19 October 2017

..::Product Review::.. Haeleum Insect Shield Shirt - Gleam

THE REVIEW:  I was provided with the opportunity to test out the 'Insect Shield Shirt' from Haeleum, and let you guys know if and how it works.  I chose the Gleam style in Rhodonite Red. There are many other options available on their website (for both men and women, and even kids), but since I wanted to try this for me personally, I selected the one for women.

Okay. So bugs.  Insects.  Creepy crawlies.  Whatever you want to call them.  They are all around us; they outnumber us.  It's a fact of life, one in which we cannot avoid.  However, it is possible to avoid them.  But, how?  

I've lived in many large cities that spray for the majority of insects, so I can honestly say that I never really had to 'deal' with them like I do now.  I live in a more rural area now, and the ... okay ... let's start the list: gnats, mosquitoes, no-see-ums (these are my most-hated, by the way), wasps, ticks, stink bugs, flies, ladybugs, and lovebugs by the dozen.  These are just a fraction of the insects that I come into contact with on a daily basis.  It's hard to avoid any of them.

Living on such a large property requires lots of outdoor attention. I've tried gnat hats, but they look kind of dumb, long sleeve shirts in the middle of the Georgia heat are a no-go, and insects laugh and liquid repellent after the first try.  Needless to say, I'm pretty sure I'm a good candidate for this review!  I sure hope it works as intended.  On to the review...

Before I even begin the 'official' review process, I would like to share my first impression notes:

+ This shirt is pink, not red.  I expected a deeper color.  I love the color, just not what I had expected.

+ This feels like Active Wear that I use when I work out. 

+ It doesn't have any scent to it.  I thought it was going to have a distinct 'fragrance'.

This shirt can be found here and costs $36.99.  Shipping is free with any order over $50.  

Here is a little bit of information about this shirt from Haeleum:

Lightweight and highly breathable, our short-sleeve Gleam boasts a feminine cut with v-neck and comes in seolfor gray, sky blue and rhodonite red. Our extreme moisture-wicking 100% DrýTru polyester fabric is snag and pill resistant and quickly moves sweat away from your skin to help keep you cool and dry while you’re taking in the natural beauty atop a mountain peak or on a forest path.

The shirt is packaged simply.  And by simply, I mean it has a tag on it.  I'm good with simple, though.  The tag lets me know who makes it and what the product does.

The shirt is a cut v-neck with the brand logo screen-printed on the front.  The care and sizing information is printed in the back upper neck portion.

I usually wear a size medium shirt, but I received a large.  It's incredibly fitted, so I do suggest going up a size.  It's very comfortable, and surprisingly breathable.

+ Kept away the no-see-ums, mosquitoes.
+ Extremely breathable and comfortable fabric.
+ Washes well and does not fade nor shred.

+ Has built-in sun protection (in case you forget).


- Does absolutely nothing for the gnats.

- Has a limited lifetime on it.

- Runs on the small side.

+ YES-- does repel insects.
+ YES-- wicks moisture & keeps you comfortable.
+ YES-- can be used as an insulator.
STAR RATING: On a scale of 1 to 5, this gets a 3.
RECOMMENDATION:  YES, I recommend this!  Please refer to the pictures to see why.  Although it only got an average rating, I do like the product.  It just is really expensive in my opinion to have a limited life, the color was not what I expected, and the sizing was smaller than I had in mind.
Order here (pricing may vary).  You can also find this product online with Amazon and sporting goods stores like Cabelas.

Please visit Haeleum
I received this product for free in exchange for inspection and an honest and unbiased review.

