March 28, 2014

Five on Friday - Five Ways to Make Your Blog More Visually Welcome

Hello Friends! I wrote this post as a guest post for A Beautiful Exchange a couple weeks ago and I thought I would share on my blog as well as a Five on Friday edition.

I know that blog design can be pricey at times and if your blog is your hobby then you don't really want to spend much just to make it "pretty". I get it so I'd like to share a couple FREE tips/tricks to help you out. Let's make your blog "pretty" and more visually welcome without spending any money. Yay! 

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
I like reading blogs with a simple/white background don't you? Make your blog less "busy" looking by removing the background! Stick to simple fonts that are easy to read. The simpler the better. Plus it will take a lot less time for your page to load which means your readers won't grow inpatient waiting for your content to load and leave. Now I know some of you are not "simple" people and that's ok. It's ok to like glitz and glam, you can still have some of that on your header but it will be less distracting if you keep the rest of your blog clean and easy to read. 

2. REMOVE THE FRAMES
If you are using any of bloggers templates then chances are your pictures/graphics all have frames around them. Loose the frames so that your pictures stand out! You can do this by following my tutorial here

3. ENLARGE YOUR PHOTOS
Making your photos Larger makes them stand out more. Just visit some of your favorite blogs and see for yourself. I bet most of them have large photos! You can do this on blogger by clicking on your photo and this will pop up...
Then just click on "X-Large" or if your graphic is sized to fit the width of your post already then just click "Original size" like I did for the graphic used in this post.

4. DON'T CENTER
Your text that is! It's so much harder to read your wonderful post when your text is all centered. Don't make the mistake I did when I started out. Align your text to the left and it will make your posts SO MUCH easier to read. 

5. CENTER YOUR NAVIGATION BAR
This is one thing that looks best when centered: your navigation bar. It's more visually appealing when it's nice and centered. If you are using a blogger template you can easily do this using my tutorial here

I hope these tips work for you! They sure come in handy for those of you who are just starting to blog or maybe you've been blogging for a while but have neglected your design a little. 

Have a wonderful weekend!
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March 27, 2014

My Healthy + Fit Journey Progress Pics


Ok guys here they are. My before and current pictures side by side. I blogged about starting my healthy + fit journey in January and I've been sharing pictures of my food and workouts on instagram using #cinsarahgetsfits but I haven't shared before + after pictures with you all. I haven't lost a lot of weight but I can totally feel and see a difference in just the couple months I've been doing this. 

(Please excuse my funky/crazy hair)
I had Levi January of 2013 and although I lost all of the baby weight I knew I was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be fit. I wanted to feel good in my clothes. I hated that I had to suck it in and struggle to zip my pants up. I felt gross and finally did something about it. I started by eating healthier. No sodas, no junk. Then I joined a gym and would work out there twice a week and then twice a week doing work outs here at home. I haven't been to the gym in two weeks but that doesn't mean I haven't worked out. I've been working out at home and running outside. I love watching myself feel stronger and endure work outs a little more. I am not where I want to be but I feel TONS better than where I was in January. I would like to loose maybe 5 more lbs and then just maintain my weight. I'll be posting another update in a couple months. 

Meanwhile you can follow me on Instagram and use #cinsarahgetsfit to find my updates.
Are you in a healthy + fit journey yourself? I'd love to follow you!
 Leave me a comment with your blog or IG and I'll find ya! Let's encourage each other!
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March 24, 2014

Trendy Tots #2 - Freshly Picked

Happy Tuesday + Welcome to our SECOND Trendy Tots Tuesday Link Up! So excited to be featuring one of our favorite shops today: Freshly Picked. If you haven't heard of Freshly Picked by now then you are probably living under a rock (kidding...sort of). 

