessary to implement new COVID-19 restrictions and procedures to ensure that park employees and visitors were able to safely enjoy the park. Part of the new normal included face protections (masks), social distancing rules in the ride queues as well as on the rides, and limits to the number of attendees in the parks. Now, for one to enter one of the four parks at Walt Disney World, both a park reservation and valid ticket (or pass) for the same park on the same date is required. And heads up, the limited availability of park reservations means that you should make your theme park reservations IMMEDIATELY after purchasing your admission tickets. Don’t push it into the “do it later” pile and end up without a park reservation.

Get comfortable with the idea of the park reservation system. Disney has announced the system will be in place until at least 2023!

Start Here

Before you do anything, and especially before purchasing your tickets, check out the calendar of theme park availability to see if the days you wish to attend are available for a reservation.

Below is an example from the Disney site that shows the desired search result: green means all parks available.

calendar of days for Disney World

You’ve got the green light for dates, and now you’ll need to get your tickets. You have many options when buying tickets. You can purchase direct from Disney, you can go through a travel agent, and there are a number of websites that sell tickets, too. Don’t forget your local banks, credit unions, shopping clubs, and possibly insurance companies. Check out their website or give a call to inquire if they sell tickets. Discount tickets are everywhere, but vet the sources before spending your money. You’ll really need to do your homework when researching ticket vendors. Read reviews of those services and sites. I did a lot of research and happily landed at Undercover Tourist.

Discount Disney Tickets

The Undercover Tourist site is user friendly, and there is no delay between ordering tickets and receiving communication from them, whether it be receiving an emailed receipt or the confirmation of the purchase of your tickets. For example, I received an email with a receipt at 1:30 and had my ticket ID numbers emailed to me at 1:36. They do not charge any hidden fees, tax is included in the price, and your actual tickets are mailed to you with free shipping! You will receive an email with the actual ticket ID numbers that will allow you to immediately go into the Disney phone app and reserve your park preferences! I was seriously nervous about plopping down $1,500 for the tickets to an unknown source, but the online reviews were all extremely positive. They were also running a great promotion that discounted the purchase an additional $30.

The Undercover Tourist offers a refund policy. Per their site, “Your confidence in purchasing takes priority, which is why we offer a 90-day Return Policy and use common sense and fair practices when dealing with your cancellations & refunds. If you believe you are eligible for a refund, please contact us for further shipping instructions. Once tickets have been received and verified by Undercover Tourist, we will issue a refund back to the initial form of payment according to the terms below within 15 business days.”

image of piggy bank with money with every dime saved counts text

Our plan was to visit Disney for four days, providing one day per park. Undercover Tourist featured a promotion for a 4-Day ticket with an extra day at a great rate, so we chose for that option, giving us five days at the park.

My purchase:

order summary of purchase for disney tickets

Note that this is a 5 day ticket! Tax is included and that is a nearly $100 savings (see below)! The online promotion made it an easy option to pick up an extra day!

When price comparing, check out the daily price of the ticket at the Disney site. The price will vary based upon time of year, day of week, and what ticket option you are selecting (park hopper, water park admissions, etc…). My party will consist of three adults, and we wanted four days in the park with the park hopper option without any water park visits. It works out that we are traveling when tickets appear to be less expensive, and that really helps the budget restrictions. The more days you add to your visit, the cheaper tickets are per day!

Let’s check out the Disney site. As you can see, tickets per day are $106, for a total of $527.39 per person before tax.

calendar with prices for disney

After tax, the total came to $1685.04. Also note, the tickets at Walt Disney World are not refundable. They do offer free shipping on your actual tickets mailed via USPS, or you can opt to receive the tickets via email and use that email when you reach the park.

price of five day ticket to disney world

4-Day Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper® Option – with Extra Day – ADULT $529.82 per person (and tax is included in that price), but after the $30 promo discount (and applying $10 of the discount to each ticket), that brought the tickets per person down to $519.82! Five days at $104 per day!

At the Disney site, the 5-Day Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper® Option -ADULT $527.39 per ticket (before tax) and after tax, $561.08 per person. Five days at $112.22 per day.

Undercover Tourist came out ahead for a total savings of $125.58 versus purchasing the tickets at Disney. I’m excited to have the option of an extra day, especially if we need extra time to fit in the rides we are really hoping to experience, like Rise of the Resistance.

