Author Archives: lifewithlilred

About lifewithlilred

Just your average gal blogging an average blog!

175 Day Duolingo Streak!

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175 Day Duolingo Streak!

Hello! The last time I gave an update on my Duolingo progress, I had just achieved a one hundred day streak and I finally received my badge for adding seventy-five more days to it. I am so pleased with my progress and am proud of myself for continuing to practice five different languages every day for close to half a year. I am leaving previous goals in the dust and I feel like my skills in French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Czech are improving tenfold.

Thanks to Johnny gifting me Duolingo Plus for Christmas, practicing every day has become an exciting thing rather than an inconvenience because Plus gives you unlimited life. This is so handy on especially tough lessons and I don’t think I would have made it to a one hundred seventy-five day streak without it. I will most definitely be renewing my Plus subscription at the end of the year and highly recommend it.

Other than writing, learning languages is my favorite hobby and I feel good about committing myself even more to it. Similarly to how I feel after I finish a blog post for the day, I feel accomplished every time I complete my language lessons and it has really helped me shake away the pandemic boredom blahs. It’s hard to feel like there is “nothing” to do when I can go on Duolingo and learn brand new words and phrases in multiple different languages!

While I am over the moon with my one seventy-five day streak, I am nowhere close to being done yet because I will not be satisfied until I have a full year’s worth of days on my streak counter. I am almost halfway there and cannot wait to see the results of my hard work after one full year of practicing five languages. Great success!

Have you made progress on your pandemic hobbies? What is your favorite hobby? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

What Have I Been Watching?

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What Have I Been Watching?

Hi! In pandemic times, there has been nothing better than finishing up the day’s work and sinking into the couch to watch TV or play video/board games with Johnny. Whether together or separately, we have been watching a lot of feel good shows lately… Minus one insane documentary we watched on Hulu! Let’s discuss:

Superstore:

Johnny and I are huge fans of Superstore and, although we are both saddened by the show’s completion about a month ago, we agreed that it ended on a really solid note. We looked forward to new episodes every week and miss it so much that we just decided to watch it in its entirety again. Superstore is an amazing show to try out if you are looking for a laugh and every character is funny in their own way. My favorite characters are Dina, Marcus, and Glenn and Johnny freaking loves Sandra lol!

My 600 Lb. Life:

When Johnny is at band practice, I normally settle in with Animal Crossing and an episode or two of My 600 Lb. Life. This has been one of my favorite shows for years and if you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you know I am constantly posting about it! Dr. Now is my freaking hero and My 600 Lb. Life really inspires me when someone succeeds in their weight loss journey. I spend each episode rooting for the patient and it makes me proud to see people trying to turn their lives around for the better.

One Punch Man:

My brother gives me lots of great suggestions for animes to watch and while I continue to look forward to season two of Demon Slayer, I have been working on finishing One Punch Man. I am currently halfway through season two and really enjoy it! Although it is not as dark as Castlevania or Demon Slayer, I like the Dragon Ball Z-esque vibes that it gives off with all of the insane monsters and fighting and I am obsessed with cool as a cucumber Saitama. He is so funny! I plan on watching Death Note or The Promised Neverland once I am all done with One Punch Man.

Shrek 1 & 2:

I have actually never seen the other movies in the Shrek franchise and that’s fine because the first and second movies are my favorite and that is enough for me. This past month, I watched both Shrek one and two and laughed just as hard as I did when seeing it for the first time. My dad took me and my siblings to the first Shrek in theaters and we all loved the Shrek 3D ride at Universal Studios so I have a lot of happy memories attached to both movies. Shrek never gets old and the soundtracks simply slay!

Q: Into The Storm:

Q: Into The Storm is a documentary on QAnon that aired on HBO and is currently on Hulu. Johnny really likes documentaries and wanted to check it out because he heard it was crazy so down the rabbit hole we fell. Other than very basic knowledge, I knew absolutely nothing about QAnon and Into The Storm was an investigative piece on who Q might be.

This documentary legitimately gave me nightmares and I had to shield my eyes and cover my ears during a fair amount of it. It is not for the faint of heart in any way shape or form but it was highly educational and eye opening because I really had no idea about any of it. After having watched it, I never want to hear anything on the subject again and trust and believe I had to watch like ten episodes of Superstore to get myself back to baseline once the six part series was finished.

What have you been watching recently? Which TV shows or movies do you recommend? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

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Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

Hello! Much to the annoyance of others and the delight of Johnny and myself, we have a handful of movie or TV scenes that we quote constantly. It’s never not funny to us and a shining example of that would be the Pizza Order sketch from Key & Peele. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and give it a watch:

^^^ As always, I have no rights to this video.

