Rules Shmules

{i originally posted this on After Nine to Five as my regular contributor post. however, it got such a good reception i wanted to get the discussion started over here as well. hope you enjoy it! and be sure to check out my new contributor post for today :)}


I don't know if I've just been noticing it more or if it's just become more common to talk about, but it seems like so many bloggers that I follow have been talking about "THE RULES OF BLOGGING" lately.

How to title posts, how to leave proper comments, the dos and don'ts of following and networking, what kind of posts you should be writing about, how to set up your blog design, how to reply to comments, and the list goes on and on and on and on....

I see these posts and I get a little concerned {and frustrated} of the influence they may be having on new bloggers {like myself, I still consider myself a newbie :)}

::: Let me take the time to make one thing clear before I move on. I'm not talking about "Tips & Tricks" types of posts. I'm talking about "If you don't do this then you are a terrible/unprofessional blogger" type of posts. If you have blogging tips, please by all mean share! It's the hardcore "RULES" that I am  referencing. :::

The reason why I get concerned is because these so called "rules" are not fair, they are mostly untrue, they are not the case for lots of bloggers, and instead of helping I think they can make bloggers feel bad that they are not following such rigid commandments.

I have read these posts numerous times and every time I hear a new "rule" I think to myself, "Well, this very very successful blogger ALWAYS titles her posts like that. Or she doesn't always have pictures with her posts. Or she doesn't keep a rigid 'post every single day' schedule and yet she has thousands of followers and is featured in magazines. So how are these rules if she seems to always break them?"

The argument for this can obviously be, "Well, she was the exception." But I honestly don't think that is the case.

I think the reason why lots of bloggers can break these so-called "rules" is because they have learned early on that the three main {real} rules to always follow about blogging are: 1. Be yourself 2. Be kind 3. Be humble

It doesn't matter if you introduce your sponsors as "Sponsor Highlight" or call a giveaway a giveaway or decide to only post 3 days a week instead of 7 or  don't participate in every single giveaway that comes your way or participate in blog hops. It doesn't matter!

Because at the end of the day, all you need to worry about is if you have stayed true to yourself and the mission of your blog. And that you have remembered to be kind & considerate to those you come in contact with. And that you understand that no matter the numbers you are no better than anyone else.

If you do those three things, then you will be successful.

Not everyone will be featured in magazines. Or on the local news station. But by staying humble, kind, and honest, you will gain all the respect that you deserve. And will be successful by being known as a great friend & influencer to others.

I can talk about these things because I have been on the other side of it. I have spent days feeling so guilty because I broke some made up, cardinal rule to blogging and feeling like a failure. I have worked so long and so hard some nights trying to make sure I had a post {sometimes twice a day!}, no matter how terrible of quality the post was. I have chosen not to post about things I really want to write about because I would hear somewhere that that was wrong. I have neglected real life relationships for a virtual, intangible, slippery success that seemed impossible to achieve by certain definitions. {I have since changed my definition of success :: see above.}

I have done all these things and instead of being happy I have felt miserable. It was miserable!!

I have since realized that I AM DIFFERENT. My blog is different. What I want is different. And not every "rule" is going to apply to me because I am not like everyone else. Nor are you.

So throw out the rules! Make your own rules to follow for yourself.  Make a mission statement to help you not lose sight of your dream.

::: Again, tips are different than "rules" in my book ::: And by all means ask for tips & advice!! I do it all the time!

But don't let the rules get you down. Because there are none. And it's about time we focus on the personal joy & happiness that comes from blogging when we do it our own way! 

out of sorts

Eli sick 2Eli sick 1
[don’t be fooled by the above pictures. he woke up .2 seconds after it was taken]

this poor kid is sick {again!}
i feel like he is always sick…

but this time he acually is more aware of his body fighting against him which makes for some rough days/nights.
and it doesn’t help his already manifest OCD-ness.
anytime his nose runs even a little bit he screams, “BOOGER!!!”
and of course as you know runny noses don’t go away in one wipe so this happens every 30 seconds.
literally every 30 seconds at least!

hi. i’m going crazy.

after the first night {when i was up with him until 4am and then Adam switched shifts},
we got some medicine that has been helping him have a little {mental} break and better night’s rest.
he’s now doing much much better!

thank goodness for modern medicine!!
seriously. why don’t we sing praises to medicine more??