Remember, your savings experience may vary. You may find a greater discount when you are combining on-site lodging with your admission tickets. Different coupons and promos may be offered at Undercover Tourist, too. For the purposes of my trip, and as a general guidance, I am encouraging everyone to evaluate the options that exist and scoop up the best deals that will help you create the memorable trip you desire.

Have a frugal ticket purchase tip? Let me know!

Disclaimer: I became an affiliate for Undercover Tourist after I used the service and wanted to share them as a resource.

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Planning A Frugal and Fun Vacation to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

Come along with me as I plan my vacation to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida! It will be frugal, it will be fun, and it will be in September 2021! I haven’t had a vacation since 2004. Seventeen years! I think I’m overdue for some relaxation and fun at the Most Magical Place on Earth* and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

* while I love Disney World, I consider the most magical place on earth to be Asheville, NC.

I’ll be sharing my tips, tricks, and guides that I am discovering throughout my blog. You can always check out this page for the running list of posts, and don’t forget to check out my list of essentials for the trip!

The cute cups you see photographed are from TJMaxx. 🙂 I’m not a diehard collector of all things Disney, but this is a big trip for me, and I want to have fun counting down to the event as well as attending it.

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Blue Light Protection From DIFF Charitable Eyewear

This is my frame, but they are currently out of stock. Yes, I’m wearing readers on my head. I’m 45 and I rock the reader.

FINN – SEA TORTOISE + BLUE LIGHT TECHNOLOGY

Thank you, AllTrue (previously Causebox) for introducing me to DIFF blue light technology glasses. They were an option to choose from as an item in my SPRING 2021 AllTrue subscription box. I didn’t choose them, but they were available for purchase in the add-on market and thought I would try them out. You can check out the unboxing video below.

I initially thought they were a gimmick and the latest fad that everyone professes they need to have before they forget the glasses in a few months in the back of the junk drawer. My few weeks in these glasses has proven beyond beneficial, and I can honestly report that they are 100% necessary if you work on a computer or use your phone a lot. If you need to find out why blue light is worrying, here is a great article from UC Davis.

The lenses have a slight yellow to them that warms up the online page. It is much more comfortable for my eyes. I notice a difference in eye strain when I’m watching tv as well. In a chat with their online customer service, they stated the lenses are 30% blue light blocking.

photo of diff glasses

Bottom line: While I don’t have a method to measure what blue light is reaching my eye, I believe they truly help protect your eyes from the harmful blue light emitted from your digital screens that is contributing to your eye strain. I believe this because my eyes just feel better when I’m wearing them and they feel worse when I’m not. That’s easy math for me, and I’m a convert.

I’m wearing size medium, measurements for the glasses are 48 – 21 – 145, they are unisex with scratch resistant nylon lenses and the frame is a hand cut acetate. Additional bonus points, if something happens to the lenses or I just need another pair of glasses, they can be fitted with prescription lenses!

I love that DIFF is giving back with every purchase we make with them! “Every pair of DIFF glasses sold helps to provide the gift of sight to someone in need through eye exams, glasses, medicine, and surgery. To date, we’ve donated over 1.5 MILLION pairs of glasses worldwide — and that’s just the beginning of it.”

You can also purchase the glasses at Amazon. They would make a perfect gift for the writer in your life!

Some links on my site are part of affiliate programs, and if you click on them or make a purchase from the link, I may make a few pennies.

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Goodbye to My Groovy Kind of Love

painted canvas of a young boy and girl under the night sky by Jeannie M. Bushnell
I love this clip of Phil performing “Groovy Kind of Love” on Donahue. It shows fashion and hair of the times.

In a month, he will be gone from this Earth for a year. For me, you died today, the moment I saw your obituary. Until we know someone has died, they live in this forever alive bubble that gives us false belief that we could see them again one day. Until we can’t.

I started writing this a month ago. It has taken me that long to navigate my feelings and discover how I wanted to express the sense of loss I feel. Writing is the way in which I do that, and this is the platform I have to express it upon. This is my goodbye to my first puppy love. I don’t use that term as a negative. Quite the opposite, as I use it with reverence. We had a fantastic love that consisted of loving one another for who they were. I use puppy as a term of youth, not to say we didn’t have true feelings.

I had slept so soundly, in a way that I hadn’t slept in twenty years. I woke up remembering I had dreamed of Jason. It was a vivid dream that felt so real, as though he had been right in front of me. In my dream, we were on a park bench, surrounded by fall foliage of incredible colors. I asked him why we were meeting here, and he said because he knew I liked it. He then looked at me, smiled from his eyes, and told me to look him up. I asked what he meant, and he told me to look him up. I woke up, feeling incredibly rested and happy. I’d certainly not gone to bed expecting to dream of him, but what a nice visit we had in my dream.

