Let it Go! And How You Can.

Over the years, in my personal and professional life, I have been a sounding board for many people. I have listened and listened and listened. Many of those older than me have stated a common theme and that is that life is too short, they wished they had learned things sooner, and stopped to enjoy the little things for they are the big things.

If you don’t let things go, you may be stuck in the past. Ruminating is generally not helpful. Lettings things go, on the other hand, allows you to be in the present.

I aim to continue to work towards living in the present each day. Ultimately, I want to be happy and enjoy each and every day that I am afforded and blessed with. As a person, I know that I am imperfect and my days are limited. Therefore, I would like to be able to enjoy as many moments as possible.

I would love to be one of those happy people who just enjoy life all of the time, those that exude peace and happiness. Scratch that. I want to be me, and I want to be happy, positive, and loving as much as possible. I want to give others strength, inspiration, and laughter.

Over the last year, especially, I have learned that first, I must give myself those things. I am working on building myself up again. I have started pushing myself more. Pushing outside my comfort zone. Pushing myself to do things to be healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pushing myself to grow.

I am still learning to let things go. It is difficult, there are many things in the past that still bother me… far too many. But that is the past, and I’d like them to be behind me. But how do I do that?

-Acknowledge and Accept Feelings

When I have a negative emotional experience; when I feel angry, guilty, disappointed, etc, I have to acknowledge it and accept it. It takes work to name it, to sit with it a moment to accept it and not try to push it down or not feel it, or to change it.

-Move

Move to action. If there is something that you don’t like and it would be better if you changed it. Do you have the power to change it? Get a move on. Work to change it. Unfortunately, there is often no easy solution, but instead lots of hard work that will help you to make the change.

-Love

Do your best to have compassion. Everyone you know is fighting a hard battle. Tell those that you love that you love them. They may need to hear it. You may need to hear “I love you too”. Hug them (if they are not averse to them), hugs can help heal.

-Smile

Even when you don’t feel it, a smile can help. It can help you and it can help someone else. Trying to smile, can help it to become real for you. It can also improve your mood (even holding a pencil in your teeth lengthwise can improve moods per previous studies)

-Patience

Have patience with yourself. Give yourself time. Have self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead take a moment to acknowledge some appreciations about yourself something positive about you or something good that you did. And take some time to do something good for you.

-Reflection:

This week, these things have helped me tremendously. It was very hard to acknowledge some of the anxiety, fear, shame and guilt that I experienced recently, and not only acknowledge but to also share that with a roomful of people that I don’t really know. I cried, and it was a little embarrassing. For a moment, I continued judging myself and feared that those around me were also judging me. But I continued sharing and I got through it. I was reminded that no one was judging me, I was given a tissue, and even thanked for my courage. I was able to acknowledge, accept, and let go. I even felt… empowered? peaceful? In sharing those words, I made it okay for others to open up more and to cry. Perhaps, it was brave and courageous as they said. Perhaps, I could let go and allow myself to feel that. Perhaps, I am making a new normal for me afterall.

 

A Cleaning Pen for Lens Care and Scope Cleaning


I love photography but dislike cleaning. Time spent cleaning kind of feels like good time is wasted. Fortunately, this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen makes cleaning quick and easy. I’ve used it on my camera lenses, filters, viewfinder, and iPhone. It can also be used on scopes, which I think would make it a thoughful Father’s Day Gift!

The red slider button reveals the cleaning brush to sweep away dust. It then retracts back into the pen with the slide of the red button to keep the brush pristine.

PentexCleaningPen1

The other end of the pen has a dual-sided cleaning head; simply pop off the cap to use it. Inside, the cleaning head can be removed and flipped over to use a smaller cleaning head. The large cleaning head is great to cleaning lenses and filters, while the smaller cleaning head is ideal for cleaning cell-phone cameras and viewfinders.

PentexCleaningPen2.jpg

I have used similar cleaning pens before, however, they had cleaning fluid in one end. The fluid would leak and dry up, so because this one doesn’t have that issue to deal with and instead is ready, perpetually for cleaning, I like this one much better! It gets the job done quickly and efficiently so I can get on with snapping clear, crisp pictures.

Due to my experience with this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen, I would highly recommend it for photographers, gun owners, bird watchers, selfie takers, and more.

Disclaimer: I received this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

Scoring Some Deals and Trying New Eats

Our budget has gotten tighter with school ending for the semester, so I have been working on ways to save. One way that I have been saving, and eating better is by shopping at Trans Asian Market in Biddeford for great deals on produce! I love it because not only do I get the best deals, but I also find new foods to try.

