Buy a Bag, Help Save a Child | Barri Handbags

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy Sunday friends! 
I am so excited to be talking about Barri handbags on the blog today!
As you all know by now, I am incredibly passionate about the cause, O.U.R (operation underground railroad), and doing all that I can to help support it. 
That's why I was so excited to learn about Barri, a handbag company that gives 10% of sales to OUR to help save children's lives!
Not only are these bags absolutely beautiful, but they are supporting the fight against the third most lucrative crime in the world.
How amazing is that??

I wanted to spread a little more awareness about Barri today, because their kickstarter fund is currently live and has 3 days left to go!
With your support and help, Ashley, the founder, will be able to produce these gorgeous bags and donate to O.U.R. 
With three days left, they have a little over $3,000 until the goal is reached!
If you've wondered how you can help end fight child sex trafficking, this is a great way to help!
Simply click here to go straight to the kickstarter fund and see the video where Ashley explains the mission and purpose of her company.  

I was able to test out and touch these bags on Saturday and I can honestly tell you that they are amazing quality.
They had awesome durability, the colors were gorgeous, and the hardware was very well crafted.
They are made of all high quality materials and are produced in fair wage factories. 
Ashley has tons of experience in designing handbags and after looking at them in person, it definitely shows!
So lucky for all of you, if you donate to the kickstarter fund you will receive 15% off your preorder purchase and be guaranteed a bag from the beautiful, b. brave collection. 

I loved talking to Ashley about her company and hearing how passionate she is about it. 
I absolutely know she is doing this with a purpose and doesn't want to start just another handbag company.
 She wants this one to be different and special!
Besides already deciding to support O.U.R, she also has a goal to support and uplift women everywhere.
She wants to create a community within Barri to help women know just how special they are.
Each bag has a metal plate inside to help you remember your worth, daily.
The plate reads: | b. inspired | b. kind | b. active | b. change |
Each bag also comes with a purse fob in front with the word "freedom" inscribed to always remind you of the cause you helped support with your purchase.

As you can see, a whole lot of time and effort were put into creating these bags!
If you have the means, please help support this awesome company with their kickstarter campaign! 
If you don't have the means, please share their facebook page, follow their instagram, or simply just tell your friends and family to spread the word!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale

Friday, May 27, 2016
Happy Memorial Weekend friends! 
I hope you have tons of fun plans spent with family and friends!
Our days will be spent grilling hot dogs by the pool and I'm super excited!
You can follow along on snapchat! Username: @aleighjoy
I just wanted to pop in and tell you about yet another sale!
I'm sure most of you already know about this one because hello... who doesn't love Nordstrom??
However, I wanted to show you some of my favorites!
Just scroll through the widget down below and click on the options you like and it'll take you right to the site!
I hope you all love a good sale as much as me!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Shop the full sale here 
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Tasty Tuesday: Red, White, and Blue Fruity Waffles! (Guest Post)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
I'm so excited to have Jenna from the blog, Espresso Ever After guest posting today!
I love this little recipe she put together that will be perfect for Memorial day or the Fourth of July!
Happy Tasty Tuesday Friends!!

Hi! My name is Jenna Wodiske and I'm the mommy/lifestyle blogger behind Espresso Ever After. I am having way too much fun living this mommy-hood life in sunny Arizona! I am a Jesus lover, wifey to a fantastic husband, and a mommy to two beautiful little girls; Paisley (three years old) and Payton (one year old).  I am a messy topknot wearing, photo obsessing, latte loving mama ... battling this thing called real life! My passion is encouraging other moms to be the best them and to embrace their authentic motherhood, so that in return we can all grow and become the best moms to our little ones.  Head on over to my blog, I can't wait to meet you!

Red, White & Blue Waffles

With Memorial Day just a few days away, I thought it would be fun to share this red, white and blue fruity waffle recipe with you.  It is a simple and colorful twist on waffles,  that everyone in your family will love!  Waffles are made just about every weekend in our home, so knowing that a simple and easy change-up to our regular waffle routine can be done with a splash of color and fun toppings... makes this chef happy!
The recipe is simple and scrumptious, but the key to it all is having fun while cooking!

