Tuesday tips (on a Thursday!)- Influenster VoxBox

Christmas coming and family visiting have thrown me off my game, and I’ve been slacking on my Tuesday Tips posts lately!  So I’m doing one on Thursday instead- it’s my blog and I can do what I want to, right?

Anyway- have y’all heard of Influenster?  If not, go check them out!  This is a great (free!!!) site for people who are connected to social media (ie every single person I know these days) especially bloggers.

From their website:

Influenster is a free-to-join community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences.

The Influenster site is a hub where members meet to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives!

Influenster invites its most active members to participate in exclusive VoxBox programs where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, we ask our members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media!

But that’s not all. We have a lot going on including digital challenges, twitter parties, & contests!

Their VoxBoxes are where it’s at folks.  I just received my first one in the mail (the Holly Jolly VoxBox) and it’s awesome!!


voxbox inside

What’s in the box?

1. Puffs Ultra Soft and Strong to go tissue pack– This is great because I have a little tissue pack holder in my car that my sister-in-law made me.  It’s currently empty, so this puffs pack is getting put in there pronto!

2.  NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow–  I don’t wear makeup very often, but the last time I did, I realized that my eye shadow was probably 3 years old.  That’s kind of yucky.  I’m loving all the colors in this trio (they’re all pretty pink/browns, which is my go-to color for blue eyes- pair that with my current mascara and you’ve got a winning combination for sure, if you don’t mind a few sparkles).  There’s a little label over each of the colors to tell you where to put them (highlighter, all over lid, crease) which is an awesome bonus!

3.  Rimmel London NEW show off lip lacquer– This is the perfect combination of a lipstick and a lip gloss, which I love.  The applicator is angled which makes putting it on easier, and I really like the color they sent.  This is definitely something I will wear (and it pairs well with the eye shadow too!)

4. Skinny Cow candy– Ummm, it is sad that I was the most excited about this item?  Probably.  But a full sized box of chocolate (with peanut butter)??  Yes please!  And I won’t feel bad about eating the entire box a whole pouch in one sitting, because there are only 130 calories in the pouch.  Yum.

5. Ducklings mini rolls– Aside from the fact that the name of this tape is the cutest thing ever, I’m loving this little roll of tape.  It’s super cute and one of my favorite colors (you’ve seen B’s nursery right? He’s probably going to grow up to hate aqua).  The walls in my office at work are cinder block and I think this cute roll of tape will be just the trick to put some of our family photos up on display!

Pretty awesome right?  What are you waiting for- go become an Influenster!!

**I was not paid for my review of Influenster’s VoxBox but I did receive the box for free.  All of the above statements are my honest opinion**


Family photos

By now, most folks I’ve sent these out to have received them (I hope…and, I apologize in advance about the mess that my cards will make in your house- my couch was covered in glitter after doing these.  Never again will I use a glitter card!!)

Anyway- about a week before B’s 1st birthday, I noticed a local photographer was offering one of her monthly photo mini sessions.  A friend of mine had used this same photographer for family photos, and I’d been drooling over them- Anna is super talented with her photography!!

The timing just happened to work out perfectly- I’d been doing B’s monthly photo shoots on the blanket I made him (I did actually keep up with doing them, I just didn’t keep up with blogging about them), and wanted his last photo on the blanket to be a professional one.  It was only fitting, seeing as his first photo with the blanket was also professional:


Photo by Bella Baby Photography

It was also a great excuse to get some really great photos of our little family of three!!  Anna is so super fast with her photo processing that we got the cd of all of our professionally edited photos within 2 weeks of our mini session (and Thanksgiving was right after our session- I am super impressed)  And you know what?  I love them ALL.  She captured our sweet, serious B perfectly.  So, thank you Anna!  Locals, if you need a photographer, check her out!!

Here are a few of my favorites (all photos by Anna at aicreative):

The Christmas card photo (I’m also using this, in black and white, for my DIY canvas trick)

The birthday boy on his blanket

Sweet B with his balloon

Nothing sweeter than a boy and his daddy…

Except maybe a boy and his mommy

love those blue/grey eyes

Standin’- what this boy does best!!

