Spoke Too Soon

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Much Ado About Nothing

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Pregnancy Week 5 in South Korea Versus America

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2017-Liebster-Award

Accepting the Liebster Award

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Life | Personal

3 Goals for March

By on March 1, 2017
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I love the beginning of a new month for the same reason why I love the beginning of anything.  There’s so much optimism and hope bundled together when starting something new.  In particular, today is the day I “officially” open this website of mine (aka I tell all my Facebook friends about it…so watch out, friends!).  Aside from that, I came up with three goals I plan on working on this month (and maybe I chose three because it is the third month of the year or maybe not).

Trying an Instagram Photo Challenge

I mentioned how I am pretty much just starting out with using social media to connect with people.  Now, I didn’t realize this was a thing, but apparently some users on Instagram make these photo challenges where you take a photo each day representing a particular theme.  Or, at least, that’s the gist of what I’m understanding.  I have been avidly reading different blogs these days and came across a post from Scoutie Girl listing a photo challenge she made for January of 2015.  I know, it’s expired, but my goal for this month is to try it out this entire month of March (both months have 31 days, so this is a perfect time to start!).  Scoutie Girl used the tag #createyourlife, but maybe I should add #januaryformarch and see if anyone else decides to participate in this belated photo challenge with me this month.  I’ve already put up my first photo for the theme family.

Potty Training

No, not for me.  I have attempted potty training my daughter two separate times already and she’s a pretty smart kid, so I believe she can do it…but she has a lot of fear and I feel like it’s that fear that is keeping her from succeeding.  Has anyone dealt with this as well?  This may be TMI for my non-parent readers, but…she knows when she has to go, but she won’t stay seated on her potty for the release.  I think she has a fear of release and frankly, I don’t know what to do.  Give her more time?  I’m in no rush to rush her, but she is starting to dislike poopy diapers so I know it’s going to happen soon.  I will hope that it will happen this month!

What Was My Third Goal?

I’ll blame it on my mommy brain and forgetting to write my ideas down as soon as they pop into my head.  I swear, I had a third goal all thought out for this month.  So, let’s backtrack and see if I can find my train of thought again.

I was thinking about how it finally felt like winter again today, here in Chicago.  I am pretty sure I saw snow flurries outside my window a couple times during the day.  I dislike having to go out on cold or rainy days, but Wednesday is the one day of the week where I take my daughter to mom-and-me school.  We had a fun time today, although the topic was Bugs and that is the one thing that strikes fear down to the bottom of my heart.  My favorite part of going to this class is that there is arts and crafts time…and my daughter gets to be creative and messy and I don’t have to prepare any of it or clean up everything afterwards.

  1. First craft was placing colorful dot stickers on a printed image of a red ladybug that is missing all its spots.  My daughter loves stickers and this was a cute idea, but I would recommend using larger dot stickers for toddler fingers.  Also, preferably stickers that stay stuck to the page, because most of the little stickers have now fallen off her ladybug (at the end of the day).
  2. Second craft was making a paint splatter butterfly and this turned out a lot better than I expected.  Using popsicle sticks, my daughter put splashes of paint on paper. Fold in half and press down so the paint imprints on both halves.  There you have a butterfly, just draw on antennae with a black marker.

And I still can’t remember my original third goal, so let me make a different one.  Don’t let my excitement for this website and reading other blogs take away from quality time with my daughter. On that note, I will continue to read and write during her nap and after bedtime.  At least, that’s my goal!

Do you like to make monthly goals for yourself, too? Any advice for me regarding potty training? 

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Blog Tips | Personal | Reviews

How Social Media Can Help You

By on February 28, 2017
social-media-phone-facebook

One of the challenges with self hosting my website and blog is that I don’t have a major company behind me automatically promoting my posts to new readers.  This is a big deal because I write my posts so that they can be read by others, but how can I get people outside of my offline friends to come and read this?  This is where social media comes in.

I started this blog to combat my feelings of isolation as a new mom.  Prior to this, I only used Facebook as a means of connecting with my friends.  I also used YouTube, but that was mainly for viewing the latest KPOP music videos or watching the lives of other moms.  Now, I am using Instagram and Twitter.  I also made a Pinterest account, although this one still confuses me.  Someone please explain to me how making boards with a bunch of images help me connect with other people.

Now, I’m no expert at social media marketing, so I am going to delve into my experience thus far and comment on what I am noticing.  You’re under no obligation to follow/subscribe to me on any of these, but I would love it if you stopped by and said hello!  I’m always looking for more inspirational people to discover.

Facebook

I have been on Facebook since 2005 and it has changed A LOT since then.  Gradually, I became less active on Facebook and mainly used it as a way to read up on what my friends were up to.

Now, I made a page on Facebook and hope to use it to connect with my readers in a more personal and interactive environment. It would be a good way to share certain posts that I feel will be well received by others.  Many people share different links through Facebook, so I would suggest sharing the posts that are “share worthy” on your own Facebook page.

