Leaving on a jetplane!

That's right!! As you read this, Hubs and the Bear are taking me to the airport in Toronto to board my plane to BlogHer'12!



What's waiting for me when I get there? A picnic in Central Park with my gal Shizz from Baby Shmizz, then an afternoon of sightseeing with Shaun from Living with Peanut and Mel from Never a Dull Moment...otherwise known as my awesomesauce roommates on this crazy adventure!

Thursday night will be full of fun as we get our cocktail dresses on and head out for dinner and drinks, meeting bloggers along the way.

I am truly so very thankful for this opportunity, and am excited to share with you when I get back!

Anticipation is high!!

Gees, the title of this post might be the biggest undersatement of the year!

In just two days, after a little car ride from London to Toronto and saying farewell to my boys, I will be boarding a plane and headed to NYC to BlogHer.

In just two day, I will be able to put my freshest face forward for the sponsors who have supported my journey to the largest blogging conference in North America.

In just two days, I will converge with over 3000 like minded individuals to engage, connect and learn.

Gosh!!

I have probably packed enough dresses, wedge heels, ballet flats, skinny jeans, and accessories to clothe myself for a few weeks...but I figure one outfit for day, and one outfit for night...with different shoe options. Flats, obviously for walking through out the city and Central Park.

Ack!!

TWO DAYS!!

How are you handling the anticipation?

Why BlogHer?

A few weeks ago, I engaged in a #mombizmondays chat where we got talking about conferences...

Who's going to what conference?
Will you blog while you're there?
What social media tools are you going to use?
Are you bringing a laptop?

Then the big question...

Why did you choose the conference that you're going to?

This led me to think about why I'm going to BlogHer'12 and what I hope to get out of it. Of course I want to promote myself as a freelance writer, artist and excellent, quality blogger, but at the heart of it I want to...

Connect
Engage
Network

I want to meet the people who inspire me to blog like Mrs. Gloves, Jenni From The Blog, and Goober Monkey. I want to have a blast with my roommates Baby Shmizz, Living With Peanut and Never a Dull Moment and tour the sites of NYC.

I want to picnic in Central Park with Shizz on the Thursday, kick up our feet on a rock, and be silly.

I want to go to Tiffany's and treat myself to something for my 30th birthday.

I want to live...and experience every piece of BlogHer that I can. I want to soak it all in, write it all down, and blog about it when I get home and am able to digest the most influential weekend of my professional career.

So...why did you choose BlogHer'12?

WAHM Wednesday: The Geek Bar

There's this little item on the agenda of BlogHer that has me really curious

The Geek Bar

First and foremost...what in the heck is a Geek Bar??

I sort of envision a trendy bar set up of neat gadgets, geared for bloggers and companies. iPhone's, Blackberries, playbooks, Square....all sorts of apps and gadgets that can help us with our blogs, Etsy shops and things of the sort.

Once I looked it up, I began to understand.

The Geek Bar is all about the geeky aspect of blogging.

Wordpress vs. Blogger

Html

Writing labs

Social media platforms

Google+

Video editing

Alot of the subjects from last year seem to be covered in the individual seminars this year, so I'm not sure if I'll get alot out of The Geek Bar this summer. There are things that I would like to learn, for sure, but I think I'd rather go to the individual sessions.

*sigh* I really liked the idea of a geeky gadgets bar!

WAHM Wednesday: Podcasting?

Another seminar on Day1 of BlogHer that I'm excited about is the Podcasting 101 seminar.

My husband and his friend, Mike Arsenault, used to podcast about once a week. Usually about sports, reality TV (their recaps of Survivor and The Bachelor were hilarious!) or they would dissect a movie like Dirty Dancing {manly...right?}

I was always too nervous to get the headset on and be a guest on Mike's podcast. I'd usually just holler in the background about who I thought was trashy on The Bachelor or who I loved on Survivor.

The Podcasting 101 seminar at BlogHer has gripped my interest. I'm obviously not afraid to vlog, so why not podcast? What about the microphone intimidates me?

Do I have anything worthy to say?

Will people giggle at my Canadian accent?

What would I even talk about?

I am so excited to sit in a room and hear about Podcasting...why it's important, and how to do it {and do it properly}.

