Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Keep The Magic Of Santa Alive With & A PERSONALIZED Phone Call!

*The Small Things received a package to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own*

Last year, I discovered! This is AMAZING I tell you! Lydia was out of the spirit and a little "down". This made her SO HAPPY and excited! Here is a picture from last years box!

 What makes so special and set apart from any other company is THEY DO IT ALL (packages, letters, calls and videos from Santa and so much more...) With EVERY Package From Santa sold comes one free call and one free video. This year, I wanted to also show you Santa calling Lydia himself!See the video below for yourself!

Each call is realistic and themed, You can choose from 32 personalized messages! Messages include Before Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, And MORE!) What makes this neat is that it is web-based and app-based via Android or iOS. Downloading the app makes it more personalized because you can personalize the call with your child's photo on the incoming screen. You can also schedule the date and time of each call! Don't have a cell phone? Don't worry because you can now schedule calls to landline phones this year! Lydia loved her call from Santa! Santa wants you to know this info, so watch this video here:

PackageFromSanta offers three unique treasure chests to keep the magic of Santa alive for your child. The goodies are sent from the North Pole, addressed to your child from SANTA!! The package has a real return address from Santa and a stamp from the North Pole. Each package offers a phone call from Santa and a video call starring your child. ($15 value for FREE). 

While each package varies, we received the Platinum and this package was pretty neat! It comes with so many goodies! This really got my daughter so excited! When your order, you choose your package and letter. You get the chance to pick a template that they offer and you can personalize it or make your own! It is so neat! Check out our unboxing below to see what is inside for yourself!

Start a new Family Christmas tradition with the #1 online Santa Letter service today with the only company that DOES IT ALL: Use the code RED1810 to save 25% on all packages on now! 
**BEWARE!** Of online Santa Letter copycats! Only has an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau and top-notch customer service for over 10 years. And don’t forget Santa’s Super-Satisfaction Guarantee: YOUR child (and you!) must be absolutely delighted—100% thrilled in every way—or we’ll send you a prompt and cheerful refund, no questions asked. Questions? My Christmas Cheer Team is happy to help! 866-894- 4789.
Visit their social media below to stay up to date with the latest!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Travel Beauty: Minimum Products for Maximum Results!

travel beauty.jpg

It is possible that you can tone things down while traveling by packing everything you need into a single carry-on. However, the thought of completely abandoning your makeup and beauty routine while traveling is the last thing you need to deal with. Even the longest-term backpacker has to look her best at all times!

Therefore, instead of completely abandoning your skincare, haircare and makeup routine for travel, you just need to downsize things – significantly. Whether you will be on the road for just the long weekend, a week or even six months, here’s the ultimate guide to backpacking your makeup and beauty accessories to ensure that you look cute while traveling like the badass you are!

General Travel Makeup Tips

Packing travel makeup is one of the hardest things to get right when you are backpacking across the country. All your products have to be multi-functional; they should not fall apart, melt or break as you travel; they should be packed in small packages that you can carry; and will not slide off your face when you are in the middle of an amazing adventure. While this is a lot to ask, you can find a few makeup products that were specifically designed for backpacking and traveling enthusiasts; for example, at

The first general rule you should bear in mind is never to bring any powdery makeup during your travels. It is likely to break all over your bag. On the other hand, your cream blush will do just fine. Whenever possible, always bring non-powdery products, for example, a cream eyeshadow palette.

If you have to carry powdery makeup, it is best to package them in a single palette. The best strategy is to purchase empty magnetic palettes online and easily pack your eyeshadows, bronzers and blushes into a single handy travel palette. However, take care since too much movement can send your re-packaged powders flying all over and leaving a huge mess that requires clean up.

In addition, do not carry anything that can be ruined by altitude or temperature changes. If there’s anything that may explode during your flight, leave it. If rapid heating and cooling down may affect a product or packaging, also leave it at home; even better, repackage the product into a more resilient container.

