Friday, January 30, 2015

To Olivia On Your 3rd Birthday

Dear Olivia,

You will be turning 3 in two days and you continuously amaze me in so many ways. So much has been thrown at our family in the past month, more than you can possibly comprehend. Even though you are at that "difficult" age, not really wanting to listen and anxious to do everything on your own you can sense when mommy needs a hug and know when I really need you to listen to get through some hard things. You know when mommy really needs you and are there.

You are currently attending your first year of nursery school which didn't start off too well. You screamed and cried and wanted me to stay with you but after a few weeks of (mommy) staying strong you got used to it and grew to love it. Now you run through the door and don't even look back and although this may make me a little sad it makes me proud to know my little girl is independent as she can be and is ready to take on the world with the look of excitement in her eyes.

You are sassy and defiant and want to only do things on your terms. We try to let you know you aren't the boss and need to listen to your father and I but part of me is secretly glad for your bold attitude. I know you aren't a pushover and will not be a follower. It is clear to everyone even at this early age that you are a leader. That being said we will not tolerate disrespect but will embrace your thoughts and ideas.

You are funny and could probably have your own stand up routine. We are constantly asking ourselves where does she come up with this stuff. Today you were a Chinese ballerina who only eats bamboo and rice paper, yesterday you were a vampire and the day before that you were pulling down your pants, bending over and telling me to "lick your butt." Highly inappropriate I might add and you were told to never say that again to anyone. I still think your all time one liner was the time you burped really loud in Friendly's and said "Excuse me! My mouth farted."

You love to create and do "projects" and help mommy with her beads. Although, you tend to "swipe" them and hide them in the "trunk" of that car you zoom around in. You love to play with you dolls and take care of all your babies and animals. You want to be a doctor and are constantly asking "who needs a check up?" You love to sing and dance and perform like mommy did. You got a microphone for Christmas and love putting on shows after we announce you of course. "Ladies and gentlemen...." Your favorite things to sing are the Doc McStuffin songs, Shake It Off, All About That Base and Boom Clap.

There is so much more that I could write all night but I think you get the idea. You are an extremely special little girl whom I love with all of my heart and soul. There is nobody like you. I cannot wait to experience the next year and a lifetime of birthdays with you. I love you Livy!! Happy birthday!! xoxo

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On The Go In 2015 Giveaway

All moms understand that it's really hard to travel with kids, even if only going to the park or the store. Here are some great products to make getting out of the house a little easier, whether it's just for an afternoon or for a whole weekend. We are excited to bring you this awesome giveaway in collaboration with Green Scene Mom!
Green Scene Mom On The Go in 2015 Giveaway

Make taking kids on the go a little easier, and definitely more fun!

Wally Inflatable Bed Rail, from The Shrunks giveaway
The Shrunks Wally Inflatable Bed Rail - $25
At The Shrunks, we believe that kids are cool. Creating stuff that makes bedtime fun and safe for them, wherever they are, is what we love to do. Keep your child safe from rolling off the bed with The Shrunks Inflatable Bed Rail! Its slim design allows the bed rail to slip conveniently under any fitted standard sized twin, queen or king size bed sheet. Each package comes with a bed rail, foot pump, and a carrying bag for easy transport to all of your destinations. Recommended for kids 2 years and up. Shop @
Milkdot Popdots Go Pouch giveaway
Milkdot Popdots Go Pouch - $20
Popdots Go Pouch is the perfect carryall for everyday or for travel. Plus, it's insulated so it makes a great snack bag too. Use it as a toiletry bag, storage bag or quick change diaper bag. With one large elastic pocket and three smaller elastic pockets, your items will stay in place and organized. It's the versatile pouch for children, teens and women to take on the go for school, work or travel with plenty of room for school supplies, arts and crafts, toys, cosmetics, medicine, toiletries, first aid, baby essentials, snacks, drinks and much more! Shop @
Poncho Baby Pack-N-Run Organic Diaper Pouch giveaway
Poncho Baby Pack-N-Run Organic Diaper Pouch - $35
This eco-friendly and portable organic diaper bag pouch is perfect for those times when a diaper bag is too big. Made in the USA with 100% Cotton Muslin Imported. Use it for a quick trip to the supermarket, the park or an airport bathroom. It's been carefully sized to hold just the necessities. Also works great as an insert in a purse or diaper bag. Shop @
Poppy Drops $30 Gift Certificate giveaway
Poppy Drops $30 Gift Certificate
Poppy Drops was created due to a dilemma lots of us face — when to pierce a little girl's ears? Poppy Drops earrings really are the perfect solution that is practical for parents and super fun for kids! From our signature earrings came other solutions for modern kids! We now offer Tattoo Nail Art, Mix & Match Tattoo Jewelry, Perfume Sticks & Lip Luster — all of which are designed for little ones but are great for EVERYONE! All of our products are made with natural ingredients — 100% safe for any age. We make staying young even more fun than growing up! Shop @
yummi pouch reusable food pouch giveaway
Yummi Pouch Reusable Food Pouches set of 6 - $15
Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches combine style and convenience in an eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Yummi Pouches are easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and are great for taking healthy snacks on the go. Shop @
Zippyz Baby Footed Pajamas
Zippyz Baby Footed Pajamas - $27.99
Zippyz are baby footed pajamas with a patented design to make diaper changes quick and easy. Zippyz have a zipper from foot to belly so parents can change diapers quick and easy while keeping their baby covered and warm. Shop
Pacidoodle Personalized Pacifiers set giveaway
Pacidoodle Personalized Pacifiers set of 2 - $12.50
Pacidoodle Personalized Pacifiers are the Cute, High Quality Solution to Accidental Paci-Swapping! Baby's name, monogram or cute saying is engraved on pacifiers and will not rub off or fade. "A little paci love made with a lot of His love". Shop @

