Friday Favorites-Last of Februrary

Happy Friday, friends! We almost made it through the shortest (and usually the coldest) month of the year. I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to March and all things spring. It's been an interesting week here weather wise. One day it snowed, the next it was in the 50s. Everything is a wet soggy mess and my floors are not clean and shiny. Having three little ones and a dog makes that pretty impossible at this point. My mom is taking A and little nugget overnight so Eric and I can get some shopping and home projects done. I know I'll miss them like crazy, and we'll still have the baby with us, but it will be nice to hopefully have a little more peace quiet in the house.

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

Baby C is 3 Months:

my sweet little man turned three months this week. While it feels like I can't remember what life was like without him, it also feels like I blinked and here we are. Time is such a tricky thing like that. I had three doctors appointments with him this week, I guess what better way to celebrate three months (total sarcasm there), and thankfully he is completely healed from his hernia surgery and we are seeing improvements with his NAM. They will be reconfiguring it soon since it's reached the point of how they designed it to accomplish what they needed to first. Now it's on to moving his center lip area, pre surgery. We did have his three month appointment and thankfully he hasn't lost weight but he hasn't gained any either. We are now switching his bottles, again, trying an extra ounce, and waking him in the middle of the night. He's been a night sleeper ever since 6 weeks. I'm trying not to get discouraged and know that we will do whatever we need to to get him to where he needs to be.

On Sunday We Brunch:

my sister put together this adorable girls brunch that was just what all of us needed. It was some of the crew that all went to Bermuda together for her bachelorette party, which I realized I never shared anything about that here. I'm going to try and put something together about places to visit, that beautiful pink sand beach, and link our amazing Airbnb that we stayed at. I made this fruit pizza for brunch and it came out really good. It was simple to make and I like to think that because it had fruit  it made it somewhat healthy.

Snow, Snow, Snow:

we were graced with some of that beautiful white stuff this week.  I realized when it's more of a mild winter I am much more appreciative of when it snows and not as bitter. It only ended up lasting a day and then melted all away. The boys enjoyed playing in it and of course we had to take baby C out for a few minutes. Let's rewind for a second though. Thank God we haven't gotten a ton of snow because the boys drove me crazy with getting out of the house to play in it.

They had an early dismissal and were home by lunch just when it started to come down. We finally located the snow pants in the basement that were tucked away in boxes. Wouldn't you know finding them ended up being the easy part after the shenanigans they put me through with these pants. Two tantrums later they ended up switching each others snow pants, then going with a completely different pair, that were too small mind you, and we finally got the whole pants debacle sorted out. Or so I thought. Now we move onto hats and gloves. Wellll, A wanted a specific hat, because it had to be that one, and sure enough no one knew where it was. After sending out a search party we finally realized it was in the car. Thankfully there were no issues with their boots because they actually like wearing them. Once they were outside they made a snowman, played in the Christmas trees, and ended up having a great time.

To Blog Or Not To Blog: 

in case you missed it, I shared earlier this week some honest opinions about why someone should or  should not start a blog. I want to thank all of you for your continued support and taking the time to share this with others. 

Favorite Finds: 

This section contains affiliate links in which I get commission for purchases or clicks made at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your continued support.

I hit some sales this week that I couldn't pass up. I'm talking $2 flip flops for the boys and things that I'm already starting to put away for their Easter baskets. It's never too early, right? I couldn't resist these aviator sunglasses for them, you all know we love our sunnies. I also got them both swim trunks that were on sale. I snagged these jeans for myself that I end up getting for $18. I also love shopping the end of season sales for things that I can save for next year. I'm torn between these two coats but don't know if I want to go brighter or more traditional colors. What do you think? 

