Guest Post from a Veteran: Please Have Fun On Memorial Day

To all of happyhippierose’s readers, Happy Memorial Day!

My wonderful wife Rose has asked me, as a veteran, to write this guest post, and I am both honored and humbled to do so.

our wedding day, april 17 2010

Together, with teachers and missionaries, Blacks from Charleston established a “May Day,” in 1865.  Memorial Day was established following the Civil War in 1866 to honor the fallen soldiers.  It was then known as Decoration Day.  Later on, in the twentieth century, the honor of this day was extended to American veterans of all wars.

Today, I write from my own experience and opinion.  Over the last six years, I have had the luxury of a wonderful support system not limited to, but comprised of family, friends, and my loving wife!

may 12, 2009: leaving for afghan – saying goodbye

afghan homecoming ’09

Having served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq, and twice in Afghanistan, my fellow Marines and I have endured the worst of the worst.  Terrible conditions, and unthinkable losses have been our experience.  The funny thing is that we have all been more than happy to do so.  As service members it is the reason why we decided to sign on the dotted line.  I now understand why “old people” watch their war movies, and silently reminisce.  It has been, overall, a completely life changing and (no matter how much we have all griped at times) positive experience.

echo 2-2, cax 2008

2nd platoon, echo company in iraq: 2008

In the days leading up to this holiday, it has been my observation, that some of my fellow Marines harbor feelings of anger and bitterness towards people who they feel might not fully grasp the meaning of the holiday.  With posts like “*$%& all the people who think it’s just another day off of work,” and “*$%& your bbq’s,” that I have seen on Facebook, I find it disheartening.

this one and many others have been passed around the interwebs this past week – some are nice, some are just negative and miss the point

I say enjoy your time off!  Live, laugh, and love with your friends and families!  Enjoy your BBQs, and drink your drinks!  I sure know that I will.  I will also ensure that I hold Rose a little tighter and kiss her a few more times during the day than usual, for I am grateful.  I am grateful to all veterans who have paid the ultimate price, those who have made that ultimate sacrifice for the precise purpose that we all have the freedom to enjoy our lives and loved ones all the more.  It is the gift that they have given us, and it would be in vain if we did not make the most of it.

smooching on memorial day ’10

afghan homecoming ’11

I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday, and that you are near your friends and families!

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From Rose: Special thanks to my hubs for all his service, dedication and for writing this post!

It’s with immense gratitude that I want to thank ALL service men and women, past and present for protecting all of the wonderful freedoms we know here in the USA.  Thank you!!  And to all the service families out there too – I know y’all do a lot on your ends, give up a lot, go through a lot too, so thanks to you all too.   To my cousin Chad and his fam, my Great Uncle John, my Aunt Edith, and all my dear friends in the military community: it is with so much love that I say Happy Memorial Day and thank for fun days like today!

Duggs does have a blog of his own, too.  He just hasn’t updated in a long, long time… go check it out and heckle him into posting more often (he’s a great writer, huh?).

I Am Rose’s Keeper is his blog.

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

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Guest Post: Carly from Nourish.Nature.Love on What Motivates Her Most

Today I’m stoked to share with you an awesome post written by my pal Carly.

Carly is one of the healthiest people I know: a personal trainer, dedicated workout enthusiast and expert practitioner of the yoga.  She’s a kale eating human pretzel type, with enviable discipline!  Recently, some of her readers asked her to write on what it is that keeps her going – why she’s able to stick to it and work so hard.  

Know that Carly works for her body the old fashioned way.  She works hard for her amazing physique: sculpting, training, sweating, and she eats right; her results are well deserved.  Her dedication is so admirable, as is her attitude.  If you read my middle-of-the-night whiny rant about body size and image that posted a few hours ago (click here if you missed it) – allow Carly’s confidence, gratitude, and peace to be a breath of fresh air, a pleasant contrast to my confidence lapse.  

I’m going to try and take her outlook, attitude, and advise to heart.  I think it’s a beeline to physical success. 

Without further adieu: re-posted here, with her permission, Carly explains in three simple answers what motivates her:

carly is super fit

carly in pigeon

Why do I do the things I do? What keeps me going?  by Carly Hunkin 

Another question I’ve been asked.  And it’s a good one! I think we should all ask ourselves “why?”, especially when it comes to our health.