Later that day, I felt a pull on my mind, hearing his voice instructing me to look him up. I quickly felt all the joy I’d experienced earlier leave me. The first return on the internet search was his obituary, dated 2020.

I could never stay mad at him. He made jokes about his mistakes and made sure you quickly replaced anger with laughter. He was pure sunlight to me. Bright blonde hair and blue eyes that never made me want to stop gazing into them. I was a serious student who thrived on teacher approval, and he was the class clown who didn’t care for school and was often punished with spankings or whoopings, as we called it, with a wooden paddle, for failing to complete his homework or talking in class. Corporal punishment was alive and well in Tennessee in the ’80s.

Captured as we waited for our school bus to go home. Eighth grade.

We were boyfriend and girlfriend from the sixth to the eighth grade. My father thought Jason could do no wrong. Truth be told, Jason was very similar to my father in personality, but his spirit was more sensitive and gentle. Jason worked hard in the fields in the summer, and my father liked that. He also liked the way Jason made me smile. “If he makes my daughter smile like that, he can’t be too bad.”

He was everything I didn’t have in my life. He was steady and dependable. He loved me openly and without judgement. He had lived in the same town his whole life and knew he would die there, too. I was a wandering leaf, blowing in the wind, never staying in one place long enough to call it home. I had learned to be independent and quiet. He lived life out loud, dancing when the spirit struck him, and always finding a moment to be tender with affection. I’d never experienced anything like him.

Our Sixth grade Graduation. The rebel removed his tie.

Our differences made us great friends and the points where we touched and overlapped made us always seek one another out. I have so many fun stories of my time with him, but ultimately, the greatest moment we shared was the time we had to say goodbye.

My life was tumultuous at best, and in my thirteen years on the planet, I had learned that the rug was always waiting to be pulled out from under me. It had happened many times before, but this time, I was completely caught off guard. It was early November, and everyone was preparing plans for Thanksgiving and school break. When I got home that day, my mother opened the door to tell me that I needed to start packing, as my father had left us, we were evicted, and we were going to Arkansas to see my half-sister who I hadn’t seen since I was three.

We had been evicted before. My father had left us before. I’d moved around a lot. The difference was, this time I was connected to someone that made me want to never move again. I wasn’t crazy about the small town in Tennessee, but I was crazy about that boy, and the thought of leaving him made this time hurt way worse than all the times before.

My mother moved about in a frenzied state, calling U-Haul to get a truck, smoking cigarette after cigarette as though it gave her body fuel. She paused long enough to tell me how embarrassed she was because the cop who served the eviction notice was Jason’s Uncle. He knew of me and had been very kind to her. I wanted to disappear. I knew this small town would soon be craving more information and making up stories to fill in the gaps. The story was simple–my father was poor at money management and frequently found himself in need of financial support from his mother. He’d run off to her open arms while my mother and I cleaned up the mess he left behind. I’ve never publicly said any of this, as it was always drilled into me that my life should be a secret, and no one should know what happened in our home. It isn’t easy to write.

Jason called me later that night, and I listened to him tell me about school and what he was looking forward to over break. I just wanted to listen to him. He noticed how quiet I was and asked what was wrong. I honestly cannot remember if I told him then or the next morning before school that I was leaving. I have an extraordinarily good memory, but this moment is blank for me. I can only remember hurting and feeling like I needed to protect him from the pain I was about to inflict.

The next day at school, I had to alert my teachers about my move. I wanted to leave the school as quietly as possible. I didn’t like to attract attention when I exited a school. I didn’t like to attract attention at all, but being the perpetual “new girl” as frequently as I was, it was unavoidable. I didn’t plan on telling anyone about my move until a nice boy in my class commented that I seemed so sad that day. I was always the happy girl, and people notice when you aren’t smiling. We were in the hallway, between classes, and I told him. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. He was a friend, but not someone I was very close with or knew well. His face fell and he started to cry. I hadn’t experienced this before, as I usually wasn’t around when people discovered I was no longer at the school. He hugged me, and I started to cry. We drew a lot of attention and word quickly reached Jason that I was hugging a boy and crying. He came to me immediately, and soon there were a number of students hugging the three of us. It was a profound moment for me. I truly felt that I would be missed, and I hadn’t experienced that before.