Yesterday, I got a yellow cantaloupe to try. I didn’t know they even existed, so I got one. When I got it home, I decided to peel and cut it up for snacks. I was really surprised how easy it was to cut through the peel. It was a little challenging to distinguish how much I needed to trim off to remove the rind though because there was little color difference on the inside. The fruit itself was sweet and very juicy. If you were to arrange melons on a spectrum of sweetness, I would place yellow cantaloupe between regular (orange) cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. It almost had a hint of pear flavor.

I also scored some great deals on veggies! Some of the produce is pre-bagged for you, and some you can select yourself in different amounts. There is usually a slightly better price for pre-bagged items. I got a couple of bags of mixed peppers and when I got home, I noticed that one of my red peppers was nearly as big as the melon that I picked up!

I sliced up all of the peppers that I bought and paired them with some boneless chicken breasts that I bought on sale at Hannaford this week to make Chicken Fajitas. (Ironically, the Asian Market also has awesome burrito wraps too).

Pepper surprise #orange #prizeinside

A post shared by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

I searched Pinterest and came across a Grilled Chicken Fajita Marinade that claimed to be The Best Fajita Recipe . Luckily, we had all of the ingredients so I gave it a shot. It had good flavor without being overpowering and I think it was better than sizzling restaurant chicken fajitas! My family loved it so I will definitely be making it again!

Tonight, I’ll be making ribeye (I saved on it by buying a whole one at Emery’s Meat Market when I made a trip to visit my dad). This time, I won’t be making my own marinade, but instead I will use a new one of Sweet Baby Ray’s. I love their BBQ sauce! My mother-in-law picked up the marinade because Hannaford was out of our usual go-to, and it turned out the new one became my hubby’s new fav (it does pay off to be Semper Gumby… even if it is only Saepe… LOL). I think I will also roast some asparagus and skewer some big, beautiful baby (ironic) bella mushrooms.

I’m not sure what else I will make since Steve is not big on asparagus or ‘shrooms and he won’t eat baked potato. (For someone who claims not to be picky… he is a bit picky… I try most to please him though. As the saying goes “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.)

Another way that I’ve been saving is on my gas mileage. I still can’t believe, that we were able to turn a negative into such a huge positive! Got rid of my beat up Sonata and got a brand new Nissan Altima on a lease without changing my payment!

Loving the #gasmileage I'm getting with my #nissan #altima

A post shared by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

And my seats are so comfortable!!! I love it! And I’m loving the beautiful weather we’ve been getting, it has been so nice to enjoy some sun! There is little better than the sound of the waves! It gives me such a feeling of inner peace like nothing else. One of my ultimate goals in life would be to live near the ocean.

Growing Our First Garden Together

This past weekend, Steve and I planted our very first garden. I have helped pick vegetables in family gardens, but have yet to grow my own from start to finish. This year, I decided to just do it. We made a trip to Home Depot with my in-laws, and they happened to have seedlings on sale, so it worked out great!

I chose Boston Pickling Cucumbers. I prefer the taste and texture of pickling cucumbers and I thought with Boston in the name, it might be a hearty variety to grow in Maine with similar temperatures. I got some herbs which I will plant in a window box (Spearmint, Dill, Oregano, and Basil). I got 2 heirlooms and a black beauty tomato plant which I planted in buckets and placed on the deck. For the garden, I got a flat of Bibb Lettuce (12), the 2 cucumber plants, and a zucchini, and summer squash seedlings.

I’ve been watering and admiring them, and over the last few days, I’ve seen a significant difference in each plant’s growth. I’m pretty excited! I really the veggies do well and pests and critters don’t demolish them as they get bigger.

Each Moment is Sweeter with Honeycomb

I remember the first time I tried honeycomb. I love trying new things, so I was really excited. I watched the bees as they worked on a honeycomb displayed in a glass case. There was something rather magical and beautiful about the uniform cells on the comb and the amber glow of the honey in the sunlight.

I purchased a piece in a small, plastic box at the Common Ground Fair. The taste of organic honey was so splendid. It was sweet and floral and much better than the honey found in the bear shaped bottles at the grocery store. I rarely find honeycomb locally and it has been a long time since I’ve been to the annual Common Ground Fair, so I was very excited to learn that I would be able to review Honey Land Honeycomb!