Beautiful right??  Maybe I’m just biased…but seriously.  I had a hard time choosing which ones to print, they were all amazing.

Happy Holidays friends- I’m going to be fairly quiet on the blog for the rest of 2013, spending some much needed down time with family who are in town.  I hope you are able to do the same!!  See y’all in the new year!

DIY canvas art

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope y’all had a great weekend!  We were super busy, and poor B came down with a nasty cough.  Yuck.

I’m showing you something I put together over the weekend- it’s super simple and one of my favorite crafts.

In our house we have a few gallery walls (B’s room, my office and our hallway)  I really like adding in pictures that are in frames and on canvases- it’s fun to mix them up.  I’m loving photo printed canvases, but you know, they can be SO expensive!  But I’m going to show you how you can create your own at home for less!

First, gather your supplies.  You’re going to need your photo (I’ve used 8×10’s and 11×14’s for this project), some craft paint in your color of choice, a foam brush, a canvas to fit your photo and some modge podge.

DIY canvas art supplies

Paint your canvas edges with the craft paint

DIY canvas art painted canvases

You’ll notice I painted the blue one completely blue- you don’t have to do this (see the black one), but I wasn’t sure the piece of artwork I was putting on that canvas was as thick as a photo, and it is a light colored piece of paper, so I didn’t want any lines to show through.  The black does not show through a photo- I’ve done several this way and they’ve all turned out great.

Spread some modge podge down on the canvas…

DIY canvas art modge podge

Then put your photo (or art) down on top and let it dry so it attaches well.  Once it’s attached, cover the photo (or art) in a two layers of modge podge (let each application dry in between).

DIY canvas art print

Make sure to get the sides of the canvas too, because you’re inevitably going to have some drips.  Plus craft paint is very matte, whereas the modge podge is sort of shiny (I used the matte finish modge podge, by the way)

DIY canvas art side

Then, admire your canvas and hang it up!


This particular canvas is a family tree that my sister got for B last Christmas.  I’m ashamed to say it took me a year to get it completed (mostly because I was afraid I would mess it up by writing on it, but I put my penmanship skills to work and I have to say, it looks pretty good) As of today, it’s filled out and ready to hang on the wall!!  Normally I paint the edges black for my photos, but I thought an aqua blue was a fun change, and it matches B’s nursery colors.  I can’t wait to hang it on the wall in there.

Did you craft something over the weekend?

Linking up to the Inspire Me Please blog hop at House of Rose!

Deck the halls, inside and out!

Hey everyone!  I’m skipping my usual “Tuesday Tips” this week to show off our Christmas decorations.  I just love this time of year- it’s so fun to have our house all decorated, and to drive around and see all the lights up- it’s just so festive.

We managed to get all the outside decorations up during B’s nap on Friday- a true Christmas miracle.  Ha.  I’m really happy with how it turned out!


The giant ornaments are one of my favorite things:


Inside, I did our mantle like I always do- my Noel sign is probably my favorite thing up there


Why yes, that is a tool bench in front of the fireplace…just keepin’ it real around here!

We don’t have our tree up yet because we get a live one, and that sucker would be crispy by the time Christmas rolled around if we got it now.  So we’ll wait until the middle of December- I can’t wait for that fresh pine scent!  I do have a mini fake tree that I put up on the kitchen counter though- is it weird that I really kind of want to keep it up all year??


And our dining room table isn’t fancy- normally I do more than this, but B is so curious these days I figured he’d either want everything on there or pull a tablecloth off the table.  So I just put out some simple place mats and a centerpiece- the glass vase has a wooden nutcracker, a couple of mini fake trees and some epsom salt snow!


And that’s it!!

Have you decorated for the holidays yet?

Linking up to Dare to DIY at Newly Woodwards!

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Christmas Party!


Getting in the Christmas spirit

**Note- this was supposed to go up on 11/29/13 but wordpress’s scheduler decided to take the day off**

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can start thinking about decorating for Christmas.   I refuse to put up any Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, although the day after is fair game!

