What You Read the Most in 2018…

Since starting my blog a few years ago, 2018 was definitely my slowest year. My blog posts was super spontaneous, I didn’t take much time to promote any of my posts, and overall this site just took a place on the back burner. I’m really hoping that 2019 has me on this space much more frequently again because I sure have missed it! Continue reading

My Top Posts of 2017! (And What to Expect in 2018…)

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Before I share another THING, I just want to say thank you for making this blog what it is today. I have had the opportunity the work with some amazing people, some awesome brands, and honestly, open up about things that I just needed to get off my chest. Thank you really isn’t enough, but I mean it whole-heartedly every single time I say it. If it wasn’t for you guys, as the readers, my little corner of the Internet would be full of crickets and cobwebs! So, thank you! Continue reading

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!


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!


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!!! 😉


(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!)


What’s on Your…TV Watch List

Excited it’s time for another link-up with some fabulous ladies! This month we are talking about what’s on our TiVo, Hulu, Netflix, etc. watch list. If this is your first month tuning in, this link-up posts on the third Wednesday of every month. You can share via blog post and actually join in on the blog link-up or just hashtag #2016whatsonyour and play along with on Instagram. Okay now that all the housekeeping is out of the way, here’s those fabulous ladies I referred to a second ago:

The Other Hostesses

Andrea || For the Love of Honey

Courtney || Love of Mommyhood

Maeve || Everyday Maeve

Patricia || Life of a Minister Mom

Sara || Crazy Cozads

Tabitha || Tabitha Panariso

Now onto this month’s theme….

What’s On Your…TiVo, Netflix, Hulu Watch List

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So this month’s topic was a tricky one for me. Why? Well, I don’t watch television. I know some of you may have just reread that to make sure you heard me correctly, but you did. I don’t watch television. I have nothing against the TV, but I just never make the time for it. For many it is a relaxing time, but I’m never able to get invested enough in a show because I’m thinking about a zillion other things I could be getting done. I’m very much a busy body so I have to be fully invested to actually relax and sit still for a bit. Books, blogging, and social media do that for me, television doesn’t.

Now don’t be fooled, that’s not to say our television is never on. In the rare times that we are able to spend some time together my husband and I enjoy watching movies or reruns of the sitcom Friends (we own all 10 seasons on DVD).

We also use it, maybe a bit too much sometimes, as an at home date night. An excuse to do nothing, hang out together, and make some yummy snacks, which are often simple (popcorn, trail mix, chips and salsa), but we also like to splurge (olives, fine cheeses, crackers, wine)

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We also rent movies at Redbox every once in a while and snag a sitter for a night at the actually movie theater, but it doesn’t happen often.

If we do rent/go see a movie soon, what should it be? Help!

Check out the lists of all the other hostesses and be sure to add your’s. If you don’t have a blog, post it on Instagram. Or do both! (That’s what I did!)

Follow Along with Us on Instagram!

Andrea || Chelsea || Courtney || Maeve || Patricia || Sara || Tabitha

And be sure to use our hashtag so that we can see what you share!


Now is time for you to set your calendars for July 20th, grab our button and show us

What’s On Your… Feet! 

Crazy Cozads

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What’s On Your… Summer Bucket List

So excited about this month’s link-up because I am a huge fan of SUMMER and I am a huge fan of BUCKET LISTS (well actually lists in general!)

If you didn’t tune in in April, this link-up posts on the third Wednesday of every month. Share along with us, have fun, and meet some new friends!

The Other Hostesses

Andrea || For the Love of Honey

Courtney || Love of Mommyhood

Maeve || Everyday Maeve

Patricia || Life of a Minister Mom

Sara || Crazy Cozads

Tabitha || Tabitha Panariso

This month’s theme is….

What’s On Your…Summer Bucket List

While last summer was one of the best summers of my life, as it is when we greeted our baby girl….

…this summer will be MUCH different.

Many of the activities we will be partaking in will either be involving a sweet almost one year old OR they will be activities that were considered dangerous or wrong for me to partake in last summer!

Here’s my summer bucket list, which I will be sure to add to! You can obviously see what my top priority is. Leave a comment below with more ideas!!!


Check out the lists of all the other hostesses and be sure to add your’s. If you don’t have a blog, post it on Instagram. Or do both! (That’s what I did!)

Follow Along with Us on Instagram!

Andrea || Chelsea || Courtney || Maeve || Patricia || Sara || Tabitha

And be sure to use our hashtag so that we can see what you share!


Now is time for you to set your calendars for June 15th, grab our button and show us What’s On Your…

TV {Hulu, Netflix, etc} Watchlist! 

Crazy Cozads


What’s On Your…Nightstand!