Jason was in a very quiet mood. He wasn’t speaking to anyone, and friends reported to me throughout the day that he was crying off and on in classes. I had wanted to avoid this. I felt so badly for his pain, and I didn’t know how to ease it. This was my last day at school, and I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be with Jason, but I didn’t want to talk about what happened or why I was moving. It was not a topic I was allowed to speak about. It didn’t really matter; I was a kid and my parents told me what to do and when to do it. I was leaving, and that was it.

That night, as we were preparing to leave Tennessee, Jason’s mother invited me and my mother over so that we could have dinner and and say goodbye. I don’t know what magic Mrs. B. said to my mother, but it worked, and soon my mother and I were at their home. We all visited for a bit, but Jason was more than ready to get outside and speak to me in private.

Jason lived atop a mountain and it was very cold on this November evening. The sun was already down, and the clear night meant it was a perfect night for stargazing. We talked about what happens next, and he spoke to me in the softest, gentlest way that my confused and broken heart needed. I had no idea what was in store for me in the coming weeks, and he knew that I was putting on the strongest front that I could muster. He held my hand so tightly and told me that he loved me and would never let me go. He wanted a plan for communication and he gave directives on the need for phone calls. His mother would periodically poke her head out to check on us, making sure we hadn’t frozen to death.

We held hands, looking at the stars, astounded by their beauty, knowing that no matter where we were, the stars were going to always shine on us, creating a connection between us. He turned on a nearby radio and “Groovy Kind of Love,” by Phil Collins started playing. It was our song. I’d never had a song with a boy before. We held each other as we swayed to the music. A barn kitten crawled up the exterior of my pants and tried to nestle between us. He removed her, placing her on the ground with instruction that he needed nothing between us. The swirl of sadness and gratefulness for the moment were overwhelming to me. I never wanted the night to end. I was scared as to what would happen to me next, unprepared for the future that had no plan.

Jason pushed my hair out of my face and kissed me. It was my first adult kiss. My breath was taken away, and I felt like I was in a movie. We paused long enough for him to look me in the eye and smile in that charming and silly way that made my heart accelerate. “No matter what happens, baby. I’ll always be here for you,” he said.

Jason and I would write and call one another over the next year. He always wanted to know when I was coming back. “When are you coming home?” he would ask. I’d say that it wasn’t home for me anymore, and he’d say that wasn’t true. When we talked, it was as if I had never moved. He kept me updated on his work, school, and friends. He wanted to know what was going on with me, and it was difficult for me to talk about my home life, so I didn’t. I knew that if he really knew what was happening, he would be angry at his inability to make things better for me. He truly was someone who wanted to make things the best they could be for those he loved. I knew I wasn’t moving back to Tennessee while I lived at home, and I had no desire to move back when I went to college. I knew that the best thing to do was to let him move on. I stopped calling as often, and he followed suit. I hadn’t heard from him in few months, and out of the blue, there he was. “Hey, baby.”

He’d just gotten in from a baseball game and wanted to know what was new. I was angry with him for calling. I told him that I was trying to get over him. “Well, good thing I called. You aren’t supposed to get over me,” he replied. I could hear the smile in his voice. Knowing I’d probably never see that smile again hit me harder than I was prepared to acknowledge. We quarreled. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t over the moon to talk to him. I told him I just needed to close that door. I stressed how important it was for us to be realistic. He grew angry at my distance and he asked if I wanted to talk to him again. I said no. We both hung up the phone saturated in anger and sadness. I really missed him, but I knew I’d never return to his world, so it was easier to let go. I didn’t really have a choice.

Fast forward to my first year in college, and I called him. His father answered the phone, and we talked for a bit, as he was happy to hear from me. He passed the phone to his wife, and we spent time catching up and laughing about old times. She was remorseful that I’d never moved back and expressed that Jason would be so happy to talk to me. She kept stressing that if I had stayed things would have been different for everyone, but she didn’t elaborate. Jason would need to call me back, as he was at work.

I’d busied myself after that call and wasn’t sure if I’d hear from him, but true to his mom’s word, he rang. I didn’t have Caller ID, so when I picked up the phone, I did so blindly. I said hello and heard him smile before he said, “Hey! Hey, it’s Jason! Mom said you called! I can’t believe you called…” and he took off talking a mile a minute. Years melted away, and we were two kids laughing and catching up. He grew serious when I asked him what his Mom meant about things being different. He explained he was about to become a father.

