Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Giveaway :: Brittany Chavers ::

Brittany Chavers is the bomb.

This talented lady is no stranger to the blog... she has participated in many giveaways here... including my very first giveaway ever when I reached 50 followers!!

She contacted me recently with the idea of hosting a 1 day only giveaway... and that lovely necklace up there is what's up for grabs.  I love her (and all of you!) so much I'm going to run the giveaway all weekend!

Her shop is amazing! And she has this "Buy 3, Get 1 Free" deal happening ALL.THE.TIME.
The hardest part is deciding what to get!
{I have numerous Brittany Chavers pieces in my collection!}
I'm so jealous I can't enter my own giveaway!

Giveaway is open worldwide and entries are monitored! 
{if you experience any problems with the rafflecopter, just let me know!}

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Photo Tutorial by The Crafty Woman

I stumbled upon this awesome photography tutorial by The Crafty Woman and asked her to share it with my readers today!
I'm so happy she said yes!

As much as I love photography, I'm horrible at explaining what I do!
Coincidentally, she uses the exact same camera & lens that I do!
Christine's post below is  perfect for anyone just beginning... it's easy to follow & understand... and seriously, how cute are her kiddies!?

 Canon Rebel T3,  18-55mm lens, 4.0 f-stop, 50 shutter speed, Auto ISO
Natural light from window (Light fabric curtain)
Distance from tree: ~3 feet

Canon Rebel T3, 50 mm lens, 1.8 f-stop, 15 shutter speed, Auto ISO
Natural light from window (light, sheer white curtain).
Distance from tree: ~6 feet.
(No tripod, though I'd recommend one.)

So this is a super quick tutorial:
Note: Most of these I used a Canon 50mm fixed lens.
Fixed meaning you can't adjust the zoom.

The 50mm lens is a great lens, gets clear images and can get a low f-stop, 
you just have to move back and adjust your self to fill your frame rather than zoom in and out with the lens.  
 Canon Rebel T3, 50mm lens, 1.8 f-stop, 50 shutter speed, Auto ISO
Natural light from window with light curtains.
Distance from tree: ~4 feet.

Closer vs. Farther
Canon Rebel T3, 50mm lens, 1.8 f-stop,  60 shutter speed, Auto ISO
Again natural light from window.
Distance from tree: ~5ft.

For the white background:
I positioned the chair just inches from the window and a few feet from the tree.
The light weight fabric allowed light in without it casting harsh shadows. 
the bigger the blur!
(Like the one above.)
(Make sure your f-stop is set at the lowest.)

the smaller the blur!
(Like the one below.) 

Remember the basics:
Low shutter speed=more light

Low f-stop=more blur in back/foreground

A lower shutter speed can be tricky when it gets below 30.
A tripod can help keep it steady and try to have your subject hold still.
If you aren't familiar with your manual settings:
I suggest looking here.
She has some great explanations and tutorials! 

Canon Rebel T3, 50mm lens, 1.8 f-stop,  60 shutter speed,, Auto ISO
Again natural light from window.
Distance from tree: ~6 inches.



(The two above where without curtains, hence the harsh light.)

These are easy, quick photos to capture at home.
You can see the difference the dark vs. white tree makes in the over all appearance, as well as the distance.  
It is so fun to play with and figure out the distance. 

To save your sanity, practice with an object before going for it with the kiddos!   

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

There are a ton of bloggers out there... each with their special little ''niche.''

Oh, how I wish I could be great at something... so great that I could blog about the greatness all the time.  We all know them... the crafty bloggers, the fashion bloggers, the food bloggers... I'll never be any of those {oh, I'll dabble a little in all those things, of course... }
BUT if I could be a food blogger, I'd want to be like Julie!

She's hip, she's cool... she cooks!!

And every now & then I'm lucky enough to have her visit the blog with a delicious recipe I can share with you!

Of course, I'm talking about Julie of White Lights on Wednesday
Have you met her?  How's about a little taste of what you'll find when you visit her blog!

You can drool over find her here:

This recipe is awesome y'all!
A little heat.  A little cream.  Some delicious chicken.
Triple win.  

Very appropriate to bring a little warm to the Great White North.  I ate almost the entire batch myself.  Over a couple days, I'm not crazy.  Well, not that crazy.

Thanks so much to Lena for having me today.  You're the best and seriously one of my favorite bloggers!!

Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta
Adapted from Plain Chicken

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half (butterflied through)
1 pound pasta
2 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic  (or 3 cloves)
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. In a medium bow, whisk together oil, ranch, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper and sugar until combined; set aside.
  2. Cut chicken like you're going to butterfly, but cut breasts all the way through - you want to create thin halves.  Place chicken in a gallon Ziploc bag with prepared marinade.  Refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes (2 hours+ is better).
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water, until al dente.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken in skillet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.
  5. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in evaporated milk, garlic, cayenne, paprika, and Parmesan cheese.  Continue whisking for 5 minutes or so, until sauce thickens slightly. 
  6. Place pasta in serving bowls and top with sliced chicken breasts.  Top with more shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Welcome back to Tuesday10!
{or simply WELCOME if you're new here!}

I am so excited to welcome Angee of October Morning here today as my co-host!

Angee suggested this week's theme: 
Favorite Holiday Movies
{reminder: the theme isn't a MUST, just a prompt!}  

It's a great time of year for fabulous movies! There are some in my list that are "obvious" Christmas classics, others are just some I watch every year for sentimental reasons!
In no particular order... these are my favorite holiday movies!

Olive, The Other Reindeer
 Home Alone

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Troop Beverly Hills
{this one of those "sentimental" ones I was talking about! I used to stay up late Christmas Eve to watch this one... in hopes staying up late would help me sleep in the next day... Never did!}

Christmas With The Kranks

It's a Wonderful Life

200 Cigarettes

Edward Scissorhands

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

I can't wait to see what everyone links up this week!

 Now... it's your turn!
Grab a button & link up!
{you don't have to follow the "theme" to link up, it's just a prompt!
Any & every Tuesday10 list is welcomed!!}

Don't forget to visit my lovely co-host!


 Upcoming Themes

Dec 4th -"10 Favorite Christmas Songs"
Dec 11th & 18 - TBA  
Want to be a co-host? 
If you have a theme suggestion, don't be shy!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Revamp Your Jewelry Tutorial & Giveaway

Happy Monday!
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend... I actually had 2 photography sessions yesterday and both went really well! I'm so excited that my little hobby has taken on a life of it's own lately!

Unfortunaltey, the more sessions I shoot... the more editing I have to do. You know, in between my 9-5 job, being a mom & wife... and a blogger... so this week, blogging is taking a back seat!  Gasp!

Yes... I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now BUT I have lined up some wonderful women/bloggers/shop owners to take over for me this week.
{I am still hosting Tuesday10 tomorrow, so be sure to come back for that! Christmas movies!!}

Without further ado... lovely Stacey is here today with a DIY even I can do! and a giveaway!! 

Hello everyone!
I'm Stacey and I blog over at Glued To My Crafts.

I'm a mother to a nearly two year old boy, who keeps me on my toes and inspires a lot of my posts. I'm also a wife to a wonderful man serving in the Air Force. I'm a girly-girl who loves cooking, crafting and inspiring. Ok, the last one is more of a "I hope I inspire you." My blog is mainly about life experiences, recipes and craft creations. Everything I post can we be recreated with simple, everyday items you probably already have in your house. Even though I'm a shopaholic, I'm all about saving money and using what you have already. I don't spend a lot to be crafty, and neither should you.

I like going to stores just to find something I love and recreate it at home, for half the price. Call it a thrill of mine! One click of my camera and I'm off to buy supplies at Hobby Lobby. This is usually done with jewelry and home decor. My husband says I'm a shoe & purse hoarder, but I think I'm a jewelry-whore. There isn't an outfit in my closet that doesn't have a pair of matching jewelry to go with it. (And in his defense, a pair of shoes & purse to match too) Going through my jewelry stash you will find A LOT of sparkles & pearls. What I love about creating my own pieces is that no one else will have it. I like to be different from the crowd.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to change up some of your jewelry pieces and make it your own.

To accomplish this look, take a beaded necklace and fold it in half. Now tie a piece of pretty ribbon on both ends. Each piece of ribbon should be about ten inches long to allow you to tie it in a pretty bow to wear. (You might want to play with it, so you get the desired length you want) To cover up your knots, you can use clip on earrings or add a fabric flower. What I did in this example, is tie some additional ribbon into a bow around each knot.

To wear, just tie the two ribbon pieces together in a bow behind your neck. Whatever you decide to do, I hope this inspired you. Now dig through your jewelry chest and revamp some jewelry!

AND because it's the season of giving, I want to share a one-of-kind charm bracelet put together by me. I call this my Peppermint Candy Bracelet. I hope it brings some sparkle to your outfit. Good luck to everyone! ~Stacey

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Insta Fashion

You know you're a blogger when....
You take pics of your shoes, your accessories and most importantly, our outfit of the day {#OOTD}

The best part is you don't even have to be a fashion blogger!
It seems silly & a bit pretentious to anyone not in the blogging business... heck, it seems silly to some of us IN the blogging business... to take photos of yourself all the time, but it's fun!

Like a lot of moms, I tend to be BEHIND the camera most of the time.  My insta fashion posts on instagram are pretty much the only time I'm in a pic. Sad, eh?  Ha!  That or when I go out of my way to do a fashion post... 

What do you think of all the selfies & insta fashion pics on Instagram? You like?

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Friday, November 23, 2012

The Difference A Year Makes

Night & Day

Have you ever experienced or witnessed a change in someone so drastic it can only be described this way?

The first time it happened to us... it was frightening.
Our calm & content little guy suddenly became moody & aggressive.  All of his cute little quirks seem to become exaggerated all of a sudden and we were at a complete lost.  We had no idea what was going on!

That was how Memphis' daycare career ended and his journey into kindergarten began.

A year that should have been really exciting... was filled with anxiety, concern & a hellish sense of "what the heck are we going to do!?"  We had an amazing support team, but no real answers until last spring when he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

 kid is obsessed with hunting magazines!

Since then things have continually gone UP.  Better & better.  We are equipped with more knowledge and an even greater support system both at school & at home.

Memphis' first term in grade 1 just came to a close and the difference between this time last year is night & day!  He is excelling academically, already reading at a grade 3 level (if not higher), doing well in French & exceeding all of our expectations in math.  The biggest difference in the progress he has made socially.  A month ago he was still struggling to get through an entire day in class... having to be taken out after 15 or 20 minutes to do individual work with his aide instead.  Now he is spending the whole day in class and has also formed an important bond with his teacher... we are thrilled! 

Yesterday was Thanksgiving... across the border, anyway, but I wanted to take a moment to say that I am so thankful to have this little guy in my life.  Thankful to have so many amazing people surrounding us on this journey & knowing we're not alone!

The Hollie Rogue

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ooh la la LATTE!!

Hey peeps!
I completely ignored the computer last night and it felt great!!
However, that means I didn't get a post ready for today... bummer. 

I am participating in a fabulous, UNIQUE giveaway over at Jellibean Journals that I'm sure you're going to LOVE!

WIN all the fixings top make your very own Pumpkin Spice latte at home!

Amazing, eh?
Head on over HERE to enter!

I'm also helping my good buddy Malo of Life Feels Good in Portail Beach celebrate her birthday with a fun group giveaway HERE... I'm giving away a $15 ModCloth Gift Card {you know you want that!!}

Good luck!!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Welcome back to Tuesday10!
{or simply WELCOME if you're new here!}

I am so excited to welcome Amy of My Little One-Room Schoolhouse here today as my co-host!

Amy suggested this week's theme: 
{reminder: the theme isn't a MUST, just a prompt!}  

I love the idea of doing nice things for absolutely no reason other than to be... kind.
My list today is a CHALLENGE... as in, I challenge MYSELF (and you, if you're up to it) to do everything on it!

Pay for the person behind me at the drive-thru

Hold the door for another person, greet them with a smile

Give a complete stranger a compliment

Send a friend or relative a REAL card... just to let them know how special they are to me

Praise a co-worker AND/OR bring flowers & treats into to share with my co-workers

Volunteer my time or make a donation to a local charity

Devote an entire blog post to another blogger... just because

Pick up any trash or litter I come across throughout the day

Leave a generous tip for my waiter/waitress

Give another drive "my" parking spot

Easy enough, eh?
I can't wait to see what everyone links up this week!


 Now... it's your turn!
Grab a button & link up!
{you don't have to follow the "theme" to link up, it's just a prompt!
Any & every Tuesday10 list is welcomed!!}

Don't forget to visit my lovely co-host!


 Upcoming Themes

Nov 27th - Favorite Holiday movies

Dec 4th -"10 Favorite Christmas Songs"
Dec 11th & 18 - TBA  
Want to be a co-host? 
If you have a theme suggestion, don't be shy!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

what I bought for Ruby at the grocery store

It happened!
At the ripe old age of 4 years {11 months & 18 days}, Ruby asked me to buy her a copy of her very own teen magazine!  This one in particular is Yikes! magazine... a collection of embarrassing celebrity bloopers, apparently. 

Of course, Ruby just wanted to look at the pictures. She recognized Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift & those One Direction fellas and just

She was being such a good girl, and it was a small price to pay for an uneventful shopping trip!
{moms, you know what I mean, right!?}

I still remember the days of "Tiger Beat," "Seventeen" & "Bop" like it was yesterday!
Having to decide which side of the poster I'd want to showcase on my wall was serious stuff!

Ruby squealed with delight when she noticed a pull out poster of the Biebs!

This one actually had a "your face here" spot to add a photo of yourself... so, like any good mother, I helped her cut out a pic of herself to add to the poster!  She loves it!

Just more proof that my baby is growing up.


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