Empty Nesting, Life, Tips and Hints

The Top Two Rules for Happiness in Paradise

There are so many things that go together to make a marriage work, but there also has to be those top things you do 24/7, 365 without fail.  Things that after time come naturally, and are so ingrained in your relationship that it changes your personality.  In our home “Paradise” as I call it, we have two rules, or guidelines, that we established 26 years ago that we live by.  They are ingrained, and just something that we do without thinking.


  1.  We NEVER yell, or raise our voices, at each other.  UNLESS, the house is on fire, or I need MSP (Mr. Sexy Pants, AKA: my husband) to kill a bug of some kind.

My Mother had a sign in our house growing up that said “Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire”, and it made an impression on me.  I can remember back to the exact day when MSP and I yelled at each other the last time….. it was 2005.  The house was not on fire, it was a rare, but bad argument, and it’s also been 11 years since it happened.  I remember it because it was so rare.

The higher the decibel of the argument does not increase the odds of your being right.   In fact, instead of having a conversation in a normal tone of voice to work out the issue at hand you have now made the entire situation into an screaming match.  Can you think better when someone is yelling at you?  Can you be rational when you are waiting for them to stop yelling so you can scream at them?  In my experience, the answer to both questions is a big NO.  There is no argument or problem that cannot be resolved at a normal tone of voice IF you really want to work it out.


2. We NEVER curse at each other in anger, or 99% of the time in our day to day lives.  Very rarely you will hear one of us do this just joking around, and it’s so rare it will stand out if you really know us.

In my opinion, again, when you curse at the one you love, it is a HUGE sign of disrespect.  I love my husband too much to ever want to disrespect, or demean him in any way.  When it’s done in anger is the worst.  Calling the one you love a bitch, or an asshole (or all the other great one’s out there) when you are trying to work something out is demeaning, disrespectful, and childish.  Again, I can remember the EXACT day, time, and where we were at, the last time MSP and I cursed at each other.  It was in 2005, during the same argument in which we were yelling at each other.  I still remember how hurt I was hearing those words.  The yelling was bad enough, but the words we said burned a hole through my heart.  No matter the outcome, neither of us won that day.  I think we inflicted more damage on each other trying to resolve our issue than any damage the issue had done before we even started speaking to each other.  Eleven years later I still regret every horrible thing I said and the way I said it.




No relationship is perfect, but these two rules, or guidelines, have helped us for the better part of 26 years and I wanted to share them.  Let me know what you think, and if you have any rules, or guidelines that have helped keep your marriage, or relationship strong.




DIY, Do it Yourself, Save money, Tips and Hints

DIY (Do it Yourself) Weekend in Paradise!

DIY (Do it Yourself) Weekend in Paradise!


After one year in our new home, my husband and I finally decided to tackle an eyesore area in our backyard that we had designated for a future BBQ grill area by our pool.  This area had been driving us crazy since we moved in and had to remove existing landscaping that included sego palms that were poisonous to our dogs.  After removing the offending sego palms we were left with this.


Huge boulders, a ton of small river rocks, and lots of dirt that created mud for the dogs to run through and bring into the house.  Plus, it’s pretty much the focal area in front of the pool, and the first thing our guests see when they come outside.  I hated it. I had been browsing Pinterest for months looking for ideas, and showing them to MSP (Mr. Sexy Pants, aka my husband for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook), until we finally agreed on a landscaping gameplan that we both loved.

Now the work began.

I spent a half day on weekend #1 removing all of the top layer river rocks and relocating them to another area of our backyard.  Four solid hours of digging, raking, loading into a wheel barrel, and shoveling  until the area was cleared out. This left me with a lot of dirt, and a number of half buried boulders to remove. AND a new grill to buy! Yay!


Begin weekend #2

I spent another half day digging up and dislodging the half buried boulders.  As I am not Super Woman I unearthed them and left them for MSP to remove.  The largest rock weighed in at over 200 pounds.  The next morning add in one husband, and one brother and we’re ready to go.


