Friday, May 29, 2015

Jax Seal of Approval: Mercari

I’ve been in the process of cleaning out my apartment for the past few months.
I currently have stuff shoved everywhere and anywhere.
There is even an overflow of stuff slowly taking over TheViking’s dry cleaners.

Part of this process has included me trying to sell the things that I will never use again.
As much as I would love to squeeze into my Frock dress, I’m never going to be THAT skinny again.
Poshmark has been a help with this.  I’ve gotten rid of several things while making some extra cash.
Remember when I made this post?  I’m sure Poshmark was thrilled with my review!

Somewhere along the line I stumbled across a new app called Mercari.
Like Poshmark, Mercari is a great aid to my clean out, but it does have its own pros and cons.
You know Jax is going to neatly spell it all out for you, don’t you?  I mean, come on now!

**Mercari is currently not charging the buyer/seller any fees during its beta launch.
**Mercari doesn’t limit you to only selling/buying woman’s clothes.
**Mercari doesn’t limit you to only selling/buying clothes.  You can buy/sell a wide variety of things.
**Mercari gives you a few different shipping options so you can pick what’s best for you!
**Mercari has a customer service option that you can chat with directly through the app.
**Mercari allows you to track a shipment directly through the app.
**Mercari utilizes a rating system that rates the seller AND the buyer.
**Mercari pays out through direct deposit or a check in the snail mail.

**Mercari does not have a option to re-post your items.  The initial post goes to the top of the list and then gets lost as time goes on.
**Mercari does not protect buyers/sellers with bundle shipments.
**Everything is based on the buyer/sellers actions.  A long period of time has to pass before Mercari steps in.  This could mean delay in payment if your buyer is inconsiderate.
**Mercari notifies the user that there is no fee for the beta launch, but doesn’t give much information.  It would be nice to know when this will end and how much of a fee will be implemented.

I made sure that I really made myself familiar with this application before posting my review.
After a month of selling several items, I have been pretty pleased.
All transactions have gone through smoothly for me so far.
Direct deposits have been made to my account without any hassle.
I even tested their customer service.  They did respond to my inquiry, but it took a couple of days.
But, you all already knew that I wouldn't give such an honor without doing my homework.

Without further adieu, it’s my honor to extend the Jax Seal of Approval to Mercari!
I can only imagine the amount of happiness the creators are feeling after getting this high honor!

Have you or will you try the Mercari application?

**Please note that this was not a paid review.  In fact, I’m sure Mercari does not even know I exist!**
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wedding: Two Month Marker

Related:  Also see these wedding posts -->

what to do at two month wedding planning; wedding to do list; wedding checklist; two month wedding marker

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

What to do at: TWO MONTHS until the wedding

Unity Candles
We had our unity candle hand made in ballerina pink with a gold candle holder for display.  They really did an excellent job making a gorgeous candle that’s pretty enough to display for life.  They also helped to make a custom display that is worthy of a few professional pictures of its own!

Day Of Beauty Plan

This was, by FAR, the most complicated “wedding task” to date!  The bridal party and I have spent weeks trying to put this together.  Luckily, my girls didn’t give up.  Hair appointments have been bookedBeauty styles have been decided.  All times have been scheduled.

Wedding Paper Divas

I spent two full years browsing through the beautiful products on this site hoping to utilize it at least once.
  Everything is really expensive on the site, so I didn’t think I would be able to.  But, I was wrong!  I purchased light pink ribbon, gold customized gift tags for the favors, and matching place cards.  The chocolate lollipops will now read “A favor was made in your name to Make A Wish Foundation”.

Hair Trial

After suffering through months of internal debate, I finally settled on a hair style.
  My mom recommended her hair dresser who did a fabulous job of recreating my “to the side” up do.  She diagnosed me with a serious need for a dye.  I'll also use extensions for extra length.

Wedding Shoes

I found the perfect wedding shoes.  They are gold to go with the pink and gold theme.  These sparkly gold shoes are so perfect that I think I may be in love all over again!

