by gillian claire: 2015

12.31.2015

*my favorite things: GIVEAWAY!*


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Hello, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday! 
I'm here to share my "favorite things giveaway" that just went live on my Instagram today 
and I hope that you all check it out @bygillianclaire to enter!
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I'm so thankful for the wonderful people that I've had a chance to meet and work with this year through photography/blogging + Instagram! I'm excited to end this year by partnering with 4 of my favorite brands to give one of my followers the chance to win an awesome prize from each!
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Here is what you will receive if you are the lucky winner:
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Custom Watercolor Painting by Ines Pargana of Belly Sketcher
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You guys,  I am completely in love with this painting that Ines did for me. 
I adore her style and she somehow managed to capture Roman and Asher perfectly. I will definitely be doing a post about her company, Belly Sketcher soon. Don't miss out this chance to win your own custom maternity or family portrait! 
This painting will definitely be a lifetime treasure for me!
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Choice of Kid's Tee Shirt from KidTeez
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We have loved working as Brand Reps for KidTeez over this past year. Their site is just filled with adorable shirts to choose from. You can check out a post I did featuring KidTeez a while back: here.
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Framed Instagram Print from Pictli
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Pictli is an awesome app that delivers framed Instagram photos to your door! I loved having the chance to try out Pictli over the summer and have two of my favorite photos framed! I am horrible at actually printing and displaying any photos in my home and this made it so quick and easy!
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Digital Download Print from Fox and Arrows Co.
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Dena is one of my favorite bloggers at Live Love Simple and she has recently opened up a print shop called Fox and Arrows Co. Dena is so talented at everything she does and of course all of her prints are just absolutely lovely. Be sure to check out her new Etsy shop!
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Information on how to enter can be found on my Instagram post: here.
Have a great Monday!
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12.15.2015

FabKids // november picks!

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I'm finally getting up my pictures from our November FabKids picks! Time is going by super fast and I can't believe that we are half way through December already, eek! As usual, I'm super happy with the adorable outfits we picked this month. Asher was over the moon about this t-rex shirt; he loves dinosaurs and the football tee was perfect for my little sports obsessed 8 year old. 
( Yes, I said 8 year old, can you even believe it!? )
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The boys each received a pair of high top sneakers with their outfits this month and oh my goodness, I just can't even, they are too cute for words. Be sure to check out FabKids, a subscription clothing company for kids, for yourself.
Use my link to get 20% off your first outfit! 
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Happy Tuesday!
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*Ie received these clothes in exchange for my work as a FabKids Brand Ambassador. 
All opinions are of course, my own! 
Thanks for reading along; I truly appreciate it!*
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10.23.2015

Stem Cell Banking with LifeBankUSA.

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I'm here with my sponsor, the cord blood bank LifebankUSA today to talk a little bit about their advanced biobanking options for pregnant parents! The science and possibilities behind cord blood banking today is amazing and I'm happy to share a few facts with you all about LifebankUSA and what they offer today!
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++ LifebankUSA offers first class advanced biobanking services which banks stem cells using both cord blood banking and placental tissue banking. These stem cells are collected at birth to later be available to treat disease in both the child and family members.
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++ Ongoing medical research shows that stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been used to treat over 80 different diseases!
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++ Placental blood banking is a service that is currently only offered through LifebankUSA!
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++ By preserving stem cells from both the placenta and umbilical cord at birth, it increases the number of life saving stem cells that are stored which also increases the possibilities to use them later on.
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++ LifebankUSA offers different payment plans to offset the cost of stem cell banking for you and your family; be sure to check out your options!
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Of course, stem cell banking is ultimately a personal choice for you and your family. I ended up not choosing to bank my children's stem cells due to financial reasons and my hope to delay cutting the umbilical cord immediately following birth but it is something I'd be interested in looking into again in the future. Have you or someone you know taken advantage of cord blood banking? I'd love to hear your opinions and stories below!
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almost five months.
( can't even handle this photo of baby asher! )
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*I was compensated for this post. All word and opinions expressed are my own.
 Thanks for supporting my family by reading along. I truly appreciate your love!*
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10.20.2015

portraits of papaw.

