Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fur, tassels, and a great show!

Necklace: c/o Tiny Dazzles, Jeans: Old Navy, Top: Old Navy, Vest: Loft (similar), Boots: c/o RackRoom

I do love this faux fur vest, and love the fact that I've managed to keep it in my closet for over a year. (It's my sister, Jessica's, and she always forgets to take it home with her.) I guess it's just meant for me to keep. :)

I've been in to statement necklaces for so long, but recently have been searching for a long tassel necklace.  I searched several places, but couldn't find anything I really loved, so I was really excited when Tiny Dazzles sent me this one.  (Seriously, go take a look at all their fantastic jewelry!  For the next week, you can get 25% off everything (!!) using the code Ashley25.)

Also, please tell me y'all have seen the BBC show, (yes, I love BBC shows), Sherlock. I would say that I am currently loving the show, but I've gone and finished all the seasons.  Ahhh!!!  Why are there only 3??  Anyway...cut out all your other shows, and watch this immediately.  The plot lines are fantastic, the characters are so much fun, and I do love me some Benedict Cumberbatch. 

PS.  I'm officially 30 weeks pregnant this week!  Time is seriously flying by..and no, we still have no clue what we are going to name this sweet little boy.

Other ways I've worn the vest here.  Other ways I've worn these boots here.
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Walker's birthday party!

This sweet little boy turned 3 on Saturday, and we had the best day celebrating him.  I woke up super early on his birthday to go clean the church, but I peaked in his room to see if the boys were up before I left.  They were, of course, and they were snuggling in Charlie's bed watching Busy Town on the iPad.

I said..."Walker, you are 3!!!!!"  Charlie said, "You're 3, baby!", and then after looking him up and down said to me, "He doesn't look any bigger, though!" :)

Walker started his morning off with his choice of Count Chocula cereal for breakfast, and was so excited throughout the entire day.  He knew that it was his special day, and ate it up.

The weather was just perfect as we celebrated sweet Walker boy later that day at Pullen Park with family and friends.  

It was a great day!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Walker Boy!

My Walker boy is THREE today!  Three years ago, after a few contractions, and realizing that I was going to the hospital soon, I sat in my closet and sobbed.  I was not only nervous about what was about to happen, I was so nervous that Charlie, who was still asleep in his crib, would be upset at me for leaving him to go to the hospital....would never forgive me for bringing home a new baby...and worst of all that life wouldn't be the same with a second child.

Life wasn't the same....but it changed for the best.  Oh my is so good with Walker boy.  And best friends from the beginning, Charlie and Walker are two peas in a pod. Walker makes life so fun, so sweet, so adorable...and I could just eat him.

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy.  

And here's a little birthday video of the past year...and one short clip from newborn Walker.

Walker's video from last year.

Friday, October 24, 2014

State Fair

Ohhh the fair! I heard someone say that they weren't going to the State Fair this year because they were afraid of catching Ebola. :/  I wanted to let them know that they would probably catch everything else, but not Ebola.

We went a few days ago with my dad, (our yearly tradition), and it was a beautiful, fall day.  Perfect for being outside, and seeing the boys eat everything imaginable. They just had to point at something and Grandpa was on it.... :)  Chocolate milk, cotton candy, fudge, peanuts, ice cream, horse name it, they had it.

They had THE best day, and we wore ourselves out....(well, I did walking around from 9am-3pm with this pregnant body.)

^Grandpa's little shadow

^Probably my favorite picture of all time.  Walker wasn't quite finished with his chocolate ice cream when it was his turn for the pony ride.  He didn't like that the ride interrupted his treat, and I don't think he liked that horse very much either.

^Big brother loved it, though, and kept saying "yeee haww!"

Big brother did NOT like leaving the fair, though, and refused to pose for a this is the best we got!

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blogging tips

I have to admit that no matter how long or "experienced" I feel with blogging, I love reading tips on blogging.  There's always something to learn, and even if it's the 5th time I've read a particular tip, it might mean something a little different to me that time than it did the first. are a few blogging tips.  Some you've probably read, and some are specific to my quirkiness. :)

1.  Make sure that your pictures are not only big, (the bigger the better!), they are the same width.  

For some reason, pictures that aren't the same width make my eye twitch.  For example...

Oh my.  I can't.  How to fix this without making your picture distorted?  First, in the "Compose" section of your blog post, click on the picture and push "X-Large".  Then, go into the "HTML" tab right beside compose.  The HTML of your picture will look something like this.

This is the HTML for 2 pictures.  Erase the "height" number for both pictures.  Then change the "480" and "264" in the "width" numbers to matching numbers.  I usually change mine to somewhere between 600 and 640 depending on the picture.  Your HTML will then look like this.

And your pictures will match up.

So much better.

2.  Speaking of pictures, go ahead and name them.  
So instead of adding a picture entitled img_001 to your blog post, change it to something that will drive more traffic to your site.  

Give them names relevant to your post.  Fall-outfit-with-riding-boots or halloween-recipe or 10-workouts-for-the-busy-mom.  Things like that!

3.  Have a nice, clean layout.  

I read somewhere that people give your blog 5 seconds or less to decide whether or not they will stay.  

What do you think is wrong with this particular blog layout?  Besides everything.

  • Too many colors
  • Too many fonts; including a super boring header font, and too fancy of a font for the text. eyes!
  • Way too busy with everything; especially pattern
  • Not enough white space
  • Too many big ads that have nothing to do with my content. 
  • No profile picture.
    •  A profile picture is SO important.  Readers like to see who is "speaking", and it also helps your readers connect with you.
  • No description of what the blog is.
  • No Social Media Icons.
  • No picture in the actual blog post.
There are many blog tip posts specifically for blog layout.  One of the biggest ways to learn about this, however, is to make notes about what you like from your favorite blogs and what you don't like. Make a Pinterest board specifically for your blog, and to keep a record of your likes and dislikes.

4.  Speaking of a nice, clean layout....Unless you are a pro, invest in a blog designer.

Carrie from Carrie Loves Design Studio did my current blog design and she is fantastic.  Sure, I could've spent hours and hours researching how to do my own design....but not only would it still look semi-decent (at best), I would've probably thrown my computer across the room by the time I was done with it.  Invest in someone who knows what they're doing.  Trust me!  It's worth the money.  (There are also a ton of great pre-made templates on Etsy that are fantastic.)

5.  Try to always find a way to link back to an old post within your current post.

I am not fantastic at this, but I am trying to make a conscious effort now to do it with every new blog post.  Whenever I find a new blog, or whenever I'm reading the ones I always love to read, sometimes I'm in the mood to just do a whole bunch of blog stalking.

If you link back to an old post or one of your social media sites, (organically, of course...don't make the link-back weird), it will keep readers on your page and interested in what's going on.

With this post, I linked back to an old blog post and an old Instagram picture to explain something a little further.

6. Do not post the same picture to all forms of social media.

This is one of my quirky tips, and I know that many people will disagree with me.  

But, why...why? do I need to follow you on every single social media platform when you post the same thing to Instagram, FB, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Pinterest?  That makes no sense to me.

Sure, promote your blog posts on all forms of social media.  That's totally fine.

But if it's a picture of your kids, or your OOTD, or a quote....just pick one (or 2 at most if it stresses you out for your information to only go to one place)! :)  It will make me more interested in following you on different platforms.  

One exception is if there is BIG, big news.  Like a pregnancy announcement, baby birth, marriage picture, graduation, etc.  But for every day things...pick one!  pick one!!

7.  If you don't have a Facebook page for your blog, get one!  (and while you're at it, get a Twitter account as well.) 

I know that Facebook has a bad rep these really does get so annoying with crazy statuses and too much of everything.  BUT, everyone...everyone(!) has an account.  

For that reason, having a Facebook page for your blog is so important.  Don't just drop your blog post link every day and leave.  Make it a place for conversation.  I love it for that reason.

And as far as Twitter is super confusing at first, but once you get the hang of hashtags and replying and all of that, it's a piece of cake.  Plus...bloggers are on Twitter!  If you want to connect with other bloggers, brands, etc...having a Twitter account is a must.

8.  Pay it forward.

If there is a particular blog post, outfit, tweet, etc., that you genuinely like...share it! pin it! retweet it!  We're all in this together, so what better way to help each other out than to share each other's material? (if it's something you really like, of course.)

And just for fun....a few beginner blog tips:

*Make sure your email is linked to your blog profile.  Tutorial of how to do that here.  This will allow other bloggers to respond to you.

*Make connections with other bloggers.  The blog world is so great, so comment on other blogs, and interact with them on Twitter. (Attend blog conferences as well to connect and learn.)

*Do not focus on making money....especially not in the beginning.  Anyone can tell a blogger who is just in it to make money, and those blogs never last (because no one wants to read them!)  

*Going along with that one...bloggers receive lots of pitches and opportunities to receive free products and sponsorships.  Don't take everything just because it's something.  It's exciting, yes, but be sure to stay true to who you are and what you want your blog to represent.  

*Go ahead and buy your domain. (I bought mine on GoDaddy.) Having a .com instead of a allows your blog to look way more professional.

*Especially at first, participate in link ups!  I still do this (usually) every Wednesday with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesdays, and Because Shanna Said So for Random Wednesday.  Link ups provide the opportunity for people to find your blog, and help you find new blogs to read!

*Create a mission statement for your blog.  This will help you stay on track with what you want to accomplish.

*Like I said before, research other blogs; their design, their content, their pictures, everything.  Make notes about what you like and what you don't like!

There a billion other things that can be said, but these are just a few that I think are really important.

I would love to hear about anything else you would add!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A few things...

The boys like the "baby" swings sometimes so they can fly high like Superman

*You know you've been watching a little too much Friday Night Lights, when you suggest the name "Riggins" to your husband for your 3rd baby boy.  (And yes, Noel looked at me like I had lost it.)  I could never go through with that, though, because ??? "Charlie, you are Charles the 4th...Walker, you have your mother's maiden name, and were named after your mommy's TV crush."

*Both boys have been waking up ridiculously early lately.  They tiptoe in our room, grab Noel's iPad from his side table, and dash out like bandits.  At first I would try to get them to go back to bad, and tell them they couldn't just veg out with the iPad....but now, after getting an extra hour of sleep, and walking in to their room to see them snuggling in one of their beds, watching Curious George, and eating pretzels and Cheerios out of a big tupperware bowl, I think...thanks, boys for getting yourself breakfast! :)

*And speaking of breakfast...I recently started making this smoothie and this breakfast sandwich, and they are both 1. super easy to make, and 2. super delicious.

I hope y'all have a fantastic weekend!! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Jeans: Old Navy, Top: Gap Outlet (similar),  Bracelet: Taylor Morgan, Loafers: Target (similar)

I am officially in my 3rd trimester.  What???!!!  These few weeks are actually the best weeks to be pregnant.  I'm big enough that no one questions whether I'm actually pregnant or just gaining weight, and I'm not super sick.  I'm also not too gigantic yet, and can actually still move(ish). 

It's also kind of scary because this baby still doesn't have a name or anything ready for him.  He does have clothes from big that's a plus.  Time to get baby boy's nursery ready!

And on a different note...I do love me an Audrey-like outfit (with a touch of leopard!)  It's so easy to put together, and an all-black outfit never goes out of style.  

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I hope y'all are having a great week.
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Friday, October 10, 2014

Workout Routine

Shoes: c/o Rack Room Shoes

My pregnancy and labor with Charlie and Walker were so different from each other.  I had a miscarriage before Charlie, so during my pregnancy with him, I barely moved.  I was still teaching, but the extent of my exercise routine was (maybe) a walk once a week.  I was terrified to move.  I thought anything I did would hurt him.

I was in labor with Charlie for 24 hours and I pushed for 1.5 hrs.  That's a longggggg timmmmeeeee.

With Walker, I was chasing around a baby (the boys are 19 months apart), I was working out several times a week, and I was teaching dance (and actually moving while I was teaching.)

I was in labor with Walker for 3 hours...first contraction to baby boy out.  That's pretty quick.

I know...absolutely know...that the difference in the labors was the fact that I exercised throughout Walker's pregnancy.  And just as a side note....with baby boy 3, I'm terrified I'm going to have him in the car on the way to the hospital.  (I'm going to be that lady on the news.)  Just with it being January and the possibility of snow/ice, and with this baby potentially coming even faster than Walker.  I've been trying to show Noel Call the Midwife episodes so he can be a little prepared, but he's not going for it.

This pregnancy, I try...keyword do cardio/weights at the gym on Monday, Body Pump on Wednesday, and Body Flow on Friday, with walks with the boys throughout the week.  This bicycle ^ is my mom's new ride, and it is SO awesome!!  (The boys thought it was pretty awesome, too.) :)

It's really nice having a cute pair of tennis shoes to work out in.  It makes getting out to the gym or out for a walk a little easier.  These pink ones from Rack Room Shoes are so fun!

I hope y'all have a great weekend...(I'm hoping for some perfect fall weather over here.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1 outfit, 3 ways

Top, Jeans, Scarf: Zara (similar), Heels, Black Necklace, Brown Boots c/o

I'm always a fan of working a piece of clothing in multiple ways.  With my pregnancy wardrobe especially, I'm trying to work an outfit in many ways.  I have limited clothing options, and try to find as many ways as possible to wear them.  

Here's a simple striped tee and black jeans worn 3 ways!

A little fancier with heels, and a little pattern mixing with plaid.

Probably my go-to with this outfit.  Riding boots and a statement necklace.  Remember in middle school times how wearing brown and black together was a no-no?!....such a sad time.

Keeping it simple with a pop of color and a pop of (my favorite)...leopard print.

For more 1 item, 3 ways, you can check out 3 ways to wear oxfords and 3 wears to wear a polka dot shirt!
Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lessons Learned

I really do love all kinds of books....I have to be real honest, though, and tell you that I just couldn't with Gone Girl.  I checked it out from the library way before there was talk of a movie, because I heard so many people raving about it.  I read a few chapters, and couldn't handle the language, or the story, or the characters.  It was making me feel ehh reading it, so I finally put it down.  But wanting to know what all the fuss was about, I read the synopsis online.  (Such a squirrelly move...I was so disturbed after reading it, I couldn't even sleep that night.)

Janssen puts out great book lists, and I know they're going to be good quality books all around. I always look forward to her suggestions, and request all of them from the library immediately. She suggested A Spoonful of Sugar a while ago, and I'm so glad she did.  

The book is an autobiography of a British nanny during World War II....(very Call the Midwife!) It's full of her stories and advice, and I loved it.  It made me appreciate and love my role as a mother, and brought out a ton of things that I believe to be so true in parenting (the author and I think a lot alike when it comes to parenting.)  A few of those things...

*"The whole essence of my childhood and, in my opinion, the key to any happy childhood is simplicity."
          I am the first person to argue the importance of kids' classes, sports at an early age, almost can't survive in today's world without getting an early start, BUT....yesterday, I was sitting in the hallway watching Walker show me how to skip, and it. was. awesome.  There's beauty and so much growth in simple moments, slowing down, and just....being.  

*"I made sure never to dismiss their pain but instead to listen to their worries and to do whatever I could to ease their burden."
         Love this. Love this.  It took me a while to get this, and sometimes I still struggle, but when my boys are upset about something, I genuinely try to listen to and understand them.  It's kinda beyond me when one of them gets upset about a broken wing on an airplane, but that's their world right now and I try to respect that.

*"How, with just one word or a smile, she had the power to bolster their egos and turn their worlds around.  Because of her unrelenting love she made them feel like men ten feet tall."
          She was talking about a mother she observed, and I thought this was so important, and such a good reminder.  Parents need to be their kids' biggest cheerleaders, and need to help them become the best they possibly can be.  

*"Manners are so vitally important."
          I am so old-fashioned when it comes to manners, so I especially loved her stories about whipping naughty kids in to shape. :)  Kids will be kids, and that's a fact, but manners are something that are really important to me.  The author discusses ways to go about teaching children manners (and I did too, a year ago.)

I loved this book, obviously, and highly recommend it.  

What's on your nightstand right now?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pumpkalligraphy Class

My sister, Jessica and I were in need of a sister date, and found such a fun way to make that happen last Saturday.  Maghon, from All She Wrote Notes,  hosted a pumpkin calligraphy party at West Elm at Southpoint.  I think I have the worst handwriting of any human being around, but the class was a blast, and I think mine turned out halfway decent. :)  And ohhhh West Elm...Jessica and I kept saying, "one of everything in here, please!"  So gorgeous.  (PS...Recognize my boots?!)

^A little modge podge and a little glitter.

^A little calligraphy

^And Voila!!  I love having this on my porch.

^with Maghon

Maghon is seriously the sweetest person ever, and so, so talented.  What a treat to spend the morning with her.  And such a treat to spend the day with my sister.

Happy Weekend!
PS.  I'm watching the LDS General Conference today and tomorrow.  So excited!!  What are you up to this weekend?
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