Out With The Old

As I sit here in the fresh, cold air-conditioning of Cavender Toyota in San Antonio (while husband drools over a few trucks and we wait for my car to be serviced), I can’t help but think of my contentment. Mostly for life in general, but also productivity and work-wise.

We have had an iPad mini for a while – but bought it as a toy without really a purpose and haven’t used it very often. We recently were at our local AT&T store and noticed the awesome ZAGG Folio Keyboard/Case that one of the associates had and thought it would be easier to use our iPad mini with a keyboard attachment than the LifeProof case we have always had it in. Googled it – yes, they do make them for mini’s!

‘lil Mini iPad with ZaggFolio Keyboard Case

Found one for half-price on EBay and a few days later… we have an adorable mini-laptop that is super user-friendly!
It had been set-up on my husbands iCloud account, but he realized how much more I would use it with the handy keyboard (he is a chicken-pecker-typist) and told me to set it up with mine! I did – and now… all of my amazing apps sync seamlessly with my iPhone, iPad Mini, MacBook Pro, and iMac at work. I LOVE it so much!
I have been trying to avoid adding my work emails to my phone to encourage healthy ‘switching off’ habits, which I really have a hard time doing, and now with ‘lil iPad in the mix, I have found a happy solution! I added my work accounts to the iPad, and only have them on a manual fetch instead of push, so I can have access to them if I need to – and honestly who would rather type an email on a phone than full qwerty keyboard anyway? No one, that’s who.


It also fits perfectly in my handbag! And this tiny handbag was a gift and not one I would have bought for myself, mostly due to its size that seemed way too small to be practical at first – but I love it so much now! It is a Coach (also not a brand I would have chosen) and only about 8 inches long, by 4 inches wide, by 6 inches high. (Tiny!) As it turns out – I have habitually had way too many useless items in my handbags that I never truly needed to tote around with me.
Now, items in my handbag include: Aweseome ‘lil mini; iPhone; Headphones (aka, lifesavers); Vera Bradly ID/Card holder; Business Cards and Holder; Pen and Checkbook; Compact Hairbrush, Blistex and 2 lipsticks; Name Badge; Car Key, House Keys, and Work Keys; and a lot of receipts.
I would say that is a economic use of space and full of necessities!

Erin Condren LifePlanner

Some of my most favorites apps have to be:
ToDoist; iCal (my life organizer); Paprika; and MailChimp.
Without these, I don’t know what I would do! I had the bright idea at the start of the year, to spend a pretty penny and purchase the beautiful Erin Condren LifePlanner (spiral bound paper planner), thinking it would come into use with all of my new tasks to remember. Wrong. So. Wrong. I used it for about a month and it only confused everything! No reminders, location settings, concise to-do list, or repeat settings are available with a hand written planner! Who needs paper when you have always legible, cloud convenient, and handy apps? Only the Pinterest perfect stay-at-home moms! LifePlanner? HA! Life confuser! I can not carry around a spiral bound notebook everywhere I go.. but always have my phone with me. :)

Some other ways that ‘lil iPad is easier than my phone (in traveling cases where I am not at my desk with MacBook Pro or iMac) is that, with the keyboard, it is always in landscape mode, making drafting MailChimp Campaigns and emails, editing websites, and using any website on Safari, super-duper easy! And with having OneDrive and GoogleDrive apps on it, combined with the full version of Microsoft Excel and Word – my capabilities on my mini-office are practically endless. Apart from Adobe inDesign, I have yet to think of anything I can do at my iMac that I can’t on ‘lil mini.
🙌🏻 Whoop-Whoop!
…plus… Emojis on iPad! 😛 hehe

Meal Planning Reality Check

I feel like I go to the grocery store all the time. Seriously.

Lately, every two days or so I end up needing a main ingredient to make for supper – at 5:30pm. This is pretty equal parts due to getting settled in a new living area, and lack of planning..
With classes starting up in a week and a half (eek! *heart palpitations*), I’m going to end up having even less preparation and organization time.
So something’s gotta give.
The solution is that i’ll be hopping on the meal-planning-bandwagon.