5 Fun Ways to Embrace Halloween Without the Candy

Kids get excited about all of the candy they are likely to acquire on Halloween night. The spend the month plotting and planning ways to get the most candy from their neighborhood much to the chagrin of their parents and dentists. But there are ways to embrace the fun and excitement that Halloween has to offer to keep their little minds off the candy.
A periodontist in Fairfax knows the struggle of trying to get children to forget about the candy, and so she made this list of fun ways to celebrate Halloween without candy.
#1 - Pumpkin Carving Contest
Go to the pumpkin patch for a family activity, and when you get back, have a pumpkin carving contest! Let your kids explore their creativity with their new pumpkin. You can even help them look through fun designs online that they might want to use. This is an easy way to get them thinking about the new task at hand and get their minds off of candy. Bonus: You can roast the pumpkin seeds afterward for a great sugar-free snack too!
#2 - Pumpkin Relay Race
Before cutting open those pumpkins, have some fun with them. Let your kids get out some of their energy outside with pumpkin relay races. You can have them take turns rolling the pumpkin down the yard and back. You can even create an obstacle course with large pumpkins for them to run around. Get creative with this one, and have fun!
#3 - Halloween Art
Print out some Halloween-themed coloring pages or help your kids get creative with some Halloween art. They can draw pictures of pumpkins, ghosts, vampires, or whatever they set their minds to. Put on some fun Halloween music to draw to and join them in their fun.
#4 - Dress Up
Dressing up and playing pretend is half the fun of being a kid, and now is the best time to do it. Help them create costumes from things you can find around the house. You can paint their face and help them get dressed up too. This might even get them more excited about what costume they’re going to wear than all the candy they’re going to get.
#5 - Pet Fashion Show
If you have a good-natured pet who is your kids’ best friend, then have a pet fashion show or photo shoot. Let your kids dress up the dog in a Halloween costume and take pictures of it. They’ll have so much fun playing with the dog in its costume and can even learn some new photography skills.

There are a million things you can do with your kids to keep the Halloween excitement alive, and the thoughts of candy at bay. Do a little research and find the activities you think your children will enjoy the most. Have fun with them!

17 October 2017

Don't Let Life's Obstacles Crush You

We all know the saying: When life gives you lemons… But in the end, what if you don’t have a good recipe for lemonade? Or what if you don’t like lemonade? Or finally what if you don’t see how you could turn something terrible into something positive just by adding a little bit of water and sugar to it? While the saying is powerful, we have to admit that it’s not always helpful. For a start, it doesn’t give you any indication on how to sort out your existing issues. But don’t let life’s obstacles crush you. All you need is to open your mind to new possibilities, and then the solution will appear from itself to you.

Self-Awareness Is Your Salvation--
Whether it’s an unexpected bill or just a tricky deadline to meet, everybody knows how it feels to be stressed out. The problem is that we don’t take the time to register the potential harm that stress can do to our mind and body. In fact, you need to remember that stress is a biological reaction that can be stopped and controlled if you become aware of it. Why should you control your stress levels? Because not only is it extremely harmful to your health but it also blocks your cognitive abilities. When you're stressed, you can’t find a solution to your problems. So, take a step back and relax.

Remember: You Are Not Alone--
Even in the worst of situations, you can always find help or guidance. Imagine that you’ve been involved in an accident that leaves you to disable. You can turn towards specialist attorneys such as Osterhout Berger Disability Law to protect your rights. Can't you handle to workload? Talk to your manager or your colleagues. Don't you understand how to fill your tax return? There’s a financial adviser who can do it for you. Don’t let stress isolates you: There’s always someone who knows what to do.

It's Not an Obstacle; It's a Diversion--
The main problem with life’s barrier is not the situation in itself. It’s the way people handle it. Yes, something unexpected came your way, and it forced you to change your plans. But an obstacle doesn’t mean that the path you’ve chosen in life cannot happen. It’s merely a diversion. If you open up your mind to new possibilities, you may be able to find another way to reach your goals. Creative thinking is what takes the edge of a sour life’s lemon!

Plan for Dark Days--
In the end, the best way to approach unexpected issues is to plan for them. Naturally, you never know what could happen. But you can certainly start by building your emergency fund to tackle every situation. Nerd Wallet suggests starting small with $500 and building up gradually. In the end, it’s not how much you save that matters. It’s about keeping a light on to find the way out of the darkness.

Life is full of uncertainties. But it’s the essence of life to unroll as it pleases. That’s what makes it worth living. So don’t blame life for its lemons. Instead, accept that things will sometimes go ugly and that you need to prepare your plan B.

13 October 2017

Christian Corner - October

Many would agree with me on this, introducing one’s self to a group of people (or a website audience) is not an easy task. To be perfectly honest, I get nervous when we’re eating at a family gathering, and I am nominated to say the blessing because my Daddy isn’t there. I’m just going to dive head first into this and let you, the reader, know exactly who I am, and what I am about.
My name is Trey Jackson, and I’m the husband to Melissa Jackson (owner of Living the Thrifty Life). I’m 31 years old, served for nearly 8 years in the United States Navy, and have traveled to well over 20 countries throughout my life. I’ve seen things throughout my life that would shock people, bring others to tears, and in some instances, make some excited for the “fun” they were about to have. I want to use these experiences and stories as a teaching tool, and use scripture to help mold the experiences I have had into something one can read and contemplate. Keeping ones focus solely on Christ takes an enormous commitment of your mind, body, and spirit. Keeping evil, i.e. sin, completely out of our lives is an impossibility, because we are human, and we make mistakes every single day. It’s how we repent, and work harder to correct the mistakes that we make that help define the type of person we are, and more specifically, the type of Christ follower we are.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-40
None of us are perfect, myself included. Here’s a verse for you to remember (‘for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ Romans 3:23), it is one that I should remember more often when I falter. It can be reassuring to know that even when we fall short, God’s love for us doesn’t. He proved that by sending his only Son, Jesus, to die for us – you, me, and everyone on this planet. Our debt has been paid already, we must repent and serve. More on this in a later posting….
Back to my personal story:
I was saved when I was near the age of 15 or so, but I was baptized a year-ish before that, when my family (i.e. my parents and siblings) joined the church that I grew up in. I did not want to be baptized then, and I did not walk to the front of the church with my family the day that they made it known to the congregation that they were joining the church. I didn’t make it known that I didn’t want to be baptized, probably teenage nervousness and joining a new church, so I went through with it anyway a few weeks later, and was baptized in front of the congregation, friends, family, and my parents. I think we ate at Shoney’s that afternoon afterwards, but it was so long ago that I can’t recall. That’s typically where we ate on Sunday’s after church, if Mama was working. Who knows? All I remember is that I was glad it was over, now I could get back to baseball, and being a kid.
My family got more involved in the church after the baptism occurred. This meant that we were at church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday nights. Wednesday nights were fun, because we got to play football in the wide lot behind the church, after our lesson was over of course. Sunday nights were the less fun nights, because as a kid, Sunday night was the last night of semi-freedom before beginning the school week. As it would come to be, it would be at a road-trip style Sunday night service with the youth group, that I would make my profession of faith in front of total strangers (other youth groups from surrounding counties).
The first Sunday of the month, a larger church in a town about 10 miles south of where our church was, would have a live band, and an awesome preacher come and preach to the large audience of different youth groups. Needless to say, those Sunday night services were a BLAST. The music was great – i.e. it wasn’t a hymn on page 255, and the sermons were typically directed towards youth and young-adults, and were fun, interesting, and I felt like we were told the unadulterated truth straight from the word of God.
After hearing the sermon one of those Sunday nights at this gathering, the last song began to play, and the preacher said if anyone wants to dedicate their life to God that this was an opportunity to do that. The preacher was down by the altar, so were deacons, and others to help counsel to the youth exactly what dedicated our lives to God would mean. As soon as that song began to play, I could feel the “tug” (or nudge) tugging at me to go down, and in all honesty, I wanted to go down the aisle and dedicate my life to God. I had it in my brain that I was going to, but I just couldn’t. So, I prayed quickly, and I just kept feeling God tugging at me to walk down, so I took the first step towards the altar, and instantly I felt love, happiness, and joy coming over me, literally like a blanket being draped over my shoulders.

The sensation was sort of like a warm blanket that’s been pulled right out of the dryer. Trying to describe the internal feelings is a bit more tough, but to put it into words, the walk down to the altar seemed so effortless once I took that first step. It was as if God himself had put his arms around me, and took me down those steps himself, one step at a time. The love that I felt in that instant is something that I will never, ever, forget. Although I still have that love now, transitioning from not feeling that love because I had yet to take that step of faith, to taking that first step and physically feeling that love envelope me, is absolutely indescribable. Shortly after this took place, I gave my testimony in front of my church, though I was so nervous that I cried, so I’m certain no one could understand the words that I was saying, but I got through it and I did my best. My walk with God didn’t change much in terms of growth after that for a few years, but it did change once I joined the Navy. That story, though, is for another time.
That’s the story of how I became a dedicated child of God. Now, I’ve made a ton, and I mean TON, of mistakes along the way to where I am today, but we won’t get into those just yet. I want to let you know that I’m going to write whatever the Holy Spirit lays on my heart any given week, or month, whichever way it comes. If you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to leave them. I do not claim, in any way, to be an expert on anything. I am simply looking to write a column, and hope that it helps one person in some way. Whether it be through a life lesson that I’ve learned, or through a particular scripture that is highlighted.
I hope that you enjoyed this brief, albeit sporadic, introduction. I look forward to writing more of these as time goes on, it’s been a blast thus far. Remember to put God first, love and forgive one another, and when the opportunity arises, serve others as much as possible.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

Simple Tips for Embracing Thrifty Living


In a time when massive numbers of people are living in debt, with poor job security, and the whims of an unpredictable economy looming large overhead, it can easily be argued that thrifty living is more in demand than ever.