In this sketch, a man named Wendell tries to order three pizzas with pineapple, meat, and cheesy crust and the phone call to the pizza shop gets really weird really quick. To Johnny’s surprise, I have never tried pineapple on pizza before so he decided that this past Sunday was the day to change that. He ordered a pizza with pineapple, bacon, and cheesy crust for himself and one with pineapple, jalapenos, and (of course) cheesy crust for me.

As always, the Pizza Hut presentation never ceases to amaze me, lol. Take a look at this masterpiece:

As a vegetarian, I thought that pineapple and jalapeno would be the way to go for a little sweet and heat. The pineapple was a huge success and I loved the sweet and salty combination between the fruit and the sauce. The jalapenos, however, were a totally different story and I never plan on getting it again. It’s so weird because I enjoy spicy food and never have shied away from it but my mouth was on freaking fire from these peppers. I felt like my mouth was burning long after I ate and my stomach wasn’t thanking me, either.

I feel like such a baby to be saying that the Pizza Hut jalapenos were really spicy but DAMN, lol. In conclusion? I say “yay” to pineapple on pizza and while I wouldn’t order it every time, I would definitely get it every once in a while. And a big fat “nay” to jalapenos!

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Should pineapple go on pizza? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pansy Party

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Pansy Party

Hi! My dad is an avid and exceptional gardener but, unfortunately, broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder about a month ago. Needless to say, his injury put a huge damper on his plans for his flower and vegetable garden this spring and summer so everyone in my family has stepped in to help make it happen anyways. This past week, I spent some time outside with my dad planting pansies while he oversaw the process and we are both very pleased with the outcome of our first project! Check it out:

I used to love helping my dad in the garden when I was younger and our afternoon planting flowers brought me back to those happy times in the sunshine with him. He was so sweet to provide gardening gloves for me to protect my talons with and it felt really good to metaphorically get my hands dirty and make something beautiful grow. Our pansy patch was a team effort and my dad and I planned the layout together and I dug the holes while he removed the flowers from their containers.

I absolutely love pansies because I remember helping my dad plant them back in the day and my grandma used to have them growing outside of her funeral home. I feel so proud every time I see our completed project in my parent’s yard and it immediately brings me back to the time I spent with my dad making it happen.

We gardened on the most glorious spring day and it was a blast to enjoy the weather and talk and laugh about anything and everything. In fact, it was so warm out that day that I was wearing shorts and my legs got pretty filthy. Just like in my youth, my dad helped me hose off all of the dirt once the flowers were planted and it was the perfect way to end our Pansy Party. I can’t wait to start our spring veggie garden next!

What is your favorite outdoor activity? What do you plan on growing in your garden this year? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Kitchen Space

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5 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Kitchen Space

Whether you have a large kitchen or a more modest space, it’s important to make the most of it. With a more organized kitchen, cooking and cleaning will be much less stressful. You can optimize your workflow and always find what you’re looking for. The kitchen is one of the most essential rooms in the house, so it needs a practical design. Assess your needs and plan the layout accordingly. Here are a few ways you can optimize your kitchen space:

Optimize workflows:

Try to create a functional workflow. For example, imagine the process of cooking a meal and the order in which you need to grab things. This will help you organize your kitchen into a circular design where you follow a logical path. You can also group together utensils and food that are used together, such as knives and chopping boards. Keep everyday items within easy reach. Make a rough plan in your mind, and act it out. With a couple of dry runs, you should get a feel of how to organize your kitchen according to your routines.

Add functional lighting:

It’s difficult to prepare food without proper lighting. Consider lighting up your countertops with under cabinet lighting. This will help you to work more safely and efficiently. A few lighting upgrades will also make your kitchen easier to clean. You could get a more durable countertop installed that’s resistant to stains and scratches. Look into stone and granite opinions from this countertop installer. These are incredibly long-lasting materials and very practical.

Organize your storage space:

Make the most of your storage space, especially if you have a small kitchen. Organize your cupboards so that more commonly used items are near the front and less used ones are at the back. Group together crockery and pots and pans into neat logical sets. This will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. If your space is limited, here are a few clever kitchen storage ideas to give you inspiration.

