Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back to School in Style!


Back to School in Style


It's back to school time! One of our favorite things to do around back to school is to freshen up our wardrobe! The girls each have their individual style, and they love to mix & match pieces on their own to come up with unique outfits that really display their personality!


Natalie tends to be more girly in her dressing, while Bella has streaks where she loves dresses - but then other times likes to be a little sporty as well!

This X-Temp raglan tee is perfect for Fall days as they start to get a little brisker but you still need to keep cool while being active, and just by coincidence happens to be Alabama colors!



Staying cool and comfy has definitely taken a higher priority here in the Alabama heat, and since they have recess every day, durability is important too! When we are freshening up our wardrobes for the new school year, I like to get a few "special" outfits, this year were our Eleanor Rose dresses, some great play wear, like tops and skorts from Cat and Jack at Target - and comfortable undergarments that will last throughout the school year, like our favorite Hanes socks and underwear.



Our family has used Hanes undergarments for years and we recently tried the Hanes X-Temp line,  our whole family has found something to love. The X-Temp socks work great for my hot natured feet, and Bella really likes the sporty hipsters. My husband has worn Hanes tagless tees under his work shirts for years, and Natalie's favorite socks are her heart covered ComfortBlend socks!

Check out the Giveaway


Comfortable undergarments, durable enough to last through PE, recess, and after school play are key! Our family love Hanes undergarments and X-temp products - and we are excited to partner with Hanes to bring you a giveaway to go back to school with style AND comfort!



Enter to win a Hanes Prize Pack that includes:
 - $50 Hanes Visa Gift Card
 - 3 Back-to-School styles from Hanes in your size


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Styles may include selections from Hanes X-Temp and FreshIQ technologies which help to keep you cool and fresh all day long!

Hope you have a great start to back to school and don't forget you can enter to win daily until September 8, 2017!



** This post is sponsored by Hanes. All items included in giveaway will be shipped directly from Hanes. All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrating our Anniversary with Family Fun!

August is our anniversary month and this year my husband and I will be celebrating 12 years of marriage together! We enjoy celebrating with the kids and doing fun family activities that will be memorable for them as well, to commemorate dates like anniversaries. This one is a special one, because we are planning on returning to the Opryland hotel in Nashville where we were married and showing it to the kids for the first time ever! Excited is a complete understatement!!

Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, Photo courtesy: Opryland

Due to my husband's work travel schedule and the Great American Eclipse (which is happening the day after our *actual* wedding anniversary and happens to pass right over Nashville!) - we were originally planning on booking a stay at Opryland closer to our anniversary date but then realized that planning for a weekend that there wasn't a once in a lifetime solar event which caused hotel rooms to be twice the cost, probably was the more feasible way to go. So we now are planning our overnight stay for the beginning of September! That's alright though, because it gives me more time to plan!

We did take the kids up for a quick day trip to the American Girl store in Franklin, Tennessee for the first time since that is something we said we would do that in August, and they got a chance to check that out. We will also have some school activities over the next few weekends in addition to my husband's work schedule keeping him busy, so I anticipate the next few weeks will fly by!

Check out a video of our first trip to the Franklin, TN American Girl store here:



When we do go on our road trip to Nashville, we are hoping to not only check out Opryland - which if you've never been there is a super cool resort hotel with restaurants, entreatment, waterfalls, and even a river - inside the interior of the resort... but also take the girls to see some sites around the Nashville area. We haven't been to their zoo before and there are also a number of cool landmarks and buildings in downtown Nashville to see as well.

Since it's our anniversary, I would love to get pictures taken on the same Delta Landing that we had our wedding on, and be able to recreate that with the girls as close as possible. That has been a goal for the past few years to get that photo of our entire family in the same spot that we were married in and I would love to have that framed in our new home!

Also, to encourage some family bonding time, I'm bringing along a game on our anniversary trip that was sent to us to try out called "Personalogy", which is a family fun card game which is a great discovery game for the entire family! When it arrived, Bella was interested in it right away, immediately opened it and started asking questions! She loved hearing everyone's guesses as to what her answers would be, then she found the adult cards and they took turns guessing what my favorites as a child were!



