Weekend Snapshots 13

Happy Hump Day, ya'll!!!  It's been a crazy week around here so I'm just now getting to my Weekend Snapshots, brought to you by Jack and Mimi cooking in the kitchen - I spent the Easter weekend with my Mom, so had to drive back to town on Monday morning.  It's amazing how much of a difference setting your alarm for 5pm instead of 5am can make to the rest of the week - I've been behind on everything since Monday.  Whomp, whomp.  I seem to finally be catching up, and as always, I'm linking up with Ariana at 3twentysix (and you should, too - if my post is ever late, hers will be up and you can drop your link there, lol).  On to the recap!

Like I said,  I drove up to visit Mom for the Easter weekend on Friday, and it never fails, my roadtrip buddy always zonks out on me.  So much for playing eye spy or the alphabet game - well, Jack would need to actually know the alphabet for that one, but you know what I'm saying.  And don't worry, I took that picture when we weren't moving - safety first!  Once we arrived, it was almost time for dinner and Jack helped Mimi make some really delicious homemade shake-n-bake chicken.  He loves to cook in the kitchen.

Saturday, Mom had to work and Jack and I had a pajama day.  When Mom got off work, it was Easter Bunny time!  Mom got home at 7:15 and the Easter Bunny closed at 8:00, so it was a bit of a rush to get there - good thing it's a small town and the mall was just 5 minutes from Mom's house.  Jack has always been okay with taking his picture with the Easter Bunny, but every Santa picture has turned into a family portrait.  Anyway, Jack is totally cool with the Easter Bunny, but he never quite smiles for pictures - lately we tell him to smile, but he ends up making weird faces - this time he ended up looking like a pirate.  I don't know if he thinks he's smiling or if he's just being goofy, but either way, the pic is hilarious.  After our Easter Bunny shenanigans, we went to this really yummy cajun restaurant to surprise my friend, Mat, who works there.  Jack has been a picky eater for some time now, and asked for crawfish, and then actually ate the ones I peeled for him!  I was so proud.  Thankfully, it was near the end of the night when we were there, because Jack got a little spazzy and we were able to let him run around the tables and generally be a kid (ie exhibit wildly inappropriate restaurant behavior) without getting on anyone's nerves.  He and Mat played air guitar, too, it was awesome!

Easter morning, Jack went from 100% asleep to 100% awake in about a half a second, exclaiming, "Easter Bunny, Mommy, Easter Bunny!  Go downstairs, Easter Bunny came!"  The morning involved too much candy, some new Dinotrux toys {afilliate}, and fun.  We went out for a late brunch, then over to my Grandma's for Easter dinner.  Once again, Jack actually ate his dinner (his weight in peas and carrots), and then some homemade chocolate pie!  After tons of candy, no nap, playing with my cousin's kids, Jack was totally Eastered out and passed out on my Grandma's loveseat.  It was a good day!

How did you spend your Easter weekend?  Do you celebrate with family or have any traditions?  Make sure to link-up with us, 'cause we want to share the love!  The link-up is open till Friday night!  And if you want the nifty link-up to show up in your post, you can grab the code here.


Sunday Confessions 13

The United States of Becky

I confess:  I can't seem to be able to talk about myself unless I'm being completely self depreciating.  I go to this monthly blogger meeting here in Houston and we start each meeting with introductions and an elevator pitch of our blogs and all I can ever come up with is, "It's a lifestyle blog without the style," and "I have ADD and so does my blog."  I'd really like to figure out something more positive about my blog to say.

I confess:  This is why I still haven't written a real About Me page - I know I need to but really have no idea what to say that isn't pretty much either snarky and jokey-negative or just plain bare your soul uncomfortable negative.  Maybe I should outsource my About Me page and have other people write it for me.

I confess:  I ate so much Easter candy this morning I might have to go puke.  Not really, I'm not a binge and purge kinda girl, but, man, I feel awful right now.  Not even Jack ate that much candy from his baskets.  When will I learn?  Never, that's when.

I'm linking up with the United States of Becky - go check it out!

Jamberry Mother's Day Gift Sets ~ Get them while you can!!!

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Once again, Jamberry has put together three amazing Mother's Day Gift Sets!  Makes shopping for Mother's Day so much easier when all you have to decide is which set to deliver to Mom - you don't even have to get dressed to get Mom an amazingly unique and fun gift!  I call that winning!  I am swooning over these gift sets - The Little Things, Packs a Punch, and The Two of Us.  Each set has a variety of wraps to create adorable mixed manis and of course can be worn alone and includes some exclusive designs you can only get as part of the gift set.  They're only available while supplies last, and Jamberry exclusive sets usually sell out, so don't wait to get these on your hands - they will go fast!  Also, check out my Mystery Hostess Party going on until Sunday night over on Facebook, and you could win free nail wraps!!!

