National Police Week

Each year, one week is set aside, designated as National Police Week. It began in 1962, when President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week surrounding it as Police Week. Every year, during this week, we honor and pay tribute to the brave officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Less than halfway through 2018, we have already lost 54 police officers in the line of duty: 27 from gunfire, 13 from automobile crashes (often while responding to emergency calls), and others from various other situations related to the dangerous job these officers perform on a daily basis.
These officers paid the ultimate sacrifice, leaving their spouses, children, families, friends, and coworkers while protecting the lives of people they'd never met. They performed a job often thankless, often sensationalized and highly misunderstood. They put on their uniform and reported for duty as an imperfect human being, expected to make each decision impeccably, and to perform their job immaculately, under extreme scrutiny from people who have no idea what their job really is.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of police officers perform the same job. They are expected to be babysitters, to solve the communities' petty problems (often results of poor decision making by involved parties), and to do so in a service minded manner. In the midst of those frivolous calls for service, they are expected to deter crime and to catch criminals who prey on others. They are sheepdogs: protecting the herd from the wolves when the herd is often unaware, ignorant to the truth, and even critical to the way the sheepdog works to protect them.

These officers have a calling for their careers in law enforcement. It is not an easy job by any stretch of the word. There are many, many side effects from the stresses and hazards of the field they've chose - or that has chosen them. They start their shift each day knowing there are people that want to harm, even kill, them simply because of the uniform they wear. Because of these hazards and dangers, the men and women who serve their communities as police officers are not able to simply clock out or turn off their position as an officers - it follows them everywhere.

The families and loved ones of officers often pay a steep price as well. They miss their loved one, out serving their communities and risking their lives, during family events, holidays, weekends, anniversaries, etc. It's not an easy life as an officer or as their family, but Thank God for these brave officers and their families for making sacrifices for the rest of us. Even the cop haters, those that critique and vilify the police for doing their jobs, still call for help and expect police officers to respond to help them, to fix their problems, and to protect them. And they do.

In honor of Police Week 2018, I ask you to remember three things:

1) Next time you see a story or video of a "bad cop," get the WHOLE story before making a decision. If you feel you don't understand why actions were taken, PLEASE sign up for your local police department's Citizen Police Academy. Most departments have them and I promise you will learn so much. You will have a better understanding and you will walk out with a much deeper appreciation for the men and women in law enforcement.

2) With all the negativity in the world and in the media, be the voice of positivity. When you see a police officer in your community, know they are a person just like you and me. They have their own families, their own problems, multiplied by all the problems of others'. Speak to them; thank them for what they do and let them know that you support them. It means so much.

3) Reflect on the lives of the 54 officers who gave their lives this year, along with the many, many, way too many who have died in the line of duty in the past. Think of their families, though proud of their loved ones, who now go on living without them.

3 Best Money Saving Apps

There seems to be a plethora of apps and sites, these days, that advertise big savings. The worst are the ones that advertise savings by coupons, but when you click on them, it's an endless cycle of links and sites asking for your info before you ever get to the actual coupon! I'm way more straightforward. I want to save money but I don't want to have to jump through hoops or have to keep putting in my personal information. If you feel similarly, you might enjoy the list I've compiled of the 3 very best money saving apps.
Ibotta: This app is so super easy! So far, I've earned nearly $60 cash back and I don't really have to DO anything other than scan my receipt in the app and make sure it recorded all my offer purchases. I can cash out at $20, which really takes no time at all to reach, and they direct deposit the cash back into my checking account. Some of the offers are good more than one time. For example, today I bought two 150 oz. jugs of laundry detergent. I had a coupon that came on the jug for $3 off. Additionally, there was an Ibotta offer for $2 off, and since I bought two jugs, I actually got $4 off - on top of my store coupon of $3 off. I spent $7 for 300 oz. of laundry detergent!

Ibotta has offers at tons of different stores, including online shopping as well. Use my link to sign up and you get a $10 welcome bonus! Who can't use a little free money?

Poshmark:  I've talked about Poshmark in a previous post, but it definitely makes this list so I will mention it again. Not only have I made almost $700 from selling clothes and accessories I don't wear and would have ended up throwing away or donating, but I've also scored some pretty amazing deals! My most recent was a pair of Under Armour sneakers. This particular pair had been worn once, but you would never know. They retail for over $100, though I did find them online for $89.99. That was the very cheapest I could find. I purchased them from a seller on Poshmark for $33!! That is a huge savings for a name brand that is basically brand new! Use my code Jamison12306 when you sign up and get $5!
Honey: This isn't really an app - it's a Chrome extension, but it's awesome! When you do any online shopping, before you checkout, Honey tells you if you can save money on your purchase by going through any discounts, coupon codes, etc. to get you the very best deal! Honey takes away the need to randomly search the internet, looking for coupon codes for whatever purchase you are making because it does all of that for you! You just sit back and let it run through codes to see which gives your the best and biggest discount, and then you check out as usual. 

And there you have it! Three of the best ways to save (or make) money with little to no effort!

Fit and Fashionable....for the Rest of Us

You might be a size 4 and look amazing in pretty much any spandex or workout gear you pick off the shelf. Maybe you are a gym rat with muscles rippling and can wear whatever you want to the gym, feeling good. Or....maybe you are like me - not the traditional gym rat and spandex usually just shows all your ripples and dimples. That being said, I love going hiking or walking, sometimes even jogging. I love being outside - riding bikes, walking the dogs, etc. I enjoy going to the gym sometimes, although I find that what I am wearing can affect my confidence, mood, and even my energy level at the gym. If I feel comfortable and confident in what I am wearing, I am more likely to stick with it, push myself, and get the most out of my workout. I want clothes that will flatter and make me feel strong and capable instead of frumpy and hiding.

 Sound a little crazy? Maybe...but I know I am not alone. It used to be a baggy t-shirt and baggy pants were your only options outside of skinny girl spandex but thankfully, many retailers are catching on that fit doesn't always mean skinny. And fitness doesn't always mean unflattering spandex! Over the past few years, I have learned what some of my favorites are - and conversely, what brands and styles just don't work for curvier gals. I've put together a list of my favorite brands and some examples of my favorite styles and pieces. I hope you give them a shot and enjoy them as much as I do!

Athleta - Athleta is my absolute favorite for quality and style. Everything I've purchased from them has held up amazingly well, fits like they know my body, and is so comfortable that I immediately want to purchase 5 of everything so I never run out! The downside is that they can be fairly pricey - so I watch for sales and sometimes purchase full price just because I know it will fit and I know it will last me a long time. Paying a little more for a quality piece is so worth it, over buying a bargain item that will shrink or fade or pill within the first month or two.

Old Navy - The quality and fit of Old Navy's active wear seems to have greatly improved, even in just the past year or two. I think they've always had some cute styles but unfortunately, they often didn't translate well once you got to size L or XL and definitely not to plus sizes. This is no longer the case! In fact, some of my favorite workout capris are from Old Navy. Fabrics are breathable, but strong enough to hold everything where it needs to be. The other awesome thing about Old Navy is that they offer Tall Sizes in a lot of their clothes!

Under Armour - While Under Armour does not specifically have a plus size line, they do offer XL and XXL in many styles, which in most cases will fit up to an 18/20. I like the brand because it is quality and will last a long time. They also offer great color combinations.

Favorite New Product!

Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for anything pink or sparkly. Put them together and I'm in love! I ran across this company on FB and have since ordered my own tumbler - I just can't get enough of the glitter! As someone with little to no artistic talent whatsoever, I am in awe of the designs and color schemes they come up with. They will even work with you on what you are wanting - logos included.

In addition to being quality and adorable, my favorite thing about these tumblers is that they are dispatcher made and come in such a variety of designs.

And YOU can save 10% with code THEQWORD10! Check them out on FB: Stardust Glitter Tumblers. Then, send them a message to order yours! Especially with Mother's Day coming up, summer birthdays, pool days, can't go wrong with these unique tumblers!

The Forgotten Cops

Imagine going to spend your day amongst the worst of the worst - murderers, pedophiles and rapists, bank robbers, etc. Now imagine that on top of the 8-12 hours you will spend with these people, you will do it outnumberd by at least 80-100 to 1. You will not be armed with a firearm to protect yourself. If you're lucky, you may have OC (pepper) spray and you may have a stab vest. Maybe. Imagine that you are the voice of authority and it is your responsibility to keep these prisoners peaceful in a confined space, knowing that being locked up in an incarcerated state, some with nothing to lose, can make people act and react differently. Now imagine doing this day after day - essentially locked up for an entire shift with the very people that society deems unsafe; the offenders that society doesn't want to deal with. These offenders were sentenced by a court of law and then basically forgotten about as they were sent "away" - except some people still have to think about them, deal with them, protect YOU from them. 

The people that stand between US and the criminals our judicial system has deemed unworthy to live in the open world are Correctional Officers and Workers. And in 1984, President Ronald Reagan admitted that "the important work of correctional Officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves." He then deemed the first full week of May, each year, as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week. This year, it will be May 6th-12th, 2018.
While I may be somewhat biased as I am married to a Correctional Officer, their job is one that we should ALL be concerned with and appreciative of. My husband spends his days supervising men convicted of possession of large amounts of child porn, men who have taken the life of another person, men who have met children and teens for sex, men who have schemed and connived to swindle hardworking people out of their life savings, men who have led corrupt and shameless political lives. While they are still human beings and I'm proud of the way my husband treats them as such, they are also demented and dangerous; unfit to walk alongside the rest of us in the free world. Without Correctional Officers and Workers, these dangerous criminals would put our children, our livlihoods, and our lives at risk. Instead, Correctional Officers put their own lives at risk to keep the rest of us safe.

Mu husband has come home with bruised ribs when an angry inmate didn't like the particulars of his laundry service and attacked him. He has seen a crazed inmate sever his own penis. He has seen men who can no longer take their guilt or their incarceration hang themselves. The sounds and sights he, and others like him, have seen and had to live with are more than most of us can even imagine. Yet when discussing first responders, protectors, sheepdogs, most people never think of Correctional Officers. We send dangerous criminals away, out of sight, out of mind - but don't think about the heroes who put their lives on the line each and every day so that we can feel and be safer without these dangerous people on the loose. We don't think about the things these Officers endure and live with so that we don't have to.

So in the upcoming couple of weeks, particularly May 6th-12th, please think about the men and women who go to work each day in an enclosed, locked down environment; surrounded by the worst our society has to offer, some with nothing to lose; unarmed; knowing their lives are at risk so that their own families and even strangers can sleep better at night, knowing these criminals cannot get to them. Please say a prayer to keep them safe so that they come home unharmed to their loved ones each night. And if you see a Correctional Officer or know one, please tell them Thank You, that you appreciate the work they do to keep us safe.

National Police Week

Each year, one week is set aside, designated as National Police Week. It began in 1962, when President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as Peac...