Happy Wednesday Lovelies!  I am so excited to be part of this fun link up! I’ve teamed up with some fantastic ladies that I think you will love getting to know.  What’s On Your… is designed to be a quick and fun link up where you can share a little bit of yourself and make new friends in the process! On the third Wednesday of each month is when we will link up and share the new prompt!

The Other Hostesses

Andrea || For the Love of Honey

Courtney || Love of Mommyhood

Maeve || Everyday Maeve

Patricia || Life of a Minister Mom

Sara || Crazy Cozads

Tabitha || Tabitha Panariso


This month’s theme is:

What’s On Your…Nightstand! 


Here’s a look at my nightstand, honestly one of my favorite things in both our house and our master bedroom. (Hubby has the same one, with matching lamp). I’ve always loved the cherry wood of our bedroom set, but what I really fell in love with was the lamp! Purchased at Target for more than I want to admit I knew I had to have them. With a silver base and stand and clear spheres, I knew a white shade would look great. I thought it would pop against our gray walls and, I think you’ll agree, I was right. I just love the crisp, clean look.


A closer look will show you a Scentsy warmer (currently turned off), a baby monitor (also off, because whose kid actually naps??), a hair clip (for those late night nursing sessions), and a coaster (that barely ever has a cup on it – I have a hatred of cups sitting around and a fear of spilling it). I also have two framed photos, one of my pregnant belly in a “Mom” frame, and one of all three of us; our first family photo that wasn’t a selfie and/or taken in a hospital.

Last, but not least, you will see a tidy little stack of “stuff.” In that stack, from bottom to top, my notes from church two weeks ago, a baby book I never finished reading (but still want to), my weekly planner, and the book “Two Kisses for Maddy,” a memoir written by fellow blogger about losing his wife and learning the ropes of being a parent to their baby girl.


 It also wasn’t until I took these photos that I noticed the big empty space. Then I realized that at night that is where my glasses and phone are while I sleep. I only wear my glasses for the few seconds it takes me to get from the bathroom where I took out my contacts, to my bed. I also sleep with my phone next to me since I don’t have an alarm clock.

It’s your turn now. Grab our button and play along!

Follow Along with Us on Instagram!

Andrea || Caroline || Chelsea || Courtney || Maeve || Patricia || Sara || Tabitha

And be sure to use our hashtag so that we can see what you share!


Now is time for you to set your calendars for June 15th, grab our button and show us What’s On Your…

TV { 

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Liebster Award

And Then Life is so honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Balancing Pieces! Thank you so much Kristen! (I apologize it’s taken me a couple of weeks to respond, but I so appreciate this recognition).

Kristen & I have been following one another on Instagram for a little over a month now. She has a fabulous blog & she was sweet enough to let me guest blog a couple weeks ago. Check out her blog & leave some love. You won’t be disappointed!

Liebster Award

In the blogging world, the Liebster Award is online recognition given by bloggers to other new bloggers for enjoying or valuing their work. It is meant to highlight and credit favorite new up and coming blogs within our writing community.

The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the blog that nominated you and link back to them
  • Answer 11 questions from the blogger that nominated you
  • Tell readers 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 11 bloggers to receive the award next
  • Give your new nominees questions to answer about themselves when they post their nomination

Here the questions Kristen wanted answers to:

I loved these questions Kristen! They really made me think hard about my blog & my intentions with it! Thanks pretty lady!!!

  • Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I enjoy writing and wanted to share it with others.
  • What advice would you give another new blogger? Be yourself!
  • How would you describe your blog? My blog is a lifestyle blog about focusing on the important things in life instead of getting caught up in the rat race. I am willing to write about pretty much anything, but tend to end up with lots of posts on marriage and parenting.
  • Is blogging your profession or hobby? I do it as a hobby, but it honestly feels like a profession sometimes, as it is much more time consuming than I thought it would be.
  • What topic do you enjoy writing about most? I have a lot of fun with my random, rambly posts to be completely honest, but I think writing about motherhood tends to come most naturally.
  • What do you envision for your blog one year from now? I thought I knew, but recently God has shown me that He has other plans for me, so honestly at this point I’m just taking it one step at a time.
  •  What is one fact your bloggers don’t know about you? I have a book called “2,001 Things to do Before You Die” and I have been checking off things since 2011. I am considering making my journey to check them all off a series on my blog site. I’m still playing with the idea as honestly there’d be so much to write about it might need it’s own website! Haha
  • Are there any topics you refuse to write about? Not that I can think of
  • What do you believe is the most important part of a successful blog? I think making genuine connections is so, so important. I also think, aside from those connections though, you are blogging for YOU. Don’t write articles to try to impress or gain followers. Write articles because it’s something important to you, something you’re passionate about!
  •  How do you balance your family,work/blogging and social life? I am still working hard on this one and will take and all suggestions! As for family, currently, my husband and I have a weekly date night (we have for years!) and it is something that does not get cancelled! Maybe rescheduled to an earlier or later night in the week, but never cancelled. We have one daughter and I stay home with her so we get lots of quality time together!. As for blogging, I am striving to have a set blogging schedule but as of now it is done at night when my husband is working/busy or when my daughter is napping. As for social life, we rarely say no to invite. Luckily we aren’t overly busy or overly bored with the number of things we are invited to so it works out perfectly. If it is an adult event, we find a sitter. If we can’t find a sitter, one of us still goes.
  • How often do you write and post new content? I try to write daily, even if it is for only a few minutes. I post new content at least once a week.