Reception Decorations

All twelve tables will be adorned with a gorgeous floral centerpiece.
  As beautiful as our centerpieces are, we did feel a need to decorate the reception a tiny bit more.  We purchased inexpensive tea lightcandle holders to sit on each end of the tables.

Completed Pre-cana

We were sad to finish the RCIA classes since we looked forward to seeing our classmates turned friends.  Pre-cana classes quickly took a place in our lives and ended up being even more enjoyable.  One month later, and pre-cana also ended.  We officially earned our pre-cana certificate.

Cake Topper

Madre ended up giving us a really nice surprise with this one!  She wanted us to have something from the wedding that we can keep and treasure for life.  She got us a gorgeous Lenox cake topper (Click the link to see how gorgeous it is.  I love!outlined in real gold to adorn our cake and future curio cabinet.

What's on your list for the 2 month marker?
Monday, May 25, 2015

Life: Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial day is not all about barbecues.
Memorial day isn't just about the paid day off from work.
Memorial day isn't just the day everyone opens up their pools.
Memorial day is not just another long weekend.
Memorial day isn't just an excuse to indulge in tri-colored pasta.
Memorial day isn't just an ok to start wearing white clothes again.
Ok, so maybe it's a little bit of those things, but it's mostly something else.

Memorial Day is a set day for American's to recognize and appreciate all the men and women who served our country.  These are the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the United States of America.

How will you be spending Memorial Day?
Friday, May 22, 2015

Recipe: Summer Skewer Kebabs

Summertime is all about enjoying life, taking it easy, and relishing in the gorgeous weather.
…said the NYer that would rather run around in circles than do nothing all day… hehe
In other words, we didn’t gain three hours of daylight to cook gourmet meals!
Ladies, take the apron off and put the whisk down!  That’s an order!

In honor of casual summer dinners, here’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever see!
For a double win, if you have kids, it’s fun to make as a family also.  Put the kids to work.  Hah!

Summer Skewer-Kebabs

(1) Bottle Teriyaki Sauce
(2lbs) Meat Of Choice
Be creative!  I’ve used pork cubes, chicken cubes, and even Shrimp!
(1) Large Red Pepper-Cubed
(1) Large Yellow Pepper-Cubed
(2) Sweet Red Onions-Cubed
(1) Package Baby Bella Mushrooms-Sliced
(1) Package Wooden Skewers

The night before, clean all of your meat/veggies and chop into similar sized cubes.  Once this is done, fill (2) large Ziploc bags with half a bottle of teriyaki sauce each.  Put all the vegetables into one bag and the meat into another.  Make sure all the veggies/meat are fully covered in sauce, and let marinate until dinner time the next day.
It’s so nice to have dinner almost ready to go when you get home.  I totally love that feeling!

An hour before dinner, heat up your light the grill and get it ready for cooking!  Meanwhile, fill your wooden skewers with your preferred pattern of meat and vegetables.  After all of the skewers are filled, place them on the barbeque until they are perfectly cooked.  Make sure to periodically turn the skewers so everything is cooked evenly on all sides.
Unfortunately, my apartment doesn’t have a grill.  I rock this recipe on my broiler instead.  Yum! 

Will you or have you tried this quick summer recipe?
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

List: Ten ways life changes after marrying the person you live with.

The wedding date is quickly approaching.
July 26, people!!!  Double eep!!!
This means that full stress mode is officially kicking in.
For a perfectionist, planning an event that has so many opportunities for problems is very stressful!
Not to mention, the financial aspect of it is an anxiety killer.  I’ll be lucky if I pay my vendors in full.
Everything tripled its value because it’s a wedding.  The church even takes advantage charging $710!

People keeping asking me if I’m nervous for the big day, and I always say “YES!!!”
You and I know that I’m not nervous because of saying I do, but others don’t know that.
Everyone always assumes that I’m afraid to get married and to exchange vows.
Their assumption is confirmed when they respond with “Why?  You’re practically married anyway.”
Whenever I hear this statement, I get really angry!  You can’t be practically married.  You just can’t!