I smiled. Jason had wanted kids since we were in the sixth grade. I know that sounds odd, but he always looked forward to being a dad. The details of his saga didn’t matter, for I knew he would do the right thing by the mom and the child. We talked about my being at college and how, by all measures, our paths were going as planned.

Sixth Grade Graduation. I was only slightly embarrassed to have my father take this photo.

We both expressed how we’d missed the other over the years, and he asked if I’d ever “found another blonde haired, blue-eyed boy” to replace him. Nope. Never had. He was pleased at that. We spoke about the letters from each other we had kept (letters I still have). We ended the conversation with laughter, and I could feel his love and friendship as though no time had ever come between us. It was the last time I ever spoke to him. I would go on to see his brother and have communication with him for a bit, but I never spoke to Jason again.

When I discovered that Jason had died, the ice cold reality that I’d never have the opportunity to have the chance to see him, either by plan or circumstance, hit me on a level I couldn’t have expected. People we’ve not seen in a period of time live in a realm of possibility. We might get together one day. We might run into one another one day. When they die, that moment will never happen. Never. The finality of that is a harsh lesson to hold in your heart. I suddenly realized that I had hoped to see him one day and discover how it all turned out. Death destroys hope.

I’ve always been in love with the stars, but I find myself looking up and smiling at the energy I believe was added to the universe on the moment of his death. He is infinitely beautiful and a guiding light. His energy exists in the stars now.

Jason, I’m grateful for having known you. I’m honored to have been loved by you and to have had the opportunity to love you. I hope you had more days of joy and laughter than you ever had of sorrow. Thank you for being the boy who taught me that I didn’t have to fear the love or touch of another. Thank you for always making me feel beautiful and giving me the gift of your smile and supportive ear. Thank you for running to my defense when you felt I’d been harmed, and thank you for never hurting me. My sweet, groovy kind of love, thank you for seeing me. May you rest in peace and love.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an online painting class, and this is the result. It really couldn’t have been more perfect.

“Groovy Kind of Love” painted by Jeannie

The class I took, for those interested, is by Artist’s Palette Durham Region and Vera Malitskaya

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Review: Hillary Docu-Series on Hulu Episode One: The Golden Girl

Let me begin by stating that I have a bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. I believe in her as a person, a leader, a feminist, a politician, and as the woman I desperately wanted to call my President. It takes absolutely zero effort to entice me to watch a documentary (my favorite movie genre) about Hillary. Here are my thoughts on the docu-series on Hulu.

Hillary – directed by Nanette Burstein on Hulu

Hillary was born in Chicago, Illinois, and as a little girl, she didn’t grow up thinking she would be the president of the United States. Her childhood female influences did not work outside the home. Contrary to what many think of her, she wasn’t plotting world domination at an early age.

The film covers moments in her youth, from her world in the suburbs of Chicago and involvement in the Methodist church, to the Civil Rights movement. Her time at Wellesley, an all-girls college in Massachusetts is touched on, with friends, classmates, and teachers speaking about how social reform of the time was forming her political beliefs. Senator Edward Brookes was the graduation speaker. His speech essentially told the graduates to embrace their space and not get so worked up about everything, as much protest wasn’t really worth the effort or time. Hillary was chosen as the student speaker, and she went off script and addressed what he said. When you hear Hillary speaking in response to Senator Brookes, the voice of the woman I admire today is heard in the young graduate refuting the Senator who seemed to brush off the impact and importance of civil protest.

Hillary decided to go to law school and sat for the LSAT at Harvard. She was harassed by the male testers, admonishing her for being a female and having the audacity to dream of being a lawyer. She talks about the lack of reward that would have been given for showing emotion in a situation like this versus the world of today where people are constantly looking at your emotional response to any and all stimuli.

I relate to this, as I was raised by a family that believed if you fall and hurt yourself, you don’t cry, you wipe that part of yourself off and move along. Stiff upper lip. My parents were big proponents of phrases like, “never let them see you get upset, cry, etc…,” and I learned to react from a place of seeing myself through the eyes of others. That means you limit reaction when someone does something to you that you don’t appreciate, and you work harder to never be vulnerable to that attention again.

image by Bill Oxford

1969 Yale Law School

Hillary was one of 27 women law students at Yale. This is where she met Bill Clinton. There are personal photographs of their dating period, and President Clinton speaks about his first impressions of her. Bill had a Political and Civil Rights class with Hillary. Bill said, “She had a certain aura about her. “

The photos show a couple who are smitten with each other. That look of his love for her is pure and true and it sparkles in his eyes as he speaks of her today. Bill clearly loves Hillary and has been enamored with her since the first time he met her. “I just had this feeling that this is not going to be normal, and this could change your life.”

