Safe Driving


When the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance were looking for bloggers to talk about the importance of driving safety it was, of course, a no brainer. Twice a year we set out on a cross-country adventure, where we travel from West Virginia to Arizona in the Fall and then back again in the Spring. I guess you could call us a couple of snowbirds haha.

When it comes to our cross-country travels the most important thing is safely. Although you can't always depend on the behavior of drivers around you, we always take a few steps to ensure we have the safest trip possible.
  1. We map out our route on the GPS prior to leaving.
  2. Make to sure to have a physical map/atlas, just incase our GPS stops working.
  3. Check the tire pressure at the beginning of the trip.
  4. Check to make sure all light are working on the trailer.
  5. Double-check the trailer hitch hookup.
  6. We make sure the cat food and water are all situated and won't make a mess for our feline companions.
While this checklist isn't crazy, I do think it is extremely important for us to use every time, especially number two. The one time when we didn’t have a physical map was of course when the GPS decided to have some sort of hiccup and stop working for a little while. Needless to say we missed an important turn and ended up adding an hour or two to our trip, which is never fun when you have already been in the car for eight/nine hours already.

Unfortunately, even when you're fully prepared the unexpected can happen, and If you're a regular reader you know we recently went through a terrible traffic accident involving our little Scamp. A blowout, or any other sudden unexpected malfunction can cause a lot of mayhem on the road, even if it's not your vehicle. I think often about the few seconds that took us from a regular boring stretch of driving to a disastrous roadside nightmare, and how lucky we were to have avoided so many other terrible possibilities. While no one was hurt in our incident, had the camper vaulted into the other lanes instead of the ditch, other cars would have become involved, or if the driver behind us wasn't as quick to act as he was, he could have collided with us as well. All together, I think of the accident as ultimately very lucky, but I think it goes to show how important it is to be alert on the road.

What are some actions you take to make sure you are driving safely?

The Decide to Drive program is also hosting a caption contest. You get a chance to win one of two $500 runner-up prizes or the $1,000 grand prize by coming up with a slogan for the Decide to Drive campaign! Enter here, contest runs from May 28 - June 13.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

That Aha Moment

Ok guys, so have you ever had one of those Aha moments that are just so embarrassing because you totally should have already known it? I'm not taking about realizing the actor that plays The Hound in Game of Thrones played the guy that went 'Yarp' in Hot Fuzz. I'm talking about that Jessica Simpson moment where she realized Chicken of the Sea was in fact tuna and not some kind of chicken that lives in the sea. Well, I had that type of realization about a month ago when I told Will that I really could use an ice coffee but didn't want to leave the house. He replied 'Why don't you just make one here?' 
I mean, don't get me wrong, I know what's in an iced coffee (coffee, milk, ice, sugar), but for whatever reason I never put two and two together and realized that I have all of those things in the kitchen. I guess I just assumed barista held some magical power over the yumminess of iced coffee, haha. So feel free to laugh at me because I have been laughing every time I make myself a glass (which has been just about every other day BWAHA). I think the best thing about this whole embarrassing thing is that I now know how to make one amazing vanilla iced coffee.

Please tell me you all have a had a moment like this so I am not left embarrassed all by myself haha. 

x's and o's

All the Foods

I've always found cooking to be totally therapeutic. Whether I'm having a bad day, good day, or just an in between day, I absolutely love trying out new recipes. There is something about the delightful smell that fills up the house I just love. So with everything that happened last week I have been looking looking for all things yummy related and I thought I would share some of recent my favorites. 
Kayla is a gal after my own own heart when it comes to these cookies. I mean, who wouldn't want to stuff their face witGhiradelli chocolate mint cookies!
Baked potatoes are one of my favorite meals. I know some people have it as a side, but I am a firm believer that you can stuff and top any baked potato with so much goodness that it can be a full on meal. Joy's cheddar and broccoli baked potato is going to make me the perfect dinner later this week.
This tomato soup is making me drool right now. I absolutely love the idea of broiling the cheddar cheese on top of the soup. Oh, I bet that cheese is just so wonderfully ooey gooey!
Popsicles have always been a favorite summer treat of mine. When I was little I spent hours in the heat floating around the pool with a popsicle in my hand. I have a feeling I probably was eating more chlorine than actual popsicle as I was known to take my popsicle to the bottom of the pool with me, haha.