I understand that my man and I have been living together for the past three years.
I understand that we clearly aren’t virgins and that we’ve been raising a child together.
I understand that we combined our finances and that both our names are on our lease.
So, we moved a little quickly.  Things happen and clearly it’s been working out!
Marriage might not be as huge of a change for us as others, but changes are inevitable.

Ten ways your life will change after marrying the person you already live with.
This list is dedicated to the ones that think practically married people’s lives won’t change.

1.  Commitment
Spiritually and legally we will be making a serious commitment to each other.
While we have been committed to each other the past few years, a marriage solidifies the bond.
In other words, the only way out would be to break our promise to God and to pay lots of money!

2.  Titles
The titles boyfriend and girlfriend or domestic partners will be a thing of the past.
After marriage, we will refer to each other and be referred to as husband and wife.
It’s crazy how simple titles can change how you view each other and how other’s view you.

3.  Tax Status
We will no longer have to spend hours researching and playing with numbers to figure out our taxes.
It will no longer matter who claims head of household or who claims the baby girl.
Besides, word is after we are wed and file joint returns, we should see a much heftier pay back!

4.  Security
After marriage, people may feel more secure in a relationship and more obligated to work through things.
Feeling secure in a relationship makes trivial things less important and helps people open up.
That means I can totally go to bed with placenta in my hair and cream on my zits without feeling shy.

5.  Decision Making
From the day we are wed, every decision we make will directly affect the lives of each other.
Living together means respecting each other’s decisions.  Marriage means deciding together.
After marriage, simple stuff like opening an IRA or getting a ticket will be considered OUR problem.

6.  Name Change
After 26 years of being called Ms. Jax, I will now be MRS. my man’s last name.
It’s the start of a whole new life to be lived under a whole new name.
I’m having a very hard time accepting this.  Changing my name feels like losing my identity.

7.  Gain Family Members
Our extended families will now be doubled and filled with in laws.
It’s no longer just my mom and dad that I will worry about it.  I’ll gain a second set of parents.
Does this mean that I have to memorize a whole new set of birthdays??  Hello, calendar!

8.  Credit
Over the past 3 years we have made countless decisions that affected our individual credit reports.
Our credit decisions may directly affect both of us after we tie the knot.
We plan to get a mortgage after the wedding, so let’s hope we impacted our credit positively!!

9.  Validation
It may be 2015, but I still get funny looks when people hear that I have a child and I’m not married.
In the eyes of some people, getting married validates my family and will legitimatize my child.
It’s pathetic to worry about this, but I’m so sick of being judged as an unfortunate circumstance.  Ug!!

10.  Plans
Planning a future no longer ends at my 401K deduction.  We need to make a plan to suit our future.
Life insurance policies, retirement plans, and investments are all things we need to consider.
The type of plans necessary to support a family are endless and sort of trigger my anxiety.  Sigh!

What do you think changes after marriage, even for those already sharing an address?
Monday, May 18, 2015

List: Ten reasons why it's OK to have an old soul.

Recently, I’ve been told to “grow up” by someone who is a little bitter with me.
Since I care about this person, I held back saying “take a good look at your life and then mine”.
Naturally, I was little hurt by this statement so my anxiety asked around for justification.
The most common answer I received was, “If anything, you’re a little TOO mature for your age”.
My man was one of them.  He used it as an excuse to tell me to loosen up a little sometimes.

To put it into perspective, I’ve always had an old soul.
I’ve held a permanent job since the age of 14 and worked full time since I was 17.
I’ve lived on my own and mostly took care of myself since the age of 19.
I’ve completely supported myself financially since the age of 19 and never asked for help.
I paid (and still am paying) my own way through school without any loans.
I also made a quick transition from being a single, independent girl to a family woman and a mother.
How much more growing up would someone like me to do at the age of 26??  Seriously?!

While I’m proud of all I accomplished by this age, that statement helped open my eyes.
I do need to stop worrying every day, sometimes spend money for no reason, and just have fun!
But, by no means, do I ever want to stop having an old soul.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jax is here to defend us “too mature for our age” people.  Your welcome!

Ten reasons why it's OK to have an old soul.

