The Life of Bon: October 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Someone let me nest!

Hello blog!  I feel like it's been forever since I checked in here and I miss you.

Here's the thing.  Fall in Utah this year has been absolutely amazing.  We have had days in the seventies for weeks and weeks.  Every few weeks there will be a day or two of cooler weather and I think, "that's it!  The cold weather is here now.  So long fall!"  And then the next day it's gorgeous again for another ten straight days.  We have taken full advantage of the nice weather (or shall I say FALL advantage?!?) and have been able to do so many fun outdoor activities as a family.  This summer I was so sick with my pregnancy that I feel like my summer just kind of wasted away.  There were so many days this summer where I didn't have the energy to do a darn thing and instead stayed in bed the whole day.  Second trimester made a big comeback and so we made up for our lost summer with a very full fall.

All that being said I think I'm ready for winter?  I mean, have I ever said those words?  The nesting bug is hitting me hard and it's like, "UTAH!  TURN FREEZING COLD ALREADY SO I CAN HIBERNATE IN MY HOUSE ALREADY AND NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!  I am dying to organize my pantry (nesting!) and scrub my toilets (nesting!) and get the nursery ready (nesting times infinity!) but every day is so freaking gorgeous that instead we head to the park or the pumpkin patch or on a little road trip over the weekend.  It has been absolutely amazing and everything that you need from a fall so someone please tell me why I'm craving a freezing cold day where I don't have to leave my house once?  It's a weird world.

Our busy fall means I have not done any of the more introspective/ low key activities that I normally enjoy doing- less reading, less blogging, less bingeing on Teen Mom.  I feel okay about less Teen Mom- reading and blogging I miss.

Also as soon as it turns cold I am locking June and myself in the bathroom for three days until she emerges potty trained.  I refuse to be dealing with her potty training while trying to get an 8 pound babe to learn how to latch.  That just sounds like hell on Earth.

My goal this week is to write MWF.  So hopefully Wednesday you should get a "real" post from me.  Whatever that means these days.  While I have not been writing much these past few weeks, there are some people who have been, so I will leave you with some of my favorite things I have read on the internet the past few weeks...

+ I have been using these bad boys at school the past three weeks and it has changed everything for me.  Lunch just got 100 times better.
+ Still confused who you are voting for?  I loved this Guide for Republicans Deciding How to Vote.  One of the few informative and respectful political articles I have read this year.  If you know you can't vote for Trump but Hilary's healthcare plan has you really uncomfortable (ME!) then you may find it helpful.
+ My friend, Stephanie, who has been doing the 8 minute memoir with me (I am hoping to pick this back up once winter comes)  wrote this little piece about being eight.  I love it so much.
+ This "Am I Pregnant" video that my friend Sally shared had me laughing out loud at 11:00 in bed.  I showed it to Greg and laughed harder the second time around.  Make sure the sound is on!
+ The link between clutter and depression.  My friend, Sierra, shared this and the whole time I read it I thought Yes, yes, yes!  Please cold weather come, so I can get back to decluttering every single thing in my house!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Costume prep- are you people ready for Halloween or WHAT?

Are you guys so excited for Halloween? I freaking love this holiday... planning and preparing Halloween costumes for my family is kind of my favorite thing ever. I knew the year that Greg and I were dating and I dressed up like a tooth fairy and he agreed to dress up like a little boy that we were on the verge of something amazing... the verge of years of successful costuming. Most years we have gone as a couple but some years we've gone solo. Mainly because Greg just likes to look as scary as possible. And while we all know how fun that can be, I get tired of having my face smeared in black and white makeup. 

I will admit that adding June to the family costume mix has been a little difficult.  Last year we were able to successfully complete our get up of "mythical creatures" with Greg as a wizard, me as a fairy, and June as a unicorn.  Basically it all centered around the idea that we found an adorable little unicorn costume for June.  This year I'm pretty sure she's going as a lady bug... partly because we call her bug and partly because I found an amazing costume at D.I. for dirt cheap.  Score!