We've already had a number of laughs playing Personalogy together and I'm looking forward to bringing it to Opryland with us to celebrate our anniversary as a family while discovering more about each other at the same time!


Personalogy is available on Amazon and is a great travel game the entire family can play!

You can check us out playing it in a day in the life here... I also figure out how to clean the pool for the first time ever on my own!



This may turn out to be one of my favorite anniversaries ever, since we are finally returning to where my husband and I were married and will be able to share it with the girls! I'm excited to share their reactions and will be sure to vlog the entire trip!



** I received compensation and complimentary products shown in this post in return for posting a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to School... Fashion for Moms!

It's back to school time again, and moms everywhere are running around getting last minute school supplies, planning new school year schedules and freshening up the kids' wardrobes! It isn't just the kids that should add in some new style for back school though, I know I've always loved adding in some new pieces for Fall during back to school season and even now as a Mom have continued this tradition! I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces that I've been loving for the early Fall and back to school transition time period!



These pieces can take you from late summer and through Fall, I love pairing them with wedges or boots as the days get chillier. And they are versatile enough to work with leggings, skinny jeans, or capris!


1. Bobeau Split Neck Woven Blouse at NordstromRack.com, $24.97
 - Bobeau is one of my favorite brands to find at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. You can even find it at Marshall's or TJ Maxx sometimes as well. I have this tunic blouse is a different print and I love the long length and light weight material, it makes it perfect to transition from warmer months to cooler months. The tassels give it a bit of great detail as well!



2. Felicity Striped Dress at CharmingCharlie.com, $19
 - I have this dress in navy and have gotten tons of compliments on it, both in person and in videos! It is available on the Charming Charlie website in the red color. It is easy to pair with accessories and also would look great with a cardigan put over it in the cooler months!



3. Bobeau Embroidered Tank at NordstromRack.com, $24.97
  - I love the neck detail on this one and I've found over the summer that these long tanks with a bit of detail are so easy to wear! You just toss them on and instantly feel put together!



4. Tom's Stella Wedges at Zappos.com, $55.99
  - These are great basic wedges that I've been eyeing for quite some time - and they are now on sale at Zappos.com! The color would transition nicely into the fall and is a great natural tone that goes with everything!



5. Bryn Camera Bag, RebeccaMinkoff.com, $275
  - I'm very excited about my upcoming trip to a Beaches Resort in the Turks and Caicos islands, and as I mentioned on my YouTube channels - one of the main speakers at the conference will be Rebecca Minkoff! I've collected her items for years and love her classic styling with a bit of its own edge, because I feel like it has great personality but is very wearable for years to come. I've been looking at her recent releases for possibilities for my upcoming trips, and I really love this Bryn camera bag! Lots of room to store all of my... well, camera supplies! And stylish enough to transition between different types of events I will have to go to at blogger events. 


6. Cole Haan Elsie Cross Wedge at Zappos.com, $79.95
  - This are an easy to pair wedge in the Acorn color, that would go with a variety of outfits and occasions!



7. Long necklaces at Dillards.com, various prices
  - I shared in a recent blog that I've been loving a number of long necklaces that I found at Dillard's! They have had some great sales recently, and I found some beautiful long necklaces to wear with dresses and tunics. If you don't have a Dillard's near you, they also have a great selection online!



8. Rebecca Minkoff Adventure Awaits Passport Holder at Nordstrom.com, $45
  - Love this shimmery passport holder by Rebecca Minkoff and I think it would be great for my upcoming Caribbean trip! The phrase "Adventure Awaits" holds so much extra meaning for me, with all of our recent life changes! I'm ready to get out there and see what is waiting for me!


I hope this has given you some great ideas of pieces to add in your own Back to School wardrobe! These are some of the things I've been loving recently and shared in recent vlogs!




