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Our Weekend Entertainment

5.30.2014
Today is my hubby boy's birthday!!! I'm so excited to be doting on him today :) It's all begun with fresh monkey bread in the oven, coffee in bed and a ooey-gooey love note.

We are heading to a wedding in Pigeon Forge and decided just to make a weekend out of it for Jon's birthday. So we will be chillaxing there all weekend long doing whatever it is that floats hubs' boat. (Nine times out of ten this includes drinking cookies and cream milkshakes and taking naps). I can deal with both. 

Was this week a whirlwind for anyone else coming back from the holiday weekend? It should have been easier since it was shorter, but that just wasn't the case. My body and mind feel like they've been on one of those things at the playground that you sit on and they spin it as fast as possible. What's it called? Made me sick every time, but I always got back on. Ah to be a kid again.

I hope your weekend is filled with sunshine, fresh flowers, happiness and at least one marg on me! Xo!

PS. The lucky dawg winner of the Tone It Up prize package is....


Congrats! Thanks to all who entered :) Check back next month for another awesome giveaway. 
Want to be involved in next month's giveaway? Email me: themoderntulip@gmail.com

Tricks Of The Trade

5.28.2014
tips for bloggers, drive traffic
 
So it's hardly ever -aka- never that I write blog posts about blogging tips or my blogging thoughts, but I have had a list compiling lately of what I think works and well, I figured I'd share with all of my beloved!

I'm no pro, so remember that. I mean I am a pro at some things. Like margarita drinking, Mexican eating and kitchen dancing. Blogging = totally not a pro.

With that in mind, here are my tips.

// Use images and small paragraphs to break up your post. We are lazy human beings who prefer picture books to novels. I can promise you if I come to your blog and see a post compiled of paragraphs without a single image I will click that "X" faster than you can say peace.
 
//  When I say "use images", I don't mean microscopic ones that I have to bring out the magnifying glass for. Make sure your pictures are clear (not grainy), bright and go ahead and hit that X-large option. It will do you and your readers good!
 
// Speaking of images, yet again. Fill out the properties of each photograph you publish. What am I talking about? Click on your image in your photo, then click "properties". Here you will see TITLE text and ALT text. By filling out these fields with keywords you make your images searchable. Generating higher chances of someone coming to your sight. I will explain this further next week so check back.

// Write the way you speak. It took me months to find my voice in blogging. If you've been around here long enough and read my posts, you know that I am a sarcastic person. I enjoy humor. I try to share that with my readers. After all you are here to hear what I have to say. << that's a mouthful.

// Don't write in the center of the page. Or do, I don't really care. 
 
All I know is this hurts my eyes and 
confuses me.
I prefer to read the way I read everything else. From left to right starting 
on the far left side of the page.
 
// Blog on a regular schedule. Although I started out extremely consistent I have given myself a few extra "holidays" this year. 99.9% of the time I blog Monday through Friday and try to post around the same time each day. Does it always happen? I am human aren't I? This will give your readers a sense of schedule with your blog.
 
// Before you publish your post, read through and take out something. One thing. Anything. We tend to overload and speak too much. It's one less sentence for your readers to read! 

// Lift up other bloggers. Blogging isn't limited to just writing about your life. It's about building relationships in a huge community! If you read something you like from someone's blog, share it on social media! Unless that blogger is a complete jerk, they are going to thank you and most likely visit you back. It's a win, win!

// Most importantly, find creative content. Love and stand behind what you write. I understand we all have to do the occasional sponsored post because who doesn't love a free item or a little extra cash in the wallet? That's a perk of blogging! But constantly? No bueno. Don't post something you aren't proud of. Kind of like this post ... presumably my most spiteful post.

What's one lesson you have learned in blogging? Perhaps something you wish you had known to begin with. .

I've found these ladies extremely helpful for blogging advice:


The Balancing Act

This is where I'll be spending my Summer. I swear year after year the view never gets old.
Do you know how long it's been since I've read a blog? Or checked my email? Or sat down and organized my thoughts?

Too long.

When each day seems to fill up quicker than it started, I find myself running on empty, struggling to keep up around here. Blogging has sort of been put on the back burner for me in the midst of everything right now. Not because I want to, but because she isn't making millions of dollars and is simply a hobby, I can't justify cutting out a huge amount of time for her.

Due to the lack of time and commitment right now I have taken down my sponsorship options because I can't adequately give the sponsoree the advertising they deserve. Not to my standards anyway. I hope to bring back these options in the future :) I'm still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!