The Little Things

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The Little Things set includes 2 catalog wraps, Creme de la Creme and Brooklyn Bridge both in the new Luster finish, and 2 exclusive wraps, Color Washed and Fine Lines.  The set comes in a special Mother's Day gift envelope.  I think this set is sophisticated, trendy, and a little bit edgy.

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Packs a Punch

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 Packs a Punch set also includes 2 catalog wraps, White& Black Polka and With a Kiss, and 2 exclusive wraps, Pop Art Fusion and Ka-Pow!.  This set comes in a special Mother's Day gift envelope, too.  I'm totally in love with this fun and funky set!

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The Two of Us

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The Two of Us set includes 5 (yes, five!) wraps and they're all exclusive to this set!  Three wraps, Botanical Bliss, Alpine Meadow, and Garden Breeze are standard size, and two wraps, Flour Hour and Wildflower are junior sized so you can put together an adorable Mommy & Me mani with your little one!  This set is sweet and whimsical and perfect for Spring!

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Which set do you like the best?  I'm crushing on Packs a Punch like crazy!!!  Make sure to order your gift set before supplies run out - your mom will thank you!!!

It's My Day

A million years and another lifetime ago, I was an aspiring actress.  I haven't acted in 4 years - the last theatrical production I was in closed 4 years ago almost to the day - and it happened to coincide with me getting pregnant with Jack - not that that's the only reason I haven't been acting.  Yesterday, I got a bizarre phishing phone call from someone claiming to be a producer who was calling me on behalf of an Italian director who saw a short film I did almost 8 years ago and wanted to cast me as the lead actress in a period biopic to be filmed in Europe.  I'm not even going to get into all the red flags that went up in this brief conversation (no personal info was shared) and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a phishing call and was more along the lines of me being targeted for human trafficking, but that's another post for another day.  My point is that I had a tiny roll in a short film that was put together as a part of the Houston 48 Hour Film Project almost 8 years ago, and that project hasn't crossed my mind in ages.  Until that creepy phone call yesterday.  So I looked it up on YouTube and watched it again.  And you should, too.


Weekend Snapshots 12

Welcome, welcome to another edition of Weekend Snapshots link-up with Yours Truly and Ariana of 3TwentySix!  This edition of Weekend Snapshots is brought to you by the Run Houston Race Series 5K at Minute Maid Park I participated in on Saturday (spoiler:  I still can't walk today).  As usual, we kept ourselves pretty busy this weekend, but still found time to just zone out for a while.

Saturday started at the ass-crack of still dark for the Run Houston Minute Maid Park run.  Start time for the 5K/10K races was at 7am.  That's almost 30 minutes before sunrise.  Before sunrise!!!  I woke up pretty easily because I was excited for the run, but Dennis and Jack, not so much.  They came out to spectate, but not too long after the start, Jack started to pumpkin (you, know, turn back into a pumpkin at midnight) and they missed seeing me run across the finish line.  But that's okay - I'm just grateful they came out to support me and my slow running.  The run was pretty cool - we started at Minute Maid Park and ran over the Elysian Viaduct and back.  Running over the Viaduct was neat, but hills.  I'll talk more about the run in another post once the professional pictures come back.

Dennis and Jack went back to bed once we got home (really wish I'd gotten a pic of them all snuggled together), and I saw a client.  When I got done with my client, I came back inside to find Dennis with a headache and Dr. Jack taking care of him.  Dr. Jack tapped up Den's head and had a rechargeable battery from the point and shoot camera on Den's neck to "Recharge Daddy."  After some acute care, Dr. Jack had to make the tough call to amputate by chainsaw.  I think he made the right decision.

Later that day, we went to my MIL's to dye Easter eggs.  I really should've gotten more than two dozen eggs - once we really get into the process we're already out of eggs.  I'm thinking 5 or 6 dozen would really let us unleash our inner artist - but what would I do with 6 dozen hard boiled eggs?!?  Dennis got the idea to use some of the dye on his undershirt and let Jack use the pipette from the tie dyed egg kit to squirt dye all over the shirt.  The end result turned out pretty cool!

Sunday ended up being a lazy day.  Totally unintentional.  I planned to spend the day cleaning Jack's room - you don't even want to know what it looks like right now, but Den's plans to play Dungeons and Dragons {affiliate} got cancelled and we lost our momentum.  All three of us lounged around watching The West Wing on Netflix and randomly doing a chore here or there.  Dennis finally had it and decided he needed to mow the front lawn while there was still light available.  I wish we'd done more outside since it was the first day of Spring, but we had a nice cool front come in and it was pretty chilly all day.  Oh well.

