Friday, January 30, 2015

The Lilac Linnet & Blogger Love v.26

Happy Friday friends!  Today, I'm very excited to share with you both my favorite posts from this week, and Llinos from The Lilac Linnet.  When I first "met" Llinos, I was really excited because she is from Wales - and my Dad's side of the family is (a teeny bit) Welsh.  I have always wanted to know more about that side of me and would love to take my Dad there someday.

Meet Llinos!

Where can we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Don't look for me too early, because I'll be sleeping on!  But once I've had breakfast I will probably go out for a run and then come home to write a few blog posts or read my book for an hour.  My guinea pigs will be chatting away in the background while I enjoy my coffee.

What is your earliest memory?
I can remember being a toddler in the bath and screaming my head off while my parents desperately tried to clean me!  I have a deep rooted fear of water which still affects me today, but luckily bathtime is a lot less stressful these days.

Can you tell us a bit about the novel you are writing?
I would love to!  I have written 30,000 words of my first draft, and I am so excited.  My novel is about a young duchess who rules a magical land of mystery and mermaids.  She is mourning the death of her father and trying to become a strong leader, but she is haunted by her past and is facing marriage to a stranger.  Can she become the duchess that she was born to be?

You write about life in Wales - which most of your American readers probably haven't been.  What are some unique facts about Wales?
I love meeting American bloggers and readers and I recommend Wales as a destination!  Wales is a beautiful part of the UK, here are some facts:
-We have more castles per square mile than anywhere else in Europe.  
-We have a turbulent history and a wealth of legends including the stories of Arthur and his Knights. 
-We have our own language, and I speak it fluently.  
-Mount Everest is named after a Welshman, Sir George Everest.  
-There is a Welsh speaking community in Patagonia, Argentina.

Have you travelled to the US?  If so, where?  If not, where would you like to visit?
No I haven't!  That's why I enjoy reading US bloggers' blogs so much, it gives me a taste of the American life.  I love city breaks, so I would enjoy any of the famous cities; but I will say Washington DC because I'm a politics geek and I would love to see the Lincoln Memorial.

How do you pronounce your name, Llinos?
This is actually hard to explain... to make the 'll' sound, put your tongue to the back of your top teeth and blow.  Then 'inos' is pronounced 'eenos'.  'Llinos' is Welsh for linnet, hence my blog name. (How many of you tried this?  I don't think I'm saying it right...)

What is the best piece of blogging advice you have received?
It's definitely to write genuinely and authentically.  When you write a blog post which excites you, it's the best!


This week I have quite a few favorite posts by others, so bear with me as they all deserve credit!  Let's get right to it...

"FitBit One Review" by A Diamond with Sapphires.  I have been wanting a FitBit, but honestly was a little overwhelmed with all of the options.  Ashlen did all of the research for me - including features of each model!

"Let's Save the Dogs" by The Daily Tay.  I love dogs.  I love helping dogs.  If I could rescue all of them, I would.  But I can't, so these shirts will help me do something.  20% of the proceeds goes back to help the puppies! Win/win.

"Top 10 Indoor Toddler Activities" by Wife, Mommy, Me.  It's winter.  And although I love winter, my children get a little restless.  Stephanie shares some great activities to do indoors.  Definitely using these soon!

"Ladylike" by Flowers in Your Hair.  Teaching my daughters how to polite doesn't mean that they need to lose their voice.  Nina's post spoke to me, especially since it is such a fine line.

"Blogging 101: Pocket" by Love the Here and Now.  I downloaded this app after Anne's post, and I love it!  I can easily go back and read all of the articles that I didn't have time for during the day.  

My co-host, Llinos and I would love to have you link up with us!  Just share at least one post by a blogger other than yourself, grab the button (here) and link up below!  Check out some of the other links to find new blogs!

All the Joys - Blogger Love
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nutella Oreo Cheesecake

Are any of you hungry just by seeing the title of this post?  I sort of want to apologize, because these little individual cheesecakes are so delicious, and so easy to make you will want to have them all of time! 