Enter to win this Amazing Prize Set!

This giveaway is open to United States and Canada.
Green Scene Mom On The Go in 2015 Giveaway

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ballsy Photos

Happy Monday!! I thought I'd give you all a laugh this Monday and share a story I shared with the lovely Karli and her readers over at September Farm some time ago.

I am a photographer and this confessional of mine has to do with an almost HUGE photography blunder for one of my first clients.

I always loved photography from a young age and after taking some adult ed photography classes and getting  rave reviews on my photography I decided I wanted to do photography for a living. I started off doing some photos for friends and family for free to build my portfolio to help me get paid gigs.

Well, I was lucky enough that things happened pretty quickly and I was finally doing what I loved for a living. One of my first clients hired me to take some family portraits at a park. Things went well and I was happy with all the shots I got. I couldn't wait to go home afterwards and edit the photos and see the final product.

I was so anxious I edited the photos immediately and was so happy with the results. My sister came over that evening and she happened to minor in photography in college so I showed her the photos on my computer to get her opinion. We were looking through them and she was loving them until she said "Wait. Go back to that last photo. What's that????!!!!"

I look closely and I honestly didn't see what she happened to see. She then bent forward to really look at screen and said: "Oh my God!! Are those his balls??!!" I replied : "What?" and then looked at the dad's crotch in horror. His jeans had apparently split in the crotch and in this photo (and a few others) they were sitting on a park bench and his balls were completely exposed flowing out of the hole in his pants.

At first, I was horrified. How did I miss this??!! How did I almost send a client a disk of family photos where in several of them the dad had his sh*t out for everyone to see??!! But honestly when editing photos I am looking at the faces, the smiles, making sure everyone's eyes are open. I am not usually drawn to the nether regions. After my initial reaction of horror, my sister and I sat there and laughed for a solid half hour. How did this guy not know his junk was out?!

Regardless to say, I tossed the initial disk I had made for the client and re-cropped the photos to be ball-less. All I have to say is thank the Lord, I had my sister look at the pictures and discover this tiny indiscretion because that would have been slightly awkward when they got there family photo blown up huge to frame and there are balls right in their face. But crisis averted!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

DIY: Valentine's Day Wreath

I have a super easy Valentine's DIY project for you today.

1 - Gather your supplies.
You will need tulle in colors desired, a foam wreath, some sort of festive garland and of course scissors.

2- Cut your tulle.
Cut a large pile of tulle. I cut mine in 12" strips.

3- Tie tulle around wreath.
I just tied the tulle around the wreath in simple double knots and kept the "poof" to the outside. Continue until entire wreath is covered.

4- Add your garland.
You will notice the garland I added is different than one in supply photo because unfortunately the original garland I got wouldn't lay right so I thought this was a cute substitute. I simply tucked the garland under the tulle tied around the wreath on the back side. And most craft stores have an array of festive garlands for you to choose.

5- Tie loop for hanging.
I took a longer piece of tulle and simply tied it at top leaving a big loop for hanging. And voila! You are finished.

