Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beach it up

Is there anyone in the world who doesn't like to visit California?

Here's the thing about California.  The state is pretty much perfect.  Yes, the traffic is miserable and the economy's got some serious issues but the weather! the beach! the endless sunshine!

I've always been kind of confused by Californians and how weirdly defensive they are of their state.  Have you ever noticed that?  Like they don't want anyone else to enjoy it.  They don't share very well and anytime I tell a born and raised Californian how much I love their state I feel like they get mad at me.  Like I have no right to love their state or I am trying to steal something away from them.  Listen California peeps- your state is gorgeous.  The weather is perfect all year round.  Every time I go there I love it and I want to stay longer.  What do you expect?

My best friend and her family live in California for going on two years now.  She's got three little children and they are pretty much living in paradise.  They go to the beach constantly and spend even our dreaded months of January and February soaking in the sun.  It ain't fair, I tell you!  It ain't fair!

The plan was for Greg and I to go out over my spring break to visit Geoff and Akasha for three or four days.  Then Greg decided to be in a show that is opening this week which means he would be spending eight hours a day in rehearsal.

So I went anyway.  I kind of hate leaving Greg, but I also hate sitting at home with nothing to do on my days off.  I've got itchy feet syndrome.  So a visit to Akasha it was!

Of course, it was almost ruined by the car accident (here) but we recovered well and were able to spend a few awesome days at the beach.  We almost forgot that the accident ever happened! (Except for the pictures where Akasha was on the phone.  There were constant insurance people to talk to and lawyers and yada yada yada.  Accidents are messy and very inconvenient.)  Akasha tried to teach me how to use me camera a little bit, I got terrifically sunburned, and we ate popsicles to our hearts content!

Akasha might be the easiest person in this world to get along with.  We were best friends in high school and I am starting to suspect that she was one of the few people who could put up with my bossy attitude.  Whatever it was, I consider myself beyond lucky that she decided to be my friend and has continued to be my friend all these years.  I adore her.  

The only person in the world who might be easier to get along with than Akasha is her husband, Geoff.  Together they are seriously the perfect couple- down for anything, totally nice, and never annoyed or frustrated.  Even with the accident, it still felt like a total vacation- three days of stress free living and beach going.  (And with three kids!  Stress free!  I seriously don't know how she does it!)

^^ Getting friendly with an insurance agent.

^^ This was the day I didn't think I needed sunscreen.  Yes, because it's not sunny at all, is it?

^^ Another insurance agent.  Aspen waiting patiently for someone to take her to the bathroom.

^^ Don't we look like a happy little modern family?  Sorry, Geoff, I guess I took your spot.

I guess that means spring break is officially over.  Boo.  Six weeks of work and I'm off for the summer.  Man, this teacher gig is rough!

Friday, April 18, 2014

On the Case: Frozen

I've never said anything on my blog about Frozen before.  I have remained quiet on the subject for months and months.

Well, my friends.  The time for silence is past.  It's time to speak up.

I am launching an investigation today.  I just figured that once and for all I get to the bottom of the mystery of Frozen.  Greg and I saw the movies a few months after it came out- at the beginning of January.  There was a lot of hype about the show.  A lot!

I thought it was a pretty standard Disney movie.  Perhaps because I had heard so much about it before I saw it, I was honestly a little bit let down.  I liked Disney’s recent Tangled just as much, if not more, than Frozen, and I didn’t think it held a candle to the Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King.

But the Frozen rage has continued.  I can’t open up facebook without seeing a shared Frozen parody or Let it Go cover or an article debating the political nuances within the film.  What is it about the film that has made us all go mad?

I know a lot of you will say it’s revolutionary because it has two women as protagonists, because its central theme isn’t the classic love story of a man and a woman, etc, etc, etc.  But this doesn’t explain why kids are so bonkers over the movie.  And they are.  Every kid I know loses their crap when it comes to Frozen.  They want to watch it every day.  Listen to the soundtrack on repeat.  They're desperately trying to convert their lives to Frozen.

In March, Frozen joined a very elite club of movies that have grossed over a billion dollars.  That makes it the first animated movie in history to making a billion bucks.  The most successful animated movie of all time.  I just want to know why.  Explain it to me people.  I know all of your kids are obsessed with the movie and I know you've probably shared an article on the movie on your facebook page.  I need an explanation.

