About Blythe

Create Your Own Craft Cocktails

 Create Your Own Craft Cocktails

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I’m a Jack and Coke kind of girl. Although it’s my signature drink, I’m always up for trying something new. After all, life is all about experiencing different flavors, cultures, and adventures. One way I indulge in this is through craft cocktails. I’m just fascinated by the unique combinations bartenders around the world come up with. Recently, I got to try my hand at making some unique cocktails thanks to Shaker & Spoon.

Shaker and Spoon Craft Cocktails kit ingredients

The brand was kind enough to send me their October 2017 Austin Without Limits Box.  Inspired by the “Live Music Capital of the World”, and one of my favorite cities, this box features drink recipes from three of Austin’s hottest bartenders. In addition to the recipes, each box comes with glossary card and enough contents to make 12 cocktails. All I had to do was add the liquor and the barware.

Craft Cocktails Goes to Austin

One of my favorite things about this box was that each recipe could be made with either Bourbon or Tequila. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know both are popular choices. I like my dark liquor, so I made two of the drinks with Bourbon and one with Tequila. Next time, I might switch it up.

Craft Cocktails - The Beat Goes On

First up, I decided to fill my rocks glass with The Beat Goes On. Created by Jessica Sanders, award-winning bartender and owner of Austin’s drink.well., this craft cocktail ups the ante on the Old Fashioned.

The recipe required me to mix the included Spiced Mojo Syrup, orange bitters, Hella Bitters Aromatic Cocktail Bitters, anise pod, and lemon with my bourbon. My The Beat Goes On came out perfectly thanks to the easy to follow instructions. In just three simple steps, I was sipping my way through the rich, smoky, yet sweet flavor of my craft cocktail. It kind of made me nostalgic for the trip I took with my mom to Austin last April. I know she would have loved this drink as much I did.

Craft Cocktails - Huarache Nights

Next, I took to Rainey Street in Austin for a cocktail inspired by Chris Bostick, owner of Half Step. Recently named to Esquire TV’s Best Bars in America, Bostick knows a thing or two about making your taste buds sing with to the delight of his Huarache Nights.

For this craft cocktail, I gave my tequila a shake alongside the box’s Ginger Grenadine Experimental Syrup, lime juice, soda water and lime zest. The results were a Collins glass filled with both smokiness and sweetness. The ginger, lime and pomegranate flavors mixed perfectly with the tequila. I could imagine drinking Huarache Nights while sitting outside with friends listening to some great music.

Craft Cocktails - Masour

Last, but certainly not least comes the most unique cocktails I’ve ever made, the MaSour. Created by award-winning bartender Caer Ferguson, the MaSour is inspired by Texas’s first female governor. In addition to being the first woman to govern Texas, Mariam “Ma” Ferguson also worked to repeal Prohibition. She was a woman after my own heart.

I was excited and apprehensive about trying the MaSour. First off, it uses a raw egg white and secondly, it required me to fat-wash my bourbon. Fat-washing is a technique used by bartenders to add savory flavors to liquor. In this instance, I would be adding browned, salted butter. I love the flavor of brown butter. It’s rich and smoky.

After fat-washing the bourbon and following a few more steps, I was ready to fill my coupe. I topped it off with the charred flavor of a cinnamon stick and took a sip. My MaSour was an absolute delight. It was rich and creamy, yet somehow still light. I loved it, even more, knowing the bartender who created it had asked Shaker & Spoon to donate 50% of her proceeds to the Houston Humane Society. Sounds like a true Austinite to me.

My Craft Cocktail Experience

I absolutely loved everything about my Austin Without Limits box. It was so much fun creating my own craft cocktails. I can’t wait to try it again or to share them with friends. I also think these boxes would make a great gift for cocktail lovers, or anyone who likes to experiment with flavors.

Connect with Shaker & Spoon: Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Do you like craft cocktails? Which drink from the box do you want to try?

