September 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for September.

Favorite Instagram feed is theconnoisseurofcute. Elizabeth is a Texan shop owner who finds inspiration in the most unexpected places. I love her taste in curb appeal and I'm envious of her novelty wardrobe. 

Favorite TV show is The Good Wife. In the hundreds of reality TV shows, it's refreshing to find a well written show. It's funny, suspenseful and there's an emotional connection with the characters. My favorite character is Louis Canning. He's the best villain on TV! 

Favorite purchase was Charge Up Introverts. I'll admit I'm not an introvert or extrovert- I'm somewhere in between. That won't stop me from reading any resources that will help me succeed in blogging and relationships. The digi-book is written by Allie Lehman and Claire Deane, two women who have built successful companies from the ground up, all while being a little shy. 

Favorite moment was when Fall came. It's becoming one of my favorite seasons. 

Here's to October 2014! Check out past favorites here.

Fall Bedroom Before and After

I found some older photos of my house before it was decorated. It's surreal to see it so empty. Everything from the fixtures to floors have been replaced. The decor is the same as it was since I took the "after" photos and for good reason- it's a classic color and I've yet to get sick of it. 

Now, we've made it our own. My bedroom will never be as clean as it was when I first began decorating it. It's been featured here and here on my thoughts on one of my favorite rooms, and I always think of these photos when I bring out the autumn-inspired comforters. I've never featured my own photos on my blog so I'd love to have this in the archive when I look back at what we've done to the house. We've added a treadmill, installed a walk-in closet, it was a nursery at one point, and I've decorated my vanity area. These photos are Pinterest-worthy, but trust me, it's a mess at the moment. 

Transient
Transient

Most of the time, I have an all-white comforter set. I love all white for one reason- it's low maintenance. If something needs to get replaced, instead of searching for a matching set, I just replace it with anything else that's white. Plus regardless of the color, we wash our comforter and sheets once a week. We love texture with it, it adds depth to monotone color. We got our set from Macy's and they're on clearance right now- I may pick up a couple more pieces, they're my favorite so far. The lamps are from Crate and Barrel. I've had them for three years and I'm not getting sick of them anytime soon. The bedding is from zgallerie, but I can't find this particular style. 

Transient

I should also note, my bed is rarely made. A beautiful white pile of linens is much more cozier. 

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Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling

Here's another shot from my iPhone from the Lulu Guinness Impossible Film. I'm tempted to buy another pack!

Here's another shot from my iPhone from the Lulu Guinness Impossible Film. I'm tempted to buy another pack!

+ Real friendships don't develop easy

+ Walt Disney Secret Characters 

+ Plant based protein cheat sheet 

+ 12 Banned Books Every Woman Should Read

+ 3 Tips on Dealing with Difficult People 

+ Where you born between 1979 and 1983? We're too young to be Gen X but we're too old to Millenial. We're Xennials

+ I discovered this blog last week, one of my new favorites. 

+ Friday Night Pizza Night

+ There is one more week to raise money for Forever Footprints Walk in honor of Max. You can read about it here if you missed it and donate here. We just got our team shirts in designed by EmandSprout. I can't do much for him anymore. We gave him a memorial, built a garden in his name but I'm still moved to do more and the least I could do is walk for him. 

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! 

Check out more Friday Darlings posts here

Lulu Guinness x Impossible Film

I am so excited for this collaboration. Impossible Film has been updating their film with better quality which includes better color formula, better battery and adding fun decorated frames. I had to get the Lulu Guinness iconic red lips, colorfully decorated on the film frame. I've been using the Impossible Instant Lab with my current iPhone 5S. 

They came out warmer than what I imagined but I like the contrast of the frame to the photo. You can buy the film here. The film works with SX-70 cameras and Impossible Instant Lab. Thanks to the ABM team for sending me the fun glasses! 

You Don't Win Friends With Salads

Well, with this salad you do. I love this strawberry and quinoa salad. It's easy, filling, and delicious. I ordered it from Plated, it comes with everything in the recipe. The only thing you need is a hungry cook! 