Boulders removed, save two that we liked, and relocated to other areas in our backyard.  Then MSP had to dig up, and cap off, two existing sprinkler heads that we would no longer be needing.  Step #3 was to level out the remaining dirt in preparation for landscaping fabric, and landscaping sand to use for leveling even further.  MSP used a 10 foot long 2×4 to drag across the area with a level on top of it for measurement.

IMG_2029 IMG_2030

Once finished with the fabric, sand, and paving stones, we added red bricks that matched our house and pool to make a separate landing, and mark a step up area for the grill.

IMG_2031 IMG_2032

Last two steps were to pour over new river pebbles to fill in the area between the pavers, and add in the new grill.

IMG_2033 IMG_2034 IMG_2037

The final stage of this project took 4 1/2 hours of work by 3 people on weekend 2.  Total time: 2 weekends, and 12.5 hours. Grill purchased at Lowes.  Landscaping items purchased at Home Depot.  Total investment: Grill $499 plus tax, Landscaping items $350 and a bottle of Tylenol for some super sore muscles.  We love it, and it’s now a clean, beautiful addition to our backyard!  AND we saved probably double what we spent doing it ourselves versus hiring someone else to do it.

Let me know if you have any questions!



Tips and Hints

Keurig Kold drink maker review. Is it worth the price? Have you even heard of it?

KEURIG Kold drink maker.  Is it worth the price?  Have you even heard of it?


As you know I am a coffee maniac, and a Keurig Hot owner as well.  As soon as I heard that Keurig was making a cold drink maker, the Keurig Kold, I just had to have it.  I mean the Keurig Hot has given me such joy, right?  Of course I NEEDED a Kold to complete this companies strangle hold on my beverage consumption.

Then the day arrives, and my $369.00 (plus tax and shipping), white, bundle of joy arrives in a box the size of an apartment mini fridge. (Disclosure:  my Keurig Kold was a gift) To say I was shocked is an understatement.  I was expecting a machine the size of my Keurig coffee maker…..  Nope, this bad girl is HUGE.  Luckily I work out, as she was pretty heavy also.

IMG_1939 IMG_1949

After unboxing, and reading the “get started” instructions I decided to wait for MSP (Mr. Sexy Pants, aka my husband for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook) to get home and help me out.  This was not just a plug in and go sort of machine.  It needed to be primed, filled with water, and settle in for a 2 hour “get Kold” period before you can use it.  It’s just like a little refrigerator.  The motor, or whatever is making the water cold, is kinda loud also.  To be fair there was a fast start step that involved using ice, but as my machine didn’t come with any Kold pods, I wasn’t going to be able to use it anyways.

So, now I needed pods.  They aren’t sold in stores here…..  In Dallas/Ft. Worth they are, but not in San Antonio.  Boo.  Off I go to the Keurig website and order there (you get a BOGO coupon with your new machine).  They have soda (Coca Cola products- Dr Pepper, Sprite, Coke, Coke Zero), sports drinks, seltzer waters, margarita mixes, as well as mojitos and more.   At least there are plenty of options to get you started.  Yes it carbonates your cokes, no it doesn’t include booze.  You have to add your own booze to the mixers.

IMG_1941 IMG_1944 IMG_1948

The pods are double the size of regular pods.  They are also NOT recyclable (WHY do you insist on making me feel guilty Keurig!!!!????) See my previous post on my guilt over the Keurig Hot coffee pods, and how I switched to Intelligent Blends and their 100% recyclable k-cups.  Now I have to wait, and research, and obsess over someone else making Kold pods for this new machine….

Here are my pro’s and con’s


  • interesting conversation piece
  • cold drinks on demand for those of us who only want a coke once in a while, not a whole 2 liter bottle
  • great for parties, built in bartender, self serve mixed drinks in a variety of flavors
  • price for the machine and the pods have dropped almost in half since January when I received mine.


  • price- ($369), although I just price checked Amazon yesterday and you can get them now for $203 (jerks, 4 months later the price drops)
  • size- huge, needs considerable counter space
  • energy usage- must be plugged in 24/7.  Runs constantly.  If you unplug you go back to the 2 hour “get Kold” period again before use
  • pods are not available everywhere.  Unless you live in a market that has them you will have to order them online and wait
  • Expense for pods- while the prices have recently dropped you will still pay, on average, $.75 to $1.50 per pod.  They come in 4 packs and range from $5.99 for mixers to $2.99 for sodas, waters, teas, and sports drinks

Bottom line is that I LIKE, not LOVE my Keurig Kold and would not have one if I did not receive it as a gift.  You may feel different if you own a Kold, let me know what you think.