1.  You rely on yourself.
It's a reassuring feeling to know that, no matter what, you will always be ok alone.

2.  You quickly weed out your true friends.
You don’t have time or energy to try and make a friendship with someone who isn’t genuine.

3.  You make financial stability a priority.
Whether it’s scoring a good job or working 5 at once, you do what you need to do to make ends meet.

4.  You won’t settle in a relationship.
Be proud that your man/woman is there because you want them to, not because you need them to.

5.  You know the value of a good credit score.
It could take years to fix a damaged credit score.  You know this and you manage it.

6.  You know the importance of controlling your temper.
While the crazy person is in your face yelling, you (usually) keep your cool.

7.  You think before acting.
An old soul will take time to ponder a big decision.  We will also take time to consider our words.

8.  You admit your mistakes and try to learn from them.
It’s hard to admit one’s faults.  Be proud that you not only acknowledge them but you try to fix them.

9.  You know when it’s OK to brown nose.
People who call you a suck up are just mad that you that you’re a manager’s new favorite!

10.  You know when and where to use electronics
Us old souls will sit at a table enjoying real conversation while others are browse through Instagram.

Is being named an old soul a compliment or an insult?  Why?
Friday, May 15, 2015

Life: Kyle the Fish

Those of you who have been following R&W for a while will remember this story.
It's basically a tale of how baby Jax's OCD indirectly became the cause of my first pet fish's death.
That being said, you can now imagine the horror I felt when Mushy's birthday wish was a pet fish.

Not being one to disappoint my baby girl, I promised her that pet fish.
The Viking went out and bought her a 1.5 gallon fish bowl, lime green gravel, and a decoration.
Of course the decoration was a Spongebob and Patrick figurine.  Two of her favorites!

The next weekend, we all took a trip to Petco as a family.
There my Mushy pointed to every single fish while yelling "THAT ONE".
A lady asked us if we needed help.  I quickly accepted and told her my history.
After a giggle, she pointed me in the direction of the $3 Fighting Beta fish
...and of course she give me a verbal, bullet pointed list of fish care tips...

"**The water must be kept out over night to ensure it's room temperature.
**You must purchase water conditioner to make sure it's suitable living conditions.
**Do not overfeed your pet.  They get 3 pellets a day and no more.
**Change the water and rinse the gravel/decorations weekly.
**These fish like heat, so keep it away from an AC or an open window."
Sounds simple enough, right?  Wrong!

After we picked out a gorgeous fish with red and green streaks, we purchased the necessary supplies.
Of course Mushy fell in love with the $20 Dragon Beta...which means we won't stray from those fish tips!
We were careful not to shake the container all the way home.
We were extremely careful and meticulous when setting up the fish's new home.
Then, while transporting the fish to the bowl, my man dropped the poor baby right onto the table.
Yes, Kyle lived, but he wouldn't eat for 3 days!  He still won't eat if my man's in the room.  True story!
That's when I realized the lady in Petco forgot one major tip...

**Buy a small net so you don't drop your pet fish.
Look at me giving fish advice.  I call that graduating!

What are your pet fish tips?
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

List: Ten women's college graduation gift ideas.

Last week, I posted this article listing ten unique graduation gift idea's for men.
My blogging buddy, BJ from BJ's Sweet Nothings, then asked for a list of gift ideas for women.
...and, of course, I was more than happy to oblige this rocking woman's request...

unique college graduation gifts; college graduation gift guide; gifts for her; gifts for graduate

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten college graduation gift ideas for her.

When you're graduating college and looking for a job, chances are that you'll be going on lots of interviews.  For this reason alone, a business portfolio is a fabulous idea.  After you land you dream gig, you'll be able to use the portfolio to carry into meetings on the job or in your personal life.  I absolutely LOVE this business portfolio.  It would make the perfect gift!

Every grown woman needs a bountiful amount of quick, easy, and healthy recipes for those weeknight meals.  When you land your dream job, you may not have time to cook four course meals or the funds to order out every night.

