5 Tips For A First-Time Car Buyer

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
This post is sponsored by Cars.com. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone. #ad #CarsCom

We bought our first car just over a year and a half ago. It was something I knew was coming later on in the future, but definitely didn't expect to do right then and there. We were driving a car that belonged to Hunter's dad when we first got married. It did what we needed it to and he was happy to let us use it while Hunter was in school. Then, the unexpected happened and he passed away really unexpectedly. As a result, that car was no longer ours. Suddenly we were thrown into purchasing a new car for the first time and saying we were lost, nervous, and confused would be an understatement! So, here's some advice we have to someone purchasing a car for the first time. 

1) Set a Budget! This was key for us. We knew we wanted to stay at or around a certain budget and that helped us stay firm when talking to pushy car salesmen. I can't tell you how many times we walked away from a dealership just because they were trying to get us to go above our budget. We sat down and considered gas, maintenance, insurance, and the car payment and found were able to figure out what we could actually afford. 

2) Do Your Research! After setting a budget, it was time to actually look for a car! Neither of us really knew much about cars and to be honest, we had no clue what we were looking for in a car. Looking on Cars.com is a really great resource for first-time car buyers. It is one of the largest digital automotive platforms with tons of trusted information about all sorts of cars. You are able to research and then find a car that will fit you and your family best!

3) Phone a Friend! We kept trying to do it all on our own until we finally realized it might be best to ask what others thought. I talked to my dad and my husband talked to his brother and we felt a whole lot better after talking to them. They were able to offer insight we didn't think of and let us know what the car buying process is like before we went through it. Talking to someone we respect and love really helped us feel comfortable.

4) Ask a Million Questions! When it comes to this big of a decision, don't be afraid to ask all sorts of questions. There were a few car salesmen that I knew weren't going to give me straight answers and that made it very clear to me that I didn't want to buy a car from them. When I went to Hyundai and put my research to the test, I loved that they gave me clear answers and were very helpful. 

5) Test Drive the Car! So you like the car from the outside, but how do you like actually driving it?? I really liked our car at first glance. We looked at the inside, the outside, and I really honestly liked it. However, it wasn't until Hunter and I both drove it that we realized we really wanted it. It felt smooth, we liked how Oaklyn fit in the back seat, we liked that we were higher up, and it had a clean interior. Looking back, I wish I would've driven that car how I actually do now instead of being extra careful while test driving it ;) But seriously, drive it how you really will be driving it to see if you really like how it feels! 

Alright, those are my top 5 tips for being a first-time car buyer! What are your best tips?

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

A Cozy Christmas

Saturday, November 25, 2017
This post is sponsored by Sleepyheads. However, all opinions are mine alone

Today marks only ONE MONTH until Christmas! Can you believe how fast that came?? Maybe it doesn't seem fast for the rest of you, but for me this entire year flew by! We're pretty busy planning our move to San Diego so I've been trying to get things ready for Christmas as fast as possible. One of the first things I thought of is one of my favorite family traditions; matching family jammies for Christmas Eve! Generally, I don't post about our jammies until Christmas Eve but this year I wanted to share the cute and cozy ones I found so you can snag some too! 

I found our jammies at Sleepyheads.com and we love them so much! They had so many options to chose from and they are seriously the comfiest jammies any of us own! Oaklyn thinks it is so fun that she gets to match mommy and daddy and cam looks so adorable in hers! I love this red snowflake collection because they had them in every size we needed! I was so nervous that I wouldn't be able to find identical jammies for all of us this year but was so happy when I saw these! I love that they are footed jammies because I know the girls will be cozy sleeping in them. Hunter and I have the feet on ours as well, except ours zip off! This feature was so perfect for Hunter who is really tall. Hunter and I also have a little hood on ours.

So how does this tradition work? Well every year on Christmas eve I wrap up our jammies as one present. I let Oaklyn open it (now Cambria too!) and then we put them on right away! Then we read a Christmas book and get ready for bed. We wake up Christmas morning in our matching jammies and it just feels so festive and fun! We open our presents in our matching jammies and continue to wear them year round because they are just that cozy! I really love this tradition and plan to continue it until our kids find it embarrassing to match their parents, haha!