Have you guys found or made any recipes that you're loving? Please share the links in the comments, I'd love to check them out!

x's and o's

Here We Are

After finally getting things all sorted out with our little trailer and taking a day or two just to decompress we finally got back to work over the weekend. All of our clients were very kind and told us there was no rush on anything, but we wanted to make sure we got everything all done and back to them. It kind of felt nice falling back into our routine, definitely been helping getting our minds off the accident.
This mug is my new favorite thing ever. My dad got it for me when he was on a trip and I have been enjoying coffee and tea in it ever since. It definitely has put a smile on my face every time I take a sip from it, which has been very nice. I like to think that the handle is the panda's arm and he is being so sweet holding it up for me like that. Haha it's the little things that get us through the mucky days.
And while we did bust out a ton of work over the weekend we made sure to have a little fun too. Saturday my dad was headed out and called to let us know that there were a whole bunch of food trucks down the street at the local church. So I put on some clothes that weren't pjs and we headed over to see what yummy food options we had. We went with burgers from the Chedda Truck and it was the best decision! Not only were the burgers HUGE they were amazingly delicious, I mean you can't really go wrong with brea on a veggie burger. If you all are ever in Phoenix I highly recommend them!
I think the two kikis are pretty happy to back in the house, there are way more windows to watch the birds through than the little camper. I feel like those two pictures express their personalities perfectly haha. So we are all falling back into our routines and it's slowly feeling a little more normal, but it is still a bit of a shock when we go outside and don't see our little Scamp sitting in the driveway.

x's and o's

We Are Ok...

I am not even sure how to begin this post, so I guess I will just state the obvious and move on from there: our little Scamp is completely totaled. On Monday as we were driving down the highway our car's back tire blew, causing us to violently fishtail. I've never been in that kind of situation before, but I quickly discovered that with a flat tire it is impossible to get traction or regain control once it's gone. I did my best to slow down without getting hit by the semi bearing down on us while simultaneously trying to wrestle the bucking car and trailer over to the emergency pull off. While I was so fortunate to be able to avoid a collision with the semi and any other traffic, the fishtailing was ultimately too much for our poor little camper. Instead of taking us with it the Scamp let go of the hitch and rolled several times into the ditch.

Though I didn't actually see the trailer flip over, Will did and the way he describes it just makes my heart sink. According to him it was like watching a tornado just lift it up and smash it into the desert. It makes me so sad to think that our Scamp that is now completely destroyed and gone, being that we, and its previous owners, loved so much. We had both imagined having the little guy for years to come and creating so many wonderful memories in it. It just feels so awful losing our sweet little trailer, especially at the beginning of what was suppose to be a big fun trip. We're looking at the positives, though, and we feel lucky that we got to spend at least one fun weekend camping in it out in CA. I am really hoping we will be fortunate enough to find another little fiberglass trailer, but I have a feeling that even if we do it will never completely fill the void left by this horrible accident. This little guy was my very first camper and I just fell head over heels in love with it.  

Tuesday we drove almost two hours to the salvage yard in the middle of the desert to figure out what, if anything, was savable. I thought that having a night to sleep and kind of decompress would help make seeing the crumpled Scamp not as awful, but sadly it was just as bad, if not worse. I think after the crash I was just so shocked by adrenaline that it didn't sink in how horrible the Scamp looked. Regardless, I was, and still am, focused on how lucky we were that the whole accident didn't turn out worse.  

So here we are, back in Phoenix, Scamp-less, and our West Coast Extravaganza put on hold indefinitely for the time being. And while I still get a shaken up at the thought of our little camper so destroyed, I am so grateful to have Will working on his computer in front of me, Wigs sitting on her window seat, and Sylvester sitting in my lap purring away. The Scamp is ultimately replaceable.

x's and o's

Guest Post: Planning for a Vacation Made Easy!

Today Arianna is helping me out while Will and I are getting everything ready for our trip. I seriously cannot believe tomorrow we will be on the road, so excited! 
Source: here
Make lists - lots of lists.
Each time we plan for a vacation, I put together a list of necessities. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, I write out all the things that would be nice, but we can do without if there isn’t enough room in our bags. Usually, our bags are full, but not overstuffed or too heavy.

Our destinations usually involve pretty temperate weather, which is great for keeping our luggage below the airlines’ weight requirements. I pack a variety of lightweight clothing that can be layered for warmth if necessary, and only sacrifice the space for one single heavier garment. I also bring a stain remover pen and a Ziploc bag of laundry detergent for absolute laundry emergencies. (You can also buy single-load detergent portions, if you’d rather.)

When everything’s packed, I file those lists away, and then when we return from our vacation, I cross off things that weren’t helpful and add any necessities I missed or non-essentials I ended up thinking about when we were away from home.

One more note here: on all my necessities lists, “CAMERA, BATTERIES, CHARGER, AND MEMORY CARDS” are always listed on the top, in big, capital letters. I figure that we may not ever make it back to that destination again, and the people you’re traveling with won’t look the same next time, so I like to capture as many moments as possible. Camera equipment is the one exception I make to packing light, so I can capture and treasure those memories for years to come!

Consult the experts.
Normally I make a list of attractions and other things I have my heart set on doing or seeing while we visit our destination. I do this by researching travel guides online - Frommer's is my husband’s favorite - and seeing what the experts recommend. I also usually take time to do a few quick Google searches a few months before the trip, and I skim though to make sure there aren’t any bad reviews or cautions we should take before arriving.

Use your resources.
Don’t get me wrong, we love to travel but we don’t feel comfortable spend tons of money on huge vacations. We like to spend a mediocre amount and take a number of smaller vacations throughout the year. When traveling on a budget, I’ve been consulting frugal travel guides for everything except lodging recommendations. (We love our hotel points!) Sites like Frugal Travel Guy were very helpful for us when choosing the best attractions to visit, and also for seeking out the best hotels and their deals. 
Prep work.
Not only is it hard to pack for yourself but packing for your family too can raise stress levels. When it comes down to it make sure you have the basics packed. Almost every time we go on a trip we pass a Walgreens or a Wal-Mart. So, recently we have been purchasing some of those necessities at our destination. If you’re packing before, don’t pack the entire bottle of shampoo. Use three or four travel containers to store those necessities. You can fit those bottles a lot easier in your suitcases then the huge bottle. Another thing that takes up tons of space in a suitcase is a sweatshirt. I can tell you first hand I probably have bought a sweatshirt on 70% of our past vacations. If you are like me, leave the sweatshirt at home and buy one there.

Finally, here’s one more Mom-centric tip before I sign off:  take care of things at home before you go. Try and have your family or neighbors watch the house and grab the mail. Clean out all the garbage’s and the fridge so you don’t come home to a terrible smelling house. Lastly, take care of any pets. We normally find a local pet sitter for the week while we are gone. When you know everything is safe and sounds at home, you can fully enjoy that feeling of vacation!
Happy trails, everyone! Feel free to share any further advice in the comments!

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at http://ariannaknowsbest.blogspot.com/ !

Important Message

Hey guys so I never really get all political here on the blog but this is something seriously important and effects EVERYONE who uses the Internet! Below is a short little video explaining what is going on if you haven't already heard. 
The internet needs to always and forever be a place where all data is treated the same regardless if you are a billion dollar company or a blogger with five followers. Please take a minute to sign either this White House Petition or tell the FCC that they shouldn't favor some data over the other! Heck, do BOTH

April in Review

Another month down, I feel like the next time I blink it's going to be the end of the year already. I feel like I say that on every month in review post, but it's just so true. Anyways onto the review! 
While I wasn't loving these photos at the time I shared them I am definitely liking them more. And I still just love this outfit!

May is going to be full of driving, friends, and hopefully lots of fun. I seriously cannot believe we leave next week! If you guys do a monthly review post share the link in the comments, I would love to see how your April turned out.

x's and o's