Monday, October 28, 2013

Blind Date with a Book Sign-Up October 28-November 10

Nicole and I are so excited that you're visiting this post because it's time for the next Blogger Book Exchange!  This time we're mixing things up and predominantly using Instagram to share our love for reading, books, and meeting other bloggers & social media enthusiasts (aka all the cool kids do it).  

This time around participants (that's you!) will be giving two books to your partner.  One book will come from your partner's list that she will give you of about 10 or so fairly priced books.  The other book will be a favorite of yours that you would love to share with your partner.  In the sign-up sheet you will be given the option to choose whether you would prefer new or used books, with the understanding that you will be doing the same for your partner.  In the theme of "blind dates" you will also wrap your books up before mailing them on the 25th and 26th of November.

Here are a few expectations before you sign-up:
  • Participants must live within the continental U.S. and must be at least 18-years or older.
  • If you sign up you absolutely must participate.  It stinks to have a partner that you can't count on.
  • Participants will be purchasing two books for their partner.
  • Participants are expected to wrap the books for the blind date with a book theme and then ship them to their partner.
  • Provide an e-mail that you check and respond to every 72 hours.
  • Although not mandatory, we strongly encourage having an Instagram account for this.
  • If your partner fails to participate, despite the agreement, Nicole and Kim cannot compensate you. We apologize for this but it's just not fiscally feasible for two young people to take that on.
  • If you fail to participate, you will no longer be allowed to participate in any future exchanges or swap programs.
Important Dates:
October 28- November 10: Sign-ups
November 10- 12: Partner assignments distributed
November 17-19: Instagram Link-ups
November 25-26: Books are out in the mail
December 1-3: Instagram Link-ups
December 9: All Instagram pictures from the exchange are posted
December 10-11: Blog post provided by Kim and Nicole sharing all of the festivities

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="TheSimplicity" width=250; height=250; /></a>

Sign-ups are now closed

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My 7 Deadly Sins

Linking with Shane from Whispering Sweetly and her awesome 7 Deadly Sins Link-Up!  This is absolutely perfect for Halloween, but also a really good time for reflection before the holiday season and especially Thanksgiving.

1. Being proud of my hard work and accomplishments

2. I can't stand being teased on intelligence.  I work really hard academically and intellectually.

3. My little brother, Jimmy.  

4. My husband and how proud he is to be an American and how he served his country. I'm also really proud of him and how hard he is working to obtain his college degree.

5. In my little family and what we've been able to accomplish in our almost three years together.

6.  My squadron and how hard we work.

7. My mom and dad for having such a good marriage.

1. People who have jobs that they love and are not contracted to for four years.

2. Living back home in Wisconsin and having access to Madison- my favorite place ever.

3. Not having student loans (paying them back is really stressful).

4. Having a higher income.

5. Not stressing about money.

6. People who are completely content with what they have.

7. Access to good shopping, Broadway shows, and cultural events.

1. When people get burned at work.

2. When you can't count on someone's word.

3. Payday usually goes straight to bills and student loans.

4. When Ryan and I fight.  The fighting itself just makes me angry.

5. When people make excuses instead of doing what's right.

6. When my job affects my personal life.

7. When the media decides they're experts on the missile career field.

1. Forgetting about chores around the house, which kind of forces Ryan to do it.

2. Sleeping in, because I love sleep.

3. Sometimes not signing up for volunteering opportunities because I want free time.

4. Spending way too much time on social media just because I like the opportunity to not think.

5. Taking the elevator, instead of the stairs at work because I can.

6. Convincing myself not to workout.

7. Anytime after alert, I feel so sluggish.

1. I shop way too much and am way too impulsive with my purchases.

2. Wanting more than I need when it comes to material possessions.

3. I have to be careful about following certain bloggers and beauty vloggers because if they post interesting products, I usually buy it.  I trust their opinions, plus they're usually awesome.

4. Wanting to have a baby so badly that I'm willing to consider forcing others to take my place at work (I really struggle with this and actually have a prayer on Instapray for this).

5. Wanting Ryan to be more romantic.

6. Wanting to switch careers and live in Chicago and be doing something fabulous.

7. Sometimes caring more for personal desires than the collective.

1. Buying cupcakes whenever I please.

2. Treating myself to a new book or crafting project whenever I feel like I earned it.  This happened all of the time when I was at training school.

3. Watching shows for their cute male leads, ahem Arrow's Oliver Queen.

4. Sometimes prioritizing happiness over necessity.

5. Having the time and make-up supplies to have a really good hair and make-up day.

6. I haven't done as much of this, but I used to shop online all of the time.

7. Stocking up on as many books as I possibly can.  I feel like a person's personal collection books says a lot about them.

1.  This usually involves Pinterest, but wishing my husband would perform some cute dating ideas.

2. Although this coordinates with Envy, sometimes when I see my friends' husbands or other bloggers' husbands doing cute things, I wish Ryan would take the initiative.