This year I have had my costume in mind for several months. It doesn't exactly have a counterpart that Greg could do extremely well so I told him it's up to him if you wants to join in on my costume or not.  I hope he agrees to be the counterpart, but if not my costume is still pretty rad, and I feel like I really have to take advantage of this year to do it. 

When it comes to Halloween costume shopping I always start my shopping at D,I.  D.I. is the best place for deals and for every random thing that you may need for your kick butt costume.  For those of you who I'm not familiar, D.I. stands for Deseret Industries and it is the LDS church's sponsored thrift store.  Basically the place where everybody in Utah goes to sell their stuff they don't want anymore. 

And it is an absolute gold mine. 

D.I. hires people who are especially in need of jobs and experience and allows them to have on-the-job training while at the same time giving kow prices for amazing secondhand items. I'm also always so surprised by how organized D.I. is. Especially in comparison to other thrift stores... it is very easy to find what you're looking for. Clothes are organized according to size and style, housewares and plates are clean and on shelves, and even the table cloths are neatly hanging in the back. It is seriously a thrifter's dream. That is why D.I. is always my first stop for Halloween.

Once I know what my costume is going to be I usually have quite a bit of work ahead of me to find all the pieces. I don't want to tell you quite what my costume is for this year yet, but I will give you the items that I was searching for and if you're real smart you can maybe figure it out!
  • Blue dress with white polka dots
  • Pearl earrings and bracelet 
  • White, strappy high heels 
  • Some kind of 1940's white hat or hair tie 
  • White apron 
  • tight curlers
Have it figured out yet?  I'll give you one last huge clue... the red hair is crucial!

After roaming the aisles of D.I. (I live close to the American Fork D.I. in Utah and I personally think it is one of the best- HUGE and with a great selection.)  I was able to cross the dress and the heels off my list.  I couldn't find an apron like the one I was looking for, but I did find a tablecloth that can be easily sewn into an apron.  Done and done!

As you can see, I actually found two dresses that will work really well for the costume I have in mind... the one on the left is more the fabric that I want, but the one on the right is more of the style I want.  So I'll have to play with them both a bit to kind of get the perfect dress.  And, of course, I have to account for my sixth month pregnant belly which doesn't exactly make anything easy!

The great thing about shopping at D.I. is that if you do find many items that may work for you, it ain't no big deal to buy both of them.  At $4 a pop, it was no skin off my teeth to get both of these dresses to make sure that I have the dress that I want exactly right.

I still need to find some fake pearls and some kind of hat or hair bow, but I still have time.  D.I. constantly has stuff coming in and out so when I am on the prowl for something I often check it weekly.

And, while I was shopping for my costume, I couldn't help pick up a few Halloween decorations.  I love Halloween decorations, but hate forking over inflated prices because it's October.  (I also hate buying in November and storing for a year before I can even use them.)  I was shocked by how many cute little Halloween decorations D.I. had at such low prices.

Scarecrow and candle holder were a combined $3.

Fall leaves to hang along our "Welcome" sign in our kitchen- $1

Trick or Treat sign- $2
Pumpkin- $.50 

Thank you to D.I for sponsoring this post.  I didn't feel much like it was a sponsored post, given that I was doing something that I 100% would have been doing anyway.  Halloween costume shopping at D.I. is pretty much tradition around here.  I'm excited to show you pictures come Halloween of how the costume has come together.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

When you're pregnant it can be hard to find clothes and other nonsense

Today I'm so excited to be doing a preggers fashion show with some of my favorite pregnant bloggers.  What a great excuse to talk about clothes!  And pregnancy!

Here's the big disclaimer.   I know pretty much nothing about maternity clothes.  This is pregnancy #2 and I feel like I am still majorly struggling in the what to wear department.  Also I am pregnant in a totally different season as last go around, so what I did learn last time has pretty much been useless this time.  Last pregnancy I was super pregnant May- July so I didn't buy one pair of pants or leggings and basically lived in sundresses, maxi skirts, and my maternity swimsuit.  It's just a taaaaad different this time around.

This pregnancy my clothes have also started to feel wildly uncomfortable way earlier than last pregnancy.  I'm 25 weeks now and I can't even think about wearing something if it's not either maternity or two sizes two big.  The other night I tried to put on one of my normal v neck tshirts and it was like a basketball was trying to rip bust right through that fabric.  It ain't pretty!