This project can be replicated for any holiday with some color changes. Hope you enjoy! xoxo

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I am trying to stay strong. I am trying to get on with my day to day but it is as difficult as you would imagine to try and move on with life. I suppose I should be easy on myself considering it hasn't even been a month since we found my mother dead but I want to be able to move on and am having a hard time.

One of my biggest obstacles right now is trying to stay focused on tasks and it is a daily, moment to moment struggle. I feel like I have a million half finished projects and it is really hard for me to complete anything. Something that should take me a few hours is taking me a few days because no matter how hard I try my brain is all over the place making it next to impossible to stay on one particular task for too long.

Sometimes my thoughts wander to the fact that my young, healthy mother is gone in the blink of an eye and how she won't be around for holidays anymore or how she won't see Olivia or my nephews grow up. Her grandchildren were her world and it would have broken her heart if she knew she would never seen them grow up. Then I think of that horrible morning. I can't help but truly hope her death was instantaneous and that she wasn't lying on the floor knowing she was dying. That is the one thing I fear the most and cannot stop thinking about. Those thoughts haunt me and probably will for a very long time.

Besides losing my mom, my husband, daughter and I needed to pick up and move in with my dad. My mom was his 24 hour a day caregiver after his multiple strokes and I needed to come and fill that roll. We didn't want to change too much on my dad so we don't even have a bed in the house yet and are all living out of suitcases. I feel like I don't even have a home. Because we needed to jump right in and fulfill this role I feel I had no proper time to mourn, I needed to immediately figure out all my dad's medical and day to day needs and get right to it.

So I suppose it is normal between the mourning of my mom and my move and complete lifestyle change that my brain is a bit fogged although, I wish it would clear soon. I have a feeling I will be dealing with this for a while, though. Everyone keeps telling me to slow down and just take care of my daughter and my dad and not worry about anything at least for the time being but I am self employed. I work from home and the second I slack I can feel it. I am a hustler and my clouded brain is making it hard for me to be the mover and shaker I normally am.

I think I am going to try just setting one attainable goal each day to not get myself overwhelmed but to also help me finish projects. I think I have too many things I want to accomplish I just keep bouncing from task to task but in reality I am not really accomplishing anything. I need to start small until I build up my mental strength again. I just hope that slowly I can become the girl I once was.

This post was linked up to Little Friday, A Rules Free Link Up.

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Man Buns And A Giveaway

So last night I was enlightened, apparently man buns are a thing. Men are wearing buns. Huh?! That's what I thought until I saw a few celebrities rocking this new look.  Check these hotties out and let me know what you think.

Now although the men above still look damn sexy I saw a few celebrities rocking the look and couldn't help but think "yuck." I guess it depends on the individual. Here are some of the man bun bloopers in my opinion.

Thoughts?! Are you a fan of the man bun? And before you continue your day take a minute to enter this giveaway for a $100 giftcard to Nordstrom!! I am super excited to be teamed up with Meagan from Because of Jackie and friends to bring you this great opportunity. Good luck!! xoxo

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 19, 2015

Are You Blogging For The Masses?

I had a thought many months ago while trying to come up with some post ideas, who am I blogging for? I had felt that at that point most of my posts wouldn't really interest any of my non-blogging friends. (Kind of like this post.) That many of my posts had to do with blogging tips or blogging issues and the only audience for those types of posts are other bloggers.

I also found that there were several bloggers that I had followed at that time that were only writing about the dos and donts of blogging and I wondered if it was their intention to only appeal to bloggers. If it is there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I wanted more because even as a blogger I quickly lost interest in the blogs that I felt were always lecturing me about how I should be blogging. I wanted my blog to appeal to everyone, whether you are a blogger or not and if you are a blogger I wanted to keep your interest.

I do realize that most if not all of my loyal followers are in fact bloggers and I love them to pieces but  I want to see my posts trending one day and I think the only way to do that is to make my posts have a broader appeal.  My blog is sometimes "all over the place" but I have been making a big effort to try and write material that will appeal to everyone and by everyone I mean everyone in my demographic of followers not just the bloggers in that demo.

I have found that my most popular posts are indeed the posts that have mass appeal such as my DIY tutorial posts, my photography posts and posts having to do with major events I have participated in such as The Color Run. The other things these posts have in common are very "pinnable" images and all the repins drive more traffic to my blog. Although, I do have to admit that my posts that have to do with blogging tips do get many page views but as I stated earlier that is not the only audience I am blogging for.

I think in it very important to take a step back and really think about who you want your target audience to be and make sure that you are indeed creating content for that audience. It is easy to lose sight of the direction you originally intended for your blog so it is always beneficial to take a moment and think about these things. I always think a little direction is good and establishing who you want to be reading your blog is a great way to do just that.