Maybe it'll even get me over my fear of the microphone!

WAHM Wednesday: #Roadto30 Updates!

Welcome back, everyone!

I'm really excited to share with you some updates from my amazing roommates, Shaun and Mel, who I'm sponsoring in their #Roadto30....a journey to lose 30lbs each by BlogHer this summer!



Their journeys are going strong - Shaun and I have even connected on the Map My Run app for iPhone and I love reading about the routes she is taking. Every step may seem like a small one, but it's a step in the right direction and that's what matters!

I am growing increasingly proud of these ladies. They're not stopping at BlogHer...oh no...in fact...they're going to keep pushing themselves and are going to run the BlogHer 5km Fun Run! Amazing!






I'm considering joining them for the run. It might be crazy...it's be the first 5km I've ever run in my entire life...but I want to support them to the very end of their journey and show them just how incredibly proud I am of them.

Stay tuned! More on their journey next month!

Interested in sponsoring them? Contact Mel and Shaun today!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Michele from Mary Kay


Remember a few weeks ago when I was showing off my {lack of} makeup arsenal? Yeah…it was pretty pathetic right?

Well, that’s when I sent an SOS to my fabulous friend, Michele Thomson who happens to be an amazing makeup artist and Mary Kay Independent Sales Director!

I showed her my blogpost, and she agreed; I needed help. 

I was so excited to have our consultation...I laid out all of my makeup and took a {little} inventory.

My makeup and my skincare...that Rimmel is about 8 years old...
Eye compacts that are at least 6 years old, mascara that is about 2 years old, lip gloss from my wedding (which Michele did my makeup for and made me look, and feel, stunning!) which was nearly 4 years ago…noticing a trend?

Then a before picture, no makeup. This is pretty much what I look like every day.

Well, hello there!

And we got to work. I showed her the amazing outfits that Kristine Cook Designs is creating for me and we started talking about trends.

I want to be able to represent myself as an artist, stay true to me, have a professional {yet quirky} look and represent my sponsors with a fresh faced. While, sure, I could do that without makeup…I want to…pull together a more pulled-together look and feel really confident at BlogHer’12.

Bold lips…dewy cheeks…smokey eyes…nude lips. We talked tips and tricks…and over the next few months, you’ll be able to learn how to….

Two eye looks...smokey peacock on the left and smokey pinks on the right

Create a gorgeous smokey eye…with a pop of colour!
Create a bold-lip-dewy-face look
Learn all about foot and hand care with a special Mama’s Time Out feature
And a few other tips and tricks that Michele has up her sleeve, like proper skin protection, favourite products and trends for fall and winter 2012!

WAHM Wednesday: Nostalgic New York

Unlike some of my roomies, attending BlogHer isn't my first NYC experience.

Thankfully, my husband has family about a 40 minute train ride from the city and we've been able to go and visit them a couple of times. We even had a little babymoon in NYC just before we got pregnant with our son.

I was feeling a little nostalgic, and started looking through our pictures from our last trip in 2009.



Oh roomies...we are having cupcakes from this bakery...it is a must!



Can we squeeze in a Yankees game??



Excited for a group shot in Times Square

As much fun as it is to go on vacation with your husband, there's just something about a girls trip that is really exciting. Being able to get all dolled up in some fancy new clothes, going out for a fabulous dinner and then drinks on some rooftop patio

*sigh* Why is it only April!?

Blogger{at}BlogHer12: Blogging Tips

Definitely late to the game on this bloghop for the week, but better late than never??

Hopping along with my roommate Shaun...





The theme for this week is blogging tips...you know you have 'em, so you might as well share 'em!

Quality

This is something that is incredibly important to me. I want to ensure that I'm staying true to myself as an artist, not compromising my ideals and values, and that I'm also presenting my sponsors in the best possible light. This all boils down to quality. What good is a blog that is full of giveaways, reviews, and very little content? Well...it's great if you want to win stuff, but it's not great if you're looking to build a relationship with your readers {like I am}. Food for thought!

