by gillian claire



Denver Staycation: Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station

This blog post is in partnership with Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station. All opinions expressed are my own.

Winter this year has felt long and my family has been in desperate need of a getaway. Since the boys are between basketball seasons right now, we planned a little Denver staycation weekend which was exactly what we all needed!

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We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station, nestled right in downtown Denver between Union Station, Coors Field, and the Museum of Contemporary Art! This was such a perfect spot for a combination of relaxing at the hotel during the day and venturing into downtown in the evening.

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Roman and I love exploring a new hotel and we had fun finding all the cozy lounge spots, with the real prize being the 54 foot heated indoor pool featuring an incredible view of the city! The highlight of the weekend for the boys was definitely the pool - we went 3 times!

Untitled (1500 × 1000 px)We enjoyed breakfast at the Garden Lane Canteen found right in the lobby! The kids loved the combination of ordering a hot breakfast but also being able to the enjoy all the perfect hotel breakfast buffet items as well.  

Overall, our weekend was the perfect mix of relaxing in clean, white hotel bedding, laughing with the family at the pool, and exploring downtown Denver. I loved that the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station felt more like a true "experience" vs. just a place to stay the night. We can't wait to return!


5 Best Money Making Apps

Are you like me and always looking for ways to make a little extra cash? It can be hard to tell which apps/websites are legitimate ways to make money. I'm sharing my 5 favorite resources that really work! These are all fun, easy ways that I earn extra money!

*contains affiliate links

1. Acorns

I am thrilled I found Acorns which is an investment/savings app rolled into one. I've earned money & saved more as well since opening my account! You can withdrawal money to your linked checking account at any time. This one does cost a few dollars a month to use but it's worth it compared to what you will quickly earn/save!

Experts do the investing for you in stocks such as Nike, Walmart, Grubhub etc. No prior knowledge is needed which is perfect because I had no idea where to start with investing!

Acorns gives the option to round up your spare change on purchases made with your debit card directly into your Acorns account, creating savings for you + investing your change at the same time! I've made over $100 in investments so far and saved a big chunk of money by simply automatically setting aside my spare change!

There are other ways to use Acorns as well such as depositing an extra $5 or $10 a week into your account. My Acorns account has been a game changer in stepping up my savings strategy. This app is literally awesome

Start off with $5 in your account by setting one up today!

2. Ibotta

Ibotta is the most lucrative coupon app in my eyes. I love using Ibotta to earn cash back  simply by scanning receipts! Once you earn $20, you can cash out to your bank account or PayPal. I've cashed out many times on Ibotta & you really rack up $$$ quickly!

The easiest way to earn money on Ibotta is from grocery purchases. Each week there are a selection of grocery items from different stores featured on Ibotta. Some of the items are brand specific (such as Eggo Waffles) but there are also 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.

Download the Ibotta app to easily earn cash back from receipts!

3. Fetch

Fetch is fairly new to me but I finally downloaded this app after reading great reviews  and it's proving to live up to the hype! With Fetch, you easily add up points for every receipt you scan. Points can then be redeemed for gift cards or other prizes! On Fetch, you earn for specific items similar to Ibotta but also just in general for each receipt. There is no scanning items so you quickly and easily receive points in seconds!

Use my code: U7MHM or click here to get $2 automatically in your account when you sign up!

4. Shopkick

There are a few 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 be cashed in for gift cards. I always get the Target gift cards and they can be scanned at checkout right off the app!

Use my code: FUN321438 or click here to earn 250 kicks automatically after you use Shopkick for the first time! 

5. Receipt Pal

I like this app because it's super simple + fast. All that's required to earn points is scanning any receipt! For every 4 receipts, you earn 100 points, easy peasy. Points can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards and we all love Amazon, am I right?!

Download Receipt Pal + start earning gift cards!

I hope you found a new app or two to download today. You may as well earn a little money by simply rounding up spare change or scanning receipts before tossing them! I love using what I earn from my apps for Christmas presents + my Acorns account has truly stepped up my savings game for the future! Leave a comment and let us know if you have a favorite way of making extra money that needs to be added to the list!


"Take Two."

Photos: 2017- Ash by the creek, our now house in the background.

Life is lived in circles. Circling the sun, through seasons... and for the 7 years we’ve lived in this neighborhood, we’ve been circling around these paths & trails as well. I have countless pictures of my boys through the years in the same spots. Tiny with big trees, playing in front of mountains, standing by the creek soaked in sunflare. So many walks during some of the darkest times for me. Years ago, in therapy, I shared that the only time I felt peace was on my daily walk and my therapist suggested, “take two.”