So who do you blog for? Do you have a specific target audience or do you just blog about whatever you feel like and whoever reads it reads it?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Target Dollar Spot: A Love/Hate Relationship

I have a a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Target dollar spot. I love it because where else can you find totally fabulous, cute little finds for only $1-$3?! But once I get home I may hate it just a little for adding more clutter to my home and although I didn't spend a fortune it was money that could have been saved or used for something more practical. I can never leave Target without throwing at least a few of these items in my cart. And yesterday was no exception. I just needed the following:

1 - Adorable Canvas Valentine Totes 
These are so cute and so practical right? I can use them to help me travel with things just in case the other 50 totes I own aren't available. Well, they do have adorable Valentine prints so I can even potentially use them as gift bags just in case I decided to throw out the closet full of gift bags I already own and reuse.

2 - Mint Polka Dot Accordion Files
Mint is my fave color of the moment and I have an obsession with stationery so it was inevitable that these were coming home with me. I am actually proud of the fact I didn't bring home the third size. The struggle was real. I figured these would really help me get my bills and receipts organized, you know the ones that don't already have a home in the 20 accordion files I already own from Target in many adorable prints.

3 - A Glitter Jar
Yes, a glitter jar. Who doesn't need one in their life?! I love mason jars and glitter so this was like the peanut butter and jelly of the trinket world. I can't even say what I am going to use this for but I had to have it. That's all I have to say about that.

I know I am not the only one obsessed with the dollar spot. What is your favorite dollar spot find??!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Avoiding Mortification

I saw an article trending on Facebook today about a woman making a stand after being a victim of revenge porn, when an ex lover shares naked photos or intimate videos of you online after you break up. I had so many thoughts running through my brain and needed to discuss this a little.

Should you be able to express yourself in whatever manner you choose as long as you aren't hurting another individual? Absolutely but it would extremely naive to think certain actions and "expressions" won't possibly have consequences down the line. You should be able to do whatever you want and share photos with your lover but what if you have a fight and you break up? Can you be 100% certain that that individual won't share these photos? Everyone's answer to that question should be no. You never know what someone is fully capable of in certain situations. But why put yourself in the position to be a victim of this horrific and embarrassing act. These photos and videos will never really disappear and could certainly come back to haunt you.

Please don't misunderstand me and say I am victim blaming. When men and women post people's naked photos and videos without someone's consent they are completely in the wrong and should be prosecuted but by the time that happens the damage is already done. I am just simply saying try to avoid putting yourself in precarious situations. You wouldn't go down a dark alley with a wad of cash in your hand by yourself would you? If you get mugged of course the perpetrator should be arrested but the victim could have made smarter decisions that would have possibly prevented an attack.

All I am saying is that we live in a world where we not only need to protect ourselves from physical attacks but one where we need to protect ourselves from cyber attacks. We all need to use a little common sense when creating content that can be shared without our permission. And if you feel it is absolutely necessary to share intimate photos do it smartly, don't show your face which will make it hard for anyone to say it is you.

What are your thoughts? Do you think people who share naked photos are asking for this to happen?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Not All Bad Etsy Shop Reviews Are Legit

Am I a lover of Etsy?! Heck yes!! Do you I have several Etsy shops? Yes I do!! Because of the fact that I both buy and sell on Etsy I have made a disturbing observation: not all bad Etsy shop reviews are warranted.

I have been blessed with all 99% positive reviews on all transactions in my shops which goes hand in hand with the fact that I take these shops very seriously, they are my primary source of income. I started a new custom frame shop last year and have received a few complaints all of which were unwarranted. Let me explain. I am very clear in my item descriptions that the photo frames I use are wood craft frames with no glass front and no backer. Not only do I state that in each listing and provide photos, I also state that on my front shop page. But I got a few poor reviews stating frame did not have glass or backer.

Read people!!! It's so frustrating. Why are you leaving me a poor review, hurting my sales because you didn't read the item description before purchasing? If you want a frame with glass and a backer, trust me, I completely understand so don't purchase from my shop. If I legitimately did something wrong and deserve the bad review, bring it but when I am upfront about something before you purchase why are you penalizing me for it after you receive. Or private message me after you receive and 'fess up that you didn't read the description and maybe we can work something out but don't automatically put me on blast for your indiscretion.

