and…

Theo’s new favorite word is “more”. More cookies, more of the TV show with the “choo choos”, more balloons, more story time; more, more, more.

I don’t know if he quite knows what he’s getting into (I don’t know if any of us do!), but there is about to be a whole lot “more” to our lives. More love. More snuggles. More diapers. More tears.

We’re in for a whole lot more. And we’re pretty excited about it.

And now presenting…baby number two, coming in December.

and...

new york city themed bridal shower

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

When in the party planning stages for my girl Desiree’s bridal shower (a big part of the bridesmaid duties, in my opinion), I had a hard time initially coming up with a theme. She’s a Southern girl, but wasn’t into the trendy southern wedding vibe (“No chalkboards, no mason jars” is a direct quote).

But then it dawned on me – something we both loved was Broadway. A classy, New York City themed bridal shower seemed right up her alley.

From then on, I put my Pinterest-obsession to good use and found all kinds of NYC inspiration for a lovely bridal shower. With some major assistance from the bridesmaids, I think we put together some pretty gorgeous decor, and threw her a memorable shower.

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

And this was how the tables cape turned out. I loved it. I really think it came together so well. And thanks to our lovely guests, we had a ton of food too!

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

I was inspired by a pin to do the skyline on black foam board with a silver Sharpie – but all credit goes to our friend Judith for bringing it to life!

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

I used a lot of decor items I already had. So, I slipped in some southern burlap. Shhhh!

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

One of the resources below shared the idea to give out costume jewelry as a favor, and we loved the idea.

New York City Themed Bridal Shower

Inspired by the Tiffany’s logo, I thought it would be fun to have a poster we could all sign to remind her of the people who attended. I created a simple design on Canva, with Desiree’s name instead, and had it printed on a poster via Staples.

For more NYC party or bridal shower inspiration, here are some great sources!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Bridal Shower

I Love NY Bridal Shower

Audrey Hepburn Cocktail Party

Broadway Party Treats

Chanel Themed Candy and Dessert Buffet Bridal Shower

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a day in the life of a stay-at-home mom

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dove, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pmgdove #DovePartner #EssentialUpgrade http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom

It’s been about a year since I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I’d planned on working part-time from home while caring for Theo, but that so did not work out once he got mobile. Now it seems strange to think of it being any other way for us. We just do things together. I take care of him, he cracks me up and amazes me with something new he’s learned, and we start over the next day.

In some ways, every day is different; in others, every day is pretty much the same. Here’s a little inside peek, for your entertainment. Also, I’ve partnered with Dove to tell you all about their Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant – an essential that helps me stay cool throughout every day, no matter what it brings. Because being a mom (whether at home or at work during the day) is hard work!

8:30 – We wake up. I try to get up before Theo, but lately, that has been…unsuccessful. I’ll change him; then he comes out into our living area and it’s like, oh yeah! I forgot I have all these cool toys to play with! He gets busy with that right away.

9:00 – Breakfast. At some point, he’ll go into the kitchen and start exclaiming, “Eat! Eat!” Breakfast isn’t fancy in our house – cereal, yogurt, and a banana. He gets dry cereal, I put mine in a bowl with milk. If I don’t immediately share mine, he makes it clear that he wants some by going “AHHHHH” with a wide-open mouth until he gets his “share”.

9:30 – Breakfast clean-up, and get ready time. For him, that means changing his clothes, getting socks and shoes on, and brushing his teeth with me. For me, it’s quickly trying to get some clothes on before I a) chase him to another room in the house as he grabs for something he shouldn’t, or b) chase him around my room as he grabs for something he shouldn’t. I also can’t say the words “go out” or “outside” because he will then start reaching for the doorknob, even if I’m not ready to go yet.

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom #EssentialUpgrade #DovePartner #pmgdove

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom #EssentialUpgrade #DovePartner #pmgdove

When I get ready, there are a couple things that help me feel like a normal person before I leave the house. Some concealer and a little color for my face so I don’t look as drained as I usually feel. A hairbrush to run through my hair, and a little jewelry for some sparkle. And, of course, I need to deodorize because, whether it’s warm out or not, I am a notorious serial sweat-er. My newest is Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant, which offers even sweaty ol’ me 48 hours of protection from sweat and stink. The Advanced Care version also has a NutriumMoisture formula, an essential upgrade I wasn’t expecting from a deodorant, but love how it makes my underarm feel soft and smooth. (Plus this one smells ah-maz-ing.)

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom

10:00/10:30 – Some kind of morning activity out of the house. This gives us something fun to do and allows us to interact with other people, but mostly keeps us from going stir-crazy in the house. Usually we hit the library, go to the park, go to the gym, run an errand, or meet up with moms and kids for playtime. Although I’ll be real with you – the park has been out due to rain, and the gym has been out due to sickness. Sometimes we just go out in the backyard.

We’re still working on him listening to simple commands, like “Stop!” and “Come back!” So often, I’m again, getting my workout and chasing him. (He’s getting better, though.) :)

12:00 – Lunch, which varies depending on how long our activity goes, or how hungry he seems. Lunch consists of pretty much whatever he will eat that day. I try to include at least a veggie, fruit and protein, but they are always accompanied by lots and lots of crackers.

12:30 – Naptime. Which usually means me putting Theo in bed, and listening to him “talk” and play for about an hour until he conks out.