Our next projects on the house will be tackling renovating the bathrooms. We let A and little nugget pick the color for theirs and we're going with a woodland theme. I got this adorable shower curtain that happens to have a hedgehog on it which made for one very happy boy. I'm also working on storage for the boys playroom. I found two towers at Homegoods that we picked up but I also want to get these cubes to hold their baskets of toys. They're currently on sale but I'm not sure if I want to go with the mint colored ones or stick with my favorite, classic white. I also picked up these drinking glasses when I ended up breaking a few of ours. We're also on the hunt for a set of white dishes but for some reason are having a hard time pulling the trigger. So many places don't have things in store anymore, and the ones that we like online of course aren't in stock. Who knew it would be this hard to buy white dishes. If you have a set that you love I would love to hear about them. 

Reasons To Start And Not To Start A Blog

Reasons-not-to-blog
Wait, did she say not to start a blog? That might seem like an odd title because why would someone tell you not to blog? Recently I've had several people reach out to me with questions about starting a blog, and it got me thinking. This month happens to mark my 5th official year of blogging. How did that happen??? And when I thought about it, I can't even believe it's been that long. I'm definitely no expert here, but I've learned a thing or two along the way.

Last week I decided to join on a "free" live chat video that was supposed to share ways to help with growth on your social platforms. Luckily I had it on in the background while changing diapers and feeding because I was so disappointed at the end when all they did was give these general suggestions that we've all heard before. That's 30 minutes of my time I'm not able to get back, and all they did at the end was try to sell us on buying their extended course. And don't get me started on the follow up emails every few hours telling me the deal of a lifetime was going to end. I have to admit, I've never paid for one of these so called courses so I don't know how valuable they would be. I'm sure there have to be some pretty great ones out there that are worth it, so I don't want to knock anyone that has these courses.

Who knows, maybe I'm the one doing it all wrong and not having courses to monetize this space more. There's one thing I can always appreciate though, and that's shared knowledge. A lot of what I've learned and evolved with blogging over the years has come from others sharing their experiences. I figured in honor of my 5th blogging year I would shed some light on recent thoughts of mine. 

Why don't we start with the reasons not to blog because I would have to assume most people are curious about that. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to tell someone not to start a blog or that you aren't capable of doing it. I just think it's important to have a good idea of what it is that you're getting into.

REASONS NOT TO START A BLOG: 


Only Blogging For Money:

There are a lot of articles out there that will try to claim you can make a ton of money when you first start off blogging. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I am saying it's highly unlikely. Most compensation for blogging is driven through affiliate links and sponsored content. Both of those are all fine and well, butttt, if you don't have the readers to learn about those products or to click on your links, it's not really beneficial. I also think the term a "ton of money" is up for interpretation. What someone else thinks is a lot of money might not be what someone else translates it to. And, most of those people who hit the ground running and do bring something home have a background in marketing, digital media, or web design. The far and few between are the stay at home mom or college student trying to learn WordPress or Blogger. 

Inconsistent Income: 

Yes, you can make money blogging but it's not consistent. It all depends on what you're booking for that month and also being aware of the payout terms in your contracts. Some can take upwards of 45-60 day payouts. There are some months you might clear $400 and others it's $1,500. It's so up and down. You also have to realize that you're not getting things like vacation time, health benefits, or a 401k.

You Don't Have The Time: 

The number one thing I try to tell people when they ask me about starting a blog is that you're going to have to put a lot of work into it. There's just no way around it. It's going to take hours on end if you want to produce quality content with thoughtful links, edited images, and a well written post. Unless you have a team of people working for you, which most successful bloggers do, you will be doing the leg work on your own. If you aren't prepared to stay up long hours, take time away from your family, or let your housework take a back seat, I wouldn't suggest it. I also want to take it a step further. There is a whole other set of work that comes after you even hit publish on a post. Sure it's out there on the world wide web and hopefully someone will come across it, but, if you really want it to get exposure you're going to need to share it to your other social channels such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Not to mention taking time to engage with other bloggers and really try to build your community.

