Can we just stop & rewind?

Can we please just stop, rewind & let me bask in the adorableness that is Odin. He was such a tiny, well not "tiny", ball of fur when we brought him home a little over two years ago... What happened?!


 & he grew...
  & he grew...
  & we ended up with the Monster that we ♥ so much!

Ampersand.


You learn something new everyday. Well, perhaps you already knew this, so you'll have to find something else knew to learn today... but, I just learned what the "&" stands for. This seriously blew my mind & has now become one of those meme like things spreading around Facebook. Once you see it, it can't be unseen.

Did you know that the "&" symbol also called the Ampersand, actually is a ligature of the letters "e" and "t"? Why "e" and "t", well I found that out too! ET (no, not phone home!) is actually Latin for "and". Traced back from as far back as the first century AD the first Ampersands clearly showed the "e" and the "t", but as time passed & styles changed the symbol lost some if not most of it's origins.
via Wikipedia.
Also, The word Ampersand was added to dictionaries in 1837. It was created from a slurred or slang form of the phrase, "and (&) per se and" which was what the alphabet ended with when recited in English speaking schools. Historically "and per se and" followed any letter in the alphabet that was also a word in the dictionary. So letters such as a, i and at one point o. Ampersand or (&) was actually at one point in time the last letter, well character, in the alphabet. Which means that the end of the alphabet was actually recited, "x, y, z, and per se and". Yikes, could you imagine that! I had a hard enough time learning that gosh darn "elemeno-p" when I was a kid. ;)

Anyway, I just found this interesting as the Ampersand tends to be my favorite key on the keyboard & I had no idea of it's quite lengthy & intriguing history. If you want to read more about the ampersand & you aren't already bored to tears, & are still reading at this point, you can find more information here & here.

Thanks for reading!
Krys @ Sunshine&Rain


Borrowed Questions...

While reading through my monumental heap of blog subscriptions, I am way behind. I came across Erin's post over at Living In Yellow called "Getting Personal (Answering The Tough Questions)". In this post she goes on to ask herself, & in turn fellow bloggers, a series of deep questions to get the cogs in that noggin of yours churning. So keep your legs & arms safely tucked inside as we begin the deep sea dive into ourselves.

1. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?

On one hand, I really would like to say that I would not want to do anything differently as every decision, subconscious or not, brought me here to this point. I do feel that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. However, I would be lying if I said that I couldn't think of a single thing I would have liked to be different in my life. The one thing, that really stands out the most, would have to be listening to all the negative & self-esteem crumbling things that were said to me while I was growing up. If I could go back & talk to my younger self, I would tell her that she is not ugly, nor stupid. That she is worth something & that some day she will meet someone who will love her truly & unconditionally, just the way she is. I'd tell her to walk with her head held high & embrace the person she is inside. I'd tell her that I love her & to rise above all of the chaos & drama which was holding her down.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Right off the bat, I see myself married to Mr. B. I see myself hopefully quite a bit lighter & closer to my weight loss goal. I mainly want to see myself & Mr. B happy, no matter where we are. I'd like to see myself expecting a beautiful bouncing baby, if not already a Mommy. I hope to still be blogging & maybe have a few more followers. Perhaps my photography skills will improve. Oh, & I hope to finish at least ONE knitting project by then! lol.

3. Do you honestly want kids?

Yes & yet maybe. This is something I wavered on for a bit & it eventually sent my relationship with Mr. B into a tailspin. Luckily instead of letting it nosedive we pulled up & talked about it & are still talking about it. We want a family, but we worry about the world we would be bringing them into. We have our good days & we have our bad. After every "terrorist attack", government set up bombing & or shooting, we lose more faith in humanity. Yet, when it's just us either on a day trip or out fishing, we think about the joy in sharing those moments with a little one. At the end of the day, nothing has been set in stone. But I think we are leaning more to starting a family, than not.

