Friday, March 30, 2012

5 Friday Faves (+ an etsy giveaway)

It is hard to believe at this time last week I was basking away (In the shade with SPF 55+. Have you seen how pale I am?) on a Hawaiian beach.  Le sigh.  I have been beyond exhausted all week and I cannot wait to sleep in tomorrow. CANNOT WAIT.  Like you have absolutely no idea.  

Oh, so I promised you a Hawaii recap two days ago? Well, don't hate me, but can you wait until Monday? Ugh,  I know.  I'm the girl that cried wolf.

I have literally been eating whatever scraps I can find in my house (the grocery store is calling my name), working out and then passing out after work every night.  But I end up waking up around 9 p.m. and not being able to go back to sleep until after 2 a.m.  Like I said, exhausted.  Editing all the pictures and writing candidly about the trip is going to have to wait until this weekend.  I keep getting "Um, are you alive?" and "we are not friends" texts from all my friends because I owe them all phone calls in a bad way.  So you my dear readers, are not the only ones I've been neglecting. 

Enough of my excuses. I have Friday Favorites from the week below and you'll have to scroll all the way down to see how to enter today's Etsy Giveaway c/o the sweet Becky at Petals, Lace and Pearls!  You may remember her as one of my February Sponsors.  TGIF. Please love me still.    

Favorite Nail Polish: 
I have been eyeing this trend and I finally took the plunge and went mint green!  On my nails is "Blue Mist" by e.l.f., a bargain $1 dupe for essie's Mint Candy Apple.  I've said before I'm not a fan of cheapo nail polish, but this particular polish has actually held up well for me.  No chips!

Favorite Hair Style:
My messy bun. All day, every day for work.  Saves my hair from the heat.

Favorite Food:
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken over tri-color rotini c/o Beth via Pinterest - So good and so easy to make. My brother and nephew loved it (as did I).

Favorite Funny:
I was literally just telling this to someone yesterday.

Favorite Picture:

And now, for the giveaway courtesy of her:
This is Becky, the crafty lady behind Petals, Lace, Pearls who makes "pretty things for pretty girls".  She is a mama bear to a sweet baby girl, a fellow Texan and she just got back from Kaua'i too! 

Today she is offering all of my U.S. readers a chance to win a $25 credit to her etsy shop, which has pretty headbands and necklaces for grown-ups and girls:

We're making it easy to enter.  All you have to do to enter is like both of our Facebook pages:



Once you've done that, leave a comment letting me know!

For extra entries, you must leave SEPARATE comments or they will not be counted (sorry Charlie).  

[Follow Becky's Blog via GFC]

[Follow Becky on Pinterest]

[Follow The Bargain Blonde via GFC]

You have until Sunday, April 1 at midnight PST to enter.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oopsies + 2 more Bebe Bloggers

I lied. 
Yesterday I said I would give you a legit Hawaii recap today and I forgot to grab my camera this morning. Myyyyy bad. Traveling always throws my brain off.  You should see the heinous outfit I have on today. Like, I would not be my friend if I saw me.  Not to mention my hair is a greasy, half poof/bun situation.  I have not unpacked from Hawaii, and have not even thought about it. My DVR is 100% full and my to-do list at work makes me want to cry.

I just spent 8 days in paradise ... enough about my first world problems.  

I got something really exciting in the mail when I got home from Kaua'i:  My personalized Erin Condren 2012 planner.  Ummm, I cradle this thing like it's my first born every where I go.  I seriously am in love with it and it was worth every penny.  I know it's almost April, but you need one in your life so get one now because they are on sale for 40% off!
The actual colors are green and pink, not the yellow-ish it looks in the first picture above.

Iinstead of a recap today, I bring you two more baby bloggers: Jeremy/Megan and Kayla!  They are both proud, new-ish, hot mommies!  Read away:

Jeremy and Megan
Meaning behind your blog name:
My husband came up with the name for our blog when we were on a work trip for his company. I was early in my pregnancy and we seemed to be eating out a lot more because we were both too exhuasted to cook. Everytime we would go to a restaurant, the host or hostess would ask "Table for how many?" and as a joke one time Jeremy said "Table for 3"
(Me and Jer when I was 10 weeks pregnant!)

