12.01.2016

middle of nowhere, nebraska.

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 (Fall Road Trip, 2015)
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I was pretty elated honestly to find this perfect junkyard / corn field behind our hotel in the middle of nowhere, Nebraksa last fall. These are the settings that photographers' dreams are made of. I finally found time to edit these and I have to share because they are my absolute favorite kind of photos: adventuring with my little boys and chasing them around in the setting golden light.
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11.23.2016

giving the gift of art / with Chalkola.

* I was compensated for this post and received these products free of charge. 
All words + opinions expressed are my own. 
Thanks for supporting my family by reading along; I truly appreciate it!*
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My kids are really into art right now. They've always been little artists but they definitely go through phases. I was so excited when Chalkola wanted to partner with my blog because I knew their chalk markers would make a perfect birthday present for Roman! His birthday is coming up in December and I always have to get creative to think up enough presents to cover birthday and Christmas for him! I loved the packaging of the Chalkola markers and I thought it was be neat to get Roman something a little different to add to his art collection.
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Asher and I did this super secret photoshoot while Roman was at school and Ash was pretty pumped that he got to try out Roman's present first. Chalkola sent us their 8 pack of jumbo chalk markers as well as a 10 pack of thinner chalk markers that comes with 6 metallic markers.
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I really had no idea what to expect with the idea of "chalk ink markers." The team at Chalkola let me know that these markers work best on non-porous surfaces such as chalkboards, whiteboards, glass and windows. I picked up a couple little chalkboards and whiteboards at the dollar store for us to use. (You guys, does anyone else love the Dollar Tree?)
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Asher had so much fun trying these out and having a little art time after school. The ink is super bright and it's definitely unique to any craft product I've used. I was not prepared for how messy this would be. For some reason when I heard the word "chalk," I was thinking dry but the ink that comes out of these markers are more of a paint consistency. They are definitely worth the mess but I would not suggest doing this on your carpets as shown here! Next time I will for sure have the boys doing this project on a better surface but hey it's all in the name of pretty blog photos, right?
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Chalkola is currently offering my readers 20% off any order with code: 20OFFSTR  
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These markers would make a great Christmas present for your kids who are into art. I think that it's always nice to have some new, fun art supplies stashed away for those horrible cold winter months!
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Have you guys heard of chalk markers? What cool presents are you starting to stash away for your kids this Christmas?
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11.11.2016

portraits of ash at 5.

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This little boy... he let me do a little photo shoot of him in exchange 
for an extra piece of Halloween candy. Bribery captured by camera once again. 
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     Asher started Kindergarten this year; his very first year at school. Honestly we have spent the entire last year preparing him for this, easing his mind into this idea of "school," and most importanty the idea of being away from us. This boy has always been our wild little soul; needy, sensitive and sometimes yes, difficult. With the difficulties though have come great rewards; the sweetest and most unique soul, a child who needs me deeply and in turn has made my need for him strong and fierce as well. Words cannot even begin to describe Asher who has been a fiery, wonderful and treasured gift in my life.
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     I honestly didn't know how he'd react to school. I feared that it would be incredibly rough for him. But friends, it has been a dreamy seemless transistion. As with most things in his life; potty training, weaning from breastfeeding, etc... transitions often seem insurrmountable for Asher but out of nowhere he is ready to go all in.
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     Kindergarten at Asher's school is full day but we found out that you can indeed pick your child up before lunch and take them home and you better believe that's what we chose. I don't know why I'm always trying so hard to keep my kids with me every possible minute of the day. In a way it's maybe made motherhood more exhausting and weary but these boys have always been my life's dream so I'll continue hanging on as hard as I can.
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     Asher loves school. He jumps out of bed every morning to pick out his cute little 5T tee shirts and jogger sweatpants. He comes home and sings all the songs and repeats all the cute little rhymes word for word. He brings home a backpack filled with the cutest little crumpled Kindergarten art that makes my heart melt day after day. He's very good at math and is learning to read and write. He was over the moon about Halloween and had by far the scariest costume in the class, his dream come true. He's happy and it looks like he's doing just fine...
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I'm so proud of you, Ash. Thanks for taking me up on that extra piece of candy so that I could capture these moments with pictures and words.
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11.08.2016

insta-october

you guys, my poor neglected real camera and blog have some serious jealousy of my iphone and instagram... it's just so easy to keep up there outside the world of lightroom and photoshop and blog editing! i did actually pick up my camera yesterday though and it felt good!
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here are some instagram photos from october. all of these pictures are sooo fall-ish and i love it! fall in colorado has absolutely been *amazing* guys. unseasonably warm and i couldn't be happier!
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i tried to make an effort to do more stereotypical halloween things this year. in ohio, we had so much family around that holidays always seemed special and filled with things to do. in colorado, we have to be much more intentional about it since it's all up to us. maybe it's strange but i'm just not naturally into holidays but this year we did the pumpkin patch, 
carved pumpkins, went to trick or treat street
  and had a fabulous night trick or treating with friends. ( <- that part no one had to talk me into! )

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october skies // i'm already missing the pinker summer sunsets - the sky is changing so much!

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// i will definitely miss all the free clothes i got from work // 

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// the mountains in the fall guys... horses in front of the mountains in the fall guys... //

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// me + my babies headed to trick or treat street. aren't they absolute babes? //

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// more mountains in the fall ... this stuff never gets old //

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pretty fall feels at the coffee drive thru // rose gold lip stick from the dollar store. 
( i buy all my lipstick from the dollar store! )
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 i hope you all had a beautiful october as well!
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are you following me on instagram? @bygillianclaire
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leave a comment if you find me so that i can follow back!
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10.20.2016

fall closet planning.

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     One of my favorite bloggers, Bridget, made a comment on a similar post about how it's that time of year when bloggers "get to fashion collaging," and it made me laugh because duh, it's true. So here's another collage to add to the internet!
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     My closet is in some desperate need of help. I have way  too many clothes right now. Half of them I don't wear or don't like but I'm being a weird hoarder and can't figure out which to let go of. It's not normal for me to be so unorganized and so un-minimalistic but it's a busy time of life for me and things are piling up and getting out of control. I have to wear athletic clothes to my everyday job now and between work/going to the gym/staying home with my babes it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to every need to put real clothes on! 
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     I did have a lot of fun scouring fall things online and trying to decide on a few staples that I'd love to have, or already have, to give me some inspiration. You will notice, however, that there aren't any "real" pants featured because, well let's be reasonable... 
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1. Graphic Tee from Old Navy: I love cute tee shirts like this and I'm obsessed with the little cursive writing on the side of the one. My favorite kind of graphic shirt though are ones with a scooped neck and I can't seem to find any cute ones anywhere. Help?!

2. Criss Cross shirt from SheIn: I'm really into shirts that have criss cross detail and this one would be perfect with leggings! Have you ever ordered from SheIn? They seem to have a ton of cute stuff.

3. Bralette from Aerie: I love the look of these lacy bralettes under shirts but I haven't yet bit the bullet and bought one. I thought they would just be a summer thing but apparently they are here to stay and I need one.

4. Leggings from Old Navy: Leggings all day everyday. I hate pants pretty much with a burning passion right now. Truth be told, these Old Navy leggings that I already have are the yoga leggings from the athletic section. I wear them as regular leggings because they are slightly thicker and better quality and let's just say, finding leggings that aren't completely see through is a real problem for me. ( Big butt problems. )

5. Flannel from American Eagle: I seriously have no flannel shirts anymore and I feel like this a crime. I love the colors on this one but I haven't tried on any flannels from American Eagle so I'm not sure how they fit. Where is the best place to buy cute flannels - tell me!

6. Adidas Superstars: I died when I saw that these came back in style because these were huge when I was in middle/high school. I still remember buying my first pair with baby blue stripes from the mall when I was in the 8th grade. 

7. Necklace from Elisabeth Ashlie: I love wearing little gold necklaces like this. Unfortunately I always ended up buying cheap ones that break or get rusted. I need to invest in a couple better ones!

8. Suede Boots from Old Navy: I love boots for fall obviously and already have a few pairs but I think I need these also; I love that they are flat!

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What are you buying for fall? Give me inspiration; I need it!
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Happy Monday y'all!
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*some affiliate links used*



10.13.2016

my favorite money making apps!

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Guys, I am always looking for alternative ways to make money. I got pretty excited a couple years ago when I discovered that apps exist where you can earn gift cards and cash! There are a ton of different options but these are my top 5 favorites that I've found to be most successful!
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There are a few different ways to earn points using Shopkick. My favorite and easiest way is to "check in" at different stores. You literally just open the app on your phone and click on the store that you are currently inside! Points can also be earned by scanning selected items inside the store or connecting the app to your credit card to earn points with purchases. Points can then be cashed in for gift cards. I always get the Target gift cards and they can be scanned at checkout right off the app. 
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https://ibotta.com/r/tddfoyb

The rest of the apps that I've included are receipt scanning apps which require you to scan your receipts to earn points or cash back. 

Ibotta is my favorite receipt scanning app because I've been able to make the most money back this way.  Ibotta has many different categories from which you can earn rebates including grocery stores, restaurants, retail and beauty purchases. The easiest way to earn money is from grocery purchases. Each week there is a different list of grocery items from each store that is featured on Ibotta. Some of the items are brand specific ( such as Eggo Waffles ) but they also include generic options like bread or cereal. You go through the list selecting each item that appears on your grocery receipt, scan each item's barcode and then scan the receipt using your phone. You then receive the money you've earned! 

It sounds tedious when I'm typing out each step but it really is quick and painless especially when you realize that you are really making money this way! One of the best features of this app is that when you hit $20 you can withdraw the money through Pay Pal. This app is how I paid for a new pair of boots last winter!

(If you sign up using my code: tddfoyb you'll start off with a free $10!)
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https://www.checkout51.com/

Checkout51 is another app that allows you to scan items you've purchased as well as the receipt to earn rebates. This app doesn't feature as many products and I've found that it takes longer to earn money back than Ibotta. However, if you're already going through your receipts for the Ibotta app, you may as well be adding on a little extra money by checking the Checkout51 app as well! This app allows you to receive a check after you've hit $20.

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http://www.receiptpalapp.com/
Ok the next two apps I've listed are pretty cool because they are receipt scanning apps that allow you to earn simply by scanning the receipt and nothing else! You don't have to look through for certain products, you literally just scan the entire receipt and you're done. Receipt Pal lets you scan receipts from grocery stores as well as restaurants and retail stores! For every 4 receipts scanned, you earn 100 point which add up to be redeemed for gift cards.
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http://receipthog.com/

This is another easy app that gives you points for simply scanning receipts. This app also has little games built in and sometimes you can earn extra points this way. Points can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards or cash through PayPal. This app is how I feed my amazon show addiction. 

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Have you ever tried these apps or have any other faves to share with me? 
What are your favorite easy ways to make a little extra money?
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*I've included a couple affiliate links in this post.*

9.26.2016

custom cards with Basic Invite (+ a free halloween printable!)

* I was compensated for this post. All words + opinions expressed are my own. 
Thanks for supporting my family by reading along; I truly appreciate it!*
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     I'm partnering with Basic Invite today to share a little bit about their "truly custom" invitation website! Basic Invite gave me the chance to try out their site for myself and these are some of the adorable thank you cards that I picked out! In the thank you card section alone, there are over 600 cards to choose from, each of which can be completely customized! Needless to say, it took me a while to choose and I had so much fun playing around with the colors to make them just perfect! 
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     Basic Invite offers hundreds of lovely custom options for wedding invitations, birth + graduation announcements, holiday cards and more! Their site is super easy and fun to use. I'm so happy with how the quality of my cards turned out as well; the card stock and envelopes are both great quality.
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     Do you have experience ordering custom invitations? Which websites have you used? Working on this post reminds me of when I was planning my wedding and hand painted Chinese symbols on all of the wedding invites that I made myself: true story!
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Use code 15FF51 for 15% off your order!
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Be sure to check out the free printables section where Basic Invite is currently offering this adorable halloween party invitation, free to download!
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Happy Monday!
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