Family Photos 2018

I have never despised family photos quite like my husband.  He really, truly dreads them like I dread going to the dentist.  But, he obliges because a) he knows it's important to me and b) he appreciates having annual photos as the boys grow.  I have never loved the process, but always leave thinking "That wasn't bad."  Until this year.  Oh, holy heavens.  I'm not sure I have ever wanted needed a drink so badly.  Allow me to recap.

We meet up with our photographer and say our hellos.  Brantley falls in the tall grass.  On purpose, of course.  Rhett wants nothing to do with the camera.  Brantley falls in the grass again.  Rhett will not stand...or his brothers for a photo.  Holden forgets how to smile naturally.  Brantley falls down, again.  (For the love of God, stop falling!)  Rhett will not stand out of arms reach of me.  Holden is still smiling ridiculously.  Quite similar to this emoji actually --> 😬.  Brantley falls for a fourth time.  And officially makes our photographer question what she's gotten herself into, as she's eight months pregnant with her first boy.  By now Rhett refuses to even look at the camera, let alone sit for a "brothers" photo.  And Holden still can't smile.

So yeah, I left feeling very defeated and questioning my existence as a mother.  And obviously, with very low expectations for our photos.  Yet somehow, our photographer did what photographers do, worked her magic, and gave us photos beyond anything I had imagined.




So, moral of the story.  Have a miserable time.  Set your expectations very low.  And then, expect to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  Now, I'm off to design our Christmas card!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...or in my Case, a Great Mother's Day Gift!

Pictures are so important to me.  And unfortunately, I don't have the kind of husband who gets excited about taking photos for me, especially the candid photos that I love oh so much.  So this year, for Mother's Day, I went ahead and booked myself a Mommy & Me session with a local photographer.  The session included copyright to five photos...but of course, I couldn't pick just five so I shelled out $50 for five more!  (Now I know why she takes so many more...tricky tricky!)  Hey, they're only little once, right?!

Becca Blackburn Photography

Outfit Deets:
dress \\ mama necklace \\ earrings \\ shoes
(Boys outfits are old)

Saving Some Serious Moolah with Wikibuy

This post is sponsored by Wikibuy. #ad

Hi, friends!  Just popping in for some old fashion sharing of a good deal!  Raise your hand if you enjoy saving money.


That's what I thought.  Have you heard of the website Wikibuy?  I hadn't either until about a month ago.  

What is it, you ask?  Wikibuy operates as a website and Chrome extension that finds you the best deals across the web on products you love!  Wikibuy does not sell the products; they do, however, match you with the best prices on the products you are going to purchase anyway!

Here's how you can use Wikibuy to help save you money:
(I'll demonstrate a few of the options below.)

1 // Use Wikibuy to compare prices when shopping

2 // Use Wikibuy to find and apply coupon codes from hundreds of retailers.  Retailers like my faves --> Target and Old Navy! 🙌🙌🙌

3 // Use Wikibuy to get credit back on purchases.  (I assume this option is similar to Ebates, but I haven't specifically looked into it.)

4 // Use Wikibuy to notify you when prices drop.

Consider Wikibuy your online personal shopping assistant.  It's easy.  And free.  Check the 60-second video at this link for an explanation better than what I can give. 😉

Now, let me demonstrate a few of the money-saving options.

First up, Amazon.  It's 2018.  We all do a ton of shopping on Amazon, amiright?  When shopping on Amazon, Wikibuy will compare their price with prices across the web.  Take this swimsuit for example.  The Wikibuy extension will verify that Amazon has the lowest price on this suit.  If they do not, Wikibuy will direct you to the website with lowest price, and I believe, Wikibuy factors in shipping (or Prime lack of shipping) costs.  You can also add the item to your Watchlist, allowing you to watch for deals and sales on that specific item.  Genius, right?!

Also, don't you totally want this suit now?  Here's the link to buy for anyone interested.

Super cool, but those options aren't even my favorite part of Wikibuy.  You guys--Wikibuy helped me save over $100 when shopping at!  Allow me to demonstrate. 