In the meantime, I want to introduce you to Charlotte.  She's a fellow book lover (her twitterature post is brilliant) and obsessed with punctuation.  My kind of girl! (For grammar Nazis out there, make sure you check out her post "Why Punctuation matters")

Hello, Life of Bon readers! I'm excited to be here. I'm sitting here feeling a little awkward about typing this, because I feel like I'm crashing some super cool party that I invited myself to. I racked my brains for a few weeks deciding what to write about, but I didn't feel like I could just write a normal post for my blog, because you guys don't even know me! And I feel like I need to introduce myself a bit so you know what you're getting into when you jump over to my space.

My name is Charlotte, and I'm a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mom. (PS I'm so excited for Bon and Greg and their babe, and I was also so excited to read about her decision to work part-time!) I'm a certain introvert and relish time alone. Many of my friends are extroverts, and those relationships are some of my favorite ones.

I like to sew and read and bake anything with gluten and preferably chocolate. I love Diet Pepsi, and if I were stuck on an island with only one dessert, it would have to be chocolate cream pie. I can't pick a favorite book, but These Is My Words (Nancy E. Turner), East of Eden (John Steinbeck), and The Road  (Cormac McCarthy) make the top five. On my blog you'll discover some of my quirks like how much I love TV, my complicated relationship with exercise, and how much I care about punctuation. I often blog in lists, which is either refreshing or lazy. Or both. I can't decide.

My blog started out in 2006 as nothing more than a personal writing endeavor. I guess in many respects, it's still just my space to write, and the relationships I develop with my readers are a lovely and rewarding fringe benefit. (I even drove to Seattle once to meet a blog friend, and I'm lucky she didn't turn out to be a serial killer) Sometimes I blog about silly things like TV and cake, and other days I'll write about subjects like sorrowlosingloving, and believingOne time I even wrote for 31 straight days, and I loved it (even though it about did me in). I try to keep my blog authentic and real. I write about lots of happy things, and I'm not afraid to be serious. I care about being genuine, both online and in my real life.

I'm so grateful to Bonnie for giving me space on her blog today, and I hope you find a minute to stop by my site to say hi!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm posting late because....

Welp, folks.  I didn't get my post up last night.  I have a good reason, though.  Really I do!  I was at the hospital until midnight and by the time I got home there wasn't no way I was cranking out a post for you all.  Forgive me.

I'm sitting in beautiful Southern California with my high school bestie, Akasha.  Greg had crazy rehearsals this weekend and I was off for spring break so I figured it made sense to fit the visit in while I could.  I have this fear that as soon as baby gets here I am going to be totally immobilized and not be able to see anyone or go anywhere.  Naturally, I'm trying to get all my partying out now.

Akasha and her three kids picked me up from the airport and we went straight to Newport for some Balboa bars and a stroll along the beach.  On the way back, Akasha told me we'd take Pacific Coast Highway so we could see California in all of her splendor and beauty.  No complaints here!

We were coming around a corner and headed down a hill when Akasha suddenly blared her horn.  There was a car coming the other way that had crossed over into our lane and was coming at us head on.  I didn't even have time to realize what was going on by the time it was all over.  Akasha honked and swerved to avoid the head on, but the guy still nailed the driver's side.

There was a huge crash and what felt like a total explosion in the car and a lot of crying kids.  We pulled off and called 911 immediately and luckily everyone seemed okay, although very shaken up.

The accident happened about 5:00.  We didn't get away from the accident scene until close to 7:00.  Tow trucks and fireman and policeman, wow, what a circus.  I can't even imagine how bad we held up traffic.

The rest of the night we spent at the hospital.  Akasha's neck, arm, and shoulder were incredibly sore and she thought her arm might have been fractured.  The fire man told me I needed to go to the hospital to make sure the baby was okay...  there wasn't a hard hit on my abdomen, but there was enough of a jolt in the car that he said I should get it checked out.  The main concern was that the placenta could become unattached from the uterus and cause hemorrhaging or miscarriage.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the doctor said everything looked totally normal with the baby.

I am feeling so grateful that it wasn't worse that it was and that Akasha was able to react as quickly as she did.  It could have been so much worse if we hit that car head on.  Akasha's got some freaking quick reactive driving skills, that's all I know for sure.