YouTube

I uploaded videos years ago when I was a student in videography.  I have some weird stuff up that is totally not my style, but stuff I had to make for a class I was in.  I also have a couple embarrassing videos up (don’t judge my moves or my voice, please).  Despite all the time that has passed since my last video, I have stayed a videographer at heart, capturing many special moments with my daughter.  Please look forward to the videos I plan on making to enhance the material in my blog posts (toddler permitting, of course).

Instagram

I have had my account for awhile, but used it solely to follow celebrities. None of my friends knew I existed there.  Just recently, I decided to start posting photos and added all the accounts of my friends that I could find. Many people use Instagram for visual updates on their lives and I found many of my friends on there.  Reconnecting with them in this manner reminds them that I am alive.  It will also be a good source of pins that I can add to Pinterest so that it can be shared and help new sets of eyes find their way to my site.

Twitter

I used to have an account with my ideal username back when Twitter was just starting. I didn’t really see the benefits of using Twitter so I deleted that account.  I wish I hadn’t since someone else took it and they don’t even update it now.

Anyways, I digress. I started using Twitter again to join Twitter parties happening with some amazing brands. Again, none of my friends knew about the account, but I can’t find theirs either. Twitter looks like a good way to reach new people if you tweet something related to the trending topics of the moment, but a lot of topics are things that I’m not interested in.  I guess this goes to show how “disconnected” from the world I had been since becoming a mom.

Pinterest

Here is another example of social media that I made due to the hype…found it weird and left…and then came back again.  Pinterest connects to visual readers, people who really just browse through image after image after image.  As a blogger, if you make great visuals and put them on your site, you can add them to Pinterest and let it get pinned by others because the image will link back to your site (or relevant post).  It reaches a new audience and gives them a way to come back and visit your website.

It is also a great place for you, yourself, to get lost in.  Among your wanderings, you are bound to find many new inspirations for future blog posts.

Smile Mom

Now, this one is for fellow moms, more than fellow bloggers.  I found this app while searching for a mom meetup type group and I feel like it has so much potential, but note that it hasn’t been updated in two years. You can search for other moms based on proximity and the ages of their child(ren).  I found it nice to use as a chat medium. I was hoping to use it for scheduling playdates with similar aged kids, but there’s actually not a lot of moms in my area that fit the criteria AND actually meet up. Each scheduled playdate I had with another mom and child ended up not happening.

Lately, there has been a lot of issues with creepy guys making accounts and harassing moms. Without app updates, I don’t see any changes happening to reduce the number of people using this app for the wrong reason.  If you are considering using this app, be aware that it has some serious cons.  I plan on deleting my account since I find better interactions happening in mom groups on Facebook…probably because most are who their profile say they are.

Which of these forms of social media do you use alongside your blog?  Do you have any tips to share?  Leave your handle names along with your comment below for me to check out your account!

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Family | Personal

What the Terrible Twos Really Bring

By on February 27, 2017
baby-girl-cake

Since this website is mainly a personal take on parenting and the likes, I feel the need to talk about the one who gives me all the opportunities to learn about being a mom and a parent.  I currently have one daughter and she is a toddler.  Honestly, I feared the day she would become a toddler because I had been so inundated with the ideas that “Terrible Twos (or Threes)” was all there was to being a toddler.  But, it’s so much better than that.  Allow me to gush about her here.

  • She worries about my well-being.  One “oh, no!” from me and she will drop whatever she is doing and run over in concern that I’m sad or hurt.
  • She doesn’t say much in terms of sentences, but she’s got a huge repertoire of nursery rhymes down. She loves “If you’re happy and you know it” and “wheels on the bus”.  She will jump along with those monkeys on the bed and go around in circles for “Ring around the Rosie”.
  • She loves to help with everything. Of course, everything takes that much longer to do, but encouraging her helping spirit is worth it. She especially enjoys pushing her own stroller, powering down her tablet, and putting away all the grown up shoes she likes to try on.
  • She gives the best kisses! My friends may remember her open-mouthed, sloppy kisses from her first birthday, but now she has the whole  close-mouthed peck down, complete with a loud “mwah”.
  • She is a super happy and friendly baby. She will force me to have conversations with strangers because she will go up and say “hello” first (it sounds like “hel-wo”).  It’s either that or she’ll show off her shoes (because they are pink shoes with Elsa on them AND they light up).

What are some of the special things you love about your toddler? How does your toddler show you their love? 

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Blog Tips | Reviews

How to Self Host with WordPress.org

By on February 23, 2017
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This post contains affiliate links. Her Life Is Love receives a small commission if you make a purchase through the link, at no additional cost to you.  For more information, please check our disclosure.

The post I was planning on doing today has been relegated to the back burner because I literally spent half my day attempting to self host this website. The books and Web reviews I read implied that I could simply purchase a domain name from GoDaddy or Network Solutions for anywhere less than $40 a year and map it to my WordPress.com blog.  Now, I don’t know if this is a recent change or not, but you can’t.  It’s only possible if you have a WordPress Business plan…and that’s like $25 a month for 12 months. I don’t have that kind of money…and I already bought my domain name.