Because I love Sleepyheads SO much, I can just guarantee that you all will too! So, I have teamed up with them to giveaway up to 4 pairs of these same jammies! This is a quick giveaway so be sure to enter pronto! Comment here with what your favorite gift of all time was! Then head over to my instagram for more entires!
Giveaway will run for 48 hours!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Why Holidays Are So Much More Fun With Kids

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
This post is sponsored by Carter's; However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

I have always absolutely loved holidays. I can remember as a kid sitting by my window late at night, just looking at all of my neighbor's Christmas lights. I would sit there until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer because I just loved the magical feeling the lights brought. I remember waking up Christmas morning giddy with excitement because it was such a special day. I remember not being able to sleep the night before holidays because I was just SO excited. As a kid, the excitement of holidays can't be beat. I still loved holidays as I got older but noticed the magic start to fade. I no longer felt like the little girl I once was. However, that magic suddenly came back once I had kids of my own.

I remember hearing it all the time, "holidays are so much more fun with kids!" But, I never really understood what that meant until I had a child of my own. Oaklyn was almost a year old on her first Christmas and even though she didn't really understand what was happening, it was still so much fun for me. The next year was even more fun as we watched her tear open presents exclaiming "ooh's and ahh's" each time. This year I can hardly wait for christmas morning just so I can watch her experience the magic of Christmas. So why exactly are holidays so much more fun with kids? Let me explain...

First things first, you get to start as many holiday traditions as you want! I am kind of a tradition crazy person. I couldn't wait to have a family of my own because I was so excited and ready to start traditions. A few of my favorites are visiting Santa, watching Christmas movies, looking at Christmas lights as a family (to make it even more fun look up "the polar express" on pinterest!), making and decorating cookies, reading Christmas books, advent calendars, and matching family jammies! Did you know that Carter's has an amazing selection of children's pajamas in all different sizes?? Carter’s has the best holiday pajamas, not just because they’re affordable, but because they’re comfortable and stylish!

Second, you get to experience that same magic you once felt as a child all over again. It has been so fun to watch our kids experience the magic of holidays. Watching Oaklyn's eyes light up when we turned our Christmas tree on this year, literally filled my heart with joy. I couldn't stop smiling as I watched her eyes get big with excitement. I felt that same joy I once did as a child only now, it's ten times greater. Oaklyn can't wait for Santa to come and she asks if it's Christmas time just about every day. I am loving how excited she is and it's making me that much more excited as well.

Third, you get to plan a Christmas card! I don't know if this is as exciting to others as it is to me... but I literally am obsessed with Christmas cards! I get so giddy when they start showing up in the mail. I also love having it as a keepsake each year. I save our Christmas cards each year and love looking back over the years. I started the first year Hunter and I were married and have done one every year since. It has been so fun seeing our family change each year. It also forces you to take an updated family photo! With family pictures, comes planning coordinating outfits! Carter’s has a variety of styles perfect for every holiday moment, and they definitely have you covered in the family photo category! There's adorable clothes in several sizes at their store and online. Carter’s clothes and PJs are equally cute and comfy – at an affordable price point that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