 

 

Quick Sheet Mask Treatments

Quick Sheet Mask Treatments 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I have a confession to make. I have a slight addiction/obsession with sheet masks. Even though I might look quite silly while I’m wearing one, they’re a fun treat for my skin. As a longtime fan of Burt’s Bees, I was extremely excited to hear they were coming out with their own collection. I couldn’t wait to cover my face with these new sheet mask gems.

A Sheet Mask for Every Skin Type

Burt's Bees Sheet Mask

There are currently three face masks in the Burt’s Bees collection:

  • Purifying with Kiwi Extract sheet mask – gently cleanses while moisturizing
  • Hydrating with Clary Sage sheet mask – instantly moisturizes & improves skin texture
  • Detoxifying Charcoal with Honey sheet mask  – removes impurities for an invigorating cleanse

All of the masks are 99% natural, cruelty-free, dermatologist tested and formulated without parabens, phthalates, SLS or petrolatum. What also makes these masks so unique is they are designed to be quick treatments. Most facial masks I’ve used require you to leave them on for at least 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer. While I like having a quick sheet mask treatment option, I’m not sure how much benefit you get from 2-5 minutes.

Burt's Bee's Sheet Mask Packaging

Of the three masks, my favorite is the Detoxifying. It fit well on my face, felt nice on my skin, and contained the perfect amount of formula. The mask did a nice job of treating my skin without irritation, which sometimes happens when I use charcoal masks. I know I will continue to the Detoxifying mask whenever I want to quickly remove impurities.

Burt's Bees Sheet Mask Usage

 

I found the Hydrating and Purifying masks hard to work with. Both were hard to apply and kind of dry. I even had to lay down to keep the Hydrating mask on my face. The Purifying mask made my skin feel like it was on fire. The two minutes was about all I could stand. The Hydrating sheet mask left my skin feeling dry and sticky, instead of moisturized. I think part of the problem is these masks aren’t as wet as most sheet masks so they don’t properly distribute the formula.

Eye and Lip Masks

Burt's Bees Lips and Eye Sheet Mask

In addition to sheet masks, Burt’s Bees also has a Rejuvenating Eye Mask and Moisturizing Lip Mask. The eye mask (99.9% natural) uses Rosehip Seed Extract and Jojoba Oil to help reinvigorate tired skin. The Lip Mask (100% natural) contains Meadowfoam Seed and Almond Oil, which helps hydrate and define lips.

Like their face mask counterparts, these masks are also cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, phthalates, SLS or petrolatum.

Of the two masks, the five-minute, Rejuvenating eye mask is my favorite. It left the skin around my eyes feeling very hydrated and looking less puffy and smoother. I would absolutely use these again and again. I’ve tried many eye masks and many of them are so strong they irritate my sensitive skin. These eye masks don’t. I think this might have to do with the fact they are made from fabric as opposed to a gel. I find some gels masks can be very intense.

Burt's Bees Lip and Eye Mask Usage

I did have some issues with the Moisturizing lip mask. It didn’t fit well over my lips and was hard to keep on during the five-minute treatment. The formula in the mask also irritated my lips. I often have this issue with 100% natural ingredients because my skin is very sensitive. After using the mask my lips felt dry and slightly inflamed in places.

Burt's Bees Eye and Lip Sheet Mask Results

Although not all of the new Burt’s Bees sheet masks worked for me, I’m glad I was able to try them. As a fan of the brand, I was hesitant to write this post, but I also want to be honest with our readers. Additionally, I think it’s important for brands to hear from their consumers, so they can continue to improve their products. I look forward to seeing what Burt’s Bees will do with their sheet mask line in the future.

 

Connect with Burt’s Bees: Website | Facebook |Twitter | Instagram

 

Are you a fan of sheet masks? Which of these Burt’s Bees masks would you like to try?

 

 

 

 

 

Give Hope with SoapBox

Give Hope with SoapBox

Beauty Brite Disclosure 

I bet you don’t give much thought to not having access to your shampoo, hand soap, or body wash. Like me, you probably take for granted you will always be able to have these products in your bathroom. It’s likely you don’t stress about just picking up more when they run out. For millions around the world, having access to something as simple as soap isn’t a given. This doesn’t have to be a reality thanks to Soapbox, a company giving hope with soap around the globe.

