November 29, 2011

And Then I Decided To Stop Blogging.

I laid in bed last night and declared to TJ that I was going to stop blogging. 

"I mean really, whats the point? I have so many more important things in my life to be focusing on right now than publishing blog posts."

I frequently receive e-mails from people asking what I do, and what they can do to make their blogs grow. Many people don't understand the investment of time and creativity that goes into maintaing a blog. Trust me when I tell you that "followers" don't just stumble upon your blog and stay. I have invested hours, days, literally months of exhausting work into Travel Babbles, and for what? While I do make money off of this blog, I promise you that the work involved is not worth the paycheck.

I didn't begin Travel Babbles a year ago with the intention of writing for an audience. I began writing for myself and for my family. While the success of this blog over the past year has been humbling, it has also been very stressful. I have put a lot of pressure on myself, every single day, to be a "good" blogger, and what this has resulted in is me no longer writing for myself, but writing to please others.

What use to be a very fun and creative hobby for me now just feels like work.

I was about 99% set in my ways to close up shop today until...

TJ reminded me that I truly do love my blog. And I've put so much work into it. And some of my very best friends are people that I've met through blogging.

He made me realize that it's not so important to get a post out every day at a certain time. And I don't need to blog 5 days a week. And I don't need to sit on the computer 5-8 hours every day writing, editing and networking. And how I truly do love and appreciate the relationships that have been formed because of Travel Babbles. And how flattered I am when someone takes the time to write to me expressing their gratitude for a certain post that I've published where I invested my entire heart into my writing.

He reminded me of, you know...the important things. Thank you, Thomas J.

So, I've decided to stop blogging every day. 

And throughout December I'm going to check in just once a week with updates. I need to reorganize my priorities and remember why I started this blog in the first place. Recently I have felt like some of my posts are not coming from my organic self, and this is clearly reflected when I do not receive feedback on such posts. Why publish posts if no one wants to read what you have to say? My most read and commented on posts are the ones where I let my soul shine through and where my readers can relate to what I have to say - I need to get back to that.

I hope that before the start of the New Year I will regain my balance in blogging, grasp the creative spark that I once enjoyed feeling while maintaining Travel Babbles, and start producing quality content that reflects ME once again.
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November 15, 2011

Brutus Blogs | My First Day At Doggy Daycamp

Mom and Dad had some errands to run yesterday and instead of leaving me at home to sleep they decided to drop me off at my first day of PetSmart Doggy Daycamp so that I could play and meet some new friends.

I was very intimidated when I first walked in the door - no one likes to be the new kid!


Luckily everyone was very nice and there was a trained employee in the room with us who remembered all of our names. She would call on us if we were acting too rowdy and tell us to calm down.

Guess what? I got to play with another English Bulldog named Polo! He was a great guy and I hope he comes back next Monday so that we can play together again. It's tough for me to find friends in our apartment complex because I am so much bigger than the small breed dogs but so much shorter than the large breed dogs - sometimes it's complicated being 14 inches tall and 84 pounds!


The best part for Mom and Dad is that they could have left me there to play with my friends for up to 6 hours for only $12 bucks, but they were definitely a couple of softies on my first day and picked me up after only 3 hours because they missed me.

Even though I was having so much fun, I was very happy to see my parents at the door when they came to pick me up. As soon as I saw them I ran right to the door with a big smile on my face, and I was ready to go home.


Mom said since I had a star shining Pawgress Report that I can go back next week. Yippie!


Dog Ciao,
Brutus Baxter-Barkly
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November 11, 2011

Words For The Weekend | Life's Little Instructions

Life's Little Instructions by William Snell
95 years old - Circa 1993

Sing in the shower.
Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Plant a tree on your birthday.
Learn three clean jokes.
Returned borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Keep it simple.
Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Be forgiving on yourself and others.
Say "thank you" a lot.
Say "please" a lot.
Avoid negative people.
Wear polished shoes.
Remember other people's birthdays.
Commit yourself to constant improvement.
Have a firm handshake.
Send lots of valentines cards, sign them.
Look people in the eye.
Be the first to say "hello".
Return all things you borrow.
Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
Keep secrets.
Plant flowers every spring.
Have a dog.
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Stop blaming others.
Take responsibility for every area of your life.
Wave at kids in school buses.
Be there when people need you.
Don't expect life to be fair.
Never underestimate the power of love.
Drink champagne for no reason at all.
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake".
Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know".
Compliment even small improvements.
Keep your promises no matter what.
Marry only for love.
Rekindle old friendships.
Count your blessings.
Call your mother.
And your father too, if they happen to be alive.


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November 10, 2011

Celebrity Style | Looks for Less | Reese Witherspoon

The weather has definitely cooled off down here in Texas, so it finally felt appropriate to recreate a casual celebrity look for the Fall, brought to you by none other than the beautiful Reese Witherspoon. I love the cool color combination of rich autumn tones here - this is the perfect outfit to run errands in or to enjoy a latte with friends outside of your favorite coffee shop before the weather gets too cold to do so. The best part? You can shop this entire outfit (including the bag!) for under $150 at some of my favorite bargain buy stores including Old Navy, ASOS and Target.


