9.30.2014

FIVE YEARS BLOGGING.


Seeing that today is the last day in September, I figured I better get this post in. While I originally started this blog in 2008, I rarely updated it. Behold, my first blog post ever... riveting no? haha In fact I have taken several posts from 2008 and turned them into drafts, Pre-Trevor days, what can I say ;) I didn't really start "blogging" in the term that you know it now until September 2009, exactly five years ago this month. 

I started a blog because my Dad who was an avid blogger at the time and had been encouraging me to start one. My family has always been very close and involved in each other’s lives, and they wanted me to give them more than just a phone call update. I always enjoyed seeing my Dad’s blog posts with pictures and fun written details about what he and my family were up to. It was a great way to get a little glimpse into his life when I wasn't able to be apart of it in that way. I was never very good at keeping a journal, and figured since I was always online as it was, blogging would be a great way to document my life. So my original goal for blogging was to share what was going on in my life with my family as we all were living far apart from each other. It is pretty fun to go back and see the early day blog posts. I love that I have a handful of posts of Trevor and I dating documented on the blog. The first blog post where he shows up on my blog was about him being my date to a dance, how cute is that? From the end of 2008 through 2009 you can see a bunch of our dating posts, engagement, bachelorette partywedding and honeymoon. Man we were babies! Back then my blog was called, Alycia's World! haha September 2009, just after we were married, I decided to change it to Crowley Party, to document our new lives together.

Before I knew it I was enjoying other people's blogs online. I loved reading about what other people were doing, reading their thoughts and see what they were sharing. Soon people other than my family and friends started reading and commenting on my blog. I really loved this new community of bloggers who were sharing and creating together. Along the way my blog turned into a creative outlet for me. While my blog has always been my space for sharing my thoughts and documenting my life, I started getting involved in collaborations with other bloggers and companies. My goals are still very much the same as when I started, with some additions. I still use my blog as a place to share my life with my family who lives all over, as well as share my thoughts and experiences. But along with that, I also use it as space to share the things I love with readers. I love being able to share everything from the daily happenings of my life, to my personal style or favorite beauty products. I love the conversation and community that can exist online. Have I expressed enough how much I love blogging? haha

While I have loved blogging, there have been some downs to my ups. Putting your life and thoughts out for the whole world to see means you are opening yourself up for whatever comes back. I have had so much good come back, but sometimes there is bad. I wouldn’t say I have ever had to compromise anything with blogging, but because I have been so open about who I am and my experiences I have opened myself up for public opinion. Doing that comes with unique challenges that a lot of people don’t experience. I have learned so much about myself and really feel I have grown in a way I never would have if it hadn’t been for blogging. It has made me a stronger more compassionate person, and someone who knows exactly who she is.

Since I started blogging, the blogging world has really changed. Social Media really blew up when I was blogging. A lot of people feel like Instagram killed blogging, and in a lot of ways I would have to agree. It is a faster way for people to get a taste of what is going on in your life, which is usually why they read your blog in the first place. While social media grew, there were less comments and lower engagement on the blog. While my readership stayed about the same, my comments went from 50+ to maybe 10. Readers have been given so many different ways to engage with bloggers that sometimes the blog isn't even one of them. I now not only feel a community and connection on my blog but on my Instagram as well.

When I first started blogging I just posted whenever I felt like it, but as it became more of a "business," I had to start creating some kind of schedule. Consistency is key when it comes to blogging. Because of this I have had to overcome the challenge of finding the time to fit it all in. Not having enough time and learning to organize my time has been one of my biggest obstacles. Time management and organization are two areas I continue to work on.  I work full time and when I come home my spare time is spent managing my blog and online obligations as well as errands, gym, cleanings... you get the idea? If I am not careful with how I manage my time it can feel like I am constantly working and don’t have any free time. I never want my blog to feel like it is becoming a chore. Blogging is a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. While blogging is a priority for me, I want to make sure my family and friends are always number one. I mean, isn't that why I blog in the first place? I blog about my life, I don't live to blog.

I won't lie, there have been many times I just wanted to delete this blog. But then I remember all the amazing things that have come from it. I have documented my life in a way I never would have without it, I have gotten two of my full-time jobs from blogging, and have made some incredible friends. And one of my favorite parts of blogging is being able to share my opinions and thoughts in a public forum and starting a conversation with readers. The comment sections in some of my posts have been a place for real discussion with people and their opinions, and I love when that happens!