SoapBox with Mission

So how does Soapbox make a difference in the world? With every purchase of one of their products, Soapbox donates a bar of soap to those in need.

SoapBox Soaps Hope Code Locations

These bars of soap, made from recycled and sanitized hotel soaps, can help improve livelihoods and lives by teaching the importance of proper hygiene. In many places, life-threatening diseases can be spread because of lack of access to clean water and by not performing the simple act of handwashing.

To date, SoapBox has donated over 2 million bars of soaps to over 60 countries. You can actually see exactly where your bar of soap is heading because each SoapBox product comes with a Hope Code. I looked up all five of my Hope Codes on the website and was excited to learn I was helping families in Baltimore, Nepal, Cambodia, and India.

SoapBox Hope Code

In addition to donating soap and employing hygiene ambassadors, purchasing Soapbox products also funds groundbreaking research. You can read more about all the good Soapbox is doing on their website.

SoapBox Soaps

SoapBox was kind of enough to send me their Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, Sea Minerals & Blue Iris Body Wash, and Citrus & Peach Rose Liquid Hand Soap and Bar Soap. Not only do these products smell amazing but they work amazingly well. I also really love that they are cruelty-free, made in the USA, and free of SLS, SLES, paraben, silicone and artificial colors.

SoapBox Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Let’s start with my favorite products of my bundle, the Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I was a little apprehensive to use these at first because they are designed to nourish and moisturize. I have oily prone hair so many times moisturizing hair products don’t work in my hair.

This is not the case with Soapbox’s Coconut Oil line. My hair never felt or looked so amazing days after I washed it. I actually have to use less dry shampoo, which is a miracle. When I do use dry shampoo, it seems to work better because my hair is less oily.

SoapBox 2nd day hair

Next up is the Sea Minerals & Blue Iris Body Wash. Infused with shea and aloe, the body wash helps to seal in hydration and leave my skin feeling lightly moisturized and clean. I really like the creamy, lightweight formulation and the addition of the sea minerals, which naturally detoxify my skin.

SoapBox Sea Minerals & Blue Iris Body Wash

Since I have dry skin, I’m curious to try SoapBox’s Coconut Milk & Sandalwood Body Wash, which is designed for deep moisture. I would recommend the Sea Minerals & Blue Iris Body Wash if you only need gentle moisture.

SoapBox Citrus & Peach Rose Hand and Bar Soap

Last, but certainly, not least is the SoapBox Citrus & Peach Rose Liquid Hand Soap and Bar Soap. These soaps smell amazing. Although I haven’t used the bar soap yet, I’m halfway through the liquid hand soap. This is how much I love it, plus I wash my hands a lot throughout the day.

Formulated with aloe, shea butter, and olive oil, these soaps are designed to provide much-needed moisture. I love that they remove dirt without stripping my skin of hydration. And even better, my hands smell incredible all day and all night.

I know I will be repurchasing everything I tried from SoapBox and trying more of their products again and again. It’s hard not to support brands who make amazing products and are on a mission to do good in the world.

Have you tried SoapBox products before? Which scent would you try first?

Connect with SoapBox: Website| Facebook | Instagram| Twitter|

 

 

 

 

Give Your Body a Nano Glutathione Boost

 Give Your Body a Nano Glutathione Boost

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

In addition to eating a healthy diet, taking vitamins can help ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need. As much as I try, I sometimes skip taking my vitamins because I hate swallowing such huge pills. Recently, that all changed when I was asked to try Nanoceutical Solutions Nano Glutathione, as well as their Nano Methyl B12 and Nano Vitamin D3. Unlike traditional vitamins, these come in liquid form for easier swallowing.

What also makes Nanoceutical products so unique, besides being made in the US, is their proprietary manufacturing process. This process keeps the molecules of the vitamins and supplements intact so your body can easily absorb them.