Use vertical space:

If you are short of storage space, consider vertical storage solutions. You could get a wall magnet to hold knives and metal utensils. Attach hooks for various tools, towels, and even pots and pans. Build shelves and ceiling-high cabinets. Store items you don’t use often on top of cupboards and cabinets. When you’re struggling to find space, always look up. You can even use shelves for plants and ornaments to improve the atmosphere of your kitchen.

Create zones:

Why not give your kitchen a makeover this year? Rearrange it into zones. Separate areas for preparing food, dining, and making breakfast, for example. If you have space to eat in your kitchen always place chairs on the outside of the counter, opposite to where you pass when preparing food. This way the chairs or any guests won’t get in your way or cause a safety hazard. With a few little adjustments, you can design yourself a more practical kitchen and really optimize the space.

Enjoy your time in the kitchen even more by better organizing your space. Preparing meals and cleaning will be a breeze!

Featured Image By: Pexels

COVID Precautions I’ll Be Keeping

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COVID Precautions I’ll Be Keeping

Hello! We are all eager for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over and done with and while there is a huge light at the end of the tunnel, we still have a ways to go. It is exciting to think of what our lives will be like after the pandemic but it is important to not throw caution to the wind and act haphazardly with the health of yourself and those around you. I, for one, plan on keeping these precautions in place post pandemic:

Masking Up:

Thinking back to pre-pandemic times, it’s hard to understand why you wouldn’t wear a face mask if you aren’t feeling well and need to be out in public. I have always been good about staying home if I am feeling under the weather but I will continue to be keeping face masks handy in case I need to go to the doctor or the pharmacy. I also plan on wearing face masks even after the mandate is lifted in crowded areas like grocery stores and shopping centers. You can just never be too safe after living through a global pandemic!

Social Distancing:

I don’t know about you guys but I actually love the social distancing in public. I value my personal space and it has been nice to not have people all up in my business while running errands. Protecting my personal bubble while I am out and about will continue to be a priority for me because it really has made me feel so much more comfortable while in public.

Contact Free Grocery Shopping:

A few months ago, Johnny and I began doing contact free grocery shopping to help limit our exposure and have both agreed that we could never go back to doing in store shopping again. At our local grocery store, Giant Eagle, the curbside grocery pickup is free and incredibly convenient. Our shopping gets delivered right to the car by an employee and it has completely changed our grocery game. The curbside pickup has been an option at Giant Eagle even before the pandemic began and we will definitely keep on making the most of it.

Mental Health Breaks:

Working in the care field during a pandemic has easily been one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do and my mental health was really suffering. I have to take care of myself, first and foremost, before I can adequately provide care for others and began being more lenient with myself about taking a day off every once in a while. My mental health breaks allowed me to chill out in the safety of my home and regroup and I would return back to work feeling refreshed and capable.

Post-pandemic, I am going to be much better about listening to my body and what it needs and if that means a day off to get myself together, then that is okay. It is really hard for me to take time away from my clients because I miss them so much even if it is just one day but occasional mental health breaks will allow for me to be the best provider I can for them and it is well worth it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been insane, for lack of a better word. However, it taught me a lot of best practices that I plan on using long term to better protect myself, loved ones, and strangers. ❤

Which COVID precautions do you plan on keeping? What are you most looking forward to post pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Steps To Take After A Break In

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4 Steps To Take After A Break In

Home invasions are often pretty scary, and can shake a person’s nerves for years after they happen. Although most home invasions are non-violent, the perpetrators are only interested in your belongings most of the time, it can be worrying to spend time at home afterwards, for fear it will happen again. If you have ever experienced a home invasion in your current house, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

When you discover your home has been burgled, either while you are at home or while you were out, it can be overwhelming. However, if you don’t take the necessary steps right away, you could put yourself in a worse position. Today, we will explore four key steps to take after a home invasion, and why these are so important:

Contact the relevant authorities:

When you discover your home has been invaded, the first instinct you might have is to look through the house in detail to see what has been taken. However, it is important that you refrain from doing this, and that you immediately contact the police. All the evidence will be relevant, so if you go through your home and move items, it could compromise the investigation into the home invasion.

In addition to contacting the police right away, you should also contact your insurance company after the police have confirmed what has been stolen. This will allow you to claim compensation for your stolen items, making it easier to replace them fully. For this reason, it is crucial that you keep your insurance policy up to date, so you don’t realize it’s expired before it is too late!

Replace broken windows, doors, or other structures:

Next, you should go about repairing or replacing any structures that have been broken or damaged during the break-in. Unless the person had a key to your home, it is likely they will have incurred damage to the property in the process. Your home insurance may cover the cost of replacing these items; this allows you to complete the work right away, and ensure that it is done to a high standard.