Don’t be afraid to put your favorite beauty products in new packaging. Use small, lightweight travel containers for packing your beauty products. This includes repotting your eyeshadow, putting your face cream in a small tub or squeezing your conditioner or moisturizer into a new tube.

Always remember, multi-tasking is your best friend. Sometimes travel makeup has to do more than it usually does. For example, your BB cream or tinted moisturizer can act as a foundation, sunscreen or moisturizer!

You need to be creative in how you apply multi-tasking to your travel beauty essentials. Sometimes, creativity with your beauty products and makeup means using them for purposes other than their original. For instance, use an eyebrow pencil for eyeliner, bronzer as eyeshadow, lipstick for blush, and face finishing powder for oil-absorbing dry shampoo.

Hair Care for Travel Tips

Carry the conditioner and shampoo you use. Do not depend on using the free bottles that are found at hotels or finding good hair products in stores where you’re traveling to – in most cases; you won’t. Once you find a combo shampoo and conditioner product that works for you, carry as much of it as possible. Substitute the shampoo bar for the big bottle of shampoo.

Water may have an effect on your hair while traveling. For example, hard water contains elements of minerals and chemicals. While this is not a bad thing entirely, it may have a negative effect called buildup on your hair. The buildup is the same thing that causes staining on your tiled bathroom floor or tub.

Skincare Travel Tips

When dealing with skincare, the main objectives are to keep it nourished and protected.

Nourishing the skin means keeping it watered and fed with rich nutrients to keep it vibrant and healthy while protecting your skin means keeping it away from things likely to damage it. Employing a good skincare strategy during travel offers you both.

One of the most important things you should include in your travel beauty pack is a moisturizer. Keeping your skin moisturized means that it will be more supple, healthy and will respond better and faster to damage, plus offering help in resisting the effects of aging. However, not all moisturizer products are the same.

Look for moisturizer products that contain natural ingredients that can be easily absorbed. If possible, go for moisturizers that contain easily absorbed natural oils like shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera or olive oil. Also, replace any moisturizer that contains dimethicone or mineral oil as one of its first ingredients since they do your skin no good.

Get exclusive Swagbuster deals on your favorite stores, offers, and gift cards

Running now through December 3rd, the cashback shopping site Swagbucks is running a series of exclusive "Swagbuster" deals that offer increased cash back (in the form of SB points) at stores, when buying gifts cards, and big SB payouts when you discover offers from different companies. You can take all of the points you earn from these deals and redeem them for gift cards from places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or PayPal cash, helping you extend your holiday budget further! 

The deals change every few hours, and you can keep track of what's available by clicking here. You need a Swagbucks account to take advantage - fortunately it's free and takes less than 30 seconds to sign up. PLUS, if you sign up through me you'll get a bonus 300 SB ($3) if you earn 300 SB before December 1st!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Pre-Black Friday Holiday Sale!

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

A WRINKLE IN TIME - New Trailer & Poster Now Available!!!

This is a movie that I am absolutely excited to see! I cannot wait!! I am excited to tell you that A WRINKLE IN TIME 's new poster and the trailer is available!
From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light. 

Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Travelling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe. View the trailer below!

Directed by Oscar® nominee Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Oscar winner Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” stars: two-time Academy Award® nominee Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, Emmy® nominee 2 Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Michael Pe┼ła as Red and introducing Storm Reid as Meg Murry, with two-time Emmy winner Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium and Emmy nominee Chris Pine as Mr. Murry. 

Produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer, the film also boasts an impressive creative team featuring some of the most talented and skilled craft persons working today, including: Tobias Schliessler, ASC as director of photography, Naomi Shohan as production designer, Oscar®-nominee Spencer Averick as film editor and two-time Academy Award®- nominee Paco Delgado as costume designer. 

“A Wrinkle in Time” opens nationwide on March 9, 2018. View the OFFICIAL WEBSITE. You can also visit their social channels below to stay up to date with the latest!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How to get that sexy yoga look

That Sexy 'Yoga' Look... Is Very Much Possible!