** This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer Learning Ideas for Kids

It's the end of summer and we've enjoyed getting in some last minute learning opportunities before school started (very early!) in our new location! I focused a lot of attention on seeing things in our new area and trying out some new activities, so the girls could get a sense of what was available for them in Huntsville. We just ran out of time with only a few weeks available to us after we arrived here, because there was still more on my list of places to see - the Early Works Children's museum, the zoo in either Nashville or Birmingham, Southern Adventure water park, and more! These all had to be moved to the "in the future" list, as school started up for us this week!

Most places across the country will be going back to school over the next few weeks, but here are a few learning activities you can squeeze in to get some last minute summer learning before they head back to school, and start to get those wheels turning before they are back in class!

Exploring Nature



This one may sound like what they were doing most of the summer anyhow! I wanted to take the girls to a new place that we hadn't been before to explore nature and a different outdoor surrounding! This one was easy for us, since we had just moved and EVERYTHING was new to us - but finding a new park, new hiking trail, new garden area, or national site could be something fun in your area!

After we moved to Huntsville, we quickly got a Huntsville Botanical Garden membership because I had heard so many great things about it - and boy were they right! We love the children's play area and butterfly house, and have spent trips just exploring those areas. The rest of the garden is lovely too, and this will be someplace our family will enjoy year round.




We also took a day trip up to Chattanooga, Tennessee before school started to visit a place that my husband and I went to on our honeymoon, Lookout Mountain. This is a gorgeous area of Tennessee with expansive views of that section of the Appalachian Mountains. We took the kids to Ruby Falls for their first time every, and seeing the 165 foot natural underground waterfall in a cave was a really cool adventure for them!





Check out a Museum


This was another easy one for us, being new to the area - we had to of course check out the U.S. Space and Rocket Center shortly after arriving in Huntsville! I am a Space Camp Alumni, I proudly went to Space Camp, Academy, and Advanced Academy a number of times as a youth. This was one thing about the area I couldn't wait to share with my own kids. With lots to do and see, this was a hit for them and another place we purchased a membership to be able to visit all year long!







Brush up on their Math & Memory Skills


Something that can go by the wayside and be the first part of summer learning loss to occur, are math and memory skills. I know that when I'm working on summer learning activities, sometimes math activities can be one of the hardest activities for me to come up with, since math was not my strongest subject for myself. Learning Resources sent me this great game, Lil' Lemonade Stand-off, which puts a unique twist on the traditional game of memory, where the kids can take lemonade orders and earn coins for a correct order.




My girls have loved this one and it's been used a ton even with imaginative play around our house!



Check out the game in action in this video:



Create some Art


In previous summers, you'll remember that we did summer learning units where I would typically pick a theme for the week and then combine different learning activities, stories, hands on activities, and art - that went along with the theme. This isn't something we delved into this year with moving taking up most of our summer, but luckily all of our old videos are still on YouTube for inspiration!

Check out some summer learning ideas here on this playlist:


I especially loved this "Under the Sea" unit that we did, to coincide with the release of the movie Finding Dory. The water beads are some of my girls favorite warm weather activities to do as well!



All in all, it's been a great summer for us - and even though I didn't get to everything on our "summer to do list", I still have lots of great ideas of things I'd like for us to see in our new area in the future and we made lots of great memories with the things we did go do as well!

What's your summer countdown? When does school start for your little ones?



**Some items some in this post were received complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Our Big Moving Adventure! Relocation to Huntsville, AL

Welcome Home!! We have arrived to our new house after a big moving adventure!



Whew! What a whirlwind the past month has been! I've finally caught my breath enough to come up to the surface and attempt to get back on track with my online publishing, although I am very proud of myself that I've managed to consistently upload on Being Mommy with Style YouTube Channel during the move - I've finally gotten to a point where I can start doing some housekeeping in other areas too... Namely getting updated here on the blog and other social media places like Facebook, Twitter, and my additional YouTube channels! (Lots of plans in store for my additional channels over the coming months, so stay tuned for that as well!)

Lots of boxes to unpack!!

