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Blogging 101

A day at the county fair

The one thing that I love most about July isn't the hot weather... it's the county fair. I love the atmosphere, the food, the rides, everything. And I should.

One of the main reasons that I love the fair so much is mostly due to the fact that I used to spend my days there when I was younger. I, like many other kids, was in 4-H. **fun fact: the whole reason the county fairs are still in business is because of the 4-H kids. Who do you think brings the livestock that you see in the barns or the projects? Kids that are between the ages of 8 and 18. To learn more about 4-H, go visit the website :) 

I digress. 

Among the craziness of attempting projects like foods, vet science, model rockets, and others,  I would raise, care for, and show my ducks, geese, rabbits, turkeys, and even my dog for a couple of years. At one time I even owned two goats and showed llamas for a few years . And I did it for ten straight years. Yeah,  I guess you can say I was a country girl.

So I guess I would be the right gal to tell you the five things that you should do during a trip to the county fair, huh?


1. Take in the sights.  

And by sights, I mean score as much free stuff from the Expo building as possible. The Expo building is known for the companies coming to the fair wanting to expand their customer base. They give free candy, pens, pencils, and more. Sometimes they even offer discounted sign ups (like newspapers) and free gifts.


**murals done by ARCY of RC Murals. Check out their website or insta.

2. Indulge in the food. 

County fair food is known for their deep fried awesomeness, greasy goodness, and yummy drinks. Deep fried veggies & Twinkies, funnel cakes, lemonade shake ups, elephant ears, ribs, and more. Heck, my county fair even had alligator bites.


3. Stroll around the midway and ride something.

Sure it sounds a bit vague, but something here is referring to a ride of some sorts. Personally, I love the Ferris Wheel. I love that it's just the right height and family friendly. Plus it accommodates up to six people.

4. Pet something furry.

If you are a city slicker, go pet a cow or something. Most county fairs have a petting zoo (usually called a barnyard) and they generally have cows, horses, sheep, piggies, goats, etc. Animal interaction always puts people in a good mood.


5. Participate & learn.

There are many different free shows that either entertain you or even teach you while entertaining you. You don't have to spend money to have a great time. Heck, even the grandstand has music concerts, demo derbys, tractor pulls and more for a small fee. 


Going to the county fair is definitely a family affair. There is so much to do and see and most of it doesn't even cost a dime! You should try it sometime :) 



Have you ever been to a county fair? What did you like most?
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seven songs on my summer playlist // dance & pop version

I have a rather eclectic taste in music- I love just about everything from Metallica to Train to Britney to Niki Minaj. And I especially love something that has a mad beat. Granted Summer may be close to being over (I can't believe that we only have one more month left), but I am still loving the music that is coming out this year... and the majority of it makes you want to get up and move..

Songs that I am loving in the dance & pop category this summer include: 

1. DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge // You know you like it

Ugh... I can listen to this song on repeat!


2. Taylor Swift // Bad Blood Feat. Kendrick Lamar

When Taylor started teasing us all with all the cameos in her upcoming video, I was ecstatic... especially because I wasn't one of those die hard fans who went out and grabbed up her cd. Which I'm glad I didn't- partly because I thought that she was going to do a purely pop album and it's full of ballads... But this song! Just makes me want to break into spontaneous dance mode!


3. Tove Lo // Talking Bodies

Can I just say how much this song makes me want to burst out dancing all sexy in my car? Hot!


4. David Guetta // Hey Mama Feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack

Oh yes... another hot dance song! And the video reminds me of something out of Mad Max- sexy as hell!


5. Jason Derulo // Want to want me

If I said that Jason Derulo wasn't sexy, I would definitely be lying. And if I said that he couldn't sing... oh man... 


6. Major Lazer & DJ Snake // Lean On Feat. Mo

"Focus. Fire a gun. We all need someone to lean on." I love this video & this song!



7. Pitbull // Fun Feat. Chris Brown

I love the cha cha (?) in the beat!



