Monster Jam ® Triple Threat Series™ is an action-packed, points-based event that showcases athletes as they go head-to-head in six different competitions, driving three different vehicles – Monster Jam Trucks, Speedsters and ATV’s. These world-class Monster Jam vehicles and athletes bring action-packed, adrenaline-charged family entertainment to fans across the country and deliver what they want to see most… more racing, more freestyle, more donuts and more action!
This year we're giving away a family four pack of tickets! Head to the post below to enter:
Monster Jam presented locally by Chick-fil-A of Charlotte is coming into the Spectrum Center and you don't want to miss this year! Three HUGE shows January 11th and 12th !
I’ve been pretty absent for the better part of 2018. I wish it was for a better reason but in all honesty, I did not have the energy to handle my day to day life, much less the blog and events. I wanted to explain my absence so bare with me. It's a long one.
At the end of February, as most of you know, we found out we were expecting baby number two. Although we were so excited for this little to be on the way, my immediate reaction was “I have to get into my OB tomorrow.”
This is my third pregnancy to be viable past 8 weeks. Viable. It’s such a strong but sterile word. I have experienced three personal losses in-between my surrogacy pregnancy in 2013 and today. Not to mention, I still carry a heavy burden and guilt on the loss of the fraternal twin from that pregnancy.
In total, four babies in five years haven’t survived from my womb. Do you know how gut wrenching it is to go into an OB office and must explain how many pregnancies you have had total and then explain how many are not living and how each of them ended?
So, when I started freaking out this pregnancy early on, it didn’t surprise me. I did not want another loss because I knew emotionally I couldn’t handle it.
I wasn't expecting to start getting anxiety over little things.
The first real sign that I had a bigger issue than normal fear was when I was prescribed Progesterone Shots to take daily. It was literally out of stock EVERYWHERE but online fertility pharmacies but they wanted $125 a vial. One vial only lasted 5 days. I called nearly 60 pharmacies from Charlotte to Statesville and we only ever found six vials but luckily they were cheaper at around $55 each. Normally, with insurance, it would have been $10 for a month supply.
It started out with just a fear that we’d lose another baby. I made countdowns to milestones I hadn’t hit before like the heartbeat, week 8, week 12, week 16 and so forth. Even now, I am counting down weeks. We’re past viability but I keep fearing something will go wrong.
Eventually the anxiety grew to much more than just the pregnancy. I eventually found myself afraid to drive. I would be mid-trip and fear that I would end up in a wreck. I started doubting my career. I started to doubt my ability to mother Hayden the way he needed. I doubted my relationship and even what my purpose was in this life.
Doubt is a horrible feeling.
There were days where I went to work, came home and crawled into bed. There were many weekends where I never took a step outside. Sunny days were still bad but the rainy, gloomy days were so much worse.
Two weeks ago, we moved into a beautiful new home but that also meant packing. Packing was something that triggered the largest panic attacks I have had, not only in this pregnancy, but some of the largest attacks I have ever had ever in my life. I would sit and stare at the stuff and just break down in tears. I couldn’t physically get myself together long enough to do anything productive. I really cannot thank AJ and my family enough for those weeks and the move.
Pregnancy-Induced anxiety is the worst feeling of hopelessness I have ever experienced.
So early on, I decided to completely shut down as I got it under control.
I shut down most of my life for my sanity. I needed the ability to work my full-time job because it was a priority. I needed to reduce the stress for the baby’s sake. I needed to be present for my son.
I am not writing this for sympathy but for transparency.
Every pregnant woman knows the fears and worries of post-partum depression or anxiety. It’s something many doctors really want to check on during that 6-week post-birth appointment. But no one talks about the depression and anxiety that can happen during pregnancy.
It is estimated that miscarriages happen in 25% of all pregnancies. One in eight couples experience infertility. I’ve only experienced a small blimp of what some couples experience but the stress, pressure, anxiety and fear crippled me. The more I have spoken to other women about the anxiety I've experienced, the more I’ve realized I’m not alone.
I’ll leave on a positive note. The anxiety is going down as the days go on. It’s going from irrational and uncontrollable situations to common insecurities or worries – like the fact we are official under 100 days until she will arrive.
