March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

I love Easter. It always makes me reflect on my life and take into account the blessings I have. I guess that makes it a little like New Years and Thanksgiving rolled into one holiday, because it allows me to reflect and be grateful. 

Last Easter, I was leaving the hospital with a two-day old baby Taylor in my arms. That time seems like a world a way. How have I only had my little boy in my life for such a small amount of time? I honestly couldn't imagine being without him, or without his amazing dad Andrew. My little family is so important to me. 

Luckily for me, Christ died for us and lived again. Because of His great sacrifice, I don't have to live a single day without my family. Because of Him, my family will be together for eternity. I couldn't think of a greater blessing.

This video gives me all the feels. If I could make every single person in the whole wide world watch this message, I would. #hallelujah

March 23, 2016

Blogging Authentically

I stumbled across this article today about fashion blogger Caitlin from Southern Curls & Pearls. It talks about the hard work that can go into posting a single Instagram photo (but also the money she makes because of the effort). I always find articles like this fascinating. I think it's easy to look at the big bloggers as living a life of luxury. Make no mistake, they are. They get free clothes and products and fancy trips. They often make a six-figure income all from having a big social media or blog following.

But there's a reason they get those perks. Caitlin talks about taking over 100 photos for one outfit mirror selfie; 100! She also talks about when she's on those all-expense paid vacations that's when she’s working the hardest,
"Last month, she [Caitlin] went to Palm Springs, CA, with fellow blogger and frequent traveling companion Emily Gemma. On such trips, they get up at 6 a.m. Then it’s shower/hair/makeup/prep, for photos at sunrise to catch that good early light. They eat breakfast, then change completely and do a second photo shoot (each) before lunch – and do it all again at least once more, later in the day."

The Daily Tay wrote a post called The Business of Blogging based on the same article and I agree with pretty much everything she wrote. Is it really worth it to get those vacations when you're working an 80 hour week to get it? Is the free romper worth the 10 hours of the photo shoot/editing process/curating the perfect post?

Of course, fashion bloggers get more than free trips and outfits. They also make a bundle from affiliate links. Caitlin has often made items in stores go out of stock simply by showcasing it on Instagram. She even talks about a particular $38 hat she posted with an affiliate link that ended up making her thousands of dollars. When I post affiliate links, I'm lucky if I get one click-through, let alone a purchase. I think my total Amazon Affiliate earnings from the last two years is about $16. As you can see, that six-figure income is within my grasp.

When a blogger uses affiliate links there's often an argument about whether or not the recommendation from that blogger is legitimate. I honestly believe that Caitlin only posts about products she actually likes. But I'm sure there are many other bloggers out there who post about any product a company pays them to mention, or use affiliate links for items only because they know it will bring back a big return.

So where am I going with this? I'm not actually certain myself. I just know I have a lot of thoughts. It makes me wonder if I would want to make it big with my blog. Obviously, I'm not even remotely close to that realm, but if it so happened that I somehow gained a huge following overnight, would I enjoy it? Would I want to work 80 hours a week making my life look effortless, when in reality I took 3 hours to make my Instagram photo look perfect? Could I still genuinely blog about my life or would it be forced?

I think what I'm getting at is that I enjoy having a little space of the internet to myself without any pressure. I'm definitely open to money-making opportunities that can help support my family, but I hope I can blog in a genuine way without being too influenced by sponsored posts. I don't want my life to look perfect and easy, because that's not life and I want this to always be about connecting with others in an authentic, real way.

So please know: if I do include an affiliate link or partner with a company to make a post I’m doing that because I believe in the product. Yes, I will earn a bit of income with a sponsored post, or when you click through one of my affiliate links, but know that I only recommend and work with brands that I use in my real, legitimate life. Thanks for being interested in my life and supporting this blogging hobby of mine.

March 8, 2016

Taste The Madness - Easy & Fun Basketball Themed Treats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GreatTasteTourney #CollectiveBias

I love college basketball. I'm not a big sports person, but for some reason, basketball in March is an exception. Andrew and I have filled out brackets to compete against each other since we've been dating (Andrew won't admit it, but I win every year). In fact, we watched one of the final four games in the hospital last year after I birthed Taylor.

This year, we are planning on going over to my in-laws for most of the games. I decided since they're playing the gracious host to us, I need to repay their hospitality with treats. I got a little creative to make said treats on-theme, because what's better than on-theme treats? 

Here's a little something, something I came up with...

First up, I made those fun chocolate-dipped OREOS. They look fancy, but are so easy (honestly, I couldn't manage anything that wasn't simple). In fact, to prove the simplicity, here is the four-step process.

1. Skewer your OREO
2. Melt white chocolate in the microwave. I usually put some white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and stir every 30 seconds, to make sure it doesn't burn. Once the chocolate is smooth, add a few drops of orange food coloring to the melted chocolate
3. Dip your skewered OREO
4. Once dry, take black icing and pipe the lines for the basketball
That's it, you're done! I told you it was easy.

Next on the agenda is making a cheer section with the help of Coca-Cola Zero™. I promise this one is an even easier project.

1. Make little pom-poms with yarn. Wrap the yarn around the outside of the fork and then tie a piece a string down the middle of the yarn, splitting it in half. Cut the two bunched ends and you have a pom-pom!
2. Print off these cheerleader "outfit" printables for your Coke Zero bottle or can (Or you can make your own cheer outfits using construction paper)
3. Tape both the pom-poms and outfit onto your Coke Zero and you're done!

Now you have some festive treats that are cute and easy to make! I swung by Safeway to pick up some supplies and then made my treats in an hour flat. If I can do it, so can you. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

One last thing I want to leave you with is a free printable bracket to keep track of your teams. Yes, I know there are blank brackets already online, but they aren't very cute. This one (if I do say so myself) is way better looking than the standard one. To get it, just click here to download the free bracket! Please force your husband to use it. Haha. 

  • Visit for a chance to win NCAA prizes.
  • Mondel─ôz International and Coca-Cola are Corporate Champion and Partners of the NCAA.
  • NCAA and Taste the Madness are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • © Mondel─ôz International group © Coca-Cola Zero is a registered trademark of the Coca-Cola Company.

March 3, 2016

11 Months of Taylor

Another month down and only one month to go until the big uno. And another round of Taylor photos.

As I was going through all the photos I took of Taylor this month, I noticed one reoccurring theme. Harley. Ever since Taylor has become mobile, he crawls after Harley wherever she goes. Harley is a bit of a grump so it's really funny to watch Harley continuously walk away from Taylor and find a new place to lay down. Taylor isn't great about picking up on hints and will keep going after her until I distract him with something else. Even though they aren't the greatest quality, I had to include some iPhone photos of Taylor and Harley since that's what this month has consisted of.

Other things I want to remember: Taylor now goes "vroom" when he plays with cars (cars are his favorite toys). He loves to bounce and groove to music. He is starting to wave and continues to clap for everyone/thing. He got his first haircut this month (check out the third row of photos, you can definitely tell which was before and which was after the haircut). Says dada/mama, but we don't think he knows what they mean yet. Continues to be adorable, sweet, and mild mannered (aka he's the perfect child).

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