Disclaimer: I received Honey Land Honeycomb at a deep discount in exchange for my honest, and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

The Honey Land Honeycomb is the biggest piece of honeycomb that I’ve ever seen sold as a single unit. I was splendidly surprised and happy with the size of this honeycomb since I tried it and it was delicious. It was big enough to enjoy the sweet, decadent taste for days.

Love me some #honeycomb This one was huge, fresh, and delicious! #gotitatadiscount #forhonestreview

A post shared by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

The only downside I found with this honeycomb was the packaging. Although it proudly and beautifully displays the honeycomb, it has a plastic tape-like seal which was a bit frustrating and difficult to remove but also allowed a little of the honey to escape so the case, although well-protected in bubble-wrap, arrived a bit sticky.

This honeycomb is all-natural and organic and no pesticides or herbicides are used with the bees. Thankfully I didn’t find any dead bees in my case of honeycomb (after reading a bit more about honeycomb online, apparently, this is an issue that some people have encountered with honeycombs before); I was happy that my honeycomb arrived beautifully with none of its makers! The comb is raw and unprocessed. Pieces of the comb can be enjoyed on toast, crackers, and yogurt, but I enjoy it simply by itself. You can just break off a piece and pop it in your mouth. Chewing it for a bit releases all of the flavor and nutrients stored in the wax (you simply spit out the wax after).

Overall, this honeycomb was superb! The flavor was even better than I remembered! I would definitely recommend it to those who like honey, love honeycomb, and those who have never tried it.

DreamZ for Dreams

I find that taking Melatonin can help me to relax and fall asleep more quickly and that it also helps me to stay asleep. Recently, I tried a natural, herbal sleep aid that also contains Melatonin (3mg) as well as other herbs DreamZ herbal sleep aid

I have tried a number of sleep aids including Melatonin, and other similar herbal remedies like DreamZ. I have found that not all are created equally.

DreamZ I found did get the job done, I was able to get to sleep and sleep through the night pretty well. I woke up in the morning feeling rested also. However, I found that when I opened these, they had a strong, sort of weird, herbal aroma (I tried another product which in comparing the labels have the exact same ingredients and identical amounts of each) but the scent was not as strong as DreamZ. I found the smell and after-taste that I experienced with these a bit off-putting which is why I am giving these a 3 out of 5 stars “it’s okay”. They get the job done but I’m not a fan of the smell and after-taste. I also typically take 5mg of Melatonin and these contain 3mg, so I took 2 of these each night; I wish they had options to select a different level of Melatonin for those that need a little more.

Disclaimer: I received DreamZ for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

Cellphone Camera Lens Kit

I love technology and gadgets! I also love taking pictures! I may take too many pictures with my cellphone. Although I have a DLSR camera, I often use the camera on my iPhone. A lot of times, it is just more convenient than to lug around a camera bag. Also, when I take pics from my iPhone I can post directly to instagram and other social media sites, or I can share directly with family and friends.

I was very excited to learn that I was selected to review the Zeso Cellphone Camera Lens Kit.

Discliamer: I received the Zeso Cellphone Camera Lens kit for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

This lens kit comes with 3 different lenses – a macro, fisheye, and wide angle lens. They easily screw into the provided Zeso clip and the clip simply clips to your phone (like a clothespin). Easy peasy.

I gave this lens kit a test recently with my iPhone 6s after I bought a new car (well, I’m leasing but yeah…). It had also rained so the droplets of water collected on the car which made for some fun pics with the macro lens. The fisheye was also pretty fun!

I found that with the macro, I had to get extremely close and then do my best to be still while I took the picture which proved a bit challenging. I was able to get most of the pic in focus, but sometimes it was difficult to get all of it to be really crisp and clear.

The set comes with a nice travel case with padding and cutouts inside to securely store the lenses. The macro and wide-angle lens are screwed together so they together have one lens cap, and the fisheye has another lens cap. The set also comes with a small, black, drawstring pouch. Given the padded, zippered case with carabiner, I didn’t think that the drawstring was necessary and I don’t think I will use it. I wish that instead, it came with a cleaning cloth which I think would prove more useful for this set. My lenses came with some smudges or film of some sort. Luckily I had cleaning cloths on hand for my regular camera so I just used that to give these lenses a quick wipe-down.

I think this kit would be great for photography lovers, as well as travelers. As I said earlier, bringing a DSLR on the go is nice to be able to snap good quality pictures but babysitting and toting the camera around is not always so fun or convenient. Living in Maine, I also spend a lot of time thinking about if I should be bringing my camera with me certain times because I don’t want to leave it in my car for any length of time in the winter. I think that this kit would be great to bring on trips because it’s all contained in a small container. It would be too bad if it got lost with luggage or stolen on a trip persay, but because it is much more affordable than expensive camera equipment, I also think this would make it ideal for travel. It also helps to take some better and more interesting pictures with your cellphone which is really neat!