11 Random Facts About Myself:

I seriously love pointless facts – whether it’s a wacky science book or someone’s Instagram post – I just find it so interesting! Maybe that should have been my first fact…

  1. I do not watch TV. Not that I have anything against it, it is just not something I enjoy.
  2. I am not a very good cook, but really enjoy making dinners for my hubby. I must have a recipe though!
  3. I have my Masters degree in Reading.
  4. I moved annually for six years straight. First place I left because I graduated college, second place didn’t feel like home, third place the landlord sold, fourth place was an apartment chosen via the Internet (badddd idea), fifth place was a temporary home while we shopped around, sixth place is our current home.
  5. I met my husband my freshman year of college, but didn’t date him until a year after I graduated.
  6. My daughter “took” my middle name, since I dropped it when I got married.
  7. All three of our pets are rescue animals and it is something I am very, very passionate about! #adoptdontshop
  8. My birthday is on the 13th. The year I turned 13, it fell on a Friday.
  9. I naturally went into labor the day before my due date and my daughter was born a couple hours after the sun rose on her actual due date.
  10. My favorite food is macaroni and cheese.
  11. I do not keep any sweets in our house because I don’t have self control when it comes to food.

11 Bloggers I’ve Chosen to Nominate:

I genuinely love the blogs of these beautiful ladies! You should definitely take some time and check them out, unless, you already know how fabulous they are. In that case, keep showing them love!

  1. Jordan of Wished for This
  2. Kierra of Beautiful Effort
  3. Maeve of Everyday Maeve
  4. Samantha of Upon a Lovely Little Life
  5. Andrea of For the Love of Honey
  6. Lauren of Imperfect Adventures
  7. Jessica of Everything Adored
  8. Keala of Recipe for a Sweet Life
  9. Spencer of Spencer Unlimited
  10. Rachel of Simply Stoked
  11. Carly of Carly and Sloan

Here are the questions I would like you to answer:

I had to ask a few silly ones! If I’m serious for too long it makes me anxious.

  1. How did you choose the name of your blog?
  2. What the most stalkerish thing you’ve ever dealt with via social media? (yes, I just went there)
  3. If you could choose ONE person to happen across your blog who would it be?
  4. Have you ever questioned something you wrote after posting it?
  5. What do you do when you’re not blogging?
  6. If you are going to advertise something from your blog which form of social media do you tend to lean towards most?
  7. Is there something you’d like to add to your site that you either don’t have the means to right now or just haven’t found the time to work on?
  8. Has your blog name ever changed?
  9. What is the title of your favorite piece you’ve ever written (and posted)?
  10. Do you have any series going on on your blog? When does it/do they run?
  11. What’s your favorite thing about your blog?

Congratulations to all of you for being nominated for the Liebster Award. As I said, I genuinely love all of your blogs! Keep up the good work!

And as always, share the love, encourage one another, and continue making your mark!

What Blogging Has Taught Me

Saturday marked one month since I officially embarked on this blogging journey with the launching of my site. I have learned so much this past month, not only about blogging, but about myself, about social media, about web design (honestly could have done without that one), and so many other things. I have read other posts from fellow bloggers about tips, tricks, and whatnot, and they were very helpful to me as a newbie. I wanted to share what I’ve learned, not necessarily written as tips to other bloggers, but perhaps with information that can help someone else out.

 This list is sure to change over time but as of today, this is what I’ve learned about:

Making Connections

One thing I was skeptical of when entering the blogging world was opening my life up for others to view. Not that I have anything to hide, but why did I want to share my life with complete strangers? It was quite scary, actually. I slowly dipped my toes in the Instagram waters with some loop chats and hashtags. I quickly connected to people with like interests. I found myself genuinely enjoying reading blog posts they’d written, smiling at pictures of their children, and even praying for their needs. I have had people share some of the sweetest things about my blog posts or social media uploads. It has been so uplifting to me, and I hope these other ladies – mothers, wives, bloggers, some all of the above, have felt the same way.