Blog Established:
I started the blog in December 2010 but didn't start REALLY getting into blogging until mid-late last year. Our baby was born 3.5 months early so I found it as an outlet while life was BEYOND crazy!

Current follower count: 41

Get to know this Baby!

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because we don't live close to our family or close friends so I started the blog so they could keep up with our pregnancy.
(Our positive pregnancy test!)

2. What do you hope to gain from blogging?
I love that blogging can connect me with so many other people with a similar lifestyle and interests!
(Like mommy's with cute babies like mine!)

3. Name 3 established blogs you look up to and why.

((only 3?!))
Becky: I LOVE that she is a working mama like myself, she is hilarious and her daughter is SO cute!! I have been following her since before her THOUSANDS!

Raven: I LOVE her attitude, sarcasm, funny stories and she is beyond beautiful!

Aly: I LOVE her fashion sense and pretty hairbows/headbands, her posts ALWAYS either make me laugh or cry and DUH she is Carrie Underwoods TWIN!

((and of course I LOVE The Bargain Blonde, Lindsey, for her recipes, fun blog posts and AWESOME bargaining tips!))

4. What has surprised you most about blogging so far (good or bad):
What has surprised me MOST is how supportive this community can be. I have seen posts where people have gotten HUNDREDS of comments, whether it was to offer congrats or sympathy! I think that is AWESOME!!

(Olivia 2 weeks old in The NICU, first time I got to hold her!)

5. Best advice you've received about blogging:
Just be yourself! :)

6. How do you come up with material for your blog?
I just write about my life, and when in doubt, I post pictures of my baby girl, Olivia! :)

7. What do you do when you aren't blogging?
When I am not blogging I am either working my FT position in HR, spending time with Olivia and Jeremy or Sleeping!

8. What is your goal for your blog a year from now?
My goal is that I keep up with this blog as Olivia gets older, so one day she can read it.

9. Have you ever been on a blate (blogger + date)? If not, would you?
I have not, but I would LOVE to meet some of the faces behind the blogs I read daily! (...anyone up to a trip to Michigan?!) ;)

Come on over and say HELLO...

Thank you SO much Lindsey for having me!! :)


Blog Established:
January 8, 2012 - yup, I am BRAND NEW to this blogging world and loving it!

Current follower count:
Ready for this?? 11! I'm actually really proud of this number. I know that if you add in the random family and friends that read along this is probably a bit higher, but just 2 months in and 11 strangers (okay 9, if you take away the 2 people I know) want to read what I have to say? I'll take it! 

Get to know this Baby!

1. Why did you start blogging?
I was a Stay-At-Home-Mama who was down in the dumps because after a whole year of CRAZY everything was starting to settle down and sink in. While I am COMPLETELY in love with my baby boy  Jack (aka Da Bubba), adjusting to being a mom, wife, and post-grad wasn't as easy when I had time to actually think about ALL the changes that had taken place in my life. My sister suggested that I start a blog to document this phase of life, and so I did! I have become completely immersed in this blogging community and had no idea what I was getting myself into!

2. What do you hope to gain from blogging?
I hope to meet new people, learn new things, & inspire others! I know first hand that life after college is a hard transition.. add in the wife and mama title and it's down right overwhelming sometimes! I try to be really honest in my writing and show the good AND the bad (check out my "Meltdown Moment of the Week" posts). While a lot of my blog features extremely cute pictures of Bubba, I also try to highlight the challenges I confront when it comes to living in a new place (with no friends), working on my marriage, and trying to be a good mom. If I can help others feel like they are not alone, then I think I will have achieved a really great thing! I also love that I will always have a "journal" of sorts to remind me of this really special time in our family's history. I will remember all the good and bad days and how I felt right in the thick of it!

3. Name 3 established blogs you look up to and why.  
Okay, not only is Naomi gorgeous beyond words, she is genuine. She has been at this blogging thing for 5 YEARS! She's a mama to a sweet baby girl and a little boy on the way! She cherishes and nurtures her marriage in a way that is truly inspiring. She also has a lot of fun and eats a lot of delicious food. She's basically a bloglebrity (blog celebrity.. it made sense to me..) and when I visit my sister in D.C. next month I am secretly going to hope I run into her..

Allie is seriously a mama superstar! She has three under three (her most recent addition was born 3/8/12). She went ALL NATURAL for all three of her births. I am seriously impressed by her every time I read a post. She's honest and has a huge heart. We live about an hour apart and chat via Twitter Direct Messaging.. which I didn't even know existed until she showed me the light! She gives me hope that there are other young SAHM's that aren't judgmental or rude, I just have to figure out where they are.. She also cherishes her marriage and I love how much respect and adoration she expresses towards her husband. She reminds me to love on my hubby a little more than I think to sometimes! 

Becky is seriously a doll! She honestly does it all. SAHM by day and RN by night! I swear she doesn't sleep and still has the energy to do all sorts of fun activities with her daughter. She inspires me to get my craft on (even if I'm terrible at it) and get out and do things with Jack (even if he can't appreciate them yet). She also does all of her own blog design and was kind enough to help me out when I needed a little extra "tutoring". I look forward to her posts and all the gorgeous pictures she takes of her little model baby, E. She's honest and blunt. My kind of girl!

4. What has surprised you most about blogging so far (good or bad):
The community aspect. It really can be a "small" blog world if you start reading the same blogs as other bloggers. Sometimes I feel like the new kid in high school, other times I am in awe of peoples' kindness! I also didn't realize how much fun I would have in regard to the actual design of my blog! I love figuring out all the html stuff.. and mess with it daily!

5. Best advice you've received about blogging:
Be yourself. It's really easy to try to present your life like it's perfect, but that seems exhausting. I like that I have really started to find my "voice" via my blog. The more I blog the more I feel like I'm truly documenting this crazy life of ours!

6. How do you come up with material for your blog?
I pretty much just blog about our day-to-day. Jack keeps me busy.. most of the time. And when he doesn't provide interesting material I just take a lot of cute pictures of him.. There's also this marriage thing I am trying to figure out. I'm lucky to be IN love, but that doesn't mean it's easy! My husband John is half saint (he puts up with a lot) half devil (he drives me cray!) He's my best friend and we manage to have lots of fun together.. I'm also attempting to domesticate myself, so recipe successes (though few and far between) are documented along with my crafting, cleaning, and decorating attempts. 

7. What do you do when you aren't blogging?
I love spending time with family and friends. My family are my friends so this is a giant bonus! We spend most of our weekends with some form of family and that is fine by us! We love spending summer weekends at my parents' lake house. We are die hard Spartan fans (both grads of MSU) and love to tailgate for football games and catch the occasional basketball game when we can! I love watching movies and reading (although the time to participate in either activity is scarce). Most of my days are spent playing with Bubba, reading blogs, talking to my mom and sisters (SEVERAL times a day), making baby food, cleaning something (sometimes), attempting to be a follower of the Tracy Anderson Method (this should happen more), and whatever excuse I can cook up to get out of the house!

8. What is your goal for your blog a year from now?
I hope to have more readers! I hope I am still chronicling my adventures in parenthood and marriage. I am going back to school for my masters in the fall so we will be adjusting to changes AGAIN. I can't wait to see how much our lives have changed and be able to see how we got there!

9. Have you ever been on a blate (blogger + date)?  If so, how did it go? If not, would you?
Not yet! But Allie and I hope to do a zoo date with our boys once she settles in with her new little man! 

10.  Tell us where we can find you on the Web:

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hawaii in Instagram!

Aloha!  I can sum Kaua'i, Hawaii up for you in one word: paradise!  I promise to write a proper recap of the trip tomorrow once I've caught up on my sleep. Leaving Hawaii at 10 p.m. on Sunday and not getting home until 1:20 p.m. Monday will make a girl a little hazy.  However, to tide you bargainistas over, I have put together a video montage (turn your speakers on for the music) of all of my Instagram photos from the trip. Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baby Bloggers - Part 3, My Texas Ladies!!!

Aloha!  I love when people tell me that here.  I feel so Hawaiian.  BTW - some Hawaiian dude told Raven and I that we aka "Mainland Americans" have ruined Hawaii by bringing cancer, heart disease, mosquitos and chickens here. Yes, we ruined your islands sir.  My apologies.

Anywho - Raven did a quick recap this morning so you are going to have to check that out here.

We have been posting updates on our Instagrams all day, so follow us!

Raven - @RavenASmith
Moi - @TheBargainBlonde

We will make you want to hate us though.  I'd hate us too.  Breakfast on the lawn:

And Mai Tai's by the pool all day yesterday:
OK, OK ... enough.  So today I have three Texas ladies for you.  We actually know the same people, which is such a small world.  My BFF Liz  (you've heard me talk about her on the blog a million times) went to college with them so you know they are legit.

Without further adieu, I will let you meet the fabulous Emily and Leah & Jacq (a packaged deal)!

Who is this Baby?

Your Name: Emily Mazey

Your Blog Name: Raines and Shines 
Meaning behind your blog name: 
I was trying to think of a title that was both easy to remember and personal. My soon-to-be hubby's last name is Raines and since I am going to be an official Raines come March 23, 2013, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and incorporate my future moniker into my blog title. "Shines" was a play on words (rhymes with Raines, people) and reflects my personality: cheery, bright and blonde!
Blog Established: January 4, 2012

Current follower count: Currently at 65 and counting.

Get to know this Baby

1. Why did you start blogging?
Okay, don't think any less of me, but I have a really bad memory. I'm horrible at telling stories because I always forget them. I knew I wanted a good way to document my wedding planning and thoughts and experiences along the way since this is such a new and fun time in my life. I'm the kind of person who will write in a journal for a week and then forget about it so i thought a blog would be best way I could share my experiences with friends and family. My blog has become a story book of my life with family and friends, wedding happenings, current fashion, products I love and pop culture.

2. What do you hope to gain from blogging?
Early on, my blog was private for just family and a few close friends because I was afraid to jump right in with the highs and lows of planning a wedding and prevent a quarter-life crises. My close family and friends know I am a pretty private person and I think blogging has really helped me be comfortable in my own skin and be open with everything going on in my life. This blog is all about self-reflection and being able to document moments in my life. I'm hoping to gain confidence, some technical skills, new internet buddies and hopefully new IRL friends too.

3. Name 3 established blog you look up to and why.
My goodness narrowing it down to three is not easy. There are so many wonderful bloggers that I can spend hours reading their posts.
Of course I look up to the one and only Bargain Blonde. Who else has the honor of becoming the most valuable blogger of such a big city like Dallas? Lindsey finds the best and cutest clothing bargains! She makes the shopaholic in everyone into a money saving diva. (I have also come to find out that she is besties with some of the girls that I went to college with and were in the same organization. Small world!)

Raven from "A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers" is definitely another blog that I look up to. When I first started blogging I decided to email her for advice about her blog design and come to find out she created it all on her own just by researching so it really gave me inspiration to do the same. I considered paying someone to do it for me until Raven gave me courage to try it out on my own. This girl ROCKS and is hilarious!

Kristen from All in my Twenties was one of the very first real blogs that I started reading besides the celebrity blogs. This girl is hilarious and her writing skills are amazing. She speaks exactly how she feels and doesn't care what anyone thinks because it's her own little space to do whatever she wants to. I really appreciate and look up to her for that! Her posts consist of daily events and is really interesting to see what others do on a day-to-day basis.

4. What has surprised you most about blogging so far?
The good is how fun and addicting it can be and how supportive so many strangers have been. The bad although it's not super bad is that I tend to obsess over the details of the look and feel of my blog. I find myself wanting to change things up constantly and always messing with the aesthetics of my blog. I always tell myself to quit messing with the font and just type! It will be exciting to see what it looks like come December.

5. Best advice you've received about blogging.
I talk about blogging a lot with Stan and my sister, since it's still pretty new to me, and he is constantly telling me to just take it one step at a time; don't try to do it all in one day, it is a work in progress. If you see something you like, check into how to do it, then do it and don't be afraid to change it if you don't like it. I'm just so indecisive and find myself always asking my sister for a second opinion.
Meet Stan (and his dream boat)

Meet Natalie (my sister)

6. How do you come up with material for your blog?
It's usually whatever thoughts come to my head on and given moment, the funny frustrations that happen on a daily basis, things I like, shows I watch, etc. Little inspirations I see and experience. I have also taken a lot more pictures since I started blogging which helps with daily topics and I really like to just write about day to day stuff or wedding updates.

7. What do you do when you aren't blogging?
Besides at work (a girl's got to eat), you can find me on a boat at the lake, spending time with friends and family, buying everything at your local Sephora, and planning for that once in a lifetime thing we call a wedding! I love to travel and try to take a vacation whenever I can. Whether up to Austin to visit my sister or Vegas, I am up for an adventure!

8. What is your goal for your blog a year from now?
I hope to have shared fun and interesting news about my life and wedding planning. Hopefully encouraging others with new ideas, product reviews or fashion go to's. Also to have my layout settled so I do not have the constant feeling of needing to update it.

9. Have you ever been on a blate? If so, how did it go? If not, would you?
I guess technically speaking I have been on a blate since my best friend also blogs, but I have not actually been on a blind blate (say that three times fast) but would absolutely love to. I have come to realize that the blog community is a great way to meet new people and lifetime friends. I would love to expand my circle!
10. Tell us where we can find you on the web:

Thank you so much Lindsey for having me today!

Who is this baby?
Hey everyone!  We are Jacquelyn Henion and Leah McGarry of Sweet and Sour Showers and we are so excited to participate in the Bargain Blonde's Baby Blogger series.

We came up with the idea to start SASS because we really and truly love to plan parties and showers, bake over-the-top sweets, and clog the gmail servers as we email nonstop about all the sour details.  We started our blog in August 2011 and currently have 125 followers and counting. 

Get to know us!
Answers to your most burning questions...

1.    Why did we start blogging?
Creating a blog was the perfect place for us to share all of our party ideas, showcase our fun baked goods, and give girls like us a place to vent about the planning process.  Bonus – it gives us a platform to subtly talk isht about the ills of being a bridesmaid.  Check out our very first blog post to learn more. 

2.    What do we hope to gain from blogging?
SASS gives us the chance to share our ideas and hear from other girls just like us who love to pour themselves into the details of party-planning.  This also seemed like the most fun way to feature all the cute custom treats that we offer for sale.  Besides, how else would we be able to talk about pen15 cake pops?

3.    3 established blogs we look up to: 
  • The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle:  She is our cookie idol!  If you don’t decorate cookies this blog will be totally overwhelming, but her pictures are to die for.
  • TV My Wife Watches: This guy is a small blogger, but he is both filthy and hilarious.  If you watch the Bachelor, you have to read this blog.  It’s our Tuesday morning guilty pleasure.
  • Bargain Blonde: Not trying to suck up here, but it’s true!  There are so many blogs out there that only post link-ups and don’t have any meat.  We love that Lindsey keeps it real with her bargain advice but also makes us LAUGH.  Plus everything she does for us small bloggers is really cool, too.
4.    What has surprised us most about blogging so far?
It’s so much work - and Blogger really sucks sometimes!  We are really passionate about sharing good, useful material on our blog and don’t like to just share Pinterest pictures.  (You know where you can find Pinterest images?  ON PINTEREST.)  So we spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and making sure that if we were an outsider reading our blog, we wouldn’t be bored out of our minds.  Here are some of our favorite shower posts:

Check them out here!
5.    Best advice we've received:
Don't drink Goldschlager.  Just kidding (sort of).  The best advice we have received is not to expect success overnight or compare our blog to others.  Some of our topics attract a lot of interest and others may not, but we can't get discouraged.  We are doing something different that we really enjoy, and that's the most important thing!

6.    How do we come up with material for our blog?
Coming up with material for our blog is easy because it seems like we are always planning some kind of party – bachelorettes, bridal showers, baby showers, you name it.  And when we’re not planning something, our friends probably are! If you want us to feature a shower you’ve thrown, contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.

7.    What do we do when we aren't blogging?
When we’re not blogging, we both love to cook and bake, watch reality TV, and hit up local restaurants here in Austin.  We also love to travel.  Here are some pics of us on past trips…

8.    What is our goal for our blog a year from now?
We know that our blog is kind of a niche topic, so mostly we just hope to keep coming up with new and interesting ideas and continue to receive so much interest in our baked treats.  Plus, we want to hear more from our readers.  It’s amazing how much our comments have grown in the last 6 months, but we want to hear more!

9.    Have we ever been on a blate (blogger + date)? 
We haven't done any blates yet, but we are definitely trying to meet more bloggers, especially in the Austin area.

10.  Find us on the web:

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