In addition, this inventive technology also creates formulas that are “nano” in size. The smaller the particle, the more effective the vitamin. In other words, when you place the formula under your tongue, it can easily travel through your mucus membranes and into your bloodstream. This means your body is better able to absorb the vital nutrients while also receiving the most health benefit.

Nano Glutathione

So, now that you know a little bit about how the delivery system of these vitamins, let’s talk about my experience with Nano Glutathione, as well as with the other supplements. Since I had never taken Glutathione before, I was curious to learn more about its benefits and why it is called the “master antioxidant”.

Glutathione is essential for every cell of our bodies. This antioxidant is naturally produced in the liver and helps your body rid itself of toxins and fight off cell-damaging free radicals. It also plays a role in metabolism, immune response, and general health. Some research has shown that a lack of Glutathione in the body may lead to an increase in brain diseases, some cancers, autoimmune disease, infertility, problems with vision, pain, cardiovascular disease, and more. (You can find more details on the Nano Glutathione product page, linked above.)

After reading up on Glutathione, I decided it was time to put it to the test. And what better time than over the Thanksgiving holiday, especially when I would be traveling and spending time with my nieces and nephew. As much as I love the little munchkins, as I call them, they not only wear me out but also get me sick. I usually spend days trying to recover or get over whatever new illness they’ve passed on to me. Not this time.

Glutathione dropper

It did take some adjustment getting used to taking a vitamin from a dropper and then holding the liquid under my tongue for 30-60 seconds. However, it was worth it. I was able to keep up with all the holiday activities and travel and managed to survive it all without acquiring a cold or other sickness. I’m actually still noticing the benefits of using the Nano Glutathione beyond the initial two weeks.

Nano D3 and Methyl B12

I’ve also enjoyed using the Glutathione with the Nano Vitamin D3 and Nano Methyl B12. The Vitamin D3 helps improve calcium absorption, which in turn is great for bone health. It’s also great for brain health and your immune system. The Methyl B12 improves brain health, boosts immunity, and helps fight cell damage caused by aging. I can see these three little blue bottles becoming a staple in my health routine for a long time to come.

 

If you’re interested in trying Nano Glutathione, you’re in luck. Nanoceutical Solutions is offering Beauty Brite readers a discount up to 43% on bottles of Nano Glutathione, plus a free bottle of Methyl B12. For more information on these special discounts visit their Product Discount page.

 

Connect with Nanoceutical Solutions: Facebook |Twitter|

 

Have you ever used Glutathione? Do you take your vitamins on a regular basis?

 

 

 

 

Become Your Own Sushi Chef

Become Your Own Sushi Chef 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I love sushi. I could eat a Spicy Tuna Roll every single day. Just give me some spicy mayo, fresh fish and veggies, wasabi and low sodium soy sauce and I’m in my happy place. As much as I adore going out for sushi, I’ve always been curious about trying to make my own at home. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was given the chance to try Global Grub’s DIY Sushi Rolls Kit.

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Start a Healthy Holiday Habit

Start a Healthy Holiday Habit

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

Candy, cookies, hot chocolate, oh my. The holiday season is officially here, which also means the season of indulging or overindulging, is also upon us. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying some sweet treats, it’s also important not to go overboard. One of the best ways to keep up or start a new healthy holiday eating habit is by incorporating more veggies into your meals.

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Going Green with Your Mattress – Part 2

Going Green with Your Mattress - Part 2 The Experience

Beauty Brite Disclosure

After a few interruptions, like evacuating from a hurricane, I’m finally back with part 2 of my Going Green with Your Mattress experience. In part 1, I talked about setting up My Green Mattress, which was a fun, yet challenging process. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on what it’s like to sleep on the mattress.