Some of the failures so far from 2018 still weigh heavy on me.
- I missed deadlines and events.
- I left many emails ignored.
- I abandoned my social accounts.
But that is going to change. I hope to become more social again and I am taking baby steps to being like myself again. I want to get back to my roots of writing and sharing my love of the city.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me the last six months and even more so my family.
The ones who have noticed something was wrong. The ones who knew I the fear I had during the pregnancy. The ones who offered help emotionally or physically. The ones who held me as I cried or shared my fears. The ones who just talked about anything else to help keep my mind off the fear.
You are my saviors.
Thank you for loving me through the hardest parts.
CAROLINA COUNTRY MUSIC FEST ADDS TO LINEUP
Brett Young, Tracy Lawrence, Muscadine Bloodline, James Barker Band, Josh Phillips, Tim Montana, Davisson Brothers, Jimmie Allen and Dee Jay Silver set to perform in Myrtle Beach, June 7-10.
Clockwise from top left: Brett Young, Muscadine Bloodline, Jimmie Allen, James Barker Band, Tracy Lawrence
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (April 9, 2018) - Carolina Country Music Fest announced the addition of Brett Young, Tracy Lawrence, Muscadine Bloodline, James Barker Band, Josh Phillips, Tim Montana, Davisson Brothers, Jimmie Allen and Dee Jay Silver to the all-star lineup for the oceanfront fest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, June 7-10, 2018. They join headliners Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Zac Brown Band and Cole Swindell, as well as 30 other country acts. For more information, visit www.carolinacountrymusicfest.com.
Cole Swindell and Tracy Lawrence will get the party started on June 7 at the McDonald’s®Thursday Night Kick Off Concert powered by MyrtleBeach.com. Tickets for Thursday night are included in VIP packages or can be purchased in addition to a three-day pass. Purchase tickets and VIP packages here.
Named one of the top five country music festivals by Billboard, Carolina Country Music Fest is one of the fastest growing outdoor music festivals in the country, with more than 30,000 country music fans in attendance last year. The festival site spans 18 acres of oceanfront in Myrtle Beach from the boardwalk to Ocean Boulevard.
This year’s event sponsors include Coors Light, E & J Gallo Winery, iHeart Radio, Coca-Cola, WPDE ABC 15, The CW 21, Visit Myrtle Beach, McDonald’s®, Burroughs & Chapin, Brittain Resort Management, Campers Inn RV, Oceana Resorts, MyrtleBeach.com, Bojangles’, Krispy Kreme, Food Lion, Broadway Grand Prix and Full House Productions. The McDonald’s® Thursday Night Kick-Off Concert is powered by MyrtleBeach.com and presented by Carolina Cool.
Carolina Country Music Fest (CCMF), the East Coast's largest outdoor country music fest, is located on the shores of Myrtle Beach. A unique blend of today’s country headliners and up-and-comers, CCMF is host to the industry’s biggest stars. With the combination of country music and the scenic Myrtle Beach backdrop, this family-friendly, three-day fest is a summer vacation destination.
A break is such an easy thing to say you're going to do when you're overwhelmed but most of the time we do not actually take one.
As women, it seems we always have 328-thousand things on our plates. I cannot stop being a mom. I cannot stop working my job. I cannot neglect the cat or dog. I cannot stop being a girlfriend - well, guess I can but I don't want to!
So when I decided 3-4 weeks ago that I needed a break, I meant it. I was overwhelmed with everything going on in my life and all the upcoming changes.
In January, we were with family when they were chatting about moving. I jokingly said "Let's look for a home!" and during that hunt I really started to think.
"Our home value is really up right now since I bought this house."
"When construction starts next year, our home value will probably decrease for a while."
"We cannot live in this house for more than 2 more years."
"HOLY CRAP WE HAVE GOT TO MOVE SOON."
Once I laid down all the same details with my boyfriend, he felt the same, so then we started hunting for a new home. We live in Mooresville and love the MGSD so finding a home can be hard. We honestly did not want an HOA but see benefits from the neighborhoods so our son can find other kids to play with. We want a certain number of rooms and in a certain price point that has made it so hard. If we would raise our price point by 20-30k, then we would have 30 more homes to choose from, but we're trying to stick to the budget we want and not the budget the bank has allowed.
During this time I also started a new job. I've debated getting back into the corporate world for a while and finally a position landed in my lap. I've been wanted to get my foot in the door at Lowe's corporate office for years but it is pretty hard. You have to know someone - and even though I know plenty, it's still hard. So our family has been transitioning to me working full time and not always being in the mood to cook a meal or stay up late to watch a movie.
So I allowed myself to take a break. Every day I felt a tinge of guilt that I basically checked out but it was so refreshing. It was what I needed. I think everyone should take a break from things when life gets overwhelming.
Taking a break from friends -OR- finding a reason to see them when times are hard.
Taking a break from the gym -OR- going back to let the stress sweat away.
Taking a break from the PTO -OR- joining because you need "mommy" socializing.
Taking a break from going out -OR- making a point to try new places in CLT.
Whatever it is and however you choose to take a break, know it's okay. Find time for yourself whether that means staying in or forcing yourself to try new things. We all deserve a little grace when we need a little self love and TLC.
Does your significant other have a job that requires a suit and tie? Do you always see the need to have those items altered because they aren't one size fits all? Is there a constant struggle when trying on different sizes for different brand slacks?
Well, Michele Melville from J.Hilburn wants to make the shopping easier for you. She is a personal stylist with J.Hilburn and can help ensure that special man in your life has the perfect dress shirt, slacks, suits and even sports wear made just for the man in your life!
J.Hilburn started when two men got tired of wearing ill-fitting clothes and paying luxury prices for luxury quality. They decided to start a new way to purchase menswear and to make each garment one at a time, guaranteeing fit and eliminating unnecessary markups.
J.Hilburn states that by engaging directly with their clients to make clothes that fit them, they cut out inventory, returns, and brick-and-mortar overhead. This is how they are able to provide the things that matter–custom fit, the best fabrics and factories in the world, and Personal Stylists who build a wardrobe that Clients love at best-in-class prices.
So connect with Michelle today! She is waiting to help YOU style the men in your life this holiday season with luxury clothing that fit perfectly the first time they put it on.
Direct Sales and Home Based Businesses are becoming the Norm. It allows women to stay at home or make some extra cash for their families. These businesses are providing women a way to put their children in sports or after school activities, plan family vacations or throw a birthday party.
So we're here to celebrate those #bossbabes who work from their phone and by going to your home to share these products with you.
Mary Ann is a #BossBabe with Avon. Avon has been around since 1886 and there is a reason it has over a century of helping women make an income from home. The Avon Foundation for Women also is tied within the company to share its efforts to end breast cancer and domestic violence.
Avon is the leading social selling beauty company in North America. With Avon’s product line including skincare, fragrance, color cosmetics, and personal care products.
Krista is an amazing #BossBabe who loves her business with It Works! She is also a body builder and really cares about the products she puts on or in her body.
It Works! was a perfect fit for her with their line of skin care, shakes, cleanse, wraps and their brand new Keto Coffee! These products are developed with the top technology and
Samantha is a #MomBoss of three littles. She's an ambassador for the skincare line Nerium and rocks it daily as she tends to her littles.
Nerium has transformed the anti-aging industry with their streamlined product offering, clinically tested to deliver proven results. Nerium focuses on cutting through the clutter of age-fighting options to bring you multifunctional skincare products and novel nutritionals that address all your age-fighting needs and fit easily into every lifestyle, so you can look better, feel better and live better.
Rodan & Fields
Amy is a #BossBabe as she's rocking her Rodan + Fields business from home. She wants to help other women feel beautiful in their own skin with R+F's products.
Rodan + Fields was founded in 2002 by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, the makers of ProActive, as a department store brand. Rodan + Fields® is redefining the future of anti-aging skincare. Rodan + Fields is a premium skincare brand built on a legacy of innovative dermatology-inspired skincare products backed by clinical results.
Kayleigh is another #momboss with three littles at home. She started selling LuLaRoe in 2016 and has helped thousands of ladies find their perfect LuLa piece!
LuLaRoe is one of the fastest growing apparel brands in the U.S: founded in Corona, California in 2013. LuLaRoe’s comfortable, affordable and stylish clothing is sold by more than 80,000 Independent Fashion Retailers in unique, exciting in-person and online pop-up boutiques. LuLaRoe’s varied styles and patterns make the brand attractive to all types of consumers, whether they’re looking for the perfect style to transition from work to a night out, a way to dress up their every-day leisure look, or are on the hunt for their unicorn leggings. Pieces are designed to mix, match and layer.
Heather is a #BossBabe with a little girl and another little on the way. She loves her flexibility of working for Mary Kay and sharing to everyone why she loves this company that's been around for 5+ decades!
Mary Kay started in 1963 and has become one of the most well known beauty brands in the United States. Today, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in nearly 40 countries around the world. Mary Kay is well known for their make up and skin care that has transformed throughout the decades along with their Pink Cadillac drivers for their top sales directors in the company.
To a point that you’re breaking down in tears and feeling the beat through every vein of your body?
Two weeks ago, I was driving on the interstate and had to pull over; right there on the shoulder while cars were zooming past me going 80mph. I was sobbing uncontrollably. You know, that horrific ugly sobbing when even the most waterproof mascara cannot withstand the outpouring of tears. That kind of ugly sobbing.
It hit me suddenly without warning so there I sat until it passed.
I have heard Kesha’s new song Praying multiple times. The song is her speaking out after a horrific legal battle with her former producer that she accused of drugging and raping her. She was silenced as he ultimately won the battle of legalities of contractual obligations.
Her response in Praying is a beautiful ballad of triumph. She speaks about how she has overcome the last four years. Any woman who has struggled through a hard time can relate.
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship.
If you’ve dated or married to a narcissist.
If you’ve had horrible parents who told you that you wouldn’t become of anything.
If you had a boss that degraded you.
If you’ve been told you were not wanted.
If you’ve been raped or molested.
This song can speak to your soul if you let it.
I’ve never been very quiet about my turmoil of my divorce at 25 and subsequent custody issues where he eventually had his rights permanently terminated of his 6-year-old son by the state of North Carolina.
Last February he gave me an ultimatum; Either 50/50 custody or he was going to walk away. I was never against 50/50 custody however he was living a very unstable lifestyle. He was telling me he was moving for the third time in 10 weeks but he promised he would no longer miss his weeks/weekends. I told him to show he can be reliable for 6 months and we’d do it but we legal paperwork.
He was not for it. He wanted it right away or not at all.
He ultimately did not want to pay child support anymore.
I eventually told him to do what made him happy. If he was happier to leave, then go be happy. If walking out of his child’s life to no longer pay child support made him a happier person, then do it but I was not going to ever fight for him to be in his child’s life. A child that looks just like him. A child whom he has been a part of his life for the previous six years. A child that loved him unconditionally.
I never thought he would actually leave and never look back but I was not going to force anyone to be in his life either.
As I hear Kesha’s words, it speaks to every ounce of me. For the last two years, I have prayed that he would change his ways. In the early days I prayed that he would realize how important being a father physically, emotionally and financially was important. Now, I pray he has changed.
I pray that he will change and never hurt a child like he hurt his first born. I pray he does not treat his girlfriend the way he treated me. Maybe we were young but I went from a strong independent woman to a trapped childlike girl. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I felt constantly trapped and tried to escape to be told I would never amount to anything. That I was damaged and that I was unwanted.
No one should feel that way.
But I know I can only forgive so much. I have forgiven enough to be able to move on. I can never forgive the pain I continue to see on my son’s face because he thinks he did something wrong.
I can never forgive someone to walk out over child support payments.
I can never forgive someone who chose a girlfriend over their child, not once but twice, after only knowing them a few short weeks.
If you've ever felt the way I have, I hope you can be touched by a song. Music can speak to our souls and allow us to feel emotions we don't always know is there.
So if you find yourself on the side of the highway breaking down, know you are not alone. I've been there too.
We only met ten of the vendors of the show out of the hundreds that are in attendance this weekend!
However, she really got me intersted in an amazing blankets she has! I am eyeing this perfect cream one for my bedroom and teal for my living room!
All this weekend you can have braids, waves or brow tutorials throughout the weekend for $10!
When I started learning about the new “mattress in a box” concepts, I was so intrigued by not only the materials used but also the price. So, I dug in deeper to find the bed that was best on the market. Insert Snoozecube Bed.
I reached out to snoozecube bed to partner up with this post. I wanted to see if this new phenomenon of mattresses being shipped directly to your door were worth they hype. Were these mattresses as good as the memory foam beds from the box stores but for a fraction of the price?
First, a little backstory on me. I started having back pain around age 12 but it only got worse. During my first pregnancy I could barely walk at times so I went to get tested before the second. During these exams they learned I was developing arthritis in my spine around L2-L5. The pain was horrendous but also got me on track to getting help.
The doctors did their best in ensuring I was on the right track of healing. Although we had a great regimen figured out, it didn’t stop myself from waking up exhausted and in pain. Each night I would wake up and need more sleep and some days I would sleep in until noon just to feel like I got enough sleep. 12-14 hours of sleep and I would still be exhausted.
Sleep is the most important part of being healthy. Adults should sleep an average of 8-9 hours of good sleep per night. My 12+ hours were interrupted with tossing, turning and trying to figure out if I was hot or cold. I would wake up multiple times a night to readjust.
I work from home as well. I love to just spend the morning sitting in bed, watching Netflix and answering emails. Within 30 minutes, my hips would have excruciating pain so I would need either lay down or move to my office sans Netflix and blankets.
Since sleeping on the snoozecube bed, I have gone to be at 10pm and woke up at 8am each morning – refreshed. Something I have not done in years. I have sat in bed an entire Friday working and answering emails without my hips going numb. I have gone to the chiropractor and he saw immediate results from a good night’s sleep.
A good night sleep was the answer to all my issues.
It’s more than just the best sleep of my life that makes me love this bed, there are some techy stuff that caught my eyes too!
- The cover is washable. With a seven-year-old who spills things and just day to day life, I love knowing I can throw the cover into the wash to get the gross out. If it’s badly damaged, then I can just order a replacement. No need to worry about a completely damaged mattress due to an accident.
- Therma Gel Memory Foam. This is legit! I am one of those people who go from hot to cold to hot again while sleeping. Every night I would wake up almost every two hours between one extreme or the other. Since sleeping on the snoozecube bed, I don’t wake up because of major temperature spikes.
- Complete piece of mind of my purchase. This was the only mattress that had a 180-day money-back guarantee. That’s crazy! A complete 6 months to ensure that this mattress is right for you? Yes please! On top of that, they have a 15 Year Full Warranty.
Oh – and the customer service. We had a few questions and had answers almost immediately. I cannot think of the last time I needed help from a big company and didn’t have to jump through hoops.
I can’t forget the best part. My little was jealous of our bed. He said it was like sleeping on clouds so we got one for him too. He now is a proud owner of a snoozecube bed himself. He tells everyone he meets how much he loves his new bed and that they should have one too.
Take his advice. Get one yourself today!
I’ve been dreading this week. I knew it was coming. I wasn’t ready to be angry at the hateful and rude comments that were going to start coming out.
This week Kim Kardashian West announced she will be pursuing gestational surrogacy for her third child.
As a former surrogate, my blood boiled. Not because she is using a surrogate but because of the exact opposite. I was already angry at the commenters who had no idea what surrogacy is about.
There is a stigma for heterosexual couples or single women in Hollywood who use surrogacy. Two gay men? Single Father? No big deal. But celebrity women involved in surrogacy almost always receive a stigma that they just did not want to ruin their body.
Very, very few cases of surrogacy are due to career or body issues. VERY FEW. I’ve only heard personally of three surrogates carrying due to those reasons. But guess what, it's still their choice to do so.
But that certainly isn’t the case here. The fact that it has been brought up is disgusting. She publicly went through two horrific pregnancies and surgeries after both to try and conceive again. She has a HOLE in her UTERUS. She’s had blood transfusions. She had her placenta scrapped from her uterus because it wouldn’t release. Her doctor told her that she had a major chance of dying while trying again.