There are all sorts of benefits that come from meal planning – budgeting being an obvious one, but also only buying groceries once or twice a month, eating more healthily, and mostly, just having an easy, already thought out meal that’s ready to be tossed together in my kitchen.
So much easier than going to the grocery store at 6:00pm and eating at 8:00pm – and better for you, too!

I just downloaded the Paprika App for Mac, and although I haven’t added in any info other than having a bag of potatoes in my pantry, it looks AMAZING already.Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.03.53 AM

I’m so excited to use it tomorrow! (It might be 1:00am as I type this, currently. whoops…. time management out the window with the night owl.) One of the reasons this app is so popular is because of its simplicity and effectiveness. I can add and save recipes that I either type out myself or that are pulled onto the app directly from the web, then add them to certain days of the month for particular meals (I will probably plan the whole rest of the month), and then the app generates a grocery list for me! Pure. Genius.

I think that the key for our utilization with us being a family of two, is going to be understanding where in our plan that we will eat leftovers, and ensuring that the recipes I choose aren’t too savory and amazing- resulting in a very expensive grocery store trip. You can’t eat a roast three times a week, you know? You have to throw in some lighter meals with less expensive cuts of meat.

I also think that this app may be a way for us (me) to experiment with a lot of recipes that I wouldn’t normally try. Yay for variety!

You’ll definitely be hearing how it goes in the near future!
Do you meal plan? How do you do it?!

 

P.s. Did you notice that I changed my blog logo from my (beloved) giraffe picture with the overlay of the flags, to just the flags?! I love it so much! I also added in an aqua vector pattern background. :) Oh, so much happiness!

New Year- New Blog Look!

Oh my goodness, y’all… I just love it SO much! I changed the theme on my blog, and it is just so amazing!! I don’t know why I was so apprehensive about doing it… It is a big change and it’s hard to go back if you decide you don’t like it- but as previously mentioned, I LOVE IT!

It’s the Penscratch theme (and did I mention I love it?). It is clean and crisp and lookie there –> My widget I love so much is no longer a hidden hard-to-find pop-out menu. Whoop whoop. I also love that the date and comments are able to be seen at the top of each post on the home page, and all of my pages are listed at the top! The only dislike I have, is the dark blue of the hyperlinks are hard to notice as you are reading, but alas, the rest makes up for it.

I hope you like it, too! Let me know! :)
Oh, happy day!

Blogging Tips and Tricks

Hello, there! Are you a blogger, or new to having a blog?
Whether it’s your New years’ resolution, you’re coming back to a dormant page, or you’re an avid post-maker, here are some tips for all bloggers alike. :)

Now, I don’t have the most ‘successful’ site, in the eyes of others – I don’t have sponsors, or over 1,000 followers, but I have posted 46 heart-felt posts and interacted with some pretty awesome people across the globe because of it since September 2014. Throughout the short lifetime of my blog, I can reflect on some learned tips that could be of use to others.

  • Firstly –Choose your blog name very wisely! – You can’t change this– so even though I am the ‘Texan in South Africa’ that is now back in Texas, that will go back every year for an undisclosed amount of time back to South Africa…. I really think that in hindsight, even though it seemed such a perfect name at the time, I could have picked a less concrete name to have gone with. If you know of a way to change your blog name on your blog- please do tell! I have done a bit of research and it seems the only way is to potentially upgrade to the paid platform or create a whole new blog- which is not an option for me- too many dear posts to lose!
  • Write down a blog schedule – Topics should be those that will inspire you and be easy to manage. Drafting a schedule makes goals- so start with just two posts a week on specific days – do that for a month and then increase to three. And you don’t have to sit down on the Tuesday you want to post- you can do them both on the same Sunday evening and schedule them to post on the days you want!
  • Interact with other blogs! <– This is a biggie! The only way you are Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 12.05.48 PMgoing to increase your blogging confidence (therefore blogging more and completing your posting goals) is by getting a tad bit of traffic and feedback (comments) on your blog! And the only way that is going to happen is to go visit other blogs on your reader – follow a topic, (preferably one that is similar to your blog) pick one (I always pick blogs to read that don’t have thousands of followers- helping the other little guys out!), read it a bit, and then click that follow button – they will be sure to check yours out and then reciprocate that follow to yours! And don’t forget to join in on the conversation and COMMENT on a post! As a blogger speaking to a fellow blogger- comments are the hugs of the blogosphere, are they not?! They are the warm little notifications that someone has read your post you potentially spent hours on, enjoyed it, and taken the time to give you their thoughts back! Which brings me to our next bullet…  Continue reading “Blogging Tips and Tricks”

Happy 1st Day of 2016!