Some replacements you could make include:

  • Replacing windows that have been smashed, cracked or pushed open during the home invasion. You can find window replacements here.
  • Changing the locks and replacing door handles or frames that have been busted.
  • Repairing any scuffs or damages to the floors and furniture in your home.

Update your home’s security system:

After you have contacted the authorities, your priority should be making your home safe for future living. Break-ins can happen in even the safest of homes, but there are ways to make your property less vulnerable to home invasions.

Here are three ideas for updating your home’s security system:

  • Install CCTV on your front doorstep and other entry points: Security cameras are the easiest way to deter people who are looking to break into your home – if they see cameras, they are unlikely to continue with their plans. If they do, you will catch them on camera, making it easier to report to the police.
  • Have multiple front door locks: Many homes still have a traditional one-key lock on their front door, but if you have been the victim of a home invasion, you should install multiple front door locks for safety.
  • Get a dog! Although you shouldn’t just get a dog for the purposes of home security, having a medium or large sized dog is one of the biggest deterrents to criminals. Even the smallest of dogs will bark if they hear someone at the front door, and while they might be cuddly, their bark will frighten anyone who was thinking of breaking in.

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Change your routine to reduce the likelihood of break-ins:

Some home invasions happen because the inhabitants of the home make common mistakes that attract burglars. Although it is never your fault if somebody decides to rob you, you can take simple steps in your routine to divert home invaders away from committing a crime.

One easy way to deter potential home invaders is to set up a system that makes it appear you are home, even if you aren’t. Some people leave on one small light while they are out at night or leave a radio or TV playing when they leave the house. This will definitely reduce the likelihood of your home being invaded. Similarly, make sure you don’t leave valuables within window view while you are out. Close blinds and put computers, smartphones, and televisions out of street view.

Home invasions are very scary, but there are steps you can take to deter them from recurring like the ones above.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red’s Outstanding Customer Service Award

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Lil Red’s Outstanding Customer Service Award

Hello! I have not been actual shopping since before the pandemic began and have turned to online shopping for everything I need – skin care, groceries, you name it. This also includes all of my purchases for my wedding apparel. Customer service while online shopping can be a mixed bag but Wildly Untamed Boutique went above and beyond to help me and I truly appreciate that.

I have been getting ads for Wildly Untamed Boutique on Facebook for months now and would constantly find myself drooling over their unique shoes. I decided to check their site out to see if I could find a pair of heels for my wedding and had great success. I can’t say anything about my totally nontraditional wedding look but I will tell you all that the heels are red! Johnny and I both agreed that the pair I selected was definitely “the one” and I quickly placed my order.

After my shopping, I spent the entire evening thinking about my purchase and I just had to see them again. I pulled up Wildly Untamed Boutique’s site on my iPod and my stomach dropped. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it when ordering on the computer but they had a ten percent off a purchase promotion running and I was disappointed to have not been able to use it. We all know Lil Red loves a deal!

I emailed their customer service right away to explain the situation and by the end of the week I had a reply from a member of their team. While they couldn’t alter the price of my order, they offered me a free item of my choosing from a selection they sent and I couldn’t believe their kindness! They also gave me the sweetest congratulations for my big day.

I, honestly, wasn’t expecting anything to happen when I emailed Wildly Untamed Boutique and that would have been one hundred percent okay because the mistake was my fault. However, they surpassed what I even expected and I appreciate that so much. I ended up selecting an absolutely gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood inspired pin and I cannot wait to see my little gift and shoes in real life.

Like I said before, customer service with online shopping can be a mixed bag and I actually just had a really crummy experience with Amazon’s customer service. A real person from Wildly Untamed Boutique helped me as opposed to automated replies in a chat box and, while I already planned on doing more shopping on their site regardless, that just sealed the deal.

I am proud to bestow the Lil Red’s Outstanding Customer Service Award to Wildly Untamed Boutique and highly recommend their site. They have some of the most unique, beautiful designs that I have ever seen and I think all of my fellow fashionistas will be just as smitten as I am!

What is the best customer service experience you have had? How about the worst? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Every Vow You Break By Peter Swanson Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Every Vow You Break By Peter Swanson Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Peter Swanson called Every Vow You Break – without giving any spoilers away, of course. It took me a while to finish this book as I have been pretty busy lately but I really enjoyed it and I did not see the grand reveal coming at all. Every Vow You Break was suspenseful and downright scary at times and I am looking forward to reading more from Peter Swanson. Now, let’s get to it:

After several failed relationships, Abigail has seemingly hit the jackpot with Bruce. He is kind, handsome, and filthy rich. However, despite all of the good times that they have shared, Abigail often feels the overwhelming sensation that she is marrying a complete stranger. During her bachelorette party at a vineyard, Abigail’s reservations skyrocket while she chats with a handsome man on the patio and ends up having a one night stand days before her wedding.