You Don't Have Thick Skin: 

I also think this is another important factor to bring up because I think it gets sugarcoated a lot. Most of us know our personalities and what we can and can't handle. And it's ok if you're someone that takes things to heart or gets upset easily. There's nothing wrong with that. But if that's the case, I wouldn't encourage you to get into blogging. Specifically if you're looking to make money from it. The reason I say all of this is because you're going to have rejection. You're going to have someone that has better pictures than you or a better writing style. You're going to come across other bloggers that no matter what content they put out they can do no wrong by their followers. That's just life. If you think that you could fall into the comparison trap or you aren't prepared to have a brand say you aren't what they're looking for, then don't do it. If it could potentially make you feel less of a person, then your time focused elsewhere is worth so much more.

Blogging Is On Its Way Out: 

This is such a controversial topic and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to bring this one up, but here we are. Mainly because I don't even agree with it, to an extent. The reason why I can see partial truth to it is, when companies approach me for a campaign 9 times out of 10 they are only interested in having it on instagram. Typically companies will pay more for a blog post because they know there is a lot of time and effort that goes into producing the content. I also think that a lot of bloggers who started out back in the day when it was very different, less competition, and you came on here to use it as a scrapbook of fun moments with your family, have gotten burnt out and stepped away. There are still some that utilize it for that, which I love and are usually my favorite ones to read. The fact of the reality is that it's a lot easier to post a picture on facebook or instagram and have a long caption that could essentially be a blog post.

You Can Get Burnt Out: 

As I mentioned in my last point, you can get burnt out from blogging. Most people will tell you you need to be consistent with blogging, which is true. I've always felt my best place for posting has been 2-3 times a week. Sometimes that doesn't always happen and that's ok too. Your loyal readers will understand and most of the time additional traffic is driven through other sources such as Google or Pinterest where they're just readers passing on by and might not even notice that you haven't posted for the week. On the other hand, if you're only prepared to post once a month or every now and then, I would suggest that it's really great content that will keep consistent activity. When I shared last year my thoughts for blogging in the new year it was a turning point for me. I was at the point of almost feeling burnt out and contemplated stepping away. After having a different approach and going back to having fun with it, my numbers grew and I booked more campaigns than any other year.

REASONS TO BLOG:

Your Community: 

Aside from all of the reasons I mentioned about not starting a blog there are also some amazing perks to giving this whole thing a whirl. Hands down establishing your blogging community is my all time favorite. Those loyal followers that support you, comment on your posts, and you even form friendships with from afar. Building a community takes time and doesn't happen over night. It also starts with you. Reaching out to other bloggers, sharing and pinning their content, and commenting on their posts are all ways to start connecting.

Creative Outlet: 

Starting a blog opens you up to so many creative things. I always loved taking pictures and was that friend in high school and college that always wanted everyone to get together for pictures or would snap a bunch at parties or events. Now that I think about it, it went back even before high school. My best friend and I would get a bunch of disposable cameras (Yes, you read that right. There weren't digital back then) and we would walk to Kmart to get them developed. Having a blog has allowed me to expand my creativity, learn a lot more about photography, and document so much about my growing family.

You Have A Voice: 

Starting a blog gives you a platform for your voice. It all depends on how you want to use it. Are you going to create a niche specific blog or are you going to have a lifestyle concept where you share more of whatever comes to mind?  It also seems that everyone and their sister nowadays has a blog, so using your voice to stand out against the rest is important. I always love reading blogs where it sounds like the person is talking to me and not reading an essay. After recently reviewing some behind the scenes data about my blog, I was surprised to see that only 32% of you are parents when I share so much about my family and kids on here. In a way it also made me happy. Even if you aren't starting a family or don't have kids, we can connect with each other and you still enjoy what I share.

Freedom:

One of the great things about blogging is that you can do it from anywhere. As long as you have your phone or a laptop the choice is yours. Some people prefer to blog at a traditional desk with all distractions away and others might do better sitting on the couch in front of the tv. That's one of the beauties of it, you can do what works best for you.