i’m glad for this experience to now know that Elijah hates snot,
loves peach juice,
likes PB&J when sick,
doesn’t like wet sheets/blankets of any kind
{wet from water like tears or sweat not urine. i wouldn’t want to sleep in wet pee sheets either},
in addition likes his sheets and blankets washed,
likes to sit on my lap to eat his cereal and watch PBS in the morning,
and absolutely hates medicine of any kind!

it’s funny how you can give birth to a human being but still learn new things about him every day.

hope you feel better baby boy!!
can’t have you feeling sick for the first BYU game! :)

out with the new & fancy, in with the toddler proof [or reupholstering dining chairs]

i completed one of my very first DIY feats a couple of weeks ago!
i’ve done crafts stuff before sure.
but this was like a whole new level of home DIY for me.
i was pretty proud of myself
{no matter how poor of a job it was… ha}

we didn’t have a dining table when we first moved since we were borrowing one in our old place.
my grandparents happened to be moving the same time that we moved in and had a new table {still in the box} they needed “stored” until they were moved into a bigger place.

it’s a beautiful set and fits perfectly in our nook!
however, the light colored fabric on the seats is not really the most ideal when you have a messy two-year-old.
and since i wasn’t sure if/when my grandma wanted the table back, i didn’t want Elijah to totally ruin her pretty {and expensive} chairs for good.
so i decided to re-cover the chairs with some new material to protect the original fabric underneath.

this is what the chairs looked like before:

and here’s the after:

they are not perfect by any means
but i’m so so proud of them!!
they also cost less than $15 to make [not counting the staple gun which i decided everyone needs in a toolbox] so that was a HUGE plus knowing how much i love bargains :)

i meant to do a little tutorial but i forgot to take pictures until Adam reminded me when i was on my last chair.
so here’s my {rather poor} attempt of showing you how i did it :)

materials needed [for my cheap unprofessional upholstering version]:
fabric [i got cotton instead of upholstery fabric cause it was TONS cheaper]
about a yard and a half of fabric covered 2 cushions but make sure you measure the widest part of the cushion, the length, and the thickness as well as giving yourself room for stapling when you purchase your fabric. 

:: vinyl to protect the existing fabric [if you choose to go that route. but i actually used a vinyl shower curtain instead cause it was only $2 :)]

:: staple gun [i recommend one from a home improvement store. the one from Joann’s was terrible]

:: a strong husband to help you stretch the fabric tight :)

i ended up covering the existing upholstery with vinyl first for two reasons.
1. to protect the original fabric so any spills/stains don’t seep through
{especially since i just got cotton fabric and it was thin}
and 2. since the cotton fabric was thin and a light color i didn’t want the original fabric to show through. so i used the white vinyl to make it more opaque.

here’s how i recovered them:
[again i forgot to take pictures from the beginning so… sorry about that.]

1. first, i put my cushion upside down on the vinyl to measure how much i would need.
i folded over the sides to make sure it gave me enough to staple but not too much because i was going to stretch it tight to fit on the cushion snugly.

2. then, i stapled the sides of vinyl first around the cushion.
since it was a vinyl shower curtain instead of thick vinyl from the fabric store i had to be careful to make it tight fitting without ripping it from the staples.


3. next, i pulled up the corners, making sure i didn’t leave any folds/creases on the top side of the cushion. then i stapled the vinyl down around the edges of the vinyl as well as closer in toward the edge of the cushion to make sure it was held down securely since it was thicker in those areas.

chair recover

this is what the cushions looked like once they were flipped over with the vinyl covering.


[this is where i forgot to take pictures]

4. after the vinyl was on it was time it was time to add the fabric!
it was basically repeating all the same steps as before with the vinyl but now just with fabric.
it was a little more important though to pull the fabric tight {this is where you may need help} so that it was snug against the cushion.
i think in some areas i pulled it too tight though or wasn’t as consistent cause if you look closely the edges are kind of bumpy… so just don’t look closely :)

5. once the fabric is on, the bottom of the cushion will kind of look like a hot mess with fabric stapled everywhere. i am really picky so i couldn’t handle the ugly view of it all.
plus, you could kind of see the fabric hanging down under the chair which was annoying.

SO! i found some old muslin fabric i had on hand and used it to make a kind of “dust cover” to hide the mess. i just cut the muslin in the shape of the chair and stapled it to the bottom making sure it was covering the other staples and fabric edges.

it looked like this afterwards:


6. finally, i attached the cushions to the chair and was done!


i decided to use two different fabrics for the chairs because i liked them both and couldn’t really decide which one to use, haha.
i also like that it gives it that fun eclectic look but still being very classy and uniform
{perfect mix of both mine and Adam’s style}

[the one of the right was one of the first i did so it doesn’t look as good as the one on the left which was the last one after i got the hang of it, ha :/]

like i said before, it’s definitely not perfect at all.
and maybe some of you more seasoned DIYers are dying from laughing at my attempts.
[which i’ll probably look back and think the same]
but i’m still so proud of them!
and they truly help make this space feel more like our home.


now that i taught myself something like this, it helped me gain a new sense of confidence to try new things and take on different challenges in the DIY department.
can’t wait to do more!

have you recovered anything before?
any tips on recovering other furniture?
i’d love to hear about your reupholstering projects!


:::note- i know i could’ve put vinyl over the top of the cushions instead of in between the original fabric and the new fabric. or even over the old fabric. but Adam adamantly refused to have plastic covered chairs. he had very strong moral objections to it. so that’s also why i did the weird “unnecessary-but-necessary-random-vinyl/shower curtain-layer-under-the-fabric” thing. it’s weird but it works :)



linking up with I Heart Naptime & Tatertots & Jello

Beautiful Lengths

since i was young i have really wanted to donate my hair to women battling cancer.
however, by the time my hair would get to my shoulders i would get so fed up with it that i would just chop it off.
{i think i’ve mentioned before that i’m not a patient person :)}

after Elijah was born and i did the obligatory new mom chop, i started growing out my hair out for fun thinking just maybe i can actually finally have the endurance to grow out those long, pretty, movie star locks.
but after 2 years of no hair cuts [except one trim last year] and then moving to the hot hot heat i started getting that itching feeling again like i needed to do something about my mane.

i decided Saturday morning that the time has come, i was going to chop off my hair.
so i invited my friend Holly to come to make a fun girl’s day out of it
{and to help me not chicken out!}
and Adam gladly watched both kids so we can get a break from the crazy toddlers!
Adam was also really sick of my postpartum hair clumps all over the place [gag] so he was more than supportive when i finally decided to give the hair a whack.

once i got to the salon though i started questioning if i should keep my long hair.
i mean i NEVER EVER had long hair before!
and although i had absolutely no idea what to do with it,
and it was a far far cry from the picture perfect hair everyone else seems to have,
i was really sad to see my hard work {and finally some patience!} be gone in an instant.

haircut 3
[the before picture. so long!!]

then i remembered this guest post over on Jenni.Austria.Germany’s blog.
i was so intrigued by it because i had never heard of Pantene Beautiful Lengths before and liked that the minimum requirement was only 8 inches which i thought i might be able to qualify for.
[instead of the 10 inches for Locks of Love which was the only hair donation place i knew about]

so i asked my hairdresser how much hair she would cut if i decided to go short.
her response,
“a little over 8 inches.”
and with that the decision was made.
it wasn’t just about me anymore.

haircut 8
[making the cut! my hair looks like a little rat tail cause it was wet, ha]
i was so excited & nervous about it! i had to document the momentous occasion :)

haircut 4

i cannot even begin to describe how excited i was about this!!
i’m pretty sure everyone in the salon thought i was so strange.
but seriously, this has been a dream of mine for so long and i finally got to do it!

haircut 2haircut 1
[some crappy “after” phone pictures]

i’m so happy that i was able to make a small donation that can give another woman hope during her most difficult time.

plus i get a lovely new hair-do out of it

you can more about Pantene’s Beautiful Locks program here and see how you can donate!

August Group Giveaway

it’s group giveaway day!!
there are lots of awesome prizes up for grabs today.

i’m so grateful to my sponsors for donating these prizes & for being so patient with me this last month as we moved and took lots of time to get settled.
i couldn’t ask for better friends and sponsors than them!

i hope you all show your own love & support to them by checking out their blogs & websites.
you will love them too, guaranteed :)

now on to the prizes!
it’s going to be a little different this month.
there are 5 prizes and they will all go to ONE WINNER!