A little cooked quinoa, roasted almonds, spinach, fresh strawberries, and mix together with the dressing made of 1 tsp each of honey, lemon, mustard, olive oil and sprinkle got cheese. It's so easy! Scott and I had seconds and we still had leftovers. Thank you, Plated! My other Plated post is here

Favorite Fall (and Winter, and Spring, and Summer) Basics

Before I had a bad fall (no, really, that's not a terrible pun, I really did fall), I did a little shopping to update my basics for fall and winter. Inspired by Danielle and Emma, I wanted to share my favorites, too. I'm bummed new clothes currently sit in the closet and I can't go out much to wear them. Sitting at home binging on Netflix in leather leggings just isn't as chic as it sounds. What I love about the pieces I added are they'll look great by next fall, too. I'm starting to dream about TV and book characters. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 

These are basic pieces but there's a little detail to them. Instead of the basic black pant, I went with a patterned pant, instead of a basic white button up, I went with a peter-pan collar with a peplum silhouette. I love wearing all black but add a little bit of texture, detail or shape to make it not so basic. I'll be adding my favorite accessories, and they'll work all year. I can't wait to wear them, as soon as I'm on feet and out of this boot cast, I'll be back to outfit posts *hair flip emoji*

Honorable mention that wasn't included- duh.  


Child Loss and Social Media

Sadly, child loss happens often enough and leaves an online community confused on how to help grieving parents. There is no standard for what to do in this situation, and I'm sure I'll go back and edit to add more. Everything in this community is sugarcoated from our styled photos, our perfected blog posts, but I can't sugarcoat this topic. Every loss is different and I'm sharing mine. Some families want the complete opposite of what I share from my experience. I'm writing this post with love. It's been one year and one thing Max's death taught me was to not sit down on this sensitive topic. It's awkward, unfamiliar, painful and with a little bit of awareness, we can make it easier for the next parent in need. People mean well, but that's not enough to merit the pain added. Let's change that. 

Social Media and Child Loss: What to do, what to say, and how to help

What NOT to say and do

+ Hold your little one's tighter...but quietly. Sometimes the words don't come out right when I hear this, but this blog post nailed it. "Enough already." Please don't use their tragedy to highlight your life publicly. This goes along with the next tip...

+ Tagging them in your kid's photos- I see this a lot and even a year later, I'll get my name tagged on Instagram and Facebook on other people's kid photos. By other people I mean complete strangers who were moved by Max's story and while I think it's sweet, I don't know how this is supposed to help a grieving parent. Again, I know people mean well and it's a symbol of telling your friend "Hey, we're in this with you!", but what am I supposed to say to that? "Aw, how adorable! You're using my loss to gloat on the baby you get to hold alive! Darling!" Please don't do this. If you really want to help, be sensitive about this. 

+ Don't be positive- "It's for a good reason" I heard this a lot and I still can't wrap my mind around why there would be ANY reason for a healthy baby to be dead. Don't sugarcoat their tragedy. It's condescending and belittles their pain. 

+ Don't be a stranger- You don't have to know someone to be nice to them. Sounds like common sense, right? It's a good reminder. If you've never even heard of the person or know who they are but it's on your heart to say something- say it. The nicest things have been said by strangers and I'll never forget that. 

+ Don't be nosy- There's this cloak of anonymity online and it makes people a little too comfortable (and crazy). People emailed me asking for photos of Max, if I was selling his stuff, they wanted to know every detail and it was scary. Respect the family and this includes the child.

+ Never, never, ever ask for dibs on the crib. Or anything else that belonged to the child. It doesn't matter if you're family, best friends, church friends, or neighbors. Let the parents take that step on their own, if at all.

+ Don't tell them they'll be happy again- Part of the reason child loss makes it harder is people are trying to jump through hoops to make you happy instead of feeling the raw emotion of grief. Let them cry, let them be sad. Especially in the Christian community, it was worse when I was told I was going to be happy again in no time. Jesus never preached to be happy and was full of sunshine. He was a man of many sorrows and he preached love. And please don't scold them if they decide to take medication. I've been scolded for not taking it, but I've also been told I needed to. Just love them, their grief and their ugly cries. 

+ Don't bring Jesus or any form of religion unless you know what they believe in. I found comfort in my faith but I also met mom's in grief groups who got angrier at the mention of it. 

Don't be silent- Ask if they need help, let them know you are there for them. Even if they say no, again, it's not about you. I learned it's so much easier to say "no" than "you weren't there for me". 