I wouldn’t want to die trying to have a child.
Surrogacy is normally the last chance effort for families. It isn’t a spur of the moment decision. These parents have gone through testing, meetings, crying nights and financial discussions.
Yes. Financial discussions.
Surrogacy costs on average 90-130k. Costs can vary based on many factors. The surrogate may not have surrogacy friendly insurance, therefore either a new coverage will need to be obtained during open enrollment and paid for by the intended parents or the intended parents will pay cash for all services.
Also, the first transfer of the embryo may fail. And maybe the second. And maybe the third. They may need to make new embryos. Each failed transfer and each new egg retrieval + fertilization costs money. There is only a 60% chance on average that an IVF procedure will result in pregnancy whether you transfer one or two embryos. Transferring two only increase the result of multiples – which is risky.
Even as a celebrity, no one wants to fork out that cash to have a child. But they do it. People take out second and third mortgages, max credit cards and borrow. In most states, surrogacy IVF treatments are not covered in the insurance. Actually, IVF treatments aren’t covered at all in most states.
Don’t tell someone they need to adopt.
Would you tell your newly married heterosexual couple friends that they should adopt instead of conceiving the “natural” way? Nope. You would never tell them what to do in their bedroom or how to procreate their family. So don’t tell the infertile.
It is not the burden of the infertile to carry the weight of the orphaned on their back.
Oh and adoption isn’t cheap either.
Adoptions are seriously expensive as well and it isn’t guaranteed you’ll have a child. Surrogacy isn’t either and there are natural risks that can happen but for the most part, once you hit the viability stage of pregnancy, it is very likely you’ll have a child in your home.
You definitely will know you’ll leave a hospital with a child in your arms unlike in adoptions where the birth mom has 48 hours to decide post birth.
We’re not Lifetime Movies
Bless it. I love Lifetime for some juicy crazy drama but too many think their dramas are the real deal. There’s never a good surrogacy story or outcome on television or in movies.
That also includes the news. Some surrogates do go off their rocker but it boils down to missed steps each and every time. Please don't judge surrogates on a few bad apples and television drama.
Surrogacy is in the Relationship
Each relationship between surrogate and IPs are different. Some become lifelong friendships and others turn out to be more professional. Both are okay. However before anyone stabs a needle in their stomach or hip, you go through a lot of testing. You do medical testing. You go through multiple psychological tests and therapy meetings.
You have a contract that is legally binding. You list out each situation that may occur and how it is handled. They contracts are – on average – 25-50 pages in length. I was uncompensated and ours was still 29 pages long and I have seen contracts at upwards of 89 pages. The more details involved the better. You’ll both have representation to look out for your best interests so there shouldn’t be questions or issues when a situation comes up.
The Law isn’t always on our side.
Very few states are very surrogacy friendly, California being one of them. Here in North and South Carolina, we do not have laws for or against surrogacy. That essentially means if something were to come up and when parents apply for a Pre-Birth Order, it is 100% up to the judge.
Some states have laws preventing surrogacy for certain reasons. Louisiana only allows surrogacy for heterosexual couples. New York does not allow for a surrogate to be compensated and even if they are not compensated they are notorious for making the parents adopt their biological child. Michigan do not recognize contracts and a surrogate fled there to avoid losing custody of the child.
Surrogacy is a beautiful thing. I wish others really understood what surrogates actually do. I have been called many names from a cash cow (I wasn’t even compensated) to being told I was a horrible ‘mother’ for abandoning my child - that isn't even biologically mine.
Intended Parents through surrogacy deserve the right to have their children just like any other family. That includes the Kardashian-West family.
Who cares what you think about them.
Who cares what you think you know about them.
Because we don’t know them.
But we do know she could have died having another child.
We know she tried everything she could to avoid surrogacy.
And we certainly know it takes a very strong women to give another women the trust of loving + caring for her child for nine months.
Thanks for trusting our small community in expanding your family.
I can only hope we do not let the Kardashian-West family down.