My Longaberger Experience 

This post has been in my draft box for a long longgg time. I think because writing it is so bittersweet. The Longaberger company has always been a company that I LOVED the products from. The handmade baskets, the pottery, I simply loved the stuff at a time when I really could not afford it! The “heyday” for the company so to speak was back in the mid 90’s (about the time I was in high school) and just after (when I was a struggling college student working her way through nursing school.) Let’s face it- I had no money and despite my attempts to at one time sell it for a discount, I still did not have the funds.

Don’t get me wrong I had a few things.. and those things I cherished because I simply love the pottery and baskets they make. But let’s face it, I was no big time collector.  

Fast forward to the here and now. I had promised my mom, who was a Longeaberger lover like me…that I would one day take her to the home offices in Dresden, Ohio so she could tour the factory and watch the basket makers at work. I had always wanted to see this massive operation myself, and what better way to help your mom cross something off her bucket list than drive her the 10 hours there, throw in your daughter and make a mother/daughter weekend out of it? Perfect!
We had it all planned. I would drive, we would take the factory tour (call ahead of course and reserve a time as reservations are recommended…) and see the place we had both always longed to see.

  
We left on a Tuesday in August- mid-week would be perfect. Lines would be down despite the peak of travel season. Our goal would be to see the town of Dresden, the factory tour and the large home office built to resemble a Longaberger basket.

Frankly——– I hate to say it——–but it was such a disappointment.

The best part was experiencing it with my mom and daughter as we had always planned. But the grounds…. oh my goodness the grounds… they are BARREN. Driving onto the complex you pass a guard shack that has not been occupied since the early 2000’s. The daycare center for employees was so barren, abandoned, and overgrown we had to ask someone what was under and behind all the brush that had grown up and around it. The main buildings massive circular drive was closed off with construction cones and was so overgrown that once we drove around the cones to see it the building itself was unrecognizable. The company timeline in the visitor center had not been updated since 2000.

We had made a “reservation” why I do not know as there was a grand total of six…. six adults on the tour and my daughter. How sad.

One lady kept saying that she had taken the tour back in the heyday and it was so packed you were only allowed to walk around the upstairs catwalk. Lines and lines of shut down basket maker stations stand unused. The few basket makers left pump out the reminder of the product by hand and are more than happy to show you how it is done.

The saddest part is of the thousands of employees that once graced those hallways only roughly 250 are left. So sad.

I am glad I went. I am glad to have fullfilled the bucket list item on my list and my moms list. I am all about seeing new things and seeing the factory and taking the tour and seeing the home office are all things I have wanted to do. So I have no regrets. I also bought a ton, got a discount at the on grounds store and filled the back end of my van with purchases on my way home.

I just am sad to see the decline of this great company and appreciate that I had an opportunity to see it’s “home” even though the founders are long gone.
Till my next adventure!

~Laura

Thanksgiving blessings

I love the holiday season. The time between November to the beginning of January is my favorite time of the year. I truly have so much to be thankful for. 

I am a person of faith however. And I give my thanks to God for EVERY blessing in my life. I am so… sooo… very fortunate. I feel that not thanking God for all things in my life would be such a mistake. SO I want to take this time to post a few things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