Yoga is no longer something new.
Feeling confident, losing weight, getting a strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin, a peaceful mind, good health... whatever you may be looking for, yoga offers it.
Yoga for inner peace and tranquility
However, very often, yoga is only partially understood - many people think of yoga as only poses or 'asanas'.
As such, its benefits are only perceived to be at the body level, and we fail to realize the immense benefits yoga offers in uniting the body, mind, and breath. When you are in harmony, the journey through life is calmer, happier, and more fulfilling.
With all this and much more to offer, the benefits of yoga are felt in a profound, yet subtle manner.
Today we want to focus on the number one benefit of doing Yoga...

Toning your muscles for that sexy yoga look!
The usual weight training experts advise that we get at least two or three thirty-minute sessions of strength training each week.
Many people are intimidated by the grunting and posturing in the weights area of the gym, and women, specifically, tend to shy away from exercises that they think might make them bulky.
Yoga is a way that you can use your own body weight to strengthen your muscles, and tone and lengthen them, instead of increasing their size. A strong, athletic yoga practice - such as Ashtanga or Power Yoga - will tone all the muscles in your body, build your stamina and strength, and you'll see the sleek, sexy yoga results.
You may think of yoga as a gentle practice, but there are actually many yoga poses that tone your butt! If you do a Google search for “yoga butt,” a number of things come up.
 The first result is the definition from Urban Dictionary:
"The ultimate external sign of a strong and powerful body. Only after years of practice can a man or woman achieve a yoga butt. It is perfectly proportioned, very tight, high, and sculpted. A yoga butt means you also have yoga arms, yoga abs, yoga legs, etc. It is very sexy and it immediately turns eyes and makes people jealous or inspired."
Who wouldn't want that sexy yoga burn?
I have a confession; I had a crush on one of my instructors a while ago... yes he has a great looking butt. So, I always tried to attend his class. ;)
Many of us are aware that performing exercise can make our bodies look and feel better. With constant yoga exercises and stretches, your muscles will be put to work. These yoga poses and exercises can help give our muscles a more toned appearance.
Thanks to the breathing exercises of yoga, more oxygen can enter your muscles, providing your muscles with more vigor. If you have problems with the way your body looks, yoga can help ease this problem by providing you with better-looking muscles.
It really is an all-round fitness.
You are truly healthy when you are not just physically fit, but, also, mentally and emotionally balanced.
Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life – in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are.
This is where yoga helps: postures, breathing techniques, and meditation are a holistic fitness package.
Yoga can be flexible and... funny!
Yoga can be done almost... anywhere. As long as you have the will and desire to do it, it's possible.
Yoga can be done anywhere
Yoga encourages you to be playful about your body. With that said, sometimes, yoga is funny. Oftentimes, when I attempt to try new poses, I fall on my butt. And that's good!
It's good to try new things, to laugh at yourself, and to get a little awkward. Bodies are awkward. Being playful and light can make you feel good about yourself on and off the mat.
Besides looking toned and strong, yoga can help you stay young. Stress can cause unsightly skin breakouts and fine lines. Yoga improves the appearance of your skin by relieving stress and cleansing your body of toxins.
Inversion poses will also increase blood flow to your face and will boost the presence of nutrients your skin needs. Your eyes will also sparkle because of the health that is radiating out of your skin and body!
Of course, not everyone can practice yoga diligently - career and the responsibilities of our day-to-day lives can make it seem difficult to devote time to something new.
I have a hectic life filled with long days, and, at one time, I shared this mind-set. I have done enough today, I am tired, working is exercise enough, the list of reasons we tell ourselves not to fit our yoga practice in goes on and on. I have trained myself to try to fit some form of yoga or stretching into my life on a daily basis, and it has paid off in a big way.