Memories To Look Back On: 

Another great thing about starting a blog is looking back at older posts and seeing how far you've come or how much you have grown as a blogger. While some of my early posts might be laughable, they're all things that thought and effort have gone into. It's also great for me personally to look back on memories of my family and kids.

Additional Income: 

As I mentioned before you can make money from blogging. How much you end up taking home is really up to you and the brands you are partnering with. I've had people ask me if I wouldn't mind sharing how much I make off my posts, and my answer is always the same, it all depends. It depends what that specific company is looking for, is there an additional social share involved, pinnable image, etc. It all depends on the time and effort you need to put into things and really deciding if what they are offering is worth your time. Are they looking for my kids to be involved? If so, I always push for more because any campaign they are apart of that money goes into their college funds. And let's be honest, it's usually more work when they're involved, too. The same also goes for affiliate links. Different retailers offer different percentages and some companies won't pay you out until you've reached $100 worth of revenue. It is very possible, but again, those numbers are going to look different for everyone.

Allowing Yourself To Try Something New: 

We've all heard it said before, you don't know until you try. It's so true. If blogging is something that's been weighing on your heart and you want to give it a try, then go for it! Just know that success doesn't always come over night, that hard work will be involved, and ultimately it's all what you want to get out of it. Maybe you don't care about making money or having the best images out there and just want to have fun. That's all fine too. Everyone's perspective of blogging is different and that's what makes having the opportunity to hit publish on a post so exciting.

Whatever your journey is, I wish you all the best and above all else I hope that you have fun with it! 

Friday Favorites-All Things Love and A Baby C Update


Happy Friday, friends! I hope you all had a great one and an extra special day yesterday filled with lots of love. I'm looking forward to a low-key weekend and getting together with my sister for a girls brunch. We still have a bunch of decisions to make on the house, mainly with decor. Thankfully a lot of the major renovations are completed and we have some exciting projects that should be completed within the next few weeks. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

1. Valentine's Day: 

one of my favorite things to do for the boys is have a fun breakfast. Breakfast is my all time favorite meal and I could eat it at any point during the day. Thankfully all of us here are big breakfast fans so the excitement runs strong. If you saw my stories, you might have seen some of these and how happy the boys were. They had the best day in their classes with their parties and getting all of their Valentines. We enjoyed a night at home with heart shaped pizza and heart shaped garlic knots. Although, I guess they weren't really garlic knots since they weren't knots. 

2. Ways To Show Love: 

I shared yesterday some easy reminders for ways that we can all show love to others. I think having kids has put a fun twist on Valentine's Day and makes you realize more that it's not just about being in a romantic relationship, but showing love to others. My little guys were also extra silly with these pictures. I'm starting to think I have little comedians on my hands.

3. Philly Auto Show: 

over the weekend we took the boys to the Philly auto show. It's always nice to see all of the cars, get ideas for future purchases, and spend sometime in center city. We stopped off at Love Park for a quick pic, but it ended up being freezinggg that day. We couldn't walk fast enough to get inside. It was a sight to see us scurrying up the streets. On the way back to the car, A was in the stroller with baby C and little nugget was zipped up in Eric's jacket. He started yelling on the way that he had to pee. Eric was going to stop off with him while I got the other two situated in the car. I went to grab the keys from Eric and we both turned around to see little nugget making his mark right on the side of a building. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go.

4. Camo and Cable Knit: 

while in center city we stopped off to take a few outfit pics (yes in the freezing cold) because I really did love what I was wearing and wanted to share it with all of you. If you haven't seen that post there are some funny outtakes, photobombs from my little rascals and, I linked some cozy sweaters. We might all have spring on the brain, but I love this time of year to take advantage of winter sales.

