Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Happy Hour | WITL 58

Week In The Life 58 - It's Happy Hour!

I attempt to set a Guinness World Record, Hannah wears baby clothes, William is a pizza head, 
Chris eats goldfish by the handful, and we all celebrate with cheesecake.  Life is as it should be.  

==Sign Up for Julep and Get your first box FREE with code FREEBOX

Learn more about Julep.  Here's a blog post I wrote about the May Boxes: 

==Check Out These Videos:

My name is Carla, and I've been vlogging our family for the past 5 years.  Through infertility, pregnancy, and now life as a family of four, I film little clips of our daily lives and combine them into Week In The Life vlogs.  Follow along, get to know us, and don't forget to subscribe!

==Other Places To Find Me:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hannah Found The Golden Egg

In the latest Week In The Life vlog #57 we go grocery shopping at the Asian Market, William throws up on me, I dance around to Bruno Mars instead of cleaning, Hannah shows off her April Kiwi Crate, we dye Easter Eggs and all then celebrate all the Easter family goodness.
William is 12.5 months old and Hannah is 3.5 years old

I've gotta admit, I love this video.  Hannah was SO funny during the Easter Egg hunts.  There is a bit of an audio sync issue at the end of the video, and I spent days trying to fix it to no avail.  It's minor, but in case you were going to let me know, I know - but thank you. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tip Toeing in the Tulips - Throwback Thursday

Springtime in Oregon means a trip to the tulip fields for our family.  I shared footage of our trip in last week's Week In The Life vlog (WITL 56), but thought I'd share some more pictures from this year - and last year!  When I look back at our annual tulip pictures I see more than just flowers and smiles.  I can see everything we were feeling as a family at that moment.

Last year we went a little earlier in the season because we wanted to bring Christopher's parents out to the fields while they were visiting from Minnesota.  In this picture William is just 10 days old, which means I'm 10 days postpartum - and I look haggard.  I was exhausted, and I've got some impressive sleep deprivation wrinkles.  We had just begun the process of transitioning to a family of four, and the growing pains were tough for everyone.  Hannah was so excited to have the attention of 4 adults including 2 grandparents that were doting on her, and was so proud to wear her big sister backpack she'd received at the hospital the week before.  It was windy that day and in my rush to pack for our first family outing with TWO kids, I forgot a coat for myself.  I was cold and could barely walk the fields, but wanted to badly to sit that aside and savor this day with both of my children.
Thankfully this year we hit the fields on a gorgeous sunny April day with fields fully in bloom, two kids excited to run around a farm, and everyone got 8+ hours of sleep the night before.  William had no interest in looking at the camera and seemed to attract every ounce of dust and dirt in a 5 foot radius of him.  He even managed to fall into the only mud puddle we saw that day.  He was caked in dirt by the end of the day and enjoyed every second of it.  
Hannah really hated posing for pictures.  The sun was too bright for this Northwest girl, and she would rather roam up and down the rows looking for broken flowers because she knew she wasn't allowed to pick any (farm rules).  Every time she saw someone that worked at the farm she explained that she didn't pick them, she found them, and she was going to take them home and keep them forever.
Chris and I had a wonderful day watching the kids explore.  I love this picture of us, and the picture of Hannah below turned out so cute!
Each year I take a picture of Hannah in the wooden shoes, and this year William joined her!  
It's amazing the difference a year makes.

For our first vacation as a family back in 2011, we went to San Diego with a 10 month old Hannah.  In the middle of Balboa Park, Chris took pictures of me throwing Hannah up in the air.  She loved it.

Just like his big sister, William laughed hysterically after every toss and I was able to capture some great shots of 12 month old William in the tulip fields.

I love the perspective of this shot.  He was so happy!

Watch the video below to see more of the beautiful flowers at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon. (Video Link)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sneak Peek of Julep's 'Fresh' Colors for May & New Boxes

If you haven't signed up for Julep yet, make sure you read the big announcement below and Join before the price increase! 
Julep's May collection - called The Fresh Twist Collectionis so happy and shimmery that I'm having a hard time figuring out which box to select.