So I guess this is a reflection on the last five years, and my way of saying THANK YOU. Some of you are new readers, some of you have been reading from the beginning, but I want to thank you for being apart of my journey here in the blog world. I look forward to what the future brings with all of this blogging and social media craziness, and I hope you will continue on the journey with me!

I LOVE YOU ALL.

9.29.2014

LIPSTICK GIVEAWAY!

Today I have such a fun giveaway for you all :) You know I love me some lipstick - Check out my Lip Stick Addict Tag on my YouTube Channel. And I figured, how fun would it be to get a bunch of bloggers together and have us share a favorite lipstick with YOU, and when I say share, I mean, literally GIVE THEM TO YOU! I have teamed up with some lovely local blogging ladies and we are each sharing our favorite lip stick to be apart of a giveaway. ONE winner takes ALL the lipstick! I wish I could win this giveaway... just saying! Read below to get to know the ladies and why they love their lipsticks, and enter in the Rafflecopter :) GOOD LUCK XO





a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.27.2014

TID + BITS of LIFE ❤ Summer Fun

Wow, where have I been? My life is full to say the least these days, and it has been hard to stay up to date over here on the blog! I can't thank you all enough for your kind comments, e-mails and messages to me regarding my latest post about being in a funk. It was a pretty crazy month for me, and I appreciate all the love. It is the connections I have made through blogging and social media that are my favorite aspect of all of this. It is nice to know that we are all in the same boat.

I can't believe that summer is basically over. While Fall is probably my favorite season here in Utah, I am having a hard time letting go of this summer. I guess for me it feels like it only just started because Trevor was so crammed studying for the Bar we got a late start on having some summer fun! Speaking of fun, it has been so nice to have Trevor home and present in the evenings. We have actually been able to go and do stuff together that we are invited to. We went to a summer party that his firm was hosting, and it was a lot of fun to finally meet some of the people I hear Trevor talk about. All of his co-workers were so nice and it was fun getting to know them and their families. They went all out for this party, tons of food, bouncy houses, pony rides, cotton candy, snow cones, prizes! The list goes on and on and all the little kids were heaven. I am so happy that Trevor gets to work with such good people who care about their employees the way they do. He is a lucky guy!


Trevor and his friend Stanton have been spending a lot of time together helping each other out. Stanton has been helping Trevor work on his Bronco, and Trevor has been helping him re-brick his house. In the mean time I have been to a football game with my friend, had a few girl's nights, blogging parties have started happening, and I have been really busy working a ton! I have been exhausted trying to manage everything which is why this blog has suffered a little bit as of late, but have no fear (you weren't really worried were you) I have a ton to post and catch up on!

 

A while back we hit up the State Fair with some friends and stuffed our faces with the most amazing fair food. I was a tad worried because we ate so much crap I thought I could possibly stop breathing in the middle of the night! HA. We had a donut burger, deep fried bacon, a corn dog, funnel cake, Brazilian lemonades, and a deep fried snickers. Holy. Wow. We had a blast and it was a fun group of people which always helps, and we spent the rest of the night getting sick on rides and making fun of goats and their weird balls. Yes, we are really mature. It was the perfect summer night :)

On Sunday we went over to my brother Alex's place and him and his wife Wendy taught us how to make Sushi! Trevor and I LOVE sushi, it is a frequent date night for us, and I have always wanted to learn how to make it so I was really excited :) Alex and Wendy took a class and now make it all the time. They taught us their skills and honestly it is really simple! I think I will be making a lot more sushi now, I can't get enough!


I also went to the most adorable little baby shower for my friend Jessica, she had the cutest cake with these gold little animals on it. Such an easy and fun way to decorate a cake, I loved it. Speaking of adorable parties, one of the blogger events I went to was hosted by Tai Pan Trading, and they had the most amazing gifts and food. Such a great host, and my friend Alix from a Ruffled Life sure knows how to throw a party! Masa catered and the tacos were freakin' amazing! Gosh Utah just keeps coming out with better and better food, I LOVE IT. My friend Caroline also hosted a house warming party and had a Waffle Luv there, how amazing is that? Those waffles are the bomb.