Red, White & Blue Fruity Waffles

-Round Classic Waffle Maker - This Cuisinart waffle maker is my favorite!!!  It is easy to use and easy to store in the cabinet.  Check it out!
-Your typical waffle mix & needed mix ins - follow the directions on the box
-Red & Blue Food Coloring
-Cooking spray
-Strawberries, Blueberries & Blackberries - small package of each
-Whip Cream - any brand and style
...That's it, let's get to cooking!
-Plug in your waffle maker to give it time to warm up while you are prepping the batter.  I usually cook on the medium setting.
-Mix together your favorite, go-to, waffle mix.  Once you have it prepared, split it into three equal bowls.
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

-In one bowl add the red food coloring.  I prefer bright colors, so I started with 6 drops in each.  Continue adding one drop at a time, until you have your desired color.   Repeat again with the blue food coloring.  You will leave the third bowl and waffle mixture as is, it is your white.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
-Once you have your batters at the preferred colors, get ready to cook.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

-Spray down the waffle maker with cooking spray and pour one batter in at a time to cook.  Don't forget to spray in between each waffle.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

-Once you have all three of your colored waffles made, cut each one into fours.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

-Time to create your masterpiece.  On each plate mix the 3 colors so that each waffle has a red, white and blue waffle pattern.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

-For toppings I continued in the red, white and blue theme with whip cream, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.  Feel free to get creative and add sprinkles, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, bananas, etc.  Have fun with it.  Also, serve on patriotically plates for an added bonus!  Click HERE for a fun kit.

Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles


Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles
Red, White & Blue - Fruity Waffles

I love this recipe and so does my family.  Not just because these waffles are delicious, but because it is such a fast meal to whip-up and serve.  My daughter adores the taste, but she also loves that I let her help in the kitchen.  If you are looking for a kid-friendly cooking experience, this is the one.  I let me 3 year old daughter mix up the batter,  add in the color, decorate with the fun toppings and of course enjoy her cooking!  It makes for a fun memory with her, followed by a yummy treat!

Wishing you all a beautiful Memorial Day!  Have fun spending the day and weekend with your loved ones and surprise them with these waffles, they will think you slaved in the kitchen all morning!www.espressoeverafter.comLet's get SOCIAL! : Join me on INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST / TWITTER / BLOG

This post contains affiliate links.  If you decide to make a purchase through my link, I will make a small commission for it. This doesn't cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

I Get to Love You

Monday, May 23, 2016
photo by Kiely Ro

I get to love you, it’s the best thing that I’ll ever do. I get to love you, it’s a promise I’m making to you. Whatever may come; your heart I will choose. Forever I’m yours, forever I do. 

It was a few days before Hunter left for his two year church mission and we were sitting outside in hammocks out in his parents backyard.
I knew I was going to wait for him, but we never really talked about what that really meant.
It was a conversation we had never addressed even though we had both thought about it over and over secretly in our minds full of marriage dreams.
"So you're going to write me... right?" Hunter asked.
"As often as I possibly can." I said with a smile.
"So what happens when you get home?" I asked without making eye contact.
"Well, I'll be going to school at BYU... and I mean hopefully I'll be married to you"
I smiled... "Hopefully is definitely right."

I honestly remember the day Hunter left like it was yesterday.
I cried more than I knew was possible and letting go from our last hug was harder than I can explain.
I watched the car drive away and just sat in mine, bawling, for a few minutes before even thinking straight. 
Then I saw the letter Hunter had slipped me... the first letter of many.
It was signed: "I love you Aleigh Joy. Always and Forever."

We had said "Always and Forever" often for years, but that time it hit me harder than before.
"I get to love him, for every single day, for the rest of forever." I remember thinking.
Forever is a hard word to comprehend, but I knew that was what I wanted.
The two years apart were hard, but remembering we had forever to look forward to made it just a little easier. 

When Hunter came home, everything fell right back into place.
I don't even remember it being the slightest bit awkward, it just felt so right.
We got engaged only one week later and I felt like I was floating I was so happy.
Only two months later, on March 1, 2014, we promised forever in the San Diego LDS temple. 
The next day we were on a plane to Utah to begin our life together. 
When Hunter carried me across the threshold I specifically remember thinking "this is just the beginning of forever" and feeling like the luckiest girl on earth.
Then, one week short of a year later we welcomed our baby girl into the world, a day I'll never ever forget.

I'll also never forget the Sunday after that...
I was hysterically crying in my husband's arms telling him I wasn't cut out to be a mother. 
He held me as I cried at least 30 more times as I faced a tough battle with PPD.
I saw him just minutes after he met with one of his coaches and they both decided his football career was at an end after being a star in high school.
We laughed and yelled into our pillows together at 3 in the morning when our baby had plans of staying up all night.
We sat in a tow truck after our car broke down for the third time 100 miles away from our home.
I squeezed his hand harder than I knew I had strength for during a long labor when the hospital refused to admit me.
We prayed together on our knees when our bank account showed that we probably wouldn't be buying groceries that week. 