Don't expect a thank you- I'm pretty sure they're not shopping the card section at Target picking out their thank you card's anytime soon. Send your package, letter, email, comment without any expectation. It took me MONTHS to get around to my emails and cards. 

What to say and do 

+ Start with "I'm Sorry"- It's simple, it's beautiful, it's caring, and it's a start. 

Email- Email was one of the things that helped me in my grief. It's FREE, it's quick, and it's something that I can look back to when I was in my darkest. 

+ Visit, text, call- I remember when people told me they really wanted to visit or call but it was awkward... for them. It was a little hurtful because awkward goes away, but friendship doesn't. Sometimes I didn't want to talk, I just wanted someone there with me. Crying spells are normal, they will rival the ugly cry face of Claire Danes and if it's awkward, it's okay.  

+ If you're going to send a care package- think comfort when you're packing it. Teas, soaps, socks, and mugs to name a few comforting things. Maybe even something to distract them like a movie, or an Apple or Amazon gift card. 

+ If you want to send one thing- make it about their child. It's a small memento. There are a ton of etsy shops that make personalized and monogrammed pieces. There is also a service to name star after their child, plant a tree in their name, or help build a garden by sending a small pack of seeds and small basket of gardens. If you're good with crafts, make something in their child's memory.  

+ If your friend has a stillbirth or miscarriage, I wrote a post on Melissa's blog about what helps. Pack it all up, put in a basket and allow them to mourn comfortably. 

+ Send food- When the "love bomb" was sent (it was a package from a group of online friends and strangers who I am forever grateful to) inside were gift cards to my favorite restaurants. With everything going on, we were able to have a special Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the gift cards, I didn't have to worry about what to cook, bake, it was all taken care of. I also had neighbors and online friends send me delivery and home cooked meals. I was in a state of zombiehood and could barely think about food, let alone make a meal. 

+ Honor special holidays with them but add them to your phone and computer for future reminders. It takes five seconds to open iCal and add a note with a reminder for the next year or two. I don't know what will be harder- acknowledging the first Mother's Day and the first would-be birthday or everyone forgetting the second and third.  

+ Remind them they are good people. There's a common belief when people do good, good things happen. You put in the universe what it gives back. Positive thinking brings your positive things. Really? So am I not a good person because my baby died? Did he not deserve good things too? What did I do wrong? One of the things I had the hardest time dealing with was a nurse telling me "God loves you, he'll save your baby" and a few minutes later I was told there was no heartbeat. I couldn't help but think, "God doesn't love me". Scott wrote a piece on being "blessed" and it's a different perspective when "blessed" is everywhere. Remind your friend terrible things happen to good people. 

+ Don't let them grieve your friendship, too- I had to say goodbye to so many friends and family members who I thought would be there when I needed them. They disappeared and I felt like I was grieving them, too.  

Encourage. Send a letter, an email, a tweet, if you live close by offer to do their laundry, the dishes. I will never forget how my family stepped in and did everything from scrub my bathroom to sort my mail. It all helps. I'll also always remember how my close friends kept bugging me, they didn't stop asking even if I kept saying no. 

Remember...

+ Let them be themselves and not their tragedy- The best way someone described social media and child loss to me was like a bad car accident. Everyone is going to want to slow down and take a look. Some people will genuinely care and get out and help, but there are also those looking for morbidity's sake. Yes, it's a messed up analogy but after talking to dozens of mom's in my child loss groups, it has to stop. It's sad it happened but please don't make their tragedy your circus. 

Let them be sad- Someone who I thought was a friend told me she unfollowed me because she couldn't handle the sad tweets I was posting and she'll follow again when I feel better. This is how I filter who friends are. They will be killjoys. They will be a drag for a while. If you love them, be there for them in dark times, and remember those sad times won't last forever. If you think they are suicidal or may harm themselves, talk to them about it. Let them know they have someone to go to. 

Let them be angry- I think one of the worst things I've experienced with blogging is the feedback I got from sharing my anger. It was a story how I went a little crazy on a woman who told me not to worry about Max because I'm young and I'll have more kids. First, you don't ever say that to a grieving parent. If I had ten more kids, I would still be missing one. A commenter called me "terrible" for acting out on my grief, and I got a few emails from people letting me know how wrong that was. I already feel bad enough as it is but now you're telling me how to grieve? Unless you've buried your own child (or loved one), this is not the time to prove what's right and wrong. I'm a little angrier on the topic but Diana is much more graceful.  