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Except for the fact that it is today instead of tomorrow, and it’s a leap year this year, Brad. ;) so 366 pages.

Oh, happy day! A whole year has come and gone, and a new one has taken its place. People all over the world for the next couple of weeks will be using that eraser to scratch out the ‘5’ and replace it with a ‘6’ for 2016 – I know I will be! I have to remind myself for weeks on end that it’s a new year- almost until the point that it’s the end of that year with a new one on the way again!

Did you notice on the home page? I changed the year on the copyright! It looks like i’m entering my third calendar year of blogging! Whoop whoop! I can’t wait for all that 2016 will bring- good and exciting things indeed- and I wish the same for you, too!

 

As far as resolutions are concerned, I can’t remember the last time that I sat down and wrote some out on a January 1st, so why not now? I am sitting, after all…

Victoria’s 2016 Resolutions/Goals:
Be more patient.
Be more kind.
Be less critical of myself and others.
Develop better time management. (Although i’m sure this will come on its own as soon as this school semester starts- yep, you read that right- school semester- stay tuned for that update..)
Bring pilates back into my life as a daily routine. – this will require the purchasing of some mat equipment.
Start running. (cliché, yes, I know… i’m sure that of all of the lists written across the globe today, this is probably the most common one, but it’s always a good one!)
-Hunt more. (duh)
-Join a Texas IDPA group
-Get my concealed handgun license.
-Curse less. (it’s a problem, i’ll admit)
-Take. More. Pictures!!
-Become a more confidant swimmer.
-Take a beach vacation.
-Read more (going back to time management…)
-Wake up earlier
-Stop settling for throwing my hair in a bun- appearances matter!
-Eat out less.
-Plan our meals- and buy accordingly.
-Create a financial budget.
-Get more crafty.
and last but not least,
-Blog more!

What are your New Years’ resolutions or goals? Do we have any that are the same?

Until next time!
I hope you had a most blessed and wonderfully refreshing January 1st, 2016!

P.s
As previously mentioned (again), I have been absent as of late due to the crazy busyness of life. A couple of things that I (we) have done in the last couple of weeks, includes remodeling a small house, surviving family encounters throughout the holiday season, and going hunting (although unsuccessfully) a couple of times. It even snowed while we were in the blind- in Del Rio of all places!

The air was so pretty filled with all of the dainty dancing white specks, and the Whitetail Deer looked to be having some fun with it, too.

 

As Close To Oblivion

 Here I am, once again at Brooklyn mall, pretty tipsy off of one glass of TriBeCa’s house Sauvignon Blanc, listening to none other than Robbie Wessels’ Grootste Treffers- the one at the moment being “Leeuloop”.  I just finished eating some super awesome chicken strips (my favorite) and it was such a huge serving, that it could have easily fed two. My super amazing cappuccino just arrived, and I’ve gotta tell you, that is certainly one thing I’m going to miss in upcoming weeks- the amazing coffee everywhere you go in South Africa.
 Seriously- this culture enjoys their coffee! I have been exceptionally spoiled with gourmet, properly made, high quality, coffee in the variety of cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, and filter coffee that hasn’t been sitting in a pot since 6:00AM. Ah, South African coffee, how I will miss you so. Continue reading “As Close To Oblivion”

Thankfulness: Day 1

 Today I am thankful for:

My super awesome bible app on my phone, and the fact that I have the ability to have an iPhone.


Even though the word is literally right at my fingertips almost every minute of everyday, I still fail at bringing it into my life each day. I’m really hoping that this thirty day thankfulness challenge through scripture will change that and encourage me to make the amazing words of the bible be more a part of my daily life. Continue reading “Thankfulness: Day 1”

Never-ending Laundry

Laundry is just one of those never-ending chores.
Laundry, Dishes, Sweeping, Mopping… As soon as you thought they were done, they are ready to be done all over again.