4. What has been the best moment of your life so far?

I honestly don't think I have a single best moment in my life. I have a few times in my life I would call the best, meeting Mr. B for example. Buying a house together. Bringing Odin home from the pet store. One of the biggest was flying out to California & seeing my Dad for the first time in ten years. Yes, that was a really amazing moment.

5. What is your life theme song?

Oh my gosh. I really have no idea. I would have to say "Just Might (Make Me Believe)" by Sugarland. Life is hard more times than not, but in the end with Mr. B by my side, I know we can get through this. I would also have to say "Bring On The Rain" by Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw. I think that one needs no explanation.

6. What is one thing you have yet to accomplish that you want to do before you die?

Complete self acceptance. I'm working on it.

7. If you could choose one thing to be known for, what would it be?

Putting others ahead of myself & loving unconditionally. I know, that's technically two, but they go hand in hand.

8. If you could do anything you wanted right in this very moment (no consequences, no fear, etc), what would it be?

I'd be on a plane to Southern California with Mr. B in a hot second. I really would love to spend an amazing two weeks with my family & show him where I grew up. Plus, take him to Disneyland, duh!

9. What has been the most challenging moment in your life?

I'm not going to lie. I have been through a ridiculous amount of challenges for being only in my twenties. I have overcome verbal & mental child abuse, a seriously twisted codependent relationship, & horrendously low self-esteem. I've been technically homeless, car-less, & money-less. I've dumpster dived, used napkins as toilet paper, & ate expired food. My credit has been decimated by my codependency. I've watched sex, drugs & alcohol ruin lives of those who were close to me. But the question still remains, what was the most challenging moment in my life? That would be when I cut ties with the person who brought all the above chaos & drama into my life. My mother. I burned that bridge in August of 2011 & have not looked back. Sometimes you have to let go of people from your past simply because they don't belong in your future, or are not good for your health.

10. Summarize yourself in one word.

Thriving.

"Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style." - Maya Angelou


And so concludes the deep sea dive through the wheels that turn inside my mind. Thanks for reading! If you decide to answer these ten questions, let me know! I'd love to read yours too!

-Krys @ Sunshine&Rain

Golden Island Jerky {Review & Giveaway}

Mr. B & I had the chance to taste six of Golden Island's most popular flavors of Jerky. Three of which are flame grilled & three of which are kettle cooked. Golden Island Jerky contains 40-60 percent less sodium than most jerkys. Their products are American made with no preservatives or hormones. 


What really surprised me where that three of the jerkys sent were actually not Turkey or Beef, but Pork. Now, I am not the most attentive person at the grocery store, but I really had never heard of Pork Jerky before. So that for me had to give them a +1 in originality alone, since the majority of the jerky market seems to be Beef.



The six flavors Mr. B & I had the opportunity to taste test were Chili Lime, Mandarin Orange, Hickory Black Pepper, Grilled BBQ, Teriyaki, & Korean BBQ.


Mr. B liked the Korean BBQ & the Teriyaki which are both Pork. If you are looking for a jerky with a crisp & sweet crunch, you would probably love them as well. I on the other hand liked the Hickory Black Pepper Beef Jerky & refused to share the bag with Mr. B. lol. I tend to go for the more peppery & savory tastes rather than the sweet.

So, here is the awesome part! Golden Island Jerky is going to giveaway the same six flavors to one lucky Sunshine&Rain reader! That's right, you don't have to take my word for it, you can try them yourself! See, I told you, awesome! Just enter the Rafflecopter below & don't forget to come back & get in your daily entries. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
*The awesome people over at Golden Island Jerky gifted me products to sample for my expressed interest in their company. I was in no way paid for my opinions. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and were in no way influenced by the company providing the product.**Sunshine&Rain is not responsible for the shipment of the prize/prizes.