Web Hosting

What’s a newbie to do?  Turn to WordPress.org and find a cheaper host. I chose to go with SiteGround since it was cheaper than the recommended BlueHost (they are only cheaper if you pay for the long haul…4 or 5 years?!?!) I went with the SiteGround WordPress Startup plan and had them do the installation for free. I recommend this because manual installation looks simple, but it’s easy to make a small, crippling mistake.

In less than 5 minutes, installation was complete and I got a confirmation email. It said I was good to go, but following the link and instructions to finally log in and start FAILED. Yeah…no one mentioned I needed to change the domain name server to point towards the host servers, but thank you, Support, for promptly answering my inquiry.  I sent in my support ticket and they responded promptly with detailed instructions!  Problem solved.

My Conclusions 

It is a better value to self host than pay for WordPress.com plans. I paid for two years for just under $140, whereas if I simply paid for the Premium plan (custom domain name and removal of WordPress.com ads included) at $8.25 a month for 24 months…I would still be spending $60 more.  If you want to do what I did, buy your domain name at GoDaddy and sign up for hosting with SiteGround.

Transferring the two posts I had to my new site was easy, but I couldn’t find a way to move my followers. I mean, there had to be a way, right? But, it’s not easy to find. There wasn’t any option through the WordPress.org admin panel. I tried using the mobile app to move my followers, but still came up empty. Assuming there was no other way, I resigned myself to deleting my old site.  My mistake 🙁

The correct answer: use your desktop and move followers directly from wordpress.com.  It’s the last option in Settings for the new site…and the realization came much too late for me.  I lost a grand total of four followers, which is a small number, but those four bloggers were special to me and made me feel welcome as a beginner blogger. You will be missed.

If you self-host your own website, which service do you use?  Let me know the pros and cons!

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Reviews | Travels

Chicago Botanic Garden

By on February 21, 2017
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I want to share one of my favorite places to visit.  Whenever my friends from out-of-town, out-of-state, or out-of-country come and visit me in Chicago, I like to take them to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  They have 385 acres of nature and you can literally spend the whole day here.  Best of all, admission is free!  The only catch is that you need to pay for parking and that can get expensive (up to $30 per car).

If you live nearby and plan to go often, I highly recommend paying for a membership.  I paid $180 for two years, and having gone more than six times in those two years, was completely worth it.

Benefits of Membership

  • Free parking for one car (you receive a sticker adhesive for your windshield and it holds a little chip that will communicate with the gatekeeper when you drive through the members only lane)
  • The members only car lane allows for much faster entrance into the parking lot, especially on the weekends
  • Free admission to 300 other U.S. botanic gardens (I am most interested in visiting the The Morton Arboretum as I’ve heard it’s got a great section for kids)
  • 10% discount at the gift shop, discount coupons for the café, and member discounts on the butterfly exhibit, model railroad garden, and tram tours

You get even more benefits if you pay for higher levels of membership, but it’s not worth it in my opinion.  I paid for membership because this was a place I could enjoy with a newborn.  Tackling this garden alone with a baby was rejuvenating, but also exhausting.  This place is huge.  You’re going to need that stroller.  I tried walking through once with a baby carrier and that trip just turned out to be a workout.

My Hit List

My favorite areas of the garden are the Enabling Garden, English Walled Garden, Fruit & Vegetable Garden, Heritage Garden, and The Crescent.  Also, look for the waterfalls on your way to the Japanese Garden.  If none of that matters, I say your visit should start clockwise from the entrance.  What is your favorite nature spot?

Contact Info

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-8215

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Family

Midnight Musings

By on February 20, 2017
mommy-hand-baby-foot

I love being a mom, but motherhood is a challenge.  It completely changes you and once you grow accustomed to it, you want to find yourself again.  At least, that’s pretty much what happened to me.  I attempted to start a blog like this before, but I didn’t put much effort into it, claiming that taking care of my baby took everything out of me…and it did…and didn’t.  Now, that baby is a toddler and growing to be more and more independent.  I am back with a renewed fervor to find myself again…yet I already know it won’t be my old self.  Motherhood changes you.

One big change was that my world could no longer connect on the same level as my friends.  Out of my close circle of friends…I am the only one married…and the only one with a kid.  Recalling the days when I was single and child-free, I know it would be difficult to expect my friends to be able to relate to the new experiences I was going through as a new mom.  I am hoping to use this as a medium to connect with old friends and new, by sharing what my life means to me now.

I plan on reveling in being a mom, but that is not all my life is about.  I want to share with you great places I come across.  I hope to share with you the excitement I find in different forms of entertainment.  I aspire to show you different recipes I attempt to cook.  I dream of creating a fulfilling week after week full of whatever fun things I can find and hope that represents me and the friend I want to be for you.

And now I finally begin.  Always feel free to reach out to me because, yes, I would truly love to hear from you.

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