Oh, and because I'm in the mood we're giving away $350 big ones to follow some accounts on twitter.  Easy as can be.  All you gotta do is click some follow buttons and bam, you're entered.  I'm all about making this easy for you.


*This giveaway ends on April 21st, 2014. The winning entry will be selected via Rafflecopter and will be verified. This giveaway is open internationally to anyone with a PayPal account. Good luck!*

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break: Two Days In

Well guys, I officially hit my wall.  My "I no longer have quite the same amount of energy I used to and I am indeed feeling tired and achy and I can't pretend I'm not pregnant anymore" wall.  It happened at 8:34 when I was on my way home a long and busy day.  I realized I was absolutely one hundred percent exhausted.  At 8:30.  Usually I can hold out until at least 10:00.  I had big plans for all the writing I was going to do tonight, the emails I was going to answer, the laundry I was going to fold, the trip I need to pack for.  Now I'm looking for a way out of all of it.  Greg can fold the laundry, I can pack in the morning, emails can wait.  As long as I can throw a post up here tonight then I can take a bath and read my book for the rest of the night.  Just one post.

I'm two days into spring break here.  So far it's been an absolute dream.  Greg's day off is Mondays so yesterday we slept in, and then went to a doctor's appointment for our baby.  They had to do an ultrasound again because last time there were many measurements they couldn't get.  Yesterday was the first time we really got a clear shot of her.  I felt like I was seeing my baby girl for the first time.  She spread her little legs for us to erase any doubt we had that she was indeed, a girl.  We saw a perfect outline of her profile.  It was absolutely breathtaking to see that little face in there- to see her forehead, her nose, her little lips.  Greg says she has my nose, small and a bit upturned.  She was moving her lips during the ultrasound- as if she were sucking on some imaginary bottle.  Tears ran down my cheeks.

Then it was lunch at Olive Garden and a few hours of snuggling, relaxing, and Mario.  (We invested in a Wii about a month ago.  It has entertained us for hours.)  Greg scurried off to rehearsal, and I read on our balcony and just let the spring sunshine pour on me.  Maverick insisted on a walk, as dogs do.  We got home in time for Jeopardy and all was right in the world.

Greg got home close to midnight (the week before a show opens is CRAZY!) and we stayed up until 1 am to watch the lunar eclipse- something I'd never be able to do on a school night.  My dad loved everything about the stars, the moon, the heavens, so I always feel extra close to him when I look at the sky. Greg and I snuggled in his double sleeping bag, and by golly, it almost felt like we were dating again.  (Except for instead of making out, I fell asleep.  You know.  Totally the same as dating.)

Today my friend, Charlotte, and I decided to head back to Copper Hills to say hi to our people there.  Charlotte taught French at CHHS and we left the same year, both finding other jobs closer to home.  CHHS doesn't have spring break until Thursday so we felt like if we were going to say hi to everyone, it was now or ever.

I felt a little nervous walking into the school again, after almost a year's absence.  "Hey guys.  Remember me?  I used to teach English here... "  It took all of about 90 seconds before I felt right back at home.  We ate lunch with our old lunch crew, stopped into say hi to the principal, and ran into several old students in the halls.  It felt like home.

I felt sad for a part of the morning.  I think you always do when you revisit an old place- you know you can never quite go back, and yet part of you yearns to.  Mostly, though, I felt extremely blessed.  Blessed to have had three years at Copper Hills, to have made the friends I did, to feel so loved and accepted there.  I also felt grateful for my  new school, and the new relationships I've made there.  For the opportunity to learn and grow and progress, even though that sometimes involves goodbye to people and places.

When I was leaving on my mission, my church leader told me not to feel sad about saying goodbye to my family and friends because my love for them would stay the same. But he promised me that the amazing thing I would discover is that as much love as I had in my heart for all of the people at home, my heart still had room to love so many more people.  The heart grows, it expands.  It never maxes out on amount of love it can have.  He told me that I would grow to love so many people on my mission, and when I came home I'd find that I still loved all the people at home the same- my heart just had more people in it.

I think about that a lot.  There is no limit on the amount of people that can be let into my heart.  If I want to let more people in, my heart will accommodate it.  When I married Greg I remember thinking, "How is there even room in my heart to love someone this much?"  I had felt like I already had a full heart before I met him, and now here I was, trying to throw an extra giant love in what seemed like an already crowded heart.  It's silly, but sometimes I wonder how I can love my dog so much.  Where did that space in my heart come from? What was there before he filled it? How will I be able to love a baby?  My life is already so full!