3.  Picture Frame for Diploma
The amount of time and work to graduate college is nothing to frown upon.  That's why I see nothing wrong with framing your diploma for all to see.  If it doesn't match your decor as you age, at least it will be protected at the top of your closet.  I also really like this frame to display all of your graduation keepsakes.

4.  Blazer
Every grown woman needs a blazer they can throw on in a moment's notice for necessary occasions.  A blazer is an essential in every woman's closet.  Make sure your college graduate is prepared with the addition of this fabulous blazer to her wardrobe.

5.  Analog Alarm Clock
A woman that's ready to make her mark on the world shouldn't be late.  Help your college graduate be on time by decorating their nightstand with this gorgeous clock.  Sometimes phones die and sometimes your digital assistant fails.  An analog clock is reliable and will remind her of the time she graduated.  See what I did there?

6.  Echo Spot
College graduation is the perfect time to start preparing for your future.  Prepare with an assistant.  Well, a virtual assistant.  Put a world of knowledge and power within distance of her voice!

This fabulous read follows the lives of several teenagers as they grow into adults.  It outlines the joys and disappointments of growing up.  Don't forget the inscribe the back cover so that the book will forever have a special meaning.

A ceramic travel mug just like this one will remind your graduate how amazing she truly is.  She'll see "boss lady" every morning as she travels to work and will be motivated to fulfill the title.

9.  All In One Printer
At this point in her life she'll have to print, scan, and copy countless times.  Set her up for success with a wireless all in one printer just like this one.  She'll be whispering thanks to you for years to come!

10.  Amazon Audibles Subscription
One of the best gifts I've ever gotten was a year's subscription to Amazon Audibles.  I got to listen to books on every commute, short drive, or while laying in bed.  For those who love a good story, this is the ultimate gift.

What are your graduation gift ideas?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Jax Seal of Approval: Smallville

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve finished watching Smallville from the first episode to the last.
Bittersweet feelings here, people.  I mean, the characters were like my friends!!

This show was light hearted, juicy, clever, and filled with good looking people.
I’m sure you remember this post where I was debating between the good or bad Clark Kent.
There were sad moments that left me teary eyed and fun moments where I laughed out loud.
The characters became people that I  grew to love and consider a part of my life.
This TV show left me with new impressions of Superman, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor.
There was a time in the show where I was actually rooting for my Lex-y baby!

Over the course of ten seasons, so many characters came and went that it’s impossible to list them all.
With the exception of the Kents and Lionel Luther, below are the main regulars.
Could Clark Kent be any more delicious?? I mean, yum!

My favorite character other than the obvious Clark, was Chloe Sullivan.
She was such an unexpected important part of the Superman dynasty!
Not to mention, she’s freaking gorgeous and a powerless superhero with serious ambition.

My man’s favorite character was Green Arrow.
He loved the Justice League dynamic that he brought to the show.
…and, my man would even argue with me that Green Arrow was better looking than Clark.  Psh…

Both, my man and I, agree that Lex Luther is a close runner up to our second favorite character.
The actor really brought this character to life in a way that will never get out of our heads.
I mean, now we know why Lex became bad and we saw the good that’s hidden inside him.

That being said, it’s my honor to extend the Jax Seal of Approval to Smallville!
Congratulations!  I’m sure this is the highest honor the show has received to date.

Have you or will you watch Smallville?  If so, thoughts?
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

List: Ten inexpensive date ideas.

In honor of someone close to me, I decided to do a re-post.
Some of you may remember this from 2012, while other's may find this list new and exciting.
....because all of my lists are exciting.  Right?? RIGHT?!

Somone dear to me has finally gotten the courage to ask out the girl of his dreams.
I'm ecstatic to say that this story has a happy ending!
Mind out of the gutter people.  Ok, thanks...
Things have been going well, but the person dear to me has run out of date ideas!
There is just one problem.  This person cannot afford to constantly dish out hefty sums of dough in order to keep his woman happy.  That's when he came to me for some solid advice!
Guess he got word about my awesome and extremely helpful lists!  ;)

Ten Inexpensive Date Ideas.

