Aug 29, 2014

Make New Friends {august}

Did you know I've been offering sponsorship spots on my blog for a whole year now? It blows my mind that friends keep coming back and new faces keep appearing on my side bar month after month. I'm actually quite flattered, to be completely honest. THANK YOU!

Over the course of the year I've been trying out different things to see what works and what doesn't work; I'm constantly evolving posts and ideas to fit my readers, my sponsors, and myself. This month is no exception, so I'm going to try a new series called "Make New Friends" and it's going to be short and sweet. Basically, I'll write a blurb about each of my sponsors—what I like about them and their blogs, and why you should be reading them, and then I hope you'll go from there and do like the title says: make new friends. Besides getting our voice out there, networking and forming relationships is the other great perk of blogging, right?


Coconuts and Stripes 

Looking past the fact that I'm completely jealous of Meghan's recent move to California, I straight up love her blog. She has that girl-next-door charm and makes you instantly like her with the way she casually chats about whatever is happening in her life—from moving to L.A. to hopping on her latest form of transportation. Not only did she spend the summer in Europe (hello, girl after my own heart), but she writes about food (you saw her guest post, right?), and she totally "had me at hello." Meghan's only been blogging for four months, but you never would've guessed that if I didn't just tell you—she's a natural on the big screen (the big computer screen, that is)!

Being Mrs. Beer

Jess is no stranger to this blog—perhaps it's because we share the most common best name ever. Speaking of names, did you know that her last name really is Beer? True story. More facts about Mrs. Beer: she and her husband just became homeowners yesterday (give her a big congrats!), she's kicking butt and taking names when it comes to weight loss, and, possibly my favorite thing about Jess and her blog, is that she writes with honesty. Whether she's laying it all out there talking about being well-endowed (and what to do about it), talking about breastfeeding, or her latest Stitch-Fix finds, she does it with grace, humor, and a nice dose of reality.

World Traveling Military Family

When I say that Mrs. B, the voice behind WTMF is awesome, it's because I can personally vouch for her—we actually met in real life last summer. Sadly (for me, not her), she moved far, far away to Germany where she's now traipsing around Europe and writing all about it. Seriously, if you know anyone moving to Germany, send them to her blog. Mrs. B was born to be a travel writer—she includes so many details in every post that it makes you feel like you're there. Check out this one on a cool barefoot park where you go through different obstacles. Sign me up! She's also incredibly crafty, which makes me green with envy.

History and Hockey Sticks

Preschool teacher by day and Disney fan by night, Megan recently traded in her hockey sticks for plane tickets to Europe. This is good news for us, because now she and her Air Force husband now call Germany home, and she's writing all about it! As a former expat, I dig her posts on travel, and I'm excited for all the places they're planning on visiting.

Avon with Sylvia Wages

Y'all, if you thought having an "Avon Lady" was something for your mom and grandma, then you clearly haven't met Sylvia or looked at a catalog in awhile. Avon is totally hot right now and I love that they have products for kids, the house, and, of course, awesome makeup. Sylvia took charge of her life and decided to start selling something she's passionate about. She's a fellow Air Force wife, a SAHM, and she just completed a PCS, all while keeping her business afloat. 

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One sponsorship spot is full until November (yowza!), 
but there are plenty of other opportunities for you to advertise here. 
Take a look at my sponsorship page and see what works for you. 
Can't wait to see your here soon!! 

Aug 27, 2014

Time For New Specs! {Help Me Pick a Pair}

I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but I haven't had my eyes checked in more than three years. My sight has been fine, so I just kept forgetting about it. But I've been wanting a new pair of glasses just in case something happens to the pair I currently own. I've somehow managed to only have one pair of glasses over the past three years, too, but now I'm getting nervous they may break (due to little hands that like to grab them occasionally). The problem is that I need a current prescription in order to get a new pair, which led me to the eye doctor last week.


First of all, that appointment was the best doctor's visit I've ever experienced. Not only did they get me in at my allotted time, but everyone was ridiculously nice. And the best part was that my eyesight actually got better in the three years since I've been there. Better, not worse; I mean, how often does that happen when you leave a doctor's appointment? Pretty exciting news if you ask me.

So now I'm in the market for some new spectacles. I loved my experience with my last/current pair of Warby Parker glasses (y'all actually helped me pick my last pair), so I'm going to buy from them again. 