Our relocation started this May from our previous location in Michigan, and we are now settling into our new house in Alabama at the end of July, so it has been a few month process to get to this point. This all started in early April, when my husband was approached about a new job with a new company - and the rest as they say - is history. He took the position and I stayed with the girls in Michigan to finish out the school year which ended in mid-June, with Natalie having preschool camps until the end of June, then our house was packed up and our things moved to Alabama at the beginning of July.

Goodbye, old house!

The girls and I road tripped down to Alabama on our own, taking a few days to stop off at my mom and step dad's house in southern Illinois. We had a fun time making the road trip an adventure along the way, and stopped to see some landmarks like the World's Largest Rocking Chair in Casey, Illinois.




When we arrived into Alabama, the girls and I were able to see our new house for the FIRST TIME! Yet another time, my husband and I purchased a home without me seeing it in person before we bought it. This sounds like a scary prospect (well, let's be honest - it kind of is) but due to timing of needing to get into a house and the technology age we live in, it's worked out well for him to be able to show me his top picks on FaceTime and we've chosen which house to purchase that way. Check out us seeing the house for the first time in this vlog:



Then for the following weeks, it's been all about getting settled into the new house, getting things unpacked, seeing the new area, and doing those trivial adult things - like getting an Alabama license!

Tax free weekend was also a first for us! Alabama has a tax free weekend prior to school starting where there are no state taxes on things like clothing and school related supplies, so we enjoyed stocking up on things the girls needed for school over tax free weekend!

Tax Free Weekend school supplies!

As we've unpacked and gotten things up on walls, formed rooms to look familiar with all of our furniture and decor items, the house is starting to feel more like home and the girls have settled in great! We're looking forward to starting a new school year at their school VERY soon! School in Alabama starts a month before Michigan starts, so they will be in school at the beginning of August here!

We have taken the time to start exploring the new area before they start school and I wanted them to see some of the fun things there are to do here, so we spent a weekend at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center checking that out, and also went to a fun kid's day at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, both of which we purchased memberships so our family can enjoy them year round!





The hope behind doing this move, was creating more family time with my husband taking a job that he would have to be at work less, more financial stability and meeting savings goals faster with the lower cost of living in the new area, and being closer to activities that we love to do (hello, Walt Disney World!) so that we can start traveling more in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings and hoping that we can meet these goals by making this huge life change. I'll be sure to update along on YouTube, so make sure to subscribe there if you haven't already - and we have a number exciting trips and events planned already that I'm looking forward to sharing about soon!

Until then, I'll be over here putting more pictures up on walls and getting all of the excess cardboard boxes out of my house!

Check out all of the moving videos on this one handy playlist!




** This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

5 Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel!



Today I'm sharing some of my top tips for starting a YouTube Channel! A few years ago, I did a "Stay at Home Mom September" series where I talked about this same subject, and since this this topic seems to come up in the comments every few months with viewers asking for suggestions on how they can use YouTube for memory keeping and start a channel of their own - I thought I would tackle it on the blog! So whether you are interested in starting YouTube as a business (which I'll talk a little bit more about in #4 below!) or whether it will strictly be intended for memory keeping for your family, here are some tips below on how to get started!

Screenshot from a recent video!


Here are 5 Tips to get started on YouTube!

1. Just Press Record!


This is my number one and really main thing that I always tell people when they ask how to start a channel on YouTube, "Just press record and start doing it!". That's how I and basically every other YouTube channel started out, we just decided to press record one day and so it began. Once you have the momentum to get started, I've found it gets more natural, video idea come to you, and you become more and more inclined to just pick up the camera and press record!

What camera do I vlog with? This is a popular sub-question asked a part of number one - and I vlog with a Canon g9x camera that was purchased on Amazon. We filmed our Spring 2016 Disney vacation, August 2016 Disney Cruise, and February 2017 Disney Land and Sea Adventure all with this camera!



2. Pick a channel name or brand that represents you...




... and will for some time. If you currently have one child and are thinking of having more, it make not make sense to select a name that projects you being a parent of only one child, and other scenarios similar to that I've seen come up a lot in YouTube groups. Also make sure that this name or brand is available across all of the social media platforms you're intending to use. For YouTube, one of the most important things about your "brand" may be that it is memorable, and people can remember how to get back to your channel through search or find you on other social media outlets.