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing President Clinton speak in person. There is an undeniable charisma about him that is easy to see and enjoy. It is also evident why women are so easily drawn to him. He checks most of the boxes – handsome, funny, intelligent, witty, and charming. He “sees” you when he speaks to you. You aren’t one in a crowd. YOU are his audience of one. Very few people truly have this skill, and he excels. When he spoke at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), he was touring on behalf of the campaign for Hillary, and as he spoke about her, even about her political ideals, he spoke of her glowingly.

Hillary took a path all her own in law school. She was a feminist who was interested in women and children’s issues. She attributes her interest to her mother. Her mom never felt loved and left home at thirteen to work as a housekeeper. Hillary worked for Marian Wright Edelman, a civil rights activist and advocate for children.

Amy Chozick is featured in the film and speaks about the article she wrote about Hillary going undercover in Alabama to expose the illegal discrimination on the basis of race in private school academies that had been granted tax-exempt status.

Hillary and Bill graduated from Yale in June 1973. They traveled through Europe together and Bill proposed to her. Hillary requested more time, and Bill said he would wait. Bill knew he was going to return to Arkansas, and Hillary didn’t know in which direction her compass was set.

Upon returning home, she went to Washington, and in 1974, Watergate was the topic of the hour. Hillary worked on the Impeachment Committee. She worked on the memo for the grounds of impeachment, defining what high crimes and misdemeanors meant. Clinton encouraged Hillary to return to Illinois and run for office. She did not believe anyone would vote for a “pushy” woman like her.

1974 Arkansas

Hillary followed her heart to Bill and the University of Arkansas School of Law offered her a job.

Bill and Hillary were once on a walk, and Hillary commented that she thought a house was cute. Bill bought and furnished it and said she had to marry him since they now how this adult commitment. She accepted his proposal and they wed.

Within a year, Bill was elected Attorney General and they moved to Little Rock. Hillary went to work for the Rose Law Firm with the distinction of being the first female lawyer at the firm. She would ultimately become partner of the firm.

Bill Clinton served as Attorney General for two years and quickly moved on to become the Governor of Arkansas at the fresh age of 32. Hillary was the First Lady of Arkansas and she raised eyebrows, as she remained a working lawyer and the public also didn’t appreciate that she had kept her maiden name.

This was the beginning of her being picked apart. She was attacked for her hair, her name, her clothes, and her lack of children, just to name a few. I’m sickened by how similar the attacks are on her today in 2020.

In 1980, Chelsea was now part of the family, but Bill lost his reelection campaign. Feeling responsibility for his loss, Hillary took his name. She had a complete makeover. Clothes, hair, and contact lenses. Her transformation worked. Bill became Governor again in 1982, and he appointed Hillary in charge of reforming the public education system.

Can’t forget the emails…

image by Georgia de Lotz

The emails. Why aren’t we over the fact that her private emails were not on the government server when she was Secretary of State? She decided to use the server that had been set up for Bill, there was no regulation against it, and everyone knew it was operational because she responded to their emails from her personal email. What she did was not illegal. Colin Powell used a private email account and previous Secretaries of State did the same thing. She thought this story would go away quickly. We all know how much this didn’t go away. Classified information ended up on the server, and the FBI investigated it. It was determined that there was no deliberate mishandling of information. She was being accused of making her own rules. She admits that she was irritated by this questioning and feels she didn’t successfully handle it. She spoke with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and Mitchell pressed for an apology from Hillary. She didn’t supply one and that took over the news. She apologized in an interview with David Neal on ABC News. She gave the people what they wanted, but that didn’t make them happy. The emails are still brought up and probably will be until the end of time.

Bernie Sanders

This first episode briefly touches on Sanders. She is heckled by protestors at one of her campaign rallies. As they are escorted out of the building, she declares, “You may not be supporting me, but I’m supporting you.” Yeah, I thought, she really doesn’t give up on doing the best for all of us, even her loudest detractors.

The vitriol coming from the Bernie supporters in 2016 is evident in the presidential race today. Hillary was painted as a centrist, a corporatist, and an old-school democrat who doesn’t care about the little guy. Sound familiar? They are attacking Vice President Joe Biden with the same words as he competes with Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee in 2020.

The movie praises Bernie as a powerful messenger. I agree that he is, for he likes to speak in sound bites (Free Tuition For All), and defer his plans for such programs until a later date. Hillary, on the other hand, gets ground to stone for stating the truth and never promising unattainable goals. She was encouraged to get on the “free public education for all” train, but she does not believe it is attainable. It is more difficult to turn, “I believe in affordable, debt-free education with the ability to refinance your current school loan debt” into a rousing chant.

Ironic that we live in a world where so much information is available at our very fingertips and many people still desire ignorance. Hillary didn’t ask you to blindly follow her. She outlined and talked about her plans at every opportunity afforded her. You can’t make the unwilling listen, but the media and her dissenters characterized her as unable to get her message across to the public.

The film is sprinkled with shared moments with her staff as she travels the country for her campaign, reminding me of what we lost. These snapshots of time on her campaign trail reveal a funny, tired, resolute, strong, and devoted human. They reveal her humanity. There is a scene where she is greeting small business owners and she asks one of her staff if they have some money because she doesn’t have her purse. As a woman who often leaves her purse behind when doing things where a purse has no place, I’ve said that very sentence. These are the relatable moments that her detractors claim are non-existent. They would rather view her as cold and calculating in a prolonged effort to dehumanize her. Hillary admits she provokes strong opinions, both positive and negative.

Clips of her campaign to be the 45th President of the United States stir mixed emotions for me. I miss those days, and I miss the version of me who once believed that our nation would embrace a strong, female leader. Ultimately, I’m left in agreement with the summation made early in the film. Hillary is “one of the most admired and most vilified women in American history,” says Jake Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor for the Clinton campaign.

On to Episode Two: Becoming A Lady

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Knock Knock, Autumn is Here

or so they say….. it is a tad bit difficult to believe when our temps in Charlotte are still in the 90s. A warm Fall is on tap, but I’m ignoring that news with my current favorite things that murmur sweet Autumn coziness to my ears.

Fall TV is returning, and I’m here for it!

When I was growing up, my favorite magazine to get was the TV Guide Fall Preview issue. This was always one of their largest issues and was full of information about the coming season on tv. I highlighted my favorite shows and circled when they would be airing. I was very serious about my tv watching. *They still publish these guides and they are available at your local newsstand. 

Tune in to TV with the Fire TV Stick 4K

This summer I purchased the Fire TV Stick with 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, and it includes the Alexa Voice Remote. My Vizio tv had stopped supporting the apps for HULU and Netflix, and I could barely make it through a show without an error popping up that prevented me from completing the show.  I contacted Vizio and they confirmed that they no longer supported the apps and had no plans to update them. They advised I would continue to see the same errors. I was paying for services that had become unwatchable on my television but were fine on my other devices. 

Seeking a solution, I found the Fire TV Stick 4K, and I’m overjoyed with it. You download the apps you want, like HULU and Netflix, but you can also watch a seemingly endless line-up of other providers, including YouTube! I love that everything is in one place, and if you subscribe to HBO or other subscription channels, you can add those apps as well. 

The voice control is really a nice feature and prevents me from struggling to find a specific button. I just hit the microphone button and tell Alexa to pause or stop what I’m watching. I love seeing someone in a movie and asking Alexa to tell me more about that actor or search for more movies that they can be found in. You think you’ll never use it, but you will, and you’ll love it. 

Amazon music streams beautifully and you can have family karaoke night as the x-ray lyrics play on the screen. Again, you can add apps like Spotify and stream from your subscription service. 

Security Features: 

I’ve recently installed some Wyze lights in the living room, and I can use the remote to simply command, “Turn off the fan lights,” and off they go. This is one of my favorite features.

Additionally, my Wyze cameras are just a voice command away and viewable on the tv when I command Alexa to show me the front door or backyard camera. 

If you don’t have other Alexa devices, you may really dig the fact that you can make announcements to anyone while you are out of the room or away from home. You will need to use your Alexa app on your phone, and once you have entered your message, it will announce it on the tv (and other Alexa devices in your home). Way cool. 

As the time nears for family gatherings, you can choose to display your own photos on the tv screen, too. How excited will your grandmother be to see her photo on the tv? 


Fall Activities and Accessories

Cooler weather means it is a joy to be outside again. This summer has been a miserable one for me, with the high heat and humidity in Charlotte. I’m ready for some cooler weather and any excuse to wear a scarf. 

When I’m ready to look for a new activity, place to eat, or cute accessory, I turn to the deals at Groupon. This jewelry set is just the ticket for my style and wardrobe allowance at 82% off!

sweet small leaves necklace

Groupon has some great event packages that can’t be beat when you want to try a new activity or take on a hobby.

Maybe a trip to the local vineyard would be a great time!
credit: Jassy Onyae

Fall goodness + frugality = a happy Jeannie! 

Scarowinds is back in session at Carowinds. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Scarowinds. I want to love it, but I hate to be scared. The talent do a fantastic job with their makeup and theatrics for the event. If you love to be scared, you will enjoy it! It should definitely be experienced at least once. 

Creature Comforts:

Whether you’ve settled in for a night of tv or just returned home, nothing feels as good as a hot cup of coffee. 

credit: Christiana Rivers


Don’t forget to reward your tired muscles, too!

Relish in the permission Fall allows us to slow down and read. As luck would have it, I have a book to suggest–mine! Lol

Manual Exposure paperback book
Manual Exposure Paperback
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National Coloring Book Day

colored piggy with macaroons for coloring book day
Taking a moment to settle the mind and relax is a great method of self care!
How cute is this piggy I colored?
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons
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Color Me Calm

Have you joined the coloring craze?

I’ve always loved to color, and the great number of adult coloring books that are available today make it an easy option for anyone to grab a few moments for themselves to just clear the mind and declutter the spirit. I don’t need a study to tell me that taking some quiet time alone to color pushes that needed reset button in my mind. 

If you find yourself depressed or filled with anxiety, you’ll undoubtedly benefit from the focused energy and peaceful time spent coloring. Breathing slows down. Thoughts slow down and begin to unfold in ways that help you decompress and find solutions that were previously wrapped in worries. We could all use a push to slow down and live in the moment. 

I love the spiral notebooks, as they allow me to access all parts of the image, and the sheets are perforated should I want to frame the images or send them to someone!
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons

If you haven’t tried coloring, you have very little to lose. This hobby doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can take it with you on your travels. 

Freebie alert:

You can download a free Mini Coloring Book from Dover and register to win one of ten $15 Dover Gift Certificates. I’m not sponsored by Dover, but I do like their products and thought you might enjoy the freebie.

Coloring books have gone digital, too. I’ve tried some coloring phone apps, but they don’t compare to actually holding a pencil, crayon, or marker in my hand. However, some people love them!

from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons
from coloring book: Color Me! by New Seasons

Here are some other favorites I am using and love:

Classic Coloring Alice In Wonderland

Classic Coloring: Alice in Wonderland (Adult Coloring Book): 55 Removable Coloring Plates
The back of the prints have book passages on them.
Classic Coloring Alice in Wonderland Coloring Book
The pages disconnect from the spine with ease, making it a breeze to prepare for framing.

Winter Wonderland to Color by Waycott

Winter Wonderland to color by Flora Waycott
Winter Wonderland to Color by Flora Waycott
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book. Coloring book image.
There are serene images and many pages that offer beautiful typography, too.
Nathaniel Hawthorne quotation.
Anyone who quotes Nathaniel Hawthorne has me captivated.

Pet Gallery Fur Babies Coloring Book by Patrick Sullivan

Pet Gallery Fur Babies Color Book
Who doesn’t love to color the fur babies?
Hamster to color
They even thought to include a hamster! Fur babies come in all shapes and species!
Bulldog to color
Stop with the cuteness!

Johanna Basford Magical Jungle Coloring Book

Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford Coloring Book
Johanna Basford and her Magical Jungle sparked a great adult coloring book craze.
hippo in water to color
Elephant in the jungle to color.

Cats and Dogs in Style

Dogs & Cats in Style: Create Your World
Dogs & Cats in Style: Create Your World
One cannot have too many cats to color.
Scotty Dog to color
This is a very chic pooch waiting for me to color.

Color the day away…

Colored porcupine
Postcards to color and mail are also a great way to unwind and share the creative spirit!

Some links on my site are part of affiliate programs, and if you click on them or make a purchase from the link, I may make a few pennies.

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See You at The One Stop Holiday Shop in Charlotte, NC

One stop shop info sheet

Are you ready to begin your holiday shopping season? Come out to The One Stop Holiday Shop and support local small businesses and handmade artists as you cross off the gifts on your shopping list. Come by my Bushnell Unscripted Handmade booth and check out my new drink wraps, jewlery, and zipper bags! You can pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure, too.

Check out the list of vendors who will be present for your shopping experience:

pin Show Map Sardis Swim & Racquet Club