Don't get me wrong, life is good right now! Our businesses are thriving and in need of our undivided attention. Yesterday Jon and I joined Planet Fitness because of our lack of energy and need of a change. The first night of working out hard after work and I immediately came home at 9pm and did dishes, laundry, prepared the next days food, and showered. This may not sound like much to you, but normally we are so dead I try to pump out a blog post and crawl straight into bed and pass out. I think this will be great for us! Now that Summer is basically here, we will be spending more and more days at the lake house, which makes my heart swoon!

Just bear with me friends. I may not respond to your emails right away. I may not be reading your blog as often as I'd like. But I'm here! Just not in full force like before. I'm learning to prioritize in life right now and family, health and business have taken the top spots of my attention.

LOTS of hugs and kisses, pretty ladies! (And gents if there are any. Just hugs for you though.)

Do you struggle with keeping up? Or prioritizing? 

PS. Don't forget to enter the Tone It Up prize package giveaway. It's the last day and a great package worth $110!


A Taste Of Summer

5.26.2014
I hope you all enjoyed your long, extended holiday weekend! We spent ours between NC and TN visiting family, getting some lake time and stuffing our faces every chance in between. 

It feels like Summer is approaching quickly and I'm loving every minute of it! The weather has been beautiful which means more cookouts, backyard meals and get togethers. In lui of such parties, Kristal from The Strong Family and I have brought you two, simple and delicious desserts that are guaranteed to please everyone's taste-buds! Make sure to pin them!
Kristal brought you heavenly Strawberry Short Cake! YUM!

Strawberry Short Cake is one of my very favorite Summer time desserts. To me, it screams Summer. Fresh strawberries, light shortbread and milk. Wait, milk?! Yes, I put milk on my strawberries and short cake instead of Cool Whip. This was a shock to Robert and nearly a deal breaker. (Kidding on the deal breaker part!) I do put milk on it and because of that, I have no trouble substituting strawberry short cake for lunch or dinner. I mean really, how light and refreshing does that sound on a hot Summer day? Perfect! 

This is the shortbread recipe I grew up on and still use today. And let me tell you, it's ah-mazing! I think you should whip some up tonight, try it with some strawberries and milk on it and then tell me I'm crazy :) 

I brought you an easy chocolate cupcake with addicting Oreo frosting!

Our family has a major sweet tooth. Sometimes there are more desserts on the table than there are main meals. Not only did we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend at the lake, but Jon's birthday is this week so we did a little early celebrating for him too! If you know my husband at all you know the man could live off of Oreo's. Cookies, shakes, pies, ice cream. If it has the word Oreo written across it, he's sold.

So in lui of his unhealthy obsession I only saw it fit to make him Oreo cupcakes. And I've learned I do not have the patience for decorating. So please excuse the monstrosity on top I call icing.


What is your favorite BBQ, Summertime recipe?

If you have never visited Kristal before, I recommend doing so! Blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.

Not only is she a terrific mommy and wife with a heart for Jesus, but the girl can cook! Seriously, I stalk her blog for recipes constantly. There has never been a meal from her blog that Jon didn't approve of, but then again what doesn't he eat?

Life Lately (Post Vacation)

5.23.2014
 
 
// I'm really looking forward to another long weekend full of food, family and lake time. Thank you Memorial Day for sneaking up on me.

// I gave a customer a refund for $150 when I was only supposed to give him $10. Lucky day for him! After doing so I cried like a baby and then I decided maybe that man really needed it and my mistake was a blessing for him.

// I like to hit snooze on my alarm clock 1,534,678 times and get up with 5 minutes to spare. So much for hair and makeup.

// Jon and I have been working out everyday together after work and I already feel a bagillion times better. We definitely need the energy booster with such a grooling schedule. You probably saw yesterday that Tone It Up is my workout plan of choice. Read more here and enter the giveaway to win a prize package!

// I was a part of the mug swap in February and I made a great new blogger friend out of it! I'm even more excited about the "Where I'm From" swap this month! Thanks to Kallie for putting all this goodness together. You should totally come join because A: who doesn't love receiving surprise goodies in the mail? B: Who doesn't need more girlfriends? To join in go here.

// I'm not sure if you've ever seen these candles before, but I got one for my birthday and needless to say I had it burned down and a ring on my finger in less than 24 hours. It's seriously the most thrilling gift I've ever received. I got a cheapy ring, which I'm sure they put in 99.999% of their candles, I'm ordering this candle next and crossing my fingers for a $5,000 ring because I'm a sucker.

// Next week is the hubs birthday. Why are men so hard to buy for? I mean I know I could easily go to Victoria Secret and buy something for myself that would be equally as pleasing for him, but that doesn't seem fair.

// I can't stop jamming to this song. It's on repeat in my head. Sorry hubs.

 
Happy weekend kool cats.

Linking up with Whitney for Back That Azz Up

Are You Prepared To Wear A Bikini?

5.22.2014
Not many of us can say yes, even though we should! 

Have you ever heard of Tone It Up before? If you haven't, you are missing out! Two years ago I saw their picture pop up on a blog and I about had a heart attack. Finally a pair of gorgeous, young women who didn't look starved or muscle happy, but simply toned and healthy.

I splurged and bought their nutrition plan and became a member immediately! It took me one night to read through the plan and I spent days looking through their workouts, recipes, motivational tips, success stories. I was hooked! I started following Karena and Katrina along with other TIU gals on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with the Tone It Up community and stay accountable. I couldn't believe the crowd of uplifting women I was surrounded by!

I was even a sponsored member this time last year! #pinchme


I've been obsessed ever since. I don't always follow the program, but I can promise you I read their emails every day and flip back to their nutrition plans and workouts constantly.

If you are looking to make a slight change towards a healthier lifestyle with yummy recipes, supportive women and workouts you can do from home, this could be your plan! Even if you are skeptical, entering the giveaway won't hurt! You could win a $110 prize package including The Beach Babe workout DVD, Tone It Up apparel and... well the rest is a secret! Who doesn't love a good surprise?

Myself and these 7 gorgeous bloggers have brought this giveaway to you, so please make sure to check each of them out. You'll love them as much as I do!

Southern Style :: Jess's Designs :: Erica Jacquline :: Kids and Cabernet ::

The giveaway ends Thursday May 29th at midnight. 
Winning entry will be verified so please be honest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheers Panama. You Did Us Good.

5.20.2014
It's been tougher than I thought catching up from taking a week off. I've spent the last two days returning what I thought was just 97 voicemails. Turns out I completely forgot we had 3 phone lines at the office so in reality I have {present tense} 140 voicemails to finish calling back plus 77 emails I have neglected responding to. Oh and I can't forget the joy of hearing from all the lovely customers who don't mind telling us how inconvenient it was for THEM that we took a vacation.

#SorryIWillNeverBeSorry

I promise to get back to your emails and comments real soon! I have loved hearing from you all everyday. Totally brings a smile to my face :)

Do you find it hard getting back to reality after a vacation?

because who doesn't want to kiss a shrimp? And then dip him in cocktail sauce...
nerds
According to Cody, in order to play bocce ball you must have beer and determination.

Cheers Panama! You did us good.

White Sandy Beaches


These are just a few teaser photos from my vacation. 

I'm over here day dreaming of where I was sitting this time last week. That would be in the sun on the white sandy beach of Panama with a book and margarita in hand.

#takemeback

Don't worry, I'll share the rest tomorrow :)

Speaking of dreaming, wouldn't it be a dream come true to win a $150 gift card to Kate Spade? Lucky for you, I teamed up with 11 other bloggers to give you a chance to get your hands on exactly that!
Win $150 Kate Spade gift card!

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below--be honest with your entries. We don't like cheaters around here. :) The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on May 20th until 11:59 pm EST on May 26th. Best of luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


I'm Back! Relaxed & Tanner I Might Add

5.18.2014
Hey gal pals!

It's bittersweet being back. While I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation, I missed Blogland and it's good to be back in our own home again with our fur babies.

I will be sharing vacation photos with you soon, but I am still unpacking, restocking our refrigerator and catching back up on the life I so happily ignored for a week.

Hubs and I did take time to go see Divergent when we got home this weekend. I read through Divergent and Insurgent in a weeks time y'all. Yes, that good. So needless to say I had ants in my pants about seeing the movie. It was equally as good as the book. I recommend seeing and reading the series if you haven't already!

would you check out that tan line on my feet! Ow ow!

blazer | tee | jeans | flats | clutch : old | sunnies | wifey necklace


And We're Off!

5.09.2014
My FL Beach Bag


Today is the day! I've counted down for weeks now and at midnight tonight we will be hopping in the car with two of our best friends and driving 10 hours straight to the white sandy beaches of Panama, FL for the week! Halle-freaking-lujah!

Above are my essentials I brought along in my beach bag. Lord only knows what else I packed. I'm a major over packer and doing so always causes minor panic attacks and wine consumption. At least I'm prepared, right?

I am soooo desperately in need of a vacation I have decided to take the week off from my blog as well. So you won't be hearing from me until the 19th. Save your tears (ha), you can tag along and see what we're up to via Instagram and Twitter.

Catch ya on the flipside, peachie pies!