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom

And then I get some time for me! It’s my time to blog and take blog pictures (you should see me trying to sneak camera equipment around the house as I try to set things up without making any noise); plus a chance to get a shower, to eat lunch if I haven’t yet, maybe catch up on an episode of a show I like (lately it’s Friday Night Lights), do some cleaning. If I’m lucky, I get to take a nap, too!

3:30 – Theo wakes up, and we do some kind of afternoon activity. It can include going outside in the backyard, reading books, going to the park, or more errands. He’s a trooper about going out with me, even to the grocery store, which happens several times in a week, as much as I try to avoid it. He loves it because they give away free fruit for kids, which I also love because it gets me through the grocery store sometimes.

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom

4:45 – I start to cook dinner, and Theo either “helps” me in the kitchen (by banging on pots and pans), or if he’s crying out, “Eat! Eat!”, gets his own dinner.

5:30 – My husband gets home from work, and we eat together. He likes to play with our little guy a bit, and we try to get some family time.

7:30 – “Night night” time for Theo. Which, again, usually means maybe half an hour of talking and playing. We then get some time together, or make our own plans for the night with others.

10:00 – Bed time! Don’t laugh.

So is your antiperspirant up to the task of chasing around a toddler all day? I have to admit – I had to upgrade. I was trying to use natural deodorants previously, but it didn’t work great in terms of scent, and definitely didn’t keep sweat stains from happening. I was really pleased with the results of Dove Advanced Care.

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom #EssentialUpgrade #DovePartner #pmgdove

Having a good deodorant is so key for me, to feel confident and secure about interacting with others throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but when I forget it, I go back home! Apparently I’m not alone, 49% of women go back home when they don’t have deodorant on. And most women choose deodorant as the thing that helps them feel most confident when they leave the house!

Dove Deodorant Stats #EssentialUpgrade

Do you agree? What are your essentials for when you leave the house?

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the ultimate guide to sponsored posts: approaching brands

The Ultimate Guide to Sponsored Posts: Approaching Brands

Welcome to the second post in the Ultimate Guide to Sponsored Posts series! (Last week was about setting your blog up for success.) There’s a lot of questions about how to make money through your blog, and I’m excited to be able to share my experience to help people who want to grow in that area. My best course of action is through sponsored posts, so that’s what this series is all about.

Today we’re talking how to get sponsored posts, and there are two ways. The first is to approach a brand yourself. (Next week, we’ll talk about blogger ad networks.) This is a lot of information, so hang on!

First, how do you find a brand to approach?

There are many ways! Start with brands you love and support consistently. Okay, so Apple might be a stretch, but what about a small business online, or locally that you respect? Your brand of stroller? The place where you bought your car?

I also have no shame in approaching brands that have clearly worked with other bloggers in the past (i.e. ones that I’ve seen other bloggers post about). You know that they at least are open to the idea!

Lastly, check out ads that pop up on your social media (Pinterest sponsored pins are good example). These companies are already paying to get people’s attention online – they may be open to working with bloggers to get their message across another way.

Take note: make sure it’s a product you feel comfortable with using and promoting to your readers. Personally, I think it’s just unethical to promote something to your bloggers that you would not feel comfortable using yourself. And it’s never okay to say you’ve used something that you haven’t.

How do you approach a brand?

Seek out contact information online through their website; or reach out to a blogger that has worked with them in the past. The best-case scenario is when you can find both a name and a way to contact that person specifically. But if all you can find is a general contact email, try it! I’ve been able to connect with companies that way as well!

I recommend emailing, even if you happen to have a phone number. This way all your communication can be documented, and you can go back to it if there’s any questions later about details.

Next, craft your “ask”. You’ll want to share the following info:

  • How you are familiar with their brand (Do you use their product? Did you find them on Instagram? What do you like about them?)
  • That you would love to collaborate with them if they are open to working with bloggers
  • A short overview of your blog and its content, plus its statistics (page views, followers)
    • Make your blog overview a quick, one-sentence line – for example, What You Make It is a lifestyle blog with a goal of empowering young wives and moms to live a full life, right where they are.
    • For statistics, I like to give monthly page views, and an approximate number of social media followers
  • Optional, but recommended: share your creative idea on how to showcase their brand
    • Product reviews are good, but go above and beyond – will you incorporate their brand into a post on another topic? For example, highlighting a health drink into a post about different ways to work out
  • Lastly, be sure to include your contact information and a link to your blog

What can you offer the brand?

I think it’s tricky to know what to offer, especially if you’re just starting out. Here are some things you might feel comfortable with offering: (it may be one thing, or multiple)

  • A sponsored post – including a review of the product, or as mentioned above, incorporating it into a post on another topic
  • A giveaway of one of their products to your readers
  • Ad space in the sidebar of your blog
  • Social media promotion

If they respond, and are interested, what should you ask the brand for, in terms of compensation?

Another tricky question! It depends on what you’re comfortable with.

  • A product to try personally – I like to do this so that I can actually use the product and take pictures of it
  • A product to give away to one of your readers – sometimes this is a great place to start; and it benefits your readers, plus can bring in new ones!
  • A set amount of money – here is a good source for how much to charge
  • Promotion on their social media – this is a great way to get more exposure for your blog, if you’re not yet comfortable asking for any other form of compensation

Whatever you do, it is important that you are very clear in what you expect, and about what you are offering them. I mentioned this in how to handle sponsored posts like a professional, but you can seriously hurt your reputation, and relationship with the brand through miscommunication.

For more blog tips, check out my Pinterest board below!

 

Is there anything I missed? Ask questions or leave comments below!

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