If you're unfamiliar with Julep, let me take a minute to explain.
Julep started as a nail parlor. Then they created their own line of products - polishes, spa products and beauty items. They are sold online, but for the best deal you should become a Maven. Mavens are subscribed to their monthly box of products that are curated for your personal style. When I took my style quiz it was determined that I'm 'Classic with a Twist'. Each month on the 20th I'm able to look at that month's collection and view the products picked for me. The best part? If I don't like that month's selections I have choices! I can switch my box for a different style's, I can gift my box to a friend by providing her mailing address, or I can skip that month's box. 
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 


Let's take a look at this month's boxes: 

Introducing the Plié Wand 
May's "extra" item is the awesome new Plié Wand.  To learn all about it, click here to watch an introductory video.  Basically it is a magnetic snap on handle extension for your nail polish lids that will give you more control when painting your nails.  I'm excited to see how well I'll be able to paint my right nails using the 'bent' wand position when painting with my left hand.


Boho Glam 

Jeanne - Jet-set Blue Creme
I love creme colors, but I don't think this blue is right for me.
Paulette - Golden Lilac Tulle Shimmer 
This color is very pretty.  I like the golden shimmer, and would wear this.
Plié Wand


Laree - Golden Pink Taffeta Shimmer  
Saaya - Golden Apricot Shimmer
My April box was a pink and orange duo, so I probably won't select 
Bombshell this month, but I do love Laree.
Plié Wand

Classic with a Twist 

Maddy - Raspberry Sorbet Shimmer
Yes.  I want a pedicure in this color immediately.
Ramona - Muted Lavender Rose Creme
This reminds me of a demure ballerina.  So Pretty.
Plié Wand

It Girl

Kam - Vintage Spearmint Creme
Maybe it's because it's a flat creme - which I love - but I'm so drawn to this minty shade.
Jules - Warm Powder Pink Creme
What a great pink!  Fresh, bright, yet still a light pink.  Great color!

Color Crush

(This box was put together for those that wanted three polishes without the plié wand.)
Iona - Hydrangea Blue Creme - Too dark for me.
Jules - Warm Powder Pink Creme - from It Girl Box
Paulette - Golden Lilac Tulle Shimmer - from Boho Glam

Modern Beauty

Brilliance Glycolic Scrub- This dual action exfoliating scrub is like a facial for your hands.
Rock Star Hand Cream - An anti aging combination of shea butter, glycerin, coconut oil and vitamin E.


Featured Add-On: Plie Wand Creativity Kit

Dotting Tool - A rounded tip for dots and hearts.
Striping Tool - Superfine bristles for French manis, swirls and stripes.

First Impression Of My Box:
I'm torn between Classic With a Twist and It Girl.  Maddy and Kam are both such great colors, and Ramona and Jules are great manicure pinks.  I'm goin gto flip a coin and you'll just have to wait and see which one the Mailman brings me!

Julep is getting ready to change up their subscription packages and if I understand correctly, anyone that signs up AFTER May 1st will be enrolled in the new system which starts at $24.99 a month or $19.99/month if you prepay for 3 months at a time.  While the new system will give you more flexibility to customize your box, if you want to be Grandfathered in with the $20 box Mavens, you should sign up in April before the change takes effect.  

Read more:

If you'd like to become a Julep Maven, 
use my REFERRAL LINK and the promo
code FREEBOX to get your first box free 
- just pay $3.99 shipping!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I purchased this product and the views and opinions expressed are my own.  No compensation was received.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

60 Easter Basket Ideas - That Aren't Candy!

With Easter right around the corner I thought I'd compile a list of 60 items that are perfect for an Easter basket - besides candy!  I've attempted to organize them by age, but keep in mind that a "Little Kid" might like something from the "Babies" list.  It's just a suggested minimum age range.

To see what Hannah and William are getting this year, Click Here!

Babies - 0-12m+

  1. Little socks fit perfectly in an Easter egg
  2. Bibs
  3. New shoes
  4. Hat
  5. Cloth Diaper
  6. Bottle
  7. Pacifier
  8. Sophia the Giraffe
  9. Freezer teethers
  10. Puffs
  11. Baby spoons
  12. Hand puppet
  13. Stuffed Animal
  14. Books
  15. Bath toys
  16. Toddlers - 1 year+

  17. Character bandaids - they're gonna need them once they start walking!
  18. Stacking Cups
  19. Weeble Wobble toys from Playskool
  20. Little People toys
  21. Sunglasses
  22. Swimsuit
  23. Swim goggles
  24. Beach towel
  25. Sand bucket and shovel
  26. Flip Flops
  27. Water bottle
  28. Flashlight
  29. Stickers
  30. Sippy cup
  31. Clothing

  32. Little Kids - 3 years+

  33. Gardening Supplies - trowel, hand rake, garden gloves
  34. Seeds to grow plants
  35. Melissa and Doug Lacing Cards
  36. Doll house furniture
  37. New outfit for baby doll
  38. Purse
  39. Play doh
  40. Silly Putty
  41. Hair brush
  42. Hair accessories - rubber bands, clips, bows, headbands
  43. Chapstick
  44. Bouncy balls
  45. Sports balls
  46. Trading cards
  47. Board Game
  48. Card Game - Go fish, Uno, Old Maid, Memory
  49. Puzzle
  50. Bag of balloon - regular or water balloons
  51. Bubble bath
  52. Drawing Paper
  53. Crayons
  54. Stamps
  55. Fancy edged scissors  - zig zag or deckle
  56. Paint brushes
  57. Watercolors
  58. Paint Smock
  59. Coloring book
  60. Sidewalk chalk
  61. Bubbles
  62. Legos or Duplos

  63. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who Does Hannah Look Like? Throwback Thursday

My mom posted this picture of me on Facebook yesterday.  

This is tiny Carla at 3.5 years old - the same age as Hannah.  

I cant believe how long my hair was, but what first struck me was the mischief in my eyes.  
I recognize it because I see the same look it in Hannah's eyes everyday.  
I've heard "She looks just like her daddy!" since the day Hannah was born, so I thought I'd compare this picture of me to some screenshots of Hannah from my recent video with her:
None of the poses match up exactly, but I think it's pretty obvious that she has my eyes and eyebrows.

So then I figured I'd find a picture of tiny Christopher and see just how much Hannah looks like him.

Isn't tiny Christopher just the cutest!?

When I added him to the mix I was blown away:
Hannah is our daughter.  There is no doubt about it.
It's like you put my eyes and hair on Christopher's face, but she really does look just like him.
It's neat to think that these little kids grew up thousands of miles apart, 
met at a frat party in college, and made a cute little family together.

Next time we'll have to compare pictures of William!

kinda creepy, huh?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How I Organize My Blog Files | Naptime Organizer

Usually I film my Naptime Organizer projects on YouTube, but today I focused on catching up with my photo and file organization.  I'm interested in how others backup their video and blog files, so I figured I'd share part of my current system to start the conversation.

Since I've been more active on my blog this year, I've used and created more graphics and photos for blog posts.  These files are watermarked and branded with 'theBubblelush' so I set them apart from my family photo archive and into their own business files.  I don't want to just delete them after uploading them to my blog, so I've created a system to back up my blog files.  I'll also share how I back up similar files for other social media platforms.

The first thing I want to direct your attention to are the files on the desktop at the top of the picture.  These five folders have very distinct uses for organizing images and photos:
  • Vlogs - This folder contains all video thumbnails (sorted by year, then month), as well as any photo, graphic, or image created for the video.  An example would be a stock image of a product I received in a subscription box.
  • Branding - This folder contains all the background music I've downloaded for use in videos.  It also is where I save all of my social media buttons and profile pictures, channel art, cover photos, watermarks, signature images, and my end slate graphics.
  • Blog - Let's come back to this one.
  • Company Logos - I use company logos quite often, so I save them here to save myself from having to redownload them next time.  Examples include: 
    • Social media platform logos like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
    • Subscription Box logos like Birchbox, Ipsy, Citrus Lane and Kiwi Crate.
    • Cloth diaper company logos like FuzziBunz, CottonBabies, and GroVia.
  • Business Files - This folder is mainly for company records that I'd use for tax purposes like scanned copies of receipts, screenshots to prove items were a business expenses, as well as a separate folder for each sponsored social media campaign - like the Piggy Paint giveaway I hosted in March.
The 'Blog' folder contains any image that I use in a blog post including the raw screenshot or stock photo to preserve the original source image if I have it, and any final watermarked versions that I've edited.  (Other images like my blog header or social media buttons are all in the 'Branding' folder.)  Like the other folders, 'Blog' contains subfolders for previous years, and monthly folders for the current year (as seen above).  I label these folders with a 4 digit year, 2 digit month, 2 digit day for blog images, and a brief description so that they are sorted chronologically by post date, not 'date modified' or 'date created'.   

I back up the previous month's folder on the 1st of each month to an external hard drive, and delete old files from my iMac as needed to free up memory.  I suppose in this way I have a sort of triplicate backup - the online storage through Picasa/Blogger, my computer folder for short term storage, and my external hard drive for long term storage.  

Is this overdoing it a bit?  Perhaps.  It's not necessary vitally important to archive your blog images, but this system seems logical to me and I works well with the way I use my computer.

How do you backup your blog images?  If you're a vlogger - do you save your custom video thumbnails?  I'd like to hear about your file organization systems.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

They're Always Listening

William is 12.5 months old, and while he makes a lot of noise, he's really only mastered the word 'mama' and occasionally 'dada'.  (Chris gets called 'mama' a lot.) But tonight we realized just how much he understands.

Hannah was napping, and Chris got home early from work.  He sat on the couch with me and William and you could see him just decompress and relax after a long day.  His shoulders rolled back, he melted down into a comfortable position, and he exhaled all the stress.  And for a beat we were quiet.

Then the dogs started scratching (loudly) to be let inside.

Usually this is Hannah's job - She let's the dogs inside and outside, and makes sure they have food and water - but she was still napping.  Chris, not wanting to get up, turned to William and whined "why can't you let the dogs in?".

William immediately launches himself off the couch and toddles towards the back door.  Naturally Chris and I turn to each other, "he's not really letting them in, is he?"
We both strain to see what William will do next, and see him reach up in an attempt to slide open the door to let the dogs inside.  (Thank goodness I've gotten in the habit of locking the back door each time I close it, or I'd have an escape artist in no time.)

And so we squealed, and clapped, and got really excited, because you see - He understood us!  He knows what "let the dogs in" means.

Which is shocking because every time we say "no", "drop it", or "come here" he smiles and runs the other way.

Stinker!  He totally had us fooled into thinking he was a baby that didn't understand what we were saying, but he's been listening the whole time.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Superheroes Can Be Pink

My daughter Hannah will proudly walk up to strangers and tell them that she's three years old.  She'll then launch into entire conversations about her life, her baby brother, how much she loves Frozen, and that she wants to be a superhero when she grows up.  

She is not shy.  She is bold, and brave, and charismatic.  
Her favorite color is pink, and she knows all the Princess' names, 
but if anyone could make a living as a superhero, it would be my daughter.

We recently celebrated my son's 1st birthday and I let Hannah help me pick a theme.  Naturally it was a comic book themed party.  She wore her pink Super Hannah shirt with a sparkly cape, and a bow in her hair, and happily pretended to her a superheroine for the day.

When it came time to pick out items for her Easter basket, it was easy to pass by the Doc McStuffins and Princess figurines once I saw the Avengers Play Set.  That is, until I noticed what was missing - the lone female member of the Avengers - Black Widow.

I want to start by saying that this post isn't meant to bash or vilify Disney or any other company, but to join in on a conversation that already exists between parents, toy manufacturers, and advertising agencies about the "pinkification" of toys for girls, and the gender line that exists in the toy aisle.

We all know that our children are being marketed to, but it wasn't until I had my son and began purchasing toys for both a boy and a girl that the divide became evident to me.  The gender line goes beyond just a pink box, and all the way to the limit placed on what is marketed as appropriate for our daughters to play with.  To further prove this point, I narrowed the search parameters and just looked at Action Figure Toys available on the Disney Store.  There are TWO items for girls to choose from, both female characters, and to add insult to injury, "pink" was the only searchable color.

Whereas the boys have 21 items marketed to them (over 10x more than the girls), including both of the "female" toys shown above.  

I think two points are obvious so far:
(1) Disney does not market their superhero and action figures to girls.
(2) Disney admits that boys will play with feminine characters (like Jessie and Izzy dolls above) otherwise they would not be included in the 'boy' toys.

Back to the original question - if Disney believes that boys will play with feminine characters, then why create an Avengers play set that only includes 5 of the 6 members, and without the only female character?  Other play sets at the same price point include a minimum of six figurines, so the added expense of an additional figurine can't be it.  I'm left to assume that they deem her unimportant.  
And they're wrong.
Superheroes can be pink.

A stroll down the pink aisles of any big box toy department makes it clear that a demure Princess will always have a role in children's toys, but deep down Disney knows that there is a push for stronger female role models.  This is evident in their recent additions to the Princess line - 
Rapunzel of Tangled.  Merida of Brave.  Elsa and Anna of Frozen.
All of these characters exude traits of a superheroine: 
They are brave, independent, and strong.

Yet there still exists a line in the sand as to what they think qualifies as a 'girl' toy.

As parents, we have to be aware of how our children are being marketed to.  Gendered toy marketing might not create gender roles, but it does reinforce them.  And while it might be profitable, what is the long term expense to society and our daughters?



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