Urban Gardening Motivation

Pinterest, as much as I love you... I think we might need to break up. I'm losing sleep over you. Why? Well when you type "Urban Gardening" into the search panel way too many inspirational things pop up & weasel their way into my brain. Then from there, they lay eggs & I can't fall asleep at night because I'm calculating just how much space in my teeny tiny city backyard I can use to grow edible food. Mr. B, I am sure is pretty tired of hearing about square foot gardening, raised beds, vertical gardens, & recycled pallets. He also, wasn't keen on my wanting to tear up the little bit of lawn we do have to plant rows of vegetables. But, he did bring up a very valid point... where would Odin go potty? Hmm, that is a good question & a very valid reasoning behind my not tearing up the back yard right this second.

But come on, look at this beautiful yet small city garden!

via
So pretty. So colorful. So edible. I think there is a line somewhere to be drawn. I don't believe that Mr. B will allow me to spend more money on the backyard than the worth of our house. lol. That would be nonsense. But, I do plan on extending my garden this year. Not only in size, but by season. I hope to do a fall crop this year for the very first time.

Tuesday can't come soon enough.

I know, I know...

I know, I know... I have been hiding. I really wish I could come up with some fantastical excuse as to why I've been slacking. But, I really don't want to lie to you, or myself. The truth is, I have not felt like blogging. I've been feeling extremely under the weather due to a change in medication & I honestly have not been able to string together enough words to make a comprehensible sentence. But I never leave for long & I am indeed back in the blogger's seat at the moment.

Spring was here for a few days, then it felt like summer, & now it dipped below freezing last night. Pennsylvania really needs to take a Xanax & chill. Select a temp & stick with it, please. In spite of all these temperature changes, I started working in my garden yesterday. Mr. B & I have decided to extend my current garden further out, & after turning the dirt for a few hours yesterday morning, I am happy to announce that my garden has now doubled in size. Hooray!

My few perennials from last year have already started coming back to life & my rose bush has taken off. It has tripled in size since I planted it two years ago. There will be a few newcomers this year, but most will be vegetables & a few annuals. I'm buying local this year from Glick's Greenhouse in Oley. Mr. B & I used to live a minute & a half from them when we first moved in together. I won't be bringing the new guys home until next Tuesday, which is closer to the final frost date for my area. 

I honestly can't wait to get them in the ground. I am really looking forward to a nice warm, sunny day to dig in the dirt & just meditate through gardening. I'm sure it will do me good as this winter has felt longer than usual. I also can't wait for things to start growing. There really is nothing more satisfying than eating something you had grown with your own two hands.

Other than spring prep, nothing too much has been going on. Which is another reason why I have been slacking on blogging. I could always fill your feed with two paragraph puff pieces to show that I have constant content on my blog, but if it's not quality content, who would really bother to read it?

I'm sure I will have more to write about soon. I also will have a giveaway posted on Friday! So, we shall look forward to that, eh? :) I hope you all are having a fantastic start to the week.

Newman's Own Organics Giveaway Winner!

Happy Wednesday guys! Sorry that it has been so quiet around here. I am having a few health issues & have just been feeling way under the weather. But, I wanted to make sure I got online to select a winner for the Newman's Own Organic's Goody Box!

And that lucky winner is...

Jessica F.

Congratulations Jessica! I'll be sending an email to you shortly. Simply reply in 48 hours to claim your prize. :)

Don't fret if you didn't win this time, I have another yummy giveaway coming soon!

A taste of spring...

A taste of spring, a dash of summer & then a torrential downpour. That pretty much is the summary of what our weather has been like as of late.

We had a few days last week in the lower 70's, absolutely beautiful. I had the windows open, the birds were  singing, & everyone was happy to finally be rid of Ol' man winter. The next couple days were in the mid 70's lower 80's & although it was fairly warm, we were still happy & the birds were still singing. Then came the rain, buckets of it. Paired with hail & a few pretty amazing thunderstorms. The temperatures dropped & we were once again looking for our sweatshirts.

Now, it seems we are going back into the higher 60's today... I really wish Pennsylvania would make up it's mind. I already have brought out my dresses & flip-flops, no one has time for all that rain & cold air!! Though, I do have to remind myself it could be worse. There are still people out there expected over a foot of snow this weekend. I would die

There is one good thing that came with the sudden warmth followed by all that rain...


Flowers! 

Mr. B & I took a drive on his day off this Saturday over to Sweet Arrow Lake. The lake wasn't really impressive, but these little blueish flowers that were popping up everywhere caught my eye. And, they have a beautiful waterfall... Mr. B knew this & didn't tell me. That silly man! So I didn't have my tripod to get a great shot, but I feel I got a couple good ones. We'll have to go back later in the spring with my tripod to get a better shot.



I'm so ready for spring to fully arrive. Heck, I'm ready for summer! Mr. B bought me two more Maxi Sundresses yesterday & I can't wait to wear them!

Oh, by the way, today is the last day to enter my Newman's Own Organics Giveaway! Make sure to get those entries in, you don't want to miss out on those yummy goodies! There are more reviews & giveaways on the horizon, so be sure to keep an eye out for those. :)

Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend!

Peace, Love & Saints. {Cafepress Review}

Remember that post I did about Cafepress a few weeks ago? After spending hours on the site debating between two or three items that I was completely in love with, I decided on this Peace, Love & Saints messenger bag. I'm so excited because it arrived yesterday!!


First, let's talk about the shipping. I ordered from Cafepress on April 5th & it arrived five days later on April 10th, so I'd say that is fairly quick. The only issue I really had with the shipping was they sent it UPS with a tracking number all the way from Kentucky to my city here in Pennsylvania & then they placed it into the regular USPS mail. I know several companies use this shipping technique, but I for the life of me can't figure out why. If you already had it on your UPS truck to ship it to my city, why make it take an extra day by dropping it into the USPS mail? I guess we may never know. Either way, it is here & it didn't take too long, so I'm a happy camper.

Alright, now on to the product...


I absolutely love the messenger bag! Though, for some reason the true color of the canvas doesn't show in pictures. It is a tad darker than I expected. However, I don't really mind. The canvas is 100% cotton & although it feels rather thin, it feels sturdy as well.

The bag is rather large, it is sixteen inches by eleven & a half inches. You could fit a laptop rather nicely in it. I haven't tried to put mine in it, as I already have a laptop bag. I did however put a few things inside it to show just how much room you have.


I really like the side pockets as they fit my cell phone & Odin's doggy bags perfectly. Inside the bag, I put my wallet, a book, my knitting, & Odin's leash. In the front pocket I put my keys, mp3 player, & Chapstick. In the inside back pocket I put my pens, since I almost always need one. There was quite a bit more room & as I don't plan on really taking my knitting with me everywhere I go, I am sure I will have space for quite possibly a water bottle as the weather starts warming up. I also love that there is also room for my Canon Rebel. Not shown in the picture because, duh, I was using it! ;) I really want to get into the habit of taking it everywhere with me & having a bag big enough for both my purse items & camera items will make it easier for me to do that. 

So, I think it is safe to say that I have had a good experience with Cafepress & I would order from them again. Especially since I am still lusting after their crafty knit & crochet designs, like this Knitting Penguin t-shirt.

Have you bought anything from Cafepress? How do you like it?

*Cafepress sent me a gift certificate to help with my Cafepress experience. I was in no way paid for my opinions. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and were in no way influenced by the company providing the product.

Movie, Mexican Food & Margaritas.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this post over at Wifesionals. It's a post introducing a new series & link up called Alphabet Dating. Now, Mr. B & I don't get to go out too often, but I was immediately excited to participate! Why was I so excited? Well, if you have read my most recent post you will see that our four year anniversary was this past weekend. :) 

So, I thought it would be an awesome idea for our anniversary to be brought to you by, the letter "M" & the number "4". :) So, what to do for date night revolving around the letter "M"...

We decided on...

A Movie, Mexican Food, & Margaritas.

First up, the movie. Mr. B & I decided that we would go out, for the first time, to a movie on opening weekend. This is a huge deal for us, as we are not huge fans of crowds of people! But we took the risk & went out to the earliest showing of Evil Dead.


