Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

It’s the 3 Little Things: Holiday Shopping, a Ghostly Tale, & a Tired Eye Cure

Friday, December 12th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I can’t believe that I am taking a real vacation from the blog! I really need to get back to center with my people so I will be out of the office December 13th-28th! I have a date with this book (have you read it? I can’t put it down!!) and an ambitious stack of library books that I checked out for the week. I hope you caught my annual list of the best books of 2014- it was a good year of reading!  I can’t wait to have a little quiet time before we ramp up for the holidays.

Before I check out of the social media world though, here is my happy list for the week!

Flourish Boutique Holiday Shopping

Stocking Stuffers Galore

I love a good statement necklace and last night I got the VIP treatment at Flourish Boutique to take a peek at their holiday offerings this year. Since I have some special ladies in my life, I I got some really pretty statement pieces for them that I can’t wait to give them for Christmas. If you are as big of a fan of costume jewelry as I am, you really should check out their store (online or in-person!) They had a ton of fun new arrivals, but my eye always gravitates towards their cozy leggings and shapewear offerings that I wear so much in my fashion capsule.  You can always use our web code MOMADVICE  to take 25% off of your purchases when doing your own holiday shopping!

Don’t worry- I was good! Although I had hoped to take a few photos this week for you, I am seriously in crazy mode for the holidays so you will have to trust me that I am absolutely loving my capsule wardrobe and continuing to learn so much from it about my purchasing habits. I will get back to sharing from it after the holidays although I am sure you can catch a picture or two on Instagram!

The Dead Files

The Dead Files on Netflix

I am just going to say it. Netflix has really been rocking lately. My husband and I picked up The Blacklist (did you know Netflix paid $2 million per episode just to secure that show? CRAZY!), The Mind of a Chef (craving noodles all day, everyday after watching this), and now The Dead Files which originally aired on the Travel Channel.

My sister-in-law shared this gem with us and I think we have watched ten episodes already because it is so fascinating. They send a private investigator into a home that is haunted and they send a medium in to the same scene, but each of them doesn’t get to meet with each other or share evidence until the end of the show. The detective spends time gathering the real fact about the house (meeting with town historians and local folks) while the medium runs around and talks to ghosts and works with a sketch artist to draw one of the ghosts that she sees that is bothering the family. Then they sit down and share their evidence and it is crazy awesome.

I’m not sure if you are into the ghost-hunting thing or not or believe in it, but just finding the true history of the homes is some seriously fascinating stuff. The show isn’t scary, just super interesting. I find the editing to be a little too tightly perfect and I’m not sure I believe all of it (she is never wrong!?), BUT I LOVE IT.  If you have a marathon of present-wrapping and need a little escape, this is a pretty good one.

If you have any other Netflix recommendations for me, let me know in the comments because I am going to have lots of stuff to wrap this week with a birthday and Christmas in one week!

L'Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

L’Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

I have terrible circles under my eyes that seem to be getting worse as I age. I haven’t been able to find a concealer that really does a good job covering these up until I got this gem at the drugstore. It is like a little deodorant roller that you just roll right under your eye and then pat in. It covers everything and makes you look well-rested when you are exhausted from yarn-bombing your home for the holidays. If you want to look five years younger, this stuff is amazing and super affordable.

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Bonus Happy

Happy 9th birthday, my beautiful and fabulous daughter! You forever changed our world for the better. I couldn’t be prouder to be your mama! I can’t wait to eat snickerdoodle cake with you-xoxo

Bonus Happy Two- the happiest of the happy!

Happy Holidays from The Clarks

Happy Holidays, friends! Thank you for your love and support this year! See you in two weeks!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

The MomAdvice Top Ten of 2014 (Some Behind-the-Scenes Hilarity Too)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Amy Allen Clark

Friends, I just want to say a quick thank you for another year of great fun. Next month I celebrate my 11th year in this business and it is still incredible to me that a job I made up (I mean, I really did!) had such staying power. Did I ever think I would still be doing this? No way! Am I thankful every day? Absolutely! I can’t imagine living our life in any other way now.

Thank you for your visits, comments, and support over the years- I am so thankful for each of you!  Each day that I get to be creative and share it with you is a precious gift.

Let’s take a look at what your favorite posts were this year and let me spill the beans on a little behind-the-scenes stuff on these that I usually reserve just for my girlfriends. I love to end the year on a light note so I hope you will appreciate the true stories behind some of these crazy projects.

How to Teach Your Child to Tie

1. A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

I feel a little guilty that our #1 post is actually not even really my idea or video. Come on, did you really think I was that smart? A huge thank you to my amazing friend, Nancy Lary, for sharing her amazing shoe tying technique. As soon as she showed me how to work on this with my kids, I knew that it would be an instant hit on the blog. I was right. Everyone is always looking for a new shoelace tying technique and this post being ##1 just proves it.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

2. How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

A couple of years ago, I was working on a project for my job with Goodwill and thought it might be fun to purchase some thrift store jeans and restore the color. After I did it and it really worked, I was like…”Nah. I think I will keep it for my own blog.” I told my husband that it was going to be a huge hit and he was like, “Sure,” but shaking his head no at the same time. I’m like, IN YOUR FACE.  This project has been our most pinned project and, thanks to being picked up on some Reddit male fashion board, it is still going strong and holding steady in our #2 most visited spot.

Fashionable men, you can totally dye your jeans. Keep coming here for the scoop!

Easy Sushi Sandwich

3. Easy Lunchbox Solutions

This was one of the craziest and coolest things that happened this year. Walmart hired me to showcase a quick sandwich that moms could do for the back-to-school season. I decided to create a little sushi roll out of a cheese stick, turkey, and rolled out bread.

Fast forward to a month later and our site is getting a weird traffic spike from sites like People.com, TMZ, Perez Hilton, and a bunch of other sites. I brought it up with my husband and he thought it was some type of spam thing. As I sat at the bus stop with my son in the car, I was scrolling through Perez Hilton to catch up on an awards show that I missed on television and see my image there.

At first, I thought it was some weird targeted ad (you know, those strange ones on Facebook that just know you were browsing the Anthropologie site when you have no money at all).

Nope, it was my image EVERYWHERE showing moms how to make this simple little sandwich. Between that and the pin from Walmart, this quick lunch idea sits in our #3 spot.

As an aside, holy relief that I am on Perez for a sandwich and not anything else. Can I get an amen?

How to Make Glow In the Dark JELL-O

 

4. How to Make Glow in the Dark JELL-O

I have had many a dream where I am featured in an amazing food magazine like Bon Appetit. Did I believe it would ever be for a science experiment we did with our kids for Glow in the Dark JELL-O? Um. No. Of course, that is what happened.  This idea didn’t even come to me, but came from my real-life friend Ashley who spied the project in her daughter’s American Girl Doll Magazine. She sent it to me and said, “Hey, I think this would be a good one for your blog.” Boy, was it!  It’s always a hit at Halloween times.

If you read our lengthy review, you know it doesn’t taste awesome at all.

People don’t care.

They love stuff that glows.

Truth be told, half the time this is pinned as a glow in the dark shot.

Hey… I wonder if that tastes better? Watch for that tutorial next year and I will be sure to test the shots for you! I do it for the people.

How to (or how NOT to) Spray Paint Furniture

5. How to Spray Paint Furniture

This table is almost fifteen years old so I knew that if my idea for spray painting this didn’t work, it would be okay. It ended up being one of my favorite pieces I have ever made over in our house and is one of our most searched for projects on the site.  Sadly with the addition of our new fireplace, we donated her this week because of the new spacing of our layout. I hope she gets lots of love in someone else’s home though because she was certainly a favorite of mine.

I continue to embrace spray paint projects almost weekly and I am pretty sure that our bus driver thinks I am huffing because I am covered in spray paint at least two days a week getting my daughter off the bus. You can hang my mom of the year plaque inside my newly spray painted frame.

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

6. DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Not only did I earn cool mom points for making a Minecraft costume with my son last year, but it also is one of our top ten projects on the site.

My son is still into Minecraft.

I still don’t get it.

6-Stitch Ruffled Scarf Tutorial

 

7.  Knitted Ruffled Scarf with Sashay Yarn

I find it intriguing that this is our top post in the knitting category, but I also found this yarn intriguing too when I worked with it. It makes a beautiful ruffle with just six stitches and people are always trying to figure out how to use it when they buy it at the store.

I ended up giving this scarf to my mom for her birthday. What’s the saying the cobbler’s children have no shoes? Yeah, it’s a lot like that.

How to Make a Care Package for the Homeless

8 How to Make a Homeless Care Package

Seeing this is still in our top ten posts makes me so very happy and is proof that I have such awesome readers. I did so much research on making the perfect bag and pricing out items so that we could serve as many people as possible with these bags and my husband spent so much time creating great resources and a checklist to make it easy for people to replicate this project for others.

I still get feedback from people that they are using it for their Girl Scout troops and even heard from one non-profit that used it as a template for serving people in their community. I’m so happy that this post made a difference and is impacting people in other regions.

There is nothing funny about this post- it’s just awesome.

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs

9. Quick & Easy Knitted Boot Cuffs

It’s funny how a quick project like this can become so unexplainably popular. I try to submit my craft projects over to Craftgawker (you can view what has made the cut here) and this was one that I had submitted ages ago. People must be on the hunt for these because suddenly it shot to first place in our referral traffic these past couple of months. I headed over to see the views on it and it has already been viewed by 12,300 people (and counting!).

Guess how many pairs of these cuffs I have?

None.

My best friend got them for Christmas and I hear they are keeping her very cozy.

Now what was that saying again…?

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

10. How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Since I made this project just a couple of weeks ago, you can imagine how viral this has gone if it is already in our top ten posts of the year. I originally was going to execute this project for a client, but then I had the same thought as I did with those jeans, “Maybe I should keep the best stuff for me.” I am so glad I did and I have no doubt that this will be in our top ten even next year.

Why?

Who the hay wants to pay $60 for a blanket scarf?

Nobody.

I did find this image pinned in someone’s Mary Kate & Ashley pin board though and I was the only one who wasn’t Mary Kate or Ashley.

#longlostsister

Well, that was fun! What has been your favorite project on MomAdvice? I would love to hear if you have tried anything from the site for your family!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Easy Bun Makers, Perfectly Airbrushed, & Blueberry Happiness

Friday, December 5th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! It was another busy week of crafting and decking the halls at our house. I also stayed up far too late watching Peter Pan Live last night. I thought the cast and the sets were simply phenomenal. What did you think?

We had new furniture delivered for our kids rooms last night so I am in a frenzy of cleaning out their rooms and drawers to make room for furniture that offers a little more small space function. Drawers are tucked underneath beds and bookcases tucked in headboards- the kind of furniture you really need when your bedrooms are shoebox size. I even cleared out an entire closet in my son’s room and have dreams of how I can make that a smart functional space for him.

Just as a heads up, I want to let you know that I am putting the blog on hiatus from December 13th-28th. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to a little peace and quiet after such a busy year with the site.   I am also putting myself on a social media hiatus and try to get back to center for the holidays and be present with my family.  I know you understand.  

I just snagged an ambitious amount of library books that I plan to read over my time off. I am looking forward to being creative just for the sake of being creative and not documenting anything for awhile. I’m so thankful for my job, but I am very run down.  That said, I have a VERY exciting reveal for 2015 that I am hoping you will love as much as me. Stay tuned for that as we take the site in a new direction!

 

Let’s talk about the happy  this week. This one is  a few new beauty tools I discovered!

Perfect Bun Maker

Finally a Perfect Bun Maker

I know everyone is crazy about the sock bun, but I have discovered a bun making tool that has saved us many a headache from bobby pins for my daughter’s ballet class. These foam bun makers are amazing and I actually paid $5 for  a single one at Target, but found this set of four for less than $5 on Amazon. All you do is throw your hair up in a ponytail, open the bun maker and slide it up so the end of your pony tail is sticking out, and roll upwards to the top of your ponytail, and bend into a bun shape. We secure it with just a couple of pins and it holds her heavy glossy hair all day long. It was so easy that I think my daughter could even do it herself.

This little tool came in handy this past weekend as she danced in her first Nutcracker which was so incredibly special to see. Here is a little shot I took of her backstage peeking at herself in the mirror at her dress rehearsal.

Nutcracker

Perfect buns and a perfect mom moment all rolled into one- that definitely is at the top of this week’s happy list!

Revlon Photoready Skinlights

Perfectly Airbrushed Skin

I picked up some Revlon Photoready Skinlights this past week. I have heard so many good things about this product and now I can see what the fuss is all about. You can mix this right into your foundation and it adds that airbrushed quality to your face and a little glimmer and dewiness that you see all the celebrities rocking.  As my skin is aging, I find that it gets more and more dry, and this being mixed into my foundation helps add that dewiness that I have been trying to achieve. You can also just add a touch to places you want to highlight like your cheekbones.   You only need a touch of it so a bottle will last a long time. I am really loving this stuff and highly recommend you pick some up to try it!

Yes to Blueberry Wipes

Yes To Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes

I am big on washing my face every night, but since we have been running around like crazy, I have gotten out of the habit of a good facial routine. I purchased these Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes from ePantry last month and I absolutely love them to get my make-up off before I head to bed. I love the smell of these and they do a great job getting my make-up off without drying out my skin. I am not sure if you saw or not, but we are running a deal with ePantry this week giving you $10 to shop, free shipping, a free Method Soap & they are giving $15 for each sign-up to my local food pantry for Giving Tuesday.  You could try this product out for free this week and help a great cause in the process! I hope you like these as much as I do!

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Get inspiration and earn money cleaning out your closet with my tips! You must!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board and minimize that wardrobe!

 

camel tunic + burgundy leggings + brown & black accessories

Camel Colored Cowl Tunic Top Sweatshirt (Target)/Burgundy Knit Leggings (Ann Taylor Loft)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)/Brown Belt (owned- Maurices)

felt & wool sweater + burgundy tank + skinny jeans + boots

Last minute switch in the capsule because this shipped- pulled my emerald green shirt out. Anthropologie Wool Sweater (purchased second-hand from Thredup)/Burgundy Tank Top (Flourish Boutique)/Seven Skinny Jeans (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)

black dress + gray seamless shirt + black boots & tights + red belt + tassel necklace

Sushi Day Date With My Hubby- swoon! I even borrowed that bun maker from my daughter! Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic in Gray (Flourish Boutique)/ White House Black Market Knit Black Dress  (purchased second-hand on Twice)/ Red Skinny Belt (Target)/ Black Fleece Tights (Walmart)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)/Gray Tassel Necklace (Ali Oesch Jewelry)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

 

Bonus Happy

Christmas Tree

 Our first real Christmas Tree. I’m in love!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

We Will Never Forget

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

We Will Never Forget 9/11

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14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

When I first began managing my household, I happened upon a home management binder that really worked for our family. The binder became our family Bible and each year I would order a new set of sheets to keep the same binder going for our family for the next year. Last year when I went to order my sheets, the company no longer existed and I felt lost without my trusty home management binder system. I talked with our amazingly talented craft contributor, Sarah Milne, to see if she could help me execute a binder with the same principles, but a fresh design that would make managing a home fun.  She created the most beautiful set of printables ever and I am so excited to share these with you today.

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What Is a Home Management Binder?

When I say that a home management binder can be a Bible for a family, I really do mean that. A well-designed binder, which I really think we offer with these printables, helps you manage everything in your household in one place.  This binder is housed typically in a central location in your home and contains everything your family needs to have on-hand from your family calendar, your to-do list, important contact information that you want to have at a moment’s notice (particularly for someone who might babysit), the meal plan for the week, grocery lists, a price sheet, and all you need to run your family’s finances smoothly.

I recommend storing this binder  and then purchasing a set of pocketed dividers where you can tuck important information that you might need to refer to. I took a picture of my pockets for you and then realized that it is all pretty personal so you will have to take my word for it that this is where you put the good stuff. When school starts, in particular, you will find your mailbox filled with fliers for events, important forms that need to be filled out, appointment reminders, and invitations. Instead of piling them on a desk or tacking them on the fridge, use the pockets so you always know where to find these items when you need them. I also like to keep an extra pocket or two in the back for the randomness in my life- consider it another junk drawer, if you will.  I have also found that a good spot in the home for daily reference is in your family’s command center.

We have created header pages for each section and I do recommend printing these on heavy-duty cardstock so that they can hold up to the abuse of being referenced daily!

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What is Included In Our Home Management Binder Packet?

First, I just want to say that this is the just the beginning. I plan to come up with more sheets that you can use for all of your home management needs and this will be an ongoing project for MomAdvice.com. I want this to be useful to you so please, please let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see that we are missing in our packet. It will help us when we design the next round of sheets for you!

In our packet you will find:

Family Budget Pages

Grocery Price Sheet (for comparison shopping)

Grocery List Sheet

Menu Planner Sheet

Family Calendar

To-Do List

Contact Sheet

Header Pages for Each Section (to print on cardstock)

MomAdvice Newsletter

 

What is the Catch to These “Free” Printables?

Honestly, I paid a lot of money each year to update my binder with new sheets, but I didn’t want to charge for these.

We realize that there is so much happening on MomAdvice each week that it can be difficult to keep up with. I hired another designer to create a beautiful weekly newsletter for our readers that I would love for you to subscribe to. This email newsletter only is sent once a week to our readers (unless we have a special announcement/giveaway) and I promise to never, never spam you. In this newsletter, we feature everything that is happening for the week and this is where our subscribers can access the free printables and additional freebies that we offer ONLY TO NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.  It is beautiful, simple, mobile-friendly, and fast to scroll through.  I promise, I will never send you junk. I know your time is valuable and so is mine- I am committed to a very useful newsletter.

Honestly though, I realized that we needed to offer some type of incentive to get you to join my newsletter and this is our thank you for letting me come in your inbox once a week.  That is the only catch with getting free printables from MomAdvice.com.

If you are interested in receiving 14 free home management printables, just input your email below or in the sidebar and we will send you the link to your packet as our thank you for being a subscriber (look for it in the final welcome email). Subscribers will have access to our additional printables as they become available. Note: if you already subscribe to the Mom Advice Newsletter, be sure to look in your inbox for a special email that contains the link for your set of these printables! If you can’t seem to get the form to work with your browser, just look over to your right in the sidebar. You will see a handy form there too that works with all browsers! We appreciate you so much! Thank you! 

##NEWSLETTERFORM##

 

 This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

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BHG Live Better Style Showcase

Monday, August 25th, 2014

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

I’m so excited to share with you that I had the chance to participate in a sneak peek for the new BHG products that you will be able to find at your Walmart store. I have been a longtime fan of BHG and this was such a unique opportunity to both see the new products that will be debuting on your store shelves at Walmart as well as in-depth guidance on fun ways to utilize these items in your home. I left feeling excited and inspired about what I could do on a small budget to spruce up my home and I loved the craft & gift ideas that were created to show us new ways to use some of these items for gift-giving and entertaining.

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

This year it is all about mixing textures, embracing the brights, and bold patterns. We got the chance to circulate around the items and were given many tips for utilizing these pieces in our own home.

Here are some of the tips I received from the stylists for ways to make small and thoughtful updates to your home.

Embrace Weathered Wood

This year it is all about the weathered wood and they have brought this into key items like this awesome coffee table that has generous storage for storing away the family board games, a spare blanket, or the odds and ends that can pop up on a coffee table.  They referred to this style as, “farmhouse luxury.” They are offering many weathered pieces this year along with television stands, side tables, and cubby storage.  This was one of my favorite lines that they are offering this year.

Storage was also a hot discussion and they suggested corralling the remotes on your coffee table in a cookie jar so that you can grab them when you need them, so they aren’t creating a cluttered display in your space. Genius!

Look For The Nailhead Trend

Nailhead trim is very big this year whether it is brought into a headboard or even as a decorative nailhead design in your tableware. I loved this headboard so much that we are planning to purchase it when we update our bedroom. It looked just like one I had been eyeing in a catalog, but came in less than half the price of the one I had planned to purchase.

It’s All About Color

I have always been pretty neutral when it comes to my home, but that changed this year when I started embracing bright colors in my house. The stylists advised that color is big this year and color combos like blue & white, yellow and green, and orange are all hot trends. There is also a running trend of black and white, which will continue through this year.  In my opinion, you can never go wrong with those two colors!

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

BHG Live Better Style Showcase Layer, Layer, Layer

The key to any good design is the layering of textures. Throw a cozy fur throw over a chair or add a fur pillow to add texture to any room. Burlap table runners add a beautiful detail to tables especially when it is paired with a nod to the menswear trend of napkins adorning the tabletop like bow ties.

Textures also abound in centerpieces made from fruits that are in season, pinecones, and fresh flowers (from the yard or purchased on sale at your local market). We got to see numerous fun centerpieces made from a variety of items you could find at the market all using one serving plate. It goes to show that you don’t need a lot to achieve a beautifully decorated home.

I have already purchased this basic white dinnerware set since I got home and I love that this element of white can be layered with seasonal holiday dishes or even a little woodland animal whimsy for the autumn months.

If there is anything I got out of this day with the stylists it is that I need to embrace more layers to my decorating. I also learned that the burlap runner could double as a bathroom window treatment for a small window which I plan to do in our guest bathroom.

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

Simplify Gift-Giving

Gift-giving doesn’t need to be extravagant. One of my favorite examples was this simple idea for lining a walkway for your guests. A simple balloon was tied to a small candle that each guest could take home when they leave. I can’t wait to try this one at our next party!

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

dress: site sponsor, Flourish Boutique

 I have been a longtime fan of Eddie Ross and it was such a treat to get to meet him and also to have him showcase fun ideas for taking houseware basics to another level with the Eddie Ross touch. If you aren’t following his blog or Instagram feed, I highly recommend it. He showed off some of his favorite ways to spruce up the BHG at Walmart items that you could try yourself.

BHG-Style-Showcase-50

 

He transformed a white lampshades into a watercolor beauty using a technique with watered down paint and a paintbrush.  I wish I could have seen this one in action, but I left inspired to try my own watercolor lampshade for our home.

BHG-Style-Showcase-51

He added a tortoiseshell detail to a plain frame by decoupaging some tortoiseshell paper to a plain picture frame. The detail inside was achieved with a simple metallic tape.

BHG-Style-Showcase-53

Curtains don’t have to be plain, they can be trimmed with ribbon that you can attach with fabric glue or sew to your curtains. He also advised mixing up the curtains and using two different colors to create a more custom window treatment feel to your space!

Live-Better-Network-Badge

I’m very excited to be contributing this year to the BHG Live Better Network! Every other month I will get a project challenge and get to showcase a fun DIY project for you. I’m really excited about this opportunity and I hope to share a lot of fun ideas that you can incorporate in your own homes! I also was thrilled to get to sneak peek all the goodies from the new BHG at Walmart line and to find some inspiration for my own space.

Thank you to BHG for this opportunity!

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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Back-To-School Pinterest Party

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Back to School Party on Pinterest! Get great DIY ideas and a chance to win fun prizes.

It’s school time and I’m excited to be hosting a Back to School Pinterest Party with 12 other talented DIY bloggers this Sunday and YOU’RE INVITED!

 

What is a Pinterest Party?

It’s a fun night of doing one of our favorite things… pinning!! Each party host will be pinning their BEST Back to School Ideas on the DIY Creative Ideas board so you can get great ideas all in one place! There will be crafts, teacher gift ideas, fashion, hair styles, recipes, organization tips, parenting tips, free printables, photography tips, party ideas and more!

You’ll want to be there to repin and save your favorite ideas. The BEST part is, we’ll be giving away some awesome party prizes throughout the night. You won’t want to miss the fun!!!

  • When: Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • Time: 6-7 pm PST, 7-8 pm MST, 8-9 pm CST, 9-10 pm EST (Make sure to show up in the correct time zone!)
  • Prizes: There will be 4 awesome party prizes!

You must follow the directions on the giveaway widget below to RSVP and be entered to win the giveaway prizes.

Back to School Party on Pinterest! Get great DIY ideas and a chance to win fun prizes.

IMPORTANT: You MUST be present to win. We will be announcing winners LIVE on Pinterest.

Joining the Party is Simple…

  1. Click here –> to Follow the DIY Creative Ideas Pinterest Board.
  2. Follow the party hosts on the widget below to RSVP and be entered to win the party prizes.
  3. Show up online at the DIY Creative Ideas Pinterest Board, Sunday, August 17th at the correct time for your time zone.
  4. Repin your favorite DIY ideas, leave comments and have fun!
  5. Be present and watch to see if your name is announced as a winner!
  6. If you win a prize – you must claim your prize in a comment under the announcement pin so we know you are at the party. We’ll give the winners 5 minutes and if nobody claims it, we’ll assume you are not there and will choose another winner.

Looking forward to seeing you at the party! Be sure to invite a friend:-)

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Sundays With Writers: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Sundays_With_Writers-1

One of the highlights of running our MomAdvice Book Club has been our author interviews. It is truly a dream come true to share these interviews with you and to get to ask writers my questions about their process, their pieces, and their own recommendations for great books.

With that in mind, I am starting a new series called, “Sundays With Writers.” It will not be a weekly feature, but as I read books that I think you will love, I will share an interview with you about them and about their books.  It gives me the chance to continue sharing about incredible books and the beautiful minds and thoughts behind their creation. It also gives me a chance to swim a bit more in their words and hopefully share about an author you may not know about.  So grab your coffee and let’s chat about beautiful books together!

We will begin our series with an incredible book that I hope you will run out and pick up! It is called, “Hush Little Baby,” written by Suzanne Redfearn. It is a well-paced psychological thriller that I could not put down. The recommendation came from my friend Kristen, at Dine & Dish, and as I closed on the final pages, I knew that I needed to interview her.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

Hush Little Baby is the story of a woman named Jillian Kane who has the life that she always dreamed of. She is a successful businesswoman, she has two beautiful kids, she wants for nothing financially, and her husband is a well-respected cop who every woman wish she had. Jillian is living with a secret though.  For nine years, her husband has abused her and he is calculating enough to abuse her in ways that no one would ever suspect that she is a victim.

When things escalate too far, Jillian decides to run away from him with her two kids. Unfortunately, she has no money, no plan, and no one that she can turn to.  It is in this most pivotal moment of her life that she develops unlikely friendships and learns to finally save herself and her kids. Her husband though, is a cop and is determined to do everything in his power to get his children back…and kill her.

I could not put this book down because I was so worried about Jillian and her kids. For two days, every moment I had, I was reading this to make sure that they could get to safety. When I say that I had my heart all wrapped up in this one, it would not be an understatement.

Today I am talking with Suzanne about her amazing book and a little bit about her process in writing this!

Suzanne_Redfearn

The abuse that Jillian suffers is so painful to read through and yet illustrates how important it is for her to break free. Did you struggle with this as you were writing these scenes?

In order to accurately depict what Jillian was going through, I needed to do extensive research on domestic violence and reading the first person accounts and testimonials of victims was very difficult.  And then internalizing what I’d read so I could use it in the story was exhausting.  Writing is a lot like acting, in order to do it well, you need to get inside your character’s head, put yourself in their life, and experience what they are going through.  Jillian is a lot like me in some ways, so it wasn’t difficult to feel her plight.  The nice thing about being an author is that, unlike my characters, when it gets to be too much, I can step away and return to my real life, the one that is loving and warm and not full of violence and fear.

 One thing that really struck me in your book was that Jillian often thinks of herself in pivotal moments and not her children. This part really pulled at my heartstrings, but I wonder if it was meant to do that. Was this meant to showcase the guilt that we all have as mothers in putting our own needs first?

Great question and one I haven’t been asked.  This was a result of the research I did as well as my experience of being a mom myself.  Oftentimes this is the dilemma an abused woman faces, save herself or stay to protect her kids.  Fear plays havoc on the psyche and self preservation is an instinct that is hard to override.  But you’re right about the resulting guilt that occurs after a woman has those treacherous thoughts.  Even if she doesn’t act on them, it can be devastating.  Some readers have told me they didn’t like Jillian because they didn’t think she was a good mother.  I would defend that she is a real mother, one who is not perfect, who sometimes made mistakes and had selfish thoughts (haven’t we all?), who had been beat down to believe she wasn’t a good mother, but who ultimately risked everything to save her kids.

There is a pretty scary scene for me, as a mom, when Jillian finds her son torturing a frog at a birthday party. Was this meant to show us how the abuse had weaved its way into Drew’s life?

Thank you for picking up on that.  I think it was a pivotal moment foretelling of the perilous path Drew was on to follow in his dad’s footsteps.  Abuse begets abuse, and I believe it is because of that moment that Jillian realizes something needs to change, if not to save herself, to save her kids.  I contrasted the frog scene with the gift scene of the Hollyhock seeds to show that Drew is at a crossroads and that there is still hope to save him.

I had a secret hope that you would bring Jillian back to the Flying Goat and reunite her with the people that helped keep her safe. Did you consider bringing her back or weaving those characters in at the end?

So many readers have mentioned this, and I too fell in love with Goat and Paul and the entire crew from Elmer City, but the story told itself and ended where it was supposed to.  I will leave it to the readers’ imaginations to figure out when and where their paths cross again.

 I find it so unbelievable that this is your first novel- the writing is so beautiful and the scenes were woven together so well. It reminded me a lot of some of my favorite books from Heather Gudenkauf or Diane Chamberlain. Since you are an architect by profession, what brought you to this moment in your life to pursue writing and was this a difficult career transition for you?

 I am what someone termed an accidental author.  I did not go to school for writing and never considered becoming an author, but one day I sat down with an idea for a story and started to write and it poured out of me (that was seven years ago and it was not Hush Little Baby), and I discovered that I love to tell stories.  My grandfather was a storyteller, and I believe I inherited the gift from him.  I was hooked, and since architecture had tanked with the recession, I had time on my hands, so I set out to learn the craft and kept writing.  Hush Little Baby is the fifth novel I wrote but the first one to get published.  I still love architecture, and, if inspired, I will switch hats again and build something.  It’s not one or the other for me, it’s wherever I’m at in any given moment of time.  For now, the stories continue to flow, so I continue to peck at the keys, but who knows where this crazy path will lead or what I will do next.

 If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

 The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.

 What do you have in store for us with your next project?

I am very excited about the next project.  It is another story about a mother protecting her children but in a very different context and with a very different protagonist.  I can’t disclose more than that, other than to say, it’s another rollercoaster ride of emotion.

*This series may contain affiliate links! 