3.  I miss my college body.  Earlier this year, my hips expanded and it's been a struggle to adjust to a curvier figure.

4. I think my husband is hot. I always point out when I think guys or girls are good looking but my husband will always be my favorite.

5. I am so glad that I don't have to date anymore (this probably doesn't fit in this category but it deals with love, so why not?).

6. I think the human body is amazing.  As athletes or just normal people, it can do amazing things.  I think it's amazing when people are so dedicated and disciplined to achieving beautiful figures.

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Whoops, some baby fever went into my dreams

I had the strangest dream last night and it's basically hardcore evidence that baby fever has seeped its way into my dreams.  In this dream, I had just given birth to a baby girl but at this point, I hadn't seen her yet.  Instead, I knew that Ryan and I had decided to name her Cadence and for some reason I had to stay behind at the hospital but they released her to Ryan.  Ok, not a big deal, it's a dream world and in dream world I never get to see my dream baby which seems odd because I would be all over that bundle of joy.  Then I went home and upon seeing "Cadence," Ryan declares, "this is April May!"


Ryan re-named our baby, birth certificate and everything, without letting me know.  I was surprisingly not that mad but this dream was so incredibly real.  Like I had never seen this baby before in my life but there she was, this blonde, peach fuzz haired baby with big blue eyes.  Ryan was a total baby hog and the funny part was that I could totally hear him saying in real life, "well we could always change it back."  I'm still a little baffled at how I produced a blonde haired baby girl but there she was.

Then I woke up and yelled at him for changing our dream baby's name or asked him to make me a baby ;)

I'm kidding, but it was pretty hilarious.  Ryan's response, "Well April May kinda sounds like a cadence, so it works."

What did I tell ya?

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blind Date with a Book: A Holiday Book Exchange with Kim & Nicole

Get ready, it's time for the next Blogger Book Exchange and this time we're filled with the holiday spirit!  Nicole and I are teaming up to present a fun-filled, relaxed book exchange over Instagram and other social media.  

Yup, Instagram!  
blind date - this would be a cute favor idea for a book swap party

This book exchange will be different than past ones due to its format.  Participants will be purchasing two books for their partner.  One book will be from a list provided by their partner and the other book is the giver's choice.  Just like a blind date, you won't know what book you'll receive and that's what makes it so much fun! Imagine the gift-wrapping possibilities! 

Throughout the process, there will be two Instagram link-ups using #knblinddatewithabook.  You'll have the opportunity to share fun holiday pictures and get to know other avid readers via their Instagram photos.  At the end of the swap, Nicole and I will be gathering all of the photos together in one big, holiday-lovin' blog post.  Sound fun?  We certainly hope so!

Sign-ups start on Monday and will last for about three weeks.  If you sign-up, take a screenshot of our button (down below) and share it on Instagram and Twitter.  We would love to get a large turnout but we also want to make sure everyone is having a great time.

Once you've signed up, you'll receive your partners anywhere from November 10th-12th.  From there, get to know your partner through their Instagram and through e-mail.  Share some of your favorite titles and get to know your partner's interests because it will help the book selection process be that much easier.  From the 25th-26th of November, you will mail out your books and soon receive yours!

Throughout the process you'll have a few days of Instagram link-up opportunities using #knblinddatewithabook and these fun topics:

- something that you love about your life
- your favorite holiday story
- a fun fact about yourself
- your favorite holiday tradition
- what inspires your love for books
- a book you would like to receive for the holidays

You can follow us at kimberlyersk1ne and nicolelovescoffee.

Don't worry if you forget, Nicole and I will remind you via our blogs, Twitter, and Instagram.  Also, you'll only receive a few e-mails with pertinent information for the holiday book exchange, so we promise, no spamming!

We are so excited about this opportunity and can't wait to have you on board for this festive time during the holiday season!

Sign-ups start Monday!

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="TheSimplicity" width=250; height=250; /></a>

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Christmas Photo shoot with Friends

After my DIY-tripod photo shoot, my friend Hannah and I got to talking and I offered to take some pictures for her family's Christmas photos.  She and her husband, like me and Ryan, didn't really have money for a photo shoot with a local photographer so we decided to try it out and see what I could come up with.

I really liked how they turned out and I hope that they love it, too!

Are you in the Christmas spirit? :)

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Monday, October 21, 2013

When You're Young, Married, & Broke...Tripod Photoshoots are Your BFFs (A Christmas Photo Tutorial)

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a huge, women-oriented conference that featured hundreds of booths.  It was fun and a great way to check out area businesses.  My crafty, photo-loving heart was absolutely giddy as I grabbed the business cards and info packets of photographers, only to realize that there was no way we could afford a photographer for our year photos aka "Christmas card" photos.  