I would definitely recommend this kit to others interested in taking pictures with their cell phones (and because of its design, it can fit just about any phone!).

Shake Like a Boss

Sometimes you have to shake like a boss! Okay, okay… you don’t have to, but you won’t regret it when you do! Today is my last day of classes for the fall semester. It also happens to be my husband’s last day of finals as well. To bid the semester goodbye and welcome summer break, I think I’ll be doing a little more shaking with this sweet new Cocktail Shaker Set that I received from ShikShook!

Disclaimer: I received the ShikShook Cocktail Shaker Set for free in exchange for my honest, and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

When I was in college, I bought myself a nice shaker set which came with a stainless steel shaker with a rubber grip, a jigger, a strainer, and stirrer. Although this set does not have a separate strainer or stirrer, the shaker itself of course has a strainer, and instead, this set comes with 2 liquor bottle pourers which is a nice bonus. The set is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. It is also lifetime and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. It comes with an ebook of 100 drink recipes that pairs well with this set (great for beginners and more advanced mixologists and consumers).

ShikShook Cocktail Set

The ShikShook Shaker, jigger, and pourers come in stainless steel which will not rust. The shaker is nice and big (24 oz.) to hold plenty of ice and plenty of liquid. Each piece is monogrammed with the ShikShook logo which makes for a classy look.

ShikShook Strainer

The set also come with a black monogrammed fabric bag which is quite large and can be used to store the entire kit with plenty or room to spare for some nips, cards, or other small bar items. Alternatively, you could use the bag to gift a bottle along with the set.

ShikShook Bag

Personally, I don’t need the bag, or would prefer it to be smaller to just contain the jigger and the shaker. I also wish that it had a rubberized hand-grip on the shaker to help me maintain a good grip on the shaker without my hand getting cold.

Overall, I do really like this set and would recommend it for personal use or as a gift.

When Your Hearing is Important But You Want to Really Enjoy Your Music

Believe it or not, hearing health is something that I think about often. I cover sensation and perception in psychology, including hearing. And my husband suffers from hearing loss from his military experience as well. It can be really frustrating when I hear a noise at night or my car is making a “funny sound” but he can’t hear it. I know it’s also really frustrating to us both when he can’t hear me at times as well.

Now that hearing loss is closer to me, preventing hearing loss has become even more important to me. When I came across Snug Play+ Kids Volume Limiting Headphones, I knew that I needed to check them out.

Although these volume limiting headphones are designed for children, they would fit some adults. They are adjustable. With the headband fully extended, they fit me just fine. They are nice quality. The ear cushions are very comfortable. The headband also has a nice cushion at the top (inside the headband) which makes them really comfortable to wear. The volume still gets to be reasonably loud. I don’t like my music too loud through headphones. These made music loud enough to really enjoy listening without feeling like your harming your hearing.

Using these volume limiting headphones could help you to enjoy music or audio from movies, etc while preserving your hearing health. You can also listen at a good volume without bothering those around you as the earphones provide good insulation as well.

They come in a good selection of colors. I chose the gray so it would be gender neutral and my niece and nephews could all enjoy taking a turn using them. They fold up so they can be stored easily and travel with you without concern of breaking.

I would definitely recommend these to those with children or adults with up to a medium sized head.

Disclaimer: I received these SnugPlay + kids headphones for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

Be a Bear in the Kitchen


Once it warms up, I like to cook on the grill a lot. Recently, I was able to try some Culinary Claws which are kitchen and grill tools designed like bear claws. Not only do they make kitchen and grill jobs easier, but also more fun.

bear claws

Disclaimer: I received Culinary Claws in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

My family loves pulled pork, but I rarely make it because shredding pork is a bit difficult as it hurts my hands to shred it with forks. I found that they made shredding pork much easier by holding the chunk of meat still with one of the claws and dragging the other claw across the meat. These claws also make shredding meat and tossing salads more fun because, like me, you will probably want to pretend to be a bear (unless it is just me or if you prefer to be Wolverine). Either way these claws will probably make your kitchen and grill work easier and more fun. These claws are made of hard, durable plastic, and they are easy to clean as they can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher. For these reasons, I would recommend them for shredding meat, tossing salads, or flipping meat on the grill.