Yoga helps You... stay young
They say it's all in your diet, whether you stay young or old. In fact, people have created so many diet programs out there, from the Atkins Diet program, the Beyond Diet program, the Dash Diet program, name it and you have a "diet" with that name!
But guess what, I sincerely beg to differ. I have NOT changed an ounce of what I usually eat (and I don't eat too many junk foods, anyway) but my once-bent back is straighter, my posture has improved, and my ever-tired, aching feet are not so tired these days. And all this without ever "going on a diet"! It's all thanks to Yoga that I stay young as ever!
Now, if you too want to know how 'old' you are, don't look at your birth date, or your reflection in a mirror. Instead, see how flexible your spine is. In yoga, age is measured not in chronological years - as the saying goes, “You're only as young as your spine.”
The best part is, you are never too old to start! Does doing yoga turn back the hands of time? Of course not. Life is not a glamour magazine, and all the sexy, youthful celebrities who practice yoga have not eliminated wrinkles and imperfections - I say, embrace that reality.
Your age is a celebration of who you are; be proud of it. If you are working out to impress others or gain some imaginary ticket to the fountain of youth, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
Yoga keeps you young in the only way that matters: on the inside.
When you're young on the inside - meaning young organs, young joints, young nervous system, and, most importantly, a young outlook - you also look young on the outside.
You glow, from the inside out. You embrace every new day with wondrous expectation. You jump out of bed happy for the day to begin.
You laugh out loud often and see life with a childlike wonder. It is the way you look at the world. Does this mean you will be biking and rollerblading and mountain climbing until you are eighty or that people will mistake you for half your age?
It's not likely, and, if these are your expectations from your yoga practice, you are not doing it for the right reasons. I'm looking forward to growing older, because, with every passing year, my body gets more fluid, more open, and stronger.

So where do you begin?
You can begin by taking up a local Yoga class, or going for a Yoga DVD.
Some of the popular Yoga courses today are:
  1. The Yoga Burn Program - By Zoe Bary-Cotton (focuses on fat burning and weight loss).
  2. The Ultimate Yogi - By Travis Eliot (focuses on poses and flexibility).
  3. Inner Engineering - By Isha Yoga Foundation (focuses on overall well-being).
Remember, Yoga is not a been-there-done-that diet plan, it is much more a lifestyle, a way of living. So do not think of it like being means to an end. It's a journey, a very fulfilling one at that, where you keep reaping the benefits all the way.

Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas & ICE! A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz

*The Small Things received complimentary admission to ICE! All opinions are my own*

We make this a tradition every single year. ICE! has always been a hit for us. It is SO FUN! If you have never been to Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, you are missing out! The resort’s signature holiday attraction—ICE!, presented by Pepsi—returns with A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz for 2017. I was SO stoked to see this years theme. It is the cutest thing EVER! If you haven't been to Gaylord Opryland, you are missing out. If you haven't been during the holiday, you are missing out even more! 
Image Right: Rich Jones

They have 3 million holiday lights and 1 million visitors flock to the resort during the holidays each year. Gaylord Opryland has 15,00 poinsettias, 15 miles of green garland, 10 miles of hand-tied, red ribbon and a 48-foot-tall Christmas tree! This place is a literal Christmas wonderland! 
Image Credit: Dan Ham Photography

A Country Christmas has been hailed as one of the “Ten Great Places to Catch up with Santa” by USA Today; “The Most Christmassy Hotel in the Nation” by the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Christmas;” one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas in the world by Travel + Leisure; and a “Nashville treasure” by Southern Living. They have so much for the family! Before I share with you ICE! I want to share with you more about A Country Christmas! 
Image Credit: Cirque Dreams Holdings LLC

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up Nashville for the first time, November 18 through December 27, 2017, at the Grand Ole Opry House featuring never-before- seen performances, over 300 costumes, 20 of the world’s best acts, original music and seasonal favorites in a multi-million- dollar stage wonderland. Hailed by The New York Daily News as “A delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleighload,” don’t miss this must-see Broadway musical, new cirque adventure and family show wrapped in one BroadwayWorld declares “the perfect holiday gift.”