Let them be happy- Just because they have a good few days doesn't mean they're okay and not breaking inside. Enjoy it with them. 

They're still parents, just childless parents- It's really hard to jump back into social media. The babies you thought you'd grow with, the advice they want to give, I don't think I've wanted so desperately to feel like a part of something than motherhood. Especially online, whenever I chimed in on advice, I felt like a bad luck charm. My friends allowed me to share what was on my mind and treated me like a normal person. Child loss is terrible but the parent's aren't diseased and please don't treat them as such. It makes it harder to get on with our lives. Be their friend, act normal. Listen to them talk about their child.

+ What would you want?- Be sensitive. Be compassionate. This post doesn't just go for child loss but for a friend who's grieving over anything. Family. A pet. A friend. Be the light in a dark moment. Tell them you're thinking of them. Ask how they are. It may be a loaded question, but be prepared for a loaded answer. Even if they just tell you they're fine, they know you're there.

*I'm not an expert, I'm not a doctor, or a therapist. This is my own experience and after doing multiple Google searches, I've yet to find how a community can deal with the topic. This blog post is from my own experience, every parent is different but I hope this helps. 


Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling

How beautiful is this watercolor? Obviously not because it's me (hehe) but I love the detail- the tattoos, the dress, the shoes. It's beautiful! Thank you again, Lindsay! 

How beautiful is this watercolor? Obviously not because it's me (hehe) but I love the detail- the tattoos, the dress, the shoes. It's beautiful! Thank you again, Lindsay

+ The Instagram Generation

+ A couple places I was featured- how I edit my Instagram photos, and I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on why I love slow reading

+ Friday night pizza night

+ This shirt

+ yessss

+ Just another example giving up isn't failing, it's taking a step forward. 

+ Which is cheaper- Target or Walmart?

+ Free beautiful desktops

+ Do you live in the most educated town of your state

Enjoy the weekend! 

Copy(no)rights for Bloggers

When you blog long enough, it’s going to happen; it’s probably going to happen several times over. And it will not stop.

It starts with an email that goes something like this, “Hey, I saw your photo online.”

And before you know it, several more emails follow saying the same thing.

Copyright used to mean something. But that was before Twitter, before Facebook, before blogs…before the Internet—a more civil time when people would respect content creators.

But then the Internet happened and copyright was lost somewhere in the shuffle. Suddenly it was all out there and that meant it was all fair game. Giving credit where credit is due is just a fancy term you steal and use as your own.

Earlier this week, many of you readers emailed to tell me about my photo appearing on StylishEve, who took two of my photos, and made a “pretty” collage; like so many social media websites begging for likes and shares, they shared it as their own. Thousands of likes later, they are still making revenue off a photo that is not theirs. 

I’m not greedy, of course, but I can't imagine the missed opportunity when they have over 10 million fans; my blog is my livelihood, but it’s only polite to give credit to the photo you are sharing. So I emailed them asking them to do the ethical thing—to add credit. They didn't respond to the request.

It’s an all too common story; I’m positive hundreds of you are reading this post and have had it happen yourself. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. 

I learned this when I began blogging years ago, and I got a desperate email from a photographer. I thought Google images was enough of a source and even now, I try to use Pinterest with a credible source (because we all know there's nothing worse than an amazing photo of food with no link to the recipe, right?) I quickly deleted the post and was too scared to post anything else. A week later I bought my first DSLR. If you can't afford a camera and editing tools, look to photo memberships like Death to Stock Photo or Lightstock, my personal favorites. 

Everyone likes to share things—photos, new stories, videos—it’s a new social world. But consider the source next time you hit submit to a share…seriously consider it. Because whatever you are sharing has a source—a content creator whose livelihood is their creation. There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but there’s something very wrong with sharing and pretending it’s your own. Before you share photos from your favorite blogs—before you tweet to support them—think about what you are supporting; if they don’t cite their sources then find a new place to get your daily dose of Internet goods…there are plenty. 

Cool Story, Poe

Forget zombies, ghosts or witches. Edgar Allan Poe wins for Halloween. He's creepy for marrying his 13 year old cousin, and writing The Raven, one of the darkest poems ever written. As despondent as it is, the poem is beautifully composed. If Poe were alive today, he'd make millions on just his iconic look. His face is plastered everywhere from the USPS stamp to bags! Below are my favorite items

+ I love this Poe-ka dot clutch from Out of Print Clothing. I've used it a few times myself and it's always a great way to get strangers talking. 

+ If your nails need the ultimate RBF and Poe doesn't disappoint. Nail wraps from Oosha Wraps.

+ Show off how much of a groupie you are for Poe in this shirt and this one from Plasticland. 

+ One thing I've learned over the years are lunchboxes can be used as storage, not just for lunch. How cool would the Poe lunchbox to store your makeup or camera lenses? LOVE.

+ Kawaii Poe! Pillow from telahmarie on etsy

+ Even TOMS can look creepy with a little Poe. From HeartsnSoles on etsy

+ Book as an iPhone charger by Uncommonandnice  

+ Nestle your Poe book collection in between these raven bookends, conveniently titled "Nevermore"

+ Tokyo Milk makes a fragrance dedicated to the poet. My first assumption was it would smell like death, but tea leaves, autumn apples and amberwood sound cozy. 

+ Edgar Allan Stow Tote

With over a century and a half since his death, he still keeps it creepy. 

Simpsons for MAC Giveaway

I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons growing up, I think that's one of the reasons why I love it so much now, it's a bit of rebelliousness planted deep. Earlier this month, MAC released their Simpsons for MAC collection in honor of their 25th anniversary and it's amazing! Now, not only do I get to watch The Simpsons as an adult, I get to wear them on my face (as weird as that sounds). It highlights Marge, the queen of side eye. 

Every year I try to do a fun giveaway to thank devoted readers. Because of you, this giveaway happened. I'm sincerely grateful to keep this blog and awesome blog content for free thanks to affiliate links and partnerships (you can read more about them here). They not only provided this giveaway but they also provide for my family, what a dream come true. THANKS! 

WHAT YOU WIN:

- Marge Simpson's Nail Cuticles nail decals

- That Trillion Dollar Look eyeshadow quad

- Marge's Extra Ingredients eyeshadow quad

- Tinted Lipglass in Red Blazer

- Pink Sprinkles powder blush

- Lash 7 faux lashes

HOW TO ENTER: Since it's illegal to ask for a "like" or "follow" to enter a giveaway, I'm just going to go with the good nature of people and hope already follow along. And just like my friend Kate says, "please, none of this follow-and-leave as soon as the giveaway is over jazz.. that's super rude!" Yes, Kate it certainly is. There are options to follow in the Rafflecopter entries (again, not mandatory, just trying to be cool about it but you and I both know I'd love it). 

If you can't see the giveaway, enter here. If you don't want to wait for a chance to win, you can buy the collection here

The Simpsons for LEGO

I was so excited when I heard The Simpsons family teamed up with LEGO for Simpsons 25th anniversary. LEGO and Simpsons are two of our favorite household items and of course, we bounced on the chance to add to our LEGO collection. The box comes with the house, and all the details pictured (not including Krusty the Clown), even the car! 

You can buy the house here and the rest of the characters here

Get Spooky With Plasticland

Ok, so “Plasticland” sounds like their mountains are full of silicone and trees are pumped with fillers but Plasticland is a very cute online shop. I love what they carry and they have the perfect  accessories for Halloween. 

1. Cat Backpack- This has black kitty silhouettes wearing colorful bowties. Cute/kawaii Halloween at it's finest. 

2. Creepy Zombie Gnome- This is the perfect accessory to greet people at the doorstep. 

3. Zombie Dress- I don't dress up for Halloween (I know, I know, terrible) but I do love this to get in the Halloween spirit. I can't wait to wear one of their dresses to answer to trick or treaters. It's currently available only in the XS, but they update their shop often.

4. Skull Sneakers- These are the cherry on top. They're cheap and can be slipped on after those naughty nurse heels start hurting. 

5. Poison Cardigan- I love this cardigan, it's feminine but will keep you warm and still keep the spooky festivities. 

6. Skull Tights- Ok, so I may wear these all year long. 

7. Spider Hook- It's all in the details. I may add a spray of black glitter to this. 

8. Bat Dress- This is a new take on "batgirl". 

I love Plasticland, and these items would be perfect not just for Halloween but for the spook in you. 

Recycle Old Books

One of the things people loved about my library-themed wedding were the book decorations we made. Instead of flowers, we had books to decorate and for guests to take home and a book that "fans" out. I don’t know if this is even considered a “DIY” or a craft, it’s so easy to make, and it's even a little therapeutic. All you need is a book, and a great podcast or Netflix show. 

We have a few thrifted books we would never read again, and instead of giving them back to the thrift store or even throwing them out, we use them for decoration. For each book, just fold the top corner completely to the spine, go the to next page, and fold the bottom corner to the spine. Simple! 

Locals Only: Smocking Birds Baby Boutique

Located in one of the largest spaces in The OC Mix in Costa Mesa, is family owned Smocking Birds Baby Boutique, a shop filled with higher end baby clothes with so much more. Whether it’s a special occasion like a baptism or photos, they carry adorable outfits for a little wardrobe. I bought a ton of pieces for Max's wardrobe here, I can tell you it's a store I love and am excited to share. 

Becky, founder of Smocking Birds, has been dressing kids for over 30 years, and her handmade gifts were on high demand, she took the plunge and opened up shop. It began with handmade smocked baby gowns, which are still her best seller, to unique organic lines exclusive to luxury shops. 3 years later and a much needed renovation and extended space, it’s as beautiful as ever! What I love about it is it's a shabby-chic mixed with glamour, not something you'd expect for a kids store, that's what brought me in. 

Smocking Birds doesn’t end with clothes, though. They offer classes on how to make smocked baby gowns (I personally would love to do this, it’s like an heirloom to pass down). They also offer classes with story time, kids entertainment, science experiments, and other hands on activities in their busy calendar. Becky has successfully hosted Women’s Entrepreneurs Extravaganza (another great thing Becky has done is opened up doors to celebrate women in business of the OC ), Tea and Tots Fashion Show, and The Spring Fling. The OC Mix Mart is already a family friendly area and there’s something for everyone, but Smocking Birds is a great place to bring kids. You can check out what other classes they carry here. 

Smocking Birds Baby Boutique located inside The OC Mix

3313 Hyland Ave Costa Mesa, California

Free parking. 

Check them out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here. 

Forever Footprints OC Walk

When I was in the hospital, the nurses kept coming into my room congratulating me after I gave birth to Max, put in the same room as other mom's having their babies, gave me Max for 5 (timed) minutes in a crowded hallway to say goodbye to, and sent me home with a "Congrats New Mom!" swag bag full of newborn goodies. The hospitals have a protocol for sending off healthy babies to their homes, but not many know bedside manner for a grieving mom.

Forever Footprints is an OC based organization I believe in. They help hospitals with the right protocol (like a separate room for stillbirth labors to have a moment with their child),  bringing hot meals to the families, offering counseling, and bringing awareness and light to a dark topic. 

On October 4, my family and close friends are going to walk in honor of Mordecai Maximus La Counte. It will be two days after the one year he died. Celebrating it is a weird way to say it, but remembering him doesn't fit because he's not forgotten. We're honoring him. Whether or not I can walk by this time next month, I'll still be there. I won't be there honoring just my son, but the thousands of other parents who are mourning their babies. 

I feel weird asking for money (none of it goes to me, btw, it all goes to the organization), but today, I am asking. You can donate here. Thank you, friends! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling...

There's a giveaway going on on Instagram right now. 

There's a giveaway going on on Instagram right now. 

+ I'm obsessed with this TV show. I'm sure it'll drive me crazy if I lived in one but I love the fantasy of it. 

+ My kitchen was featured here

+ What Kim Kardashian Taught Me About Life

+ Here I Am, Send Me 

+ I'm a contributor to the new advice column on The Loveliest. I'm not a doctor, or have any experience in counseling but the questions have been on everything from how to use Twitter to jealousy. If you need to, reach out and talk someone or talk to a doctor. 

+ There's a great giveaway on Sprit and Haven

+ Check out the new Harvey's and Disney collab 

+ Do something small for something bigger

+ I've been eyeing this skirt 

+ 20 Struggles People With Glasses Understand 

+ 9 Ways to Build Your Biz as an Introvert

+ Friday night pizza night 

Enjoy your weekend! 