What could possibly be worse than that? Literally everything that follows. Despite the infidelity, Abigail gets married to Bruce anyways and plans on taking her secret to the grave. Unfortunately for her, that is going to be a lot easier said than done when the man she cheated on Bruce with ends up at the exclusive resort that they are honeymooning at called Camp Passamaquoddy or the “Quoddy” for short.

The Quoddy is located on Heart Pond Island and is designed for people who work with technology to take a break from the screens and enjoy nature. There is no cell phone reception or internet, rather, lots of alcohol, lush furnishings, and gourmet meals. And, oh yeah, Bruce just happens to be a partial owner. Abigail can deal with the lack of communication to the outside world but what really creeps her out is the fact that she is the only other woman staying at the resort. Needless to say, Bruce’s choice for the honeymoon wasn’t exactly what she expected but she tries to make the best of it.

The Quoddy is, essentially, a boy’s club so of course Abigail seeks out the company of the woman from the other couple honeymooning on the island named Jill. Over drinks, Jill tells Abigail that her ex-fiance is on the island as well and shakes it off as a strange coincidence. But is it really? Because the man who Abigail had an affair with is on the island too.

Abigail decides to tell her new friend her story the following day for a lunch date but Jill never shows up. She does see Jill later that night, however, running frenzied through the woods and bleeding. What is going on at the Quoddy? And is Abigail next? Read Every Vow You Break to find out!

Despite it taking me longer than usual to finish this book, I was kind of glad to stretch it out because it was that good. I, truly, had no idea what was going to happen with the turn of each page and felt disappointed every time I had to wrap up my reading sesh. Every Vow You Break is basically everyone’s nightmare and the eerie Quoddy resort provided the perfect backdrop for that awful moment when you realize the person you thought you loved is not who they said they were at all.

I cannot give any hints about the grand reveal because it would completely ruin it. Just know, that my stomach dropped when I read it and that doesn’t happen very often. The situation also felt even more desperate because I really liked Abigail. I thought she was such a strong, resourceful heroine and, like me, you will find yourself rooting for her the entire time.

I highly recommend Every Vow You Break and, although it is not quite a ten star rank book to me, it comes damn close. I am going to reward it with eight out of ten stars for its gripping plot, jaw dropping grand reveal, and characters that draw you in. Honestly, my only regret is that it wasn’t longer and I would have really liked to have read more about the aftermath of the honeymoon from hell.

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash Review

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The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash Review

Hi! When it comes to my beauty care hoard, I like to be well stocked at all times and am just now starting to work on using some of the products gifted to me for Christmas. My brother and his family gave me lots of products from The Body Shop so I could have at home spa treatments and I have been especially eager to try out the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash. It took me a while to get around to it because the last cleanser I used lasted me almost five months! This clay wash was definitely worth the wait, however, as I am freaking obsessed so let’s discuss:

I am a huge fan of products from The Body Shop and have never really been disappointed by anything from there so I already knew I was in for a treat with this cleanser. Their Purifying Himalayan Charcoal face mask is also one of the best that I have ever used. Needless to say, I was excited to try the cleanser out because I didn’t even know it existed and I also don’t get TBS products very often so I feel so pampered whenever I get the chance to use them.

Like the face mask from the Himalayan Charcoal line, the clay wash smells awesome. It’s really earthy but has a faint minty scent thanks to being made with tea tree oil and it is nice and invigorating to use every morning. I can’t say I have ever used a clay wash before so I didn’t know what to expect when I used it. I was actually a bit worried that it would have a clay mask texture, which would make using it as a face wash kind of difficult. But, while this clay wash is thicker in texture, it lathers and rinses so easily and my skin feels nourished and healthy after each use.

The best thing about the Himalayan Charcoal face mask was the fact that it completely eradicated my blackheads and the same goes for the clay wash. The charcoal works like a magnet to remove all of the gunk and my skin is left soft and glowing after my morning shower. A small amount of the clay wash also goes a long way and I would happily use it again. It has been a while since I have tried out a product that was brand new to me and I highly recommend the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash!

What is a staple in your skin care routine? What is your favorite product from The Body Shop? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah