Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.
Dear Friends, What a day to celebrate! This is the 151st week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! **IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE! We are looking for co-hosts for our blog hop for FEBRUARY ! This is a great way to gain new followers and network with other bloggers! If you are interested please email thedwellingtree@gmail.com! Thank you!
Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!
The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.
The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
 Let’s Be Friends
 
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.
Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'
Meet this week's co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage PicMonkey Collage2
Christine @ Christine Everyday
Rachel @ Life as Rachel
Lindsay @ The Flynnigans
Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
...on to the Winner! ***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:
Murder-Mystery-Title-2
Hello all! This is Tiffany this week. I really loved this post by Mattie on how to throw a New Year's Eve murder mystery party. I have been to one murder mystery party and it was seriously so much fun! I would love to throw my own sometime, and this was a fantastic tutorial for how to have fun while also celebrating! Mattie's blog is awesome! Go check it out. She has amazing DIY/ Tutorial posts (I loved this one for how to make a DIY Christmas Card Holder), how to be grateful during the holidays, and more! Thank you Mattie!
Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has an amazing and blessed Christmas!!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Top Post of 2015

2015 was a good year for me with blogging. My blog has grown and expanded so much more in the past year than it has in the past 3 years. I love all of my readers. Without my readers, my blog would be nothing so thank you! I wanted to share my top 5 post from 2015. Some of them are sponsored and others are just things I felt like blogging about. 
1. Fueled Pack Your Day With Plenti Yogurt
2. Miranda/Blake 
3. Weekend Recap-July 4th 
4. Why I Chose Online Schooling 
5. When I Finally Found My Blogging Voice

I am excited to see what my 2016 blog post will be. I am not the best planner when it comes to blogging but I am getting better about it. I am starting to actually plan out my blog and I am scheduling post ahead of time. I am proud of my blog and I am so happy to see it growing every day. 

What are you favorite post from this year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reflections

2015 has flown by way to fast. I would have never known where I would be last year, at this time. I had no idea what 2015 would have in store for me and sometimes I wish it would have just flown by faster than it did.

 


In 2014 I was working at a job I liked but did not love. I was not prepared for the loss that 2015 would bring by losing my brother in law. I was not prepared for the health issues my parents have had over this past year. Dad had a quad-bypass and hip surgery and Mom had a stroke. I would have never imagined how much of a struggle we would have trying to expand our family by having a child. 

This past summer I switched to a different department at work. I was scared and worried about how the people would take me and perceive me. I would have never guessed how well I would fit in with everyone. I lost a few friends when switching jobs but I gained a ton more and they mean so much to me. I couldn't imagine my life without them. 

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday. With all of the loss over the past few years, I would be completely happy to skip Christmas but I know I enjoyed it as a kid. I enjoyed it up until Dax died. I have learned over the years how much giving is better than receiving. I have learned how to be a better person and to not expect so much from others.

We don't always have the most but I am able to be thankful for what I do have. I have a roof over my head, food in my house, clothes in my closest and a husband who loves me. I have that and so much more to be happy and blessed for. 

I have no idea on what 2016 will bring. I am hoping it is a good year and not so much as an emotional roller coaster. I can never complain to much as I am alive and breathing. I am happy with what I have and I know if it is meant to be, it will. I have to cherish all the moment and time I have and not stress it all away!

Let me know what are you looking forward to in 2016 below!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.
Dear Friends, What a day to celebrate! This is the 150th week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! **IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE! We are looking for co-hosts for our blog hop for FEBRUARY ! This is a great way to gain new followers and network with other bloggers! If you are interested please email thedwellingtree@gmail.com! Thank you!
Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!
The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.
The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
 Let’s Be Friends
 
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.
Meet your hosts:



The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'
 
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'
Meet this week's co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage2
Christine @ Christine Everyday
Rachel @ Life as Rachel
Lindsay @ The Flynnigans
Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
...on to the Winner! ***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:
mix4
Hello! It is Chelsee this week. I admit I am a complete coffee addict, so when I saw Cappuccino in the title of a pic I was sold. I think creating nice gifts like this are super easy and very popular. I honestly in the past have given so many gifts like this because they are super easy to throw together. I highly recommend you check this recipe out. You may want to make this for yourself or even throw it together as a last minute gift! I highly suggest you check out this post and Merissa's Blog!
Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Weight Loss Recap

My weight loss journey has been a long and hard one. I struggle every single day to eat right, lose weight and try to stay on track. I am not sure of what the number on the scale is right now. I am to scared to really get on there and see. I have not been able to run as much lately as I have injured my heel/ankle. I can run about 3 days a week before it hurts to bad. I am having to make better decisions with my food to make up for the not running as much part.