1. Old Navy | Green Crew Neck Sweater | $26.94
2. Target | Pumpkin Scarf | $19.98 
3. ASOS | Mid Blue Skinny Jeans | $21.95
4. Miss Selfridge | Snake Slouch Shoulder Bag | $57.00
5. Old Navy | Faux Leather Ankle Bootie | $22.99
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November 8, 2011

A Handmade Holiday | The Ultimate Guide To Handmade Gifts

NEWSFLASH, FOLKS! Christmas is less than 50 days away! Can you believe it?

If you're like me and don't want to give in to the commercialism of Christmas - and would much rather spend time instead of spend money this gift giving season - I've done you a favor and compiled 21 quick, easy and thoughtful handmade gifts that you can give this year:


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November 7, 2011

Healthy Eating | My Tips To Getting Started

Let me let you in on a little secret: I enjoyed a homemade BBQ chicken garlic bread pizza, three glasses of wine and a homemade chocolate chip cookie last night. With vanilla frosting. And sprinkles. 

I didn't enjoy my meal simply because it probably could have put me in a carb and sugar coma, rather I enjoyed it because it was a reward - a reward for making clean, conscious and healthy food choices during the week. 

I do follow a meal plan Monday through Friday. Today looks like this:

Meal 1: 3 egg omelet with veggies and cheese
Meal 2: Green apple with organic peanut butter
Meal 3: Turkey burger, sweet potato, green bean and broccoli salad 
Meal 4: 5 pieces of asparagus wrapped in peppered turkey breast
Meal 5: Whatever I make for TJ (grilled chicken), substituting pasta for extra greens
Meal 6: Sugar free protein pudding

On Saturdays and Sundays I usually follow up until Meal 4 and then I leave it open, based on the activities we have planned for the weekend. Hockey games, girls night out, or simply sitting on the couch with a can of Pringles...

...Hey, I'm not perfect.

And you're not perfect, but that's what makes us beautiful. 


The following "rules" are ones I follow. I'm not a nutritionist by any means - but most of these are lessons I have learned from my trainer, Miss Katie Boyd, as well as by just listening to my body and being aware of how it reacts to certain foods.

1. Eat your limited dairy products and fruits in the morning. Vitamin D is important - but the steroids from cows? Not so much. Go Organic if you can. If I consume dairy after 6PM I have nightmares, so just imagine what it's doing inside my body. In regards to sugar: Your body cannot differentiate between a green apple and a green apple martini. Sugar is sugar when it's broken down to it's simplest form, so allow your body the entire day to burn it off by consuming your sugars early in the day instead of later in the afternoon. I suggest no sugar, ie., FRUIT after 2PM.

2. I don't eat red meat. It's a personal choice really, because it skeeves me out. The hormones, the steroids, and the digestion process of red meat is absolutely disgusting. You can Google the pros, cons, and processes of red meat and you may never go back. Plus, it's questionable if red meat attributes to heart disease and breast cancer. You will receive enough protein from turkey, chicken and fish, and if you're feeding a family, just make the switch. I've converted TJ, oftentimes without him even knowing, by replacing ground beef with ground turkey and chicken. He happily enjoys turkey tacos, chicken chili, turkey meatloaf, etc. along with me.

3. Plan your meals ahead of time. If you're on the go, invest in plastic containers and keep your meals ready-to-go with you. Pop them in your purse and you'll never be in a jam. Make sure to eat every 2-3 hours so that your insulin levels do not spike. This spike is just setting you up to make an unhealthy, normally carb and sugar-based decision if you aren't prepared with a protein-packed, nutritious meal. Remember: Sugar = Fat.

4. Water and tea are your friends. Oftentimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually just dehydrated. Unless it's been over 3 hours since you've last eaten a small meal, drink a large glass of water and then find something to occupy yourself for 5 minutes like doing a quick cleaning of one room in your home or writing a short email to a friend. I promise your "hunger" will be gone. Green and Ginger teas are my personal favorites because both are filled with antioxidants, they detoxify your skin, there is evidence that both teas fight cancer cells, they both reduce your stress which could curb stress-induced overeating, and they also boost your metabolism which leads to weight loss. 

5. It's human nature to snack, so why feel bad about doing it? I eat 6 times a day and three of those "meals" are snack based. The beauty in snacking is that you have the choice to make a good decision or a bad decision. My favorite snacks include: Hummus and green veggies, green apples and peanut butter, edamame and fruit, greek yogurt with fresh berries, celery sticks and peanut butter, and lettuce leaves filled with turkey and a dash of dijon.

Alright folks, are any of you still with me? I think this is a long enough post for today :) If you have any direct healthy eating questions, feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer them! 


Happy Monday! 
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November 1, 2011

PinteresTested+Approved | White Canvas Wall Art


White Canvas Wall Art

I am obsessed with the clean simplicity of the color white. The dream home I envision in my head has white walls, white throw rugs, plush white couches and many, many, many glass elements. This is clearly going to stay a dream in my head because the probability of me having a bulldog and babies in an all white house full of glass is in the negative on a scale of 0 to 10.

I guess I will just have to stick to white canvas wall art. 

The "technique" I used to make my white canvas wall art was quite simple - hot glue letters on to the white canvas and then spray paint away. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while and know that we move every 8 and 4 months, this quote means a lot to me and makes my heart happy.


Are you on Pinterest? 
Have you put any inspiration in to action lately? 
Share your Username or Project below :)
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