Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WYWW #11 and 5 Ways to make Link Up Parties Fun!

OurLifeonaBudget
Y'all LeslieNikkiMelissa and I, really are LOVING reading all of your posts!  We are so excited to see the growth in our little link up over the past few weeks.  More people are posting, more people are sharing, more people are clicking!  

That being said… I have decided to share a few ways to make link parties fun!



1. Link Up-
Okay, so this probably goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway.  Link up a related post for the week.  Or, if the link allows it, a post that you wish got more traffic in the past!  Don't have a blog? Link directly to your Instagram (again, if the link party allows it, check their rules).  When you link up you are getting more readers and NEW readers to follow your blog!

2. Read and Comment
Pick a couple of other posts and actually read them and comment.  This is what link parties were made for, finding new blogs, connecting to new people!  You may even find a new blog you want to follow or a new blogging friend!

3. Use Twitter Too
Share the love!  I know I get excited when someone tweets my blog!  If I read an especially good blog post, you better believe I am going to tweet it.

4.  Don't Forget About Pinterest
This is actually one of my favorite ways to use and connect to link parties.  Being a busy working mama, often I do not have time to read and comment on posts as I would like to!  So often what I do is skim a post and save it for later by pinning it.  This is awesome for both parties, because I can save the link for later and I am directing traffic to the other person's blog through Pinterest

5. As You Get More Involved in Link Parties, Don't Let Them Take Over
Each morning when I work on blog stuff, I link up to a few link parties.  Sometimes I find that I am trying to connect with too many, that I am not having time to really connect with each.  So I say less is more connect to a few that you really like and fit your blog.  Also, I rarely write a post just for a certain link up.  For example, I  know linking up with What I Wore Wednesday will bring me a lot of traffic… but I just don't write about fashion that much.  I feel contrived if I try to force myself to write about something that I don't usually write about.  So if I write about fashion… great, I will link up… if I don't I don't force it!  Good thing about What You Wish Wednesday… you can link up just about whatever you want! :)

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Now it is time for you to link up and share!  As usual you can linkup just about whatever you wish!

Link-up details. It's too easy not to join in:

*share a recent post of your choosing (link-up at very bottom of this post)
*include the WYWW button and/or a visible link-back to this post
*check out the hostesses' blogs and follow along: StasiaLeslieNikki, and Melissa
*check out a few posts and share the love

OurLifeonaBudget

Look forward to reading your posts :)

Also you can follow me at…
Blogger Instagram Pinterest Facebook Twitter

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    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coffee, Affiliates and Sponsored Posts

After the move, I am trying to get back to some sort of regular routine.  Those that know me well know that I am a crazy morning person.  I love to get up in the morning with my Bible, journal and computer, with a cup of coffee. The somewhat unfortunate thing is my daughter seems to also be a morning person waking up at around 6-6:30AM most mornings (can anyone say apple and tree?  I don't know why I expected anything different). The reason that this is unfortunate is that even though I am a morning person, it requires VERY early hours to get in my desired time in the morning.  So my mornings tend to go something like this…
4-4:30 Wake up (This does not always happen… sometimes the tiredness that comes along with being a mama wins)
4:30ish-5:00ish Quiet time
5-6ish blog work/diaper work/school work
6ish workout (this has not been happening lately, but like I said, I am trying to get BACK in routine :))
6:30ish BD wakes

Sooooo… my mornings look like this….

So right now I am enjoying my coffee and pondering affiliates and sponsored posts.  For those that don't know about affiliate marketing and sponsored posts, I thought I would share it here this morning and some of my thoughts on it. 

What is affiliate marketing?
When businesses pay a small percentage on the total sale when something is bought from a direct link to that business, from a website or blog in my case.  So for example, a while back I posted about two books I was reading.  The links I shared connected to my amazon affiliate account.  Any sales generated from those link would lead to a little (and when I say little I mean little) profit on my part.

What are sponsored posts?
In my case, this has been when a business has contacted me with a item they want to share with me for free in exchange for sharing my honest opinion here on the blog.  For example, this post and this post.

Why am I sharing this with you now?
That is a good question :) You see I ponder posts like wishing I had started blogging sooner and why I write.  I think about my blog, where it is at and what I want it to be.  I think about "What kind of blogger am I?" And I don't have all the answers to these questions.  I know the I want this blog to be first and for most part of my ministry sharing Christ and living for Him with all my readers.  I also know that for me that does not mean sharing a mini devotion in every post… I share tips and life, and really a bit of everything.  I know some bloggers are pro affiliates and sponsors and some that think you are selling out if you do those things. 