Just a quick bit of info if you haven't heard of Warby Parker. Here are a few cool things about them: Their single-vision glasses are $95, and for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. Win/win! But my favorite part about them is their free Home Try-On program. Essentially, they let you pick out five pairs online, then they send them to you so you can try them on at home for five days before picking which ones you like. Awesome, right?

I've been wearing "Zagg" for the past three years, so I purposefully didn't pick that design for my box. Instead, I requested "Welty," "Marshall," "Crane," Bensen," and "Wilkie." I took roughly 157 awkward selfies in the new pairs, but then I deleted all of them and decided to I'd take a video instead, hoping I'd be less weird "on film." I'm not actually sure which would've been better. Then, after I took the video I decided to take pictures one more time...you know, in case you needed a reminder of which glasses were which. Basically, what you see below is just a lot of awkwardness, and I'm sorry.

So, watch this less-than-two-minute video and help me pick a pair, pretty please! (Or don't watch and just look at the awkward selfies below. But I should warn you that if you don't watch, then you don't get to hear my awesome sick voice.)


And, just to recap....
click to enlarge


Okay, now it's your turn! Leave a comment with what pair you think I should pick.

*I legally have to tell you that there are affiliate links within this post. What I don't have to tell you, but I'm going to, is that I genuinely like this company, which is why I'm sharing it with you!

Aug 25, 2014

Five Things Julia Loves Right Now

Have I mentioned that I almost have a one and a half year old? This age is SO much fun. Sure, the tantrums and random nap strikes throw me for a (tired) loop, but the majority of the time, she's an absolute delight. I figured I'd share some of the things she's totally into right now, just in case you have a little one around the same age—perhaps they're interested in some of the same things?! 

Puzzles. She's not old enough for a real puzzle yet, but there are board puzzles out there that are perfect for little hands. She's learned all about animals and vehicles with Melissa & Doug boards, and she's currently learning her name with this adorable name puzzle from Stuck on You. It's amazing watching her hand/eye coordination improve over the last few months. Not to mention, a puzzle will entertain her for anywhere from five to 10 minutes, 15 minutes if I'm really lucky. Her name puzzle is extra fantastic because of the colors. I like that they fit her room color scheme and is a bit girly. I've seen some name puzzles at craft fairs before, but they're always in primary colors.


Feet wipes. I got a pack of Fresh Feet Wipes in a Citrus Lane box a couple months ago and I actually scoffed when I saw them. I mean, "feet" wipes, really? Couldn't I just use my regular wipes on her feet? (The answer: yes.) But then I opened these and they smelled so delightful in their fruity grapefruit scent. Since a pack came in the box, I figured I wouldn't waste them, so I started using them on her feet after they'd become particularly dirty (usually at night, before I'd put her jammies on if I didn't give her a bath). Soon, she started asking for them at night (she'd even clap and hold her feet up for me to clean them!) and after we used them more and more, I started digging that her stinky feet were going to bed clean and refreshed. When we're at home, she typically doesn't wear shoes, so her feet get gross from wandering around outside. (I should really write a Citrus Lane review, but in the meantime, if you want to start getting a box a month, click that link and you'll get 50% off your first box!)


Fish sticks, blueberries, and Chef Boyardee. This is real dinner around here, folks. Sure, we can talk all day about how great it is to make food from scratch (and I do), but in reality, that doesn't happen as much as I'd like. For one, she won't eat it. My eat-everything-in-sight daughter is now a picky toddler, so it's a complete guessing game as to what she'll eat...or even if she'll eat. "Give her what you're eating," they say. Um. Yeah. She's not going to eat my green chile rellenos or my taco pie. Trust me, I've tried. This girl winces (and by "winces" I mean she grabs her tongue and acts like her mouth is going to burn off) at the slightest bit of a black peppercorn flake. Wimp. So I've stocked up on things I know she'll eat, and I don't feel one bit sorry about it. Chef Boyardee (Beefaroni), frozen fish sticks, blueberries, olives (any variety), bananas, cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, sliced turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans top the list as her favorite foods. She'll eat most of those things without hesitation (most of the time), so I try to keep them on hand. I still try other foods with her, of course, but the girl has to eat, so I feed her what I know she'll consume.