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The New Flourish Boutique

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The New Flourish Boutique

We are so excited to share that our amazing site sponsor, Flourish Boutique, has relocated into a beautiful and more spacious home. Emily & I were invited to the Grand Opening event this Thursday evening and had the best time browsing all of the beautiful items that they have in their new place.

If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, you will be in for a treat.  Not only does the store carry an expanded line of clothing and jewelry, they have now added shoes, beautiful handbags, bath/beauty products, and fun gifts for everyone in your life (babies, kids, furry friends, and even bridal fun!)

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

As you can see, they rolled out the red carpet for us to show you around. The new location is right next to the new Gigi’s Cupcakes on 310 West Cleveland Road in Granger.

I don’t know what you are waiting for… let’s head on in!

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

It was hard to take very many pictures to really show you everything because there were so many Flourish friends shopping that night. We had the best time browsing all of the items in the store. Of course, our eyes always go to the jewels whenever we are out and about.  Pictured here is just half of the store, if you can believe it, and an amazing little Clearance section is tucked in the back of the store.

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The evening included a fashion show. If you know us, you know we love fashion. Everywhere we turned, we saw something we loved.  Flourish Boutique has a ton of new merchandise that you can order or find in their store. MomAdvice readers can get 25% off any of their regular priced merchandise using the code WEB25!

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Mystree Jacket (Flourish Boutique)

Mystree Jacket (Flourish Boutique)

Scarf (Flourish Boutique)

Here are some of my FAVORITE finds that I scored last night. This Pretty In Pleats skirt in white & black are my new favorite summer item! I am barely over five feet, and a maxi like this is a DREAM COME TRUE for me. I love that the lining is also an appropriate length and adds to the breeziness of this skirt. Did I mention the belt is included? Swoon! Be sure to check out the What’s New link to see all the updates (as I am sure some of these I have pictured haven’t made it on the site yet!) You can always cash in on our coupon code- woohoo!

We feel so blessed to have this partnership with Flourish Boutique and are so thankful for their continued support and sponsorship over the years! It has been a dream come true that they sponsor and support my little business- thank you, Flourish!

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MomAdvice Summer Book Club Selection: Love With a Chance of Drowning

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Love With a Chance of Drowning

First, I just want to thank everyone for your feedback today about the MomAdvice Book Club. I hope you didn’t feel like I was coming down too hard about it, but the MomAdvice Book Club was a special project for me this year.  I have spent an unbelievable amount of time investing into reading so many books to find the perfect books, coordinating with publishing houses to get free books to giveaway, gathering questions for authors, and then posting/sharing each discussion. In all honesty, it became a little part-time job for me on top of my full-time job.

I didn’t mind doing it until the discussion and participation dwindled.

Based on your feedback, you are 1) very busy mamas 2) are waiting for library copies 3) didn’t have time to read this year.

Again, I get that! I totally do.

In order to make things more relaxed and fun again, we will be selecting a quarterly selection moving forward. This gives you plenty of time to get books, read them, and have questions for our featured authors. On alternate months, I will just share my book reviews as we have done in the past. 

Love With a Chance of Drowning

This summer we will be reading the AMAZING memoir of Torre DeRoche called, “Love With a Chance of Drowning.” It is our first non-fiction selection and I am so excited to share this book with you because I am enjoying it so much.

Not sure if you can get on board with a non-fiction pick? Just picture me laughing until tears are rolling down my cheeks ever since I picked this book up. Then picture me reading aloud almost the entire book to my husband, while trying to read it to him, still laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks and trying to catch my breath so I can read every word to him. It is that funny and that awesome.

Here is a book synopsis from Amazon…

City girl, Torre DeRoche,  isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.

 

Somewhere mid-Pacific, she finds herself battling to keep the old boat, the new relationship, and her floundering sanity afloat. . . .

 

This sometimes hilarious, often harrowing, and always poignant memoir is set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations. Equal parts love story and travel memoir, Love with a Chance of Drowning is witty, charming, and proof positive that there are some risks worth taking.

Our discussion for this book will be the last Tuesday in July! I will touch base with you in the upcoming month if I am able to secure a discussion with our author. If not, I still think this is a book that is perfect for your beach bag!

the_bear_claire_cameron_book_cover

In the meantime, this month’s selection, “The Bear,” is a short and powerful novel that I think you will be able to finish in just a couple of short days. It is hard to put down and is an author discussion that I am excited to participate in. I am doubly honored since Claire was featured in a glowing review from People Magazine, that she would take the time to chat with us.

I hope that you can join in and thank you for being candid in your thoughts about what works best for you!

xo,
Amy

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