Books and Authors, House Cat Question of the Day, Tips and Hints

House Cat question of the day: Brazilian waxing. Would my “lady bits” ever forgive me, and would I survive?

House Cat question of the day….. Brazilian Waxing.  Would my “lady bits” ever forgive me, and would I survive?


It’s getting warmer outside, summer is upon us ladies.  That being said it is also time to consider bathing suits for the season, and the taming of the “lady bits” in said bathing suits.  This is a massive undertaking if not handled regularly, and incredibly serious stuff for those of us wandering around in two band-aids and a cork by the pool.


Come on, don’t cringe…..  You and I both know that the struggle is real whether we talk about it or not.  To shave, or to wax runs through your “OMG, it’s bikini season” fuddled mind every year just like it does mine.  Sometimes we just want to give up and wear shorts, but that’s a cop out my dears…….  No worries.  I got this for us.  I’m not embarrassed to ask all the stuff you are thinking


I know exactly nada about waxing down under other than it can hurt, and women swear by it.  So, I am taking my real life questions to the most qualified person I know who will shoot me straight.  April M. Monterrosa everybody!  Not only is she my friend, but after you see my interview below, you will see why she is also my expert!

Shine beautifully

Jeanie- April, I’m so excited for you to meet my community, and help us figure out the great mystery of bikini waxing, and the ever whispered about Brazilian wax.  So, I’m a pretty modest person, and getting a bikini wax, or a Brazilian, conjures up all sorts of graphic images for me.  I imagine you’ve run into this before.  How do you manage shy clients, and first timers?

April- For my new clients, I reassure them that they are in great hands, as I have over 20 years of experience in skin care and waxing. For extremely modest clients, I drape them with a towel and only uncover the area I wax and then cover them up and go to the next section I’m going to wax. Being a bit covered up seems to help them feel more at ease and relaxed.

Jeanie- How does one “prepare” for a lady bits waxing service?

April- The most important thing in preparing for your Brazillian wax is to be clean; taking a pain reliever also helps those that have a low pain tolerance, and wear loose clothing. Do not shave or trim before your wax either.

Jeanie- So, break it down for us.  Bikini wax means the front.  Brazilian wax means all the way up your backside, right?  I’m so confused.

April- A bikini wax is removing any hair outside the panty line in the inner thigh area. A Brazilian wax is removing all hair in the pubic area and your backside is optional. There is also a French wax which is similar to a Brazilian but with a landing strip left behind.


Jeanie- Which one is more popular, and do both men and women come in for these services?

April-The Brazilian wax is the most popular and both men and women come in for these services.

Jeanie- How long does it last, and what price point should your clients expect?

April- It all depends on how fast one’s hair grows. Some clients come in every 4 weeks, while others can go up to 8 weeks before their next wax. My Brazilian waxes are $75 and if you purchase them in a series of 3, you get 1 free. (4 waxes for the price of 3)

Jeanie- 4 for the price of 3!  OMG, I just love a good deal.   Any advice for those like me who are on the fence?

April-  Just do it! Ha! Brazilian waxing is my most popular service; once you have one, you will never want to shave again!

Jeanie- So now I know!  You are the best!  Thanks for spending some time with me today.

Alright my friends, you read it here.  Now YOU know too!  If you have any other questions let me know, and this is how you contact April to set up your waxing service, AND take advantage of that special 4 for the price of 3 deal!

Brazilian Wax $75

Shine Beautifully

Affordable, Luxury Spa & Beauty Services
Call or Text: 210.896.4445
Address: 123 SouthBridge
San Antonio, Texas 78216

Tuesday – Saturday: By Appointment Only.
    *Facials are for Men, Women, & Teens*

Tell April that Jeanie sent you, and do not forget to check out her first published book available RIGHT NOW:  Shine Beautifully: A Collection of Innermost Thoughts, Quotes, & Poetry



april  April Mae Monterrosa is a proud Latina mix residing Deep in the Heart of Texas; she has written for SAXtreme Magazine, Chicano Life Magazine, been featured in Good Housekeeping, is a Sea World Wildside Ambassador, founder of Wonderfully Wise Women & Texas Beauty Bloggers online communities, and an independently published author.