When I first moved to South Africa, I wasn’t too pleased with the fact that no one uses tumble dryers here- everyone hangs their clothes out on drying racks.

But shortly thereafter, I fell in love with laundry all over again. Continue reading “Never-ending Laundry”

NaBloPoMo: Confession

Since I am new to the National Blog Posting Month, I have to admit, I was a bit misled in what it’s all about. Since it is called the National Blog Posting Month, I was under the assumption that this was a one month a year thing- as it turns out, I was wrong. There is a NaBloPoMo every month.

AND to top it off, since the suggested blog prompts on the Blog Her site are only on weekdays… I also thought that those were the only posting days. Wrong-o! Its EVERY. DAY.  Oy vey.

So, i’m not ending my challenge just yet, peeps- but this may be more difficult than I imagined.

Good news is, if it’s really successful and I really enjoy it (as it has been so far) I don’t have to wait a whole year to try it all again! I can do the challenge every six months, every other month, or just when I feel I have all my creativity coming the the brink of explosion. :)

International Travel: Flying Habits

Hello there again! We booked our plane ticket back to Texas last night, and it got me to thinking about how much of a seasoned international traveler I am. Traveling a lot is one of the things that goes hand-in-hand with having an international marriage.

Because of this, I know airport call signs by heart, which airlines have the best food and entertainment, time zone differences off the back of my hand, and I have my passport and frequent flier numbers memorized – for myself and my husband.
Last but not least, another skill that comes with traveling often- I am an expert packer. I know exactly how to pack our check-in bags and what to carry on the plane, both in my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin, and what I want in my purse within easy arm reach.

After 12 transcontinental flights, you get a bit of a gist for what you need on the flight and a timeline of how to survive it best. Continue reading “International Travel: Flying Habits”

Blog Stats

Hello again! Two days in a row- I haven’t failed at NaBloPoMo, yet! Whoop!

While taking part in this challenge, I want to see if posting more often produces more traffic to my blog- or if longer article-like posts less often (as I have done before), have similar results.

Here are what my stats looked like for 2015, on Sunday evening the 1st of November, just before starting NaBloPoMo. Continue reading “Blog Stats”

This thing called a ‘blog’.

Hello there kind reader.
Once again, thank you for taking time out of your day to read the words I write.
Speaking of that, do you know how long it takes to formulate a blog post and incorporate all of the niceties such as format and pictures? A long time.

It takes at minimum, about 2 hours per (normal, long) post to get everything done. (Not including the time I spend reloading my own website, re-reading, and editing for the next week…) Now, while I enjoy doing this all, and really do so for my own form of entertainment, it is still really nice to see visitors and feedback to a post. It feels great to know that people are reading my blogs, and even better to get a comment or two.

So, to those of you who have commented previously, I give you a big virtual hug and “Thank You!”- it means a lot to me and provides (sometimes much needed) encouragement to spend another span of time writing the next post. :)

Thanks again for reading!

Hello, Hallo, Здравствуйте, Bonjour!

Hello there, people of the world.

I must apologize for not having had the diligence or inspiration to really sit down and put thoughts to words since my last post. Interestingly enough, that post (5 Reasons My Children Will Hunt) has been extremely popular. Since I posted it in March, it has been viewed 446 times, by people from 29 different countries! My homepage (which has access to all of the blog posts) has been visited 722 times! The most popular countries have been the United States, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France, and Australia. I am shocked by how worldly diverse the visits to my site have been! The internet truly is an amazing tool.
Therefore, whoever and wherever you are as you happen to be reading this right now- Thank You for visiting my site!

…So what all have I been up to for the past six months?
It includes a lot of new experiences, travel, adventures, laughs, and learning-
But you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out more! :)

She’s in love with a MacBook

I wasn’t partial to any specific make of computer- Until I met my MacBook just over a month ago.

It was daunting at first- trackpad gestures and finder to name a few. But oh, how my love has grown.

I must admit, the first couple of days after getting my MacBook, I thought that I wouldn’t ever learn how it all works. But oh my good-golly, it is amazing! After the first week, I had it all down. Now, my phone and computer work seamlessly and efficiently together. If you have an iPhone and enjoy it- I strongly suggest taking the leap and buying a MacBook. Continue reading “She’s in love with a MacBook”