Here's my GAP cart before Wikibuy.  $239 and some change.  

The Wikibuy extension will prompt you to 'try codes' and once you do, Wikibuy will test several available coupons codes and find you the best deal on what you are going to buy anyway!  Here's a screenshot of Wikibuy working its magic.

And *drumroll please* here is my cart after Wikibuy.  $132 and five cents.  That's over $100 in savings!!

Sure, I probably could have Googled the same coupon codes, but let's be real, how often does one actually do that?!  Plus, when I'm ready to checkout, I usually have to do it quickly before my conscience kicks in and tells me I don't need all. the. things. after all.

Wikibuy also offers shopping directly from their website and you can add a credit card to get a percentage back whenever you purchase from one of their featured brands; however, I haven't explored either option in depth yet.

Are you convinced?  If you're interested in saving yourself some serious money, download the Wikibuy Chrome extension --> here <-- and happy shopping!

Blogging, Lately

Hello?  Is there anyone in the world who still follows blogs?  Because I can't tell you the last time I read or commented on any of the beloved blogs I followed for years.

What about this blog?  Anyone who still follows this blog?  Is there anyone who actually misses my posts?  Please comment if you do and maybe it'll give me the motivation to draft a few posts!  Seriously though, leave me a comment, something as simple as "Me!" if you still consistently read blogs, read my blog.  So what if you've never commented.  Who cares if you don't know me personally.  I would honestly love to know if there's anyone still out there!

Anyway, I've been noticeably absent.  I've written fewer blog posts than the months of this year.  I hate it that I no longer have the time or energy to record our memories.  Craig recently asked me why.  The answer is simple and two-fold.  

First off, three kids.  I absolutely adore having three kids but the energy required to care for three kids is exponentially greater than that required to care for one.  Also, my kids are growing older.  I find myself less excited about putting everything out there for the whole world to see.  As much as I think my children might look back and appreciate the recorded memories, there's a part of me that thinks they may resent it.  Like when their friends...or girlfiends...are old enough to read.  What are they / their peers going to think if they stumble upon my blog?  Are my boys going to appreciate being the subject of their mommy's Internet hobby?  Truthfully, who knows.

But back to the growing older thing.  With older ages also comes later bedtimes.  I used to be guaranteed at least two full hours to myself between their bedtime and mine.  Now, however, I'm lucky to get an hour.  An hour is not enough to put my thoughts onto the computer screen, let alone upload, edit, and insert photos into a post, especially given my slower-than-molasses laptop these days.  Besides, I'm usually too tired to do anything but scroll mindlessly on social media.  (See sentence two of previous paragraph.)

Which leads me to my next point.  Social media has changed.  Blogging just isn't what it was five years ago.  And that saddens me.

I used to really enjoy following the mommy + lifestyle blogs that were similar to my own.  Whether or not I personally knew the blogger, there was something very comforting about going through the same phases of motherhood with all these other bloggers across the U.S.  Blog reading was my number one hobby.  It's what I did in my free time.  I would check my Bloglovin' feed before any other form of social media, including Instagram.  Today, I'm like "Bloglovin', what's that?"  I haven't logged in for dayyyyys months.  However, I've certainly scrolled through Instagram once...or ten times...already today.

Blogging has become very scripted.  Never mind the authenticity of a blog post anymore.  You can't just read someone's true or real-life thoughts.  It's all about #sponsored posts all the time, and if not a sponsored post, you better believe the post is full of affiliate links.  Everyone wants to make a buck, or be "blog famous".  Did that person really like that product, or were they paid to say that?  You can't believe what you read and won't read what you believe.  Today more than ever, it's all about numbers--how many likes, how many followers, how many pageviews--and less about genuinely wanting to share.

Beyond that, Instagram seems to be the new Blogger, amiright?  Required is a pretty, cohesive feed, witty captions, and eye-pleasing, yet candidly gorgeous, photos.  The kind of photos that require either a professional photographer or a willing Instagram husband.  Neither of which I have or want to spend the money on.  And the witty captions?  Can we all just agree that they're for the likes?  Half the time, I don't even believe the captions to be true.  

On one hand, I get it.  I've certainly done my fair share of sponsored posts on this itty bitty blog.  And have you seen my perfectly cohesive School in Style account?  Part of the reason I started that account was because I enjoy clothes / fashion / shopping and posting a daily outfit photo is quicker and far easier than having to compose an entire blog post.  Another reason, affiliate links!  Although never my main goal, I thought that if I could make a little money to support my love of shopping, it would be worth the investment!  It satisfied my need for a hobby--a creative outlet--while also being an easier replacement to traditional blogging.  So I'm totally guilty of all the same things I'm sad about.

Making money via social media can be exciting, and getting free product is a definite perk.  But at the same time, it's. not. everything.

I hate that it's come to this.  I hate that, for me and many others, blogging has fallen to the back burner because of what blogging has become.  (Ironic, right?)  I hate that I no longer have the energy or the motivation to put my words and photos on the Internet.  I hate that I can't go back and look at our Christmas or Halloween recaps or the boys' first day of preschool from last year.  Why?  Because those blog posts don't exist.  Blogging was always a priority for me.  An out.  Therapy, if you will.

Perhaps blogging is coming to an end for me.  Or maybe I'll turn a new leaf, dig deep, and find some motivation.  (I wouldn't hold your breath.)  Only time will tell.

So if you've wondered where I've been, there's the answer.  This post has been brewing in my head for months now and it feels good to finally get it on paper the Internet.

What do you think about blogging in 2018?  What has it become?  Or what will it become?  Do you enjoy the "influencers" of this day and age, or are you like me, and wish we could go back to the good ole days of blogging and authentically wanting to share?

Here's a photo simply because a blog post without a photo is like a bag of chips with no salsa. 😉

Living to the Full at the Big 12 Tourney!

This post is sponsored by Phillips 66. #partner

March ranks up there as one of my favorite months.  Warm(ish) weather, Daylight Savings, Spring Break, St. Patty's Day.  It's such a breath of fresh air after the long and dark winter.  I'm even a big fan of basketball during the month of March.  So when Phillips 66 reached out with an opportunity to attend the Big 12 tournament, and with a husband and kids who adore sports, I couldn't say no!

I loaded up the boys after school on Thursday and headed towards downtown to meet Craig, who had been there all day for "work".  We made a quick stop on the way at Phillips 66 to fill up with gas using their new Mobile Pay option on the My Phillips 66 app.  It was super easy to use and the app has so many great features, like displaying the nearest Philips 66 as soon as you open it.

Once my gas tank was full, it was onward to downtown.  I wasn't about to brave the traffic (and parking situation) near the Sprint Center, so I parked a ways away and we hopped on the street car!  Riding the street car may have as big a highlight as the rest of the night!  (Thanks to the sweet girl who took our photo while waiting for it to arrive.)

When we finally made to the Power & Light District, we met up with Daddy and visited the Phillips 66 game zone outside of the Sprint Center.  To say the boys loved the games would be a huge understatement!  The came away with some Phillips 66 goodies that they think is a pretty big deal!

Craig goes every year, but I had never been to the Power & Light District for the Big 12 Tournament.  Not that I was surprised, but uber impressed with how this city transform in order to host such an ordeal!

We finally made our way into the game and got to see Texas Tech defeat Texas.  It was the boys' first college basketball experience and though we missed seeing the Jayhawks play by a few hours (darn work schedule) but we were donning our Rock Chalk apparel anyway!

We only stayed for the first - of two - evening games and once again, enjoyed a ride on the street car en route back to our van.  It's always nice to do something unconventional, especially on a weeknight, especially when it means exploring this city that we very much love!

Our strategy as parents has always been to not allow our children to rule our lives or to stop us from doing the things we want, which goes right along with Phillips 66's tagline "Live to the Full."  So, a huge thanks to Phillips 66 for helping us to do just that while also giving our kids this new and exciting experience!

Last thing, along with Phillips 66, I am giving away five $25 gas cards over on Instagram!  The giveaway ends tonight and right now, your chances of winning are extremely high! 😉