Freshly Picked moccasins or moccs are all over instagram! They are simply the best shoes for babes + tots. They're soft and comfy and perfect for those littles who can't seem to keep anything on (ahem Levi). Seriously Levi takes off anything and everything he can. From socks to his pants. This boy would rather be naked which is why I LOVE Freshly Picked moccs. They are the ONLY shoes he won't take off, won't even try! We got the Weathered Brown moccs for Levi and let me tell you as soon as we opened the little bag they smelled like heaven. I LOVE the smell of leather, don't you? You can pair these moccs with anything! I paired Levi's new moccs with a dressy outfit. Suspenders + a linen shirt + newsboy hat (which he ended up taking off) = perfect for spring! 
Hat: Target  |  Shirt: Gap  |  Suspender Shorts: H&M  |  Moccs: Freshly Picked
Guess What? You can win a pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins for your cutie! Link up with us for a chance to win! Make sure to visit Cindy's and/or Emily's blog to enter to win using rafflecopter. Don't forget to visit each of the hosts and co-hosts as we will each be featuring photos of our own kiddos. 
CINDY (CINSARAH) Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 
EMILY (EVERYTHING EMILY) Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
VANESSA (RAD AND REBELLIOUS) Blog |  Twitter | Instagram 
JOLEEN (LOVE JOLEEN) Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 

Link Up Rules:
-You may link up to 3 recent posts (March) with pictures of your babe/tot/kid and or style boards.
Any posts that have to do with your kids are more than welcome :)
-Follow Hosts + Co-Hosts   
-Please use our button (code below) on either your post/sidebar or you can use a text link that links back to either Cindy's or Emily's blog post. 
-Please link directly to a specific post not your homepage
-Visit other trendy tots linking up + show some love (comment)

Trendy Tots





a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to come back and link up with us again next month!
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March 21, 2014

Sopa De Fideo

A couple weeks ago I posted a photo on Instagram of our dinner which was this soup and some of you asked for a recipe. Today I'm sharing the recipe! This is my go to soup, it's so easy and the kids love it. I don't have exact measurements because you don't really need them. 

INGREDIENTS
- Fideo (you can find these noodles in the same isle as pasta)
- Frozen or Fresh veggies (I use frozen most of the time because it's easy!)
- Oil (I use olive oil)
- Cooked Chicken (optional)
- Chicken Broth + Water
- Chopped Onions
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- Salt + Pepper to taste

METHOD
Add enough oil to coat your medium saucepan. You then add your fideo noodles, onion + garlic and fry until your noodles turn slightly brown. Then you add your veggies, chicken, chicken broth (enough to almost fill pan) + salt/pepper. Cover your saucepan and simmer for about 15mins. Check your soup and add water as needed. Cook until noodles are soft. 

That's it! I know it's a little confusing because I don't have exact measurements but this soup is really that easy to make. It's what I make when I don't really feel like cooking.... which is pretty often. 
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March 19, 2014

WSW: Lace + Smiles

A while back I found these lace shorties at Marshalls and fell in love with them. They're perfect! I couldn't wait for Sarah to wear them but we couldn't find the perfect top. Sure we could do chambray but I wanted something dressier. Then I found this gorgeous Crewcuts silk top on Thred Up and I knew it was the one. Sarah LOVES dressing up. Taking photos? Not so much. I have to catch her in a good mood and yesterday she was in the mood. She even smiled for me! What?! I love this girl! 
Cardigan: Target |  Top: Crewcuts |  Shorts: Marshalls  |  Shoes: Zara

Don't forget this month's Trendy Tots link up is next Tuesday the 25th! We will be having an AWESOME giveaway so make sure to prep your posts and get them ready to link up. Remember you can link up to THREE posts from this month of March. If you are interested in co-hosting or if you are a shop and would like us to feature you please e-mail me and we can work something out. 
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March 18, 2014

Painting The Fireplace

If you follow me on Instagram then you know we FINALLY painted our fireplace. I say finally because it's been one of those things on my TO DO list forever. It seriously took about 15 mins to do this and it cost NOTHING. We had some leftover white paint from when we painted our baseboards a while back. Our fireplace before was dirty, off-white, dingy and just overall gross. It's crazy how some white paint makes a big difference. It took us just NINE years but it's done...
Here are some close ups so you can see what I mean when I say the fireplace was GROSS...
We still have to fix and paint those patches you see on the left there of the fireplace. That's another item on the TO DO list that still needs to be tackled.
We will be making more little home improvements in the next couple of weeks and I will be sharing pictures and more details here on the blog as we go. So stay tuned! :)
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March 14, 2014

Freebie Friday March - Alphabets

 Earlier this week I shared about closing my etsy shop and how I was going to giveaway my printables here on the blog each month. Well today I'm giving away my favorite print! I created this print for Sarah + Levi's shared nursery/room. Today is your lucky day! You get to download this print for free! I also created a couple different color combos so you are welcome to pick the one you like or download them all. All you have to do is click on the image and save to your desktop and print! This is an 8x10 print.


IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL OF MY PRINTABLES ARE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT SELL OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS PRINT OR CLAIM AS YOUR OWN. 

I'd love to see you using any of my printables. 
Send your picures to: cinsarah@gmail.com and I will feature them on my blog! ;)
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March 13, 2014

How To Get Free Clothes - Thred Up

You guys know I'm always on the lookout for a good deal. Especially on clothes! A while back I shared about Ebates and how I got a $10 Target gift card. Today I'm sharing about Thred up. Have you heard of it? If you haven't then let me tell you: It's this awesome online resale shop. What's so awesome about it? Well you get $10 if you sign up using my referral here. I signed up through a referral and got my $10. I found these cute Gap shoes for Sarah practically NEW and this Gap top for Levi as well...
and guess what I didn't pay anything! Not even shipping! I LOVED my FREE purchase so much I shared my referral link with a couple friends and got more money to shop. I have placed two more orders using money from my referrals. I can't wait to get them! It's all Gap, Crewcuts + Next clothes and I paid maybe $7 for 8 pieces of clothing! I'd say that's a good deal! Their prices are really good even without any discounts! I seriously LOVE it! I wouldn't share it with you all if I didn't. Sure I get $10 when you sign up and place an order using my referral but even if I didn't I'd still share. It's a good deal! Go spend your $10 here. Don't have kiddos? No problem! They've also got Women's clothes + shoes! (Your $10 discount applies at check out.) Happy Shopping!
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March 11, 2014

Closing Up Shop

I did it. I closed my etsy shop. I opened my etsy shop in 2009 just selling birth announcement designs and then moved on to art prints. I actually did pretty well for some time and then it slowed down, way down. There's just so many really good art print shops nowadays it's hard to compete. Plus I don't have time to come up with new prints anymore. So I decided it was time. Time to close up shop. I'm not sad about it not even a little. I actually feel good. I have SO MUCH on my plate right now. So many things that it's good to have ONE LESS thing to do/worry about. 

So what will I do now with all of these designs? I'm gonna be giving them away here on my blog! Hooray for FREEBIES! I will give one away each month. Remember a while back when I started Freebie Friday? Well it's coming back! I will be giving away a FREE PRINT every first Friday of every month. Since last Friday was the first of the month and also my blog's birthday I will post this month's freebie this Friday! So make sure to stop by my blog on Friday for your freebie. 

If you haven't already make sure to enter to win $160 Target Gift Card. Ends THIS FRIDAY!
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March 7, 2014

Three Years + A Giveaway


THREE YEARS! Today my blog turns THREE. I started this blog back in 2011. You can find my very first post here. It's been AWESOME! I remember debating whether I should start a blog or not. I wrote a post a while back on the PROS and CONS of Blogging and the cons I listed on there were what was holding me back from starting this blog. I was scared. I am glad I pushed through it though because there have been SO MANY good things that have come from me starting this blog. I could write a list long of them but I'm sure you didn't come to my blog today to read a long boring story but to enter my giveaway huh? It's ok! I would too! 

SO to celebrate my THREE years of blogging my Bloggy Sponsors + Friends joined me and we all pitched in to bring you a present. A $160 Target gift-card!! YAY!! I want to say THANK YOU to each and everyone of my bloggy friends who came together to make this giveaway possible. You are the best! You're one of the reasons why I love to blog! <3 

Now on to the good stuff! Enter to win the gift-card below using the Rafflecopter giveaway. US ONLY! Giveaway ends March 14th at 12AM CST. I will pick a winner and notify them that same day. Gift-card will be purchased that weekend and mailed out that following Monday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for following me along and Have a LOVELY weekend!!
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