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If My Dog Could Talk

If My Dog Could Talk - The Perfect Give for Pet Lovers & Owners

Beauty Brite Disclosure 

Let me tell you a story about my beloved rescue puppy, Morgan Rayne. She wasn’t the first dog I ever had, but she was the first dog that was all mine. You see, I had grown up with dogs. Since I was very little, there was always a dog, or two, in my family. They even made appearances in our family pictures. As a grown-up, I knew I wanted my own dog, but the time never seemed right.

Then one day, I finally decided it was time. I didn’t know what kind of dog I wanted, I just knew it would be a rescue. There are way too many dogs in shelters and I wanted to help save one. So, I went to shelters and looked online and one day I found her. This sweet, goofy boxer face I couldn’t resist.

Morgan Rayne

I still remember meeting Morgan, or Rayne as was called at the time, for the first time in a big field in Atlanta. I really hoped we would connect. You never know what a rescue has been through so it isn’t always a guarantee they will like you or warm up to you. This was not the case with Morgie. As I bent down to get a good look at her and to pet her, she crawled into my lap and gave me kisses. That was it, I was a goner.

On December 1st, 2009, Morgan Rayne became mine. She was sweet, full of energy, goofy, a total bed hog, and followed me where I went. I think she may have been left by her previous owners because she had some issues with separation anxiety.

We had many adventures together. She loved the snow, well eating it, and going to the beach. Although she didn’t really love going in the water. She also loved to ride shotgun in the car wherever we went so she could look out the window. She had a pension for wine, apples, bread, and Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing. She would sneak on my mom’s couch, even though she wasn’t allowed up there.

Morgan Collage

 

I had her for six years before she unexpectedly passed away from bloat. I still miss her to this day. Although I keep my favorite picture of us by my bed, I always wanted a way to honor or celebrate her. Now, thanks to my personalized book, If My Dog Could Talk, from I See Me! I can. The book, written by Maia Haag and illustrated by Susan Batori, tells the story of you and your dog. (Or the pet lover and their dog if you are giving the book as a gift.)

If my dog could talk set

 

If you’re not familiar with I See Me!, they are known for their personalized children’s books. They have a wide variety of books and gifts for babies, kids, adults, and pets. I was thrilled when they offered me the chance to customize their pet book, which also came with a personalized placemat & bandana.

I See Me! makes customizing your book so easy. I love that they offer the option to choose from your current pet or to honor a pet that has passed away. First, I choose a dog, from their illustrated examples, that closely matched Morgie.

Next, I answered a few questions to help personalize the book even further, such as my name, my dog’s name and gender, and anyone else that loved Morgan. I also chose a dedication from their extensive list and included a couple of my favorite photos of Morgan. Then I waited for my goodie box to arrive.

If my dog could talk inner pages

As you can see, my book turned out amazing. I love the story and seeing mine and Morgie’s name throughout the book. There are so many great little extra touches, like seeing her name on the dog bed, or our hand/paw prints in the background. It’s little things like this that make If My Dog Could Talk such a treasure. It also makes for a great gift for kids and adults alike. It’s a nice way to celebrate your current pet or honor one that has passed away.

Intro to If My Dogs Could Talk

I shared Morgie’s book with Coda, my parent’s dog. He had the privilege of knowing Morgan and using her as a pillow on occasion. I think he might have been annoyed that I didn’t make the book about him, but he still enjoyed reading it. Plus, I assured him I would be getting him one of his own, as well as one for my dophew, Cooper.  I also promised him a few extra treats which sealed the deal.

Coda reading Morgan's book

If you are looking for the perfect personalized gift, now is the perfect time to shop I Seem Me!. During the month of October, they are partnering with the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. Use code DOGS to receive 10% off your purchase and a percent of the proceeds will be donated to the organization. They will be partnering with The Humane Society of Missouri in November.

In November and December, they will also be partnering with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. A percent of every purchase during those months will be donated to the national nonprofit.

Connect with I See Me!: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

What’s your favorite pet memory? Which I See Me! book would you like as a gift?