  • I am thankful for my children. I am blessed with three of the most perfectly created gifts from God I could ever imagine and I thank God every day for giving me the privilege of being their mother.
  • I am thankful for my health. I work in the healthcare profession and see those with illness battle sickness, pain and depression from illness all the time. I see children deal with lifelong illnesses they will have for the rest of their lives on a daily basis.
  • I am thankful for health insurance and life insurance and auto insurance and ultimately the ability to have insurance. If I need to go to the doctor, I go. I don’t have to think about how to pay for it. If I need to have my car towed (thank you AAA) I get it towed. I am so thankful that I have the ability and funds to have auto insurance, life insurance and health insurance
  • I am thankful for the food I have to eat, and the farmers that provide it. We can afford food and do not stretch to make ends meet and have food on our table. My children do not go to bed hungry and I have plenty of food on hand at all times. Many people do not have this luxury, so for this I am thankful
  • I am thankful for my husband. He is hard-working, honest, dedicated to his family and my best friend. I am so lucky to have found a partner that I can trust fully and know has our best interests at heart. Not many people can say that they have a partnership like that in life.
  • I am thankful for my family. It is large, extensive, and has a lot of personalities. This includes my husband’s family as well. Whatever I am facing I know I will not face it alone and I am so grateful for that. I am blessed beyond words when it comes to my family.
  • I am thankful for my faith. I believe…. that faith gives one hope. My faith is with me every day. I am so grateful for this. I know when I am overwhelmed and need support I can hand whatever I am struggling with over to God and he will ease the burden. Faith is a huge part of who I am and I am ever grateful to have my God to help see me through.
  • I am thankful for my education. I am blessed with a college education which has in turn provided me with a great job. This is my livelihood and I am fortunate that my job and my education are still in an area I love to practice in. I am blessed in that I have a job and it is because of the education I was blessed to receive.
  • I am thankful for friends, they keep me grounded, make me laugh and are a shoulder to cry on when I need one. I don’t know where I would be without them and I am thankful for each individual group I have whether it be high school friends, friends from work, fellow parents from my kiddos, my online friends, or new friends.

I know I am probably leaving some things out… my list of blessings is so extensive and I am sure I have forgotten some things. I want to be sure to take the time today though to say how blessed I am. I think this is one of my favorite times of the year because we take pause and say thank you for all these blessings on this holiday. Those who did not take the time before take it now. Fellowship grows, thankfulness abounds, hope rises and we all are a little kinder when we see what blessings we have.

Here is wishing everyone a warm and blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with family and friends and join me in saying a word of thanks for all God has given us….

~Laura

  

 

 

 

On Nashville and girls weekends!

Well… It was a great weekend!

I have seriously forgotten how important time away with the girls is. It’s hard to leave, you wonder if your family will survive, you wonder if you have left enough food, you get calls and text messages from the kids saying they miss you, but in the end it is worth it. Every mom and wife needs time to herself. It seriously rejuvenates you and makes you a better person.

For me, I am with children all day. I work at an elementary school and I come home to my own kids who I shuttle around all evening. The weekends I’m consumed with being a mom and I never get a break where I am just with adults. This was my break.

The weekend started with a trip for dinner to the bonefish grill in Des Moines. Delicious! I don’t even EAT Fish, but the teriyaki chicken and rice was delicious. From there the eight of us went to the hotel to spend the night. Our flight left very early on Saturday and went through Chicago to Nashville. We left at 6:30 and were in Nashville by 10:30. Not bad! With carrying everything on and just one connection we had no glitches.

We checked into the Gaylord Opryland hotel. The lobby is gorgeous. They are just getting started on the process to set up for Christmas. The hotel sits on 9 acres. It has several atrium and garden areas which are beautiful to see. They include water fountains, a gondola ride and several  sitting areas and restaurants in the gardens. You could spend a day just exploring the hotel!

For more information click here: Gaylord Opryland Resort
If you’re in the Nashville area this is a hotel I highly recommend.

After checking in we walked next door to an adjacent mall area where we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and did some shopping. It was a outlet type setting and had lots of shops to meet almost every need. It was fun to do the girl time shopping although I bought only a shirt because of my limited space with carrying on my bag.

After lunch we went back to the hotel and freshened up for a night on the town. We had to take a taxi downtown to the Nashville downtown nightclub area. My favorite bar was Tootsies! This place is great! Tons of live music, bands on every floor with at least four floors available, and bars on every level.

For more information click here: Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge

I love live music, and the genre would change based on the level you were on. Older country music was one level, newer another level and more hip hop another level. It was awesome! We spent a great deal of time here.

We also walk to other bars and had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant where we had reservations. But I think my favorite part was Tootsies. Note…., if you are at all claustrophobic you will not enjoy this place, they have so many people you can barely move. The later the night gets the tighter the space.

Getting up Sunday me and another girl headed to mass at a Catholic Church called Holy Name Catholic church in East Nashville. Being Catholic, it is important that you go to mass every weekend and I always find it fun to attend other parishes. It’s neat to see how universal our services are but how individual they also can be. We kind a taxi back to the hotel after mass and met up with the other girls for brunch.