Gunny Sack and Co. & 25% OFF CODE

Today I have Jennifer on the blog to introduce her online boutique clothing site Gunny Sack and Co. They offer some great staples for your closet, and are even offering you a 25% OFF code to make that happen ;)



What was the motivation behind starting Gunny Sack and Co.?
 
I have loved fashion and fashion design ever since I can remember and always, always wanted my own clothing line and store. I started making maxi skirts from the patterns of other skirts I had and when I wore them I always got compliments and asked where I had gotten it.  After lots of practice and selling skirts to friends and family I finally got the nerve to open an Etsy store and from there my dream of owning my own clothing store came to life.  The hardest part about the whole process was coming up with the name believe it or not.  Gunny Sack And Co actually comes from my Grandpa, Poppop.  Through the whole process he was always so supportive of my great and not so great designs but he passed away before I got the Etsy store open so I knew the store name had to include him in some way after that. So on a trip to the family cabin that year, my husband, parents and I were all trying so hard to come up with a name and just started telling stories about him.  One story we all remembered was how he used to tell every girl in our family that they would look cute in a potato sack no matter how good or bad our outfit really was and from that we came up with Gunny Sack and Co, after a little editing :)
 
What types of styles does Gunny Sack and Co. offer?
 
Right now Gunny Sack and Co. reflects so much of my personal style and for me I love simple quality pieces that you can layer and wear year after year. I also try to buy items for the store that I can see women around me wearing from my mom to my sister, so I try to carry things for all women.  We carry some pretty cute graphic tees like "I Really Need a Day Between Saturday and Sunday" and a "Celfie" sweatshirt I actually just ordered for the store today. Plus every week we offer a weekly deal which is pretty fun! 
 
What is the funnest part about owning an online shop? And what is the most difficult? 

I would have to say the funnest part about owning an online shop overall is doing the buying for the store. The daily excitement and fun comes with each order that comes in and seeing where our items are going around the country.  I love the store being tagged in photos on Instagram and seeing the way different pieces are styled as well. 

We are so new and growing still so I would have to say the most difficult part would honestly be to stop working.  I really love having my dream come to life and doing this job so much that if I happen to be up at 1 am and someone has just sent an email I will answer.
 
What are some of your favorite pieces for Fall from Gunny Sack and Co?!
 
Oh my goodness where do I start?  Since I do the buying I love everything haha.  If I had to choose one I would say I love our off the shoulder tops!  I wear one all the time because they are so easy to dress up or down and you don't have to wear them off the shoulder if you don't want to.  I have been wearing them on repeat with our faux leather leggings and some white converse.  One piece I am really looking forward to wearing during the holiday season is the reindeer snowflake leggings, I won't be taking off when the season comes around!
 
 

9.22.2014

I'M LOVING: $500 Neiman Marcus Gift Card Giveaway!


A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I

 
Happy Monday! Today I am collaborating with Kiss Me Darling and many other amazing bloggers to bring you a $500 Neiman Marcus gift card giveaway! 

Yes, you read that right. One lucky reader will win a $500 Neiman Marcus Gift Card to splurge on some amazing clothing, jewelry, and accessories. I put together some of MY personal favorites from Neiman Marcus right now and what I would spend the $500 on! What are YOU loving?! 

To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open until midnight on Wednesday, October 1st and remember the more entries you complete, the more chances you have to win! For fashion lovers around the globe, this giveaway is open internationally. GOO LUCK!

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ENTER AFTER THE JUMP!

9.16.2014

In a Funk

VIA. Rifle Paper Co.
 
I am thinking I need to get this print, it just makes you happy looking at it :)
 
Sorry I have been a little quiet on the blog lately. I am just in one of those funks. You ever get those? I have been having one for about a month now, maybe longer? I have never really been like this before and it has taken a lot of thinking and chatting through my thoughts with a husband who lovingly just listens to me when I need it to figure out why. Bless him, really. His support has meant the world to me, and has really made my love for him deepen. It is kind of crazy how you can fall in love with someone more and more when you originally thought you had to have hit your cap on how much you could. Life is kind of beautiful that way, and these are the feelings I am trying to focus on.
 
Without going into too much detail, I feel like so many things just cumulated at once to make life a little harder than normal for me. I have been feeling a little lost, which has resulted in me being less confident. Moving, starting a new job, Trevor taking the bar, life plans being changed, feeling like I lost a friendship, gaining some weight, all of this and some more have just made the last few months rough. BUT I am ready to get out of this funk. To pull myself up out of the trenches of life and start making the changes that need to happen for me to be really happy again. The funny thing is, there is no reason for me not to be incredibly happy, I just haven't been lately as much as I am used to. Does that make sense? I have always been a very happy go lucky kind of girl, but I feel like I haven't had as much control over my emotions this past month. I have never really experienced this before, what do you do?
 
And while I am writing this I wonder if I should even post it. I mean, it is kind of a random, spew my thoughts out in a blog post. But, why not? Maybe someone out there in the universe reading this is also in a funk, and it could make them smile and nod in agreement, like, hey... me too!
 
So here is to all of us in a funk right now, let's freaking stop worrying about all those things we don't have control over, and BE HAPPY! I know that is easier said than done, but something for me has changed, and I want to find my way back to ME.

9.15.2014

Sharing Style: Ponte with J.Jill

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The other night I was at a work party with Trevor and it actually got COLD - I haven't felt that in a while around here in Utah! It was a reminder that fall is just around the corner, and it is probably time to start pulling out some warmer clothes. One of my all-time favorite fabrics for fall is Ponte! Ponte is basically a fabric from the Gods. It is a unique rayon, nylon, and spandex blend with lots of stretch. It is just the right weight and fabrication to create a perfect smooth fit. Stretch and smooth, doesn't get much better than that does it? I have partnered with J.Jill to show you some super comfy Ponte looks.

J.Jill is easy, relaxed, inspired style that reflects the confidence and comfort of their customers. They look to uncomplicate a woman’s life by giving her a stylish, easy, ready-for-anything wardrobe that lets her dress confidently and focus on enjoying her life. The products are designed with a focused point of view, relaxed femininity, fine fabrics with thoughtful detailing, and simple and flattering silhouettes. 

J.Jill has so many amazing options for this time of year! Take for example, this adorable top. I love this unique play on the traditional gingham. I paired it with the most comfortable "leggings" I have ever worn. These Ponte Knit Zip-Pocket Leggings are a must-have because they are not only flattering and comfortable, but they offer that coverage that most leggings don't. They are SO thick, which is perfect for fall attire. This color in heather grey will match with just about anything. With their slim ankle style, smoothing fit, and comfortable elastic waistband, these are a must-have.


One item in particular that I LOVED from the moment I saw it on the rack was the Lightweight Ponte Knit Tunic. Also from the Ponte Collection, the lightweight mix of rayon, nylon, and spandex materials create a beautiful draped silhouette, which looks good on every body type. Its A-line shape gives coverage and comfort. Paired with slim skirts, pants, or leggings, the length of the tunic creates a soft silhouette of mixed proportions that has as much impact as a dress.


Ponte is an essential addition to a fall wardrobe. J.Jill has expanded their ponte collection to include a lighter-weight, quality fabric as well as simple and flattering silhouettes. Everything looks great styled together, and it is easy to mix and match, keeping things uncomplicated.

Ponte Features and Benefits:
  • Rayon-blended fabric creates durability in addition to flexibility and softness
  • Ponte is machine washable
  • The unique fabric resists wrinkles and creases, making ponte extremely travel friendly
  • J.Jill ponte knit bottoms feature wide elastic waistbands with a clean finish for a smooth fit around the waist and a refined appearance
  • The weight, drape and finish of our ponte collection lends a more dressed-up feel to any outfit
  • Together, the new lightweight fabric mixture of rayon, nylon, and spandex invents great coverage and fit while also creating drape and movement.
Shop In Store and Online
There’s always a reason to visit J.Jill, new collections are delivered each month, and the design team interprets the latest trends for their audience to keep our customers stylish.
See new arrivals HERE.
Or stay connected via Social Media
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Sweepstakes
Now you have a chance to win a $100 J.Jill Gift Card to do some fall wardrobe shopping of your own! To enter to win, leave a comment below answering the question: What is your favorite fall look?
You can also receive 30% off full-priced items when shopping J.Jill with the code: PONTE2. Valid through November 5, 2014
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/15/2014-10/13/2014.
Be sure to visit the J.Jill 
brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!