There are a few things I know, but like I said, a lot of things I still don't know about dressing a pregnant body.  So I'll share those both with you and you can share what you know with me and hopefully by the end of this we are all the wiser for it!

#21weeks.  Maternity shirt from Old Navy.


1.  Buy MATERNITY clothes dang it!  I don't know how some women do it without buying maternity clothes.  I also do not know why.  I think some women take a certain pride in not buying maternity clothes, and that is absolutely mind boggling to me.  I'll sometimes see a picture on social media of a pregnant acquaintance or friend and she'll say something something like "this isn't even maternity and I'm 32 weeks!" and all I can think is "you poor, sad, soul.  How uncomfortable you must be."  Here's the deal with not buying maternity clothes- you are saving a hundred or two hundred dollars, maybe, but you are SO UNCOMFORTABLE for 4 or 5 months as a result.

Your body during pregnancy is a majorly different shape than any other time in your life.  You can't just buy a size or two up because then it is also big in the shoulders and the thighs and arms. And you never want to wear a shirt that is two sizes too big when you're not pregnant so it's not like you get use out of it postpartum anyway.  I just haaaate wearing clothes that are 1 or 2 sizes too big.  They are uncomfortable!  They fall off of me!  They are hot!  I feel like I am drowning in fabric and walking around wearing a tent!  Your clothes should fit!!!

I know some women disagree with me and they try to go their whole dang pregnancy fitting into their husbands gross tshirts and their jeans from their aunt who is two sizes bigger.  Just give it up.  I know you hate it.  Once I finally sold out to the maternity clothing world I have not looked back once.  It sucks having to fork over the money, but for me it is so worth it to have clothes that 1) you feel comfortable in 2) that fit your weird shape body correctly and 3) make you feel pretty.

This skirt is NOT maternity.  It took me one look at this picture of non-maternity clothes on my very maternity body to realize that maternity clothes are crucial.  #20weeks

2.  Maternity dresses are the best thing that happened to pregnant women everywhere.  Last pregnancy I wore a lot of dresses as I was teaching every day up until 34 weeks.  This time I'll be teaching right on up to 40 weeks (oh Hallelujah) so comfortable maternity dresses are pretty much mandatory for me.  Which is great because I happen to think they are the most 1) comfortable thing to wear and 2) flattering thing to wear.

Last pregnancy I bought my favorite black maternity dress from Old Navy that I wore at least once or twice a week.  This year on labor day I bought three more maternity dresses from Old Navy again for killer deals (all 50% off) and I wish I would have bought more, honestly.  I also have one from Target that I love.  I've been really pleased with Old Navy's maternity section- affordable but still cute and form flattering.  My favorite dresses are here here here and here.

My favorite maternity dress last go around.  I have worn it alot this pregnancy too.  This picture is in Germany when I am 35 weeks pregnant and I am the same size as I am now at 25 weeks pregnant.  FUN! 

20 weeks.  Dress from Old Navy.

I prefer the dresses that have the ruching on the side to the more free flowing dresses- once I am sporting maternity clothes I like it to be clear that I am pregnant and not just covering up extra pounds of ice cream.  I have one free flowing maternity dress that I got from Target and every time I wear it I just feel like I look super fat. (Trick- if I put a belt on right above my belly I feel like it makes it look a little better because it accentuates the bump instead of just looking like a huge tent dress).

^^^ This is the form fitting with ruching dress that I LOVE from Target.  Contrast it with the picture below- the more free flowing dress maternity dress also from Target.  I feel like the first one is so much more flattering to pregnancy shape than the second one.

Huge tent dress, no one likes you.  Go home.