 

 

 

 

How to Cook Smarter with Hestan Cue

How to Cook Smarter with Hestan Cue

Thank you to Hestan Cue for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I got my love of cooking from my mom. She always let me and my siblings help in the kitchen. It was so much fun learning everything from the basics to her tricks for making a meal come together. As I got older, we would share recipes and pour over cookbooks to find new dishes to create.

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Hurricane Irma

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Hurricane Irma

Beauty Brite Disclosure 

2017 has been a challenging year for my family, and that’s putting it mildly. Let’s just say this summer hasn’t been my favorite season. I thought we were done with whatever life had thrown our way until things took another interesting, wild turn when Hurricane Irma decided to attack the entire state of Florida just a couple of weeks ago.

I live on the west or Gulf coast side of the state. Luckily, we don’t see too many hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit our area was Charley in 2004. Sadly, it took out my childhood home, which had to be torn down to the studs and rebuilt. Thankfully, my parents, who were in the home at the time with our two dogs, some neighbors, and a bunny rabbit, were unharmed.

When we heard about Irma, we watched and waited to see where it would go. We debated the possibility of evacuating. I filled up every water bottle and plastic container we had with water because a week before the storm hit the shelves were empty. (Below is just a small sampling of what I filled up.)

Hurricane Irma Prep

I was able to find “designer” water here and there, which added to our stash. I bought several plastic containers to place our family albums and pictures in so they would have less of a chance of being damaged. We also had our hurricane shutters installed on the water facing side of our house.

On Wednesday we heard that the west coast would only experience tropical storm winds and rain, so we decided we could stay. On Thursday, my friend from the east coast called to ask if the offer to evacuate to our house was still open. It was of course, but unfortunately, just two hours later, the Irma had changed course and we realized we would have to evacuate. My house is on the water and in Zone A. Even though it was 15 feet up, we knew the county would force us out. (They did end up evacuating Zones A & B after we left.)

So, my dad and I began the task of packing ourselves and the family dog up to leave for my sister’s in Atlanta. I hardly remember what I threw in my suitcase, but it was a miss mash of clothes, valuables, and toiletries. I also packed up my electronics, important documents, and Henry (my stuffed animal I’ve had since I was 2).

Henry

Next, I gathered Coda’s (our 101 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback) dog food, treats, lease, and blankets, as well as some food and water for the trip.

I also put on my new favorite Okabashi Indigo Canvas Flip-Flops.  I knew I would want something comfortable and sturdy for the long, road trip ahead.

American made since 1984, Okabashi sandals and flip-flops are designed with protection and support in mind. In fact, all their footwear is manufactured in Buford, Georgia, which also allows the company to focus on sustainability and lowering their carbon footprint.

My Okabashi Indigo Canvas Flip-Flops are made from a patented plastic blend that ensures their durability and longevity. Let’s face it, when it comes to flip-flop, once you find a comfy pair you want them to last as long as possible. With their durable woven fabric straps and soft neoprene backing, it’s no wonder my Indigo Canvas shoes held up through the long trip, chasing after a dog, and dodging the wind and rain. I also really love that my flip-flops contain 15-25% recycled materials.

Okabashi Indigo Canvas Flip-Flops

WIth my feet in good hands and the car packed we jumped on the road. Little did we know that the usual 8-10-hour drive to Atlanta was about to take us 15. (Thanks Irma for constantly changing course). Every time the GPS would update us, the traffic delay would expand to 3, then 4, then 5+ hours. I wish I had pictures to show you how many cars were on I75 and how crowded the rest stops were along the way. Since I did most of the driving, I’m was not to capture the organized chaos, but I do have a picture that my cousin sent me. It gives a small idea of what approximately 7 million people having to evacuate from an entire state looks like.

Escaping Irma on I75N

Now imagine all of those cars also needing to get gas along the way. We literally had to come up with a tactic for finding and getting gas, which involved filling up anytime we pulled off the road to switch drivers or let Coda out.

It was pure insanity but we got lucky. The first place we tried allowed us to fill up five gallons, and later when we opted to take the back roads to avoid the traffic, we found gas again in Valdosta, GA. I was so tired by then that I had to ask the lady behind the counter to tell me where I was. With enough gas to make it the rest of the way and a tip to continue on the back roads we drove on.