We've fought and we've been angry, we've struggled and we've cried... 
But, somehow, I'm always reminded of the moment I became his bride and promised I would love him, forever. 

I was listening to the song, "I get to love you" the other day and was again taken back to that day, our wedding day, and literally started crying ugly tears upon hearing this line:
"They say love is a journey, I promise that I’ll never leave. When it’s too heavy to carry, remember this moment with me."

So Hunter, when the going gets tough... I promise to remember the feeling I had the moment we were married that rainy March day.
I'll remember the look you gave me after "kissing your bride."
I'll remember you whispering "you look gorgeous" in my ear during our first dance as husband and wife.
I'll remember how giddy we were as we left our reception.
And I'll always remember that I get to love you always and forever because choosing to love you through it all, is the best choice I'll ever make.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Freshly Picked Sale

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy Sunday Friends!
I just wanted to pop in and tell you about an exciting sale coming up!
I often have other moms asking me what my favorite brand of baby moccs are and I will always, hands down, say that Freshly Picked are the absolute best out there!
Usually the only thing stopping people from buying them is the price.
At $60 a pop it can be a hard purchase to make, but I promise you will not regret it!
Made with 100% durable wear-tested leather, these moccs are the best quality!
They also have elastic at the opening of the shoe so they are easy to slip on and off but the best part... they actually stay on your child's foot!
You'll be able to find these moccs at several high end retail stores nationwide including Nordstrom!

So, with all the talk about how great these moccs are, let's get to the sale details!
-The sale will be this Wednesday, May 25
-It starts at 10am MST
-EVERYTHING in the shop will be 25% off!!!!!
-Lasts 24 hours

Guys, this is huge!
I'm so excited to get Oaks some new moccs!
These are literally the only shoes we put on her feet.

So don't miss it mamas!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Shop my favorite styles:

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What You Should Know About Your Blogger Friend

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now and every time I come across a little struggle with my blogging business, I make a mental note to add it to this post. 
However, I just kept putting it off because it was just another thing on my to-do list I didn't have time for.
However, the other day I came across this graphic on Facebook and it hit me so hard!
I've gotten quite a bit of negative comments about being a "blogger" and I've even been made fun of for "taking too many pictures."
So, I figured it was time to write this post and really explain what it is that bloggers are doing and why it is that they are calling their blog, their business.

Here is a bit about what you should know about your "blogger" friend:

We work hard on our blogs, just like any other job: 
It may be hard for you to believe this, but a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears are put into our blogs! There's like a whole different language to be learned when you enter the blogging world. You have to do tons of research, work with other companies, learn how to code, learn to take HQ images, learn to edit said images, network, write a million emails, write and re-write a million posts, etc... We even have due dates just like any other job! Companies we work with often give due dates and you have to turn in your post in a timely manner to maintain a good relationship. It's not all fun and games and pretty packages, we really do work hard for our payment!

Just because we are getting paid to post about a product, doesn't mean it's the only reason we are posting about it:
I've heard several people say they don't like sponsored posts because they know they are "fake." I would like to debunk that myth right now! I have never posted about a product I didn't actually like! I have even talked to a few bloggers that have had to send products back because they don't want to give false info to their readers. We are careful about what we post and we really do care about what we promote. I love sharing cool products and pretty clothing with others, I love that my blog is a place I can do that! Most of the time, the reason I am posting about something is because I already loved it before creating the sponsored post. It's just a bonus that I get to work with the company on the post.

Not every blogger likes white walls (ha):
I remember hearing someone say that becoming a blogger is a trap that transforms the way you think... haha! Yes I may be more drawn to a picturesque scenery now... but I do not think blogging has altered my personal style! Many people that have white walls simply like the clean feel of white walls... Not to mention, they make for some gorgeous naturally lit photo backdrops! If I want a blue wall though, I'll have a blue wall! We are not brainwashed haha. 

We don't think we are any better than you:
I had someone once tell me that bloggers seem like the mean kids in high school... I honestly didn't know what to say back! But, I've had some time to think about it. No, we don't think we're any better than you and we are not mean! I'm sorry if some posts come off that way but, they they aren't meant to! There may seem to be cliques within the blogging community but this is why... Everyone will always be drawn to people with similar interests. So, bloggers are drawn to bloggers. I love meeting other bloggers and being able to talk to them about their blog, but I also just really like being able to relate with them! 

We don't just "try to get free stuff":
This is probably my biggest pet peeve. I did not start my blog to get a bunch of free stuff! Yes, it is an awesome perk and super fun to try out new products, but that is not the only reason I'm doing this! I started my blog to share the joys in my life and keep it as a journal. It's just an awesome incentive that I now get to monetize it! I honestly love blogging and will probably keep up with it my whole life. We don't try to just take advantage of companies and get free stuff either. We are working with those companies and a whole lot of hard work goes into our posts about their products. 

Writing a sponsored post is a lot harder than it may seem:
You may be surprised, but there is a whole lot of work that goes into sponsored posts! You have to make sure you know everything there is to know about the company and product, take high quality photos, edit those photos, write your post, edit your post, add in keywords, add in links, publish post, share on social platforms, and send all that info to the company. It's a long process that requires a lot of time and energy!

Not every husband is an "instagram husband"
I'm sure you have seen that video somewhere on the internet! I'll admit that the first time I saw it, it was really funny! But the more the jokes were made the less funny it got. Guys, my husband does not hate his life ha! And, we probably spend maybe 30 minutes a week on pictures total. And that's probably an exaggeration. We're not photo obsessed freaks that have to document every step... I do love taking pictures but if it disrupts our day I just don't. Hunter also realizes he's getting paid for taking the pictures so that's a fun incentive! On top of that though, a lot of bloggers work with a professional photographer. 

Not everything we post is staged. We know our lives are not perfect:
I don't wake up in the morning and say, "today we are going to have a pretend picnic so I can take a bunch of fake pictures." I simply bring my camera along on the fun things we already planned on doing to capture fun shots. I know a lot of bloggers images may appear to be staged, but it's just because they used a DSLR camera to get high quality images of what they were already doing. Plus if you really think about it then... most of your pictures are staged too, right?
(note: there definitely are some "staged" photos, just not all of them)

Most of us are making money off our blogs... and that shouldn't be a bad thing:
I commend you on starting an etsy shop, and you for starting your own dog walking business, and all of you that have made your own invention. So... why can't you be proud of me for finding a way to make money from home? I have definitely gotten a lot of support, but the negativity is really hard! My blog has helped me contribute to our income so I can stay home and be a full time mother to my sweet daughter and my husband can go to school and work outside our home. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity I have to work from home. I have worked my tail off to make it possible and it just shouldn't be a bad thing that I'm able to stay home and make money. Bloggers are working hard at what they do too! Let's all just support each other's successes. 

We really do love doing this:
I have such a passion for blogging. Writing out my thoughts and getting to help others through my own personal experiences makes all the late nights worth it! The wonderful emails I get from my awesome supporters are the best! It can be hard to post a picture of myself sometimes because I'm my own toughest critic, but I also love getting to work with awesome companies. I have honestly loved this blogging journey and I am so excited to continue on! This blog of mine has been an awesome way to record keep and it has been the best creative outlet for me. Not only that, but it has tested and tried me in good ways! I love to be stretched outside my comfort zone! Oh and not to mention the awesome people I have met since starting!

I know that was a whole lot of venting... but there ya have it!
I hope that helps others understand a little better just what it is we do ;)
Have any more questions?
I'd love to hear them in the comments!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Samantha's Bridal Shower

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I absolutely love party planning!
It is so fun for me to sit down and plan everything out, but it is even more fun for me to spend hours to myself setting up all the decor.
Hunter just lets me be and watches Oaks because he says I'm in my element ;)
This particular party I'm sharing today was very near and dear to me!
One of my good friends is getting married in June!
I called dibs on planning a shower for her in Utah the second she texted me and told me she was engaged. 
I knew it would be smaller, but I still wanted it to be extra special for her and some fun time with girlfriends before the big day!
I've thrown a baby shower, a birthday party, holiday parties, and a few other miscellaneous ones but this was surprisingly my first bridal shower!
I got a lot of snapchat questions asking where I purchased some of the decor and if I made it... so I figured I'd just answer all that here!
I'll also be sharing a few tips I've learned to keep things budget friendly :) 