I'm all about individual servings, especially when having people over.  It just makes it easier for entertaining - prepare these beforehand, just pull them out of the fridge, and serve!

(Adapted from here)

2/3 c Nutella
2 tubs whipped topping (Cool-Whip or similar), 8 oz. each
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 Oreos, crushed
1/2 mini chocolate chips
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 package cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
12-15 mini plastic cups (4-6 oz size)

Oops, you'll have Nutella and Oreos leftover.  Maybe that is done on purpose. (I'm sorry and you are welcome.)

In a bowl, mix together the crushed Oreos and melted butter.   Divide evenly between cups and press down.  The number of cups you use will vary on how thick you want the crust to be.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, Nutella and vanilla extract until smooth.  Using a slower setting, add the whipped topping and mix until smooth.

Take the cream cheese mix and scoop it into a large ziploc bag.  (Take samples here, it's so delish!)

Cut a small corner section of the bag here, large enough so that you can squeeze it out. (about 1/2 inch up from the corner)  Begin filling your plastic cups, over the Oreo crust.  I used a circular motion, but any will do because next, use a spoon and smooth out the surface.

Add a scoop of whipped topping, and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

You could also use small glass cups if you have them, but I prefer the plastic so I can send extras home with my guests.  Apparently it's frowned upon to eat four of these in one day!


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Day of Yes


 Back in July, I got an email inviting to pre-order tickets to Disney on Ice: Frozen.  E was (and still is) obsessed - isn't every child?  I purchased 10 tickets - my girlfriends and I were each going to take our oldest.  Time went by, I sort of forgot about it, then started seeing commercials and billboards all around Chicago for the upcoming show.  I hadn't told E about it yet, so I decided to make it a surprise.

On Friday, I gave her hints after she was convinced that the surprise was a balloon (if only I had known it would be so easy!) - "We are going somewhere!" and "Your friends will be there!".  I bought her the cutest little Anna and Elsa dress at Target, but didn't show her until we were about to leave.  At that point I also explained that we were going to see Frozen, with live characters.

She was so excited in the car, even though she didn't fully understand what we were doing.  The joy on her face once we got there is something I'll never forget.  She sat in her seat, staring at the ice in such amazement that it really made me take a step back and enjoy things through the eyes of a preschooler.  The best part was when she leaned over, cupped my face in her hands and said "Thanks for bringing me here, mommy!".  Pure bliss.

I decided to make the day all about us - mommy and daughter.  She wanted gummy bears, so I got her gummy bears.  I wanted a pretzel, so I got the pretzel.  While walking back to our seats from intermission, she saw the guy selling the ridiculously overpriced pieces of plastic Elsa wands and asked if she could have one.  I said yes.  Afterwards we went out to dinner and I didn't make her eat fruits or vegetables first.  You would think she had won the lottery!

The next day she couldn't stop talking about how she went to "Disney World" (again, if only I knew it was that easy!) or how she got to eat candy and hot dogs and not one vegetable, all while sharing her new wand with her little sister.  Although it has never happened before, and will be far and few between, our Day of Yes was exactly what we both needed.

I am so grateful for the time we spent together, I know that someday she will much more "important" things to do than to hang out with me, and although I like to think it's forever away, I know it isn't.  I wish all of you, whether you have littles or not, to just spend the day with someone that means everything to you, doing whatever comes your way.  Cherish your time together!

Although when she is grown, she might only remember "the really cool Elsa wand that lit up", I will forever remember watching her, watching Frozen on Ice.

Linking up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday and Anne for Wednesday Wishes.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Love the Here and Now

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Child of the 80's

Last week, I wrote about my favorite movies of the late 1980's.  Reminiscing about those led me to remembering the really amazing, sometimes questionable fashion choices I made when I was younger.  Granted, at that age most of my clothes and decisions on what to wear were inspired by my mother - but I always had an opinion on what we should be shopping for.  Just ask her, I remembering arguing at the mall about what we should buy for back to school when I was going into first grade!