Funny story though- growing up, my family and I used to go to a 4500 acre ranch in Northern California for Thanksgiving.  My grandma had a house on the ranch, so every year my mom’s side of the family would gather there for Thanksgiving.  Since we didn’t see that side of the family at Christmas, we would celebrate Christmas the day after Thanksgiving with them- complete with a little tree (cut down from the ranch property) and Christmas crackers (and if you’ve never had those, you’re missing out (hint: they’re not edible)  The paper hats alone make it worth it)  So growing up, we had a tree at Thanksgiving every year.  Now I refuse to blend the two holidays.  Go figure.

Anyway.  Today we’re going to start putting up our Christmas decorations, both inside and out, and I’m SUPER excited (I don’t do Black Friday shopping so today is all about decorating)  Last year, B was due to arrive at any time, so the outside decorations did not happen (I’m the light hanger of the family and a 9mo pregnant lady plus a ladder just don’t mix).  I miss those twinkly lights outside!!  Here’s a peek at what they look like- and I’ll be sure to get a better photo for y’all this year:



I’m most excited about our mantle decorations- that’s probably my favorite inside decoration that we have, aside from our tree of course.  I love love love a full mantle.  Every time I take down our decorations for the year, our mantle just looks so empty and sad!  I’ll be putting up my Noel sign again.  The yarn wrapped trees will also make an appearance, minus the stars.  One fell off last year and Kirby decided to eat it…sigh.  I actually like them better without the stars, so maybe Kirby was just exercising his decorating opinion??  I’ll be sure to post some updated photos here soon!


pottery barn inspired


We get a live tree every year, and our winters here are SO dry- so we try to get the tree as late in the month as possible.  So no Christmas tree yet.  I’m a little nervous about B and the tree- so the later we get it the better I think, to avoid having to remove a one year old from the tree multiple times- ha!

Our dining room table will be decorated as well, but I haven’t figured that out completely- I normally do a tablecloth but B has decided that tablecloths belong on the floor, not the table.  So…place mats it is!

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet?  Stay tuned for some updated decoration photos…




So as I’m starting a new post for y’all, following up on my post from Friday…I realized that Friday’s post never went up.  Shoot!!  My scheduler must have had too much turkey on Thanksgiving and overslept…?

Anyway, I’ll be posting that one for you today, and then coming back tomorrow for a post about our Christmas decorations!!

Also…this happened on Sunday:


SOMEONE turned ONE.  ONE!!  How is that even possible???  AND, he took his first steps on Thanksgiving.  Such a big boy.  Quit growing up B!!


I can’t believe I made it to the very end of NaBloPoMo.  It wasn’t easy- and I had a few days there where I was OVER it.  But I made it through!  And it was great- getting to know some new bloggers and figuring out what I like to write about.

December is going to be  A LOT quieter around here, but don’t expect me to disappear completely.  I’ve got some DIY projects brewing over here that have taken considerable longer to get together than I planned, but I’ll be posting about them at some point this month.

Also, look for something new to show up in January (no, not a baby).  Something fun is in the works!

Thanks for reading along everyone!!


NaBloPoMo November 2013

Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m thankful for so many things, but the top three that come to mind are family, friends and food!!

I hope you’re spending Thanksgiving with people you love and sharing some delicious food.  It’s just the three of us for Thanksgiving this year, but that doesn’t stop me from making enough food to feed an army…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 15lb turkey to cook!



Tuesday tips: sleep and babies, part 2

Let me just start off by saying, remember folks- you’re raising a little human, not a robot.  Every person is different, and your little person is not going to sleep the same every. single. night.  no matter what you do.  Just like adults don’t sleep the same every night.  It helps to remember this, when you’re trying to figure out why baby is crying in the middle of the night, or waking up an hour earlier one morning, or having a hard time going to sleep.