When planning out a party, the first thing I do is pick a color scheme.
It makes it so much easier to plan everything out when you have a color scheme in your head to go off of.
Then I plan by tables to keep myself organized.
I'll figure out which "stations" I want and go from there as far as tablescape and backdrop goes.
For this particular shower I wanted a gift table, a photobooth, food table, drink table, and a little something near the seating.
When planning backdrops I pull out what I already have and try to reuse some decorations in different ways to save money.
I used quite a few of Oaklyn's party decorations because I just love the pink and gold but I also threw in some mint and teal!
I wanted the gift table to be the first thing people saw when they walked in.
There wasn't really a good wall for the table so I just did some floating garlands.
I made the gift banner using lots of scrapbook paper and twine, the pink and white one is just two streamers sewed together, and the other one is just squares cutout of mint and teal poster board from Hobby Lobby and hot glued on to twine!
I actually totally loved how it turned out!
I added a lingerie raffle because let's be honest here, that's what every bride is hoping they'll get!
I also added a pennant banner to the front of the table for a little extra decoration.

To the right of the gift table was a photobooth!
I absolutely love when parties have a DIY photobooth because it gives an excuse to take photos ;)
I just set up a sheet and tacked these cute pinwheels to the wall! ( Go here if you want to learn how to make them)
All of the photo props have lasted through a few different parties now and they were purchased from hobby lobby in the party section.

It's an "unsaid" fact that everyone goes to parties for the food... So make sure your spread is tasty!
My tips here are, make sure there is something for every tastebud.
I went with muffins, coffee cake, donuts, Chicago Mix (if you haven't tried this, run to Costco and get it!), Quiche, fruit, and my favorite sweet kale salad from Costco.
A way to make the food table budget friendly is by asking some friends to help out.
I for one like to plan and decorate (depending on the size of the party) by myself because it's just fun for me, but the food is what can get out of hand!
You can ask a few friends that want to be involved to bring something specific and use your own dishes you like. 
A fun way to jazz up any table is by adding a colored plastic tablecloth as a runner!
It adds a pop of color and is still very much budget friendly.
I also added some fabric squares I got at Wal Mart for $1.
You can also add a garland or banner hanging from the front. 
To set up the food, work on having varying heights.
It appeals to the eye much more than just a few different plates set up.
Add some cake stands, apothecary jars, or stick a few shoe boxes under the table cloth to raise the plates.
I made my cake stands with candle sticks and plates from a thrift store. 
They only costed about $2 a piece! Score!
On the wall behind the food table I just added a few of the leftover mini pinwheels.
The other thing I recommend is snatching little bins whenever you find them for cheap!
I love looking in the Target Dollar Section and finding cheap and cute little bins to display utensils.

The drink table was much bigger than I originally wanted but our clubhouse only had long rectangular tables so you just work with what you got!
The backdrop for this was made with a gold pennant banner from My Paper Crush and the felt ball garland was made out of felt balls and twine from Pebbles in My Pocket.
The drinks sign was just cut out of poster board and would have been done much better if I didn't think of it so last minute... ha! Oh well...
We had lemonade and water in pitchers.
A little tip to dress up any drink, add some fresh fruit slices to the dispenser!
The clear cups are from the dollar store and the chalkboard labels are from Michael's.
Yes I did put on every single label... it saved me money!
Another little tip, save up paper straws!
I have so many in all different colors stored away that I don't think I'll ever have to buy them again, ha!
The Dollar section frequently has them!
Another thing I love doing is taking things from my house that I already have and using them as decor.
The chalkboard is usually in our bedroom but I wanted that saying at the shower and the chalkboard displayed it perfectly!
The chickenwire photo hanger is in our kitchen and I use it to hang invites, announcements, and Christmas cards. 
I also added some mini mint tissue poms around the table.

The little extra pop of decor I added near the seating area was just a burlap banner I found in the dollar section and I painted the "Ms. to Mrs" on it.
Behind that was the super simple square garland also at the gift table.
I'm a fan of having one or two simple games at showers because it helps break the awkward silence and helps the guests get to know each other a little better.
When everyone was close to finished eating, I passed around the "Pass the Love Story Game" paper and it ended up being pretty cute!
It started at the person to the left of the bride and they wrote down whatever sentence they wanted to make up their love story.
That person then folded over what she wrote so the person next to her didn't see what she wrote and we kept passing and writing sentences until it got to the bride.
She then read the love story we created for her and it was super cute!
We also did the "What's in your purse game" because it is so fun to see people get into it!
After that we did the newlywed game and the bride literally got every single answer correct!
I just love that game!
We finished with opening gifts, chatting about marriage, and taking photos.
If you want the printout of the two games click here for the purse game, and here for the love story game :)

I hope this answered some questions and sparked some creativity!
Let me know if you have any more questions :)
Thank you all so much for reading!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy