Wedding Wednesday is Now My Thing

Well Folks,

Here I am again. I say again because I haven’t been posting on my blog for…well too long for me to even remember. I have been lurking in the blogosphere and reading your posts though. Bloglovin is still my most visited website. That and Pinterest so I’m still here. Gone but not forgotten…..

Hopefully….

Anyway, in case you missed me, or didn’t, either way I have come back from the dead to announce something. I thought about announcing that I have an announcement like any good Blogger would do, but being MIA for months on end doesn’t really allow that much flexibility when coming back.

SO in case you missed it on Instagram on Monday…..

I’M ENGAGED!!!

Engagement Moment

Oh yea, you’re looking at the future Mrs. Barros. Boom Baby!

You can see above I was caught completely off guard. Ignore the ratty tennis shoes and unwashed hair. And Lord, there isn’t a ring pic yet because heaven forbid my nails weren’t painted. But gosh darnit, it was downright perfect, so just focus on the giant smiles on our faces instead, k thanks.

As soon as it happened my first thought besides holy crap it’s so sparkly, was “Dangit I haven’t brainstormed any good hashtag ideas yet!!”

Clearly my priorities were in the right order. I’m working on it don’t worry. For now I went with a ball and freaking chain man hashtag theme….Because well, I feel like the Man right now. (movie reference layup?)

My second coherent thought revolved around the idea that I will finally hit the big time with my blog! Whop doesn’t love a good wedding post! Until I remembered that I haven’t blogged in…..well you get the picture.

Whatever, it’s brought me back from Davey Jones Locker and that’s about the best resurrection catapult I could possibly think of so I’m happy with it.

I still don’t have a computer, but I do now have a fiance with a computer who said I can use his whenever I want. Boy this whole engagement thing is already the bee’s knees!

But of course I now need your help because despite having a Secret Wedding Pinterest board with lots of cute pictures that all color coordinate with one another, I have no clue where to start. Well I know where to start but like how does one find a Photographer? Venue? etc?? Google?

Help a newly engaged sista out will ya!

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Christmas Traditions From Your Favorite Bloggers

Hello Friends!

It’s December! What? Ok fine tomorrow it’s December, but basically the day after Thanksgiving makes it Christmas so really December.

But whether today or tomorrow, it’s upon us and that means full-blown Holiday fever!

Obviously there will be many posts about gifts and presents and don’t get me wrong, I’ll have a few of those myself coming up if I can get my act together and Not take a week off of blogging again.

But the gifts aren’t what the Holiday spirit is all about, it’s about family and friends, being with your loved ones and giving back to those around you.

My family is huge on traditions. We do the same things year after year and I couldn’t get enough of it! I love traditions!!

 

christmas traditions from favorite bloggers

However, my family is all the way down in TN while I let JB move me up to MA this year. That jerk, making me love him 😉

But this is my blog so I’m pretty muich obligated to share some of the traditions of my family no matter where they are.

  • My Mom and I usually bake all the same treats every year. Sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, and dream bars are a must every year. Fudge with and without nuts of course. And if we’re feeling adventurous, caramels.
  • My Dad, Sister and I venture out to Dollywood to watch the performances and drink the hot chocolate.
  • We always put our tree up Thanksgiving weekend of course.
  • As we were growing up, we all got a new ornament to represent our lives that year so we have a very eclectic tree. It’s so fun to look back over the ornaments every year though and remember why we picked a certain one.

Those are just a few things we do every year. However with my “new” family, aka JB, I need new traditions to make mine, so I thought I’d ask some of my blogger friends what their traditions are instead! I gave fair warning that I might steal them for myself and they still gave willingly. What friends!

 

LittleAslam

Myra from The Little Aslam

Every year, we go to look at Christmas lights and we always make a stop for coffee & hot cocoa beforehand. Usually it’s just Amir & I going to enjoy the lights together wherever we are and when we were in Houston, we used to go to Town Center with all of the siblings to go look at the lights and just to goof off (they usually had decor that you could take pictures with, so we used to do that)!

BourbonLipstickStilletos

Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos

We spend Christmas Eve with my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There are 9 grandchildren on this side of the family, and we all take turns reading verses from Luke about the birth of Jesus. I’m 30 and still look forward to this every year! It’s such a special night and it’s wonderful to stop and remember what Christmas is really about.

500DaysEngagement

Jen from 500 Days of Engagement

Family: My family is originally from Pennsylvania/New York, so the holidays just aren’t the same when it’s 80 degrees. The one thing that still makes it feel like Christmas is going to a candlelight service every Christmas Eve. Our church sings carols and ends the service at midnight with “Silent Night”, and it’s the most perfect introduction to the big day. I never miss it.

Couple: As bizarre as this sounds, my fiance and I have a tradition of going to New York City at the end of every year. The first time, we went right before Christmas and saw all of the pretty shop decorations and went ice skating at Rockefeller. The second year, we went for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and then stuck around for the Christmas decorations to pop up. It’s the best time of the year in NYC and of course we Texans go out of our minds with joy when it snows. I think it’ll be a forever tradition for us!

[Tweet “A few of your favorite bloggers and their Christmas traditions!”]

GritsBlog

Ashley from The Grits Blog

My favorite family tradition is a new one that I started during my first year of marriage. We started opening one gift on Christmas Eve together and it’s just so special and wonderful! We also have a low-key pizza night on Christmas Eve then have a big family breakfast on Christmas day. Food is a big part of our family and always brings us together – but for some reason it just tastes so much better during the holidays 🙂

HeleneBetween

Helene from Helene in Between

The Annual Flournoy Family Christmas Party
Every year, since before I was born, since before my parents were even together, there was a family Christmas party on Christmas eve in each of their respective homes. (Side note, my parents lived 3 blocks away from each other and have one of my favorite love stories ever). They carried on the tradition of the Christmas party, but moved it to the weekend before because I worried that Santa might skip over our house since there were so many people inside. Each year, anywhere from100-200 people come. I most definitely tear up after a few glasses of my spiced hard cider and see all of the people I love in one room.

 So there ya have a few blogger’s traditions, now I want to hear YOURS!

Do you go somewhere every year? Bake the same treats? Listen to the same music? Spill it all down in the comments

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When You Feel Like Quitting

Hey Friends,

It’s Friday, which means we all just had amazing weeks and are looking forward to the weekend. Except me, I work Saturday’s now so I’ll still be at work while you’re relaxing. Although when you go back to work on Monday I’ll be sleepin in so there’s a big upside lol.

I actually got a special request from a fellow blogging friend to write this post. Either that means I have sage wisdom to bestow on my readers or I’ve been tagged a quitter. I’m not sure, but either way I can relate to the topic so it wasn’t a hard post to write.

This type of quitting is mostly directed towards blogging, but you can take the lessons and apply them to other aspects of your life as well.

Actually the example I give has nothing to do with blogging so it’s really easy to apply to life in general. I guess I do have sage wisdom!

When You Feel Like Quitting

I’ve actually never been called a quitter in my life. When I start something I always finish it, outcome not guaranteed, but I finish.

Let me give you an example of a time when I legitimately was going to quit something though. It was the summer of 2012 and I was working a job from Hell. It was a summer camp so I lived with the campers, working 6 days/week with one day off.

That wasn’t the bad part though, I’ve worked summer camps before, specifically the summer before where I met JB (heart emoji). This summer though, the management was completely incompetent. As in they set rules they didn’t even follow themselves, rewarded staff that didn’t show up for their shifts because they were dating (yes, the management was dating the staff and gave them special treatment), and punished those who actually watched the kids and essentially ran the camp while they slept in till noon every day.

Oh but once I was given a $5 giftcard to a frozen yogurt shop in town so it kinda made up for it I guess…..kidding…..

If you’re wondering if I tried to alert the higher-ups of the problems, I did. They didn’t believe me and basically called me a liar….so that was awesome……

It got so bad one day about 3/4 of the way through the summer that I literally broke down and decided I was going to quit.

I was so upset I was pacing around the quad (the camp was on a college campus) and fuming to JB (he worked that summer with me again. That’s love people) and he said something to me that stuck…

Don’t make an emotional decision that can have long-term consequences

Or something like that, it’s been 3 years give me a break.

Basically he meant don’t make a decision in the heat of the moment that can have a long-lasting impact on my life.

I ended up staying the rest of the summer despite the horrible working conditions because to me, the kids were worth it and I needed the monetary compensation for school.

So what does this have to do with blogging?

Well unless your blog is your main source of income then not much in the monetary realm, but if it’s something that engages you, inspires you, gets the fire in your soul coursing then it does.

See, I have a passion for helping other people and working with kids. For me, the end game of that summer job far out-weighed any incompetence the management could throw my way. I knew I was making a difference in those kids lives and I thrived on the day-to-day operations. It was also only a summer job……So the end was in sight.

So ask yourself, does blogging fulfill those things for you?

[Tweet “Ever feel like quitting blogging? Here’s some tips to figure out if it’s the right move or not”]

Does blogging wake you up inside, inspire you to try new things, live your life in a better way, and satisfy your need to write and engage with others?

Or has it become a mental drain on you? Do you dread having to sit down and write a post? It is emotionally taxing to even think about promotion, SEO, and social media?

Does the end-game out-weigh the things that bugging you?

If the answer is no, then maybe “quitting” isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe it’s actually GOOD for you?

Quitting that summer camp would have elicited a whole slew of what-if’s, doubts, and regrets for me.

Similarly, quitting my blog would do the same thing. And trust me I’ve thought about it, even taken breaks from it, but I always came back.

And maybe that’s what you need to do.

Taking a break from blogging isn’t quitting.

Taking a break from blogging is sometimes necessary to see if it’s a passion or a drain. If it’s actually worth it for your well-being or pulling you down.

So what can we learn from this?

Quitting something isn’t always a bad thing. Quitting something that is emotionally and mentally draining is actually a good thing.

So take that break, step back and evaluate what’s important to you.

Maybe you’ll come back, maybe you won’t, but the important thing is you. Your motivations, your inspirations, your well-being mentally and emotionally.

So now tell me, have you ever felt like quitting something?

Did you quit? Did you not? What made you stick it out?

Let me know in the comments!

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Winter Office Wardrobe Must Haves

**This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own**

Have I told y’all I finally got a full time gig?

I didn’t think so. I’m actually on my way to CT for a training seminar today. So yay me, I’m the official new Wellness Program Coordinator at an Independent Living Facility here in Mass.

The name says it all. I schedule and coordinate all programming in the community including outings, performances, clubs, groups, fitness classes, challenges, etc, etc….

There’s a knitting group (love), book club (double love), and all activities are over by 4pm….um my life…..Can we all say perfect job for me together?

So with this transition from working in mostly a gym setting to an office every day means I need to step up my wardrobe game….like big time.

Winter Office Wardrobe

Scarf (now $7) / Dress (under $10) / Boots/ Leg warmers (only $7!)

No more tights and gym shoes for me. Nope! I gotta trade in my dri-fit for silk and whatever the heck else real clothes are made of. Cotton?

I’m not starting completely from zero though, I’m not that much of a kid still….just mostly.

So once I knew I got the job, I started looking for more office attire. Without that first paycheck though, that means I’m shopping on fumes. As in my budget is pretty tight right now, but I still wanted a “congrats on your first day of an adult job” outfit.

Here’s where Sammy Dress comes in.

They have a ton of cute clothes with very affordable prices. Best part is that customers actually upload photos of themselves wearing the clothes so you can see how it looks on a real person!

I don’t know about you, but seeing anything on a model is gonna make it look cute, but what about someone who looks like me?

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of dresses. Especially in the Fall/Winter. Toss on a dress over a pair of leggings, add boots and viola! Perfect and cute office attire.

Of course being the youngest person at work by 50 years doesn’t set the bar too high….

Anyway…..

[Tweet “Need some winter office attire inspiration? Look no further!”]

Since it’s winter, a scarf is another must-have. It’s cold outside and sometimes warm in the office which means scarves are great layering pieces! And who doesn’t love scarves? I’m an addict. Some girls collect shoes or bags, I collect scarves like it’s my j.o.b. I also make a lot of scarves (high five for the knitters of the world!) so I have a constant supply to satisfy my need.

But now how do we make this super adorable outfit look professional and not just cute? Put a blazer on it!

At least that’s what I do. Check out a few of their blazers here.

I have yet to wear my brand new blazer to work yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes over in my office of two.

So those are my favorite office picks, now I wanna hear yours!

What is your favorite office attire?

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Easy DIY Halloween Pumpkins

Happy Friday Friends!

I’ve got the cutest and easiest Halloween DIY craft for y’all today. Really absolutely no skill is required to make this decoration either. Trust me, an artist I am not.

I actually got this idea when my Teen Group at the Y was put in charge of the Haunted Woods at our annual Fall Festival. We essentially had a zero dollar budget which means we had to get creative. Now I’m the first to admit that I’m not all that creative. This is where Pinterest comes in. I seriously have no clue how society functioned before Pinterest.

DIY Halloween Pumpkin Decorations

This craft is not only easy to create, but also cheap!

I didn’t actually follow a “tutorial” for this because seriously you can just look at the picture and know what to do. Like buy, draw, light….easy peasy.

I admit I didn’t draw them all myself. The bag of solo cups comes in a pack of 50 and ain’t nobody got time for that. So I recruited my Teen group to draw the remaining cups once I finished my 5 masterpieces. Ok fine, passable works of art at best, but I never claimed to be an artist. Quite the opposite actually 😉

What you’ll need:

-Orange solo cups

-Black sharpie

-Tea Lights

No kidding, that’s all you’ll need.

DIY Halloween Pumpkin decorations

Start by Googling pictures of jack-o-lanterns. I kid you not, I actually had to look up jack-o-lantern faces because that’s the lack of creativity that resides in my head…..

Once you have the faces you want, grab that sharpie and get to work! Most of mine turned out quite well and exactly how I wanted them to, however I did have a few…um….mistakes….

But this is a cute post so I won’t show you that guy…..

[Tweet “Need a quick a easy DIY Halloween decoration idea? Try these Pumpkins from solo cups!”]

After you’re done, simply pop a tealight under them, arrange them on your mantel, bookcase, stoop, anywhere you want and wait for the sun to go down. Once it’s dark and you turn the tealights on the real magic begins.

Easy DIY Halloween Pumpkin Decorations

I’ll have you know they’re more impressive in person where they blink and subsequently wink at you. They really are the perfect alternative to getting pumpkin goop up to your elbows. At least that’s what I told myself when I decided not to carve a pumpkin this year. Studio living is not for the faint of heart…

For our purposes, we lined the kiddy “haunted” trail with the cups added tea lights under them (on of course) and waited for our first visitor.

The big kid haunted trail was too scary for me to walk through so I can’t tell you about it, but here’s some photos of the creepy kids I work with. They almost convinced me to dress up and scare unsuspecting children with them, but I got too creeped out just watching them practice their scenes that I selfishly volunteered to man the kiddy trail. I’m such a giver.

So do you like the easy pumpkins?

Gonna give it a go?

Better yet, tell me your own easy DIY Halloween NON-scary decorations?

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Join the Billion Dinners Challenge and Win Free Grocery Money

Hey Friends!

Remember when we talked about unplugging at dinner time?

Well I’m back. And this time not only am I gonna tell you about a cool dinner challenge to have with your family, significant other, roommate, etc, but I’m also gonna tell you how you can win free grocery money. Yup FREE money to buy you some groceries. Now who wouldn’t stick around to hear about that?

billion dinner challenge

So what is the BillionDinners Challenge anyway?

It’s all about reconnecting with your loved ones over dinner. It’s a way for you to challenge yourself and recommit to having some quality family time. Really be present in those little moments. In the words of Billion Dinners themselves, “Eating 10 fully present family meals over the course of 14 days may require creativity and flexibility. It may get messy, and there will certainly be days when it feels like a hassle. We’re not saying it will be easy, but we do promise it will be worth it. It’s not about what’s for dinner each night – it’s about the stories, the smiles, the fights, the laughs, the tears. And the one billion memories you will create with your loved ones.”

Why Dinner?

Having family dinners has a number of awesome benefits including;

  • Reducing stress
  • Increase wellness
  • Lower risk of obesity
  • Increase happiness
  • Form stronger connections
  • CHANGE LIVES

Seriously though, it may sound all cheesy and nice in theory, but with our lives so busy, dinner is a great built-in time for you to really connect and be present with your loved ones. Every one’s gotta eat right? And if you love food as much as I do, then dinner is already one of your most favorite things to do every day.