That’s not to say that people have to live miserable lives eating bowls of gruel, and never leaving the house in the interests of saving money. When it comes down to it, thrifty living is all about making small, manageable, and sensible changes to our basic behaviors in order to minimize waste and free up resources for greater financial security — and to spend on the things in life which matter most.

Here are a few easy and effective tips for embracing thrifty living today.


Rely Less on Digital Tools--

Many of us in the digital age find ourselves signed up to a wide array of digital tools and online services. The subscription costs for these usually seems reasonable enough on an individual basis, but with several active subscriptions to several different services running at once, we can often find that we’re bleeding a substantial amount of money away on a regular basis.

While some subscriptions will genuinely add to your quality of life or ability to successfully carry out your day job, it’s also entirely like that some are just unnecessary drains on our finances.

Are you using a digital invoicing service when simple Microsoft office documents would be enough to allow you to achieve the same result?

Does that Spotify premium account of yours get much use, or is it just something you keep because you like the idea of it?

And does that digital checklist software really carry out an essential function that an old-fashioned Filofax wouldn’t?
Budget for Your Expenses--

If you don’t have a clear sense of where your money’s going, it’s going to be all but impossible to identify areas of waste and rectify the issue.

Budgeting is essential to good financial management, whether you do decide to pay for an online service such as YouNeedaBudget.com, or use a more traditional method. You must keep a list of budget categories for things like “entertainment”, “bills”, “fuel”, “groceries”, and allocate your income to these groups effectively.

The aim of your budget should be to give every dollar a job, so that you have no extra just “floating around” waiting to disappear through the cracks.

It’s entirely possible that this step alone, without any of the other thrifty-living tips, will lead to make great savings and free up disposable income literally overnight.
Don't Replace Worn out Appliances Immediately but Save for Replacements--

Though you shouldn’t necessarily try and hang on to a completely ruined home appliance indefinitely for the sake of saving money, while having a terrible time trying to get a basic level of use out of it, you shouldn’t just splash out and buy a replacement as soon as you notice the performance of one of your appliances faltering.

(This, of course, doesn’t apply in cases where a broken appliance presents a safety hazard. Replace those immediately).

Instead, when you notice that something is on the way out, you should begin saving for a replacement, bit by bit. Of course, you could also try your luck with free giveaways from sites such as Best Products Pro. This allows you to gather the required resources in a stress-free fashion, and also creates a time buffer which allows you to do your homework and avoid the temptation towards impulse buying.
Learn to Make Full Use of What You Already Have--

If you’ve got unread books, try to discipline yourself to read them before buying new ones. If you have a certain gadget, video game, or CD, use and enjoy it instead of just putting it aside as soon as the thrill of the purchase wears off.

One of the best ways of keeping ourselves from wasting money is to learn to be comfortable with what we’ve already got, to appreciate those things, and not to feed the kind of instant-gratification mindset that fuels constant impulse-buying for the sake of novelty.

That’s not to say that you should never buy yourself new, fun things, but that you should make sure that you’re actually enjoying the things you own and getting the most out of them.
Give Yourself Time to Consider New Purchases--

Impulse buying is one of the main reasons for living outside of our means. By forcing ourselves to consider new purchases for a week or two before making them, we allow rationality to come into the equation, and we prevent ourselves from making financial decisions based solely on momentary excitement.

This is a great practice to adopt, as it trains us to defer gratification, while not denying us the ability to make new purchases. Rather, it just forces us to make them with a cool head rather than in the heat of the moment.
Learn to Derive Excitement from Relationships and Experiences--

Often, reckless spending is driven by the desire for excitement and novelty, in the form of constant spending and the purchase of new, shiny toys which often lose their lustre and appeal in a few days.

But no one, on their deathbed, ever sat back and fondly remembered all the gadgets they’d ever owned. Instead, they reflect on the relationships they’ve had with other people, and the experiences that have enriched their lives.

Try and get your kicks through your experiences and your interactions with other people. It’s a better approach.
Remove Clutter--

Removing clutter from our physical environments boosts our mental focus, and makes it easier to get a handle on our possessions. We are more easily able to identify the things we don’t need, and we may even rediscover lost treasures that we’d forgotten about.

A core part of thrifty living is reducing clutter.
Ignore Advertising--

This skill comes with practice — but sometimes we overestimate just how much luxury we need to feel happy, and are too easily swayed by attractive advertising slogans.

Try and see past the glittery sales pitches and propaganda. Do you really need the latest iPhone, or are you still able to make calls, send messages, and take photos just fine with your current model?