5. Updated On Baby C: 

I want to thank you all for your continued prayers and being understanding about my randomness on this little space. Life priorities will always come first. At any given week I have 2-3 doctors appointments with him. And they aren't right around the corner either. It's seriously a part time job just going to the doctor with him. I caught myself complaining about it the other day and then on the way home from one, a song came on the radio that really touched me and gave me such peace. I truly believe that God has big plans for this little boy. I realized that if me driving around to and from the doctors is just a small part in a big plan, then I'm happy to make my contribution. That might sound silly, but it's actually changed my whole perspective and I no longer look at it as a burden but as a stepping stone. 

We struggled for weeks with him to gain weight and at some points it started to become concerning. He also had a hernia surgery and he dropped weight again after that. Although, they did say it is typical for that to happen. I am so happy to say that at his last weigh-in this week he somehow gained 7 oz in a week! That might not seem like a lot, but for us that was huge. I seriously cried tears of joy when I saw the number on the scale. He's just now over 8 lbs so we aren't out of the woods yet. We're praying we continue to see things go up from here. 

His NAM (little baby retainer) also now gets adjusted every week to help rotate his center lip area and creates a fake roof of the mouth for him. I'm excited that we're also seeing progress with that as well. We're no longer taping across his nose area because that actually was making it worse for him than helping him. He has a prosthodontist that has specially crafted and made a custom NAM for him that also pushes down on that center part of his lip area. We still don't have a surgery date yet, and might not for awhile. It all depends on the progression they are seeing. In a weird way, I'm also not anxious for it. This is how we know him, and we want to do what's best for him and not rush things. He's smiling now and it is the cutest little thing. I'll try to catch it when I have my phone near me and share it on my stories. Other than that, he loves watching his brothers, is becoming so much more alert, and is seriously the sweetest little thing.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Here's where you can find me linking for all of the link up fun.

Ways To Show Love

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! It's the day of love and all things pink and red. This holiday never really meant much to me, and honestly, I really cared less about it. My mom always made things fun for us as kids and I remember being really excited about it, what kid wouldn't enjoy getting some treats? Even being married neither Eric or I really make a big deal out of it. It's not for any real particular reason, it just isn't our thing.

Now that I have kids holidays have taken on a whole new meaning and they are some of the most special and exciting times. It's amazing how those little ones can do that. If you've been following me for awhile you know that I enjoy doing a special breakfast for them (I'm sure I'll be sharing some of that in my stories today). We like to get a heart pizza for dinner and keep it low-key at home watching movies. I'm pretty sure we'll be indulging in more treats than needed #holidayproblems. 

At first I thought about putting together a cute little setup to take pictures of the boys but my creativity just wasn't there and exhaustion was setting in. Then I felt kind of bad because it is baby C's first Valentine's Day (third child problems). I went down into my craft bin and found a bag of dollar store hearts and let the boys stick them to the wall. They were in such a silly mood, and being extra cute at the same time. so our pictures turned out like this.

On another note, have you ever taken that 5 love languages quiz? I took it about two years ago and recently took it again to see if it was consistent. I am definitely driven by acts of service. When Eric does things around the house or takes part of the load off of my plate, I am one happy girl. 

I saw that they also have a quiz you can take to learn your child's love language, so I will definitely be finding time to take that at some point. We're always looking for teachable moments to trying and instill in the boys to love one another. It got me thinking, regardless of being romantically involved with someone, focusing on a lost love, or searching for love, we can all show ways to love others. 

Here are some simple reminders that we can all reflect on to show love...

1. Do Someone A Favor: 

I know most of us like to try and keep it together and take on these supermom or super woman roles, but sometimes having a favor done for us can make such a difference. Maybe a friend needs some extra help with drop off or pickup, some soup when they aren't feeling well, or an extra loaf of bread when you forgot it for the second time at the grocery store (I might be talking from experience there).  Whatever it is, either big or small, doing someone a favor can go a long way. We usually feel better about ourselves after we do it, too. 