No joke, some of my favorite family memories of telling stories and laughing together come from when we were sitting around the dinner table. Many nights, dinner would end and we’d stay chatting around the table. Family game night was the only thing that surpassed this quality time (in my mind anyway).

billion dinner challenge

How Can You Participate?

Simply download the app which can be found in the App store (for both iphone and Android)

Next track your dinners.

Simply log 10 meals in two weeks for your chance to win their grand prize!

You don’t have to get all the way to 10 meals to win my giveaway though. Simply tag me (@kelsnsher Instagram or @blonderside Twitter) just ONCE and you can win $20 to your favorite grocery store. And who doesn’t like free money!

[Tweet “I’m joining the #BillionDinners challenge for a chance to win $20 grocery money! Are you?”]

What Can You Win?

Let me say it one more time. By simply tagging me ONCE in a dinner post you can win $20 of free grocery money.

On top of that, if you track your meals through the actual App and commit to the challenge, you’ll be entered to win the Billion Dinners official “10 in 2” contest. heads up guys, they’re giving away $100 giftcards. That’s huge!

Easy enough right?

Questions?

Will you be signing up to unplug your dinnertime routine?

Tag me and win that money!

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Welcome Back to the Secret Blogger Club!

Welcome back!!

I’m so excited to welcome y’all back to the Secret Blogger Club! I had fun this summer with the Summer Reading Challenge but it feels good to be back into the swing of things. Fall tends to be the season that I reorganize and feel re-invigorated to get the ish together. ❤ you Fall!

P.S. did you catch my October Instagram Challenge? #Blondetober It kicks off today so pretty please join me! Everyone can sit with us (aka use the hashtag) so even if it doesn’t match the prompt for that day hashtag it up and lets all be friends!

Ok, on to the Secret Blogger Club.

Secret Blogger Club Title

Since there might be a few new faces, and it’s been  three whole months since we last linked up together, you can click on over to the SBC page to see what we’re all about. The short version is making friends and support fellow back to middle of the pack bloggers like myself (and you?) Big bloggers are welcome too…I guess…. 😉

[Tweet “Have you joined the #SecretBloggerClub yet? Go add your latest post to the linkup!”]

Basically you link up with whatever post you’d like, and every week I’ll be highlighting bloggers of all sizes! Feel free to highlight your own faves from the week, but you don’t have to in order to link-up. Link-up whatever post you want, and it’d be smart if it’s one you’d like to be featured. I promote all posts I feature on social media if that’s your jam.

So here we go!

>> Five Things to do When You Just have Your Computer to Kill Time by Anchored to Sunshine. Instead of turning to flappy bird (is that still a thing?) try one or five of Amanda’s tips to use that free-time productively. Not only will you actually get something done, but you’ll feel as though you didn’t just waste those minutes of your life. And anyone who has ever come up for air after a Buzzfeed binge or a good ole fashioned Facebook stalk knows exactly what I’m talking about.

>> DIY Sparkly Cat Mask by The Bold Abode. I’m not a Halloween fan so I historically don’t dress up for the night. But heck, maybe I should get into the Holiday this year. And with an adorable and easy cat mask like this one, plus my surplus of black clothing, it’s easier then ever.

>> Easy Ways to Save Money When Shopping Online by Bethany Georgina. Because who doesn’t like saving money?

>> 20 Good Reasons to Judge Me by Wife in Training. We all do things that are judge worthy but Lindsay put it all on blast. I may have to do my own post soon, though I know y’all are already judging so why the heck not lol.

>> Social Media Hacks by An Uncomplicated Life. You know I’ll never be a bigger blogger because I can’t make myself love social media like that would require. Instagram is the only one I’m obsessed with. Pinterest is for finding my dinner menu and Twitter….well I’m horrible at Twitter. Use these tips to improve your game though!

So now it’s time to linkup your latest post and get social!

I’ll be hopping around to all posts linked, and who knows, maybe you’ll be featured next week?

The Blonder Side of Life
The Blonder Side of Life

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