April Mae Monterrosa is also the proud owner of Shine Beautifully.  A quaint little gem amidst the North Central side of San Antonio located inside Visions for Hair Salon. Shine Beautifully was born as a side job where April provided beauty treatments for personal clients during her free time. Happily & unplanned, it grew into a full time business. April’s had the privilege of working in some of the top luxury resort spas in San Antonio, including JW Marriott, Marriott International & Hyatt. April also has elite day spa experience, including having worked at Woodhouse Day Spa as a lead esthetician & trainer, freelance instructing on facial protocols & product knowledge for medical spas and Sephora. She has been invited & participated in representing different beauty lines like CoverGirl, Decleor, Sonya Dakar and contracted as a makeup artist for up and coming authors. She regularly attends continuing education classes, seminars, & workshops in order to further her knowledge & provide her clients with the best services possible. She loves helping others by not only making them feel amazing through the art of spa & relaxation but, also helping them see their own natural beauty shine through. She believes motivation, encouragement, & support go hand in hand with the beauty industry.

Tips and Hints

The guilt was killing me. My great escape from the dreaded K-cup…..

If you know me you also know that coffee is the cornerstone of my life.  I have been a daily coffee drinker since the age of 15, and as a result I am the proud owner of my very own “Gold” Starbuck’s card.  Yup, it’s got my name on it and everything.  🙂

For 10 years I was a proud Bunn coffeemaker owner.  I had two of them so I could take one with me when I travelled.  No waiting for coffee for me.  Nope.  Twenty minute brew time- no way.  My faithful Bunn gave me an entire pot of coffee in about 3 minutes.  I gave every member of my family a Bunn on various holidays, because I love them, but also so I did not have to wait the dreaded 20 minutes for coffee when I visited them.  Yup, that’s me.  Mrs. Thoughtful.

My poor Bunn

Then one day… I was introduced to the Keurig (insert Angels singing here).  I bought a travel Keurig first, and then upgraded to the full size one once I was hooked and no longer using my poor Bunn.

Travel Keurig
Travel Keurig
Full size Keurig
Full size Keurig
This brings me to the “great escape” as I now call it.
I’m so much more aware now of recycling as much as I can versus 3 years ago.  I use cloth Walmart bags when I shop……. Once I found out that my Keurig k-cups were not recyclable I started obsessing over it.  I mean, just my contribution to landfills with the number of k-cups I went through was staggering.  Add in millions of people and I could just see the earth filling up with k-cups.     Then I heard about this viral video

It’s the best 2:27 of your day.  K-cups raining down from the sky, a Godzilla like k-cup monster terrorizing the city and it’s people……  Just go watch.  🙂

Then one day I ran across a Facebook advertisement for Intelligent Blends.  Being a coffee snob I was hesitant, but the coffee pods being recyclable was the straw that broke the k-cups back.  Intelligent Blends had this great sampler deal. For just $4.99 I got 8 coffee pods to try, and I was hooked.  Now I order 100 at a time, and have it on auto-ship for every 4 weeks.

IMG_1908 IMG_1909

Instead of paying roughly $1.00 per k-cup and filling the landfills up I now pay $.38 per coffee pod and recycle my little butt off.  $38.03 per box of 100!  Yay me!

So, if you are trying to do better like I am, if you are a coffee maniac like I am, if you like to save money like I do, and you want a big recommendation…. here you go.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions.




Tips and Hints

My life will never be the same. Thanks Amazon

I have to admit that technology mocks me at every turn.  My dear friend Lisa Pietsch is fond of reminding me of this each time a device, app, or other electronic something is giving me fits.

But, every once in a while I run across something that makes me squee, and is so user friendly that I can get through it with no “help me” phone calls to Lisa.  Enter the amazing Amazon Prime Now app.  Yes, you can get it on your desktop, but I default to my phone.

prime now logo

Exclusively for Amazon Prime members, this delivery service offers 25,000+ items including household items, groceries, meals from your favorite restaurants, gifts and more…. Oh my.