Sorry no pictures. I mean, really, how can you actually get photos of a movie nowadays without being deemed as some terrorist. lol. The movie was good. It is way different than the first. It starts off more serious but gets back to it's B-movie roots towards the end. Gotta love Bruce Campbell! The movie made it even more apparent that Mr. B & I are soulmates as we seemed to be the only ones laughing at some of the goriest parts. We shared a bucket of popcorn, a soda, & a box of Milk Duds & were shocked that it costs us $19. It really is getting crazy expensive & nearly impossible to go out to the movies in today's economy.

After the movie we were off to the next two M's on our list. Margarita's & Mexican food.

We live in Pennsylvania so there are not too many Mexican food places to choose from. Nothing compared to what I am used to in Southern California. It is very easy to find good Mexican food in Cali, here... it's taking a shot in the dark. We decided to try On The Border, which yes, is a chain. Restaurant chains get a really bad rap sometimes. Honestly, On The Border was pretty amazing. If you like spicy food, I really really recommend their jalapeno poppers. To-Die-For. Mr. B had their brisket tacos & I had a combo. The best thing on the combo, was their chicken taco. Again, to-die-for. Mr. B & I both ordered their Strawberry Swirl Margaritas, which were probably the best margaritas I have ever hard. Though, a bit on the pricey side.


After dinner, we took a walk in the park near our house. We walked hand & hand & eventually stopped on a little bridge, where Mr. B decided he would be romantic. He professed his love for me & asked me to marry him, again. Of course, I said yes, again. I can't wait until October 1st, 2014. The day I can say "I Do" & continue to spend our lives together.

I brought my tripod along so that I could get a few shots of us. Little did I know I would end up taking the best picture of us, of all the time we have been together. I guess, when you feel that much love, it radiates through the world.


So that was our anniversary date, brought to you by the letter "M" & of course the number "4", :)

What is your favorite date night choice?

« Four Years » A Love Story

Four years ago today, I met & fell in love with Mr. B.


I honestly can not believe how fast time is moving. My life, our lives, have changed so much. I do not think either one of us thought we would be where we are today. On paper, our relationship sounds strange, doomed even. Age-gap relationships never seem to be favored by statistics. All I really have to say to that is, when you meet your soulmate, it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter if statistics are against you, nor time. It doesn't matter if your friends understand nor if the world stops & stares. When you find the person that you are meant to spend & continue eternity with, be with them. Do not let a single person tell you who you can or cannot love. Older or younger, male or female, black or white... it doesn't matter. What matters is that you love that person & that you are one of the lucky ones who was able to find your one in a billion.

Four years ago, I was twenty years old. I had only been living in Pennsylvania for about six months. I missed Southern California. I had never been this far away from "home". I use the term home loosely here, for it had been years since I had actually had a room of my own, let alone a place to call home. The reasoning behind this, is a story in itself, a story for another time.

Four years ago, plus a month & a few days, I was looking for a friend. I was looking for an adventure. I was looking for someone to make life a little less lonely. Not knowing any other way, I am a very nervous & shy person, I placed an ad on Craigslist. I received quite a plethora of replies, some respectful, but a lot weren't. Little did I know that mixed in the lot, was my soulmate.

"He's older. It's just dinner, it's not like I am going to marry him". I said this just hours before meeting Mr. B for dinner. How strange life can be. I was always told growing up, that love will find you when you aren't looking for it. And, boy did it. I never planned on falling in love that night. But apparently fate had other plans.

Fast forward to four years later. We own our own home. We share that home with our amazing fur-family that means the world to us. We are talking about marriage & starting a not so furry family. We make the best out of what we have. We take every day, one day at a time.

Today, we celebrate not only our relationship but this crazy world we live in. You never know where it is going to take you... but hopefully, if you have enough faith in yourself & each other, everything will be just fine.

01.23.11 >> 04.06.12
Mr. B, We have our ups & downs. And quite frankly this roller-coaster hasn't been fair. But I know that I wouldn't want to be on this ride with anyone but you. You're my knight in shinning armor, my retard in a tin foil hat, & the touch of insanity that keeps me sane. I love you.

Spring to-do list.

Spring is slowly but surely peeking it's head around the corner. I've never been one to make lists, or stick to them for that matter. However, I thought it would be a pretty great idea to start a Spring To-Do list & see how much I might actually accomplish on it. Let's just ease our way into this list by starting off small & seeing what happens from there.

1.) Prepare the garden for spring planting. 
2.) Take a trip to Glick's Greenhouse & Lowes for plants & gardening supplies.
3.) Plant tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, & a few other plants (edible & non-edible).
4.) Deep spring clean the house (dust, vacuum, mop, steam clean, the works).
5.) Organize closets & sort through clothing for donation.
6.) Buy spring flats. I currently have zero.
7.) Spend more time outside with Odin.
8.) Get my hair cut.
9.) Go out fishing with Mr. B.
10.) Paint the kitchen.
11.) Wash the car (inside & out).
12.) Give Odin a bath.
13.) Participate in another Cara Box Exchange.
14.) Road trip back to the Appalachian mountains & the Susquehanna River.

So there is my first list to start with. We'll see how easy it is towards the end of spring & beginning of summer. 

Do you have any thing on your list this spring? :)

Newman's Own Organic's {Review & Giveaway}

Have you discovered the organic yumminess that is Newman's Own Organics? I have! Seriously folks, the Newman's Own Organic product line is pretty impressive. Everything from dried fruits to chocolate & even coffee, & organic? I found myself completely sold.

Newman's Own Organics is a certified organic company that has been an established division of Newman's Own since 1993. In 2001 they branched off & became their very own company separate from Newman's Own. They have a number of certified organic products & have even started their own Pet Food line (Which we will be talking about in a future post).

But today, we are going to talk about the delicious stuff they sent us humans to review. :)


Again, I had Mr. B join in on the tasting & review of these Newman's Own Organics products. We decided we would select our favorite four to review in semi-detail here on the blog. 

Both of us agreed that the favorite out of the entire lot was the Vanilla Creme Newman-O's. These cookies were amazing. Mr. B & I killed the whole pack while watching Netflix one evening. Luckily, I was smart enough to take a picture of them before we tried them. ;)

In our home, we love Oreo's & we can honestly say that the Vanilla Creme Newman-O's are better in taste, texture, & because they are made with organic wheat flour & organic sugar, they are better for you. Newman-O's come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, vanilla & even ginger!


The next favorite of the lot were the Pretzels. Mr. B thought they were good. I really enjoyed them. I'm not usually a pretzel fan, but these I would get again. They had a great flavor, the perfect amount of salt & an amazing crunch.


Next up, chocolate! Newman's Own Organics has a great selection of chocolate. Mr. B & I couldn't decide on a winner between the four that we tried. Mr. B loves Peanut Butter more than I do, so he was all over the Peanut Butter Cups, I on the other hand preferred the Caramel & the Peppermint. This one really depends on what you like with your chocolate. :) All of them were really good though.


Our final pick in our favorite four were the Sour Cherry Licorice Twists made with organic sugar. This was very unexpected. I really did not think I would like them, as I usually dislike anything cherry or cherry flavored. Much to my surprise I really liked it & found it to be probably one of the best Licorice twists I have ever had. Proof that you never know until you try it.


So, now the amazing folks over at Newman's Own Organics want you to try their products too! They are going to giveaway Mr. B & I's fave four to one lucky sunshine&rain reader! How awesome is that?! To make it even more awesome, you can choose which one pack of chocolate cups you want from the four choices of, dark chocolate peppermint, dark chocolate caramel, milk chocolate with peanut butter & dark chocolate with peanut butter. Since neither Mr. B nor myself were able to choose just one. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The awesome people over at Newman's Own Organics gifted me products to sample for my expressed interest in their company. I was in no way paid for my opinions. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and were in no way influenced by the company providing the product.**Sunshine&Rain is not responsible for the shipment of the prize/prizes.
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