Also new, Diamond Rio’s Holidays & Hits Dinner Show will bring lighter-than- air harmonies to Gaylord Opryland, November 17 through December 25. The Grammy Award-winning six-man group has sold more than 10 million albums, earning three platinum and five gold records. With their hit, “Meet in the Middle,” they became the first group in the history of country music to have a debut single reach No. 1. The band was awarded Opry membership in 1998 and has received Top Vocal Group honors six times from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

Image Credit: Dan Ham Photography

Santa’s favorite lady will make an appearance again this year in Cookies with Mrs. Claus. Cozy up by the fire and delight in some milk and cookies while Mrs. Claus reads an enchanting Christmas tale. No need to endure the cold for a lovely yuletide glide! Gaylord Opryland takes it up a notch this year with a 6,000- square-foot indoor ice rink in the spectacular Holiday Halls. While there, guests can also hop aboard the Opryland Express kids’ train, stop by the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, presented by Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, or take a whirl on the Santa’s Spinners tea cup ride!

There is also an exclusive interactive installation, JOHN WAYNE: The Genuine Article, takes visitors through the journey of John Wayne’s life with never-before- seen memorabilia, iconic film props, a behind-the- scenes glimpse into John Wayne’s private life and more. For heart-pounding thrills, guests can head outdoors and brave the hills of the resort’s extreme snow tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of real snow—or enjoy a carnival-style game to test guests’ aim at Santa’s Snow Throw.

Tickets and vacation packages are now available at or by calling 1-888- 677-9872.

Now, let's talk ICE! OMG! THIS IS AMAZING! I am not even kidding! Out of all of the years that I have ever been, CE! A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz is by far my favorite!!!! We even get a souvenir photo (they have multiple packages to choose from) every single year that we go!
ICE! is an indoor winter wonderland featuring: Walk-through holiday attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees! There are two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures! Each one is hand-carved by 40 artisans from Harbin, China. This year it depicts the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas Four two-story tall ice slides Full Nativity in stunning, crystal clear ice! Check out these photos yourself to enjoy the beautiful story! 
 Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
 Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
  Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
  Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
  Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
  Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta
  Image Credit: Douglas Scaletta

Image Credit: Dan Ham Photography

Dates for ICE! A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz are November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018. ICE! 

  • ICE! Ticket Prices* – From $20.99 child/$28.99 adult 
  • Value days: Nov. 13-17, 20-24, 27-30 | Dec. 1, 4-8, 11-14 
  • General admission days: Nov. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 | Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 15-31 |Jan. 1 

Purchase tickets HERE and visit to see combo prices too! We LOVED ICE! and you will too! This is AMAZING! Did you know they also have proposal packages?! How sweet is that?! Be sure to follow Gaylord Opryland Resort on their social media to stay up to date with the latest! 

Have you ever been to one of the ICE! events in Nashville or at another Gaylord location? I would love to hear about it! We loved it and we love it every year! My tip is to bring a coat, even though they give you a parka, bring a beanie and gloves. This gives you a chance to take your sweet time in the attraction to get your money's worth! No to mention, the ice slides are COLD! You can take as long as you want going down them if you are bundled well! Adults- there is an ice igloo before you go in and they allow  you to buy alcohol! (Just sayin). 

As long as the littles are bundled to the best of your ability, they will be fine! This is SO much fun and you and or your kids will be amazed at the craftsmanship and ice! Have fun! I can't wait to hear what you think!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

SHERLOCK GNOMES - New Trailer & Character Posters!

Directed by: 
John Stevenson 
Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Stephen Merchant, Mary J. Blige and Johnny Depp 

The beloved garden gnomes from GNOMEO AND JULIET are back for a whole new adventure in London. When Gnomeo and Juliet first arrive in the city with their friends and family, their biggest concern is getting their new garden ready for spring. However, they soon discover that someone is kidnapping garden gnomes all over London. When Gnomeo and Juliet return home to find that everyone in their garden is missing – there’s only one gnome to call… SHERLOCK GNOMES. The famous detective and sworn protector of London’s garden gnomes arrives with his sidekick Watson to investigate the case. The mystery will lead our gnomes on a rollicking adventure where they will meet all new ornaments and explore an undiscovered side of the city. This action-packed sequel features the voices of returning cast, James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Stephen Merchant and Ozzy Osbourne, plus Johnny Depp as Sherlock Gnomes, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Watson and Mary J. Blige as Irene.