Being that I take my shops seriously these couple poor reviews made me really upset so I started checking out some other shop reviews. I looked for shops that had a lot of sales and primarily positive feedback and what I found was really really upsetting. Shops could have five stars after five stars and then there is a one star review. I read what the complaint was and again they were complaining about something that was given in the info in the item description. For example, one person wrote "I didn't think it would be that small." But in all these shop's listings the dimensions are given. If the buyer was unsure of the size they should have whipped out a ruler before ordering. Again a lazy buyer is hurting someone's legit business. I found instances like this over and over again.

Don't get me wrong are there poorly run shops with bad products? Yes, of course there are so you do need to be careful when purchasing and look at sales and reviews but please do yourself and the shop owner a favor and read the bad reviews. If a shop has almost all positive reviews and you see just a handful of bad ones, read the reviews. In almost all instances you will find complaints about something that was openly mentioned in item description and in that case the shop was not at fault.

So now I will step down off my soapbox and wish you a wonderful day!! xoxoxo

Friday, January 9, 2015

Blogger Love

I decided I would finally link up again to show some blogger love. Not going to lie, it's partially because I don't want to have yet another sad post about my broken heart or have to pretend to be happy so I figured a link up would be a great idea.Word? Word..

So here we go! A few of my fave posts this week.....

1- Don't Toss Your Holiday Cards by our hostess with the mostest Meagan from All the Joys. I never know what to do with all my holiday cards after Christmas is over and I think this is a fantastical idea that I will definitely start doing next year.

2- How To Be Happy by Mary at Uncustomary Art. Mary shares some great tips and words to live by. Definitely an inspirational post with some important reminders about how to view your life.

3- 30 Winter Blog Post Ideas by Helene from Helene In Between. This is for the inner slacker in all of us. Sometimes the creative juices run a little dry and this is a great list of prompts that could potentially make for some great posts. Thanks Helene!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Morning That Changed My Life Forever

Being silly only 36 hours before that dreaded morning.
It was Friday morning, the day after Christmas, and there was excitement in the air. We were finishing up packing for Disney and Olivia was running around so excited.  We were finishing everything up and were about to start packing up the car and hit the road when my sister called me panicked and upset.

She was worried because she wasn't able to get my mom on the phone for their usual  morning chat. It was only about 9am at this time and I told her not to worry and that she probably just decided to sleep in because she hadn't been feeling well the day before and was probably exhausted after all the Christmas craziness.

But in the pit of my stomach I knew something was wrong. My sister and I continued to call and still no answer. For the normal person the fact that she wasn't picking up the phone would probably not have been a big deal but my dad needs around the clock care after having several strokes so my mom never left him. We called at the time my mom should have been giving my dad his meds and still no answer.

We tried calling the neighbors but nobody was home. My sister's fiancee then drove to the house because he was closest at the time. My husband and I also decided to head over there. That was the worst drive of my life. My sister called hysterical that my dad who cannot really articulate and is difficult to understand finally answered the phone. She asked "Where's mom?" and all he could get out was "on the floor."

I knew it was bad but I kept trying to tell myself maybe he just meant she was lying on the air mattress she sometime slept on but that's when I got the second phone call of that drive and heard my sister's sobs on the other end. I then knew she was gone.

We got to the house shortly after that and the police and an ambulance were already there. My sister's fiancee confirmed what I already knew, she was gone. I went in the house and they tried to usher me to my dad's room but I saw her, I saw her collapsed on the kitchen floor. An image I will probably never forget.

I had little time for a meltdown because my dad was already past due for his many meds which we now needed to try and figure out. Plus since he was already in a fragile state I needed to stay strong for him because he got upset every time I broke down. I really need to hand it to the guys for keeping themselves together that day and making calls to the funeral home, relatives, doctors, pharmacists and everyone else we spoke to that day.

My sister and I really had no opportunity to truly grieve because we needed to jump right into caretaker mode. Where most people in this circumstance would be in bed and getting themselves composed for days, weeks, hell months we had no time for that. We needed to figure out how we were going to care for my dad and what was going to happen long term. Not to mention my sister is giving birth to her second child next week.

We went from being so joyous and silly as a family on Christmas Eve, being excited for Disney and a new baby to mourning the completely unexpected loss of our mom not even 48 hours later. She wasn't sick, She was happy, vibrant and full of energy and only in her early 60s.  This was last thing we thought would happen. Our dad is sick but our mom  was healthy, she was fine and in the blink of an eye she was taken from us. Goes to show that you you have to treasure every moment because when you least expect it someone can be taken from you with absolutely no warning and your life is changed forever.