Our Hands Change- Helping Animals One Step at a Time

Do you ever stumble upon people in your life that you realize right from the start are genuinely good people? That’s how I felt when I met my friends Rob Newton and Jessica Ernstberger (now Newton).

I met both of these wonderful humans in college. In fact, I introduced them to each other at my house. From there they dated, moved across the country, got married and then, best of all decided to help the world. Specifically, animals.

Rob and Jessica created their own animal sanctuary, which houses their twenty-three rescue goats, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and even a parrot. They call it Diego Farms, and they graciously care for these animals on their own.

Apparently housing these animals was not enough for them, because they’ve even taken it a step farther. They have started a company called, Our Hands Change. With every purchase made, 50% of that purchase will go to a charity. My favorite part is the money will either be donated in the form of cash, or given in the equivalent monetary amount of food and/or supplies (blankets, dog beds, dog toys, etc). All of their products are made right here in the US.

Check out their awesome site, and read the stories of the people and animals involved. If we had more people like Rob and Jess, the world would certainly be a much better place.

Save the elephants

My shirt is one of their best sellers. Check it out here!

9 Ways to Teach Your Kid to Love the Earth

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Happy Earth Day!

It took me many years to realize how precious our beautiful planet is, and how much we need to take care of it. I was never a very outdoorsy kid, and complained when I had to be outside. Flash forward to present day, and I am addicted to the fresh air, beautiful trees, and the sky never ceases to amaze me.

Luckily for my husband and I, our daughter also loves the outdoors. Whether it’s rainy, snowy, sunny or blowy she always wants to walk out that front door into the world. We love that she wants to be outside, and try to take her out and do activities every chance we get.

In honor of Earth Day today, here are some things you can do with your child to teach them how to love the earth even more than they already do.

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Go outside once a day.

Even if it’s cold and dreary, it’s good for children to experience the outdoors. Allowing them to be outside in different (safe) conditions allows them the opportunity to see what different forms of weather are like, how to dress appropriately for them, and what mother nature is capable of.

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Explore.

Kids love to explore. Especially at such a young age, it’s so beneficial for children to walk around during the different seasons and see what all these changes are like. Picking up pinecones, or flowers, stepping in soggy grass and hearing the water squish, dragging a stick on the ground, or watching ants in a hole are all experiences that allow children to learn about the world around them.

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Grow something together.

Choose something that you can grow together. You could try an indoor plant, outdoor plant, herb garden, vegetable garden, or even a shrub. Watch it grow and thrive together to teach you child about the proper ways of maintaining and caring for plants.

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Recycle.

Talk with your children about the importance of recycling. Find different projects that you can do with your child by reusing old things in your house, and finding a new purpose for it.

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Experience different places.

If you live by or travel to a lake, woods, beach, canyon, valley, geyser, or any other amazing part of our planet, show your kids what it’s like. The more places our children see the more informed they are about how the earth works.

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Go camping.

Nothing says family bonding experience like camping. Set up your tent, go for a hike, play in the creek, and roast marshmallows over a campfire. Listen to the different animal noises, and enjoy the new atmosphere around you.

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Visit a nature center.

Nature centers are a great place to allow kids the opportunity to see how different plants and animals survive and thrive. This may not be something that they can normally see in their day to day experiences with the world, and can be a great learning opportunity on caring for animals and plants.

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Donate to a charity for your child’s favorite animal.

There are so many charities that you can donate to help animals in need. Whether it’s your local Humane Society, or any other organization, this will show your child that they can give back to the Earth and the animals that live there. Maybe they can even help their favorite animal!

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Educate yourself about our beautiful planet.

Learn different names of plants local to your home or area. Determine what animals are native to where you live, and how you can help ensure they are treated right. When children see their parents involved, it will only make them want to be involved more too.

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Love your Earth and all the beautiful parts of it!

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The Cutest Pom Pom Sweatshirt

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Mama’s Outfit // Pullover: Vineyard Vines Leggings: Nordstrom

Margot’s Outfit // Pullover: PatPat Leggings: Target

In the summer months we eat ice cream cones more than we should. In the winter months we will be wearing this ice cream cone sweatshirt more than we should. What can I say? It’s too cute!

I found this sweater on PatPat’s website along with some other goodies that I am obsessed with. Not only is the material very thick, warm and good quality, their clothes are so adorable.

Stay tuned for more sweet toddler outfits from PatPat!

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Pineapple Clothing- Mommy & Me

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Margot and I have hit the jackpot. We have found the cutest site that houses the most adorable clothing for mothers and daughters. It is called Pineapple Clothing and has tons of cute products made in the US. From leggings to dresses and skirts this website has so many options for mothers and daughters who like to match. Or for mothers who like to match their daughters when in reality the daughters have no choice. #sorrynotsorry

We tried out some of the printed leggings and they fit us both perfectly. I especially love the way they fit Margot. She is a tall girl for her age, and I was worried they wouldn’t be long enough, but they were so stretchy that they were easy to get on her, and fit like a glove. My next purchases will be some dresses for Easter and Mother’s day.

Right now I can offer you 20% off your entire purchase with the code brilivCheck out their website for tons of mother and daughter options!

Thank you to Pineapple Clothing for partnering with me on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Why Your Friends and Family Don’t Like Your Posts on Instagram

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I started blogging during the summer of 2017. It started as a fun hobby to try out. I was pretty good with computers, I loved taking pictures, and typing out my thoughts seemed just as easy to me as talking aloud. It then turned into something more. Companies began contacting me asking if I would represent their products on my blog. I have accepted offers from companies that I loved and admired, but also have declined companies that I didn’t feel I could represent.

As I started blogging more, I also started using my Instagram account as a related platform that sometimes led to the blog. I more than doubled my Instagram following in just a few months of utilizing it differently. I became more passionate about the photographs that I was taking, posting different content than I had before.

One day I posted a picture on Instagram that I was very proud of. The lighting was beautiful, the caption was sarcastically hilarious, and the content was spot on. Later that night when I hopped back on Instagram I was surprised at how many random people had liked the photo, but how many of my friends and family members had not. I then went back to other photos and looked to see who exactly was liking my content. Since most of my following is friends and family I would have assumed that they would be the ones liking my content more than strangers or new followers, but almost all of my pictures were in fact the opposite.

At first I was a little put off. I thought why are these people who love me and know me not supporting my content? Why are they scrolling past my pictures without giving me the double tap? Then I realized two reasons why.

They didn’t sign up for this.

They didn’t sign up for this content. They didn’t subscribe to my new form of Instagram. They didn’t sign up for the #sponsored posts from companies contacting me. They didn’t start following me to find out the amazing deal I got on this new sweater. My friends and family had started following my account when I was a non-blogger, just casually posting about my life here and there.

They use Instagram differently.

Most people use Instagram as a form of posting photos and videos for friends and family to see. Myself as well as other bloggers use it differently. We utilize it as a platform to drive to another social media platform. We use it for networking and to connect. We use the Instagram account as a whole, and not just a single photograph posted randomly. Bloggers use Instagram differently, and in a way that others may not be able to relate to, and that’s okay.

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If you are a blogger, affiliate, or influencer it’s important to remember that you can have a following without your friends and family. It does not mean that they don’t support you, it just means that they don’t fully understand what it is that you do.

After months of blogging I have found a small following. People that were once strangers continue to like each post and picture that I post today. They support me, send me words of encouragement, and love what I am passionate about most. Find those people, and don’t be upset with your friends and family for just having a different outlook.

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The Cutest Rain Cloud Sweater

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Sweater: PatPat | Pants: Target | Shoes: Robeez

How cute is this rain cloud sweater I found for Margot?

I purchased this sweater not only because I thought it was adorable, but also because it had a simple meaning. Margot was our sweet rainbow baby after our miscarriage. We were so fortunate to get pregnant very soon after the miscarriage and follow through with a healthy pregnancy. She is always the reminder to me that even when it rains, there can always be a rainbow.

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Stay tuned for more adorable finds from PatPat that I recently purchased!

*This post contains affiliate links.

How My Christmas Wedding Gave Me Christmas Decorations For Life

I love Christmas. It is my absolute favorite time of the year. I can’t imagine there are very many people who would argue with me on this.

My love for Christmas is what sparked the idea to not only have a winter wedding, but a Christmas wedding. My husband and I were married on December 27. We figured that people wouldn’t be too mad to celebrate our special day with a little extra Christmas cheer. One more day of Christmas? Why not!

There were many awesome things about having a winter wedding, but one of the best reasons that has paid off in the long run is the amount of Christmas decorations we are set with for life!

Decorating for a wedding was expensive, so when we made decisions for our decor, we asked ourselves, “Will we use this again at some point?”. Most of the time the answer was yes, and flash forward three years later to see how.

Ornaments

I’m not going to lie, after my wedding I did not want to look at an ornament again for a long time. They were everywhere in our wedding. I wrote names on ornaments for the seating arrangements, we had them hanging in different locations, and they were in bowls on tables for decor.

Now I use them for similar purposes. I place them out as decor, we actually hang some of the ornaments on our tree, and I’ve even used the extra ones as place settings for dinner with friends or family around the holidays.

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Berries

We decided to not have flowers at the tables for our wedding. Instead we used lanterns, and tons of candles that were filled with berries. I still use those berries today as decor during the Christmas season, as well as the lanterns.

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Lights

We certainly have enough lights in our house when Christmas comes around. We had lights everywhere at our wedding, and it’s safe to say we are set with lights for the rest of our lives.

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Snowflakes

We decided to cut out and hang snowflakes at our venue (easier said than done). It ended up looking beautiful, with a lovely winter feel. After all the hard work myself and many family and friends put into those snowflakes, there was no way I was just going to throw them away. Instead I decided to hang them in my daughter’s nursery. She loves them!

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Christmas Pictures

When I decorate for Christmas I like to put away the normal, day-to-day pictures that hang in our house and instead fill them with Christmas pictures. It ended up turning into hanging a bunch of wedding pictures with the Christmas feel.

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Random Decor

There are so many other things that we have decorated our house with that were used on our special day. From signs, to little knick knacks it helps make our Christmas season that much more memorable.

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Think Outside The Box With Your Art

When it comes to art there are so many different types that can fill your home. From paintings to pictures, and sculptures to knick knacks there are tons of options to choose from when looking for the perfect decor.

For the longest time we did not have any art on our walls because of two reasons. The first being that I thought art was too expensive. The places I was looking just didn’t seem realistic to buy from because it was way more than I could afford. The second reason was I really didn’t know what I wanted. I had no idea what to put on the walls, or around my house on shelves and bookcases. I was totally clueless.

Then I started thinking outside the box. I began using all sorts of things as art, and some were so cheap or even free. I had the chance to try some DIY art as well, and it was a fun process.

Use magazines, cards or calendars for art.

We received a beautiful card at our wedding that was 3D. It was incredibly way too cute to get rid of, so for the longest time it just sat on my dresser. I had no idea what to do with it, when I realized, “Wait, it’s so adorable, why don’t I hang it up!”

That’s exactly what I did, and now each day I get to see this bright, little card that reminds me of my wedding day.

I’ve also done with this cool magazine ads or calendar prints that I can frame. SO CHEAP!

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Get crafty!

There are tons of ideas floating around Pinterest that it’s so easy to find something you love that is easy to make. Remember the blue button tree that was constantly pinned years ago? I thought I’d try that and now I love bringing this little orange tree I made out in the fall season. All it took was a little paint, buttons and hot glue.

I also made the fun little Welcome sign below. That was a little trickier to make. I used the same technique to make this as I did here.

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Repurpose something fun.

There are so many old pieces of furniture that you can repurpose. Old shutters, pieces or wood, doors, and old windows are just a few examples of things you can try to restore or paint over. Again, there are tons of tutorials and examples on Pinterest if you’re looking for some inspiration.

I bought this old shutter from a friend. It was so easy to sand down, and repaint so I can hang pictures on it with clothespins,

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Find cute prints that are meaningful and easy to frame.

One of my latest crazes is creating text prints to frame in my home. They can be fun and quirky, and add lots of character to a home. They are perfect for a fun gallery wall in your home.

A friend gave this to my daughter for her nursery and I think it is adorable!

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Check out some fun prints I have created at my Society6 store!

My Cozy Ten Minutes

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We all need it. Alone time, time to myself, me time, time to decompress; whatever you call it, every person should get a little of it each and every day.

That is easier said than done. With priorities and responsibilities pulling you left and right it can be so hard to find some time for yourself to wind down.

What is even harder for me is actually enjoying it. When finally getting the chance to sit down and relax, I found that I was not able to utilize the time wisely. I constantly felt like I should be completing something on my never ending to-do list, and as I sat there I would think, “this is a waste of time”.

Oh, how wrong I was.

When I wasn’t getting “me time” I was burnt out. I was irritable, and cranky. I still couldn’t get things accomplished because I was trying to multi-task and rush to finish something without thought. I was snapping at my family for things that were not a big deal.

I realized this was not okay, and I needed even just a simple ten minutes a day to wind down and just be alone. This was one of the best, and healthiest routines I’ve ever decided to do. I thought I’d share how I spend my “me time”, so maybe you can use it for “you time”.

Set the mood.

I’ve learned I need to not only be someplace I enjoy, but somewhere away from the rest of the world for just a moment. I personally like a calm, dark scene so I can light a candle and relax. I have found the perfect candle subscription box company to help set the perfect mood. Vellabox is a company that provides you with a hand-poured, artisan candle. With all the talk lately about how unhealthy candles can be, this company provides quality, toxin-free, lead-free healthy candles. In each cute box you get a candle and one surprise gift. My latest Vellabox provided me with not only an amazing scented candle, but a perfect tea bag that complimented it. On such a chilly, autumn night both items helped to make it comfy and cozy.

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Find the best time.

You need to find even a quick ten minutes that work for you. Some people enjoy their me time just sitting in a warm shower for an extra few minutes. Some use time in the car to sit quietly and decompress. My favorite time is toward the end of the night after I’ve put my daughter to sleep so I can relax and think about the day I’ve just had, and about my day tomorrow.

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Do something you enjoy.

For those ten minutes you should do something that makes you happy. Maybe it’s just watching one quick show on Netflix, eating a yummy snack, reading a book, drinking tea, a glass of wine (or both), or even just playing Candy Crush on your phone (do people still play that?) Personally I have realized I enjoy putting my phone away and doing something without a screen in front of me. I found I even just enjoy sitting there in silence to leave myself with my thoughts.

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No one can do it all, and you can’t forget to take care of yourself. Find your cozy ten minutes a day, and treat yourself to something wonderful that you enjoy. Still need some coziness to your “me time”? Don’t forget to check out Vellabox to help set the mood. You won’t be disappointed.

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How I Get Motivated to Run

If you are anything like me the worst part of running is getting ready to run. From putting on my clothes to walking out the door I procrastinate like no other. Some days it takes me longer to get ready for a run than it actually takes me to run, and it’s not because I’m a fast runner.

The funny thing is that once I’m actually running I don’t mind it, and when I finish a run I’m glad I did it. Because of this I’ve come up with some ways to motivate myself before the run.

Buy running clothes you’re excited to wear.

Yes that’s right, I’m telling you to go shopping! Go get yourself some workout gear that is comfortable, and fun to wear while you run. It will make you so excited to want to use them. Don’t go using your old gym shoes that give you blisters, or you will never be motivated to run.

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Jacket: Nordstrom | Shirt: Under Armour | Leggings: Nordstrom | Shoes: Nike | Bra: Nordstrom

Find a route you love to run.

After you’ve gone running a few times, find a route that you just love to run. Who cares if it is the same route every single time. If you’re happy that’s all that matters.

My favorite place to run is a local cemetery that is gorgeous, flat and has fall leaves for days.

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Have a playlist you run to, and even a playlist you get ready to run to.

Some people don’t like to listen to music while they run, but that is what keeps me motivated and on pace. I have started using the “Running” feature on Spotify which gives you music that you can run to at a certain pace. All the songs mesh together into the same beat so you never have to change your running rhythm.

If you need some motivation before your run make a playlist to listen to that gets you pumped for what you’re about to accomplish.

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Untangling headphones sometimes takes longer than the actual run.

Whether your runs are short, long, flat, hilly, hard or easy at least you’re running and staying healthy. If you can get passed the pre-run procrastinating you can do anything you set your mind to.

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

NORDSTROM.com