3.  White maternity tee + any cardigan + leggings = pregnancy happy place.  I feel like the perfect winter pregnant outfit is a white tee with leggings and then some kind of cardigan or button up shirt to go over that.  It's nice because you don't have to buy a whole bunch of new maternity sweaters, you just buy the white maternity tshirt and make a million different outfits out of it. (For white pregnancy tee I gotta say Old Navy for the win on this one again.  I bought three white maternity tees this pregnancy for $8 each.)  This whole idea is new to me this pregnancy, but I feel like I can use a lot of what I already have in my closet with this system.  Pregnant fashion for the winter is actually a little more challenging than in the summer I think.  Who wudda thunk?  I think I thought it would be easier because I could just throw on a big sweater and call it good but my belly is already stretching out my favorite sweaters so I've stopped wearing those.  That's where the cardigans and button up shirts are so important- you can keep wearing them all the way up to 40 weeks without stretching them at all.

White tee with cardigan look.  But that tee isn't maternity and so as of last week I am not wearing it anymore.  Also the jeans I am wearing are NOT maternity and are being held on with an elastic rubber band.  It was very uncomfortable. You can read all about my jean misery below.

White tee from Old Navy.  It's da bomb.

24 weeks.  White tee from Old Navy.
I'm wearing maternity leggings from Old Navy too, a pair that is semi working for me.


1.  JEANS.  This has been the biggest struggle for me.  Where do you guys buy your pregnancy jeans?  And do they look normal on anyone?  I bought one pair that I HATE.  It is full panel and it fits fine on the belly but is weirdly loose on the waist/ butt.  It gives me soccer mom butt and is always falling down because of how it doesn't fit right on waist and hips.  If I try to just fold the full panel down around my hips then it is even more uncomfortable and gives me plumber's crack.

I have tried on so many pairs of maternity jeans and they were all worse than the pair I eventually bought and described to you above.  So that lets you know I'm in a sorry state.  Please send help. Where did you find a cute and comfortable pair of maternity jeans that fit you.  DO THEY EXIST?

2.  LEGGINGS.  Basically having the same problem as the jeans but on a lesser scale.  I decided I don't love full panel but I am having a really hard time finding pairs that aren't full panel.  (Do they have a name for those?  Half panel?)  I don't like pants fabric going all the way up to my boobs.  That just don't feel right to me.  I have one pair of leggings that I got from Old Navy that I really like but, well, I can't wear that every day!

3.  GARMENTS.  Probably don't want to talk details on the blog, but if you are Mormon and have figured out a good way to do garments when you're pregnant, EMAIL ME. (  I am in a bad state right now.  I am so uncomfortable night and day.  I have tried the maternity garments and found that they leave much to be desired.

Maternity shirt from Old Navy.

No part of this post is sponsored by any clothing brand but it should have been.  Specifically it should have been sponsored by Old Navy because that is where all my maternity clothes are from.  That is really the only place, though, that I've been able to find cute and confortable styles and affordable prices.  Maybe some of my friends will have other suggestions for you.  The following ladies did the same post I did today on pregnancy fashion so check em out!

Tayler from The Morrell Tale
Danica from Danikan Skywalker
Amy from Amy Elise Allen
Bonnie from The Life of Bon
Emma from Ever Emma

P.S.  I've got a few days left of this campaign.  Thank you so much to all who have clicked and commented.  I love talking about ways to simplify!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fashion Show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show at Lunch!

This post is sponsored by thredUP, 
but my love for shopping #secondhandfirst is all my own.

You guys.

I am dying over thredUP.  DYING. Have you tried it yet?  TRYYYYYYYYY IT.

Nordstrom cardigan and J.Crew plaid shirt bought 
from thredUP at a mere fraction of their original cost.

What is this company I speak of, you wonder?  Here's the skinny on thredUP.

- You can buy gently used clothing at a fraction of the cost you would pay to buy the item at the store.

- You are able to get name brand and quality clothing at the price that you would usually pay at discount stores.

- The website is SO user friendly.  You can easily search your size, what color shirt you are looking for, what style cardigan, what brand you like.  I have been searching for literally over a year for a shirt similar to the red plaid shirt I am wearing in the pictures and have't been able to find the perfect shirt for a reasonable price anywhere.  Enter thredUP.  This shirt was originally $60 at J.Crew, $23 on thredUP, and then I used a 40% off coupon code for first time buyers it ended up getting it for $13.79.  I seriously wore this shirt three days in a row last week- Thursday to school, Friday to do errands and housework, and then Saturday to hang with friends.  IT IS MY FAVORITE SHIRT EVER.