Yesterday I put on some actual jeans, not the stretchy stuff, that I have not been able to wear for awhile. They used to be big on me and then it got to the point where I couldn't fit in them. Yesterday, I got them back on. I must say, they look pretty damn good on me if I do say so myself. 

 

The biggest struggle with my weight loss is the way I eat. I love food. I love pasta and carbs. I am having trouble breaking up with them. I wish I had the motivation and drive to work out every time and eat super healthy but I love my self and I am not going to starve myself to fit in some clothes. I am 29 lbs away from my goal weight. I have lost around 10lbs and I still have a ways to go but to see the little losses and smaller goals come makes it that much easier to get there.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Growing Your Blog Traffic

I have been blogging for a few years now and I feel like I may finally be getting the hang of this whole blogging thing. My blog is small compared to most bloggers. I don't buy page views, I don't beg for followers. I blog when I feel like it, about what I want and I go from there. My page views are varied and go up and down all the time depending on what is on my blog. My blog is in no way a business and some things I have stopped doing because the amount of time it takes up. I figured I could share some tips though on how I have even gotten this far with my blog and the page views I am thankful for.
 
 
 
So here are some easy tips to help grow your blog: 

1. Bloglovin. I use Bloglovin to read other blogs but it is also used as the main reader for all blogs. I am able to follow other bloggers as well as make sure my content is out there. All you need to do is claim your blog, add the free widget to your site and you are ready to go. 

2. Pinterest. Not every one of my post goes on Pinterest. Only the crafty, diy style post go on there. It has given me some good page views over the past few years. I put my best content out there and typically, it gets good responses. 

3. Comment. Make sure you are interacting with other bloggers. If not, most will not find you. It does take time and you have to read other post but if you are not doing this, your page views can go down. I find that the more I comment and follow other bloggers, the bigger my blog becomes.

4. Use Facebook. My blog has its own Facebook page and I try to use it on a daily basis. Post your content and share other things that relate to your blog

5. Content. This is by far the most important part to me. If your content is lacking, so will your page views. The better your content is, the more likely it is that someone will read what you are writing about. Don't jump around to much. 

6. Join Forums. I have gotten so much help from blog forums. They give me advice, help with post if I need it and are a nice community of like-minded bloggers that help me.  I am part of a few forums through Facebook and I am glad I joined them. 

7. Use tags. With blogger, you are allowed to associate tags with your post. By tagging the post with descriptive words that describe your content in a clear and concise manner, you are making it easier for someone to find your blog and increase your traffic. 

8. Advertise. This one can be costly. I do not do this as much but when I have, this has increased my blog traffic.You are able to get so much visibility by just being on someone else's blog side bar. Take the time and try to find a blog you like and spend a few bucks to be there.  
 
These are just a few of the ways I grow my blog. Let me know yours below!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Goals for 2016

Every year I try to set some goals for myself and I normally I achieve them or at least try to. I have set a few goals for myself for 2016. These are not New Years resolutions. These are goals that I am going to hold my self accountable for and hopefully I am able to achieve all of them or get a good start on them. 
1. Write a book. I have been wanting to write a book for years but have yet to do so. Hopefully I can buckle down this year and find a storyline I love, and just write away.

2. Lose more weight. I have lost close to 10lbs but my goal is about 29lbs away.I know I can reach this goal, I just have to work hard and push myself. Nothing can stop me.

3. Get pregnant. This one is out of my control but hopefully it will come true.

4. Read more. I love reading and never take to the time to read anymore. I am trying to get back into my love of reading. I am setting a goal to read 2 books a month for 2016. That would be 24 books. I think I got this one.
 
5.  Be nicer. I know sometimes I can be a little mean to people and I do not hide it the best. I want to show I am a nice person and that my resting bitch face is not what is appears to be.
 
6. Pay off more debt. I was hoping to get more tackled this past year but it did not happen. Hopefully I can knock some debt down in 2016.
 
 What are some goals you are setting for yourself in 2016? Let me know below!
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LATE LATE Weekend Recap

I know it is already Wednesday and I am just now getting a weekend recap up. Please forgive me!  I had a wonderful weekend and I am couldn't not blog about it. 
 
I had my work Holiday party on Friday night. It was a really nice country club here called Farmington. I felt so out of place until my co-workers got there. I did however look amazing, not to toot my horn or anything but I can clean up pretty well. 

When you see an over sized mirror, of course you have to take pictures in front of it. I was on the struggle bus while trying to get pictures all night. These are the ones I feel like actually turned out pretty good.


I felt like the weekend flew by because of the party. I slept in super late on Saturday, I am pretty sure I had that nasty stomach bug that is going around. I was out all day Saturday because of it and it sucked. I felt pretty good on Sunday but due to still recovering from the stomach bug, I was a bum all day Sunday as well.

 
I came into to work on Monday to find this pretty plant on my desk as a gift. I am hoping I can keep it alive. It is so pretty and I SUCK at taking care of orchids and plants like them. 
 
With Christmas being next week, I am not prepared at all. I have not finished shopping at all. I still have to buy for like 4 people. I haven't wrapped a thing. Chris saw his gifts and didn't like them, so I have to take them back and get something else. I feel like I am going to be running around like crazy until Christmas Day. Fingers crossed I get everything done this weekend.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Currently|Dec.


Wearing - I am loving the weather in Virginia right now. I can wear leggings and dresses one day, and then lighter clothing the next. I could skip winter and stay in this weird weather we have forever!

Eating - A ton of clementines. Am I the only one who does this? I eat like a bag and a half a week!

Watching -OUAT just ended :(

Drinking- Water all the time. I am addicted to it. I know most people do not like water but I find it so refreshing.

Wanting- To get out of debt like no ones business. I would love to not have to worry about finances so much. Every day is so stressful because of it.

Reading- I am currently reading J.D. Robb's Devoted in Death. It is a long series and super awesome. Make sure you read it!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thing's I Don't Undertand

The world has changed so much in the past decade and I am not really sure I am loving it. Some things are so out there and I just do not understand them. 
 
The Whip/Nae Nae Song. In 40 years people will be like what was wrong with the world back then because this song is one of the worst songs I have heard in my entire life. It makes my ears hurt and the dance is just as bad.
 
Black Friday Shopping. It is bad that we are so consumed with material things but Black Friday really shows you how bad it is/can be. I would never leave my family to go shopping. 
 
 Blake Shelton/ Gwen Stefani. I know they say opposites attract but damn. This is so far out of left field that I will never understand it. Remember Blake, she is not Miranda! 
 
Spending for Christmas. I am not able to spend a ton of money for the holidays. If I was rich or had more money, I still would not. More people need to focus on the holiday and not the money aspect of it.  
 
Saint West. Do I even need to write anything about this? Bless their hearts.
 
 When celebs get mad. This is a little different but I can not stand a celebrity that complains about being famous and how they can not do anything without being seen or spotted. You are famous, you have more money than sense and your mad? Pretty sure most of the world would switch with you in a heart beat.
 
The Duggars. I wanted to love them but I can't. Anyone who gets married that quick, names their kid Spurgeon and acts like child molestation is not bad, has some issues. 
 
Once Upon A Time. Why did they have to kill off the best character on the show?? Come on! The show knows we love Captain Hook. Bring him back or else!
 
What are some things you just don't understand? Let me know below! 
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Comparing Myself to Other Bloggers

Lately I have felt like my blog is lacking. I see my feed filled from other bloggers with amazing content, beautiful pictures and wonderful crafts and recipes. I feel like sometimes, I am not meant to be a blogger. I try really hard but some days, my content is just not up to par. I used to get a ton of comments and now it seems like my blog is just lacking all together.

When I started my blog, I had big dreams of having these amazing post that would get so many page views. That is not the case. I struggle every day to get views sometimes. I did not start my blog to be popular, fashion forward or part of the "cool kids in blog land". I started it because I want a hobby and that is exactly what my blog is. A hobby. 

I know I will never bring in tons of money. This will never be a full time job for me. I do not have the time to sit around all day, blog, taking fancy photos and grow my blog 24/7. I have been blogging for 3 years. In those past 3 years, my blog has grown and changed so much. There has been times where I wanted to quit, other times I loved my blog and spent more time on it. With it being a hobby, I want to know that I love it. I do not want it to be a chore. The minute it becomes a chore, I lose interest and no longer love it.

I will never be one of those popular bloggers. I will never have amazing Photoshopped pictures or speculator DIY crafts. What I do have though is a ton of heart, good content and I write what I believe in. I do not promote every little thing just for some money. I do not believe it. Do I want more pageviews? Of course...but I will not sell out or post things I do not do or believe. I do not take 20 pictures of myself, landscapes or anything else for that matter to get the right picture. I just do not have time. I work full time, I have a husband and a life outside of my blog. I always wonder how others are able to work, take care of a family, blog and have it all together.

Now this does not mean I do not want to improve my blog, my content or grow it. I want to do all of that. I want to do it on my own though and watch it grow how I want. I want it to get big for it being good content and now about a jibberish put down on here. I give 150% props to all the bigger bloggers that are able to make this their job, pull in six figure income from it and are able to have the amazing photos and content that others want to read. I am in no way putting any other bloggers down. I just feel like I do not fit into the "blogging world" sometimes and that is okay with me.
 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Tree!

Y'all I have to post this. I finally bribed my husband after weeks of begging him to let me put up my Christmas tree. It took me longer that I expected due to somehow running out of lights. I run out every year so you would think by now, I would have extra but I don't. We still have some decorating in the house, but for now, I am super happy to have my tree up! I think it is very pretty!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray +a Tutorial

* This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias *
 

The holidays came up so fast this year. I am loving every minute of it so far but sometimes, you just do not have the time to make a homemade snack or meal. Thanks to Walmart, they have Cracker Barrel Cheese Trays. They are a more balanced and better-for-you snack. I find that sometimes, it is easier to grab a fun snack like this and go! You can find them in the Dairy section at Walmart. 

 
  I had my 3 nieces over on Saturday and the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray was the perfect snack while we made our Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments. I had a blast making a fun holiday craft with my nieces and enjoying the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray as the perfect go to snack. We tend to go to a lot of Holiday parties around this time of year and sometimes we just do not have the time to actually make a home made snack. Thankfully Walmart has saved us by having the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray. I have found that it is good to keep the cheese tray on hand. Some days we end up entertaining and when we have a cheese tray at the house already, we can just get it out of the fridge and it is ready to go. There is no need to even have to arrange it on a tray, it is ready to go. 
The Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments are super easy to make. 
All you need is :
*Ornaments with Removable Tops
*Hot Chocolate Packets
*Add ins: Red sprinkles, green sprinkles, mini marshmallows, mini white chocolate chips and whatever else you like in your hot chocolate.
(You can find plastic ornaments at most craft stores.)


Directions: 

 Take the tops off the ornaments and, using the hot chocolate packet, pour in the hot chocolate mix. 




Then add the mini chocolate chips for a layer between the sprinkles, marshmallows and the hot chocolate mix.


Add the sprinkles. I found that turning it while pouring them in helped with the layering.


Add the mini marshmallows in and top off with a few more sprinkles. 


Put the top of the ornament back on and add a nice ribbon for a final touch.  


Lastly, enjoy a yummy cup of hot chocolate.

 
I had a blast making this Hot Cocoa Ornaments with my nieces. It is something the entire family can make, you can give them as gifts or even hang them on your tree. My nieces plan on giving them to their parents are gifts for Christmas this year. Make sure when you do this DIY craft, go the Walmart and get the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray. It is perfect for snacking during the craft, doesn't make a mess and all you have to add is some crackers! Make sure you grab the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray for you next holiday party you attend or host. It is a quick and yummy snack that everyone enjoys. Be sure to check out more delicious recipes for your DIY craft at Kraft.com