$10 Barnes & Noble gift card from me

Barnes & Noble is probably one my very favorite places!
and i thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite things with a lucky reader.
so today i will be giving away a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble

medium ad space from The Naptime Review


i have loved getting to know Julie and love her blog!
she is just that great friend that you always need especially as a mom :)

today she is giving away a medium ad on her blog

blog / twitter / facebook

Bath & Body Works Malibu Heat Beach in a Bottle Bag from More Than Just Peachy


Allie is so cute and so fun!
i love reading her stories and remembering me and Adam’s young love and dating adventures in Utah.

today Allie is giving away this Malibu Heat Beach in a Bottle Bag from Bath and Body Works. it features a body lotion, shower gel, and body mist all in a cute cosmetics bag.

blog / facebook / bloglovin’ / pinterest

medium ad space from Whispering Sweet Nothings


Shane is such an inspiration to me in a lot of ways.
she is so very kind and really wants to help others.
love her for that!

today Shane is giving away a 200x100 button which will include a sponsor spotlight, rotating ad space, and optional guest posting and giveaways! 

blog / shop / facebook / newsletter

medium ad space from Yours Truly

Chelsea is one of the nicest girls i have ever met!
she is always so kind and you can tell she really cares about you.

today she is giving away one month of a medium space on her blog

blog / twitter / bloglovin’


remember, 5 prizes for one lucky reader!


-enter with Rafflecopter below!-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Monday} Favorites

i was kind of lazy this weekend and pretty much didn’t get anything done.
which is why my Saturday Favorites post is being written on a Monday.

but it was a good weekend nonetheless including a huge CHOP to my hair!
i’m excited about it and can’t wait to show some pictures.

in the meantime, here’s another installation of life through Eli’s eyes.
{and literally of his eyes}
he became obsessed with the flash as you can see by the white-out pictures.
don’t worry. we were good parents enough to stop it before he had a seizure or something.

Eli's photo collage

i seriously love that he took a picture of his blankie and a screenshot of his drawing.
that kid… is a character!

now for some fun links!

i can’t wait to try these. i like the idea of them being healthier but still amazing :)

these are some of my absolute favorite posts by Rachel.

i obviously was craving chocolate when i made this list because oh my gosh these also look awesome!

this is something i didn’t even think about with siblings. great tips!

stop with the cuteness. and the impeccable fashion!

i’ve always wanted to make a list like this. and so i think i will.

from a flight attendant’s perspective. love it!

this is looks like perfection. just what i need to pamper myself!


and be sure to check back later for a big giveaway!!



i hope we can all follow these people’s example to serve others and the Lord even when it can be easy to say we have other obligations or other things we want to do.
we can do so much good in the world and in our own lives when we put others first.

August Favorite Post Link-Up

We're bringing back This Month's Favorite Post Link-Up and it's better than ever! Be sure to check out the hosts to find out their favorite posts this month + other blog posts from the link-up!

We also have some new permanent hosts and an awesome giveaway to help kick things off! Check out the entry form under the link-ups for the various ways to enter!

Permanent Hosts:

Ashley from After Nine To Five | Megan from And Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

Becky from Beauty for Ashes | Jessa from Life of a Sports Wife

Rotating Hosts:

Sarah from Simply Dove

My favorite post of the month is:

Whistle Down the Wind
all the guest posts while we were moving :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whistle Down the Wind

Elijah colorElijah BW

when Eli was a tiny babe and would cry and cry and cry,
one of the {only} songs that would calm him down was the song
Whistle Down the Wind. 

it’s one of my absolute favorites.
i even used it as my Young Ambassador tryout piece
{a story for another day… but long story short, i chickened out}

the lyrics:

Whistle down the wind
Let your voices carry
Drown out all the rain
Light a patch of darkness
Treacherous and scary

Howl at the stars
Whisper when you're sleepy
I'll be there to hold you
I'll be there to stop
The chills and all the weeping

Make it clear and strong
So the whole night long
Every signal that you send
Until the very end
I will not abandon you my precious friend

So try and stand the tide
Then you'll raise a banner
Send a flare up in the sky
Try to burn a torch
And try to build a bonfire

Every signal that you send
Until the very end
I'm there

So whistle down the wind
For I have always been
Right there

i remember one very specific moment when i finally truly understood the words to the song when we were trying to let Elijah “cry it out” as an infant.
i was listening to him cry in his bed and i sat on the couch crying and hyperventilating to Adam because i couldn’t handle listening to him scream and be forced to sit there and do nothing.

he probably only cried about 8-10 minutes {but it felt like an hour!}
i couldn’t take it anymore and rushed in the bedroom to grab Elijah, tear-streaked and sweaty from screaming.
i held him close to me, tried to nurse him, and gently started singing his song.