Images, Images, Images

A few of my early posts had cute little pictures of my daughter that I’d snapped on my phone. I love those pictures. They are very special to me. Looking from a professional side of things, however, they are not high quality photos. Someone scrolling through to find something intriguing to read aren’t drawn to those photos. Although I have an emotional connection to them they’re not very likely to catch a stranger’s eye. I have found that, across the board, my best bet with photos are through stock photos I have found online. I have since used a few photos of my family, but only because it was an image from our actual camera, not my phone or they were photos we had done by a professional. Regardless, they just need to be QUALITY photos.



I am a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom so I thought, “with all this extra time it is a perfect time to finally launch my blog!” Hahaha Apparently I didn’t realize how busy my six month old keeps me. And on days she doesn’t nap? Yea right! I haven’t found a solution yet, but am trying hard to schedule when I do posts. I was turned off by this idea from the get-go because I didn’t want to take the fun out of it but it really hasn’t! Writing the posts are still enjoyable, even on a time crunch sometimes, because when it comes down to it writing is what I enjoy. I don’t want every single post to be a time crunch, however, so I have been flexible. If I don’t post the EXACT day I intended, it’s going to be okay!


Quality Over Quantity

This is similar to the first point I addressed about making connections, but I felt it was important to address this specifically. I am not going to lie, when I first started using social media to share my blog posts/life in general, I wanted as many likes as possible. Followers meant they were all reading my blog, right? Nope! While your following through different forms of social media does have importance, it is not the be-all, end-all. There are many things you can do via social media that will draw people to like, follow, and retweet, but you have to ask yourself, “are these genuine followers?” The thing is I would rather have a smaller following of people that actually support my blog, uplift me, and actually communicate with me, than a large following of people who could care less about my blog and don’t know a thing about me! You can still have the “quantity” with the “quality,” but ask yourself which you want to focus on.



This blogging venture has been even more fun than I imagined. I have had the opportunity to do giveaways, guest post on other sites, co-host mama chats, and so many other things, so many things I never even thought of when embarking on this journey. Even if it wasn’t for all those things though, it’s still been a blast! It has been so fun to share my writing with others. Writing is a passion of mine and other than it being something I thoroughly enjoy doing, it is also something I find relaxing. I love sharing heartfelt stories, helping someone out, and making people smile. I can do all of these through blogging and it truly makes me so deeply happy.

Thanks for joining me on this new adventure! If you are a blogger reading along and could share one tip, what would it be? If you’re not a blogger, what are some things you’d enjoy reading here on my site?

Blogging Leading Kindly

As bloggers, we use a lot of words. We have realized that WORDS are POWERFUL and we have decided to use our words for good and spread a message about a great cause…
Today, I wanted to introduce you to Project Lead Kindly and their 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop.

Project Lead Kindly is a nonprofit organization that assists mothers & children affected by domestic violence and homelessness. They are also on a mission to encourage, inspire, and remind everyone that we ALL have the potential to serve & “lead kindly,” no matter our circumstances. Each year, Project Lead Kindly provides a BIG service project to the community. Last year, they organized a children’s book drive.This year, we are raising money for Project Lead Kindly’s 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop. We will be assisting 5 different shelters throughout California that house homeless, pregnant mothers and their children. We will be donating newborn necessities to:Harvest Home, Precious Life Shelter, Casa Teresa, Angels Way Maternity Home, and Elizabeth House. We will also be throwing two events to assist the mothers serviced by Elizabeth House & Angels Way Maternity Home.

How you can help!

While the events are local to California, we wanted to find some way for the amazingly supportive online community to help out! We’ve set up a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $1000 for Project Lead Kindly:
All funds donated will go to Project Lead Kindly & help:

1) provide these necessary items for the mothers & their babies at all 5 shelters,

2) throw the events for the mothers from Elizabeth House & Angels Way,

3) help spread the Lead Kindly message (the reminder that ALL have the potential to do good and to be an example to others, no matter what trials they face) to these women who need to be encouraged & reminded of their worth & potential and that they are cared for!

Please consider donating even $1 to the cause. Every little bit helps. In addition to donating, if you want to share the cause with us, please:

1) take the image below
2) share it in your own blog post and social media

3) encourage others to join our initiative & donate!

You can also email projectleadkindly@gmail.com your blog post link so they can share it with others!

And if you don’t have a blog, but simply want to share the cause, we encourage you to take the image & share it on social media! We have a goal of $1000, and if we all use our words together, we can reach it!
We also wanted to include a fun giveaway as a thank you for your support! This giveaway is sponsored by the bloggers and not Project Lead Kindly directly.
bloggers leading kindly

The prizes:

Raewyn will be giving away a $25 Starbucks gift card and ad space on Be a Warrior Queen.
Pam will be offering ad space on Hodge Podge Moments
Emilie and Laura will be offering ad space on Burke Does

Check out our giveaway hosts:

How to enter:

Bloggers Leading Kindly Giveaway

Any little bit helps! If you want to find out more information about Project Lead Kindly, visit www.projectleadkindly.com

Thank you so much for leading kindly with us!