What were you up to this weekend?  We'd love for you to link up with us, and if you want the whole link up to show up in your post, you can grab the code here.  I hope your weekend was fantastic and your week is even better!


Sunday Confessions 12

The United States of Becky

I confess:  I've always had this weird feeling that someday I'm going to find a dead body or dismembered body part in a trash bag.  I have no idea why I think this is going to happen, but every time I'm out jogging or for a bike ride or something like that it's in the back of my mind.  Morbid, I know, and I am definitely not mentally prepared should that actually happen.  Guaranteed, I will freak the fuck out.  Let's hope it never happens.

I confess:  I've also always worried that when I'm out in public alone somewhere that I'm unwittingly going to give a signal to an undercover spy (like scratching my ear at the mall, or crossing my legs a certain way on a park bench, or even giving a random code word) and that I'm going to get slipped super secret information that I'm then hunted down for like in a crazy action movie.  Only I'm not very cunning or tactical, so I'm totally going to get kidnapped or something instead of being able to outwit two different governments.  Unless it's like Top Secret! {affiliate}, then I'll be fine.

I confess:  I've always kinda hoped vampires actually exist.  And not like those lame-ass sparkly Twilight whiny bitches vampires, but like, the hard core Anne Rice vampires.  And not those goth weirdos who end up on Maury Povich claiming to be vampires, either.  I've always kinda hoped that someday I'll get to meet one (or maybe I have and I just don't know it).

Link-up with United States of Becky

Jamberry's March 2016 Sister's Style and Hostess Exclusives plus Mystery Hostess Party

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I've got exciting Jamberry news for you today!  I'm sharing with you this month's Sister's Style Exclusive Wrap, this month's Host Exclusive Wrap, PLUS I'm throwing a Mystery Hostess party on Facebook where one lucky lady will win all of the hostess rewards!!!  All of the rewards!!!  Whaaaaatttt!

Sister's Style Exclusive March 2016

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March's Sister's Style Exclusive wrap is called Color Crush and it's a striking combination of sparkles and shine!  It pairs well with Gone Dancing, Mint Sparkle, and Denim Chic and is only available till the end of this month!  With Jamberry's Buy 3 Get 1 FREE* deal, you can get all of them and have a fun mixed mani all without breaking the bank!

Play up your wardrobe with this month's Sisters' Style, 'Color Crush’. Featuring a sparkle-meets-glossy colorblock design, in a range of bright playful shades, ‘Color Crush’ is the perfect transition into spring!

Host Exclusive March 2016

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I absolutely adore this month's Host Exclusive wrap!  It's the perfect design for Spring featuring soft purples and lilac blossoms (I love lilacs!).  Pair this month's host exclusive wrap with Patina, or After Awhile wraps, or We're Blushing gel enamel.  Want this wrap?  Well, there's only one way to get it and that's to host a party with me this month that reaches $250 in sales!  Not in Houston?  Not to worry!  I do online parties, too!

Soft purple Lilacs adorn this beautifully sweet design for an irresistible mani that will have you loving all things floral.

Mystery Hostess Party

Next month I celebrate my 2 year anniversary of being a Jamberry Consultant.  My business has had its ups and downs, and after putting Jamberry on the back burner to concentrate on opening my massage business, I'm ready to re-launch and start throwing parties again!  To kick off my re-launch, I'm having a Mystery Hostess Party on Facebook.  What's a Mystery Hostess Party?  Well, this one is an online party that will go on for a week - we'll play some games and talk about Jamberry and at the end, one lucky lady will win all of the host rewards that the party earns!  And you don't even have to buy anything to win!!!  Sweet!  Click that link to request an add to the party and leave me a comment so I know to approve you!

What do you think of this month's exclusive designs?  What would you pair them with?

*B3G1 excludes premium wraps, lacquers, and TruShine Gel System

Valentia Clearlift Revitalizing Serum Review {Sponsored}

The Fountain of Youth.  A mythical spring of magical waters that restore youth and vitality and grant life everlasting.  Countless explorers have searched for this elusive magical spring of eternal youth to no avail.  Well, explorers, rest your weary heads because the Fountain of Youth has been found and bottled in the Valentia Clearlift Revitalizing Serum!

A few weeks ago, I was carded when trying to buy whipped cream flavored vodka (I know, I know).  Not long after that, I teamed up with Valentia Skin Care to review two of their new products, which I loved (read about that here), so naturally, when given the opportunity to review Valentia's Clearlift Revitalizing Serum, I happily accepted.  I mean, I want to look like I'm in my 20's until I'm well into my 40's.  And this serum totally lives up to it's tagline:  A potent and luxurious serum that supports natural circulation for an all over youthful and revitalized complexion.  And in case you haven't figured it out, this is a sponsored post - I received this product for testing purposes, but all opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Valentia Clearlift Revitalizing Serum

Fine lines are one of life's little inevitabilities.  Aging gracefully doesn't mean you have to let those fine lines turn into deep wrinkles.  And if you want to start combating the signs of aging, Valentia has you covered with this serum.  Not only does this serum help repair past damage to your skin, but it also helps prevent future damage.  When I apply this serum, I can actually feel it working.  1-2 pumps is all I need to cover my face, neck, and decollete, and after I apply the serum, my skin tingles and tightens right up.  It's like a facelift in a bottle!  It absorbs quickly, doesn't leave a sticky residue on my skin, and has a nice, light citrus scent.  This serum contains:

Wakame Bioferment (Seaweed):  Increases skin oxygen consumption to detoxify and boost antioxident defense.
Gotu Kola:  Lessons the appearance of scars & increases skin firmness
Lactic Acid:  A natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that increases skin cell turnover, for healithier renewed skin
Licorice:  Lightens unwanted pigmentation & corrects skin discoloration
Argan Oil:  Naturally rich in Vitamin E, this oil reduces water loss and protects skin resiliency and elasticity

This luxuriously revitalizing treatment is formulated to bring out your best self. Infused with a unique blend of botanicals, essential oils, and vitamins, this serum supports circulation and reoxygenation. Your skin is left hydrated, more even, and resilient to future damage.  Valentia´s Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum is a transformative addition to any skin care routine. 

Bottom line:  I am really, really, really amazed with this serum.  I'm always skeptical about skincare products' claims, but this one definitely lives up to what it says it'll do.  My skin is noticeably firmer and feels softer and smoother.  Fine lines are less noticeable, and my skin actually feels tighter after I apply this product!  I'd better be careful - if I keep working with Valentia, I'm going to end up looking like I'm 12 years old, lol.

Weekend Snapshots 11

Hey ya'll!  Welcome to Weekend Snapshots 11! This week's link-up is brought to you by Sunday Streets Houston and an epic bike ride with Ariana and her husband, Elliot!  It's always cool when you can get together in real life with one of your online friends.  The start of Daylight Savings Time is kicking my ass, so I hope I can remember everything from this weekend.  I'm not the only one suffering today, right?  Just me?  Okay.  More coffee.

Saturday was a super laid back day.  I saw a client in the morning, then Dennis, Jack, and I hung around the house.  Dennis needed to get a few home repair things done, so Jack and I tried to make it to the zoo.  Tried is the optimal term because even though it was late in the day and I was sure the park would be clearing out, Hermann Park and the Zoo were Crazy Town.  After trolling the parking lot for almost an hour (yes, a full hour and no parking spots to be found), I abandoned our hopes and dreams of wild animals in favor of checking out a park that Jill over at Big Kid Small City did a review of the other day.  Firetruck Park did not disappoint - thanks for your review, Jill!!!  Jack made a little friend his own age and proceeded to boss him around while fighting fires, but I don't know mom etiquette or how to exchange info to do play dates or anything, so we'll probably never see the kid again - either way, Jack had fun with another kid which is a big deal because he's never around other kids.

After the park, we all met up with Den's nephew, Christopher and his girlfriend, Jennifer, for some tasty pho.  Jack liked the broth, but surprisingly wasn't into the noodles.  He usually loves noodles, so go figure.  Kids are weird.  We all had such a good time chatting and talking out in the parking lot after dinner that we decided to stop into the coffee shop/bar next to the restaurant.  As soon as I walked in, I spied an original art piece by my friend Jessica.  It's always cool to recognize art by friends.  I had some of my favorite elderflower cider, Den and Jack played video games, we listened to a DJ and fun was had.  Of course, we were up too late and the time change happened, so Sunday morning kinda sucked.  I can't believe one little hour jacks me up so bad.

Sunday afternoon we met up with Ariana and Elliot at Sunday Streets.  If you don't know, Sunday Streets is a community event that happens once a month where a stretch of main road is shut down to traffic so people can explore a neighborhood on foot, bicycle, skateboard, or roller skates.  Every month a different area is picked and it's a really unique way to get to know a place you might otherwise just drive through.  Ariana and I have known each other for almost 3 years and this is only the third time we've ever seen each other in person - and we live in the same freaking city!  I saw her for her Instagram class, but before that, it was like 2 years since we'd seen each other.