I guess that's the beauty of the human heart.  It loves and loves and loves.  I have so much love for those people at Copper Hills, you'd think I couldn't love people at a new school the same, but I do. There's room in there for everyone. I think about all the different circles I've been in in my life, and how there are so many people who have crept their way into my hearts.  They don't ever leave, but more people constantly enter.  The heart is an amazing thing- a giant room that always feels full to the brim, but never is.

I can't help but think about what my heart will look like at the end of my life.  All of the people that are in there now will still be there, but there will also be children and grandchildren, future students, future friends.  There will be so many more people who will find their way in, and the beauty is that my heart will never tell me that it's filled.  There will always be room for one more.

I could not make this giveaway any easier

It's my spring break!  I've got a whole week off to bask in the sunshine.  That means I'm in a particularly good mood and what better way to celebrate than by giving away mulah?!?

This month's sponsors are being oh so generous and have pooled their hard earned cash together to give to one of you.  Entering the giveaway has never been easier- just enter through the links of the rafflecopter below.  BOOM BABY BOOM.

Winner will be chosen on Thursday, April 24, 2014.  All entries will be verified.  International readers may enter conditional upon having a Paypal account with which to receive the winnings.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 14, 2014

I like your bum bum bum

Let's do a poll, shall we?

What is the household product you have to replace the most in your home? Is it...

A. Dish soap
B. Laundry Detergent
C. Toilet Paper
D. Trash bags
E. Shampoo

If you said C., toilet paper, well then you are in good company.  We run out of toilet paper every week, I swear.  I restock it and next thing I know, we're out again.  I've accused Greg before of being too liberal with his tp use, but he swears he only uses a moderate amount.  We just go through it quick.  (Also, you didn't know you were going to get to know all about the bathroom habits of Greg and me today did you?  What can I say? It's your lucky day!)

Before I married Greg I always just bought the cheapest, crappiest (no pun intended) toilet paper I could find.  But then Greg cued me into a few things.  Turns out there's kind of a trick here.  If you buy higher quality toilet paper a couple of things will inevitably happen...  1.  It will not longer hurt your bum to wipe and 2.  The paper lasts longer meaning that you don't have to restock it as often.  There is this beautiful little gem called double ply toilet paper which means you don't need nearly as much!

Introducing Cottonelle Clean Care.  It's the best thing for your bum ever.  Don't worry, below you will find some totally normal pictures of me hugging toilet paper in my kitchen.  You do that too, right?

Even our dog likes it!  (Maverick ate an entire Cadbury Cream Egg today and his little bum has been going pretty much nonstop since.  So yes, a dog can very much so like toilet paper.  Also, who says I'm not ready for a baby?)

Lately I've been into not only the Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper, but the flushable cleansing cloths as well.  Basically there's a dry toilet paper and a wet toilet paper for ALL your toilet paper needs.  We leave nothing out!  The cleansing cloths are awesome because they just leaving you feeling so much fresher and cleaner.  If you haven't tried them, you really need to.  It's going to change everything you thought you knew about going to the bathroom.  (I also take the cleansing cloths around with me in my purse- they are the most versatile things ever and good for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING... also, they break up after flushing, are alcohol free and sewer and septic safe.)  CLICK HERE FOR COUPON.

Also, because it is so awesome and slightly strange I also have to tell you that a British lady named Cherry traveled all over North America to talk about bums.  Click here to watch it.  This has officially been my weirdest and most awesome post ever.

Thank you to Cottonelle for sponsoring this post today, and to you who read my sponsored posts and help support this blog.  GRAZI!

Sunday, April 13, 2014



- I think I finally look officially pregnant.  I have had a few strangers comment on my pregnancy in the past few weeks which to me means that it is now safe to assume I am in fact pregnant and not just downing extra cupcakes.  I've popped.

-I am stilling sleeping through the night without having to get up to pee.  Success!

- Things are starting to get slightly uncomfortable in my stomach.  I can't really describe it- it doesn't feel like cramps or a stomach ache or even like gas exactly- but it feels a little bit like all of those things combined.  Like sometimes it's just really crowded and achy in there.  I feel like things are stretching and moving (You think?) and it's just kind of uncomfortable.  It's especially uncomfortable when I sit down for a long time- like everything is just pressing down on my stomach.