These trails hold many ghosts for me, good and bad. Walking to forget & distract but also to be with nature & with my sweet growing boys. I see them through the years, picking flowers, riding scooters, running, laughing, pushing our cat in the stroller... So many memories swirling and circling, sometimes my brain can’t catch up to how we got to today. But we’re here, feet planted as the world still moves.

In July, we bought a house right next to this creek & green path. I’ve been here hundreds of times, so many pictures and memories made. And in the background of those photos, now- I see my future. My fence, our house waiting.

One foot in front of the other, the loops don’t stop. I’m still prone to using distraction to cope. Quiet is always unsettling for me. As the memories spin, I try to sort through these collected snapshots flipping through my mind. I want to learn that I don’t need to constantly be on the chase. But when the stillness gets hard, I’ll keep walking. Circling the past, present & future- trying to make sense of it all.



Idaho Sunsets

For months we've all been seemingly looking at the same things every day. Whatever our views may be... there is a similar sameness to the routine. For 7 months, we've been locked down. 

For us, Quarantine has looked like:

-two parents juggling 40 hour work weeks,

-two bored kids doing 100% virtual school,

-losing my freelance Virtual Assistant work for the time being but being truly thankful to not be working extra during this time and for somehow maintaining a full-time job,

-house hunting like crazy & putting offers on 3 houses,

-buying a home in Colorado, *a huge blessing

-adopting the little white kitten of our dreams, *blessing #2, I've been manifesting this Colorado house & white kitten and they both came true this summer. 

-many tears of overwhelm, guilt & stress, (why do we carry so much unnecessary weight?)

-moments of worry about making the right choices and keeping our kids safe,

-moving/packing/purging an entire home for the second time in a calendar year,

-diving into renovations, 

-going off my antidepressants & struggling with a huge dip in emotions,

-thankful to be some of the lucky ones who kept their jobs & health but thankful amidst pure exhaustion.


The past 7 months have seemed consumed with an unbelievable turn of events on earth: a pandemic, mandatory mask wearing, rules & guidelines we never imagined we'd experience in our lifetime. Our nation has experienced a strong but inevitable divide as we approach this year's election. We've looked towards friends & family members and asked, "how?" as we find our beliefs so drastically opposing. Our land feels filled with devastation: floods, hurricanes & fires. Our fire here in northern Colorado has been raging & growing for over 2 months strong.

The past 7 months have been overwhelming & honestly lonely for me. One of the best decisions we made recently was to get away. We took a 4 day road trip from Colorado through Wyoming, Montana & stayed in Idaho. It was the best decision to spend 4 days constantly lifting our eyes towards something beautiful. 

Our last night in town Aaron, Asher & I  drove down the back road behind our resort looking for rocks and I took pictures of cows.

These were my absolute favorite moments of the trip... silence for miles around, massive mountains reminding me just how little our problems are. My husband looking for rocks with my sweet little boy, and me: taking pictures of some of my favorite animals standing strong as the sun went down. 

The past 7 months have been so ridiculously hard.

I seem to be going through the motions but when I close my eyes, sometimes I still see this Idaho sunset. 

Island Park, Idaho
late September, 2020


Of sunflowers.


In a world filled with disappointment, all I see here is goodness & hope for the future. In a sea of sunflowers, they are turning their faces towards you.

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Roman, age 12
Windsor, Colorado

Our Little White Cat

Meet our new kitten, Melo!
My desire to adopt a second kitty has heightened since COVID but we wanted to wait until we moved before bringing another cat home. Since we're closing on our house this week so I figured it's as good a time as any! (I couldn't wait any longer, I have kitten fever...)
I came across "Pyrite" on Instagram and fell in love when I came across the photo of this sweet white kitten.
Melo is deaf but it definitely doesn't hold him back at all. He is playful & curious as all get out but also the sweetest, most cuddly baby when he finally tuckers himself out. 
Is there anything sweeter & more pure in this world than a kitten? Asher has dreamt of having an "all white cat" since he was very small. I'm so happy to have made his wish come true.
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9 years of magic

9 years of magic with this one!
My rainbow after loss, my dream come true natural childbirth & my miracle NICU baby. I vividly remember asking God to protect this soul and I still truly don't take his answers for granted. 
Happy Birthday Ash. 
9 years ago this month was when this blog was born as well!

Here's a throw back to the post where I introduced baby Asher. :) 


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