[Reader Poll] Help! What Would YOU Like to See More of?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First of all, I wanted to thank you all SO much for your sweet comments on my four year blogiversary post last week. I loved reading them all and literally wish I could have given you ALL a $10 gift card to Target and a $10 gift card to Starbucks! (ps I responded to as many comments as I could but a lot of you were "no-reply commenters" so I couldn't email back! If you're not sure if you're a "no-reply commenter", check out this super simple tutorial that my friend Beth put together! I'd love to be able to email you back if you leave a comment for me!)

Speaking of gift cards though... a big congratulations to Sonia P. on winning the gift cards! I hope you enjoy a little shopping and some coffee on me! :)

As a side note to that post, I thought I would do my first ever ask the reader type post. I've always been the type that just posts about whatever I want to post about. And while this is my blog and I will never post about anything that I don't think fits in with my blog style and genre, I thought I would ask you all, the readers, to see if there's anything specific you would like me to post more about or a topic that I've never covered that you might be interested in.

For example...
Do you want more recipe posts?
Do you want more updates on Mason and his autism diagnosis?
Do you want to see more fashion type posts like my Stitch Fix posts?
Do you want more Day in the Life type posts?
Do you want more weekend recaps?
Do you want me to do a post where you ask questions and I answer them?

What would you like to see more of? Or do you like the variety that I already have? Leave me a comment and let me know. Maybe you have a topic that you'd love me to write on that I hadn't thought of before or a topic that I could expand a little more on. If I can, I'd love to cater some posts to topics that you'd like to hear more about!

Thank you all for supporting me and my blog over the past four years!

Rewind [Five on] Friday // My Favorite Recipes.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy Friday!!! I've been meaning to link up with these girls for Rewind Friday since... umm, they started it a couple months ago, but not only do I keep forgetting, but I can't figure out what to share. Since this month was a "Foodie for a Year" month, I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes that I've blogged about previously. Hopefully some of my favorites can become your favorites too!

ONE. Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

TWO. S'mores Brownies

THREE. Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza... on the Grill!

FOUR. Pineapple Margaritas

 FIVE. Pesto Pasta Salad

Linking up with Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls, Meghan from The Adventure Starts Here, Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me, and Whitney from Work it Mommy.

PS Don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't already! It closes tomorrow (Saturday, August 27th) at midnight PST!

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Happy eating and have a great weekend!

[Thoughts on Thursday] Confessions.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I must confess...

... that when we were watching the Olympics the other night and the pole vault was on, I almost died of cuteness when the pole vaulter missed and Mason yelled "one more time!" like "it's ok! try again! you can do it. one more time!". Seriously. My heart almost burst right then and there.

... that I went through our cabinets and drawers the other day and threw away some things that had gotten pushed to the back and forgotten. I found some extra sauces from Chick-fil-A (I LOVE the Chick-fil-A sauce and Seth loves the honey mustard) and McDonald's (I love the BBQ sauce) that we had saved but I literally had no clue how long we'd had them for. Funny thing is, they don't have an expiration date on them (which should worry me in general) so really, even when you get them from the restaurant, you don't even know how old they are. Hence the reason they had to go.

... that when I found out that Betsy and Laura Jean weren't continuing their "Guys Behind the Blog" series, I was a bit sad! Today was supposed to be August's link up so I clicked over to find out what the questions were for this month and saw that July was their last month hosting. I loved interviewing Seth each month and asking him the questions. I definitely don't need to take on any more responsibilities BUT I love this link up so much that I'm thinking of continuing it... would anyone be interesting in linking up if I hosted? Or co-hosting? Was anyone still participating with them? I kind of don't want to commit myself to hosting another link up but I really liked this one!

... that a month ago, if you asked me what I wanted to for my birthday next month, I would have been able to name a bunch of things. But now? I have no clue! I'm hoping to do a little round up soon and hopefully I can think of something! Why is it that you always want tons of stuff when you don't need it but when it's birthday time or Christmas, you can't think of anything?

... that when I got a cut on my finger the other day and needed a band aid, I purposely reached for a Paw Patrol band aid. I claim I bought them for Mason and really, I did, but he rarely, if ever, uses band aids and I just... like the cute Paw Patrol ones (and the Cars ones when we had them) better than regular band aids. I use the excuse that it's because I have a kid, but really, I prefer them.

... that I drove to the Starbucks slightly farther away the other day JUST so I could go through the drive thru instead of parking and going inside.