Coloring. I picked up some big pieces of chalk so she could color the driveway outside, and it was a HUGE hit. We would be inside and she'd pick up her shoes and bring them to me, then she'd pick up my shoes and bring them to me, then she'd grab my hand and lead me to the door so we could go outside and color. Unfortunately, it got way too hot here to be outside, so we came up with an alternative: coloring! She, luckily, doesn't eat the crayons (much) anymore, so this was a safe bet. Her grandma sent her a gift card to Toys R Us early on in the deployment, so we cashed it on the Crayola 3-in-1 Art Desk. I love that she can color either on paper or on the actual board itself (because she doesn't really understand the concept of coloring on paper yet. Although, I must admit that her favorite aspect is the little crayon holder. She spends more time opening the little door, taking the crayons out, examining each one, then putting the crayons inside, closing the door, and then repeating the whole thing. It's adorable and she gets so proud of herself every time she accomplishes it.


Cartoons (and stuff that comes with it): I'm not afraid to admit that I use the TV as a babysitter around here more often than I'd like. Now that she sits still for an entire episode of something (YAY!!!) it's come in quite handy. Her absolute favorite show right now is Paw Patrol—she loves those little doggies! My mom bought her a few little Paw Patrol gadgets and she carries them around like they're gold. She also likes Doc McStuffins, so when I saw some Doc Band-aids at the store, I snatched them up. She actually needed a Band-Aid one day, so it came in handy, but now she asks for one all the time and wears it around like a proud sticker. Putting a Band-Aid on a little girl is a small price to pay for happiness.

So there ya go, just as smattering of things my almost-one-and-a-half-year-old daughter is digging now. And in case you need a gift for a one year old, any of these things would be pretty good buys since there's a good chance they'll be into it in a few months, too. Of course she loves other things (sprinklers, stuffed animals, carrying around bags as purses, and climbing into our dog's crate), but these are more of the tangible items she likes right now!

Do you have a kid around the same age as Julia? What's he/she into right now? 

*This post contains affiliate links and a product I received for free from Stuck on You. All opinions are my own.  


Aug 22, 2014

Creativity, Coffee-Mate, and Target (+ Giveaway)


Y'all know I'm a huge fan of coffee and coffee creamer around here, but did you know that I drink—gasp—decaf? Ever since I got pregnant the first time, I just can't tolerate caffeine in tea or coffee (and I don't eat enough chocolate for it to affect me). It's a sad fact that I've learned to deal with. A lot of people (mostly baristas) give me a horrified look when I express to them how exhausted I am, and then request a decaf coffee. The thing is, it's what coffee symbolizes, and it's the scent and taste association that wakes me up.


Besides loving coffee, I'm also—by nature—a morning person. That's when I usually feel the most alert and the most creative. I love writing with in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee sitting next to me. Only problem is, my lovely daughter is also a morning person, so the laptop on my lap is usually replaced by a 22-pound, blond-haired little girl sipping her milk and eating her "nana" (banana).

I was bummed about missing out on my morning time (I may be a morning person, but I'm also a solo-parenting, pregnant, stay-at-home mom who has zero plans on waking up any earlier than I have to these days), so I started recreating my morning later in the day to spark my creativity. If I don't need a nap myself, I make myself a half pot of coffee during her nap time, get out one of my favorite coffee cups (I have a plethora of favorites—see a sample below) and I get to work. Who says creativity has to be limited to the mornings? Not me!


*By the way, the cup that has coffee in it in the picture was designed with Sharpies! You've probably seen that idea floating around Pinterest before, and I'm here to tell you that it worked for me! And it's had a ride in the dishwasher twice now and has survived to live another day.

Since I love adding a splash of creamer to my coffee, I'm especially excited about design star David Bromstad partnering with Coffee-mate and one of my favorite stores: Target. Bromstad designed limited edition bottles of French Vanilla and Hazelnut Coffee-mate flavors (coincidentally, two of my favorites) and are now exclusively sold at Target stores nationwide!

I'm not one to be stingy, so how about if I give one of you the chance to check out these fun, new designs plus some other fun stuff to help spark your creativity?!

Here's what's up for grabs:

The winner will receive an awesome coffee poster, five mini journals, a pack of colorful pins, and two full-value Coffee-mate coupons (for all your coffee-drinking and recipe-making needs). ($45 value)


Enter Here:

 

Another Way To Win:

You actually have a chance to win a year's worth of Coffee-mate, a $500 Target gift card, and a signed print from David Bromstad! All you have to do is snap a pic of the newly designed bottles (like you needed another excuse to shop at Target!) and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CMInspiresSweepsEntry.  

Now excuse me while I go make another pot of coffee :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.