Although the trip was harrowing and so, so, so long, it did provide some amusement. This mostly came from Coda. It was the poor thing’s first time taking a long road trip and being in a sedan instead of the usual SUV. Seeing the reactions of people when this behemoth of a dog emerged from the back seat was hilarious. One lady actually thought I had a deer on a lease.  Yes, he is that big. At one point Coda did try to make a break for it across a gas station parking lot. Not sure where he thought he was going. Thankfully, my Okabashi shoes helped me make the mad dash after him.

Coda evacuating from Irma

As we finally pulled into my sister’s driveway 15 hours later, I felt a sense of relief. Since it was 6 something in the morning we were greeted by the whole crew, including my dogphew, nephew, and niece. They were so excited to see us. I thought, finally, we can relax and spend some time with the munchkins. Unfortunately, our adventure had yet ended.

Dear old Irma, keep changing course. I checked in with my friend in South Florida, she was fine. We tried to persuade friends from our hometown to also come to Atlanta. They luckily found places to evacuate or staid safely at home. Finally, I watched as Irma turned up toward the middle of the state where my best friend and family lived. I had to text my BFF to let her know what was happening because they were already without power. (Below are some of the text messages I sent her of the storm.)

Irma on the move through Florida

Screenshots from Weather.com

I kept an eye on our front door camera to see what was happening at home until our power went out. We tuned into the news to find out when Irma would come to visit Georgia. When the governor announced no one should be on the road, and all schools and most businesses would be closed, we became a bit concerned.

Tropical Storm Irma came a-knocking on Monday morning. It was a bit unnerving but not too bad until later in the day when we heard three loud pops and then darkness. We really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We had left Florida to avoid this precise issue. Turns out, several trees in my sister’s area had fallen on power lines knocking the power out for thousands. My six-year-old nephew proclaimed it was the worst day of his life because there was no internet. The kid has his priorities.

In the interim, our power came back on at home and my dad and I began to make plans to return home after discovering our house, and our town had been spared. It was really a miracle because just 30 miles south and east of us everything was under water and without power.

Okabashi Indigo Flip-Flops Wear

After spending Tuesday at a hotel, we decided to make the long drive home on Wednesday. Again, I wore my Okabashi Flip Flops. They served me well on the 12-hour return trip, which consisted of a mix of highway and back roads. We needed all the luck we could get to find gas and hopefully avoid missing the closing of roads because of the overflow of the Santa Fe River near Gainesville (North Central Florida).

Coda didn’t try to escape this time. Instead, he slept most of the way home, occasionally stinking up the car with his tummy troubles. For some reason, he refused to go to the bathroom during breaks. I can only imagine what people thought of me standing there saying, “Go poop. Go poop,” over and over to our confused dog.

When we finally saw the “Welcome to Florida” sign hours later, we rejoiced. This was later followed by more exclamations of happiness at the site of home as we pulled into the driveway.

Florida State Line

My sister finally got power back on Thursday. Both of us had to throw out most, if not all, of the food in our refrigerators and freezers. My dad needs a new roof on the house and some of the screen from the pool was ripped out and off. Irma added to the problems we were already experiencing with the roof. But all in all, we got lucky. We wouldn’t have to rebuild the house again. You can still see trees and some debris piled up around the county and some standing water, but not much else.

Irma home and neighborhood damage

Others in Florida and the islands weren’t so fortunate. Some people lost everything. Many still don’t have power even as I write this post. More storms are wreaking havoc or waiting in the pipeline. I’ve already donated some supplies to help those struggling, and I hope to do more. Perhaps I’ll donate some Okabashi Indigo Flip Flops because they work great in the hot Florida sun and in the wet, tropical storm-induced weather of Atlanta.

Connect with Okabashi: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Have you been impacted by this year’s hurricanes? Have you tried Okabashi Flip-Flops?