SHERLOCK GNOMES is in theaters March 23, 2018! Visit their social channels below to stay up to date with the latest!
Sherlock Gnomes on Facebook | Sherlock Gnomes on Twitter | Sherlock Gnomes on IG

Monday, November 6, 2017

Get more free gift cards during November Swago with Spin & Win (US)

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is celebrating Thanksgiving early with another big "Swago" promotion starting Monday, November 6th at 9am PT and running until Monday, November 13th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Here are a few tips:

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores! 
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete. 
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, November 13th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely. 
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely. 

  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, November 16th to use all your spins.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice. 

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

My innocence was stolen from me. This is my story. #MeToo

This story is about childhood sexual abuse. It is graphic. It is not for the faint of heart. You have been warned.
This is me. Look how happy on Christmas morning. Little did I know not long after that, my world was going to change. My life was going to be turned upside down and I would suffer from it every single day. I did not have a good childhood. When I say that, don't take it lightly. 

I found out what I thought was my father was not. Let's call him T. My mother and her husband had a bad marriage. He cheated on her, and abused her. I remember the fights to this day, as a child, it sticks with you. One thing that I also remember is the nights my mom would be working her ass off at the pizza place and he would come into my room when she was at work. I was young. I was a baby. The first time I remember it happening was when I was about 6. I woke up and his hands were down my pants. I remember him telling me not to say a word. Don't speak about it, nothing. I was a child and I was terrified. For now, all he would do was touch me.

Mom was at work one night and mamaw and papaw came over without calling. He threw me in the bathroom naked and told me "Don't say a fucking word." I didn't. I sat there shaking until they left and he then told me to go to bed.

My mom left him and we were left behind. She didn't have the capability to take care of us then, and years later I understood that. Back then I did not. 

He married a woman that I will call R. This woman hated us. Hated my brother and sister so much. She would hit us, drag my sister by her hair. Punch us. We would tell people but no one would believe us. She would lose it and hit us so much and kick us. CPS was called several times. Little did I know, he was friends with the caseworker and the caseworker would believe them over us. When R would go to sleep, he would come into our room and touch me. Make me touch him. As a child, it paralyzed you. You are scared. This adult in my life was telling me not to say anything to anyone or I would regret it. R had two sons, one of them, would touch my sister and I or grab our asses. He would suck his thumb and hump the floor and laugh. He was only a few years younger than me. 

My brother, sister and I would go to mamaws on the weekends and it was heaven. Heaven I tell you. For those two days, I didn't have to worry about him coming to my room. I didn't have any worries at all. We could be kids. We could play! 

R had parents in Michigan and we would go on certain holidays. Want to know the irony of this? We were not allowed to stay at her moms house because her stepdad sexually abused her as a child. When she was at her moms and we were in the cabin on the lake, he would wake me and touch me. This is the first time he made me touch him. "It's okay. It is normal, it is our secret". 

By now, I was 8. My period started and I was developed and had to wear a bra. He would ask me when my periods were. He would touch my developing breasts and "jack himself off" to it. Again, I was threatened not to speak of it. I did not. R had twins by him. She was in the hospital and this was the first time I remember being penetrated against my will. We took my brother and sister and step brothers to mamaws and told mamaw that I had to go with hi grocery shopping. We did.. and when we got him and unloaded he made me put on one of R's nighties. (I know it was a nightie now). He had a polaroid camera and he made me lay on the bed and took pictures of me. 

There was an attic in that house in the kitchen. A craw space like attic. He would hide photos in there. This is when he held me down and put himself inside of me. I remember screaming and crying and begging him to stop. I know now he chose to do this then because there would be no one home to hear me cry. All when his wife was in the hospital recovering from birth. It stopped for a bit after this. I am not sure why but I loved the fact that I felt free. I was free of being touched by him but she came home to abuse us more. 