We grabbed some yummy food from one of the food trucks, walked around a bit, had some amazing popsicles from another food truck, then set out on a bike adventure.  We cruised from the East End of Houston all the way through Downtown, down the Allen Parkway trails, and back again  all along the banks of Buffalo Bayou.  That totals about 13 miles - sounds like a lot, but was a nice moderate distance for an afternoon ride.  Along the way, we came across this ancient looking fishing pier (or at least that's what I think it might've been), our trail came to an abrupt halt and we had to hike our bikes up this crazy hill, we found a ton of urban art (which I should've taken more pics of ), I peed in the bushes, Jack peed everywhere (#pottytraining), we laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats.  And I don't know how I managed to not get everyone in one pic.  #selfiestickfail

After the ride, Den and I did a little more urban exploring on the east side of town in hopes that Jack would take a little car nap.  Spoiler:  he didn't.  We did come across some pretty cool industrial stuff, but the sun was setting and I only got a pic of this train track manufacturing warehouse.  We drove through some cute original post-war housing boom suburban (now urban) neighborhoods and saw places of Houston we've never been.  I love exploring my city.

This was a fabulous weekend.  The weather was perfect, the company couldn't have been better, and I feel exhausted in a way you can only get when you've had a great time.  How was your weekend?  Share your stories and snapshots with us in the link-up (and get the code for the link-up to show up on your post here).


Sunday Confessions 11

The United States of Becky

I confess:  I'm not a morning person at all (that's not my confession).  Even if I wake up on my own and not to an alarm clock, I struggle to get out of bed - ugh, it's the worst part of the day.  But as much as I dislike mornings, I really love the morning time and mornings in general once I get going (that's my confession).

I confess:  Have I talked about Sinking Submarine Captain in Sunday Confessions before?  Again, I can't remember, and I'm super tired right now because it's way late and springing forward really messes with me, so I'm not going to go back and look, but in case I haven't confessed this before, when I shower, I like to plug the tub and let the shower water slowly fill up the bathtub - like a sinking submarine - hence the name Sinking Submarine Captain.  Dennis coined the term.

I confess:  I love New Jersey.  That doesn't feel like much of a confession, but I always feel the need to justify that statement when I make it.  If you haven't been to New Jersey, I can just about 100% guarantee that your idea of what the Garden State is really like is probably wrong.  It's not all Jersey Shore douche bags or chemical plant cancer wastelands.  And if I had a choice of anywhere to live in the country, I would most likely choose a small town in north central Jersey (money not being an issue, lol).  Of course, I've never visited the Pacific Northwest and I'm pretty sure if I ever do, I won't be leaving.  Either way, New Jersey is my favorite of the 50 states.  There, I said it.

February 2016 Blog Traffic (and Income) Report

Last month I made the decision to truly take this blogging thing seriously and treat it like a business.  I've been blogging for 5 years now and what was once a hobby and a way to keep myself accountable for chores around the house will hopefully become a viable way to earn income for my family.  I know I have a long way to go (especially compared to much more established and successful bloggers), but by sharing my blog traffic and income reports each month I hope to continue to keep myself accountable and share with you my growth (and talk about what's working and what isn't working).

January saw a huge increase in my blog's numbers.  Like I said, it was the first month I really buckled down and treated my blog like a business and really focused on marketing, and February did see growth, but not quite at the same rate as January.  In February, I wrote 17 new posts, down 2 posts from January (and not quite making my 20 posts goal), and I finally started an email list.  I had an increase in my Instagram followers, but I forgot to track where I started at the beginning of the month.  Either way, I've definitely increased my following and engagement in IG.  Here are the hard numbers for February:

February 2016 Blog Traffic

In February, I had 1,414 page views, an increase of 272 from January.  This traffic came from 711 users over 928 sessions with a bounce rate of 76.72% (the lower the bounce rate, the better).  Again, I know these numbers are tiny compared to most even moderately sized blogs, but it still represents growth for mine.  My traffic increased in February by 24%.  Certainly not the astronomical percent change between December and January, but still a sizable increase and a much more realistic and sustainable rate of growth.  

My bounce rate went up slightly, from 75.19% to 76.72%, and the time spent on my site decreased by 30 seconds, but these two stats are still at acceptable numbers.  My new vs. returning visitor percents changed as well.  In January, I had 31.1% returning visitors and in February I had 26.4% returning visitors.  This means that people aren't sticking around as long on my site and aren't coming back.  Again, these ratios are still pretty acceptable for me, but something I should pay attention to - I want people to visit my site more than once (don't we all?!?) and I want them to hang out and see what else I've written.  I'm sure I'll end up tweaking some things in the future to keep these numbers stable, but for now they're okay.

Top 5 Posts in February

What I Did Differently

I didn't change much of what I was doing from January to February.  February felt a little more scattered than January because I wasn't using my Epic Blog Planner {affiliate} quite as religiously and keeping up with all the Facebook blogger promotions groups was pretty time consuming.  I'm not the best with time management - actually, I'm the worst with time management, let's just be honest here, so I know my February approach to social media and blog promotions was scattered and not very calculated.  It still worked, but I could've been a bit more deliberate and focused in my efforts.  In addition to using my blog planner, I need to start using a daily planner to schedule out more of my blogging tasks.  I still managed a pretty consistent blogging schedule and I'm making sure to be more mindful of SEO and having a pinnable image for each post.  I've started using BoardBooster {affiliate} to schedule my pinning and joined some Pinterest specific groups on Facebook.  I also finally started an email list and have 5 subscribers!  I haven't sent out a newsletter yet,but that'll happen soon.

What Did I Earn?

I didn't earn any cold hard cash this month.  I did, however, receive 3 different products for free to review (at a value of $90), and I was offered a $75 gift card to YogaOutlet.com to choose whatever I want to review.  I spent $35 to take an Instagram class from Ariana, and $1.99 for my InLinkz {affiliate} subscription.  All in all, I'd say I came out on top.

Plans for March

  • increase my page views by 20-25% bringing my page views to approximately 1700
  • write between 15 and 20 new posts
  • increase my Instagram followers from 466 to 500
  • create a landing page for Instagram clicks so I can track IG traffic
  • increase my Pinterest followers from 360 to 400
  • organize my Pinterest boards
  • increase my Facebook fan page from 395 to 425
  • post content other than my own on my FB page
  • add 3 new subscribers to my email list
  • send out one newsletter (maybe 2)
  • sign up and start using StumbleUpon
  • create a blog post checklist
  • create a social media checklist
  • create a social media focus calendar
I'm finally settling into a groove with blogging this year.  If I can manage to keep from getting overwhelmed by my to-do list and social media promotions, I think March is going to be a great month.  I need to do a little better with managing my time and I think keeping a planner to schedule my social media time as well as an editorial calendar should help a lot.  I sit down in front of the computer and so easily loose my focus and totally forget what I intended to focus on, so having it written down for me to cross reference will be key this month.  How has your blog been treating you?  Any big successes for February?  What strategies are you using that are working (or not)?  I'd love to hear more about it in the comments!!

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Weekend Snapshots 10

Happy Monday!  Welcome to this edition of Weekend Snapshots brought to you by Marissa's Sweet 16 Masquerade (and her amazing dress, OMG!).  Weekend Snapshots is hosted by yours truly and Ariana from 3TwentySix.  We'd love to see your weekend snapshots, so make sure to add your post to the link-up (and if you want the link-up to show up on your post, too, get the code here!)

This weekend was nice and relaxing with not a lot going on.  Dennis had to work, so Jack and I stayed home all day on Saturday and Sunday and other than the party, we didn't do much.  Saturday consisted of me distractedly trying to do some chores while not getting lost on the internet.  I was somewhat successful and managed to get a ton of laundry done - including folding and putting it away (miracle of miracles!).  I also somehow managed to get ready and out of the house (on time, no less) having actually taken the time to do my hair for the party.  Usually when I take out the styling implements, at some point I'm going to end up crying because I don't know WTF I'm doing, but Saturday things went pretty smoothly.  I don't know how I managed to not get a single picture of me dressed up for the party, but I do have bathroom selfies of my hair that I sent to Dennis (complete with shampoo bottles in the shower in the background).

The party was a ton of fun!  I've never been to a huge Sweet 16 party.  Growing up in the South there were always debutante balls, but I didn't run with that crowd, so I never went to any.  I knew there was pomp and circumstance involved in these things, but had no idea exactly how much.  This party was like a wedding reception!!!  Marissa had an entire court (I think that's what it's called) of her friends and they did some choreographed dances (so adorable in their teen awkwardness), there was a father/daughter dance, and a granddaughter/grandfather dance.  And did I mention her dress?  I seriously want a giant pink ballgown.

Jack didn't get a nap that day and was a bit spazzy and fussy, so we hung out in the car for a while.  He managed a short power nap and promised to behave once we went back inside (hahaha, the promise of a three year old), but most of the evening was tenuous.  He wanted to run laps around the venue and begged to cut the cake.  I kept trying to get him to understand that he had to wait for cake and that everyone was going to get cake at the same time.  He kept trying to convince me that he'd slice enough cake for everyone.  Can't fault his logic.  He finally got cake and then decided to do some wicked moves on the dance floor.  Then the sugar took over and he ran laps on the (thankfully empty) dance floor.  He passed out in the car on the way home, so we put him to bed in his party clothes - poor kid slept till 10 the next day.  I snapped a pic of him still asleep when I woke up.  Dennis titled the pic, "Jack's first hangover."  And please note that Jack had no alcohol at the party - just want to throw that out there for anyone questioning the title of the pic.

Sunday was a much needed lazy day.  And I mean lazy day.  I usually spend a ton of energy trying to stay focused and on task - it's exhausting.  Sunday, I decided not to fight it.  I managed to get dressed and take out the trash, but for the rest of the day, Jack and I watched Good Eats with Alton Brown on Netflix.  It was glorious to just give in to the distraction instead of fighting it all day long.  It was such a lazy day that I decided to order pizza instead of cooking dinner (also glorious).  Dennis had the great idea to pick up the pizza and picnic in the park since it was such a nice night.  I ate too much pizza (and feel like ass this morning), but Jack had fun running and running and running like a wild man.  I posted a pic to my FB page last night and woke up to the awesome Toddlers vs. Aliens treatment from my friend, David.

How was your weekend?  Did you do anything exciting or did you laze it up like I did?  Make sure to link-up with us so we share the weekend love!


Sunday Confessions 10

The United States of Becky

I confess:  I haven't been using MyFitnessPal to track my calories all week long.  I haven't totally fallen off the diet/exercise wagon, but I haven't exactly been making the healthiest choices, either.  Plus my weight has plateaued which makes everything even more frustrating.  Guess I'll get back to it tomorrow.

I confess:  I've been doing these confessions long enough that I can't remember if I've confessed something and there are too many to go back and read (i.e. I'm feeling lazy this morning).  Maybe I should keep a notebook so I can easily see what I've already confessed.

I confess:  I totally don't believe in fad diets and don't think they work (especially on the long term), but I'm considering trying out the Whole 30 diet.  It's only for 30 days, but it eliminates most of the foods I'm used to eating, but that could be good because I'd have to learn an new way to eat, but Dennis and Jack wouldn't exactly be following the diet so temptation would literally be everywhere.  Thirty days sounds like no time at all and an eternity all at the same time.  Clearly, I'm on the fence about this.

Day in the Life, March 1, 2016

Welcome to March and Happy National Pig Day!  Well, today isn't National Pig Day, but March 1st was and that's when I took my Day in the Life pics, so Happy National Pig Day!  March 1st was a typical work day for me.  I got up early to do some bloggy stuff, dropped Jack off at my MIL's, saw a client, did more bloggy work, and stayed up too late (as usual).  I felt a little busier than usual and I'm not sure if that was because I spent some time spinning my wheels in an ADD fog and was using a lot of energy to try to stay focused or if it was because I was actually busy.  Either way, here's what my day looked like.

6:30 am
Coffee and flying pigs

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

7:30 am 
someone is up early

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

8:30 am

9:30 am
I voted!  Jack got rewarded with a trip to the playground at the polling location

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

10:30 am
we went to visit Dennis at work - this is a submarine in the lobby

11:30 am
Jack's beanstalk at Mimi's is really growing!

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

12:30 pm
lunch - leftover shrimp fried rice

1:30 pm
the kittens I really need to find a home for
they keep me company while I wait for my client

2:30 pm
I got the date wrong for my client so I went inside to do some blog work
Jack tied his Valentine's balloon to my laptop unbeknownst to me

3:30 pm
working on a product review

4:30 pm
I am clearly not a professional photographer

5:30 pm
working on my editorial calendar for March

6:30 pm
I clearly show my lack of self control

7:30 pm
one of the outdoor kittens broke into my house
she's the only one who won't let me touch her
none of my cats helped us find where she was hiding

8:30 pm

9:30 pm
I don't know what came over me

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on
10:30 pm
The Walking Dead

I'll admit, we binge watched a couple (three?) episodes of The Walking Dead.  I didn't think it was necessary to keep taking pictures of the opening credits each hour.  OMG, we are so loving this show.  We're halfway through the third season and can't wait to catch all the way up.  I don't know what we're going to do once we've made it through all the seasons and have to watch the episodes in real time!!!

All in all, it was a very long, busy day.  I feel like I actually got some things accomplished, though.  My ADD (still officially undiagnosed) has been putting me through the ringer lately. I need to work on some routines and checklists to keep myself on track.  I hope your month started off as well as mine did.  What were you up to on National Pig Day?  Did you do anything to celebrate?

Valentia True Glow Eye Cream and Even Glow Serum Review {Sponsored}

A few weeks ago I got carded while trying to buy whipped cream flavored vodka (classy, I know).  At first I thought the cashier was joking - I mean, I am 35, I had just come from the gym and looked a hot mess, I was wrestling Jack away from the candy, and well, just wasn't at my best.  I gave the cashier a weird look when he asked, "You are 21, right?" and gruffly said, "Yeah."  Like, are you making fun of me, buddy, I thought.  And he was like, "Yeah, I'm'a need to see your ID."  Feeling very confused (and expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out from somewhere saying I was Punked - is that still a thing?), I fished my ID out of my purse and before he could look at it he says, "You're not offended are you?  You're what, maybe 24?  25?"  *speechless*  This dude thought I was at least 10 years younger than I actually am.  And he was serious.

I've always tried to take good care of my skin (and I guess it's paying off!).  I'll admit I'm not 100% consistent with a skincare routine, but I do try to keep on top of things.  I want to keep getting carded until I'm at least 40.  Needless to say, but when Valentia Skin Care asked me to do a review of their True Glow Eye Cream and their Even Glow Serum I jumped at the opportunity! (Spoiler:  both products are amazing).  Valentia Skin Care uses natural and organic plant derived ingredients in all their products and all the products are cruelty-free - never tested on animals.  Win-win-win!  And in case you were wondering, I received these products free for testing - all opinions are my own and truthful!

Valentia True Glow Eye Cream

Keeping the skin around my eyes looking young is one of my number one priorities when it comes to skin care.  I always make sure to have a great eye cream in my skin care routine, and the Valentia True Glow Eye Cream fits the bill perfectly.  I've noticed a reduction in the fine lines around my eyes (that I don't want to admit are there and am now hardly able to notice) since I started using the product and my skin feels firmer and tighter.  The eye cream smells nice - kinda citrusy and absorbs quickly.  The circles that were starting to creep in under my eyes from Mom/blogger sleep deprivation are gone, too.  This eye cream contains:

Astanxanthin: A powerful antioxidant that increases moisture levels, smooths fine lines and wrinkles, and restores elasticity to the skin
Resistem:  Natural Plant Stem Cells repair and protect the skin from stress related aging
Vitamin C:  Leaves the skin smooth and visibly brighter for a well-rested and bright eyed look
Organic Rosehip Oil:  Intense hydration to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Arnica:  Anti-inflammatory agent key to the restorative process

Say goodbye to tired eyes. This nourishing formula works fast to repair and refresh the eye area while protecting skin from the usual suspects of aging. Our natural and organic ingredients work to calm and reduce puffiness in the eye area revealing softer, more refreshed looking eyes. With continued use of this antioxidant treatment, you will start noticing a more rejuvenated, radiant, and brighter under eye area.

Valentia Even Glow Serum

As a fair skinned individual, I've had more than my fair share of really bad sunburns.  Skin cancer runs in  my family and I'm at a very high risk of getting skin cancer - scary, but true.  I've been wanting to try an antioxidant treatment for sometime to help repair my skin at a cellular level.  Valentia's Even Glow Serum with 20% Vitamin C is absolutely perfect for me.  I've been applying this serum twice a day to my face, neck, and decollete and can definitely tell a difference.  My skin is brighter and more even - especially my decollete which has gotten the worst of my sunburns and is by far my most problematic area.  The wrinkles that are creeping onto my forehead are also less noticeable much to my delight.  I also have the peace of mind that I've added an antioxidant treatment to my routine.  The ingredients are:

Organic Rosehip Oil & Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil:  Simultaneously increasing hydration and locking in moisture to repair and restore damaged skin for an even glow and more beautiful youthful skin
Resistem:  Natural Plant Stem Cells protect the skin from stress related aging while promoting detoxification
Hyaluronic Acid (Botanical):  Helps repair the skin to retain moisture, increasing elasticity and firmness
Green Tea Extract:  The catechins in green tea are a potent antioxidant promoting anti-inflammation and anti-irritant benefits

Vanquish dark spots and revitalize your skin with this new generation Vitamin C serum. Formulated with a blend of essential fatty acids and antioxidants to boost Vitamin C’s efficacy, and leave skin smooth and visibly brighter. This must-have serum shields skin from environmental aggressors, leaving skin healthy and protected. Vitamin C increases collagen production, evening skin tone and creating firmer more youthful looking skin. This lightweight formula absorbs quickly, and has a luxuriously delicious citrus scent that will delight your skin and your senses.

I was super satisfied with both of these products and will be continuing to use them.  I highly recommend both the True Glow Eye Cream and Even Glow Serum - they're high end, quality skin care products at a fair and affordable price.  I love that the ingredients are all natural and organic,and that the products aren't tested on animals.  Here's to getting carded into my 40's!!!
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