As far as affiliate marketing and sponsored posts I have just started dabbling in these things.  But I do not take this lightly and I promise that I am not just trying to sell you stuff :).  After a lot of pondering my thoughts are this…
On affiliates- I am going to start doing these if they fit a post I am already writing or sharing.  Like I said, it is not "just to get you to buy something." It is something I already have or desire to get that I truly believe in.  Let me say this, if I have an opportunity to make a little money for my family, I want to do it.  Even if it is just 12 cents :).  I also know that I am not going to let these take over or change my writing.  Like I said… *if* I see it fit, I will add it.  And *if* I make any money it is a small amount.  And if you really don't like affiliate marketing, you can just skip my direct link all together and go straight to the site.  Then I won't make my 12 cent :)  I will also always let you know when I have included affiliate links… you actually legally have to do this.
  
On sponsored posts- Like affiliates, I am only going to share things that connect to me and my readers.  When somebody asks me to sponsor something that is not me, I say "Thanks, but no thanks."  

All that being said this blog is an interesting thing.  It is my outlet, I love to write and share.  It is my journal and my baby book at times.  But it is also starting to generate a small amount of income.  So how those things go together… like I said I am figuring it out. But I promise this, my blog will continue to be about, Christ, my family and my readers, not a sales pitch.  And if y'all from time to time support my family through the blog, it will be greatly appreciated! :)

What about you bloggers out there?  Do you do affiliates?  what about sponsored posts?  I know this can be a touchy subject, so be nice :)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Post: Living in the Promise

Guest post time!  This is Christy at Living in the Promise.  She is near and dear to my heart because she is not only a blogger friend ( not that there is anything wrong with that :)), but she is a face-to-face friend.  She started a working mom group this past year that has been such an encouragement to my life.  Anyways, this is one awesome woman and family that God is using.  Take the time to read her post here and check her blog out!

Hi, there! I'm Christy and I blog over at Living in the Promise.



My simple, little blog started about 4 years ago as a means to document my journey with the Lord. I used it as a space to share the lessons I learned from Him and prayer requests. Over time, the space morphed into a more general, lifestyle blog. And it has sort of shifted back and forth from general life to spiritual lessons ever since.

In the past year, a tiny human has invaded my blog space. My sweet little boy is now 9 months old and is growing and developing at lightening speed, or so it seems. I've used the blog to document his many new developments, beginning with weekly bump shots during pregnancy, to posts about breastfeeding and natural deliveries, to monthly update posts.




Despite this new focus, my space has not lost its true identity. Perhaps even more than before, I find it helpful to have a place to share the many things God is teaching me. If you're a parent, I'm sure you can give me a big ol' AMEN to this--but parenting is not easy! Sure, there are endless joys, but there are struggles, big decisions, things change, you question yourself, your patience is tested again and again, and you start comparing yourself to all the mommies you know--not to mention the mommy bloggers, FB groups, and countless articles about things you never knew you cared about before, like the toxicity of sunscreens and the benefits of coconut oil.

Truly, I have found that the only way to survive this parenting gig is to lean heavily on God as my guide, comfort, security, rest, and source of wisdom. You will never find an article or blog post that is 100% genuine and free of bias. Even scientific data can be skewed. And even when you do all that you possibly can, you will make mistakes. Your baby will bonk his head on a metal grate (true story) or you will accidentally feed him honey baked beans (yes, true again!). Or you'll think you're doing a great job feeding him healthy foods only have a nagging feeling that it's not good enough because it's not 100% organic.

The only thing that is consistently the same, that isn't skewed by bias or personal experiences, that never conflicts and never condemns your efforts of doing your best...is God. He guides me to make wise choices and gives me grace when I make mistakes. In my weakness, He is my strength. When I'm frustrated, exhausted, or wondering what in the world I've gotten myself into...God is the source of my renewed patience and energy, and He reminds me of just how blessed I am to be given the opportunity to be a mommy to this little boy.

So now I talk a little more about the miraculous powers of breastmilk and how mindblowingly advanced my baby is (at least in my eyes!), but this little blog of mine still points straight to God. Because without Him, there is no way I could handle all the rest of my crazy, wonderful life!

Thank you Christy for sharing!!! :)
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WYWW #10 and Featured!

Welcome to 
OurLifeonaBudget
Where are we at this week?
Moving
Job Searches
Job Decisions
Etc. Etc. Etc.
In other words, this week is bananas- and in light of that I am sharing this photo of my little.
Her shirt actually says it- "This is bananas"
With out further ado… I will share my faves from last week!
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Features….
For Encouragement- 
An Almost Perfect Picture: Social Media and Self Control
This one reminded me of my own blog post about Getting Social Media Use Under Control.  Love her perspective… had to share!
 For the Crafty- 
Dollar Store Clip Boar Craft
The teacher and budgeter in me is in love!
For the Budgeter- 
Why I love the latte factor 
An interesting perspective… I have never been an everyday latte girl, but I do like on occasionally!  This is a good strategy to save even on the occasional latte.
For the Fashion Savy- 
Summer Dress and More Haul
I love a dress… and these picks are great! :)
_________________________
Now it is time for you to link up and share!  As usual you can linkup just about whatever you wish!

Link-up details. It's too easy not to join in:


*share a recent post of your choosing (link-up at very bottom of this post)
*include the WYWW button and/or a visible link-back to this post
*check out the hostesses' blogs and follow along: StasiaLeslieNikki, and Melissa

OurLifeonaBudget

Look forward to reading your posts :)

Also you can follow me at…
Blogger Instagram Pinterest Facebook Twitter

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    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Desert Road...

As many of you readers know, God has really been stretching and teaching our family lately.  I wrote about it here and here.
Long story short…
My husband took a one year internship this past year.  We ended in May, and have to be out of our apt by the end of this week!  We have been applying, waiting, interviewing… all since January.
And we are still waiting, still deciding.  This has been a true testing of our faith in 
God's Timing Not Ours!
All that to be said… I don't have any juicy tidbits about exactly what we are doing this next school year, though I know all of you are on the edge of your seat, just waiting for the announcement (I kid, I kid).  But I do have another little bit of encouragement that I have learned through this.
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I have been reading through and studying Acts. Yesterday I was really caught by Philip's story in Acts 8.  The church had just started really getting persecuted after the stoning of Stephen and as a result they were scattered through Judea and Samaria.  Fortunately, what was being done to hurt the movement for Christ actually helped because Christ went with them and was proclaimed wherever they went.  That brings us to Acts 8:4-8
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

From what I can tell, Philip was rocking it in Samaria.  I mean people were being impacted for Christ.  Now skip ahead to Acts 8:26
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”



God was using Philip in great ways in Samaria.  And then BOOM, angel, and that desert road command.  How appealing is that?  What if someone said to you, "I know everything is going good here, but I want you to walk down that desert road, into the unknown."  Well, Philip had to go, it was pretty clear considering God had sent an angel and everything.  The rest of Acts 8 goes to share how he met a Ethiopian eunuch, who was pretty important guy in his area.  Philip shared Christ with him the eunuch became a believer, was baptized and then Philip was suddenly taken away (that part is amazing to me too) to preach somewhere else.

Philip obediently left a ministry that was working to go down a desert road.  This probably felt unknown, or even like a demotion.  But God used this.  That Ethiopian eunuch that came to Christ, thus creating an "in" that brought Christ to a new place!

I think about where we have been in the past.
Coming to Statesboro in the first place, not really our plan.   Another year of an internship after the hubs had already been an intern for the past 3 years.  To be totally transparent, it just didn't seem right.  But we were obedient to God's call.  This past year, we have built relationships, shared Christ, learned… it is an experience we could not have foreseen and now would not trade!  God really used it in big ways for his glory!

I think of where we are now.  Unknown, choices, risk (yea, I know I am being vague, but you are just going to have to go with it).  We have come to realize, we don't need to choose what seems safe or secure, we need to step out in faith down our desert road.

Where are you today?  What desert road God calling you to go down?
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WYWW #9 and What We Wore

What You Wish Wednesday at the end of the post!
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My wonderful hubs and daddy to BD did a little photo shoot for us yesterday!  I love the pictures even though they were taken on my iPhone (my regular camera is already packed)!
*BD is wearing a white wrap dress that I wore when I was little, with a red bow and her brown Salt Water sandals.
* I am wearing a custom eShakti dress, red bubble necklace and Kenneth Cole shoes.
A while back eShakti  contacted me about doing a product review for an item from their website.  So I went and checked it out and found out that they are an online clothing company that specializes in custom clothing at inexpensive prices.  And when I say custom, I mean custom.  When I picked this dress (which took me a while because there were so many cute styles ranging from casual to dressy) I got to tell them everything.  I told them all my specific measurements, I had options for pocket or no pockets (pockets, duh :)), neckline and length.  My dress arrived and fit like a glove because it was made for me!
I particularly love that I got to choose the length.  I don't know if you have noticed, but the selections for dresses right now are short and shorter.  Being that I am already 5 '10' (ish… maybe more), I currently can't find dresses that are not too short.  For this dress I opted for a much longer cut so I could have no worries as I chase after and pick up BD!
The other thing that was awesome about the custom dress for me personally was the waist. Because I am tall, the waists on dresses always hit above my waist.  I thought that was how it had to be, so I have always just accepted awkward fitting dresses.  But because of my measurements the dress hit my waist just as it was supposed to!  
Anyways, I am loving this dress and company!  I think it would be great for bridesmaid dresses (under $100 with no alterations? Yes please), everyday dresses, tops, skirts and more!
I think it is definitely something worth checking out.  If you do here is a coupon code 'stylebudget'-  exclusively created for my readers to get 10% OFF when they shop at eShakti – 
valid from 07/11/2014 – 08/11/2014
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Now it is time for you to link up and share!  As usual you can linkup just about whatever you wish!

Link-up details. It's too easy not to join in:


*share a recent post of your choosing (link-up at very bottom of this post)
*include the WYWW button and/or a visible link-back to this post
*check out the hostesses' blogs and follow along: StasiaLeslieNikki, and Melissa

OurLifeonaBudget

Look forward to reading your posts :)

Also you can follow me at…
Blogger Instagram Pinterest Facebook Twitter
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    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guest Post: Do it Yourself Refinished Chairs!

My blogging friend Lauren is stopping by today from Sincerely, Lo… her blog inspires me in my marriage and home!  She did an awesome DIY project to share here with my readers today!  

Hello! I'm Lauren, the lady behind Sincerely, Lo

I am a follower of Christ, a wife to the man of my dreams, a fur mama of four and a lover of sweet tea, interior décor and some DIY projects!
Stasia has been so sweet and generous by letting me stop by and share one of my DIY projects on her blog today!

I love home decor. I mean I LOVE home decor. I constantly move furniture around to make our home look fresh, I constantly think of new décor ideas for our home and I love taking junk-y furniture and making it beautiful. I love decorating and making a cold space into a warm, cozy place that I like to call my home. 

If you think you may like the idea of remodeling furniture, GO FOR IT! Seriously, I just started remodeling an old china cabinet one day for the heck of it...and now I cant stop. I am constantly paining or coming up with new ideas for every single piece of furniture I have.
Also, if you are wanting to start remodeling furniture, go to some yard sales! Don't worry about quality. Most of the time when I buy pieces from yard sales, they need some tender loving care with some sandpaper. But, yard sales are a great place to find all types of furniture and it is always so important to stay in a small budget!

These two chairs I purchased at a yard sale about a year or so ago.  I paid only $ 7 for both which I thought was a steal!

What you will need
- chairs that need to be refurbished, painted and made beautiful
- sandpaper to make the chairs smooth
- any color paint that you would like (just go for the quart size, you will have plenty!)
- any fabric that you choose
- a screwdriver to take the seat off of the chair
- a staple gun to attach the fabric to the seat cushion
- your favorite tunes to listen to
- oh, and a glass of sweet tea. because you can never do a project without it :)
Starting out, they were old looking with horrible seat fabric. Just blah and boring. But, they only needed a good cleaning and I was able to get to work pretty quickly :)
PS- Please forgive me for my lighting. I have no idea what was going on with my camera. 
First, I removed the seats from the chair. If you have a chair you have been wanting to fix up, this is very simple. Just take a screwdriver, flip the chair over and unscrew the bottom screws. 
 I am pretty sure it took me thirty minutes to pick out a paint color. 
I am one of those people who will take ten minutes to order at a fast food place because I think it has to be the perfect choice. 
Yes, horrible.
For this, I just chose a small 32 oz can of a very, very baby blue. To some it may look white unless you really take a hard look at it. 
I then took a trip to Hobby Lobby for some fabric. It took me what seemed like 40 minutes to pick out fabric. But they have SO MANY CHOICES. So I had an excuse this time :)
After the painting, I let it dry and then took a staple gun and surrounded the existing fabric with the new fabric. Sometimes, people completely throw out the seat and start fresh with a new seat but the seats on this chair were in great shape so I felt no need to completely start over with a new seat.  
I LOVE the way the chairs turned out!
 They now have a new home in our very front room. 
.....and then my OCD self had to do something with that small table in the middle.
Plus, who doesn't love some pale pink?
PSS- Also, please excuse that light outlet back there. Currently searching for new ones
PSSS- For some reason my lighting made the chairs look splotchy and unfinished on the bottoms. Please ignore :)
There you have it sweet ladies! Super simple and a wonderful first project to start on!
Thank you so much to Stasia for allowing me to share my DIY today!
I would love for you to head on over to my lifestyle blog and travel along with my husband and I as we take on this huge adventure that we all call life :)

XOXO
Lauren
Sincerely Lo