“i’ll be there to hold you, i’ll be there to stop
the tears and all the weeping.”

once i sang those lines i just lost it.
i wasn’t there to hold him, i didn’t stop his tears.
instead, i willingly let him cry.

i cried to Adam, i told him i was a terrible mother.
i was so angry at myself that i broke my promise to always be there for him
and instead i put him in a dark room, ignored his cries for me, for reasons he didn’t understand.

after that rather traumatic moment i renewed my promise to Elijah that i will not abandon him.
anytime Elijah is upset or scared or sleeping poorly i sing this song to him.
it still has a magic effect on him to calm him down and to calm me down.
and i think it is also a way to reassure him that i will still be there through his tears, no matter where we are or what life has in store for us.

a two-year-old doesn’t understand a lot of things.
he doesn’t understand why i won’t let him play with power cords or why i make him go to sleep at night instead of staying up to watch “Elmo is Grouchland” for the 1000th time.
he may not understand {or like} the rules i place for him.
just like he didn’t understand when i tried to let him cry it out at the beginning.

but if i can help him understand anything, it is that i love him.
through his tantrums and whining and messes and hitting… i still love him.
and i will always always be there for him, to comfort and provide.

i hope that even if he’s mad at me for making him leave his blankie at home,
or for going to bed without a 4th bottle of milk,
that he will know that i will be there until the very end.


:::NOTE: i am not against crying-it-out nor is this post about the cry-it-out method. i just wanted to share an experience i had relating to this lullaby. and in case you were wondering {which maybe you were after this} we did end up using the cry-it-out method when Elijah was older and wouldn’t go to sleep before 1am. it was rather successful {for both of us!} when we tried it later, i just felt like he was too young when we did it the first time. i also am not trying to say all parents have to do this method, this is just what worked for us with Eli but maybe it won’t work for another kid. anyways, just don’t read too much into the parenting methods of this post cause that’s not the focus… haha :)

who doesn’t like a great deal? and Target?

i have a huge weakness, guys.
a weakness for great deals!
and with these now easy access deal sites like GroopDealz it’s easy to get great discounts!
GroopDealz is one of my favorite sites because it always has the cutest, trendiest deals for people to snag.

{not to mention they have everything to make you feel like a legit blogger like pom-pom necklaces, chevron stationary, hand-stamped jewelry, and more!}

GroopDealz 8_22 (1)

i also love this awesome indie wrap bracelet that can also be worn as a cute necklace.
best of both worlds [as Hannah Montana would say]

GroopDealz bracelet_necklace

 so yes, i’m definitely a GroopDealz fan!
and you will be too when you hear what they are giving away today.

how does a $25 Target gift card sound??
{yeah, who could say no to that?}

GroopDealz is generously offering one lucky reader a $25 Target [electronic] gift card!
pretty sweet!

--enter below!--


a Rafflecopter giveaway


::: and the winner to the Lisa Leonard giveaway is Megan T.!! CONGRATULATIONS!

farm country

as it got closer to our moving date, i made a list of things i wanted to do in Utah before left.
{we pretty much didn’t get through any of them}
but one thing i was really adamant about doing was taking Elijah to Thanksgiving Point and going to Farm Country so he could go on a pony ride.

you see, Eli LOVES animals!! especially horses.
so when i heard about Farm Country and that is was only a couple bucks for a pony ride, i was dead set on taking Elijah there before we left if it was the last thing i did!
[which it was the last thing we did before we left, ha!]

i found out that my good friend Gentri was going to be in town that same weekend {who i really really wanted to see before we moved} so we decided it was the perfect excuse to finally head up that way to see Gentri and then check out Farm Country.!!
{i miss you, Gentri!!}

farm country 14farm country 15farm country 8farm country 9farm country 11farm country 10farm country 12farm country 19farm country 21farm country 20 
Elijah loved that he could get close to pet this little pony
but he would TOTALLY FREAK OUT if the pony turned its head toward him and would run away.
it was kind of the funniest thing ever!

farm country 11farm country 13farm country 18farm country 14farm country 6farm country 7
and i’m pretty sure i was more excited about Elijah’s pony ride than he was.
he treated it as if he was just on a regular carousel ride.
so ungrateful… :)

farm country 1 
  farm country 5farm country 10 farm country 6
[this sweet baby calf was born that same morning!]

farm country 7
farm country 15 farm country 8farm country 3farm country 3

oh Utah, we do miss you at times!

*some pictures taken with film and others with our phones.