How To: Find Coupons for Organic Food

Full disclosure: I currently use Amazon Fresh and I haven't used coupons in a few weeks but when I do go to the grocery store, I still use this list.

(even fresh produce like pomegranates can be coupon'ed!)

(even fresh produce like pomegranates can be coupon'ed!)

Yes, coupons for organic food exist. I knew it was possible when I watched Extreme Couponing and the woman who saved $150 at Whole Foods. I began searching online, subscribed to my Sunday local paper, and I was shocked I couldn't find anything. After a few months of constantly looking, I had a whole system I went through every week. I casually mentioned it on a blog post and a reader emailed me asking to post about it. I guess this isn't so much a "how to" but a list and some tips I've learned. 

+ Be Prepared to Have Your Inbox Flooded- Facebook updates from companies will get lost in my feed so I opened up new email account just for coupons. Every week, companies and groceries that carry organic food, even produce, flood my inbox and I get to go through the ones I want to keep. I sign up for newsletters, mailing lists. When I know they're expired, instead of checking each email, I just hit "all" and delete. Here are the list of companies offering organic and/or natural food to sign up for 

+ Follow Coupon Blogs I love Money Saving Mom blog, she has a special section just for organic and natural coupons. I've used them at Target and my local Vons. 

+ Check out Your Farmer's Market- Did you know most farmer's markets offer coupons and deals? Our local Anaheim Farmer's Market offers them through the Downtown Anaheim Association booth, and each farmer's market has one. Just ask! 

+ Keep Asking... If there is a brand I love but they don't offer coupons, I email them and ask and most are willing to send them. Organic coffee, a dairy farm, even a CSA, they thrive and rely on happy customers. Email to ask, not to take advantage of them. If they don't offer any, I hope their day was made with a satisfied customer email. 

+ Don't Give Up on Regular Coupon Offers Every now and then, an organic brand will pop up in the regular coupon section. If you don't want to subscribe to a local newspaper, print them online at Redplum, and SmartSource.  

+ Stock up on printer ink- Most of these companies don't offer digital coupons. Plus it's good to have as a reminder to be ready to print. 

I hope these help, if anything, I've made a reference for myself. Read more of my How To's here

oh and P.S., This isn't a post on how much better organic food is, or an invitation to email me that an apple is better than packaged food, or what monster corporations own what organic food companies, etc. This is simply a list I've compiled that make it a little easier for families that are looking for healthier food options. Thanks for reading!

August 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for August. 

Favorite Instagram feed is littleredbowtique. Besides the play on words with "bow" I love, Marlyn posts beautiful landscapes, cute dresses, and polka dots. She's been a favorite for some time and so happy to share her feed. 

Favorite purchase was the subscription to Hatchery. I've been eating clean lately and Hatchery offers artisan cooking ingredients like healthy oils, spices, condiments like gourmet mustard (if you know me, I LOVE anything with mustard seeds), and sauces. The bottles last enough for a few uses and make a cheap meal like rice and beans taste gourmet. 

Favorite TV Show was X-Files. With a broken ankle, I've been hanging out in bed watching the creepy show. It adds a little bit of excitement to my slow day. Plus if you miss Breaking Bad, this show is a great alternative because Vince Gilligan was a head writer. All season are currently streaming on Netflix. 

Favorite moment was doing an outfit post. It was out of my comfort zone but I loved it! Even if it wasn't I would normally wear, dressing up is something I'm doing to take care of myself.  And for the record, the TOMS shoes I was wearing did NOT make me fall. It was just my clumsy self. I love those shoes so much, they add the right height without making me feel like I'm wearing heels. 

Here's to September 2014! Check out other favorites for this year here

Grown Up Minnie

I've grown up with Minnie Mouse my whole life- but I only remember the cheeky, juvenile character. Even at my age, I love the polka dots and bows and Minnie was the first to wear those before they became a trend. Below are some of my favorites Disney has made. Grown women no need to fear looking silly in Disney shirts. These look good in and out of the park. Hover over the items to take you to the link. 

Harveys Leopard Bag, Peter Pan Collar Tee, Nail File, Bow Tank, Dotted Doll tee, Minnie Ears, Bow-led Over Tee

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