Exciting Changes Coming

Happy Friday everyone! I woke up to snow coming down this morning, which is really annoying. Seriously, spring, just get here already. I’m dying to wear flip flops again.

Anyway … I’ve been pondering going self-hosted on WordPress for awhile now, and I’ve finally decided to make the leap. I want that annoying “.wordpress.com” to go away in my URL, I want more control of my design, I want to use plug ins, and I want to take my blog to the next level. It’s terrifying, but I’m gonna give it a go.

My whole weekend is clear of any plans, so my goal is to do it over this weekend. I am truly awful at design, CSS, HTML, and anything remotely technical. I apologize in advance if anything appears glitchy on this site because of the switch. I am pretty sure I will screw something up, but fingers crossed I can handle it.

I’ve also decided to offer sponsorships as part of this change. I don’t have enough followers or experience yet to go big, but just a few spots for very cheap prices. Maybe it’ll be a flop, but I’m going with the logic that you don’t know if you don’t try. I plan to offer the entire first month free as a way to get the hang of managing sponsors without feeling bad for taking money in case I suck at it.

If anyone has any tips or advice at all for me on these changes, I would love to hear them. I need all the help I can get.

I would also like to say a great big thanks to a few special ladies who already have helped me prepare for these changes. Amberly, Charlene, Katie and Katie, I wouldn’t be making this switch without your wise words of advice and encouragement. Thank you!!!

Hopefully you all come back next week and see a brand new Notes from a Newlywed. If not, then I screwed up, got discouraged and gave up. Or, I got distracted by spring cleaning instead.

Wish me luck. Thanks all!

I’m nominated – help me win!

Somehow, I got nominated for the Best New Blogger Award from My So Called Chaos‘ new blog awards. I feel so loved and so happy! This whole new world of blogdom, has meant a lot to me since I started. It’s really helped me grow, express my feelings, feel connected, make new friends and feel really fulfilled. But to actually be recognized for what I’m doing means so much. So. Much.

If you enjoy this little spot of the Interwebs, I would be oh so appreciative if you would take a few moments to vote for me in these awards. Click on the button below, or in my sidebar, and select me in the new blog space. You do have to vote in all the categories for your vote to count, but if you don’t have time to actually look at all the blogs in that list (who would! we’re all busy people), you can just pick at random for some categories. Let me recommend though that you vote for some of my bloggy friends who are also in the list (Voyage of the MeeMee, The Florkens, Endlessly Beloved, Texas Mrs., Wifessionals, The Best of Intentions, Whispering Sweet Nothings; and Stop Apologizing for most inspirational).

My So-Called Chaos Best of Blog Awards

On another note, I love that I’ve discovered tons of new blogs from the nominations in these awards. I’ve already started following several of them. And that Be Nice Box? What an amazing thing! Even if I don’t win my category, that is totally OK. It’s already been a success for me just to be nominated and to have found great new places on the web from the list.

But you should still vote for me if you have time. Please. I will give you virtual hugs and love you forever. Maybe even make you a cake. Name my first child after you. You get the idea. 🙂

My Liebster Award – I Won Something!

You know, it’s a regular day, just checkin’ my email, and then I see a note from Anne, who blogs at Love the Here and Now telling me that she nominated me for a Liebster Award! I am so freakin’ ecstatic that she thought of me for this super awesome bloggy honor. It means so much to me to be recognized and just gives me lots of warm fuzzies. Thank you Anne! I am seriously thrilled.

And then as I’m drafting this very blog post, I get an email that someone else has also nominated me for this award! This one’s from Michelle at It’s the New Twenty. Best blog day ever? Sha, I think so! Seriously, thank you so much, Michelle. I feel so incredibly grateful to know that I meant enough to be thought of for this.

Love the Here and Now

So for those who don’t know, the Liebster Award is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers who are smaller/still growing, but have tons of potential and are generally awesome. When you get one, you give it to more people, passing the bloggy honors around. The rules of winning the award are (taken from Anne’s blog):

  • Link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions requested by the nominator.
  • Choose 11 nominees with small followings (from as small as 200 or 2,000).
  • You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
  • You must let the bloggers know they were nominated.

Paying it forward, here are the smallerish blogs I follow that I think are the bees knees that I wish to bestow this honor upon (I also chose to only pick blogs that hadn’t previously been nominated as far as I could tell):

1. Allison from Texas Mrs.
2. Kathryn, and my Carabox partner, from The Grace-Filled Home
3. Cortney, and my “Big” blog sister, from The Little Things & Vodka
4. Brooklyn from A Little Too Jolley
5. Cammi from From Nearly to Newly
6. Leah from The Organized Chicken
7. Brooklyn from To Infinity and B. Haun
8. Gina from Gina’s Agenda
9. Nikki from Rural Rookie
10. Kari at Kari Life
11. Lisa from Two Martinis

The questions I was given from Anne, and my answers, are:

  • What was the best vacation that you have gone on? Hands down, my honeymoon. It was in New Orleans in late June, and while it was hot, it was the best time, spending time with my husband, seeing the sights, eating so much amazing food, walking around, lounging around. I can’t wait to go on more trips with him.
  • What is the one blog you enjoy reading most? Oh no, don’t make me pick just one! Argh. OK, umm… I’m gonna break the rules. There are 2 that I enjoy the most and I simply refuse to choose only one of them. Amanda from Voyage of the Meemee makes me laugh every day, and the moment I see she made a new post, I drop everything to read it because I know I will love it. And Brianna from Endlessly Beloved has meant a lot to me in growing my blog since she was so helpful as I was starting it up, plus she is just so sweet and adorable. Her posts make me smile as well. And I love her linkup.
  • You have a free night…go out or stay home? Stay home! I love staying home. I’d never leave if I had a choice. Well, maybe I’d leave once a week to do errands and go on a date, but I love being home. There’s nothing better than spending your day on the couch watching a movie with your man and your pets. Nothing. Unless popcorn is also present.
  • What is your proudest blogging moment yet? Umm, this one!!! Now I can say I’m an award-winning blogger, lol! Plus, as Mister Rogers would tell me, I am special.
  • What is your favorite book? Oh dear. At the moment, I’d go with Gone Girl because I have never read a book that made me so intrigued I had a hard time putting it down. But, I also really enjoyed Breakfast at Sally’s, and Paula Deen’s cookbooks, and Alice in Wonderland.
  • What is your guilty pleasure treat? Chips and dip. I devour it. I’ve had nothing but chips and dip for dinner far too many times. I just can’t get enough. Guac, french onion, ranch, cheesy bacon, bring it on! But only with Lay’s original chips. Salty and delicious.
  • What is your favorite store and why? Target! I go there at least once a week, often more, and I can lose hours in there. You can find almost everything there. Plus with their Cartwheel app and other coupons, I save so much money there. No store is better than Target.
  • If you could have any job what would it be? I would do one of two things, and I’m really torn which I would choose if I had the choice. I’d either be an editor at a cat magazine, or I would start a local kitty luxury hotel. I’m not even kidding, I have a partial business plan for the latter, and if I ever come into some money, I seriously might start one.
  • Someone comes to you asking for advice on starting a blog. What is the first thing you tell them? First, figure out what your blog goals are and outline some topic ideas. Then do one post about yourself and why you started blogging, and put yourself on Bloglovin’. Next, start following tons of other blogs if you don’t already, and participate in linkups, do some button swaps and sponsoring if you can afford it, be sure to reply to all comments you get, make connecti0ns and have some fun!
  • How would your best friend describe you? Maybe I should ask her some day. She’s probably say that I’m a chill, quiet, shy gal on the outside, but once you get to know me, I’m pretty rad. I am goofy, I often have a man’s sense of humor (because seriously, bathroom jokes are hilarious), I like cool music, I like to cook and bake, and I’ll talk your ear off once I’ve warmed up. And that I have a serious cat obsession.
  • What is your favorite holiday and why? Christmas! Because on Christmas you get all the best things about all the other holidays in one (minus the weather part). You get to eat lots of good food, spend time with your family, get some presents and give some too, look at pretty lights, and remember the important things in life and reflect on lucky and blessed you are.

The questions I got from Michelle, and my answers, are:

  • Red wine or white? White. The sweeter the better.
  • Favorite winter activity? Back when I was active, I loved to snowboard. Now I pretty much don’t leave my couch.
  • Which Olympic sport are you most excited to watch? I like the summer Olympics much more, but I’ll go with bobsledding for this one.
  • What do you want for Valentine’s Day? Another kitty! And a cupcake.
  • If you could eat one from one restaurant’s menu for the rest of your life, which would it be? Chili’s.
  • When it comes to men, what’s your “type”? I don’t really have a physical type. They just have to be really funny and like the same kind of music I do.
  • What’s one beauty ritual you cannot skip? Mascara. I look dreadful without it. If I only have time to apply one thing, that’s it.
  • Who was your favorite teacher in school and why? My English teacher, Mr. Radecki. He made me love Classic books and taught me most everything I know about grammar. I think he had quite a bit to do with where I am, career wise, today.
  • Dream car? Meh, I’m not picky. Just not a Ford Contour; those are awful.
  • Favorite song at this very moment? Don’t laugh, but I cannot stop listening to “What Does the Fox Say.” It’s so fun and so catchy.
  • You can only eat one part of the Oreo. Cookie or cream? Cream. Chocolate is overrated.

The questions I pose to my nominees are:

1. What makes you the happiest?
2. What’s your favorite musician or band?
3. What guilty pleasure TV show do you watch?
4. In high school, who were you (the nerd, athlete, etc.)?
5. What is a little-known fact about you?
6. What do you think is your best quality?
7. In three words, describe your everyday style.
8. All time favorite restaurant?
9. What is the ultimate date for you?
10. Do you cook? If so, what’s your go-to, favorite recipe?
11. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

So friends, grab your button below and spread the love!

Notes from a Newlywed
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My Favorite Blog People

When I decided to start my blog, I looked at tons of similar blogs to get inspiration. I LOOKED AT SO MANY. Now that I am blogging, I do keep up with most of them, but there are a small handful of bloggy gals that I adbsolutely adore. I read every single post they publish. I find them fascinating, inspiring, friendly, relatable and just awesome. I consider them my virtual BFFs, even if they don’t know it. Who are they, you ask? Chances are, if you’re reading this and you blog, you’re one of them. It’s one more reason I love these gals so much, is beyond contributing so much to the bloggy world, they also have supported little ol’ me. With emails and words of encouragement, or just some blog comments, I feel like these are all genuine women who are just lovely people. So without further ado, here they are!

-Allison from Texas Mrs. She will always hold a special place in my heart because she was the very first blogger I emailed when I was just getting started. Allison gave me words of encouragement and advice when I was struggling with how much I should open up on my blog. And she is just so darn cute. Her video on her favorite makeup products was my favorite.

TexasMrs

-Brianna from Endlessly Beloved. What an amazing girl. Brianna is in a long-distance relationship and is the most cheerful lady in all of bloggy land, in my opinion. She always puts a smile on my face. Brianna was also the first blog I bought a sponsorship from, and boy did she set the bar high. She was a JOY to work with for that, and she graciously and patiently led me through the first-timer ropes. I felt so supported! Even after my sponsorship ended, she still comes by to comment and give some love, and that, I think is awesome.

-Amanda from Voyage of the MeeMee. This girl is HILARIOUS. I seriously want to hang out with her and be her BFF because I think she is a riot. She’s the funniest lady in all of blogdom, but so real! She just puts it all out there. I am amazed, too, at how much of herself she gives to blogging. She posts probably every day, and comments on every single other blog I read. She is all over! How she manages to do it all, I do not know, but this gal is awesome.

Voyage of the Mee Mee

-Amberly from Life with Amberly and Joe. I think of Amberly as my blog mom. Or wise aunt. She just knows so much! She posts the most useful, interesting, relevant, helpful content ever. I get so much out of every single post. And when I ashamedly emailed her because I didn’t understand the envelop system in her money-saving series, she was patient and kind and helped me understand it and loaded me up with even more tips! I look up to her so much. She is the reason I made an actual plan to get out of debt and hunker down and save money to reach my financial goals. But beyond money, she is an inspiration for her marriage and life advice, too.

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-Kathryn from The Grace-Filled Home. She is my very first Carabox partner, and I have so enjoyed getting to know this awesome lady. She’s in my neck of the woods (good ol’ Dakotas) and is such a lovely lady devoted to her family and her faith. I think she’s super inspiring and I love her journey. But more on her later … like when it’s time for the Carabox reveal!

Source: thegracefilledhome.wordpress.com/

Source: thegracefilledhome.wordpress.com/

jennaI have two real-life friends that also blog that I’ve followed for years. Neither are in this niche of blogdom, but they still helped me learn a lot before I even got this thing started. Jenna blogs about bookish things at Lost Generation Reader, and is the one who answered my 8 million questions about what I should name my blog, if I should use WordPress or Blogger, how to get started and what to do. She’s also the biggest Harry Potter fanatic I know and carries around a Snape cut-out almost everywhere she goes. Though this is on her old blog, my absolute favorite post she did had a scene-by-scene Lego battle over popcorn between Harry and Malfoy.

lindsayLindsay blogs at That Mutt. Now, Lindsay is the real deal. Meaning she does it full time. She quit her job at the newspaper (which is how I know her) to start her own pet running business and her blog all about it. I don’t know that I would ever have the guts to do that, but she is proof it is possible. She is so succesful! She knows so much about dogs, training, behavior, etc., and was also my doggie advisor when I was going through the process of adopting Brick. She recently moved away, but I love that I get to keep up with her still through her blog.

There’s lots of other blogs I follow and try to read as much as I can, and there are some really amazing people in this niche of the blog world. I’ve been inspired and learned from many others I didn’t name, so no discredit to anyone. But the ladies I mentioned above are the ones that have had the biggest impact on me so far. The ones I will go out of my way to read every post whether I have time or not.

In conclusion, thanks to all you lovely ladies for being awesome. Ya’ll are the bees knees.  To any readers not familiar with them, go now!

Seeking Blog Advice

This post is for all you bloggers out there! I’m still feeling very newish to blogging and am having some early struggles. I wish that I could blog all day. If I didn’t have a job, I’d probably sit for hours every single day thinking about and writing my own blog posts, reading and commenting on other blogs, finding new ones, reading blog tips. I love doing that. But here’s my dilemma and a confession: At my old job, the one I was at when I started this blog, I did a lot of blogging at work. I know, so bad. But in my defense, I still got all of my work done, and darn well if you ask me. But I had lots of extra time in the day, and I was just obsessed with bloggy land and stalked all that had to do with it.

The problem is now that I have a new job and just can’t work on my blog during daytime hours anymore, I’m struggling keeping up with it. I’m behind in my daily blog digest emails and don’t get to comment on others as much as I did in the beginning, let alone write as many posts as I wish I could. Then when I get home, I have so many things on my to-do list, from making dinner to doing laundry to cleaning up cat puke, doing my volunteer and freelance work, reading for book club and paying bills…you know, life. By the time the weekend is here, I am so tired from the week that I just zone out to the TV pretty much all weekend in between snuggles with the husband, other social commitments with friends or family or running errands. I just am having a really hard time finding time to give my blog, or maybe it’s the motivation to MAKE time for it. It’s really important to me, and I do NOT want to become one of those blogs that starts out strong then tapers off till posts happen a couple times a year and each of those posts start off with an apology for the time since the last post. The graveyard of blogs – I don’t want to end up there anytime soon.

I follow several bloggers, and small handful of some I really admire. They update about once a day, write great posts that I find engaging and interesting and clever and insightful. And I think they all have FT jobs too. HOW DO YOU DO IT? I want to know. What’s your secrets?

If I could cut a few hours of sleep out of my day and just blog till my heart’s content then, I totally would. But this girl without her 8-9 hours is a mess. Trust me, it’s bad. So how do I balance this new part of my life with my other life of being a wife, a fur mom, a working professional, and whatever other titles might define me? Help!

Welcome!

I’m so excited for my very first blog post! It only seemed fitting that my first post should be about this whole blog thing and what brought me to start one.

First of all, I’m a newlywed. I was married in June 2013 (see more about my wedding here), and throughout my engagement and now about 5 months of being married, one day it just suddenly hit me that I’ve leaned a lot throughout this whole process. I think I’ve grown more in the past year than I ever have … so far anyway.

If I could go back in time, I would do several things very differently. I made some mistakes along the way, but I took so much away from it all. I could probably write an entire book about the wedding planning process with many, many lists and tips. So, throughout this blog, I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned. Some are big, like stick to the budget and communicate better; some are small, like allow extra time for photographs of just you as a couple, and do not use a cinnamon Wisp toothbrush right before you walk down the aisle, because it WILL turn your mouth an awful shade of red.

But, we made it, and in the end, I’m incredibly happy that I married the man I love. That was the most important thing. But now that I’m a few months into being married, oh boy, the learning just keeps coming.

The first thing to note is that my husband and I dated for 8 years before we were married. Eight! And while I thought that was a long time, and I thought that I knew everything about him and about us, turns out I didn’t. I thought right off the bat I’d be an awesome wife. I also thought while some things may change, for the most part, everything would feel completely the same as before. Wrong again.

Now, as husband and wife, we have to communicate better and more, and suddenly everything is so important! We’re not just dating anymore; we’re locked into this thing for life! And I want to do it all right, but part of that is accepting that at times, I’ll screw up, and so will he, but along the way, we will learn a ton, pick ourselves up and keep on keepin’ on.

So this is the crazy journey of my new life as a wife. Enjoy!