- Packaging is adorable.  Since owning and running my own business, I have become especially aware how other brands package and present their items.  thredUP has this on lock down!

- You can shop women's sections, men's, children's, shoes--- there's even a maternity section!  (Great for those of us who don't want to blow our whole budget when we are pregnant and need a few basic staples.)

- Shipping is super speedy.  I was shocked when I went to check the mail and my order was already here just days after order.  HOLLER!

- Items are constantly being added to the site so you can check back several times a week to find what you are looking for.  I'm on the prowl right now for a great pair of heel-less ankle booties. (Heels when I'm pregnant = disaster).  You know I'm checking back every few days so that I can nab my perfect pair when I see it.

- I really really am speaking in earnest when I tell you how much I have long admired and respected this company.  They have been on my top three for dream companies to work with. They are a business who knows how to do things right.  I also really love the idea that I am reusing someone else's clothes and not adding (so much) to the waste and consumerism of our country.  A couple of quotes I loved from the brains behind thredUP:

We know shopping secondhand helps the world in some small way, and we're proud to be a part of that.

I fear we are becoming a throwaway culture where everything is disposable.  I want my son to live in a thoughtful, more considerate world.

We know being a conscious consumer matters.  It matters to us, it matters to you, it matters in the whole big picture of the world.

My shirt, June's coat, and June's leggings are all from thredUP.

I placed my first order last week and I received ALL the following for $50: (50.97 if you want to be technical about it)

1.  J. Crew red plaid shirt seen in pictures above.
2.  June's Land's End olive leggings seen in picture above.  (June's leggings ended up being around $4.  This in and of itself is a steal for little girl leggings; add to the fact they are thick leggings of such great quality that she will be able to wear them all winter long and I am seriously in shock that I could get them for such a good deal.)
3.  June's gray Gymboree coat seen in picture above.
4.  Nordstrom beige cardigan seen in picture above.


Okay, I had to include the above picture because June has the blogger-coy-look-down-at-the-ground-and-smile thing DOWN.

Alright, before I sign off to watch some Office with Greg, here are a few coupon codes to use.  I know how you all love a good deal!  Last week I used the code FALL40 and got 40% off my order of up to $50 so I would definitely suggest trying that one first to still if it is still working.  If not, these other codes will still save you a TON. 

  • 15% off for existing customers (only 
     redemptions are available here): LNB15
  • $50 off $125 or more for first time customers: WQA50
  • $30 off $75 or more for first time customers: YHJ75

You guys are awesome.  Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.  It really does mean so much to me.  And thredUP really is such an amazing company, I hope you will really spend some time checking out their site and consider shopping secondhand more.  It makes a difference, not only to your wallet ($$$) but to to the world!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

How to Wear All the Hats: An idiot's guide to balancing work, mom, house, EVERYTHING

This post is sponsored by Reynolds™ but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 
Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support my blog.

I think most of us feel like we are the wearers of many hats.  And not just cute sun hats, either!  Mommy hats!  Work hats!  Entrepreneur hats!  Clean up the four cups of dish soap my toddler spilled onto the hard wood floor hats!

My main hats are the following:

1.  Mom and wife hat.  My favorite one!
2.  English teacher hat.  I like this hat a lot too.  It keeps me young.
3.  Jewelry business hat.  This one is fun and exciting, but causes me the most stress.
4.  Blog hat.  I really love this hat, but when the others ones are too demanding, I don't get to wear this one as much.
5.  Keeping a home hat.  (Cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.)  This hat is my least favorite.  But if I don't wear it enough, I pay serious consequences.

That's a lot of hats!  Sometimes I'm even wearing two at the same time, but that ain't no good for anyone.  I'm definitely trying to balance the hats better and designate time to be more present, go to the park with June, enjoy a show with Greg, etc.  Basically trying to make sure that I am giving the #1 hat the wear it needs and deserves.  Our lives, though, are busy and I have this sinking feeling that as the years progress (and the babies arrive!) they are only going to get busier.  There is so much I don't know, but I feel like over the past 6- 12 months I have figured out a thing or two that has enabled me to wear many hats without (completely) losing my mind.  Here's my tricks!

