Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 16

I feel like I haven’t posted in forever, especially since it hasn’t been since January, but really I only missed one week. Due to other posts I had going on live and the blogiversary countdown (And Then Life just turned ONE! Yay!) I was promoting on social media, I decided to push Must Have Mondays back a week…so here we are!

If this is your first time checking out this series, I hope you enjoy! It’s a bi-weekly series where I feature a blogger, recipe, and product that I am LOVING!!!! I hope you fall in love with everything (or at least something) this week! ūüėČ


This week’s recipe: Foil Baked Salmon¬†by Primavera Kitchen

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Photo courtesy of Primavera Kitchen

This recipe is one of my faves ever! And aside from how tasty it is, I’m just going to be painstakingly honest and say that it’s also because there is practically no clean up! (You guys already know I’m the worst housewife ever haha). In all seriousness though, I was very hesitant to try this recipe because I thought something would be mushy or undercooked or the salmon would just taste like asparagus or the asparagus would just taste like salmon but NOPE! It was so, so yummy! Everything is perfectly cooked and so delicious! It also looks kinda fancy (you know I love that!) so I take it out of the foil and lay it out all nice on the plate to make it look like I really know what I’m doing in the kitchen! Quick and easy dinner, with quick and easy clean up! Enjoy!!!¬†


 

This week’s blogger: Lindsay of Lindsay’s Sweet World

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Photo courtesy of Lindsay

Honestly, I started following this gal almost a year ago on Instragram. I loved her page, it’s simple and seems effortless. I lost touch with her page a bit, and recently rediscovered it and finally visited her blog. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed it took me so long to check it out, but I’m so glad I did. I find myself visiting her blog often now because it makes me HAPPY. I love all her posts; they are just so sweet, and like her Instagram page, they seem effortless and simple. Her love for her family and life itself ooze out of her posts. She blogs about her home, fashion, and has a bunch of adorable DIY projects! You’ll absolutely love her!


 

This week’s product: CityBucket by Choopie

I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own. 

My husband can even vouch for this one!!!! The first time I used this was on a family walk over the weekend and I literally kept saying, “oh my gosh, I love this!” “I can’t believe how much stuff this holds!” “And look how cute it is!” Hahah But seriously this thing is awesome!!! I overpack any and everytime I go somewhere, even if it’s just for a trip to the park. I wish I was kidding, but I always like to be overly prepared. I bring so much stuff just when we go to the park that I literally have to bring my diaper bag and then I keep pulling it out of the basket underneath and Adalynn’s jacket falls in the mud. It’s not pretty y’all! Well with Choopie’s CityBucket it holds every single thing I normally bring. And since it straps to the stroller it leaves the bottom basket open for Adalynn’s jacket and whatnot. And if pink bows aren’t your thing, they have a variety of other {SUPER CUTE} designs available.

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(And honestly, it could have fit more than this! I ran out of things that I HAD to bring!)

 

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week!

xoxo

Reader Survey

Hey love bugs!

This past year has been an incredible journey for And Then Life…and I’m excited for it to get even better this year. Thank you for being along for the ride! If you’re a regular reader or just checked And Then Life out for the first time I’d love for you to complete the following survey.

You can pick and choose which questions you want to answer! And everything stays anonymous!

Thanks in advance!!!! Have a beautiful day!

xoxo

Our Love Story

I was thinking of all the different posts I wanted to share that had to do with how much I love my husband, John, and while I thought of many great ones, I realized I have never taken the time to write down our love story….

John and I met through a mutual friend in September of 2005, my freshmen year at Longwood University.¬†I was dating someone at the time, but we were in a long distance relationship so on weekends when he wasn’t visiting all of my time was devoted to my friends. I had a very close-knit group of friends in college, consisting about 50/50 of girls and guys. There many of us that dated, we were just all super close – spent birthdays together, sat for hours doing papers and homework together, watched movies, took road trips, visited each others’ families, met up each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We genuinely loved one another and I could fully rely on any and every person in my group of friends. I think because John and I met through a mutual friend and we both immediately were part of this tight knit group that friendship was the furthest our thoughts ever went.

This group of friends stayed strong for all four years I was at Longwood. And as fate would have it, John changed his major and was there an extra year…

My senior year of college I broke up with said boyfriend because we were at such different places in life. We had different hopes and dreams and respectfully decided to end things.

That same year I was finishing my teaching degree and was completing my student teaching semester at a local school. Many people did this semester in their hometown at a school they were familiar with and as a way to save money, but the program wouldn’t accept my placement since I’m from a rather desolate location. And honestly, that was fine with me! I loved my college town and my apartment and was more than content to stay where I was for one final semester.

As the semester drew to a close and graduation neared, the principal told me about an upcoming teaching vacancy in the county. I thought about it and it didn’t take long for me to decide to apply. I loved the school where I was placed and wouldn’t have minded being an official resident in my college town. (A “townie” as we so unlovingly called those folks haha) I applied and was offered a job within two days. I accepted.

Just three and a half short months later, my dog and I got our first official home – a two bedroom apartment, next door to a rather questionable dude that sold drugs, and I couldn’t have been happier! I had my dog (and soon after got a kitten), a half-way decorated house using stuff from my parents’ house, my college apartment, and Walmart, and the job of my dreams. Some afternoons after I’d get home from work and walk my dog, I’d be a bit bored though. Aside from writing lesson plans, grading papers, and cleaning my apartment, I didn’t have much going on. John was still living in this same town as well because he was finishing up one final class and was in the middle of a lease with a few other roommates. He worked at a local Ruby Tuesday as a bartender so one night I decided to go have dinner there. I contemplated not going since I would have to sit alone, but I figured that I wouldn’t look like too much of a loner since I knew the bartender. (Or maybe that made it even worse?! haha) Anyway, I went and had a quick dinner, chatted with John, watched some sports, chatted with some random person also sitting alone at the bar, and went home.

A few weekends later I was going out of town and couldn’t bring my dog. I asked John if he minded watching him since he lived in a house with a yard and he actually had a dog of his own. Thankfully, he didn’t mind. On Sunday when I returned I hung out for a bit with he and his roommates because I didn’t want it to look like I was just using him to watch my dog. (I’m just being truthful y’all)

As weeks and months ticked past I started eating at Ruby Tuesday more. I really needed interaction with other adult humans, not four-legged creatures or fifth graders. Our exchanges while he worked turned into texts and phone calls and then dinner dates that he could actually participate in. We would get together to let the dogs play.¬†We started hanging out on Sundays to watch football. (I’m not a football fan….)

One morning in late spring I was getting ready. I’d had a friend stay with me and a bunch of us from my college group of friends were getting together. (John included). I grabbed a sundress out of my closet and walked in the bathroom to do my makeup and curl my hair. I remember it so vividly. I slipped into the dress and while I was working on my hair and makeup I realized that I was trying to impress John. I literally screamed and my friend came running in. I was like “oh my gosh, I like John!” Thinking back now, I laugh and laugh, but I truly felt like I’d been blind-sided. Here was this guy that I’d known for years and really did love and trust, but never knew I was actually busy falling¬†in¬†love with him!

And honestly, from there, the rest is history….

Happy Valentine’s Day, myhusband!

Thank you for doing life with me, every single day!

 

{Photos from our Valentine’s Photo Shoot two years ago with Cynthia Tenney.¬†These photos were actually part of our pregnancy announcement shoot with her}

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Happy Valentine’s Day love bugs!!!!

xoxo

 

Valentine’s Day Brunch & Play Date

I had the most wonderful weekend!!!! And I hope you did too!

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Items mentioned in this post were provided by Oriental Trading. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are 100% my own. 

Adalynn and I co-hosted a Galentine’s Day Brunch and Play Date and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I’m sure you’re not suprised since I’m so holiday obsessed! My mama friends brought their kiddos over and we did crafts, ate brunch (mimosas included), and had a photo booth. And then while the kiddos continued playing the moms took part in adult conversation!!!!! Unheard of, right?! Hahah Continue reading

Blogging…What I Have to Say, One Year Later

I’ve been blogging for ONE YEAR! Whaaaaaaa?!

Before I say anything else, I want to say, THANK YOU! I am continually humbled by your kind words, support, shares, pin, likes, any and everything! No matter how big, every single thing means more to me than I could EVER say!

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Aside from thanking you lovely people, I wanted to use this post to do three other things!

I want to share the link from my original welcome post, I ¬†want to share the link to the number one most popular post from this past year, and I want to share the 6 things this past year has taught me! So here it goes….

  • Click HERE¬†for the link to the my welcome post!
  • Click HERE¬†for the most popular blog post from this past year!
  • That paragraph up there should probably say “the 28,491 things this past year has taught me” instead of “6” but nonetheless here’s what I’ve learned:

Sharing really does mean caring

Since I am a blogger, I support other bloggers. When I read something of their’s I connect with, I share it. When I see a DIY project I think is cool, I pin it. If I come across something on Twitter that I think is neat, I retweet it. Pretty much every blogger you could talk to would you tell you that they want their words to reach as far and wide as possible. The least I can do as a fellow blogger is share their hard work.

I am so grateful for social media

While we’re talking about sharing, let’s jump right in and talk about social media! Social media is something I am more grateful for than ever. Staying in touch with family and friends has always been important to me and when MySpace and then Facebook came along I just loved how easy it was to keep up with my bestest friends that were at different colleges than me! Well now social media has grown even more with things like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, being some of the most popular. I am so grateful to these platforms because they allow me to share and promote my blog to the masses. It also allows me to connect with readers and other bloggers on a deeper level.

Blogging is not easy

Please do not read that as, “Blogging is not fun.”¬†It is SO fun! I have big plans for this blog so when it comes to making blog posts, many of them took hours, between, taking and editing photographs, writing the post, coming up with a title. I want it to look presentable. I also like to make true connections with my readers. If they write me, whether on here or on some form of social media, I make every attempt to respond. Their time is just as precious as mine. And since I have big plans, I take blog promotion seriously and even when you may just see a simple Facebook share or Instagram post, a lot of thought went into it. Like I said, that doesn’t mean that having this blog isn’t fun. I have a BLAST working on this blog of mine. That’s exactly¬†why¬†I’m able to put so much time and effort into it!

People don’t always like sponsored posts

With blogging, especially when promoted on social media platforms, you will have companies and small shops reach out to you. They are looking for you to be a social media influencer and help promote their product. They do this because statistics have shown that the typical person will be more likely to purchase a product after seeing it promoted by a blogger than from an ad, commerical, etc from the company, even if it is endorsed by a celebrity. With that comes free product in exchange for a review, and that makes people uncomfortable for some reason. I had a woman literally write to me and tell me I was fake because I got “free stuff” to blog. First of all, since when does getting something for free mean I’m being fake?? Anyway, I digress. Please just know that I will NEVER¬†become a blogger that only posts about products. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I know they’re working hard, it is just not something I am passionate about. Please also know that when you do see a sponsored post or product review on my blog, it is ALWAYS something I truly support and something I think my readers would love and find useful.

I know close to nothing about technology

I giggle with this one, but if I’m being honest it’s been one of my only frustrations with having a blog. Intelligence when it comes to technology just truly doesn’t come naturally to me. (That sentence didn’t even come out naturally haha) I try to play around with my site, but I really don’t take the time I need to. The technology side of having a blog was not one I thought about and quite frankly, one I didn’t care to learn about. I now see all the awesome things I can do with this space so that makes me want to experiment more on here, but I definitely need to make more time for that side of it!

People support you when you’re “real.”

There are many things I’ve worried over and been stressed about or felt singled out by. Particularly since becoming a mother. Being a writer, many times these thoughts and feelings come out in the form of a blog post. Even after typing it though, you still have that wondering of whether you’re the only one. Time and time again I’ve found that when I just put on my big girl panties and hit “publish” I immediately am met with so much support. It also has shown me that others may have had that “I’m the only one” type feeling and by me publishing that particular post it made them feel so much better. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Alright y’all! That’s a wrap! (oh my gosh, I got a little teary eyed typing that)

Again, thank you SO much for all your support this past year! I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for every single one of you that’s ever read even one blog post.

Here’s to an even bigger, better year! Watch out!!! ūüėČ

xoxo

(I have a reader survey coming later in the week, I’d love for you to check back in and fill it out! Thank you, in advance!)

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A Valentine’s Date with my Daughter

This post has been sponsored been Crazy 8. I received the mentioned products in exchange for an honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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I love holidays! Valentine’s Day quickly became one of my faves after having my baby girl. My husband and I never really celebrated and deemed it a “made-up” holiday. (Such bah humbugs! So unlike me!!! haha) Well fast forward a few years to our baby’s first Valentine’s Day! I wanted to decorate, I wanted everyone to wear hearts and pink and red and anything that said “love.” We did Valentine’s Day crafts, we made cards, we took pictures in all our lovey dovey goodness! I was immediately obsessed! Continue reading

Happy 3rd House-iversary (Part 2)

Thanks for checking back in on our humble abode!

Before I even get started on my original plan for this post can I just say that I just got to use a gift card at Bed, Bath, & Beyond and At Home?! I found some great stuff y’all! Can’t wait to knock off more house stuff on my 2017 goal list!!!! Anyway, back to the why we’re here. Last week I shared pictures from the photo shoot we did when we bought our house (Click here¬†if you missed it!) and I promised that I would share another post of things we have done around the house.

Now this house was completely live-able HOWEVER we weren’t 100% ¬†happy with it. It isn’t old (built in 2000!) but it isn’t young either! The previous owners and/or builders had many things in the house that worked just fine, but it was obvious they were either the cheapest route or not done to the best of their ability. No bueno!

With that being said though, this isn’t our forever home so we’re only willing to spend but so much on the changes we want to see. Realistically many of them may never happen. Honestly, I hate that, but it just doesn’t make sense!

Okay, before we start let’s take a moment to appreciate our first meal! hahahah

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Okay so here’s what we’ve done so far (down to some very small details):

Miscellaneous:

  • Replaced the broken plastic doorbell with a brushed brass one
  • Added decorative static cling window film to the tiny windows beside our front door (If you had told me I would do this, I would have been like “heck no, how trashy!” but it looks legit and beautiful. I love how it turned out!)
  • Replaced every. single. flippin. door knob, exterior and interior, from brass to brushed nickel
  • Replaced the brass hotel lock on the front door with a brushed nickel one (I wanted to remove it completely but the holes in the frame work were going to cost more time and money to fix than just switching out the lock)
  • Replaced blinds on 5 windows throughout the house
  • Replaced broken outlet covers
  • Hauled away an abandoned grill, rusted outdoor decorations, and a garden bench
  • Installed an electronic garage door with keypad

Living room:

  • Painted one wall in our living room “colonial blue.” (Love it! We were going to do the entire room, but then fell in love with the accent wall)

Kitchen:

  • Raised the cabinets (my father builds custom homes and this was 100% his idea, he says it gives it a more “luxury feel”)
  • Replaced oven, dishwasher, and refridgerator with stainless steel appliances
  • Added a microwave to the kitchen
  • Replaced a light fixture

Half bath:

  • Painted the walls a sea foam color (found the paint in the garage when we moved in, which is funny because none of the walls in the house are that color)
  • Replaced the light fixture (I fell in love with the lighting in a friend’s bathroom and they gave it to me when they replaced their’s. Score!)
  • Replaced the outdated faucet
  • Replaced the brass toilet paper roll holder, and towel bar with brushed nickel (you probably guessed that, right?!)
  • Replaced square contractor-grade mirror with round mirror

Laundry room:

  • Added knobs to the cabinetry
  • Bought a washer and dryer

Master bedroom:

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  • Painted all four walls grey, with one darker grey accent wall

Master bathroom:

  • Removed towel bars (they weird lengths and wooden (and actually they were the very first things to go in the house!))
  • Replaced wooden toilet paper roll holder and ¬†plastic shower curtain rod with brushed nickel pieces
  • Added knobs to the cabinetry

Guest bathroom:

  • Replaced brass towel bar with bronze towel bar (you thought I was going to say brushed nickel, didn’t you?! haha)
  • Added knobs to the cabinetry
  • Replaced plastic shower curtain rod with bronze shower curtain rod

Nursery:

  • Painted walls cotton candy pink (I never wanted a baby girl’s room to be pink, but my hubby picked this color out and I love it so much!)

After taking the time to organize the thoughts on all that we’d done I realize that I am seriously lacking in pictures!!!! Although we’ve been here 3 years we definitely still have a long way to go. This motivates me to finish those things still on my list so that I can take some before and after pictures for you guys!

For now, here’s us the night we got our living room furniture and finally had somewhere to sit and eat! haha

We never had any intentions of leaving the TV on that table, but for that night we plugged it in and watched a few episodes of Friends! Also, how much do you love our pasta dinner in those yellow plastic cereal bowls?! Hehe

And here are some other silly pictures during the move-in process! We were all (including my family of helpers) sleep-deprived! Did I also mention that we moved during a snow storm?!

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This is my car the morning of moving day

img_6888My sweet boy; he’s been with me since my first apartment! (Don’t mind¬†my half work/half chill outfit haha)

img_7047The moving crew…with a picture in my brand new vanity! Yay!

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And our dog discovered that it really is fun to finally have a yard to play in….

Oh and did I also mention that on the day owe rented a U-haul and moved everything in we also had an ADT rep and Verizon rep here and had our furniture delivered, and all of the kitchen appliances delivered and set-up. It was absolutely over-the-top CHAOTIC, but I think I would do the same in the future. It all (mostly) got knocked out in one day!

This post wasn’t the norm and I know it was pretty long, but I hope you found some joy in our journey to being homeowners!

xoxo