... that I hate the middle spot at the Costco gas station. I can't parallel park to save my life so thankfully there's enough room to pull in forward, but I still hate it. I secretly inner cheered that the guy in the back spot left first the other night.

... and then the middle spot person left. So I pulled all the way forward and stopped in the middle (I'm cool with stopping in the middle, just not parking in the middle - don't ask - it's weird, I know) and seriously thought the person behind me should thank me.

Can you relate to any of my confessions?

Four Year Blogiversary + a Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Last week Sunday (August 14th) was my FOUR year blog anniversary! And to celebrate, I'm giving you the opportunity to win TWO gift cards! Why two? Because I couldn't decide which one so I chose both :) I mean, everyone loves Starbucks AND Target, right? Really the only thing better than Starbucks AND Target is a Starbucks IN a Target. #amiright

I can't believe four years ago, I hit publish on my very first post. (I also can't believe that my BABY just turned four as well!) Oh how far I have come. If you're interested in reading my very first blog post, you can find it here. In fact, I find it so silly that that is my first blog post because in reality, apparently, it was my second. I was so tech savvy that I hit publish (or who knows what button!) and nothing happened and somehow I DELETED the whole thing. Haha. Silly me.

I still can't believe what this little space has grown into. And I am so, so proud of it! Blogging is definitely a hobby for me but I've been given some amazing opportunities because of it. And I've made some amazing friends as well - "virtual reality friends" as Seth calls them as well as virtual reality turned real reality friends. And I love it! Who would have thought that in four years I... would have people who genuinely like reading what I've been up to? And who would have thought that I could make real life friends? I sure didn't when I hit that 'publish' button four whole years ago but I'm sure glad I did!

So, today, I wanted to share with you my top five reader favorite posts from the past year as well as my top five favorites. However, if you're not interested in recapping the past, or things you've already read, don't forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom and enter the giveaway!

Reader Favorites

1 // Stitch Fix (in order of popularity) -- five, one, two, three, six, sevenfour

2 // Mason's New Big Boy Bed

3 // [A Day in the Life] Summer Edition and [A Day in the Life] January

4 // [4th Birthday] Blogger/(not so) Toddler Birthday Exchange

5 // The Bridal Shower Weekend that Started with the Cops Arresting Someone on my Plane

My Favorites
(in no particular order)

Cooking with Kids!
Our Disney Cruise -- Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Days 5 and 6
Kids Teach You the Most Important Lessons
The introduction of #postofficeadventuresofmasonb
My Journey to Motherhood
Mason's 4th birthday weekend and Disneyland

(Ok, ok that was 6! But it was so hard to narrow it down to just 5 of my favorites! For reader posts I could go based on numbers, but for these I just had to choose - which is never easy! Plus I loved all the ones that the readers love too!)

Thank you all so, so much for reading and supporting my blog! I truly love reading your comments and connecting with all of you!

Now, please, I'd love to send you a couple gift cards for you to get some goodies for YOU (no kiddo presents allowed!). The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only (Canadians I know you don't have Target so I'll just send $20 to Starbucks if you win!) and starts on August 23, 2016 at midnight PST and ends on August 27, 2016 at midnight PST. Winner will be notified by me. All entries will be verified.

Good luck!

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[Stitch Fix] Fix #8... also known as Fix #7.2

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's fix reveal day! One of my favorite days!

I actually got this fix... over A MONTH AND A HALF ago. Yes. I am that terrible. I took the pictures when I got the fix but then Mason's birthday happened and my work started to get busier and I completely forgot to blog the fix. I forgot so much so that I scheduled another one (that came last week!) and never even linked my blog post for my stylist. Oops. But, luckily it didn't matter and my fix was excellent! I can't wait to share that one with you too.

In case you haven't heard of Stitch Fix, it's basically a personal shopping service. You fill out your online profile by answering some questions about likes/dislikes, style, sizing, etc and then can write a note about what you're interested in as well as link a Pinterest style board to help your stylist know what you're looking for and what you're style is. Then your personal stylist gathers some items that she thinks you'd like and sends them to you. You try them on in the comfort of your own home and decide what you do and don't want to keep and then you have three days to send back whatever you don't want. Easy peasy! The styling fee is $20 and if you send back all the items, you lose the $20. If you keep one (or more) items, they deduct the $20 styling fee from your total and you pay the difference. And if you keep all five items, they deduct the $20 from the total and you get a 25% discount on all the items. Pretty great! If you're interested in signing up, if you want to use my referral code then I'll get small credit to my account and will be forever grateful.

I was actually kind of worried about this fix given what happened last time. My stylist is normally AMAZING and I love her so I did request the same stylist just to see if last time was a fluke. Thankfully it was! Just from my first glance, I knew this fix was going to be 100 times better than the last.

Good news! I kept the receipt this time (3rd time's the charm?) and I had high hopes of taking pictures of the style cards but procrastinated long enough that Mason spilled his entire cup of lemonade on them so... no style card pictures this time. Here's where I would show you the note from my stylist -- but again... lemonade spill. Just know that she was excited to get to re-style me and hoped I liked this fix better than the last one.

So, now... on to my fix!
I normally try to include as much information as possible in case my stylist (hi Amy!) reads my blog and/or in case I could help other's with sizing and stuff for their potential future fixes, but let me know if you have any additional questions.

Kut from the Kloth | Corynne Colored Boyfriend Demim Shorts

Size : 10 | Color : Olive | $68

Shorts! You guys. I've never been as excited about shorts as I have been since receiving my favorite pair of shorts ever in one of my past fixes. Seriously, I love them so much that I asked for Fix #9 to be ALL SHORTS. I know that they can't always do that, but I thought I'd ask and you'll have to check back later to see if my stylist pulled through or not. But anyways, back to these shorts. I was pretty excited to see the green color. I love army green (to be clear - I hate camo, but love just the green) so I was excited to see these. They are also by my favorite brand of shorts, Kut from the Kloth, so I had high hopes when taking them out of the box. They do fit a little tighter than the jean shorts, but I love the brand and loved the fit so much, I had to keep them. Now I need to come up with some outfits other than just black tops.

Verdict : Kept.

Gilli | Lyne Knit Maxi Dress

 Size : M | Color : Purple | $78

I was thisclose to keeping this dress. I mean, it is the perfect shade of purple and that crochet detailing on the back??? All the heart eyes. BUT, even though I loved the crochet detailing on the back, that was one of the reasons I returned it. You see, I hate strapless bras. I've yet to find one that I love and they all just fall down all day and I find myself constantly pulling them up. And nobody wants to be bothered with that. Sure I could wear a real bra with this dress, but I find it tacky when you can see bra straps, plus the back is WAY too pretty to be distracted by bra straps anyway. In this picture, I am wearing my bralette that I have when I wear strapless dresses (don't be fooled, I hate it too lol) which is why you can't see any straps. That's not the only reason I returned the dress though, I also felt like it was too big in the bust area on the front side. I'm not sure if you can fully tell but there is too much fabric, in my opinion, on one of the cross over portions which also contributed to my beloved, beautiful dress going back. I'm still having slight returner's remorse on this one.

Verdict : Returned.

Collective Concepts | Duffy Double Strap Top

Size : M | Color : Peach | $44

This shirt was SO CUTE in person. I loved the pattern and I loved the style. Again, I'd have to wear a strapless bra which isn't my favorite, but I almost looked past it. Only problem is... I'm not even sure I could wear a strapless bra if I wanted to with this because the bust area was SO TIGHT. It looks ok in the picture, but holy tightness when I put it on. I would have sized up and just exchanged it, but the body portion fit perfectly and I didn't want it to be too wide. Plus there was already a bit of "extra strap" at the top and I knew the large would just be too big.

Verdict : Returned.

Market & Spruce | Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee

Size : M | Color : Light Grey | $44

This shirt is Market & Spruce, which is a brand that I LOVE. They make most of my beloved dolmans that I love so very much. I had super high hopes for this shirt when I saw it in the box, even though it is just plain gray. The back was slightly longer than the front, which I liked, but the front was a little too short for my liking. The shirt in general was a little tighter than I prefer (I'm more into flowy fitting shirts these days than form fitting) and it was just... plain gray. It was super soft and if it didn't cost $44, I probably would have kept it.

Verdict : Returned.

Papermoon | Reen Woven Detail Knit Top

 Size : M | Color : Teal Green | $48

You guys. This is the type of shirt that I would walk right by if I saw it in a store. The pattern is way out of my comfort zone. And THAT is why I love Stitch Fix. The color palette is just my style and I loved the mixed media on the shoulders. I also liked the back detailing with the faux buttons. One try on of this shirt and I was sold! It is so soft and I ended up really loving the pattern. It's a keeper!

Verdict : Kept.

So, if you're keeping track, overall, I ended up keeping... 2/5! This was my fix re-do from Fix #7 that I hated so much and I have to say, my stylist pulled through! I literally almost kept the whole thing, since I did love something about everything my stylist sent, but one reason or another had me sending a few back. Overall, I was extremely pleased at my re-do fix and can't wait to share Fix #9 with you. Hopefully soon!