Let's get right to it, list style.  (And don't judge me for my fashion sense during these decades, I know I wasn't alone!)

|| T-shirt ties.  Do you remember these?  A nice little way to tie up one side of your shirt.

||  Scrunchies.  The bigger, the better.  I had unruly hair that needed a beautiful piece of fabric to hold it together.  Which brings me to...

||  Permed Hair.  Three different times.  With bangs.  Be jealous.

||  Anything with NKOTB plastered all over it.  Shirts, socks, school supplies, sleeping bag, sheets.  Yes, sheets.  Joey was my first crush, afterall.

||  Reeboks.  Not just any Reeboks, but the puffy white high top ones.

||  Tight, I mean really tight jeans.  They were so tight that my sister had to help me get them off over my ankles.  I wish I was kidding.

||  Self-decorated Puffy Paint shirts.  Bonus points if they were made with a spinner.  Anyone else?

I could go on and on, but I think I've painted a pretty good picture of my fashion sense at ages 5-9 (with puffy paint).  I wish I lived closer to my parents so I could add amazing pictures to this post... but then again, maybe I'm thankful I don't!

Linking up with Amanda's List Yourself link up.  

Knock on Wood - List Yourself

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Blogger Love v.25

It's Friday again friends!  We made it.  This weekend is going to be so fun - I am surprising E with tickets to Disney's Frozen on Ice!  My girlfriends and I are all taking our oldest for the show and dinner.  She has no idea and I can't wait to see the look on her face.  I'm preparing myself for the million pleas of Anna and Elsa paraphernalia, wish me luck!

Moving on to Blogger Love!  If you'd like to join us, (and I hope you do!) please make sure to share at least one post by a blogger other than yourself, grab the button, and link up below!

"Beauty A to Z: C is for Contouring" by Bourbon, Lipstick and Stilettos.  Contouring is something I fascinated by but have always been too scared to try.  Lindsay gives a quick and easy tutorial - one that I could even do myself.  I am working myself up to try this soon!

"15 Blogging Prompts for 2015" by Sage the Blog.  Sometimes in the world of blogging, we can hit a wall with our creativity.  Cassie helps us out by sharing fifteen prompts for posts.  Definitely storing this away for later use!

"10 Ways to Brighten Someone's Day" by Love the Here and Now.  I love the ideas that Anne shares with us.  Let's face it - although I love winter, it can be depressing, especially when the sun doesn't come out for five days (hello Chicago!).  These are quick and easy things that can help your loved ones feeling blue!

All the Joys - Blogger Love
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Top 5 Movies of 1985-1990

Once upon a time, about 25 years ago, you could find my older sister and I enjoying the long days of summer by splashing on the Slip 'n Slide, chasing the ice cream truck, or hiding out in the cool basement, fighting over who got to be Mario.  We would also ride our bikes up to Mr. Movies to rent a video, at least a few times a week.  We would rotate between just a few - the ones we could watch over and over again. Today I wanted to share those with you - and I'm secretly hoping there are some other fans as well!

 Let's get right to it!

 Maid to Order, 1987.  Featuring Ally Sheedy.  The concept was great - a spoiled girl wakes up with her former life erased and has to work as a maid in order to appreciate the things she once had.  Loved it, couldn't get enough.  And really, it taught a valuable life lesson - Appreciate what you have.

Troop Beverly Hills, 1989.  Starring Shelley Long.  "Beverly Hills, what a thrill!"  If you don't know this, I suggest drop what you are doing and go to Netflix right away.  (Yes, it's on instant!)  I obviously could not relate to life in Beverly Hills, but I could relate to being from a divorced family and the woes of Girl Scouts.  Also, #BlackBeltInShopping applies to me as well!

The Money Pit, 1986.  Featuring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long.  So apparently we were smitten by Shelley Long.  This is another great movie.  My sister and I would rewind the falling bathtub scene at least a dozen times each time we watched the movie.  Tom Hanks' laugh was the best!