Now, with that being said, I’m picking up where I left off last week

1.  Be consistent– this is probably the most important thing you can do as a parent in general.  Don’t send mixed messages!!  Here’s a good example for you, and I’m going to try to keep in real here (B is a decent sleeper but he still has his moments)

I made a rule very early on that if B were to wake before 6am, I would help him get back to sleep.  I did this because he goes to daycare during the day, and if he wakes before 6am and then has to go to school, he’s a mess.  He doesn’t nap well there (play play play all the time!  sleep is for babies!) so I wanted to make sure I maximized his sleep at night to help pad him for the day.  Obviously, if he were to wake at 5:55am then I would call it close enough- but mornings when he’s waking at 5:30am or earlier, I try to get him back down for awhile.  So I made up a routine:

  • Go in, keep the lights off (it helps the our baby monitor has a night light on it that I can turn on so I can see) and don’t say anything to him
  • Take him out of his crib – check for wet sheets
  • Change his diaper and clothes if necessary (he occasionally wakes up due to wetness)
  • Offer a bottle
  • Song- same as bedtime song
  • Into the crib

I make sure I’m very consistent when it comes to this- I don’t want to send mixed messages by going in and saying “good morning” but then trying to get him back to sleep.  Or doing the routine and then thinking “oh you’re not tired- ok time to get up!”  Once I make the decision to put him back in the crib for more sleep, I have to commit to that.

Not too long ago, I was not consistent and we had a meltdown.  I did not stick to the routine- I forgot to check the crib for wet sheets and they were WET.  I don’t know what happened, but he totally soaked through his diaper for some reason.  So I go to put him in the crib at the end of the routine, and realize that his sheets are soaked.  I obviously cannot put him in the crib- and he’s already half asleep- but I also cannot change the sheets one handed (this is when I wish I had 3 hands).  I had to set him on the floor to change his sheets- let me tell you, he was NOT ok with that.  I stripped those sheets as fast as I could!!  I repeated the end of our routine and then set him in the crib- and even he was tired, he let me know he was NOT pleased with this.  However, I needed to be consistent, so I left the room and gave him 10 minutes.  He was asleep by the end of 10 minutes- and slept over an hour and a half more.  (If he had still be fussing after 10 minutes I would have gone in and turned on the lights and said “good morning”)

Which brings me to my 2nd point:

2.  Wait 10-15 minutes before responding to baby. Back when B was brand new, I used to wake up at a mere change in his breathing- and try to attend to his needs prior to him waking up fully.  Which was great- except I was exhausted.

Then I tried giving him 10 minutes, just to see if he really needed me.  9 times out of 10?  He was back asleep in less than that.  We went from waking up 3-4 times a night to 1-2 times within a week.

The only times I break this rule is if he’s frantically crying OR sick.  Like the one time he managed to get his leg stuck in the crib slats- even though he had breathable bumpers on- I ran in there as fast as I could.

3.  Age appropriate wake times

When we had B, I had no idea how often he was supposed to sleep, or how many naps he should be taking in a day.  Looking back now, that poor kid must have been exhausted all. the. time.  You’d think I could have read a sleep book or two prior to having him, but apparently I was too much of a scatterbrained preggo lady to think of that.

After awhile, we got our routine down, and I was able to figure out how long he could be awake before needing a nap.  This changes as they grow older- in the beginning he needed 4 naps a day (especially since he went through a 30-45min nap phase) and now he’s down to 1 nap a day.

Watch your wake times (time between naps) and make sure they are age appropriate.  Also watch baby for clues that they are sleepy (B’s “tell” was rubbing his eyes, then it was tugging his left ear, and now we’re back to eye rubbing) and get them in bed prior to complete exhaustion (otherwise you risk an overtired baby who physically can’t nap).

4.  12 hour days, 12 hour nights

This is another big one-I go by the rule that B’s bed time is 12 hours from when he wakes for the day.  Say he woke up at 6:30am- that means bedtime is 6:30pm.  Now, not all little ones are going to need a full 12 hours of sleep at night- but they usually need at least 10, so aim for a 10-12 range.  And baby bed times are always earlier than adult bed times!


Like I said before- babies are not little robots.  And all babies sleep differently.  The best thing you can do is to not have crazy expectations, be consistent and start a routine.  Any changes you make are going to take a few days to become the new routine.  And there will be bumps in the road!

Sweet dreams!

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