It was disheartening to see a photographer's style that you just loved and couldn't afford to book a shoot with them.  Now I understand the costs of being a photographer, so I get that photos are worth the investment.  I fully support small businesses and that includes photographers.  I know that a lot of money goes into investing in photo equipment and software.  I own some it myself and used a lot of software in designing ad campaigns.  It is no cheap feat.  

But on that same note, I can't miraculously come up with a way to afford photos over grocery money.  That's just not happening and it would also be irresponsible.  

When we used to live at Camp Pendleton, we had such a large selection of photographers and many of them I still follow on Facebook because they're great photographers.  Back there, we could take the spot of a cancellation for $100, get an hour with a great photographer, and get a disk of images (some of them edited and some not).  I was completely happy with that.  Unfortunately I'm not quite as lucky to have found that opportunity here.  Instead, in order to get images on a disk, it was going to cost me $500 for one of my favorite photographers.  Yikes!

That price wasn't even remotely feasible for us.  So instead I decided to create my own photo shoot with my Nikon DSLR and my tripod.  I was worried because it wasn't ideal, I wanted cute pictures, but I also understood that financially the tripod was going to have to work some magic.
Ryan and I had an area in mind, drove around and decided to go by a public boat launch.  I prepared ahead of time by scoping out Pinterest and bringing along some props that I either had around or made.  Then we set out an area, set up the tripod, and set the camera on its timer.

Here are some of the results:

Now I also have Photoshop and the full Adobe Suite, so many of these photos were edited later on but I think the tripod and the Erskine's didn't do half bad.  To top of a great Sweetest Day, we ordered our Christmas cards, right after the photoshoot!

Be sure to look out for an upcoming post on how to style your tripod photo shoot and make it relatively painless for your partner =]

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Guest Feature: Halloween Card Tutorial with the Silhouette Cameo and Karla =]

 So excited for this guest feature!  Karla is a wonderful fellow mil-spouse and Sconnie and she makes fantastic cards.  If you're looking to see a great Silhouette Cameo example or learn what the heck that on!

    I was so honored when the lovely Kimberly Erskine asked me to be a guest feature on her blog. I was especially shocked because I myself am not a blogger nor would I label myself even a good writer. However, Kim is a fan of my cards and I love making cards so I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Kim and I met about three or so years back. We both attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison at the time and ironically enough, we were both about to marry men in the Marine Corps. Ever since my husband joined the Marines, I’ve been a huge fan of writing him letters and more recently making him cards. As you may or may not know, as a military couple, you spend A LOT of time apart. Since my husband enlisted in September of 2010 we have spent somewhere between 14-15 months together. You get really good at writing to each other.  I quickly got bored of typical letters and decided to get into card making not only as a hobby to help pass time but also so that I had more fun things to send my husband. Today I am going to show you a card I am making for my husband. He is coming home VERY SOON from a deployment, and I can’t wait to actually give him this card in person!

   I personally use the Silhouette Cameo for all of my paper cutting (and much more) needs. I love the versatility that it gives you. I began my card today by picking some designs from the online store. (If you don’t have a silhouette, you could easily cut most of these shapes out with scissors or other sorts of die cuts and stamps!)

I found this super cute card from Lori Whitlock. However, the balloon design did not fit my theme so I also pulled some pumpkins from her gallery as well.  

After changing the shape to match my theme, I made a cute banner with a variety of fonts and started thinking of colors and sizes for my card. The default size of the card layout I chose was A2, which I am not fond of. I like big ole 5X6.5” cards. 

Once I had all the sizes and layout established I picked out my papers. I used paper from the Lawn Fawn – Into the Woods paper pad set. I am absolutely obsessed with everything Lawn Fawn. If you don’t know anything about their products, stop reading this and go look them up now. They have adorable stamps, sequins, paper pads, and more. I love all of their stuff. 

I just love how this brown paper has a wood grain look to it. I just think it’s the funnest little detail. Anyways, now with my papers established I started cutting everything out with my Silhouette Cameo.


This thing is amazing. Look how detailed it can cut! 

Once all my pieces were cut out, I was ready to assemble the card into the layout I designed in the Silhouette Studio program.


I personally am a big fan of glue runners to adhere my shapes together. It doesn’t require drying and it’s super easy to use.

Once all my pieces were assembled together on the card front, I realized that it needed some extra pizazz. I’m not one for making “simple” cards. I also am incapable of spending less than an hour on a card I feel like. It’s just in my nature.

Anyways, so I started adhering various Lawn Fawn sequins onto the card with jewel glue (it’s what I have on hand). Overall I am very happy with how the card came together.

I will apologize for my poor iPhone photos and lack of instruction and commentary. As previously stated I am not a regular blogger, but I couldn’t resist sharing this opportunity with you all today! I hope you all like my little card!

-Karla W. 

Isn't Karla the best?  Absolutely love this adorable card and I may or may not be begging Ryan for a Silhouette for my birthday!!

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
 photo signature_zpsc0b51015.jpg