Network

I've found that the best way to grow my readership is to have a close network of bloggers who believe in what I do, both as a writer and as an artist. Pushing posts to Facebook and Twitter only go so far if you haven't taken the time to connect with who will see those posts and tweets. Connect...engage...be real.

Scheduling

I try to stick to a consistent schedule. I know that my life as a fulltime mama and fulltime artist make for late night {or all-day-Sunday} blogging sessions, and without my themed days and schedule, I wouldn't know which post is going to go where...and likely would have writers block. it helps me stay focused, gives my blog consistency, and gives my readers something to look forward to when they know a certain theme is coming up in a day or two.

Those are my top three tips!! I can't wait to learn more and grow as a blogger in the coming months. This little dream of going to BlogHer is becoming more and more real, and it's such an amazing journey!

WAHM Wednesday: Road to 30

I am so excited to share this with you all



Two of my BlogHer roomies, Mel and Shaun, are spurring one another on to lose 30lbs each by the time we all meet up in NYC For BlogHer.

Pretty amazing, and truly inspiring I think!

When they started bouncing ideas off of me about how to accomplish it, what to make their button look like (which Mel designed, and I think is adorable!) and things of the sort, I quickly volunteered them a reward for all of their hard work.

As a mom, I know how hard it is to work in time for yourself. it's no easy feat, especially when you're wanting to shed weight. It can be a very daunting task...so...

For every pound they lose, they get $1 toward something in my shop. I'm really really really confident that they'll be able to get $30 by BlogHer and that I'll be bringing them goodies to the conference, with a great big congratulatory hug as well.

On the last Wednesday of every month, until August, I'll be catching you up on their progress and chatting about their success!

And it doesn't stop there. I'm going to be doing the challenge with them and be their buddy system, offer support and encouragement wherever I can. Since the weather here has turned positively gorgeous, I'll be going out for a long walk or jog 3 times a week with the jogging stroller. No more evenings at the gym or waiting to accommodate everyone else's schedules. No-sir-ree! It's morning walks/jogs from here on out, with the Bear in tow!

Pretty amazing, right? Follow along, and give Mel and Shaun your support as they work towards a healthier-mama!

*interested in jumping on the Sponsorship train for #Roadto30?? Click Mel and Shaun's names above to be taken to their blogs

SWH4T$: If it's Free, it's for Me!

Welcome back to SWH4T$ - a blog hop for money {and time} saving mama bloggers!




We just have three very simple guidelines!



1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC


2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".



3.) Post our button on your post




Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!







SWH4T

If it's Free, it's for Me!


Since funds are tight at the Shmizz household, we've been tapping into a lot of free local resources for things to do on the weekend with Jack. It's amazing what you can find for free in your neighborhood if you just look around a little harder :)



Library




Our library haul from last week

This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but for us, it was something new. We started bringing Jack to the library every weekend to get some new books, videos to watch, CDs to listen to. What's nice about the library is that you can have a constantly revolving collection of books at your house, so he never gets bored. Or, for that matter, when you are sick of reading Tip Tip, Dig Dig for the 4,568,752nd time, you can just bring it back and get something different :) Most libraries will also have a free story-time or sing-a-long that you can join in on, which is great for socializing and toddler stimulation.



Playgrounds




At the playground last weekend with Auntie Kellie

Moms of toddler boys know that burning energy is essential to having a happy toddler. Sure, girls can be like this too, but we all know that boys are a little crazy at times and need to let loose. Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, we are constantly looking for nice playgrounds to check out. The best are ones that are fenced in, and have smaller structures that are good for smaller toddlers. Not sure where the playgrounds are in your area? Check out this website to find them! They also have a mobile app for both iPhone and Android platforms, so if you get to a playground and the elementary school bullies are being mean to your child, or the place is over-run with nannies on their phones texting and not watching their charges, you can always move on to a new park...this may or may not be coming from personal experience...



Playdates

Is your kid getting sick of their toys? Instead of buying new ones, have a playdate and go over a little friend's house and play with their toys! Its a win-win situation for you, because you can hang out with the mom/dad and the kiddos can play and amuse themselves. Another bonus, if you have a playdate in the morning, kids get tired, take awesome naps and life is good for all :)



The Dollar Store

Ok, so this isn't exactly free, but its about as close as you can get these days. Toys, snacks, crafting supplies, you name it, they probably have it. I even got all the supplies for Jack's birthday party goodie bags for 10 kids for $60 (another post for another week!). Glow sticks in the bathtub, coloring books, balloons, shovel & pail, Matchbox cars, Playdough. Tell yourself that you are going to skip getting coffee at Dunkin/Starbucks that week and spend the $5 on your kid at the Dollar Store that weekend; kiddo will feel like they won the lottery when they walk out with 5 toys :)



What sort of free things do you do with your kids? Link up and share!




WAHM Wednesday: Fresh Face Forward

A couple of week ago I started dreaming about BlogHer and the fantastic nights out with my roommates Shan, Shaun and Mel...

Who am I kidding? I've been dreaming about this for months! What I really started thinking about, since I'm working with an amazing fashion designer on some really great clothes to wear at BlogHer was my face.



Sounds silly right?

Well, I started thinking about the fact that I never ever wear makeup (what busy WAHM does?!) and rarely even get out of my jeans a tshirt.

All of that is going to change but the change has to come from within...

Within my makeup bag that is!



Serious slim pickins' in there...



Definitely am not afraid of colour, love to shimmer and shine...but I never wear the stuff. The Lancome compacts of four and single purple and green are about...oh...6 years old. The bronze at the bottom? About 4 years old.



Mascara (which I only started wearing 4 years ago...) was new...Christmas 2010. And the black Rimmel eyeshadow...you don't even want to know. I got it from my roommates collection in university, and I lived with her in 2004...

I definitely need some new tricks in my bag, and need to figure out how to put my best face forward at BlogHer to ensure that I'm representing myself and my amazing sponsors to the best of my ability.

I mean...I dont even have blush or bronzer! Who does that?! {this girl...this girl right here}

What are your favourite products, brands and tricks to keep in your makeup bag? Any trends that I'm missing out on by being makeup free on a daily basis?

Special Post: BlogHer Sponsor Introductions

Have you heard? I’m going to BlogHer, and I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to the amazing companies and brands that are helping me get there!

EKSIT Strategies facilitates ownership transitions for businesses and their owners. They provide a range of services, all aimed at – quite simply – helping their clients realize their ideal future, whatever that may be. Whether a sale to a third party, transition to a family member, acquiring another business, or otherwise is appropriate, EKSIT will help identify the appropriate path to reaching that goal. They are experts in outlining potential outcomes to their clients to allow them to achieve success, however they define it.

Tina Dean Allen is the designer and artisan behind Tina Dean Designs. She handcrafts the very finest eco-chic handbags and accessories from non bio-degradable materials, ensuring that each piece is eco-friendly and carries the message of saving our environment. Tina’s stunning work has been featured in the GBK Gifting Suites at the Primetime Emmy Awards and Academy Awards and has been prized by eco-conscious celebs in the USA.

Laina Hanlon is a local lifestyle, wedding, engagement and style photographer in the South-Western Ontario region. She uses her rustic style to create inspired photo shoots that bring out the natural beauty in her clients and subjects. With a new focus on product photography and styled shoots, Laina offers her services to handmade artisans to ensure that their products are ones that customers take notice of. At the root of who she is, Laina is a beautiful person full of inspired vision.

Paired perfectly with a white tee and pair of skinny jeans for an edgy look, or to dress up your little black dress and pumps for a night out on the town, you will find your style at Amber Bryce - Luxe Bohemian Jewelry. With a focus on .925 fine silver and gorgeous gemstones, Amber believes in recycling precious metals and reducing her carbon footprint. She even donates $1.00 from each item purchased to Carbonfund.org to have a tree planted! Gorgeous jewelry, with a purpose to do-good.

Baxtalo Designs is an up and coming mama and papa jewellery shop created by Joshua and Stephanie, which will be launching March 20th, 2012! Their designs are all handmade, with a focus on carved wooden pendants, mini carved wooden buttons and woven leather materials. They’re boho, they’re chic and they’re sure to become a staple in your wardrobe!

Bellaroma Boutique creates the most luxurious natural skincare out there. Whatever your skincare concern, Diana {creator} will work with you to ensure the perfect solution is found in Bellaroma. Her line features whipped crèmes and body scrubs, a full facial line featuring cleansers, lotions, scrubs and masks, and even aroma mists and bathhouse body butters. Natural, elegant skincare couture.

Mompreneur Monday: The Mom Writes

Happy Monday, mamas! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Prerna...the mastermind and mama behind The Mom Writes. What does she do? Well...she provides affordable and effective solutions to help mom business owners live {and survive} online!

What do you do?

I am a professional freelance web writer, business blogger and social media manager.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Focus. Shutting out distractions like Twitter, FB and my email works wonders. Also, I’m an early riser and am often up at 4 in the morning. That gives me a good 4 hours before my preschooler needs to be up for the day.

Also, saying, “no” to tasks that wouldn’t add to either my life as mom or mompreneur helps.


What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

Keeping a hold on ALL the ideas that keep jumping into my head. I’m constantly thinking about how to grow my business, add more value to my clients’ businesses


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Start. Don’t wait for the kids to grow up or to move to a house with space for an office. Just start.

Take action. Every day. Do something to build your business every single day. From researching ideas to building your customer database, make sure you’re working on your business, every day.

Stay hopeful and positive. Honestly, it isn’t easy being a mompreneur. There will be discouragement and disappointment, but don’t let them shake you. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring women who’re rocking the business world and stay encouraged and positive.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Sweet Stella's readers?

First, I’d like to offer ALL your readers with a business a FREE one-on-one social media/web content strategy session. Please sign up here

I’d like to offer a 20% discount on ALL web content, business blogging and social media services. Please mention "SweetStellas" in your email to me. I can be reached at prerna(at)themomwrites(dot)com.

Web

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

WAHM Wednesday: BlogHer'12

I've got my ticket and I'm a-ready to go!

Honestly, I've never been so excited for something in my life. Okay...well maybe my wedding to my wonderful Hubs, and very much the birth of our son...

But the chance to go to NYC and live it up with so many of you amazing mama bloggers? All I can do is smile!

From the seminars about writing, the technical aspects of blogging, how to properly promote yourself, how to be professional, how to be personal...it's all going to be there!

And my girls! My girls will be there! My roommates, Shannon {from BabyShmizz} and Melissa {from Never A Dull Moment} and I will be able to connect and inspire one another...and meet other amazing bloggers like Steph, Jenni, Melissa, Stephanie, Ashley, Melissa and Andrea...the list goes on and on!

Wednesday's might turn into brainstorming days here on the blog. Everything from what to pack, what to take, my promotional materials, what to wear to the cocktail events, my sponsors Hanlon Lain Photography and Tina Dean Designs....you'll find my journey being recapped on Wednesdays!

Stay tuned!!

SWH4T$: Bathroom Refinishing

It's Thursday again folks, which means more great tips! What do you have to share this week?



1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC


2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".



3.) Post our button on your post




Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!









SWH4T








Bathtub Refinishing

Our house was built in 1925, and a few additions and renovations done in the 1980s, you know, when almond-colored fixtures were super cool. Sounds pretty, right?



So in 2009, we had the bathroom renovated. We re-tiled the shower, bumped up the shower ceiling, adjusted the height of the showerhead to accomodate for 6'4" Mizzle, re-tiled the floor, removed some old nasty shelving, new toilet, new vanity and new medicine cabinet.



We were going to replace the bathtub, but it would have cost a fortune, and there wasn't anything structurally wrong with our tub. So, we opted to refinish it ourselves, with a kit similar to this that we found at Home Depot:



I'm not sure that this was the brand that we used, so don't think
I'm slamming this company, I'm not. It's a good idea, just didn't work for us.


The contractors did it for us the first time, and then we did it the 2nd time. And the 3rd time. Yes, we had to refinish the tub 3 times. And each time, it only lasted a few months before peeling off. And the fumes were so strong, that we couldn't stay in the house while it was drying. Which took 3 days. Yes, 3 days. I think this would be great for a tub that isn't used very much, but when you have 2 adults showering daily and then a toddler taking a bath, its just not going to work.





So the last time we did it, was August 2011. And then, around Christmas, this is what we ended up with:











See the new finish peeling up and revealing that splendid almond finish? HAWT, right?





So at the end of January, Mizzle and I went to a Home Show in Boston, in hopes that we would find a cheap way to get what we really wanted: a gleaming white bathtub. One of the companies that was there was a professional refinishing company. They use a special industrial epoxy that is specifically designed for bathtubs. The only other option we found was a BathFitter thing, where they slip a custom liner over your tub. That would have cost at least $2000. Not what we wanted to spend. The refinishing guys? $300. And, since we booked our appointment at the Home Show, we got a discount, and they also threw in non-slip treads for free! So what would have normally cost us $410, we got for $300. But, the best part was that they guaruantee their work for 2 years. If there are any problems, we just call them, and they come back and fix it. For free. We spent a total of $150 on the kids from Home Depot, so this refinishing option is a little more expensive than the DIY kit, but, the combined price of the 2 of them is still less than BathFitter, and I love the 2 year gaurantee.














Amazing, right? They started at 10:30, and we were able to use the shower 24 hours later! And, the fumes were soooo much less than the DIY kit. We could actually all sleep in the house that night and not have to worry.





If you are looking for an economical way to refinish an old tub, I would highly recommend this option! If you would like more info on the company that we used, shoot me an email and I will fill you in!





What sort of thrifty home renovations have you done?
















SWH4T$: Ikea

Welcome back Ladies! It's been an awesome year for SWH4T$ so far: we've organized our coupons, repurposed jars to make super cute home decor, and now let's decorate our houses some more!

See how you can link up your own projects! Only 3 simple steps:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC
2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".
3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!





SWH4T

IKEA

Ikea. The Motherload of cute and functional stuff for cheap. Mizzle and I are HUGE fans of Ikea, our entire dining room set is Ikea, our endtables are Ikea, our dishes and several pots are Ikea, and Jack's playfood is from Ikea.

For 9 years now (ever since we moved in together) our dining room set was a hand-me-down from my parents: a teak table with 6 chairs that my parents swiped from the Student Union at University of Arizona when they were redoing the building (my dad went there for undergrad). The chairs are likely mid-century, and they are in surprisingly good shape for surviving thousands of college kids, me and my sisters, and then finally Mizzle & Jack (not to mention numerous drunken house parties in the pre-Jack days...).

We loved the table and I loved the chairs (they squeak, Mizzle hates it. I think it gives them character). Our dining room is small, and we needed a smaller table so that things were not as crowded, now that we have a toddler table and Jack's play kitchen in the dining room.

I wanted a round table that was better for traffic flow, Mizzle wanted a table that would comfortably sit at least 6 people when extended.

This was what we got:
Bjursta Dining Table with extendable leaf, seats 4-6
$229

Not bad huh? It's super sturdy, wipes easily, and is about a third of the price of what you would pay at a furniture store. Now, this isn't an heirloom we are going to pass on to our children, but it will last us for quite a while. Let's put it this way: the Ikea furniture that we already have is already at least 5-7 years old, and has held up amazingly!

Now what about chairs? While shopping for tables I realized that chairs can often cost more than the table itself! Seriously! We wanted 4 chairs, and then if we had extra people we would use folding chairs. I used to buy household furnishings with the maximum number of guests in mind, but now having a kid, I buy what we need for NOW. The rest can be figured out later.

I really liked these chairs:
Ingolf Chair
$59.99

Cute right? But, if we got 4 chairs, that would be $240. Not exactly what I wanted to spend on chairs. Granted, we were on a budget, and if we weren't, I would have totally got these. However, we were on a budget, and trying to walk out the door under $350 for the table & chairs.

So this is what we got:
Ivar Chair
$19.99
I know what you're thinking: they don't match. Well you're right. BUT, not for long! We went to Lowe's and got some stain to match the table. 3 coats of stain and 1 coat of polyurethane/stain combo later, we have a matching set! Pretty sweet for $308.96!

We are still sanding and buffing them down, so I don't have a finished picture for you, so I guess you'll just have to stop by Baby Shmizz next week to see the finished product! :)

Just goes to show that with a little shopping around and some elbow grease, you can have a fancy looking dining set for 1/3rd the price! Not to mention that in the cafeteria that day, kids ate FREE! Bonus!

If you are looking for where your nearest Ikea is so you can run there like a madwoman, check HERE.

How have you decorated your house for less? Share with us!


Money Saving Mamas!





Mom Biz Retreat: Get Me There!!

So, I happened to get an email this morning from MomBizCoach (a little bifty newsletter and website that I subscribe to...geared toward mompreneurs about how to be the best business and brand that you can be) about their upcoming retreat in Chicago at the end of January 2012.



I hadn't heard about it before, so while I laid in bed relishing the last few moments of quiet before my son woke up I decided to look it up and was amazed at the itinerary.

Not only is it a chance for a few days of ME-time (such special time when you're busy with a business and toddler), but it is chalk full of activities to learn about the importance of building a strong brand.

Why do I want to go? Well...branding is very important to me. Having been through two corporate rebrandings, I know the importance of having a strong brand and how far brand recognition can go. I'm in the process of working with an amazing graphic designer to redesign my logo, blog buttons and overall look to represent who I am at the heart of my company...a chic mom who is an artist.

I struggle with time in the respect that I push myself so hard that at the end of the day, I have nothing left for myself. Between having a 1.5 year old, and a 1 year old business...I'm just spent at the end of the day. I maximize every waking hour for everyone else, but know that I need to be better with maximizing the quality of the time so that I can be the best mom and mompreneur possible.

I want to learn. I want to dive in and see what the mompreneur world has to offer. I want to connect.

It's such an amazing opportunity...so why the heck wouldn't I want to win the all-access pass??

Please, MomBizCoach, pick me!!

SWH4T$: Holiday Baking

Welcome back to Week 9 of She Works Hard 4 The $ (SWH4T$)! We are so pleased for you to join us this week, and look forward to many holiday tips and tricks!

The Rules? They're pretty simple!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC
2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".
3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!





Holiday Baking



Have a teacher, garbage man, mail delivery person, post office worker, member of your church family or some other person on your list this Holiday season? I know that I do, and that list keeps growing by the day when I think of all of the wonderful people in our lives!

So! This year...into the kitchen I go with my beautiful standmixer that is likely exhausted at this point. However, this batch of particularly yummy cookies yeild about 75 cookies...

Translate that into 10 cookies per cello bag, tied with a lovely tag (that you can make at home to save even more money! I had this one lying around our Christmas wrapping paper stock) and you've got gifts for 7 people, plus 5 cookies left for you to snack on!

And what's even better, you likely have all of these ingredients (minus the molasses...let's be serious, who has molasses in the house!? But...it's only $4 at Walmart!) in your kitchen already!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Preheat over to 350F

Mix in your standmixer bowl
  • 4 1/2
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 4
    teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2
    teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt

Cream in

  • 1 1/2
    cups butter
  • 2
    cups granulated sugar
  • 2
    eggs
  • 1/2
    cup molasses

Roll cookies into 1" balls, and roll them in a bowl of

  • 3/4
    cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 13-14 minutes. You'll know that they're finished by when the tops crack! Be careful not to overbake though!

I then took a bunch of the cookies, put them in a cello bag (you can get these at Michael's for about $2.50 for 12 bags. I get mine from Nashville Wraps in bulk, so I had them on hand already) and tie with a lovely tag!

Total cost on these babies...$6.50. Cost per gift...$0.92!

Beautiful, thoughtful, cost-efficient, and yummy!





Sponsor Love: Baby Shmizz

So...what's shakin' over at Baby Shmizz, one of my lovely sponsors?

Well...she's been busy writing out her Christmas Traditions (which made me giggle, and inspired my own post over on our family blog...it's so fun to look back and think about how you spent Christmas as a child, and think forward about how you want your child to spend Christmas), stepping in dog poop while raking the leaves (another post that made me giggle) and crafting up some really fun things for her nugget, Jack!



She currently has a call for December sponsors over on her blog. She has a great Alexa ranking, strong Twitter following that is ever growing and an awesome amount of November pageviews!

Link up with her BlogHop on Thursdays where she talks about couponing, saving money, and being a hard working mama.

Stop by BabyShmizz today!