[The Guys Behind the Blog] March.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Welcome to March's Guys Behind the Blog link up!

As most of you might know, Betsy from Heavens to Betsy and Laura from According to Laura Jean hosted a series on their blogs called The Guys Behind the Blog. I used to link up as often as possible ever since I found out about the series - I think I only missed one month in the past year and a half since I found out about it. I recently went back to Betsy and Laura's blogs to find out what the questions were for August only to find out that they weren't hosting anymore - July was their last month. I was SO bummed! I truly loved interviewing Seth each month and seeing what questions they came up with. So, I decided to email Betsy and Laura and see if they would mind if I continued on their series. Thankfully they said they wouldn't mind and would be happy to see the series continue on. Crystal from Hall Around TexasEvelina from Fortunate HouseJamie from Cocktails and CarseatsJessica from Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom, and I are excited to continue the series on! 

 For March's link up, we decided to do something different and decided to do some "would you rather" questions.

1 // Would you rather have your dream job and make less money or have a job you hate but make tons of money?

Dream job, less money. I'd rather have a job that I love and not a job that I dread going to everyday, even if I make a little less money.

2 // Would you rather play a hero or a villain in a movie?

Both would be so much fun! Hmm. I still think I'd rather be the hero, but seriously, both would be so much fun!

3 // Would you rather always have to say everything on your mind or never be able to speak again? 

I talk way too much to not be able to ever speak again. So, definitely speak my mind.

4 // Would you rather go back in time and meet your ancestors or go into the future to meet your great grandchildren?

Ohh. That's a good one. I think I'd rather go back in time. Plus, maybe I could tell them to invest in something really good and they could become rich and then pass it on to me and then I could have a job that I love and not have to worry about money.

5 // Would you rather swim in the Arctic Ocean with nothing but a swim suit (no wet suit) or walk through the desert in the middle of the summer having to wear sweat pants and a sweat shirt?

Desert with sweat pants and sweat shirt for sure. You can always take layers off.

Bonus Question:
6 // Would you rather live like a king but have no friends and family or be homeless with your friends and family?

Well, that's a terrible choice. But I'd definitely rather have friends and family.


You're probably wondering where April's questions are, right? Well, I regret to inform you that this is my last month hosting this link up. I've LOVED interviewing Seth over the past few months, but I just feel like my focus is not on my blog anymore and I'm trying to back away from any specific "required" blog days. So with that, I so appreciate everyone that has linked up with us in the past! I think a few of the girls are going to keep it going though, so pop around and see if next month's questions are posted yet!


A HUGE thank you to Betsy and Laura for letting Crystal, Evelina, Jamie, Jessica, and I continue on their series. It's been an honor to be able to continue on what they created.

You can find the original series on Betsy's blog here and Laura's blog here.

Thanks for playing along again, Seth!

[Guest Posting] Spectrum Inspired Instagram.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy Tuesday! 

Just popping in today to let you know that I am guest posting over on the Spectrum Inspired Instagram page all this week! I am so extremely honored and excited that they asked me to host their #spectrum_inspiredTAKEOVER this week and will be sharing a mix of our story and journey with autism as well as some other amazing images that are shared using their hashtag. If you feel so inclined, I'd love it if you followed along (I'll be posting through Saturday!) or just pop on over and say hi :)

[Mailman Mason Monday] #postofficeadventuresofmasonb #part9

Monday, March 27, 2017

When we stopped doing the Picture Perfect Project last year, I stopped sharing Mason's post office pictures on the blog. I had deemed it my "photo project of the year" through the PPP and when it ended, I didn't stop taking pictures of him at the post office, but I forgot to share them here too. I was thinking about it the other day and I want to continue to share them here even though I don't technically "have a reason" to each month. So instead of sharing per month, I'm going to share per event cycle (for my work - essentially why we go to the post office so often). We have seven events per year and as the events approach, we go to the post office more often and as they pass, we go less often.

Still playing a little catch up... when I last left you, we had gotten through December 2, 2016.

Here are the pictures that I've shared on Instagram as well as the captions (minus the emojis) that I've shared from December 5, 2016 to January 13, 2017.

12.5.16 // We made one last PO run this morning for work and now this event cycle is officially over. Tomorrow... we mail Christmas cards!

12.7.16 // We stopped at the post office to mail a few Christmas cards (apparently I'm doing them in shifts because I can't find enough time to squeeze them all in!) and he ended up getting a peek in the back room!

12.9.16 // They're out a heck of a lot later than I had originally planned but all our Christmas cards are finally on their way to our friends and family!

12.19.16 // Monday morning mail run! Another day, same kid looking for packages in other people's mail boxes.

12.21.16 // Last minute package mailing to Grandpa and Grandma! I told him to grab the box so we could put it in the slot to mail it... He interpreted it as "take all the boxes off the shelf".

12.22.16 // One final post office run before Christmas!

1.2.17 // First post office trip of the new year! I asked him where our PO Box was. He's looking for it.

1.4.17 // He's officially tall enough to mail things by himself. Today I stood back and watched as he grabbed envelopes one by one and pushed them fully through the slot by himself. The only time I needed to help? When he thought he could shove 20 through at once and they fell all over the counter.

1.5.17 // When there's a mail box outside your doctor's appointment (just a check up!), you have to stop for a photo. ps -- I think this may be his first time seeing a REAL mail box!

1.6.17 // 🎶 work, work, work, work, work 🎶 Only a few more hours until the weekend! TGIF!

1.9.17 // "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Same with this little mail man. A little rain won't stop him from getting his job done!

1.13.17 // Well, I did it. And I have extreme returners remorse right now, but I only kept the dolman and the jeans from my @stitchfix box. Thank you all for your input! I REALLY should have kept it all, but just couldn't justify the cost this month. Good news is, I've already scheduled another one!! And it may come with a fun surprise. Look out for details in the coming weeks!

You can find more of our post office adventures on Instagram here.

[Who, What, Where, When, Why] My 5 W's of Blogging.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I thought I'd post this on a Thursday as a sort of "confessions" post because truth is, I've been a little nervous to post it. It's actually been sitting in my drafts folder for MONTHS, pretty much done minus a little tweaking, but I've just been nervous to post it... mainly because of my "why". I finally decided that I've waited too long, so here it is...

Unrelated picture of my computer and the best apple loaf EVER from Starbucks. But slightly related because that's my computer and I like to have snacks while blogging. LOL.

The theme of this year was to do less, more often and I definitely feel like I've done that. I've done more where it counts (with my family) and I've done less where it counts (on this blog). This doesn't mean that I want to quit blogging (no how, no way!), but I do want to be more intentional and present in my "real life" vs my "online life", so to speak. Last year I was so focused on spending time reading blogs, commenting on blogs, and writing blog posts during every second of my spare time, that I think I missed out on a lot. I would stress myself out thinking about how I needed to post something everyday or how I had so many blogs to read and catch up on, that I would often fall asleep on the couch in front of my computer at night. And I don't want that for 2017. I DEFINITELY plan to continue blogging. I definitely plan to continue reading and commenting on my friend's blogs. But I'm just going to cut back a little. I don't really know what that means for me right now, but I do know that it means that if I feel like I want to go to bed at 8:01pm, right after Mason goes to bed at 8pm, then I will. I do know that it means that if I want to binge watch TGIT shows on Thursday nights instead of blog for Friday, then I will. I do know that if it means that I can spend extra time hanging out with my family and doing fun things on the weekend instead of creating a weekend recap for Monday, then I will. Basically, I don't want the blog to ever make me feel stressed and when it does, I need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

So, with that, I thought I'd do a little "My 5 W's of Blogging" today. A couple of blog friends did this a while back last year and I LOVED it and have actually been wanting to do one myself, so new year (can I still say that at the end of March? LOL), new post on who I blog about, what I blog about, where I blog, when I blog, and most importantly... WHY I blog.

Here we go!

WHO do I blog about?

Well this is an easy one! Mason, Seth, myself, and sometimes other family members depending on the situation. More generally -- my life.

WHAT do I blog about?

Mason. Our family life. Our weekends. Trips to Disneyland. Autism updates. Confessions. Stitch Fix.  A Day in the Life. Recipes. Random things I'm loving. Day to day stuff. My love of Target and Starbucks. You name it, I've probably touched on it.

WHERE do I blog?

Sitting at my dining room/kitchen table or on the couch. I wish I had a designated space for my computer and my stuff, but at this point, I don't, so I blog where I'm most comfortable.

WHEN do I blog?

Whenever I have time! Which these days is not very often...

For a while, I was dropping Mason off at school and Seth was picking him up. I'd get off work around 3pm-ish and I'd get home and be alone for a good 2+ hours. It was amazing how much I could get done. Sadly, that hasn't been happening as much any more since I pick Mason up at least 2 days a week after school for ABA and sometimes more if he has an appointment or if it's Seth's Friday off. I don't mind and I'll happily do what's best and what's needed for my family, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the "me time" in the afternoon.

So, these days? I haven't really been blogging much. I've been opting for TV time after Mason goes to bed or, to be completely honest, I fall asleep around 9pm on the couch. Total glamorous life going on over here! The other night I made myself sit up (laying down on the couch is my biggest downfall, it's like instant sleep) and I got out my computer and I went through tons of posts I was behind on reading and tried to work on some of the 20 drafts I have going on. If I could just invent a couple more hours in my day, I'd be set. Or so I think. Ha!

WHY do I blog?

I've struggled with how to answer this one for a while, mainly because I don't want to offend anyone. So first, let me say, this answer is why I (just ME) blog. Secondly, blogging looks different for each person and that's TOTALLY fine! In fact, it's more than fine, I love it! It would be boring if all of our blogs looked and sounded the same.

That being said... I do not blog for money. Never have, never will. I have, however, done a few sponsored posts in the past, as well as promoted products that I've gotten for free.  But, having said that, just doing the few posts that I've done, I don't really even like doing sponsored posts. I don't like the pressure of taking picture perfect photos and editing them and making sure you follow all the guidelines. I don't like the pressure of having to post on a specific day. I don't like how I feel fake when I do them. To me, the money wasn't worth it. And maybe it's because I just really don't have a lot of time to do all of that these days, but honestly, I'd much rather share my heart or what we've been up to than share something that someone else told me to do.

Blogging is not and never will be my source of income. Seth and I both have full time jobs and those are our sources of income. I never have and never will blog solely for money. If I'm being completely honest, this is when I stop reading most people's blogs and I do not want that for my blog.

Hear me out...

I created my blog way back in 2012 as a way for friends and family who live far away to be able to keep up with what my family is up to. My dad and step mom live in Northern California and don't get to see Mason nearly as often as Seth's parents. I wanted them to be able to see pictures of their grandson growing up and see what we're up to. I never in a MILLION years ever thought I'd blog or that I'd have anything to write about that people would want to read and really only expected them (family members) to read it. Slowly but surely my little blog began to grow and although it is still a very little blog, I have a good group of blogging friends that I enjoy reading their blogs and I think they enjoy mine. Slowly my blog began to grow and the things that I posted about slowly began to change. My voice always stayed the same, but the topics that I shared evolved.

And I LOVE it. The connections and relationships that I've made through blogging have been incredible.


I blog to keep my friends and family informed on our life happenings and because of the relationships  and genuine friendships that I've formed. And this is why I just can't quit you, blogging!

Call me nosy, but I love reading what my friends have been up to. People who don't blog probably think I'm crazy that I have such good friends that I've met on the internet and most of whom I've never met in person, but people who blog get it. I love hearing about what my blog friends have been up to. I love getting good recipe recommendations. I've found countless products (much to Seth's dismay) that are now my favorites. And the list goes on. I don't blog for money. I won't promote just any product just because someone paid me to do so. I'm not actively seeking collaborations. For every one email that I accept, there are five to ten that I say no to. (And these days I'm saying no to everything that's been coming my way.) I won't go five days straight posting sponsored post after sponsored post because someone paid me XYZ to promote their products and I just had to except every single sponsorship that came my way. I won't share a product that I've never used in real life except for an hour or two before taking some pictures. I won't forget about sharing my real life with my friends but instead hope they click/beg they click my link so I can get paid. That's not me. That's not who I am. Yes, I have shared about my LuLaRoe online pop up sale but I did that because I have and love their product. I paid my own money for their products and I want to share them with you. Yes, I did post an app for the iPad (back in January) that Mason uses because I knew it was something he'd genuinely use and like. He actively seeks out that app on his own, without my prompting. Yes, I have hosted an online trunk show for Stella and Dot... when a portion of the proceeds goes towards finding a cure for breast cancer... a cause that I have direct connection with and would love to find a cure for so nobody else has to lose their mother too young to the terrible disease.

Yes, you can scroll back on my blog and see a few sponsored posts that I've done. Heck, scroll back a couple months when I shared my Christmas cards. There definitely are some perks to blogging, I won't deny that, but my sole purpose in blogging is not to get free stuff, it's not to make money. And again, these posts are sprinkled in with my regular posts, maybe once a month. Maybe.