How to Wear All the Hats:  
An idiot's guide to balancing work, mom, house, EVERYTHING

1.  I do one load of laundry the night before laundry day.  This one is so silly, but it makes a huge difference.  The days that I know I have to do laundry, I actually do one load the night before.  This means that after a long day of teaching I force myself to throw a load in, and then 45 minutes later, switch it to the dryer.  The work is really very minimal- the real work, of course, is folding the laundry.  That I don't make myself do until the next day.  But I have found that I am able to stay up on the laundry SO much better if when I start laundry in the morning I already have a clean load that is ready to be folded and put away.

2.  I use a planner, and NOT a planner on a phone.  I hate always looking at my phone- it starts to cause me anxiety and when I open up my phone to look at my to do list I end up seeing a text I need to respond to and then an instagram notification and before I know what has happened to me I'm 45 minutes into a serious facebook political debate.  I have such ADD when it comes to my phone, so I've learned that my productive things I must have on a place other than the phone.  (This counts for my scriptures too.  I've gone back to all hard copies of scriptures, manuals, Ensigns, etc. because the phone is too distracting to me.  I LOVE Gospel Library, but I guess I don't have enough self control for it?)  Every night use my planner to write out
1) the things I have to get done the next day in my planner,
2) the things I would like to get done, and
3) one fun thing I am going to do.

I have found if I don't write out the fun things, I don't do them because the rest of my to do list takes over.  A lot of times it is something like, "library with June" or "walk up the canyon" or "make sugar cookies with June and Greg".  I keep it simple, but when I write it down I do way more of both the things I have to get done and the things I want to get done. (And way less of the time wasting things.)

3.  No work after 9:00 pm.  This one is something I have implemented just the past month and I LOVE it  I listened to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin recently (author of The Happiness Project) and she said something about how all of us are naturally inclined toward leisure or naturally inclined to work. Once we learn this about ourselves, we learn how to push ourselves more toward the other.  This was strangely life changing for me because I realized that I am prone to work.  If I have three hours at night I will usually spend that time working- I try to be productive.  I clean up, I fold the laundry, I grade papers, I work on a jewelry listing.  I realized that all my life I have been making work goals for myself when I actually don't need work goals as much because that is naturally what I am going to tend to do.  Rather, I need to make leisure goals for myself.  I am telling you, realizing this about myself has made me see everything differently!  My new leisure goal is to stop all "work" at 9:00 at the latest.  Every day.  No more gathering up June's toys, no more writing blog posts, no more answering work emails.  At 9:00, I shut it all down and I take a bath, read a book, watch mindless reality television, eat cookies, cuddle with Greg, ANYTHING OTHER THAN WORK.  I have found that I am finding the time for things I never thought I had time for (read books!) because I am actively carving out time for "leisure".  It is amazing!

4.  No phone after 10:00 pm.  This one is huge and is a constant struggle for me.  I have found myself wasting SO MUCH TIME at night on my phone.  And I'm never even doing anything.  Just farting around looking at nonsense.  It drives me crazy.  I have set a rule that I am not allowed to use my phone after 10 and on the nights that I actually follow my rule, I am so much happier.  I relax more, I sleep more, I don't get all riled up right before bed over a total stranger's political thoughts...