So, tell me... do you agree with my choices? Would you have kept any of the items that I sent back? Would you have sent back any of the items that I kept?

[Thoughts on Thursday] Confessions

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I must confess...

... that I've been SO MIA in the past week and a half. This past weekend was our big event at work and the whole week before, I feel like I'm just checked out and in work mode. So I apologize if you get responses to blog post comments from a week ago + sometime in the next few days. I'll catch up eventually!

... that I definitely took a container of Cheez-Its to work the other day as a snack for me and I'm not even mad about it. #becauseimfive

... that I have clothes all over my room -- clean clothes on my dresser, dirty clothes on the floor, and new clothes in boxes that I need to try on. Clearly I have a clothes problem and I'm trying to sort it out but it's just not working and more things keep arriving. #stupidnordstromsale #stupidoldnavysale #someonetakeawaymycreditcard #imsuremyhusbandwouldbehappyto

... my new Stitch Fix shipment arrived yesterday and I haven't even blogged the one I got... over a month ago.

... that I've been loving watching the Olympics lately, but wish we had more channels. Every time I turn on the TV, it's either swimming or gymnastics. And while I love both of those sports, they have more sports than that in the Olympics, right??

... that not only is my room a mess, but there are recipes and unopened mail all over the counter. I imagine by now you think that I live in a pig sty and I swear it's not normally THIS bad, but seriously, I need a day off to just sort through everything and get my life back in order.

... that I desperately want to take a real vacation. I feel like every time we go somewhere, it is for a purpose - to see grandparents or to go to a wedding, etc -- which is GREAT at all, but I just want to go somewhere and explore and have fun.

... that my mother in law makes THE BEST gluten free apple cinnamon coffee cake. Like I'm obsessed. I love it so much that I might just make it on my own, gluten free! (since it's a GF recipe), even though I don't need it to be gluten free!

... I sneezed at work the other day while chewing gum and let's just say... I'm glad I have an office to myself LOL.

Can you relate to any of my confessions? What are you currently confessing?

$10 at Target [August].

Monday, August 15, 2016

From the very first time I saw Becky do a post on $10 at Target, I was intrigued. I mean, who only spends $10 at Target??? Then I read a little further and realized she gave herself the challenge to only spend $10 at Target on something fun for herself and I was intrigued again. I commented on her post that I loved the idea of her post and would love to try something similar (and a few other people must have too) and this blog hop link up was born!

I'm excited to be back again today co-hosting this link up with Becky and some other fabulous ladies!  If you posted today as well, don't forget to link up with us below so we can see your awesome $10 hauls!

For this month's $10 at Target, I actually did my shopping pretty early like I did last month. Not quite the day after though... more like three days after! Ha! I didn't really intend on doing it that way, but I was at Target getting some actual necessities when I walked past the school section and had to stop. Back to school supply shopping was my absolute favorite when I was younger. I'd love getting new binders, notebooks, pens, and pencils, and that love has translated into my adult life too. To this day, I still love getting binders and dividers to organize, new pretty pens, and a new planner each year. So it's no surprise here that for August, I went with a supply themed haul!

I picked up a planner, some markers, and a pen(cil) box. I currently have an Erin Condren planner and LOVE it, but it's too big and heavy for me to carry around everyday. With Mason having so much going on, therapy and appointment wise, I need to have a planner that I can carry around with me all the time. I do mostly have all the appointments in my iCal on my phone, but I don't overly trust the phone and I prefer to write things down on paper, so when I came across this planner that runs from July 2016-June 2017 AND it was super pretty, I knew I had to snag one.

And what's a new planner without new pens for it? I saw these in the dollar spot and thought I'd snag them too. I love that they have a wide tip and a skinnier tip too.

So, how'd I do on my budget?
Since I bought these along with some other items, I don't have a receipt to show, but here's the breakdown.

Planner : $6.79 (on sale from $7.99)
Pens : $3.00
Pen Holder : $0.50 (on sale from $0.79)
Tax (8%) : $0.82
Minus RED Card discount : (0.56)
Total : $10.55

Oops! Guess my math was a little off on this one and I probably shouldn't have bought the pen holder. Better luck next time!

I had so much fun shopping for myself and am excited to continue this link up! Now, link up and then hop around and check out how the rest of my co-hosts (and everyone else!) spent their $10!

Becky at bybmg // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Elizabeth at Chasin' Mason // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

Next month, we'll be sharing our hauls on Monday, September 19th (my birthday -- eek! can't believe it is only a month away!). Mark your calendars, get your shopping on, and link up with us on the 19th and show us what you got!

#postofficeadventuresofmasonb #part4 [The Picture Perfect Project : August]

Thursday, August 11, 2016

So, you guys, I originally thought I would only do a recap of my post office pictures every so often, but I think this is my thing. I think the #postofficeadventuresofmasonb IS my Picture Perfect Project of the year! So, bare with me, but I'm back again today sharing more post office pictures!

A little background on the hashtag...
This photo project kind of just came about a couple months ago. I was still working on my one photo a day when I started going to the post office more for work. I'd been doing the same thing, in the same routine, since I started my job in June 2015, but all of a sudden one random day before my January event this year (2016), I kept my envelopes to mail over night. The next morning, I let Mason do the mailing when we went to check the PO Box. I took a picture and did the same thing the next day and then... the hashtag was born. #postofficeadventuresofmasonb

It's quite possibly the longest hashtag ever, but I feel like it describes the situation perfectly. Taking Mason to the post office in the morning is always an adventure! It literally happened by chance but now it is one of my favorite things to do with him. It might seem like a hassle to some, to have to go to the post office to mail something, but for me, it's fun. I get so much joy out of seeing him so, so happy to do something so simple. I stand him up on the counter at the post office (I think my post office is one of the only ones with a counter like this as the one that is closest to my work only had one slot and no counter to stand on), but it works perfectly! Mason feels like SUCH a big boy and I have a big helper doing half my work for me ;)

I try to switch up the poses (and the outfits!) when I post all of Mason's post office adventures, just to keep things interesting. Now that it's summer, it has been easier :)

Here are the pictures that I've shared on Instagram as well as the captions (minus the emojis) that I've shared from July 14th until now.
(You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here)

07.14.16 // He LOVES the self-service machine. LOVES. I swear if I gave him some money, I would have a never ending supply of stamps.

07.15.16 // Last post office trip as a three year old!

07.15.16 // Annnnnnd because I'm indecisive (and liked both pictures) AND there hasn't been a mail truck picture lately, THIS is his last post office picture as a three year old!

07.18.16 // First post office trip as a four year old! While I was busy pulling 65 envelopes out of our PO Box, Mason was busy opening all the big boxes looking for more presents to open...

07.22.16 // Today... he finally got to push the door bell! (Unlike last week when we didn't need to and he pushed it anyway and we ran away!) I had to return something and it was in a box that was too big for the slot so he pushed the bell, patiently waited, holding the box, and handed it to the lady when she came to the window. She said "thank you" and he said "bye!" He was so excited! Though I may have created a monster who wants to ring the bell every time now...

07.24.16 // I always knew there were mailboxes at Disneyland, but I had never seen this one. So when I saw @magic_kingdom_mamas post about this mailbox the other day, I knew I HAD to show Mason. So... in a few days, a letter from Mickey will be arriving at our house for Mason!

07.25.16 // Here comes trouble...
"Now how exactly do I open this thing? If I lift this lever right here..."

07.26.16 // Yesterday he tried to break into the mail trucks. Today he tried to break into the package boxes. But, on the plus side, we didn't door bell ditch anyone and we got to see a mailman loading his truck, so all in all, it was a good morning!

07.29.16 // The day that he'd been waiting 10 weeks for finally came... MAILING DAY! It is a very happy friday indeed!

07.31.16 // We've been house hunting more seriously lately vs just casually looking at houses online and we went to see one this afternoon that we loved. To no one's surprise, the mailboxes were Mason's favorite part!
08.04.16 // After a small bout with sickness earlier this week, we're all feeling better and we're back to our daily routine! Someone wasn't mad about it.

08.05.16 // No letters to mail. No mail in the box. So he's on a mission to find some of his own! Thank goodness my key doesn't open other boxes!

08.08.16 // Big helper filling our box with all the mail from the PO Box this morning!

08.09.16 // I'm pretty sure he would stay here all day if I'd let him.

08.10.16 // Every time I try to mail a package, this box is locked (or too full it doesn't open). The past couple days it's been wide open and to my dismay, Mason likes to open and (slam it) shut. I literally have to pry him away. Today... it was locked but that didn't stop him from trying!

And there you have it!
How has your Picture Perfect Project been going?

Don't forget, our next link up is Thursday, September 8th. So gather some photos between now and then and then link up with us on the 11th and show us what you've been up to!