1.  Walk
Taking a girl for a walk around a nice, scenic area is not only romantic, but it's great exercise!  She'll love you for pumping the communication juice and be grateful for those calories burned.  
I know, it's totally cliche, but it's a classic for a reason!

2.  Car
Washing the car may not sound like a great date idea, but it's actually loads of fun.  It opens doors for play and flirting!  Clearly, this idea is dependent upon nice weather.  Don't make the poor girl do this in the rain. 
Besides, in the end your cars will be shining!!

3.  Coach Potato
Put on the PJs, pour the wine, and bust out the movie marathon!
Want some extra fun?  Pick out a favorite actor or theme with your dvds.
Hellooo snuggle time!

4.  Monopoly
Being the extremely competitive person I am, I totally enjoy Monopoly dates!
Bust out the wine and dip.  Then lay out the stakes!  Loser has to do something naughty.
Don't like Monopoly?  Try Battle Of the Sexes!

5.  Farmers Market
Fresh fruit and cheese samples in the midst of a great atmosphere sounds like a lovely date!
Be adventurous and dare each other to test new foods.

6.  Adventure
Pick a nearby city that neither of you have ever been.  Get in the car and drive!  You can do a walking tour and really grasp the feel for the city.  You never know, you could stumble upon a new spot!
Some of the best times are the result of a spontaneous adventure!

7.  Cooking
Pick a random recipe and then divvy up the duties.  Cook a fancy meal while blasting the music.
I mean, who doesn't like to bust into song and dance after chopping up veggies?  I do!!

8.  Amateur Comedians
Some schools or comedy clubs have amateur comedians put on shows for practice.  They are free to view and  real fun to attend!  
I mean, if they are bad, you may end up laughing at how horrible their jokes are!
9.  Darts
Go to that little, hole in the wall bar in your town.  Order a cheap drink and play a competitive game of darts!  Have fun with the winner's prize as well.
Once you start hitting the wall instead of the dart board, you may want to put the drink down!

10.  Haunted
Drive around to all the different "real" haunted houses in your area!  See if you can spook each other out.  Some of the best times on a date happen b/c someone got a little spooked!
In high school boys used to take me to "haunted" cemeteries or the Amittyville Horror house.  Freaky!

What are your favorite cheap date ideas?
Monday, May 4, 2015

List: Ten men's college graduation gift ideas.

This month Brother will be graduating with his Master's degree.
You have absolutely no idea how proud we are of him!  It's a huge accomplishment.
I know that he already celebrated two other graduations between high school and college.
I also know that he already is employed in a career worthy position.
But, none of that matters, because this accomplishment totally deserves recognition.
By "recognition" I mean a celebration with  food, lots of cake, and gifts.
The problem is, what do you buy someone who already has two graduations worth of gifts?
Luckily, I've been brainstorming and will share all of my ideas with you.

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Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten college graduation gift ideas.

1.  Tie
Every grown man should have a nice tie that they can grab for any last minute events.
Can be bought here.

2.  Fire Proof Box
Every grown man needs a safe place to keep important documents and emergency funds.
Can be bought here.

3.  Analog Watch
Every grown man needs an analog clock to avoid having to check their cellphone just for the time.
Can be bought here.

4.  Luggage Set
Every grown man should have a decent luggage set to avoid traveling with plastic bags.
Can be bought here.

5.  Framed Art
Every grown man should have a piece of culture to remind them of their accomplishments.
Can be bought here.

6.  Gym Bag
Every grown man should have a place to put spare clothes that isn't the backseat of their car.
Can be bought here.

7.  Sound System

Every grown man needs a decent sound system to show off during  football games and parties.
Can be bought here.

8.  Mini Fridge
It's no secret that men love to eat and drink.  A mini fridge for the garage, man cave, or room is a must!
Can be bought here.

9.  Blue Ray Smart Player
Every grown man deserves the upgraded way to watch their favorite movies.
Can be bought here.

10.  Subscription to The U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club
Every grown man deserves to expand their tastes and indulge in something they love.
Can be bought here.

What are your unique graduation gift ideas?