Funny Farm, 1988.  Featuring Chevy Chase.  We were (are) big animal lovers, and the silly adventures these two got in to with the residents of their just-bought farm were hysterical.  You know, hysterical to a seven year old.  But in our defense, we have watched it since becoming adults and we still love it just the same!

Mannequin, 1987.  Featuring Kim Cattrall.  So unrealistic.  So amazing.  A department store window designer falls in love with a mannequin - who comes to life at night.  This movie may have played a part in my small fear of mannequins as a child (they could wake up and grab me!), but I loved it none the less.  I remember begging my mom to let me watch this in her room before falling asleep, every night for at least a month.  Special shout out to Mannequin 2 as well!

Have you seen any of these movies?  If not, do any of them look entertaining?  What are you faves from childhood?
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Knock on Wood!

I knock on wood at least daily, sometimes more.  I'm not sure if it ever really helps prevent things I just "jinxed" by talking about them, but it's a habit that I've gotten in to none the less.  But today we aren't talking about my superstitions - I am introducing you to Amanda, from Knock on Wood - the blog!

You write about moving from Georgia to Missouri for love.  What was the biggest change coming to the Midwest?
The biggest adjustment I had to make was that my family was not readily available to me anymore. I am not able to just hop in the car and go visit my mom whenever I want to, that takes lots of planning and money now. 

The second biggest would have to be that stores, restaurants, and activities are not as close to me (or even here!) as they were in Atlanta. We have to make a special trip to the next town over for Chipolte, Chick-fil-A, Dollar Tree, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, Dog Parks, Target, and Movie Theaters. #cultureshock
If you could go on an all expense paid shopping spree, which one store would you pick?
TARGET. duh! I mean it would definitely have to be a Super Target so I could get groceries too! But they have clothes, shoes, office supplies, home goods, beauty products, electronics, and pet products all in one place! What’s not to love?
You do blog designs (which are fab!) What is your creative process?  How do you work with your clients? 
So far I have known my clients pretty well, so there wasn’t a whole lot of guessing to be done. But I have developed a preliminary brainstorming from that I have clients fill out and from there I make a mood board to send to them. We make adjustments and changes along the way and my clients can see the design creation in real time with my Blog Design Tester site. I am always available (when not in class) to my clients needs, so they have my email and phone number to reach me. 
PSSSST- Amanda is offering YOU a discount code on her blog designs!  JOYFUL20 gets you 20% off here!
What are you going to school for?  What do you hope to do with your degree?
I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in English. However I am thinking of changing my minor, to what? I’m not sure yet, but I will definitely announce my decision once it’s made. Once I’m done with school I want to assist couples in their relationships/marriages. I also want to provide platonic relationship counseling as well. Friends, siblings, adult parent/child relationships are just important as intimate ones.
What is the best piece of advice you could give someone about blogging?
Write about things that you would want to read about. If you wouldn’t click on your post when scrolling through your bloglovin’ feed, don’t post it. Save it for another time or rework it to make it better.
Isn't she great?  Go on over and introduce yourself, you won't be disappointed!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Nice Little Saturday

We're back for another round of "Tell Me About Your Town" with Amanda!  This month's prompt was "date night", in preparation of Valentine's Day.  (You can read post one - thankful and post two - shopping here)

Notes from a Newlywed

For this month, we're taking it back to Eastern Iowa.  This is special to me because not only is it where I grew up, but it is where Tim and I met and fell in love - in Iowa City.  Downtown Iowa City has some great restaurant options.  We might have been poor college students, but we managed to go out for nice dinners a few times.  It also helps that my parents live thirty minutes north, so I've been to a few other places since graduating.  For this post, let's pretend that we aren't college students - this kind of night could never be afforded on our student budgets!  (We also probably would have been going to different bars, but that's another post for another day.)

Let's Start with Drinks

Meeting for Happy Hour is a must.  Going to Martini's is a great option - best martini's in town (for me) and over twenty beers on tap (for him).  They have a great beer garden in the back that always provides good people watching.


Let's Move on to Dinner

Atlas is one of my favorite restaurants, probably ever.  Besides the $2 martinis on Thursday nights while I was in college, the food is amazing.  Every time my parents came to visit I would beg them to take me there for dinner.  My favorite?  The Atlas Macaroni and Cheese - Gruy√®re . Fontina . Mozzarella . Parmesan . Slow-roasted Roma tomatoes - need I say more?  Another great dish is the Boulder Roll - Avocado, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, goat cheese, greens and pesto.  Are you hungry yet?


THE mac and cheese.  source

And now, the best part - dessert.

At this point, I would be totally stuffed, but as my father in law always says "my dessert stomach will be empty", so there is always room for more.  In Iowa City, dessert has to come from Scratch Cupcakery.  Over 125 flavors of cupcakes, about 20 flavors baked fresh daily.  My favorite is Wedding Day - almond cake and vanilla frosting.  But let's be honest, I love every one I've had.  It's a very good thing that Scratch was not open while I was in school.  This is a must stop if you are ever in the area! 



If you ever find yourself in Iowa City, I hope you check out one or more of these places - especially that a date night has already been planned.  Which of these places would you visit?
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Cash Money, Honey

Sure, money doesn't buy happiness - but it does buy chocolate, wine and items from the Target $1 Spot.  And that's pretty close to pure happiness, right?

Did you know that Amanda and Anne both recently celebrated their one year blogiversaries?  Well, they did, and I'm here to celebrate with them by giving one of you $180 cold, hard cash.

Enter below, wish Amanda and Anne well, and good luck!

The Prize: $180 PayPal Cash!
Middle: Knock on Wood
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Blogger Love v.24

Time is flying past me and I would really like it stop, just for a little while.  Here we are in mid-January already and celebrating another Friday.  Not that I'm complaining about Fridays - don't get me wrong there!  Because it is Friday I'll be sharing another round of my favorite posts from this week.

Not only that, but I have a very lovely co-host today as well.  Have you met Amanda from Knock on Wood?  If not, go ahead and take a moment to check out her blog.  If you have met her - you already know how wonderful she is!

Let's get to it...

"5 Ways to Earn Free Gift Cards"  by Grace Makes New.  You already know that I love to save money, so this post was right up my alley.  There are some new ones in here I need to check out!

"What It's Really Like to be an Intern in LA" by Lot 48.  This was so, so fun and fascinating to read!  The title says it all - Lauren shares the good, the bad, and the ugly.

"Real Estate for Real People: Selling a Home" by The So-Called Homemaker.  You are probably sick of hearing me talk about our plans to move in the Spring - but Christine shares some good tips for selling a home.  I will be referencing this hopefully soon!

Want to join Amanda and I?  Link up below!  We just ask that you share at least one post from a blogger other than yourself.  That's it!

An InLinkz Link-up

Also, in case you missed it - I am offering two free Smidge of Joy ad spots to anyone that sponsored The Rambling Llama in January, or upcoming in February.  You can read more about that here.   Just email me!

All the Joys - Blogger Love

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life with a Preschooler

My oldest, "E", has always been wise beyond her years.  She spoke early, was having full conversations early, and can remember (and will repeat - we learned the hard way) anything she hears, even just once.  Her personality has always been very caring, very sweet, and very smart.  She is four now, and recently has been saying some things that just make my husband and I laugh - so I had to write them down to share with you.  I'm also linking up with Amanda for #MyConversations!

(While eating dinner)
E: How was work, Daddy?
Daddy: It was good, thanks for asking.
E: No, I mean, are you making your calls and meeting your goals ok?
(Where she even learned the concept of "making calls" and "meeting goals" is beyond me.  And yes, he is in sales, so making calls is his whole day.)

(While I'm brushing her hair)
E: (touching my stomach).  OH!  Do you have another baby in your belly, Mommy?
Me: (horrified) No, honey, I don't...
E: (laughing) Ok.  It must just be the shirt!
(This one hurt a little, but it was funny that she tried to make it better by blaming my shirt!)