-I continue to try to exercise every day.  Mostly it's a 45 minute walk with Maverick, but sometimes it means tennis or a mile run.  My best friend and tennis partner is moving out of state at the end of the month so I am in the market for a new partner.  If you are in the area and like to play tennis please say you'll fill her role.  I'm not joking. I need to play at least once a week.

- Luckily I haven't had any cravings for greasy or fattening food- mostly anything that is even a little heavy sounds awful to me.  I mostly eat sandwiches and smoothies and protein shakes and I'm down to one diet coke a day.  This is honestly probably the most healthy I've ever eaten in my life. (With the exception of weekly pizza- my definite pregnancy craving!)

- I've been reading Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.  I really like it!  Basically it's about an American woman living in France who observes the much more laid back and chill way of French parenting.  She says that French children seem to be much more patient, better eaters, better sleepers, and just generally calmer children.  The idea is that you give your children very strict parameters and boundaries but that within that, the kids have a lot of freedom.  She talks a lot about treating children as reasonable, logical people- basically that children are just mini adults.  It is very interesting.  I know a lot of people have a lot of ideas about parenting and I have never had a children so I know nothing, but the idea of calm and obedient children is certainly alluring.

- The day after my last day of school, Greg and I are flying to Germany to visit my sister.  My doc and the airline both say I can fly up until 36 weeks, but I have already had many people express their disapproval at this decision.  It is weird to be pregnant and have so many people suddenly telling you what you should or shouldn't do. My mom says I function on pure adrenaline so I should be fine.  I hope she's right.  The idea is that the backaches and extra weight and all other discomforts will be assuaged by the excitement of touring Europe.

- We are going to spend a few days in Amsterdam while in Europe.  Ever since I read The Fault in our Stars I've really wanted to see the city.  I am determined to go on a bike tour while there.  Greg says I'm delusional and that at 7 1/2 months pregnant there ain't no way I'm going to be able to hop on a bike and cruise around. Whaddya think?  (Also if any of you have been to Amsterdam or Bruges send suggestions!)

-It's gotten a little bit uncomfortable to sleep.  My sides and stomach just start to ache after a couple of hours.  Someone told me to sleep with a pillow between my legs, and that is helping a bit.  Any suggestions to make my lower back not hurt so much?  For some reason it aches the most when I'm sleeping.  I'm making Greg do daily massages, but it is still so achy!

-I've had some bad allergies the bast few weeks but haven't dared take anything.  What is safe to take while pregnant?

- I figured I'm just about at the point where I need to start thinking about stretch marks.  Is there anything you can do to avoid getting them?  Any lotions you tried that you really liked?

- Greg and I are an absolute mess when it comes to names.  How do some people know so soon what they are going to name their child?  It feels like such a huge decision, and we can't agree on anything.  We want a name that is a known name and easy to spell and pronounce.  But at the same time, we want to steer away from common or trendy names. If it's on the top 100 baby names for the year it's definitely out.  With a last name like Larsen I feel like we have to give her a name that it is a bit unique to make her stand out just a little bit.

There are a few things that have made the name picking process difficult.  To start with, I teach school for a living, so that means that for every name out there I know at least three students who have forever tarnished the name in my mind.  Another thing that has made it difficult is other people.  Well- wishers always want to know what names we are thinking of and when we throw a few out we invariably get a, "Do NOT name your child that.  I hate that name," "My ex girlfriend has that name," or "That's a total slut name."  I don't know why people do this with baby names.  I never tell people my name is Bonnie and have them respond, "Ugh.  I hate that name!" but they do it all the time when I tell them what names we are considering for our child.  As if they might have some say in it.

Greg's top pick is Ellie, but it's too popular for me so I told him it's out.  I absolutely love Nora, but that's the name of a main character in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Greg says he absolutely refuses to be a theater guy and have his child named that. (Whatever that's supposed to mean.)  My good friend who is having a baby in August told me last week that she is planning to name her little girl the one name that Greg and I kind of seemed to agree on.  Now he says the name is out because it's obviously too common. (Someone else at our church named their baby that too.)  So we're back to the drawing board.

You guys got some suggestions?  I love the old classics- anything that is sophisticated and feminine. Eleanore is a total favorite of mine as well as Pearl and Grace.  Greg says Eleanore is too old fashioned, Pearl is ugly, and Grace is too common.  I did like Stella a lot until my brother named his dog that.

We're a wreck.  Please send help.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I see you.

Tonight I went to the temple.

Mormon temples are different than Mormon churches.  Anyone in the world can attend a church- we have church services every Sunday.  Throughout the week we have a myriad of other activities at the church- crafts, basketball, dinners, you name it.  But the temples are only for people who are ready to make serious commitments to God.  There we make promises to God and in returned are promised awesome blessings.  Church is only on Sunday, but you can go to the temple any day of the week.  (Actually, they're closed on Sunday.  For church.  Go figure.)

Everything in the temple is repetition.  It's the same words and promises every time.  There is something very beautiful about this repetition, though.  A promise that God is patient and kind, and that if I don't quite understand everything that's just fine. I can come back again and again and again until I do understand.

Tonight I really needed to feel that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know He does, but I guess sometimes I forget.  More than anything I just wanted to feel that He is aware of my struggles, my desires, my crooked little heart.  I needed to feel that I'm not alone.

It reminds me of when Greg or I come home after we've been out a few hours and Maverick jumps all over us like a crazed pup. He leaps and paws and frantically begs for attention until we bend down and show him love.  We pet him and cuddle him and say, "I see you Maverick.  I see you.  I see you" and within a few minutes he calms right down.   Greg has often asked out loud, "Do you think when we leave that he thinks we've just abandoned him forever?  And every time we come home again it's just the hugest relief to him?"

Sometimes I feel like this with God.  I guess sometimes I do a Maverick- I start frantically worrying that God's abandoned me.  Does He see me?  Does He know me?  Does He love me?  And all I really need is for Him to bend down and show me love and say, "I see you Bonnie.  I see you.  I see you."

That was what I got tonight from the temple.  An "I see you from God" accompanied with an overwhelming sense of love.  It is such a blessing to know that God is aware of me and my struggles and difficulties.  That I am his daughter and he loves me and worries about me and wants me to be happy.

I guess sometimes little girls just need to know that their father is looking out for them.

(For more on Mormon temples go here.  You are also always welcome to ask questions in the comment section, and I will be sure to respond.  Or write an email ( if you want it more personal.  I answer a lot of  common questions about Mormons in this post and this post.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

To Round a Table

Jan. roundtable: Photo courtesy of Elisabeth

April roundtable: from L to R Aubrey, Danica, Eliesa, me, Kim, Tayler

Last night I sat around my living room with five girls and talked blog for what was supposed to be an hour, but for what quickly stretched in to two.

I always feel so invigorated by these roundtables and I leave vowing that I need to do them more and be more active in my blogging pursuit.  They are an absolute powerhouse of ideas and strategies and give me hope that maybe the blog isn't dying after all (More on that later...  But I'm interested- do you think the blog is dying?)

There were a couple of things that were talked about that I would love to hear form you all on- six brains are awesome but 100 brains are even more awesome.

+ Blogging vs. Wordpress... Danica told us that she has switched over to Wordpress and likes it a lot more.  For an internet dummy like myself who can barely code her own button and crop her own picture, is Wordpress the way to go?  I just know that it's much less user friendly.  However I have heard that traffic is better on a Wordpress blog.

+ PINTEREST!  I think I was finally convinced last night that I need to engage is Pinterest more.  It is definitely my resource that I use the least when it comes to blogging, mostly because it is overwhelming for me and I'm not sure I totally understand it.  Also, I don't feel like my posts necessarily lend themselves that well to pinterest.  But the girls convinced me last night that there are many posts that are very easily pinnable.   What do you all say?  Do you get a lot of traffic from pinterest?  Do you find blogs that you follow through pinterest?

+ Someone asked about replying to comments... if it is better to respond to comments through email or right on the comment section of the blog post.  I lean more toward commenting on the post itself because I feel like that lends itself more to a discussion, but then I know there is a good chance that people won't see my response to them.  Which do you prefer?