Body. Mind. Spirit.

First, let met state that I believe they are all interconnected, one acts and reacts off of the others and in order to have optimal health, all three aspects need to be cared for. This is the approach I take- holistic wellness.

I was raised in a home that took a holistic approach to wellness, so it’s been with me from the get-go. It’s be ingrained in me from the start that giving your body the proper nutrients, keeping your body in moving and working condition, and loving Jesus(or the Universe, or giving some sense of gratitude to a greater power) is key to happiness and health. So, in my home is where it all started for me, and as I matured and grew into my own, independent thinking woman I read and researched and asked a million questions…Istill do this. I will always continue to look for ways to improve my life.

Body.

We only get one body. Get(implying we were given) and one are the two words I focus on. I was given this body by God- to use and take care of. I don’t get a second chance,  I can’t return it or exchange it and I don’t get a do-over. This body is mine and I will treat it with respect. What a kick in the face it would be to give someone such a useful and complex gift just watch them trash it and not take advantage of it. Our bodies were made to move, we were designed to be active. I like to take advantage of that–I think the human body is so rad! the complex movements, how everything works together to complete a goal or task. So cool. Believing this, I move my body frequently, in all sorts of ways- cardio(low and high intensities), hiking, walking, bike riding, using wights and lifting heavy things(kids), sports, yoga and stretching. I also believe that our bodies were meant to be lean and strong(lean and strong will physically look different on everyone, though) and that God is a beautiful artist, and if we are his master piece then we will be beautiful also.  If we are using our bodies the way they were meant to be used and giving our bodies the nutrients they were meant to consume, then we won’t have to worry about how our body looks, aesthetically- it will take care of itself.  That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in goals and striving to be better or to improve your body aesthetically; I absolutely think goals are great. They’re challenging and the feeling you get when you achieve is amazing. I have the current goal of getting defined abs- the hard work and dedication that I have to put in to achieve that will be so rewarding in the end. When it comes to nourishing our bodies- nature has provided perfectly and unfortunately man has ruined it. Sad times. The love of money has once again ruined a beautiful thing. I try to give my body nourishing, nature -made foods. If it doesn’t come from the ground or doesn’t have a mother-don’t eat it. Additives,  food colorings, GM foods and crops and chemical concoctions don’t belong–they do nothing but destroy our health and the planet. What’s the saying?…”The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”.  I’m not sure who that quote is by, but whoever said it couldn’t have said more truth in a more direct way. In order to keep our bodies moving and working(exercise), we’ve got to fuel ourselves with the right kind of energy. It’s important to eat and eat well! Food is your friend!

Mind.

This one is simple and straight forward. Think positive and give thanks. Every day might not be beautiful, but there is something beautiful in every day…right? right. Find the good in every situation. It’s ok to acknowledge the negative, the negative makes us work and overcome, but don’t feed yourself constant negativity. It will take a toll on you in all other aspects of life and health.

Spirit.

We are all connected. And I believe love to be the foundation of connection and the spirit, your soul. I love God because He loves me and has provided me with so much goodness. I feel rich and alive inside. This feeling is on fire when I’m in a place of love, when I’m praying and talking to God, when I’m sitting and meditating on his goodness and love. It’s important to find that connection-wether it be with God, the Universe, nature, whatever. Finding that place of love, being able to feel the burn is humbling. It makes you feel so little and so important at the same time. God provides me with a sense, no…, a knowledge of peace and protection. I take care of my spirit because God takes care of me.

Explaining all this, what keeps me motivated is love. Love for my body, love for my mind and love for my God.

namaste.

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Carly is a Personal Trainer, yoga enthusiast, God-lover, and health nut.  She’s lived out here in Hawaii (she’s a Marine wife too!), and we’ve been pals and neighbors for a couple years now.  Check out her blog about holistic living, healthy eating, outdoor adventures and all kinds of good stuff:  Carly’s blog – Nourish. Nature. Love.

calling all geeks and nerds. who can write. nerdy writers wanted! asap!