A lot of people recently have gone to using their name and this is a growing trend within social media as well as on YouTube itself. I don't see anything wrong with using your name as your brand - it certainly makes the branding easier! However, I would say in the early days if you have a name that has a number of common spellings it may be a bit harder for people to find your channel or social media outlets.

I've chosen to stick with a "Channel name" myself, because it is my current preference and I've tied in my other social media, as well as this blog that you're reading, to go along with it - however if you've known my channel for a while, you probably also know that I am involved in a number of "side channel" venues as well, so maybe it would make sense to eventually some day go to my name as an umbrella over all of them. However my advice on this topic is simple, make it memorable, make it easy to say since you'll be saying it in vlogs over and over, and make sure it is easily searchable.

3. You don't need the "latest and greatest" equipment


Speaking to the last part of #1, you really do not NEED the latest and greatest equipment. Just press record... with whatever you have available to you!

When I started YouTube, I used a little $100 point and shoot camera that I already owned and eventually took over my husband's Nikon DSLR for sit down videos that he had purchased to take pictures of the girls when they were babies. I used what I had available to me. Nowadays, phones are such great quality that vlogging from your phone is a very real and possible solution.

Over the years, I've upgraded my equipment as my channel(s) have grown. I went from a Windows laptop to a MacBook for editing, and I purchased a slew of point of shoot cameras, mainly Canon - before I've finally been using the Canon g9x, which I love! I plan to add another Canon g9x and a waterproof likely Go Pro camera into our mix soon... but the point of this point is you don't need anything fancy to start out. Use what you have and just press record!

My current filming area in my office to film YouTube videos.

Light kit wise, I just use an inexpensive umbrella lighting kit from Amazon that I purchased a number of years ago. I have thought about getting a ring light for my camera as well, but since we film a number of "on the go" vlogs - I've opted to keep upgrading camera equipment over the basic lighting equipment that I have. Depending on the types of videos you do, other equipment may be more important to enhance your videos - however I think for most genres starting out just a regular camera or phone and regular lighting is good enough to get started!


4. Do it because you LOVE it


Okay, so regardless of your initial reasoning for starting a YouTube channel, you NEED to be doing it because you LOVE it. After being on YouTube for over 5 years, you definitely learn that there are constant ups and down within the industry. Preparing for them is the best thing you can do, but there are no guarantees in the YouTube world. You can be the hottest growing channel one minute and the next month the YouTube algorithm changes and your numbers tank. So my point is, do it because you love it... because there is no guarantee that you will make big bucks doing it. Sure, there are lots of YouTubers making a full time income from their channels, but persistence over time and consistency are worth a lot and generally are what make channels successful.

When you love doing something, that will come through in your videos and audiences are more receptive when they feel like you're being real with them. For a lot of people it doesn't happen overnight, in the beginning the growth is generally slower and then it snowballs into something more - so if you love it, stick with it and watch it blossom.

Filming on a cruise ship has definitely been a YouTube highlight for me, I poured love into every minute of that project!

5. Don't get consumed with the numbers


Ah, numbers. I have a love/hate relationship with numbers. Sure, the numbers are useful because they give you information from your audience about what videos they prefer to watch, when they like to watch them, and what they like to watch them on, however I want to make sure to impress one thing before I go any further...

"Your numbers on social media DO NOT define you as a person." Do not get bogged down in the thought that numbers some how reflect how likable or good of a person you are - because they don't. The truth is, numbers of social media can be affected by a number of variances, both within our control and out of our control. All you can do is put forth your best effort every day and give your genuine self to the audience, try to stay on top of trends and changes with the YouTube algorithm - but a down turn in numbers does not mean that you're suddenly bad in some way.