(While trying something new for lunch)
E: Oh, wow!  I can't even make a yucky face when I'm trying to eat it!
(Score for me - she never tries new foods!)

(After picking her up from preschool)
Me: Honey, what did you get all over your shirt?
E: Just one of my many projects, I'm so busy.

Life with a four year old sure has it's moments, but these are the things that keep me laughing day to day.  Even when she is so serious or sassy, I know I will look back on this with a huge smile on my face.  What are some memorable things you've heard from littles?

I hope you'll be back tomorrow for Blogger Love!
Knock on Wood Blog | Conversations Link-Up

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stitch Fix - January

I love sharing my fixes with my readers.  I also really enjoy the feedback - it helps me with fixes moving forward - what to request, what to look for, and who doesn't like to shop with their friends?  Even if it's over the internet!

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?  It's quickly become one of my highlights of each month.  I get so excited!  On my next fix, I specifically requested summer items for my upcoming beach trip.  I hope they deliver!

Let's review what I got this month:

 41Hawthorn Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer - $78.  I liked this, especially the purple inside (not that anyone would ever see that).  It fit well, but I also have a blazer just like this - and for $78 I couldn't justify having another.  Sent Back.

 Market and Spruce Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan - $58.  At first glance, I wasn't sure about the color.  I actually really liked the way it fit, the asymmetrical zipper was good for hiding not-so-perfect parts of my body.  In the end however, I couldn't get over the color.  Sent Back.  

 Market and Spruce Moni Abstract Chevron Stud Detail Blouse - $58.  I swear I've gotten this in a fix before.  That, or I've tried it on somewhere before.  Either way, it was way too tight in the hip area.  Sent Back.

 Octavia Henry Birds on Branch Infinity Scarf - $28.  The colors of this scarf were so pretty.  The pattern was something a little different, but in the end I decided different was good.  Kept.

Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $68.  Does this picture make your eyes hurt?  Imagine it in person.  Sent Back.

Today is Wednesday Wishes with Anne.  I am wishing that my stylist really gets me next month, and I get an amazing fix.  I feel like others have gotten theirs - February has to be my month!  Maybe just the fact that it will be full of warm weather clothing will help!

Have you signed up for Stitch Fix yet?  What are your thoughts on what I kept?

**By clicking the above link and signing up, I will receive a referral credit. (Thank You!) I was not paid for this post - all opinions are my own!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Things That Aren't So Bad...

I can be a little stubborn.  I like to think that I'll try anything once - and I will, but if a situation gives me any reason to dislike it, I will.  And I won't easily try it again.  There have been a few things, however, that once I've been convinced to try (again), I've decided that they weren't so bad after all.


|| Brussel Sprouts.  I think this is leftover from my childhood - although I don't even remember a time being forced to eat them.  I've had them again recently, and I'm in love.  Roasted, grilled, with garlic, bacon, so delish.  Although pretty much anything with garlic and bacon will have me singing it's praises.

|| Scandal.  The first time I watched this, I was sitting in the Tampa airport during a 6 hour delay.  My sister convinced me to watch it on my iPad, while we shared one set of earbuds.  I couldn't even get through one episode.  Last year, I tried again, and it's one of my favorite shows now!

|| Working out.  Oh, my love-hate relationship with working out.  I will be getting in a swimsuit in two months, so after the holidays I decided to start working out and watch what I eat.  I've been counting calories (anyone on MyFitnessPal?) and doing workouts online.  I feel so good after working out, and already feel stronger!  Plus - I've already lost weight.  I'm a believer!

|| Snow/Cold Days.  While everyone was at home last week with school and work cancelled around here, I went to work.  And it was great.  No one to bother me, I wasn't stuck in the house for three days with the littles (who got a little stir crazy) and I got so much done!