I don't mean to dwell on this, but it's something that I've been thinking about for a long time now. I understand that blogging is an income for some people and that's great! Seriously, I genuinely applaud those women for being able to be stay at home moms and support their families, BUT that's not me and I don't relate to that. I did a "sponsored" (got an item for free) post a couple weeks ago and even though Mason honestly, truthfully did LOVE it, I still felt so fake writing the post. There have been so many blogs that I used to love that have become purely sponsored that I've stopped reading. Same goes for blogs that seem to be trying to "strike at rich" with Pinterest fame. And it sucks! Because I genuinely used to love them, but now I feel like we have nothing in common since they're promoting this one day, that the next, something else the next and they seem to conflict with not only each other but how I know they are in real life.  I just feel like I know nothing about the person anymore. I want real. I want real life. I want relatable. I want recipes you've really tried and loved. I want day in life posts. I want to hear about your weekend. I want to hear about products you bought on your own and truly love because you've used them more than once.

And that's what I try to portray here. My pictures aren't perfect. My house isn't the cleanest. I epically fail at most Pinterest projects that I try. But that's real life. And that's what you'll see here. I blog to blog. I blog because I like sharing my life with people. I blog because of the AMAZING relationships that I've formed. It's crazy. I never thought I could make such good friends by meeting them online and if you told me I would through blogging, maybe five or so years ago, I would have laughed. But it's true. And those of you who blog can probably relate. In fact, some of my best friends I met through blogging and we text DAILY. True story.

My #postofficeadventuresofmasonb photos on Instagram are some of my least "liked" photos. Will I stop posting them because I don't get as many "likes" on them as I do other pictures? NEVER. Because I love them and love the little project that I've started and love that special time that Mason and I get together. In fact, my updates on Mason on the blog are some of my lowest page views when I compare all my posts. Sad, but true. Will I stop posting updates about Mason? NEVER. This is my scrapbook. This is our family and I want these posts to look back on.

I might be a week behind on reading your posts. I might be 3 days behind on responding to emails. But when I do have a free minute to sit down and do it, I respond in a meaningful way because I really did read your post and I really do care that you took the time to comment on my post. I appreciate every single one of you who reads my blog. I wish more people would comment so we could make a connection. It just takes one comment and you never know what might happen.

At this point, I think I've started rambling on and I know everyone's time is precious and you're probably getting tired of hearing me talk, so I'll leave you with this...

I hope when you come to my blog and you read my posts, that you know that I really took the time and thought and effort into them. I care that you're here and I care that you read it. I love sharing our life and I love reading about yours. I love making new connections with people who can relate to what I'm sharing and I love keeping the old connections going. I will always blog to blog because I love the relationships that I've formed from it. I love the digital scrapbook that I'm making. I might not be the most popular or make any money or have the most page views, but to me, that doesn't matter.

For those of you that have made it this far, thank you! I truly appreciate you!

[Weekending] Wall Crawl: Venice + Other Weekend Happenings.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This past weekend, Seth went on his yearly boys trip to Arizona to watch the Angels play during Spring Training, which left me and Mason to have a special weekend to ourselves.

Mason's school was closed on Friday for a "teacher prep day" (coincidentally on St. Patrick's Day... I mean, I wouldn't blame them if they took a mental health day and were just drinking green beer all day! ha!) so I had planned to taking the day off anyway. I made plans with Desiree to do a little wall crawlin' and together we decided that we'd hit up Venice to see what their street art looked like.

Being the amazing researcher that she is, Desiree laid out a plan and we had seven walls that we were going to hit - five were up and down Abbot Kinney Blvd. and two were along the ocean front/beach area. Totally doable when you have enough snacks to bribe kids to pose for pictures!

I made amazing time getting to her house and then we piled all the kids in her car and headed up to Venice. We wanted to get there and back as soon as we could since it was St. Patrick's Day and we knew that people would be starting to drink at who-knows-what-time and that there would surely be an insane amount of traffic with the holiday being combined with being a Friday.

We actually made good time getting up to Venice and were on our way to the first wall destination when we came upon this wall.

So we made a pit stop. 

We then continued on our way, found a parking spot, and stumbled upon this wall, which was not part of the original seven. But we had to take a picture, obviously. Also, please note: the mailbox. Yep, I swear, mailboxes just find Mason!

Then we were finally on our way down the street to the first planned wall stop.

With this wall across the alley way as a bonus!

When in Venice...

The Love Wall! Quite possibly my favorite wall of the day. 

Fun fact: sometimes this wall is white and sometimes this wall is black. I have a feeling these walls get a lot of graffiti and so they have to re-paint often. In fact, there was some on this wall that I had to edit out. So sad.

Palm trees. So California!

Across the alley way from the palm trees and time for a snack break.

And this begins one of the best surprises of the day. We were just walking down the street, trying to find our next planned stop when we saw some color peaking over a fence. There were multiple entrances to where this wall was, but they were all locked. We seriously contemplated trying to find someone to let us in when I suggested we go around the other way and see if it was open. The boys walked ahead and then all of a sudden, they disappeared. I thought it was a construction site or something because all I could see was a dirt road so I started yelling to Mason to stop. But then Desiree and I rounded the corner and ALL THE PRAISE HANDS! It was just some sort of dirt lot or something and it had the most amazing walls! This butterfly one was definitely a favorite...

Followed by this wall, which is actually the lower part of the butterfly wall.

And this two-for-one wall where Julia made her one minute appearance!

I love this one because it looks like the boys are telling secrets and poor Julia is running off like "Mom! The boys are being mean to me!" but really who knows what the boys are doing and she was just running off for more snacks ;)

The left hand side of the two-for-one wall.

Photo by Desiree

And then what we thought was our last wall of the day before we headed off to find one special wall by the water front -- this awesome geometric wave wall. The boys are like "Woohoo! We made it! Mom won't ask for anymore pictures!" LOL.

Photo by Desiree

Yet apparently Mason actually doesn't mind? Ha!

PS check out those abs! My gosh, if I even had a one pack to his eight pack. #jealous

Photo by Desiree

And then our best surprise of the day -- the selfie wall! We seriously parked almost right next to it and never noticed it until we were leaving, so of course we HAD to get a picture. This is quite possibly my favorite picture of the day.

You may be wondering what those boys are looking at? Well, they were ACTUALLY taking selfies as we were taking pictures of them!

Photo by Mason

He's not half bad! I mean, minus the snot (sorry!), it's a pretty good picture! I mean, his whole face is in it AND he got the selfie sign! We may have a little photog in the making!

And then one of the most amazing, gorgeous walls we found -- the Van Gogh inspired wall. It was down by the water front and was a bit... sketchy... so we parked the car, threw the boys out, snapped a few pictures, and were on our way home to have lunch.

Yes, we knocked out FOURTEEN walls in a little over an hour. #winning


For more details on all these amazing walls and their locations, check out Desiree's post from yesterday.


The rest of the weekend wasn't nearly as exciting. On Saturday, Mason went to his ABA therapy, I ran some errands, and then I picked him up, we played, and then we went out to dinner with Nanny (Seth's mom).

Sunday started off with some morning yoga...

... was followed by a trip to the grocery store...

... and then was followed up by lunch and some laundry and some playing. Seth and his dad came home and shortly thereafter, we packed up some stuff and went back over to Nanny's house for Sunday night dinner. Mason and I went with Nanny to pick up Bubbe (Seth's grandma) to bring her over for dinner (with a pitstop to get some pants altered and a fun photo opportunity at a purple wall) and then we ate and it was back home for bed time.

Overall, it was a great weekend and I can't wait to do it all over again this coming weekend! We're halfway there!

[$10 at Target] March.

Monday, March 20, 2017

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 and then hop around and check out how the rest of my co-hosts (and everyone else!) spent their $10!

Per the usual, I went in to this month's shopping trip not knowing what I wanted to buy. I was with Mason so I knew I didn't have a ton of time to just browse, so I went with the tried and true and went to the Easter section. I figured I could find a few goodies there... and I was right!

This first thing I saw were these awesome Easter photo booth like props. I immediately knew that it would be fun for Mason and his cousins to play with on Easter. I bought these cute glasses last year and they had a blast wearing them, so I thought these would be a cute twist on that this year. Only problem is... Mason decided to open them as soon as we got home and play with them, so we'll see if they last until actual Easter. We have a month-ish to go... fingers crossed!

You might remember that last time I got some Mrs. Meyer's soap. We have the dish soap and love it, so I thought I'd get some hand soap. I call it a splurge because obviously there's cheaper soap out there, but we liked it so much that I thought I'd get more. Seth immediately said he liked foaming soap better than liquid soap, so I opted to try the foaming one this time. (It was actually on sale, buy one, get one 25% off, so I bought two, but for the purpose of this, I only counted one.)

For my last item, I got a small pack of the Cadbury eggs. They're my very favorite, and I know I could have had enough in my budget for a big bag, but I was trying to be good. That and saving my calories for those See's eggs that I love SO much ;)

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.

Soap : $3.49
Easter photo booth props : $5.00
Cadbury : $0.79
Minus RED Card discount : ($0.46)
Tax (7.75%) : $0.68

Total : $9.50

Under again!

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

Next month, we'll be sharing our hauls on Monday, April 17th. Mark your calendars, get your shopping on, and link up with us on the 17th and show us what you got!