+ We talked about pictures and what to do when your post just doesn't have a great picture that goes along with it.  I really don't enjoy always having to throw up pictures on my blog posts and I am not good at taking pictures, but I have learned it is kind of a "necessary evil" of blogging.  If I want to write on a blogging platform I need to understand that blogging is visual and peeps want their pics.  The two best things I have done for my blog photography wise are: 1) invest in a DSLR and 2) have Aubrey take "fashion" pictures of me every couple of weeks or so.  Let's face it, Greg got quickly bored of the whole fashion blogging hoax and it was all I could do to get him to snap three pictures of me before he was ready to throw in the towel on my whole blog.  It's much better to "swap" pictures with somebody- find a location, dress cute, take pictures for 15 minutes, you're done.  It also helps to practice photography although let's be honest, I still haven't put that bad boy off of auto.  Any quick and easy photography tips you have learned?

+Using facebook.  A couple of girls mentioned they weren't too keen on getting a facebook page for their blog as they already post on their personal facebook and it just seemed repetitive.  I will say that besides bloglovin and google, facebook is my main source of traffic.  So get a facebook page.

+ What is the best way to make sponsorship seem authentic?  I am looking at changing a lot of my sponsorship options in the next few months and several girls had questions too on how to start a sponsorship program or make it successful.  What makes you want to read a sponsored post?  Or does the very idea that it is sponsored turn you off to the post completely?

+ Bloglovin vs. GFC... basically we just want to know... do people still use GFC?!??!

Comment up, folks!  I am hoping for a great discussion today... I will be responding to all comments.

Friends in low places part 2.

A week ago today I flew down to Phoenix and spent the following three straight days with my college besties and roommates.  I lived with all of these girls at one point, but we never all six lived together at the same time.  There was always someone coming or going, but the core remained the same.  They wrote me while I was on my 18 month mission in Argentina, promising to "wait for me" and not to marry before I got back. (And they all kept their promise!  Well, Nessy got married the day I got home, but still... it counts.)

I have always felt that God has blessed me more than my fair share with my friendships.  I am spoiled when it comes to friends.  I don't deserve the friends I have, and I know that.  These girls are more like sisters to me-  they know me better than almost anyone.  They are friends with me me in spite of my weakenesses- they know that I can be mean or sassy or annoying or bossy or competitive... and yet they still give me love.

My brother told me once that friendship is a matter of convenience and I have never forgotten that.  We are friends with who it is convenient to be friends with- people who work in the same place we do, live next door to us, people who are readily available.  So I guess this is where my relationship with these girls transcends friendship.  It is no longer convenient.  We made great sacrifices to all gather in Phoenix this weekend- we came from five different states and all but one had to fly in.  We took off work, we left husbands and children, we paid hundreds of dollars for plane tickets to see each other.

These girls have been here for me in the worst of times and the best of times.  We spent lots of the weekend laughing and reminiscing about old times- the all nighters, the boyfriend swapping, the endless Office marathons.  We spent a lot of the weekend listening to each other- telling of our life difficulties now, our struggles, our joys.  (Anything I didn't know about pushing a child out of me I now know.) We did our best to be there for our friend who had a second trimester miscarriage only two days earlier.  We laughed and cried and more than anything I just felt so extremely blessed for a Heavenly Father who put these women in my life.

(Also I forgot my camera.  Boo.  Camera phone to the rescue!  Forgive me for not having the uber quality pictures you are so accustomed to with this blog.  Like Mandy says, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.")

^^ We are both having baby girls within a month of each other.  We might even have the same name picked out.  Great minds. (Amy told us to kiss while she was taking our picture.  Naturally, we both obeyed.)

^^$20 pedicures.  One thing I learned about Arizona is that the cost of living is CHEAP.

^^ Even got a visit from one of my best friends on the mission, Ashley.  She had a baby three months ago so naturally she filled me in on what I have to look forward to in four months.  If I hadn't already been pregnant before this trip, it might not have ever happened.

^^ Tennis every day.

^^ No girls' trip would be complete without a trip to Cafe Rio.  Mandy and Courtney are Cafe Rio's freaks, but there is no Cafe Rio in New Mexico or Texas where they live.  This means every time we get together we have to hit up the Rio at least once.  We made the 30 minute drive to get these girls their sweet pork burritios. (Cafe Rio- are you listening?  Build a Cafe Rio in Albuquerque!  Courtney would single handedly keep you in business!)

^^ Eating pazookies in our swimsuits.  Why not?!?

That's a wrap.  Until next year, girls!

(Last year's girls' trip can be found here... Nessy was two weeks away from delivering a baby so she didn't quite make it out last year...)