My sister dropped a dish once when doing dishes and she took her by her hair and beat her ass senseless. T didn't care. He knew she hit us. He knew it all. Years and years of this happening. The family knew she did stuff to us and tried to stop it but it never ended. Her own sons would tell on her. 

This is me in middle school. The sexual abuse was the worst then. He would have sex with me against my will on occasion. R walked in on him making me touch him. She acted like she did not see it. She was in denial. He would take me to the livingroom when everyone was asleep and hold his hand against my face. Middle school was when I had enough. I ran away from home several times. I went as far as stealing his truck to run away. All because I was being abused from both parental figures in my life.

I was looked at as a delinquent. After several run-ins with the police for running away, I would tell them what happened. They went to school with T personally so I would get taken back home..until the time I stole the truck to run away. I was placed in a group home in Ironton, Ohio and it was the best thing that happened in my life. I was free. I was on lockdown but I was free. I would worry about my brother and sister. What was happening to them? Was he now doing this to my sister because I wasn't there?

We had to go to a facility around Christmas time because the group home couldn't handle my outbursts. I was troubled. I mean, I had so many issues. I had so much anger build up inside of me. I was taken to Scioto County Juvenile Detention Center. I met a girl there and told her my story. She told one of the officers and that is when I was finally believed. They believe me. They questioned me multiple times. Now I know it was to be sure my story did not change. Guess what? Nothing ever happened to him. 

When in this detention center I received news that my cousin and best friend was killed in a car wreck. I was not allowed to go to the funeral. We had so many plans together as children. We would talk about our weddings. We would talk about how many children we would have. Several months before she had passed, I was released for Thanksgiving for the weekend. She sign language the most beautiful song for us. We went into uncle M's old room and I told her what happened to me. She believed me. Believed all of it. To this day I have anger against not being able to go to her funeral to say goodbye. If it were not for this man that kept hurting me, I would have not been in that facility. I would have been able to say goodbye.

My mother would come to see me at this facility and this is when the sexual abuse came to light to everyone in the family. I was released to live with her and was able to go to a psychiatrist.I was put on meds and it messed with me bad. I ended up trying to kill myself and was placed on hold in a hospital. Going to late middle school, sex talk comes up with teens. We talk about it. We do it. I was sexually active as a teen and I had issues from it.  I would have flash backs of being held down and I would freak out. I was made fun of and called the crazy girl because of it. This is what caused me to cut. I then turned into a cutter. I have scars. 

 When I was 17, my brother and sister moved in with my mother. I had baby, Lydia at the time. Sis, Lydia and I were cramped in our room. Yes, I was a teen mother. I found out why they moved in that day. T did something to her and went to prison. He was out within several years. YES that is correct. SEVERAL YEARS. 

A drug crime can get you in the slammer for 10-20 and sometimes life but molesting children gets you out in just a few years. What a fucking joke. This is what is wrong with the justice system. I don't get belived because everyone thought I was a liar and trouble maker. I was acting out because I was being raped and had the shit beat out of me by R every day. This would not had happened if someone didn't drop the ball. AKA CPS! All because they were friends with T&R.

 I am 28 years old and I still dream about this man to this day. I didn't get to have an amazing childhood. I didn't get to have my amazing first teen "losing virginity" moment. If you have read this far and this has happened to you, you are not alone. You are NOT ALONE. I haven't told my story in full until today. I haven't typed it out and spoke about it. I am hoping with my platform, I can get my story out.

If you are a teen and reading this, speak out. GO AND TELL SOMEONE this is happening to you. Tell your teacher, tell a stranger. I know out of all people how hard it is to speak out, and how paralyzing it can be. Let's come together and make a change. Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for reading this far.

My article has the ability for anon comments to be placed. Tell your story here if you don't want your identity known. If you want to, you can also email me and I will talk to you! I will be here for you!

I am a survivor of rape. I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I am a survivor of childhood abuse and I am a strong woman.