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we traveled to ohio in september for my grandpa's 80th surprise birthday party. we had no intentions on going back to ohio for a while, but when i heard about papaw's party that my family was planning it just kept festering inside me that i needed to be there. this man means so much to me; i can't even begin to put it into words.
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we celebrated at "sligo" which is a very special place to our family. my grandmother grew up on this farm and later my grandparents built a house there where we would all gather and spend time together. as a kid i spent a lot of time at sligo; picking berries with my grandma, playing with my friend next store, having birthday party slumber parties, and the most story book thanksgivings you could ever imagine. i have so many memories there and i probably haven't been back in about 10 years since my grandparents sold the land to the family that lived next door to our farm who became close family friends.
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there are just so many things i could say about my grandpa, about this place, about this trip. i'm so glad that i went. i had to be there for him, for my family, for me and also for my dad. i knew that my dad would love that i made it and i felt close to him with my presence. my papaw is truly the glue that holds my family together. he is a strong and gentle man. he has always been the sweet grandpa to give us hugs and call me, "gillian claire". he was also there for my dad in the best of ways until the very end and he was there for me in the hardest moments of my life just over a year ago. when i couldn't bear to make decisions and process the pain, my grandpa was there for me, as usual. steady and calm as ever. telling me that hard things happen in life but that we have to make those difficult choices and keep waking up and going. i'm so glad that i got these special portraits that preserve a piece of this wonderful man that i'm lucky to call "papaw" forever. <3
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10.19.2015

summer park days.

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i was so not ready to let this summer go. it's hard for me each year to face winter because the season just feels dark and stuffy and lonely to me. looking at these pictures from the end of july, i realize how much has changed since then and those hot sticky days with firey pink sunsets do feel pretty far away now. fall has been okay and i've embraced it pretty well i think. i do like fall because it isn't as miserably hot. the air is fresh and cool and you can still go outside everyday. this past summer the boys and i went through a little phase of driving down the street for a walk and to play at the playground during the sunset. these pictures are from one of those nights. i have so many photos from those quiet, slow summer nights that i'm going to have to share quickly before that feeling of  summer completely fades away.
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happy monday, friends!
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10.02.2015

do you read pictures as poems?

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i haven't posted in a bit. but i have been taking pictures like crazy and here are a few i have to share with you today: portraits of ash, pieces of my beautiful, lovely, wonderful and wild-hearted little boy.
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do you read your pictures as poems? because i do. i read each one like a story, not necessarily one with a beginning and an end. more like notes scribbled out on scrap paper, thoughts swirling around a beautiful instant captured and frozen in time. the poem here is all about a little wisp of a boy. a boy who is fiery and fierce, but who, when he pauses, can tell stories with his eyes. this poem is about the pieces of the people who came before this little life that the camera captures in his face.
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 in this picture i see a boy who is trying to please his mother by letting her take his photograph. but when i look closer i see the pain of how i've tried to please others in my life as well. i see my hopes and wishes for this special soul, expecting that he will meet pain and struggle in life and of course knowing that he already has. stay strong my son, keep making people happy but also take those moments to close your eyes and find what makes you shine.
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8.31.2015

money saving monday // with Ann Coupons!

*This post is sponsored by www.anncoupons.com through Socialite. I was compensated by this company but all opinions are my own. Thanks so much for reading along and supporting my family by giving us these opportunities. I truly appreciate it!*
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Hey guys, I'm here with Ann Coupons to share a little bit about how you can save money using their site! If you've read my blog for a while, you may know that I'm interested in saving money and it has not only been key to survival for my young family but is also something that I love and enjoy! I probably get this from my Mom. ( Was anyone else out there raised on the Tightwad Gazette books?? )
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Making and saving money in creative ways has always been a hobby of mine so I was excited to partner with Ann Coupons to show you how to save using their site. ( And hey, disclaimer, I'm getting paid to write this post, and you guessed it - blogging is one of the fun and interesting ways I make money as well! )
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Anncoupons.com is a hot spot for finding coupons and deals for all sorts of fun activities from eating out to travel expenses. I feel like this is one area in my life where I lack in saving a lot of money. I don't often think of looking for coupons or deals when eating out or doing something fun with the family which is such a shame considering this is also the area were we are the worst with budgeting. We live very frugally in a lot of ways that most people would be uncomfortable with ( such as living in a 900 square foot home or having one family car ) but when stress adds up we definitely like to get out of the house and do something and unfortunately we don't always think about saving during those times.
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The Ann Coupons website makes it easy to click on a category or location and see many deals currently being offered. Sometimes you have to dig a little bit to find exactly what you're looking for but I love that they have such a wide variety of places, many that we frequent often such as Chili's and Subway, and hey I even saw the Denver Zoo listed on their site!
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Here is a quick example of what you'll find when you click on a specific location on the Ann Coupons website. I searched for Chipotle which is my husband's number one fave. Here is a screen shot that shows you a little bit of what you'll see:
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There is a box where you can type in your email to receive deal alerts as well as many deals and coupons that you can scroll through below. I made sure to enter my email and I'm hoping that soon I will get notified of a great deal and save my family some money on a night where we want eat out!
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Be sure to check out the Ann Coupons site as well as their Facebook: found HERE
Let me know about the best deal that you find!
What ways do you and your family save money?
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Also, I'd love if you voted for my blog today using the button below!
All it takes is two clicks to help my blog grow; thanks!
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back to school // with FabKids!

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It's FabKids time again and I'm excited to share this adorable outfit that we picked for Asher from their August back to school collection! I have to admit that I'm cringing a little bit at the sight of cold weather clothing but FabKids never lets me down and this super soft tee and black coated skinnies are truly adorable. Asher lived in FabKids skinny jeans last year and he even had this exact pair in a size down He was pretty stoked about the "skeleton shirt" and Roman has the same one in blue so naturally I will have to put them in these shirts together to fulfill my matching little boy dreams.
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Have you finished your back to school shopping yet? We shopped for clothes to get us through the still warm weeks of back to school but we don't have many outfits for fall/winter yet. My mind is starting to turn with thoughts of boots for mama and my littles in puffy vests to distract me from the cold that is to come, eek!
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     FabKids is a fun and unique subscription clothing company! Each month you have the opportunity to choose a new outfit and you are always free to skip as many months as you want. Use my link to get a free outfit with the purchase of your first outfit: HERE.
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*I received this outfit as compensation for my work as a FabKids Brand Ambassador. Thanks so much for reading along and providing these opportunities for me; I truly appreciate it.*
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Oh hey, if you enjoy my blog would you consider clicking on the button below to vote for us? Ranking on Top Baby Blogs helps my blog grow by connecting me to readers and companies! Thanks so much, friends!
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8.14.2015

happy friday!

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It's Friday! Today is a good day because my husband and I are both off! We will be working a lot this weekend but those troubles are for tomorrow. I am excited to be doing some back to school shopping with my little boys this afternoon! We are heading to Target to try to check everything off Roman's 2nd grade school supply list! I also have some other things in mind to look for but I will try to keep my head on straight and not get too carried away. ( Target does that to you, right? )
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I wanted to share a few deals that I've come across that are going on this weekend in case you will be out there in the madness doing some shopping as well. Oh and if anyone knows of any great deals or sales that I haven't mentioned, you had best let me know in the comments! :)
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Kohls: I just saw that Kohl's is having an extra 20% clearance sale! I love these kind of sales and they are a great way to stock up on clothes for the beginning of the school year and next summer! Check out my finds at a similar sale that Old Navy had last weekend HERE. Kohl's is also giving out Kohl's cash right now: $10 for ever $50 spent and you truly can come back and use the $10 just like a gift card: so awesome! ( If you are a Kohl's credit card holder, make sure you check your mail or email for a coupon as well. )
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Target: It looks like Target is offering buy one get one 50% off on a ton of school supplies so I'm hoping this will help us out in our shopping today! I'm also going to be using my Cartwheel app for an extra 5% off Up & Up school supplies.
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Ibotta App: Um, have you guys heard of the Ibotta App? I am really getting into rebate apps where all you do is scan your receipts with your smart phone and get paid for things you bought! I am going to have to share with you guys all my favorite ways to do this but Ibotta seems to be the best one so far. I've made $9 since downloading this app just this week and you can cash out to your PayPal account at $20! This is my new hobby guys. If you sign up, I'd love if you used my referral code: tddfoyb 
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What plans do you have for the weekend? 
Please share if you have any favorite money saving apps in the comments! 
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Happy Friday!
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8.13.2015

insta-july; part 1.

July came and went and August is well on it's way; I can't believe it! 
I'm just going to pretend that summer is not anywhere near coming to an end because warm weather and sunshine makes me happy. I'm not ready for cold or snow or even fall, NOPE. 
I want to share some of my favorite Instagram photos from July here on the blog. 
I'm still loving having my iPhone6 to take pictures with!
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we had fun meandering around some antique malls at the edge of town in the beginning of july. it was fun to explore somewhere new!
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4th of july stripes and poppers! // fun photos at the playground
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some pictures from a walk at butterfly woods: me + my little boys <3 // feet in the sparkly water = bliss
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lazy moments around the house: a little peeking cuddler // 
bath time with a watermelon candle + coffee
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a trip to estes park with my husband's brother + his wife. it rained but we had lunch and we able to get these views of the mountains, worth it.
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we love getting packages in the mail! asher was thrilled with this shark shirt from kidteez ( see THIS post for a 30% off coupon code! ) // roman's artee and me tee came!
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asher in his watermelon outfit; oh my goodness! i love shopping with my boys and these pictures were taken on our trip to old navy + target. :) ( see more pictures of asher's shirt HERE )
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let me know if you follow me on instagram @bygillianclaire so that i can follow you as well!
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