2. Be Positive: 

I shared last week 5 simple ways to be positive and I loved hearing from so many of you that you feel you are a positive person or it's something you could work towards. I do know one things for sure, when you surround yourself with positive people it can start to make a difference in you. 

3. Give a Genuine Compliment:

I used to be the type of person that when someone would compliment me I would somehow downplay it. I didn't even realize I did it until I was watching something on tv (I can't even really remember what it was) but I realized that was me. Someone would say, what a nice shirt. I would reply saying, oh this old thing? It's so old, blah blah. Or someone would say, your hair looks great. I would come back saying, oh really, I haven't washed it in days, it's getting so greasy, etc. If that's you, do yourself a favor and just say thank you. It has changed my perspective so much. When you learn to appreciate compliments you are also more inclined to give them. And when you give them, you end up feeling much better. 

4. Celebrate Others: 

This isn't always an easy one for some people, but we all know it's the right thing to do. Others will feel your love when you celebrate them and you'll feel better after doing it. It ends up being a win, win. 

5. Give Hugs: 

It's a proven fact that hugs can help reduce stress and have a positive impact. I'm not saying you have to be that odd person who goes around just hugging strangers (but hey, if that's you're thing more power to you). When you can tell a hug is appropriate, especially to a friend in need, it's an easy way to show love. 

6. Smile Often: 

Let's put aside that smiling can cause those nice little lines around your eyes. Let's focus on the positive affects of letting the sides of your mouth curl upwards. I think we underestimate the power of flashing a smile to others. I'm not saying we have to be walking around with a big grin on our face all the time, but sometimes a smile can really brighten someones day and we don't even have to say anything to them.


{above all, love each other deeply} 1 Peter 4:8

What are some ways you like to show love to others? 

Cable Knit and Camo For Winter

chunky-winter-sweater
Do you ever just walk into your closet or look into your drawers and feel bored with the clothes you have? This seems to happen to me more recently and I'm struggling for winter outfits that I really enjoy. Maybe it's my body still going through changes and trying to get back to pre baby weight, the fact that I'm not going into the office so my everyday wear has been more casual, or some pieces just feel over worn. 

This post contains affiliate links in which I get commission for purchases or clicks made at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your continued support.

For some reason I usually save my camo pants for fall and spring but don't wear them often in the winter. I wanted to change it up from my leggings or the few pairs of jeans that I can zip up at this point, so I decided to break them out and give them a try.

If you caught my insta stories (@beautifully_candid) over the weekend you might have seen we ventured into Philly with the boys to kick off Valentine's Day week. The Philly auto show was going on and it had been years since Eric and I went to that location. We had been visiting the auto show in NYC for the past few years but wanted to check out Philly since we're now closer.

Our weather, like most of the country, has been so up and down lately. We saw 60s earlier in the week and then conveniently dropped down into the 20s over the weekend. We knew we would have to walk a few blocks in the city so we bundled up and ventured in. The convention center is right down the street from LOVE park so of course I couldn't pass up an opportunity to snap a family pic.

On our way over to the auto show, I saw a spot that I wanted to stopped off and grab a few pictures.  Off my jacket went, because #bloggersbelike #ineedthatshot. Haha the things some of us do to get that content #honesttalk.

Anyway, I really do love this cable knit sweater I mentioned I picked up a few weeks ago. It's not itchy at all and really cozy without being bulky. I love a chunky sweater but some of them can feel so uncomfortable under a jacket. You all know I can't pass up wearing a beanie, and I think the light colors of them complimented the camo print. My sneakers I grabbed at H&M on sale for $15 and they were really comfy to walk around in.

Within these quick five minutes I was freezing my little face off and the boys were running around playing tag and being so silly on the side. A wanted to jump in a pic with me and little nugget thought it was the funniest thing to run in front of Eric while he was taking pictures. It was pretty funny, though.

Outfit details: Sweater: here, also love here and here | Jeans: similar here and here | Beanie: similar here | Sneakers: similar here and here 
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