|| Country Music.  I know this comes as a shock to some of you.  But after my girls trip to Nashville, I fell in love.  I'm slowly learning it, but have the local country station on my preset in the car now.  I even play it on Spotify in the office!

|| Iced Tea.  I've given up Diet Coke, which was really difficult.  When I go to places like Jersey Mikes or Panera and buy the meal deal, my only options for a drink are soda or sugar filled juice.  Oh a whim I tried iced tea (unflavored) and it's really good!  Refreshing and something different than water.  Plus, isn't there still caffeine?!

|| Not eating sweets.  My sweet tooth hates me for saying that.  I sort of hate myself for saying that.  I love sweets!  But when counting calories, it doesn't leave much room for them.  Instead, I put some of my grapefruit essential oil in water and it really cuts the craving.  (Let me know if you want more information on this one - happy to share with my fellow sweets lovers!)

||  Reading.  I loathed reading while in school.  I'm sure it's because it was mandatory, and never a book I chose.  But now, I live for it.  Getting lost in a book is something I have to do as often as possible.

|| Change.  Change can be scary, intimidating, something you'd like to avoid - but it's not always bad.  Good things can come from change, and that is something I am slowly learning.  Change can be exciting!

Are there any things that you thought you really didn't like, only to find out that they weren't so bad?  I'd love to hear about them!

In case you missed it, don't forget to enter the Starbucks giveaway below!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Blogger Love v.23

It's Friday!  You know what that means - have a drink or two (or three) and enjoy the weekend! But first, let's highlight some posts that we enjoyed from the past week, shall we?

"My Word for 2015" by Love the Here and Now.  Anne picked her word - "challenge", and I could have done the same.  I think we can all challenge ourselves daily, and if you are anything like me, they will be small things... at first.

"Making Room for Baby #2" by Adventures of Bug and Boo.  It wasn't that long ago that I had the same feelings Rebecca has now.  Going from one to two is difficult - especially with all of the "what-if's" and unknowns, but somehow it all works out.  I can't wait to see her family expand!

"The Awesome Thing About Dogs" by Knock on Wood.  It's no secret that I'm a dog lover, and Amanda hits the nail on the head with this one.  Plus, her dog Bear is just the cutest thing ever!

"My Feelings on Minimalism" by Notes From a Newlywed.  This is something I wish I could do.  I feel like my house is being overrun by clutter and I just can't shake it!

What were your favorites?  Link up with us below.  Please include at least one post by a blogger other than yourself, and grab the button if you'd like.  Also, if anyone is interested in designing a button, please email me.  I'd love to add it to my Blogger Love page!

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I'm also excited to share this giveaway with you - enter below for your chance to win! 

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Don't Toss Your Holiday Cards!

One of my favorite parts of December, besides Christmas Day, is getting the mail each day.  I get so excited to open Christmas cards from our friends and family, and quickly put them on display in our home.  Every year, around this time, it would pain me to throw them away.  Those were memories - pictures - and I was just recycling them.

Until 2012.  I started saving them, making them in to little books.  I put our card on top, and every year I lay out books of years past.  It's so fun to look through them and remember our friends and family then, and see how far they've come - with wedding pictures, new dogs, babies, new houses.  It's such a fun keepsake and I wanted to share it with you.  It's so easy, you can have this done in ten minutes - I promise!

For supplies, all you need are:

-A copy of your Christmas card
-All of the cards you recieved
-A three hole punch
-ring clips, found at any office supply store

Organize your received cards by size.

Starting with the largest size, line up 4-5 cards (depending on thickness), and punch two holes.  Try and center them as best as possible.

There is no math here - just eyeball it!

Continue with the next largest size, working your way to the smallest.

Don't forget to also put holes in your card!

With the largest size on the bottom and the smallest on the top, put your cards in a pile.  Make sure the holes are all on the same side.

Begin on either the top or bottom holes, and wiggle the ring clip through.

Repeat for the other side.

Be sure to add your card to the top, and you are finished!

I hope you have fun looking back on cards from the past.  We do every year!

Linking up with Ash and Anne.

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