5.  Prepare for lunch the night before school.  My contract time at the high school starts at the ghastly hour of 7 am.  That means on the mornings I work I need to be out the door no later than 6:45.  It is such a struggle for me to be out this early- it has been my whole life.  BUT I have found that having my bag almost totally ready and my lunch prepared the night before is huge for getting to work on time.   For years I have taken my lunch to school in a tupperware, but I just recently switched over to Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers.   These bad boys are AWESOME.  They are inexpensive, made of renewable paper materials, safe to microwave, and can be tossed after you're done eating lunch.  I love this for two huge reasons.  1) No more spending precious morning time frantically searching for a tupperware to put my lunch in.  I know exactly where the Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers are, all the lids match all the containers, and I quickly transfer my food into the Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers and 2) No more having to drag dirty tupperware home from school to clean later.  I always end up leaving tupperware at the school for a week or two until we're completely out at home and then by that point the tupperware is so gross that I just want to chuck it anyway.  The Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers are so much easier, cleaner, and less stressful.  It kind of all ties into my KonMari method of cleaning and organizing too- using what I have and having what I use.  I have thrown out almost all my tupperware except for a few, basic ones.  I have those few tupperware, the Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers in my cupboard and that is it!  Not only is it so much more convenient, but it really does cause me so much less stress when I open the cupboard and don't see a thousand mismatched tupperware staring back at me.  I know exactly what I need and can easily find it and then, after lunch, I never have to think about it again!  Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers FTW!

If you want to give these a try, Pick up these Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat Containers at your local Walmart today. You can find them in the food storage aisle by the Reynolds Wrap.  I found mine right next to plastic baggies.

Oh, and here's a COUPON for your journey.  I really do love these and I think you will too.

Alright, it's 9:00 so I gotta be done with this post.  Thank you all for reading and your support of this blog and your support of my sponsored posts.  I really do enjoy writing these and love sharing products that I find and love.  If you have any tips for managing it all send them my way!  I've got a few up my sleeve, but heavens knows I could use a lot more!  

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This is the story of a blog.

Utah State Fair earlier this month with my crew.  
We went on a stormy Tuesday night and the place was all but deserted.  
It was perfect.


I am checking back in here after a week.  A WEEK.  Our days feel busy and sometimes chaotic, but there is a peace and a joy about them these fall days.  I am very grateful.

A lot of you guys have told me before that I don't have to explain when I go on blog breaks or that I don't "owe" my readers anything.  And while that makes sense, I always kind of feel like I do need to explain myself to you when I just don't show up for a week.  Whether or not you care, I guess, is up to you, but I do feel better when I hold myself accountable so you get to come along with me on this journey of explanation.  Here it is, the story of a blog!

I started writing consistently on this blog in September of 2011.  I was newly married and Greg was a theater undergraduate student.  He spent almost every night rehearsing and performing plays at the college, and I came home from work at 4:00 every day to a quiet apartment.  That left a lot of nights with nothing but time on my hands.  Most of my college friends had moved away, and I think that many would agree that the transition from college/roommates/ constantly being surrounded by people to married can be a lonely one at times- even when their spouses are around nights.  With Greg gone so much, I was fiercely lonely and for the first time in years, had a lot of extra time.

And so, I started a blog.  A friend had suggested it to me as a way to practice writing.  I liked writing!  I was good at it!  So I poured my heart and soul into this blog.  Always a talker, I now talked to the blog world- whoever would listen to my ramblings.  And to my delight, some people were listening!  And talking back!  This was fun!

Soon I discovered that I could actually make a little money with this blog (and get sent some really cool stuff sent to me!) if enough people were listening to me and talking back.  I really really enjoyed it.  This blog fulfilled and satisfied a lot of things in me. I was high on blog adrenaline for months.  I checked stats four times a day, I promoted the hell out of new blog posts, I paid close attention to my twitter followers, my insta followers, my facebook group.  I made new friends through blogging.  I organized "round tables" where we all got together and talked about blogs.  I charged people money to post on my blog, and I paid other bloggers money to post on theirs.  It was kind of wild and really fun!

At some point, my mind made the switch from blogging as a "hobby" to blogging as a "job".  I treated the blog like a job.  I didn't miss deadlines.  I applied for lots of campaigns.  If I was going to be out of town, I scheduled blog posts for each day I wasn't around.  I had a blog to do list often times longer than my work to do list.  Some months I made as much money from this blog as from my full time teaching gig.  I took this blogging world VERY seriously.

Greg graduated from UVU and was free from the bondage of the college plays.  He had less acting commitments, and the ones he had he was actually getting paid for- HALLELUJAH!  Then our lives were blessed with June and a new full time job teaching theater for Greg.  Suddenly there were more responsibilities and less free hours to do them in.  Everything kind of came caving in for us.  As a family, we were soon struggling with and fighting mental illness.  We took in a foreign exchange student into our home- a girl who we really loved.  But we realized we had no business being host parents.  We were struggling with too much.  So much had changed so quickly. We were failing at everything.  Blog posts got dropped.  We had to find another home for our foreign exchange student. Greg quit his job.  Things were tense.

A year ago, we started an online etsy jewelry business- hoping and praying to find a way to replace Greg's full time income.  It turned out to be, besides June, the biggest blessing in our lives.  It has provided us with the space to heal as a family and the time we have needed to get our priorities back on track.  It has allowed Greg to work in an environment and on a schedule that is much more conducive to his needs, his personality, and his long term goals.  Everything kind of felt derailed there for a long time, and now it was like the train was getting back on the track.  Slowly.  But surely.

When all of this happened I became a lot more sensitive as to what I was putting online.  Many days where the struggle was especially intense, it was easier to just not say anything.  So I wouldn't blog.  I stayed off social media.  I was deeply involved in the story, yes, but it really wasn't mine to tell.  It was mainly Greg's story, and I didn't feel right sharing many details of his narrative.  I realized that I had made a lot of mistakes in the past concerning things I had posted on this blog- things I had shared about our foreign exchange student, my marriage, my students.  People who were really important to me who maybe I wasn't doing a good enough job protecting.

I feel like we have now emerged from the crisis, but not unscathed.  I am still hesitant to share as much about my family and personal life.  I want to share, I want to be vulnerable, I want to learn and grow from the sharing of stories.  I think this is really important.  But I also want to protect my family, so I have to find a line that works for me.

On top of all this, a huge factor is that there really isn't the time in my life that there once was for blogging.  I work every other day and I teach four 85 minute classes in a row.  I have no prep period, which means that I have to do a lot of planning and grading at home.  The mornings that I am home I like to take June to the park or a play place or do an activity with her. I cherish and am so grateful for this time I have alone with her.  In the afternoons while she naps I work on jewelry, promote our business, order inventory, fold the laundry, make dinner, organize boxes of baby clothes.  The jewelry's needs never end.  The house's needs never end.  At night I try to grade papers and catch up on reading and take a bath and watch The Office with Greg.  A few nights a week we try to enjoy something as a family like a movie or an outing to the state fair.  Blogging, admittedly, is down on my list of priorities.  Whereas a few years ago I saw it as a job, I had to transition my mind back to thinking of it as a hobby.  I don't want to give up blogging, and I'm not reading to leave the internet, but I do have to accept that I am not really a "blogger" anymore.  I am grateful if I am still considered for campaigns, (like this one and this one that I am doing right now) and I am so so grateful for the extra income, but I have to remember that this is a hobby.  If I don't get around to my job for a week, then I get fired.  But if I don't get around to my hobby for a week, then I don't get around to my hobby for a week.  End of story.

That doesn't mean I don't still want to write on this blog.  On the contrary, I have probably had more to say to this blog in the past few months than I have had in years.  I want to tell you about my trip to New York with my sisters and how fast June is learning and growing and all of the new things I'm doing in classroom this year.  I want to tell you about my new method of scripture study that is really working for me and my expanding belly and why I think not finding out the gender of your baby until delivery is the best thing ever.  I want to tell you about all the house projects I've been working on and the dresser I repainted and the books that I've been reading lately.  There is so much to say to you!  I want to tell you about my favorite fall shirt that I can't stop wearing and that I got for the best deal ever here.  I want to tell you about my intense lipstick obsession.  SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS!

More than anything, I am really grateful for this blog.  I am grateful for what it has been to me and what it will continue to be to me in the future- albeit a bit different than what it was.  I am grateful for the friends I have made through blogging, the stories we have been able to share.  I am grateful for people who have read this blog and who have shown kindness, support, and love for me and my family.  I never could have dreamed what this blog would do for me or the role it would have in my life.  There has been a great contentment that has settled over my life the best few months.  It may be the upcoming arrival of a new baby, or the beauty of fall in Utah, or how sweet my students are this year.  I'm not sure, but life is kind of reforming itself for us and I AM GRATEFUL.