One of my co-workers passed around this meme from memebum.com that outlines the core differences between geeks and nerds.  The full thing is better, but just to get a taste, here’s a little screen shot for ya:

I tried to decipher the signs and symptoms, and I’m just so torn.  I’m both-ish. According to my husband I’m a gerd.  Which, figuring that GERD is a gastrointestinal disorder, it seems almost fitting for me.

Mostly though, I’m a dork.  I’m very very dorky.  Always have been.  I have my nuances of social awkwardness, the kinda thing where I played Barbies till I was like 17, that kind of stuff.  When you meet me in person or hang out with me, I usually tend to be pretty affable, actually.  I don’t come across as a rocket scientist or some weird niche snob (at least I wish I did, or I hope I don’t, respectively).

But, I like geekery.  I like nerdery.  I appreciate both.

So what about you? Are you a geek or a nerd or a Klingon?

I ask, because there’s a place that’s very special to me that is looking for new writers.  And if you’re both a geek and a writer, or just someone who likes shows and stuff… maybe this is a good fit for you?

There are a couple places on this big old Interwebs for which I write. One such place is here, happy hippie rose, obvs.  The other has been around a lot longer, is much bigger than me and this little blog, and it totally allows me to unleash my inner fanboy.

I’m a staff writer over at Fandomania.com

What is this Fandomania?  It’s sort of a haven for geek, freaks, nerds, dorks and everyone in between.  Gamer types, comic book types, hey-I-just-watch-Dexter-but-I’m-still-very-cool types. They cover a lot of range.

The site delves into fandoms, the phenomena of loving a series, a book, a TV show, a character, whatever it is that you could possibly be a fan of –  and everything that makes the heart of a fan tick.

So what do you think?

Check out their open call for writers HERE.

Fandomania is a multi-genre, multi-media website written and run by fans for fans. We’re into everything from sci-fi to fantasy to action, and we cover everything from movies and TV to comics and games. We post a lot of reviews, but what we’re looking for this time is a good group of folks who can write non-review articles to share with your fellow fans. Editorials, educational posts, lists, and general fandom related bloggery are the things we want. If you are opinionated, stay informed, have creative ideas about your geekiness, and are a great writer, we want to hear from you.

 

I’ve been with Fandomania for years now, and I just love it.  It’s a wonderful community of bright, fun, funny folks and it’s been a pleasure being a part of their inner circle.

I recently wrote this really personal Harry Potter essay. I’d love for you to check it out.  I’d love to have a conversation about it.  And there are other pieces, by other writers over there who’d love to chat too.

So, calling all geeks and nerds, go check out Fandomania!!

12 things everybody ought to know about artificial food coloring, a guestpost by rebecca from die, food dye!

Today I am so honored and excited to introduce everyone to a lovely and talented guest blogger:  Rebecca from Die, Food Dye! has so graciously written up this super helpful, informative list about food dyes and additives, providing us all with info that is so needed to know.  And just in time for the holidays, she’s suggested some places where dye-free gifts may be purchased. 

So please give a warm, happyhippierose welcome to Rebecca and today’s post:

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12 Things Everybody Ought To Know About Artificial Food Coloring

Food coloring tested on animals has shown some scary results, and yet the FDA continues to approve their use in foods, drinks, medications, and personal care products.  It should be the other way around – instead of approving chemicals until they are proven unsafe, the FDA should protect our food system from additives until these chemicals are proven safe.

Hind sight is 20/20 for sure – Since we discovered our daughter’s food coloring sensitivity (and mine),  I’ve learned so much about food additives and the “Big Food” industry.  Their bottom line seems to be in direct conflict with Americans’ health, especially the most vulnerable among us.  And they’re using us as their guinea pigs.

Next time you go grocery shopping, bring your values with you, and think about this –

  • Artificial food coloring used to be made from coal tar;  Now it’s made of petroleum, propylene glycol (anti-freeze), carcinogenic contaminants such as benzene, and parabens.
  • Food coloring has been linked to mood swings, headaches, rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bed wetting, sleep disturbances, aggression, eczema, cradle cap, ear infections, chromosomal damage, diabetes, obesity, and cancers.  Some scientists believe it has implications in fertility, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.  If you’re a parent, or trying to conceive, avoid food dyes.
  • Not everyone is affected by synthetic food coloring, and not all dyes affect people the same way.  For instance, some people are allergic to red dyes, but blue dyes do not bother them.  Some have a very different reaction to yellows than to reds.  Also, varying combinations of dyes have differing affects on the same person.
  • The affects of food coloring can start minutes or hours after ingestion, and can last for 2-3 days.
  • Petroleum food dyes are found in sports drinks, coffee creamer, marshmallows, canned vegetables, canned fruits, maraschino cherries, spice mixes, toothpaste, mouthwash, jellies, chips, crackers, juice, fruit chewy snacks, cereal snack bars, pastries like Pop Tarts and doughnuts, soft drinks, pudding & sugar-free pudding, gum, condiments, ice cream, yogurt, hot chocolate mix, sausages, farmed fish, pickles, breads, sauces, vitamins, medications, candy, cereals, gelatin, cosmetics, and some crafting kits.  You can check ingredients in cosmetics and personal care items here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep.
  • In the US, synthetic food dyes must be individually listed by name on food labels, and will appear as a color name followed by a number.  Examples are Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Green 3, Blue 1, and Blue 2.  These may be listed in other countries with an “E” followed by a series of numbers.
  • Red and yellow dyes are used in pet foods such as cat treats, chew hides, sausages, “cookies”, “smoothies”, and gourmet pet “candies”.  These do not add any nutritive value to Fluffy’s and Fifi’s diets, and may be causing their hot spots, rashes, paw-biting, vomiting, fatigue, reproductive problems, and loss of appetite.
  • Be aware during special celebrations…Synthetic food coloring is added to some beers (not just on St. Paddy’s day!), liquors in brightly colored cocktails, cake, pie crusts, ice cream, popcicles, baking supplies, candy, chocolates, cookies, sprinkles, chips, lemonade, powdered drink mixes, juices, tea, mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, temporary tattoos, face paints, and spray tans
  • You can make your own natural food coloring.  Some natural sources of dyes are fruits and vegetables, annatto, carmine, beet juice, elderberry juice, chlorophyll, paprika, turmeric, red cabbage, saffron, and hibiscus flowers.  Some people have allergic reactions to annatto and carmine, so use caution when adding them to your diet.
  • Other countries either use natural food colorings, or place a warning about hyperactivity on the front of synthetically-dyed product labels.  In fact, some large American companies already sell dye-free versions of popular products in other countries.
  • You can order naturally-colored holiday candies such as candy canes, caramels, chocolate assortments, and lollipops at www.NaturalCandyStore.com and www.IndieCandy.com.  These two retailers are having daily holiday specials right now, are active on Twitter and Facebook, and can usually ship to the US by the holiday if you order by this weekend (check their sites for specifics).  You can also find plenty of dye-free seasonal goodies at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

I envision a day when healthy foods will be the “norm”, and cheaper than processed “food.”  A small shift in consumer preference is enough to make big food manufacturers take notice.  Send tweets to manufacturers asking them when they’ll ditch the dyes.  Share this information with friends, doctors, parents, grandparents, teachers, restauranteurs, school officials, store owners, and lawmakers.  Vote with your dollars…and let your voice be heard!

For more information, check out studies referenced by the Feingold Association  (www.feingold.org) and the Center For Science In The Public Interest (www.cspinet.org).  For help adjusting to life without food coloring, visit my blog at www.DieFoodDye.com.  Follow @DieFoodDye on Twitter, and interact with other dye-sensitive folks on the DFD Facebook fan page.

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Thank you so much, Rebecca!!  There is always so much to learn, it’s great to get these applicable tips to help sort out the action plan.  It’s easy to know about wanting to do something, but hard to know where and how to start.   Now, I feel so motivated to keep fighting the good fight against dye.  

Do you react to food dye? How? Leave me a comment to discuss! I personally have a strong reaction to artificial dyes, Red 40 being the worst of the worst.  This is an issue that gets me so heated up, so quick! 

Please, check out a couple other great ones from Rebecca’s blog… 

As always, thanks for reading!  I’ll be back tomorrow with some super easy DIY crafts/decor ideas.  xoxo, hhr