Use the numbers to gain insight into what your audience likes, where they are located, what time of day they prefer to be online on YouTube, and where they are finding your videos from. All of this information can help you figure out what types of videos you should be focusing on and when you should set them to upload. Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc - are great ways to connect with your audience and build report, but may not necessarily have a one to one increase in your viewership on YouTube, so you should use those social media outlets as an audience outreach tool and "reminder" that you're around, so to speak.

The Wrap Up


I hope that these tips above have been helpful to help you just "press record" and get started doing YouTube! It is a great hobby that can turn into the best profession, but above all is a wonderful industry that you can meet lots of great people while doing it. I've enjoyed my time on YouTube immensely and connecting with my audience 5 days a week in videos is something I look forward to doing every week!

Check out those old videos from Stay at Home Mom September on the "Getting Started on YouTube" playlist below, because a lot of those tips are still great ones as well!


Let me know if you have any questions... and I'll see you on YouTube!



** This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

We Are Moving!

All week long on YouTube, we've dropped the BIG news... we have a BIG change ahead.... we are MOVING!



And yes, yes... we have moved a number of times in the past. So the moving itself isn't the newest thing - however this move is something all new for us because we will be moving some place we have never lived before, and my husband also took a job with a brand new company to him after working directly or indirectly for the same company for the past decade.

This change came at a time when it was much needed in our lives. The emotional ups and downs of the past year had taken their toll and my husband was in a stressful position at his previous job, just because of the type of demands of that career field. After talking about it a number of times, we decided that maybe a change was in store and initially he was looking at opening up his resume to find a position in the metro Detroit area, just with a different company in the area.

However an interesting thing happened. Early on after he opened his resume up, he was found by a head hunter (basically person trying to fill a specific position for a specific company) in the southern region of the United States that thought he would be the perfect fit a position located in the South. At first we were skeptical, this surely couldn't be for us? We had moved eight times in the previous 11 years of marriage. We were tired of moving! We were ready to put down roots! The kids were getting older!

My husband looked into the position and new company, and the more information he found out - the more interested he became. The company deals in a segment that my husband is VERY interested in, and previously has had a lot of fun past times dealing with it as a hobby, so he knew their subject matter well. Then came the interesting fact that when we started comparing to our northern home in north metro Detroit - we realized that the cost of living in the new location would be significantly less, to buy a home and maintain it, than our current home here. And also that we could downsize a bit as well to save more money and make the most of it.



The company flew him down for an interview and all of the stars started aligning. He was offered the position and we did dwell over it for a few days to make sure we were making the right move. After weighing all of the pros and cons, we decided to take a leap of faith - and make the change.

The exciting things about this move, are that we will be closer to family - our new location is only 4 hours away from where my mom and stepdad live in the southern part of Illinois, the weather will be MUCH better down there (no more harsh winters! yay!), the lifestyle would lend itself to more of an outdoor lifestyle which we had been missing, there were lots of fun day trip adventures within driving distance of our new location, and, drumroll.... we would be closer to Walt Disney World!

Check out some of our thoughts and how we announced the move HERE:



All of these things combined with the fact that we felt like if we did this move it would help us to further along our financial goals made us to decide to take that leap of faith and give it a go.

So now on YouTube, moving vlogs are in full swing! Follow along on YouTube as we move from southeast Michigan to the southern part of the United States!

WHERE are we going?? Check out this vlog to find out!!



So exciting things are in store for us! I'll be sharing it all along on YouTube and on my blog! As always with moving, I've learned from previous moves that sometimes uploading on a regular schedule can be tough when you're right in the middle of it, due to staying at places with slower Internet speeds, travel days, and just plain being busy in the middle of a bunch of boxes! However I will do my best to keep at least a few videos a week scheduled, you may see me using the "LIVE" feature a bit more often when it is the best option for me to film an update, and also be sure to follow me in Instagram (@beingmommywithstyle) and Facebook, because I try to update regularly at those places as well!

More moving updates coming up this week and the next include a video with the girls and what they thing about moving! A look at how I staged our home to put it on the market, a weekend in the life moving edition vlog, and more!

Join us on our greatest adventure yet! Being Mommy with Style... goes South!



**This is not sponsored post. All opinions are my own.