Lastly, holidays with little ones means the opportunity to feel the joy of giving. I love receiving presents... who doesn't? But, I've learned over time that the joy of giving is even more fun for me. I love finding holiday gifts for my kiddos and feel so much joy when I watch them open up a present I got them. Oaks is a true girl and loves getting new clothes! Carter’s will have can’t-miss Black Friday deals beginning 11/17 so you can get your little ones some cute new holiday clothes at an amazing price! Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh are giving away over $700,000 in Dash Cash to the first 100 people to visit their local Carter’s or OshKosh B’gosh store for the Dash In to Win Sweepstakes.  The Sweepstakes will be held on Black Friday (11/23 or 11/24 – depending on when the store opens after Thanksgiving). Plus, customers will receive a gift from Shutterfly on their $40+ purchase that day! SO many reasons to head to Carter's for Black Friday shopping! Also, you can take 20% off your purchase of $40 or more in store or online through 12/31/17! The in store code is: 070716 and the online code is: CART4198. So many great deals at Carter's!
It's also fun to teach your children why giving is important at a young age. Carter’s believes that every child deserves a good night sleep so they are partnering with Pajama Program, an organization that provides children new pajamas, from November 1st – December 31st. Customers can help by donating a pair of new pajamas in store or make a monetary donation at check out (in store or online). Carter’s will match up to 100,000 pairs of pajamas. Your local community benefits directly from your support and your children will learn that the holiday season isn't all about receiving... it is about giving as well.

Being a mother has been the hardest thing I've ever done... but it has also brought me the most joy. Children are a lot of work and a whole lot of fun! It has been so fun having kids during the holidays and I can't wait to create more memories with them this year! Now tell me, what do you look forward to most during the holidays??

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Double Strollin With The Austlen Entourage

Friday, November 10, 2017

So I've learned something about myself since becoming a mom...
I've learned that I'm kind of a "gear snob."
Now that's not to say I won't put my child in a cheap umbrella stroller to get around from here to there, but it is to say that I understand the importance of good baby gear and I'm willing to splurge.
When I had Oaklyn, I had no idea about strollers, car seats, diaper bags... or any other gear really.
I found a good deal on a travel system and we got it that day. 
I remember when it arrived, I made Hunter put it together immediately.
When he finished I looked at it and thought, "that's a lot bigger than I pictured it would be..."
Sure enough, the thing ended up being the biggest pain.
The wheel would literally pop off as we were on a walk, it was so heavy I literally felt like I was gonna throw out my back putting it in the trunk of the car, Oaklyn was never comfortable in the seat, and the "shade cover" hardly blocked any sun from her face... Needless to say, I totally regretted that purchase!
From that moment forward, I vowed to myself that I would fully read reviews on baby gear before making a purchase.
That being said, I have a review to write today! On a very new stroller to the market...
The Austlen Entourage!

So let's start from the beginning... my initial thoughts on the stroller.
The first time I ever saw this stroller was on an instagram story.
I looked it up online immediately and was blown away by all the different functions it has. 
I kept thinking to myself, "How can it possibly do so much?? It has to be too good to be true!"
I desperately wanted to see it in person and was so excited to receive it in the mail.
Hunter took it out of the box and put it together. 
I'll be honest in saying we kind of struggled putting it together.
Luckily though, they have really great informative videos on their website that helped tremendously.
Once it was put together I wanted to test out all the different functions.
Right off the bat, I LOVED how beautiful it looked.
It is such a pretty design and has some really great touches like the leather handlebar and the great quality of the seat and shade cover.
We took it out for a test walk and quickly discovered some pros and cons...

-We love how easy it is to extend it into a bigger stroller! You guys it's crazy... You literally press a button and it expands to being like twice as long! The reason for this is being able to carry more cargo if you're going somewhere like th beach or on a picnic. It also makes it possible for both seats to recline.
-I'm obsessed with the tote! I think the tote is an amazing touch! It has the ability to be removed and has several pockets to add anything and everything you need while pushing the stroller.
-It has the ability to add a car seat, a second seat, or a sit and stand seat. There are so many options for your kiddos and it really can grow with your family
-It can lug around up to 150 lbs of stuff. That's two very big kids with the opportunity to out suitcases or something on the stroller!
-It's very easy to fold. Like really easy! It is also really easy to stand up making it super easy to stow.

-Unfortunately we had a problem with the wheels at first. Luckily the company did take care of it pretty quickly, but it was a pain at first. The stroller was very difficult to push until we got it fixed.
-It is a large stroller. With the ability to tote around all that cargo, all those kids, and the ability to expand to being even bigger... comes the the con of it being pretty massive. It folds down pretty well but it is pretty hefty.
-It's not really my stroller of choice to keep in the trunk and put my kids in every time I have to run a quick errand. It's just a little too much work for that... But, it is a great stroller to bring somewhere like Disneyland where you want your kids to be comfortable and have the ability to bring all the stuff you need. 