What songs would be on your playlist in the dance & pop genre?

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five fun things to do in Chicago with kids

Living in the Northwest has to be the best location ever. The cost of living is low, housing is somewhat cheap, and we get to experience all of the fun things that Chicago, which is about an hour and a half away, has to offer. Not only does Chicago currently house the 2015 Stanley Cup, it is the number one spot for night life, and the culture is amazing too! They have tons of amazing restaurants, China town, theaters, shopping, river boat tours, sports teams games, breweries, a cultural center, architecture walking tours, and more! 

But Chicago is just not for adults. When it comes to children, Chicago has opened it doors to become a family fun vacation spot. They have museums, zoos, parks, ice cream parlors, a Ferris wheel, family centered attractions, and more. Today I am going to feature five of my favorite things to do in Chicago with kids.


Chicago Children's Museum 

Open Sunday-Saturday
Admission: $14 for adults and children // children under 1 free // seniors $13
*First Sunday of every month- children under 15 are free
Best suited for: children of all ages

Located at the wonderful Navy Pier, the Chicago Children's museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits that are great for children of all ages. And since you are already at Navy Pier, you can take a ride on the Ferris Wheel or do a little shopping.

Shedd Aquarium

Open Sunday-Saturday
Admission: (varies by exhibit type) General admission gets you into the aquarium, but does not include the dolphin show. Cost: $8 adults, $6 children. There are two other ticket options, but the best priced one is the total experience pass which includes access to every exhibit is $37.95* adult & $28.85* children *online pricing They also offer special experiences like shark feeding, penguin encounter, trainer for a day, etc. See details here. 
Best suited for: children of all ages

Located by Solider Field & off of S Lake Shore Drive, the Shedd Aquarium features a variety of aquatic type animals including dolphins, penguins, fish, sharks, jelly fish, belugas, turtles and more. It's a great way to get "up close" with sea life that you would never have the chance to do so anyways. 

Lincoln Park Zoo

Open Sunday-Saturday
Admission: Free to public *must pay for parking
Best suited for: children of all ages

Located off of Lake Shore Drive, the Lincoln Park Zoo may be small, but it packs a punch; and it's free. They offer many interactive exhibits for guests of all ages. Animals featured at the zoo include birds, sea lions, swans, small mammal & reptiles, wolves, owls, bears, beavers, and more. The zoo also features a farm-in-the-zoo, so children living in the city can become acquainted with farm animals.

Museum of Science and Industry

Open Sunday -Saturday
Admission: General museum entry is $18 adults and $11 children 3-11, but actual ticket pricing depends on how many exhibits you want access to, ie. entry and three exhibits for adults is $36, and children is $25. 
Best suited for: children 3 and up

Located on Lake Shore Drive, the Museum of Science and Industry is truly a great interactive experience. They house many different exhibits, including a U-505 submarine, coal mine, a 3D printing lab, a Pioneer Zephyr, Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle, a farm world, the great train story (which includes 20+ mini trains ran on 1,400 feet of track) and more. Also now for a limited time: Robots!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Open Sunday -Saturday
Admission: $13.50- $17.10, and they ask that you buy online to ensure your admittance to the center (they only allow a certain number of people in at a time). 
Best Suited for: children 3-4 and up

Located 25 miles from Downtown Chicago, in Schaumburg, the LEGOLAND discovery center features a 4D cinema, a Duplo building area, a build and test Lego racers area, factory tours, laser ride, a miniland Chicago with all the major landmarks in Chicago build out of over 2 million Legos, and more. 




Have you ever been to any of the places? 
Where else would you recommend?

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5 easy ways to step up your game on instagram

According to the statistics, there were 300 million active users on Instagram as of December 2014, and 75 million of those users are DAILY users. In the last seven months, I am pretty sure that number has definitely increased. And why? Because Instagram is pretty awesome. And it gives you the ability to tell a story with a single snapshot. But you can also do so much more... keep up on sales, learn about new products coming out, check out people's subscription boxes, get decorating, makeup, and outfit inspiration, and so much more. But today we aren't here to talk about all the benefits of Instagram, we are going to talk about five easy ways to help you step up your game and to help you get the most out of the app... 


1. When taking pictures, use your phone's camera, not the one in the Instagram app.

The nice thing about Instagram vs Snapchat is the ability to post pictures after they have already happened, ie you can enjoy what you are doing and post the awesomness afterwards. Plus, your phone's camera has the ability to zoom better and you will be able to capture more detailed pictures. Plus you can crop and use the rule of thirds* while editing the picture. 
*The rule of thirds means that your images will create more energy and interest if you place your subject along the lines or at their intersections. Read more here. 

2. Think outside the box.

When taking photos, other than selfies, it's good to think outside the box... the Insta box. You don't have to capture the whole picture. Sometimes 3/4 of a flower is the prettiest. And sometimes a horizontal picture is so much more appealing to the eye. Whitagram (now on Android also) gives you the option to post full pictures on Insta, without having to crop out a nice little box, by adding a white background to fill in the rest of the "box". That is especially helpful if you want to post some snaps that you have saved. 

3. Keep it straight. 

While I love some off center pictures, taking pictures of walls or sunsets or my Starbucks on a table just needs a straight line of sight. Insta features a straightening tool, and some people just don' know how to use it. It's super simple- all you have to do is adjust the degrees in either the left or right direction and watch your picture transform. 

4. #hashtag

Hashtags have several different purposes... the main one is to link your photo to others like it. And the second reason... to get a bunch of likes :) Yes, that's good in the blogger department. Also, if you participate in the Instagram challenges (of course made up by bloggers) your pictures will get more likes and you may even make some friends! Btw... Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars wrote a great post on hashtagging... 

5. Like and comment. 

This is one of the easiest things that you can do... show people that you love their pictures and they will show the love back. And you may make more friends & followers!!! Also, generally if you comment on a smaller brand with a question, there is a good chance they will get back to you and it will provide even more exposure. 

Oh... and be sure to follow me on Insta >> https://instagram.com/tl_tinywishes/

Do you Insta?
 Do you have any tips to make the experience more enjoyable?

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Something weighing on my heart...


My Duce, my moose, my moo, my first baby. The one who made me a fur-mom for the past 7.5 years. His mom was actually my childhood dog. He is loveable, sweet, sometimes irritating... 

But sometimes I’m not exactly where to start…

The whole ordeal with Duce is really killing me. For those of you who don’t know who Duce is: he’s my 7 year old puppy and he’s slowly dying from either cancer or liver failure- the vet wasn’t able to determine what, due to the extra testing being somewhat costly. And his belly is full of fluid… we had him drained almost two weeks ago, and he’s full again. The only thing we can do is “comfort care”. But WTH does that actually mean? Just keep him comfortable, rack up a rather large vet bill (I think we are over $300 with the testing and all), and not know when he is going to pass. I actually asked the vet what his life expectancy is… she couldn’t give me a definite. But she did say that if he filled back up rather quickly after being drained, the odds weren’t good. And he filled back up in two weeks. Unfortunately, they only prefer to drain about every four weeks. They don’t want to risk infection or the chance of him springing a leak. And the problem with him filling up, is the fact that the fluid is crowding his organs and could put pressure on his heart and lungs- making it harder for him to breathe. 

I have yet to call the vet and get her opinion on his filling up again- partly because I know what she is going to say… 

And what makes things worse is the fact that the hubby keeps wanting to talk about when we are going to do it- let Duce go and all. And he wants details- like where we will bury him, if we are going to take Lil Man with us, and so on. It’s excruciating. And then my Dad told me that he told my brother that if he decides to get rid of his puppy, to ask me, because Duce won’t be here much longer. It’s a nice gesture. But it’s morbid. And I really don’t want to make the plans on what “replacement” dog I am going to get once I “kill” my current one. And then after explaining to a 4 year old what is going to happen with the dog that he has known his whole life- all he says is “is Duce going to die?” I know he somewhat gets it, but every time he asks me, I want to crawl under the cover in the bed and cry.