If you are NOT an Amazon Prime member, here is a link to learn what it is, what you get, and how much it costs.  I pay $99 + tax one time per year (around $107 or $8.92 per month) for my Prime membership.  Free 2 day shipping on Amazon, Prime Music (my go to for all things music), Prime movies (just like Netflix), my Prime Now, and so much more….

IMG_1897  Screenshot of my phone showing what the app looks like.

This morning I had about 30 things that I needed from the grocery store, but just getting over a post-vacation cold I didn’t feel like leaving the house.  Then I remembered my Prime Now app.

I took my list that I had put together and started searching each item out, and adding it to my cart.  Five minutes later I reviewed my cart, hit check out, and selected my delivery time for today.  Since Prime Now is attached to your Amazon account, they automatically bill your payment card on file, so it’s really just once click processing.  Now delivery is free unless you want it in under an hour.  I chose 2-4 hours from time of checking out and it was FREE.  Add in a tip for the beautiful, amazing, life saving delivery person, and bam, I’m done.

  Welcome screen to start your search

    Checkout screen showing list of all items purchased.

Once the order is placed I get a tracking screen that tells me they are putting my order together, and when they are headed to me I will get another update showing the progress of the delivery vehicle.  Talk about convenient. All I need to do is put some pants on LOL!

IMG_1895  Tracking screen with status (being prepared, out for delivery…)

Is that the doorbell???  Yay!  It’s here…. 1:04pm!  Right in the middle of my 12noon-2pm window.

IMG_1902 IMG_1903 IMG_1905 IMG_1906

Don’t forget you get $10 off of your first order!

10 off

Also note, you can change the default 10% tip amount when you order, but they will not accept cash tips at the door.

Happy Sunday Lovies!  Let me know if you have any questions.

Muah, Jeanie


John and Jeanie take Las Vegas!


Las Vegas has changed a lot over the years that we have been visiting.  From wide open spaces, and manicured lawns between hotels and casinos, to not a single inch of spare space for miles.  We used to gamble with coins in the slot machines, but now tickets are the only currency.  I have a box of keepsakes at home with $1 coins from each of the old casinos on the strip, some of which are not there anymore.  One day I will frame them all as a reminder of a day gone by.

TIMG_1769IMG_1775 IMG_1780

This trip, our 5th or 6th, John and I were able to spend two days at Caesar’s Palace, and another two days at Treasure Island.  Treasure Island is our favorite by far because of it’s smaller size, and ease of getting in and out.  We were able to see Beatle’s Love Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage, eat at the Craving’s buffet at the Mirage, and the Bacchanal buffet at Caesar’s Palace.  My tip for you is to go to the Half Price Show Tickets kiosk’s around the strip and take advantage of the food and show deals.  You get buffet discounts, tickets to just about any show at a HUGE discount, and passes to attractions such as the High Roller observation wheel.  Click on the links above for more information!

IMG_1700 IMG_1711 IMG_1719 IMG_1746 IMG_1758

If you are on the move as much as we are I highly recommend wearing super comfortable tennis shoes versus sandals.  Trust me, your feet will thank me!  Also, bring hand sanitizer so you do not end up with the crud for the last day of your trip like we did.  Another lesson learned!


My Love and I took tons of selfies, and had a ball wandering around both day and night.  One of my favorite nights was at the RIo hotel and casino where we listened to the cover band, drank, and danced for hours with our friends.  Go to the first floor area under the Voodoo Lounge, and hang out there.

If you are thinking about going to Las Vegas I love April.  Having been there in September, and February as well I speak from experience.  The weather is amazing!  Not too cold, not to hot, just the right amount of perfect to make April my Vegas go-to month from now on!

IMG_1715 IMG_1734 IMG_1741 IMG_1744 IMG_1749 IMG_1756 IMG_1813 IMG_1817 IMG_1828

Lastly, download the Uber app, and use it.  It link’s to Paypal, and is super affordable compared to taxi’s and shuttles.  Have any questions?  Let me know!

Now, on to our next adventure…………………