After eating at the Opryland restaurant we headed back to the hotel to kill some time, have a drink and do some shopping on the grounds before we headed to the airport.

Then we caught our flight back to Chicago and then back to Iowa. It was a fun weekend for sure. Then it got interesting…

After we landed and got to short term parking- I found my car… with a flat.. at 1 am in an airport parking lot! Long… longgggg story shortened a bit here- get AAA. It is the BEST. Not only did they send someone out, but they felt having a young lady alone out driving on an interstate 60 miles home at 2 am was not safe. So they paid to have my van towed home. Myself and my co-pilot, Dawn rode all the way home in the tow truck. It was an adventure! Our driver and I discussed all the way home how he had broken up with his Hospice nurse girlfriend that morning.. and that there are indeed many other fish in the sea. 🙂

All in all a trip for the books. Girlfriend time is important… but nothing else feels quite as good as walking in your door to 4 family members waiting who missed you SO MUCH…. 🙂

Have a good week!

~Laura

 

 

November Ipsy bag

  
It’s here! My November Ipsy bag has arrived…

Here is the latest and greatest!

Smashbox full exposure mascara

Jesse’s girl eyeshadow primer

Be a Bombshell eyeliner in wild child

Hydra – activ three in one hero hydration cream

Tres-tique mini matte lip crayon in chile red

I cannot wait to try all the stuff! I would take more time to attach links but I am posting from my phone. Will have to do that later. On a side note…my October glam bag pumpkin mask was awesome! Would highly recommend. It had exfoliating scrubbers as part of the mask and when I used it with my Clairsonic my face felt very clean. I would recommend it if you are wanting a mask you can use a couple times a week.

I am currently working on my post about Nashville girls weekend and will get that posted as soon as possible. It’s been pretty crazy and when I got home Monday night I ended up having my car towed home from the airport due to a flat. More on that in my Nashville post!

Off to church in the morning and then an all day basketball tournament for Tyler in the afternoon. Maybe I can get into posting tomorrow night. If not have a great rest of the weekend!

~Laura

I am still here…. and I have a new favorite!

Wow! I feel like it has been forever since I had time to write a post! I have been so busy getting football wrapped up- then school conferences and starting basketball and travelling team AND wrestling for the kids that I have not had an ounce of free time. Tomorrow night I have my sorority club meeting and then Friday I head to Des Moines to wait for it…… FLY TO NASHVILLE for a GIRLS WEEKEND! What???? I get time without a husband and cooking and kids? I seriously cannot recall the last time this has happened.

  
I am excited to share a new favorite though I was in a boutique here in Atlantic called Renew… and I was looking for the perfect going out outfit for Nashville and stumbled across the brand called A’reve… I LOVE this stuff!

I managed to buy a top to go with leggings and boots and a handbag but seriously I could have bought out the store. It is awesome to have their stuff available right here in small town Iowa. Plus the store had long layering tanks which I love and think they are terribly hard to find. Bonus. 

Here is a link to their website!

A’reve

Check out the website! Such cute stuff! If you look in their “look book” and go to fall winter 2015, I tried on the outfit on page 46 the last page. Unfortunately….. not meant for my body type but super adorable.

So after much contemplation about what to pack I have let the stress of it go. I found some cute stuff…. including this bag- isn’t it adorable?????

  

The bag brand name is Mona B. I bet they are online too…. 

We leave friday night and head to dinner together and then fly out Saturday early morning and fly back late Sunday night. About 10 girls to celebrate a friends 40th. It should be fun.

I do feel guilty leaving the kids I have to admit. I am NOT one to leave them or miss something and Tyler has his home off season basketball tournament. It is so hard to leave even for a day. But… I feel they need to see they can survive a night or two without me and the only way to do that is to try to leave. So here we go—– and the one who will have the toughest time is my daughter bless her heart.

I will post all about it when I return. I have some great recipes to post as well as updates on the kiddos and some harvest pics taken by our exchange student when he was out riding in the combine yeterday. Soooooo much to share!

I did manage to make it to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch with my daughter though… back in my home town. We had apple dumplings and cinnamon ice cream too. Priorities right?

Till next time!

~Laura