The kicker is that I know I need to make the decision- but I can’t. Well, I can- it’s just a phone call to schedule it- but I don’t want to. It would be easier if he was actually looking sick, but he’s not. He still wags his tail, barks, eats, goes to the “bathroom”, and so on. For all intents and purposes, he “seems” like a healthy dog. But with a rather large stomach. To me it’s like choosing the day that your child is going to die. Sorry to be morbid again. But it’s the truth. And could you do that? Duce is like my child. He is the first dog that I have raised from a six week old clumsy little puppy and he has never let my side since. Before we had Lil Man, Duce’s puppy pictures filled the picture frames around the house. And I would post cute little videos and pictures to Facebook- actually I think it may have been Myspace at that point- of things that he would do. And he was the one who would follow me to the bathroom and look up and me with those precious little eyes. And he was the one who was sitting next to me on the couch when the hubby proposed (yes, he knelt down in front of me while I was sitting on the couch, presented me with a ring, and asked me to be his wife- nothing extravagant, just me, the man I loved, and our puppy). And he was the one who greeted me when I came home from school or work. And he was the one who made me feel better. And he was my selfie partner before selfies were hashtaged or a “thing”.


Maybe I am just being selfish. Maybe he is actually hurting, and I am just keeping him around for my sake. Lately, Duce has been following me around the house. It’s like he is stuck so far up my ass, and I constantly feel myself tripping over him. It’s crazy. It’s almost like he just doesn’t know what to do. Maybe that’s my sign. IDK. 

It’s going to be hard for me when I do it. Honestly, I thing it will be easier for me if I choose the day that I loose my first fur-baby, instead of waking up in the morning and finding him cold in the cage before work. I wold definitely loose it then.

Granted I will be grateful for the time I was able to spend with him, but it’s going to be hard on all of us when I make that appointment. And I’m just not ready for the aftermath just yet.

*linking up with Ember Grey


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Product Spotlight: June Birchbox



I know that it's already July, but I wanted to tell you all about my June Birchbox.

If you have never heard of Birchbox, it's a monthly subscriptions service that sends you a box with 4-5 deluxe samples and 1 full size product every month according to the beauty profile that you fill out. You basically receive beauty products (which includes hair and makeup) and one lifestyle item for $10 a month. You can cancel at any time, and it's a pretty nice "try before you buy" service, as no box is ever the same. They also offer free shipping deals all the time, and for every item you review from your box, on the Birchbox site, you receive 10 points. Oh, and every 100 points equal $10. If you would like to sign up, you can do that here

I have been a subscriber for about 15 months, and I have never been disappointed. In the last year, Birchbox has actually opened up a new thing and now allows you to either pick a specialty curated box- where you know exactly what you are going to get- or you can choose one of your samples, and the rest will be a surprise. I have chosen the curated box before, but this month, I decided that I wanted to be surprised.

June's theme was Adventure, and they featured some rather cute boxes. I received the "Next Stop: Adventure" box; they had three designs.


My box included:

I can't even begin to describe my love for this peel... but you can check out my earlier review here

I will never use makeup remover again! The micro water took off my eye makeup in one swipe, didn't irritate my sensitive eyes, and didn't leave a residue. 

Seriously smelt soo good! But it really didn't do anything extravagant for my hair. 

Also smelt good, but I also didn't think that it did anything for my hair. 

I love fabric har ties and it was nice to receive one in my box. It's baby blue and super stretchy. Love! 

I have never ventured into actual colored eyeliner, so I was kinda happy when I received purple in my box. It's more of a subtle purple, with a hint of color- so I didn't look like I had just walked out of the 80s, and it stayed all day. 

This months box was one of my favorites! I can't wait to see what July's box holds!

Are you a Birchbox subscriber?

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Awesome things about rain...

I'm going to real honest here... I've been struggling with creativity lately. It's been a chore to come up with ideas on what to post and even finish a post. I have tons of one paragraph posts just sitting in my draft folder waiting to be finished.

One reason for all of this could be the excessive rain that has pounded the Northwest for the past three months. We get three yo four days without the dreaded wet stuff, and then bam! It's like monsoon weather over here.  But it's cold. Cold like a rainy day in October. And don't even get me started on the allergies... ugh.

But in order to turn my frown upside-down,  I'm going to dig deep and look at the awesome things about rain...


The flowers

Rain makes flowers grow. And flowers are pretty.

Getting ready doesn't take forever

I flat iron my hair religiously and well, rain is horrible for flat ironed hair. It's easier to just throw everything up in a bun or pony and it's perfectly acceptable for work.

Comfy clothes

I hate summer clothes..  the shorts, bikinis, and skimpy other things make me nauseous- I'm a really self conscious individual. When it's raining, flats and skinny pants are my go to. With a sweater of course :)

Mud

If you are lucky enough to catch the rain when it first starts and it's not cold outside, playing in some squishy mud with a four year old is pretty awesome. And the smiles & laughs? Priceless.

Sleeping with the windows open

I love a good thunderstorm and hearing the rain outside my slightly cracked window is very relaxing.

Pretty umbrellas

I love all the patterns of umbrellas that are out there. Even if the weather sucks, a pretty print on an umbrella surely brightens my day.

Rainy day activities

When it's raining outside, I am forced to stay inside with a lil guy, so we like to make up games or role play with his toy figures. I love when he tells me made up stories and we snuggle on the couch while watching a movie.

The day after the rain stops. 

Most of the time, the day after the rain stops is kinda chilly; which means there is no humidity and that results in a GOOD hair day!

Making lists about how awesome rain is

Self explanatory....
But.... making this list really brought my spirits up about the crazy rain that we have had... and yes, it has been about 60 degrees in July...

*Linking up with Anne


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new design inspiration


Hey hey hey, well look at that! Mama's got a new party dress and a pair of shoes to match! 
So how do we like the new look? Personally,  I'm already a fan, if you couldn't already tell.

And this time, I actually paid for it... 

So why after boasting that the designs I had were "all me", did I go off and grab up a pre-made template? Well, there's a couple of reasons...

1. Simplicity and for the sanity of it all.
You see, for the past six-ish months, I haven't really had the drive to blog. I've had the drive to redecorate.  Alot. And my obsession is apparent by all the Photoshop folders on my desktop taking up massive space. Space that could be used for pictures or maybe a video blog... but I haven't had the drive to actually sit down and blog.

2. Professionalism
I have thought alot about where I want to go with the whole blogging thing... and I have made a list of all the changes I hope to implement in the next 3 months. And finished design was number one for me. Why? Because, for some reason, every time I tried to design my own stuff, it always came out weird. And I use that term loosley. Basically, it just never looked right to me. So I turned to Etsy... and found this lovely.

3. To ignite my blogging fire.
A new look is always a good way to ignite the fires again! The template that I chose combines my love for gold and easy stuff! I have a feeling that I am going to be blogging a whole lot more now. 

4. Price
Most blog designs and templates are expensive, and honestly I really didn't like the notion of spending over ten bucks on a good design. I know that a custom design takes alot of work, and I credit blog designers who have a hobby and love of blog designing, but personally, it's not really my forte. And I really didn't have the money to spend on anything. At just under $4, my design allows for me to customize my header, change different things in the form of HTML gadgets, and gives me the ease of a professional looking blog. 


I have yet to master everything that I want to do with the new look... ie change the labels so that they're aren't like 20 billion of them... so I will be changing some little things over the next few weeks.

ps. if you like the above photo... Ashley Ella Design gave bloggers 10 free stock photos and they are amazing!

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