The below image is from their website where you can see all the different functions it has. This stroller was definitely VERY well thought out and has just about everything a mom could think of. 

Overall I think I'd give this stroller 4 out of 5 stars. I'm so impressed with the design and all the different functions it has, but the price point is really steep and it's not really ideal for daily quick errands.
However, it is absolutely worth looking at because you probably will love all the different functions it has!

If you have anymore questions on this stroller, feel free to ask!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Holiday Twinning With OshKosh B'Gosh

Thursday, November 9, 2017
“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.”

You guys, the holidays are HERE! Every year I get so excited on September 1st because fall is the best season of the year and we get to break out my favorite clothing items of the year... sweaters, tights, boots, etc. Then Halloween comes to kick off the festivities and the next day, my mind is in full on Christmas mode! I love Thanksgiving too, but I like to think of it as a pre-Christmas ;) Either way, this time of year is such a fun and special time for everyone. With all the fun get togethers, family pictures, and parties, comes holiday clothes shopping! I stopped into OshKosh B'Gosh this weekend and found SUPER cute matching outfits for the girls! You know how crazy I am about the matching sister thing ;) OshKosh always has such a cute selection of holiday clothes and this year is nothing short of amazing!

From denim to dresses and sweaters to skirts, OshKosh has you covered! I had THE hardest time picking out matching outfits for the girls because I loved everything. Before I left I said to Hunter: "I should be back soon!" HA! Guys, I knew I loved their clothes... but I did not expect to have such a hard time deciding! I had like 5 outfits picked out and different variations of the outfits and couldn't for the life of me decide! I almost just gave up and bought them all haha. Luckily one of the sweet employees helped me pick out the outfits in the pictures and I could not be more excited with how they turned out. Oaks kept twirling and smiling when I got her dressed and she loved matching her little sister. I about died when we put Cambria on her lap and she kissed her little head. Oh man, sisters are SO fun!

I love that OshKosh B'Gosh is my one stop shop for stylish and age appropriate clothes for both girls. As you've seen from my instagram, I have this thing with putting the girls in matching clothes... it's just so cute! Before Cambria was born I had the hardest time finding clothes in both infant and toddler sizes and it made me so sad! You can only imagine how excited I was to walk into OshKosh and see they had all the outfits I wanted not only on crazy sale, but also in both baby and toddler sizes! I loved that they put both sizes right next to each other instead of in different sections of the store because it made it so easy for me to find the right sizes in each style. All my dreams were coming true as I was shopping and picturing the girls matching during all the holiday activities I have planned ;) 

OshKosh is having an amazing sale right now making it so easy to love both your kid's style and the price. All the clothes online and in store are marked down like crazy and on top of that I have a coupon code for you to get another 20% off your purchase of $40 or more! In other words, you'll be getting a steal of a deal! In store just use code: 037264 and online use code: OKBG3418

Another great deal to look out for is the OshKosh Dash in to win sweeps on Black Friday! They will already have amazing deals in store but on top of that, the first 100 people to any store will receive a gift card worth up to $100! Depending on when your local store opens the deal either starts on 11/23 or 11/24. If the store opens on 11/23, the dash in to win is on 11/23. If your store is closed on 11/23, then the dash in to win event is on 11/24. Find your closest store here! 

The last thing I have for all of you is something extra fun to get excited about! I'm giving away a $50 gift card to one of you that can be used in store or online at OshKosh B'Gosh! That way you can get your kiddos ready for the holiday season with all their stylish and age appropriate styles! Leave a comment with your favorite holiday tradition here for one entry and tag friends in my instagram post for even more chances to win!

 Now go ahead and get all your little ones holiday outfits picked out for a GREAT price at OshKosh! And don't forget the matching or coordinating outfits ;) 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy