Author: Nicole

What To Do When You Wish You Had a Maid, But Can’t Afford One

What To Do When You Wish You Had a Maid, But Can’t Afford One

Update: After a year and 1/2 after trying these products for the first time I still use and love them! They really do work for the long run and are absolutely worth the investment, so I wanted to re-post this 🙂 If you could be […]

24 TV Shows You Can Feel Good Letting Your Young Kids Watch

24 TV Shows You Can Feel Good Letting Your Young Kids Watch

Alright, first off can we all just promise to be honest with one another for a few minutes here? School is about to be out. And if your kiddos are young enough to not be in school, you’re right about to hit the Dog Days […]

How To Be An Amazing and Well Paid Blogger Right Off The Bat

How To Be An Amazing and Well Paid Blogger Right Off The Bat

My personal video training series to help you know all the ins and outs of being an amazing, well-paid blogger right off the bat!

As my long-time readers know, I’ve been at this blogging gig for over 8 years now (wow!!) If you want a blast from the past you can go read my very first post here (if it can even be called that…it was more of a Facebook status update, haha)! I’ve come a looonngg way since the days of a copy/paste blog design and the horridly unoriginal name of “Ramblings By Nicole”.

If you’d like to get the full story of how I started working from home and how this blog went from a “my mom only reads it” to a job, you can check out that whole progress in the post How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home.

Because I jumped in during the “early days” I did absolutely everything the long, wrong way at first. I’m hoping to help save you learning things the hard way, so I put together these blogger-to-blogger training videos for my contributors and also for anyone else looking to pursue their dream of blogging and making an income from it!

If you have anything else feel free to request my So You Want To Be A Blogger Facebook Group, I use it to throw out all the random pieces of goodness whenever I find them!

So You Want To Be a Blogger: Getting Started

Links Referenced in Video:

Correction note from my web guy 😉 : Note: WordPress.org is the self-hosted platform, WordPress.com is where they don’t support ads and there are some issues when trying to make money from the site. It’s technically possible to make money through your site/ads on wordpress.com but it’s not clear and you have a lot of limitations when it comes to customization. WordPress.org is where you would get the install files to host the full version of WordPress for yourself

How Do You Make Money Blogging

Links referenced:

How To Write a Great Review Post

Links referenced in video:

How To Get Sponsored Posts

How To Write a Great Tutorial Blog Post

How To Write a Great Recipe Post

How To Use Google Calendar To Organize Your Life & Business

How To Schedule Out Posts On Facebook

How To Share Blog Posts Effectively Using Social Media

Links Referenced:

  • https://bitly.com/

How To Promote Your Social Media Shares

Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need

Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need

Today I wanted to share some of my very favorite “Must Use” blogging tools and resources. I’ve had to learn everything the hard way, which is why I love to share my knowledge with everyone else so they don’t have to battle through it all!

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns To Listen

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns To Listen

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen This post has always been one of my most popular on Pinterest, and it’s too perfect for the  summer season not to share again. If you have a little one in PreK or Kindergarten, or if you’re a teacher […]

5 Brilliant Ways To Save Money This Summer

5 Brilliant Ways To Save Money This Summer

Today was the last day of school for the Elliott’s and we are officially happy dancing our way into summer!

Summer for most people brings with it a lot of fun, but that can also mean a lot of extra expenses. Those vacations, road trips, summer camps, and celebrations add up faster than you can say “How is it already June?” So today I decided to bring you some brilliant ways to save money this summer. The best part about them? Any busy-crazy parent or working professional can do them! No complicated schemes or cutting coupons or figuring out things (( #aintnobodygottime for that))

1. Save Energy

I know, I know! But listen, what better way to talk about *saving* money than by giving you a chance to WIN some??!! Complete this Spot the Watt game challenge and be entered to win a $100 gift card! Test your energy-saving knowledge among your family and friends as you navigate your way through three interactive rooms. Learn tips in each room to help you save energy, and money, along the way.

This is such an easy, painless way to save money. Adjust your habits just a little and it will amaze you how much these little savings add up! This is especially so important if you live somewhere HOT like we do in Texas!

2. Trim the Fat–Literally

Summer is a great time to re-tackle your food budget. How are those New Years Resolutions doing? No guilt here, I totally understand! With the warm weather comes a great time to re-commit to healthy living. Hubby and I have been on a healthy living kick over the past few months. It has included participating in races and fixing our eating habits. A huge added benefit? Skipping out on eating out and convenience food has actually saved us a ton of money!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Eating out has, and always will, be one of our favorite splurges. But as we’re getting healthier I’m finding that I’d much rather save up and savor that nice, sit down steak. It doesn’t even bother me to totally skip out on the cheap, fast food options. Though they may seem cheap, compared to cooking for yourself they’re actually super pricey!

And, shocker, losing weight really doesn’t have to involve all those quick fixes or elaborate plans that cost you an arm and leg. Hubby is down 40 lbs (go him!!!) and I’m down 10 just because we quit doing the dumb things we knew we needed to, we controlled our portions, and we did the next step….

3. Re-think Getting Healthy ((newsflash, it doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money))

This one goes hand in hand with the one above but it deals more with exercise. Of course, you need to find what makes you want to actually get healthy, and that’s worth whatever cost! However, I’ve found that personally, I’m a lot more motivated by things that don’t involve a ton of money. If you’re somewhere that’s nice in the summer get outside! Running outside is so much more fun. You might also find a local adult league, there are lots that cost very little or are free. Or spend a little money upfront and purchase a piece of exercise equipment and then USE IT! ((the key)).  What we’re currently doing is investing a little money in participating in races, then doing all the training on our own for free ((running outside, together, with the kids at parks, on our treadmill, pushups, situps etc)). Having the goal in site gives huge motivation, and the training doesn’t cost us anything!

Right now we’re currently training for a 5-mile obstacle run in the fall. Yipes!!!

4. Keep Entertainment Cheap

As I mentioned, keeping the family entertained over the summer can add up FAST! While vacations are amazing and you should splurge, take a good long look at your entertainment expenses this month. Do you *really* need all those subscriptions? How many are you using? We’ve always saved tons of money by not having cable. For the kids we also only have them play free things, with the exception of our one subscription that we play together as a family. Rethink how many camps and special outings you want to send your kids to as well. Chances are great they’d have JUST as much fun playing outside in the neighborhood, running through the sprinkler or throwing water balloons around. Unplug them and then *gasp* let them use their imaginations!!!

Another *amazing* option for summer fun is Vacation Bible Schools. Especially if you’re in the Bible Belt like we are, these are running all summer long. They’re fun, safe, free, and generally welcome even kids from other churches in town with open arms.

5. Break Up With Your Cell Phone Contract

Another huge money drain that so many people still have is contracted cell plans. We switched to a pay as you go service years ago and are savings hundreds as a result. The best part? The service is JUST as good with the plan we’re currently on, we still have unlimited data and minutes. Check out your local stores and see what they have to offer. You’ll probably be shocked at what you could be saving!

So there you go, 5 ways to save big bucks that aren’t that complicated at all! Do you have any amazing money saving tips please share them in the comments!

And don’t forget to Complete this Spot the Watt game challenge and be entered to win a $100 gift card!

Wedding Makeup Trends for 2018

Wedding Makeup Trends for 2018

While weddings are one of the happiest moment a couple can have together, they can also be extremely stressful, especially for the bride. As the bride, you want to look elegant and beautiful. To achieve that bridal look, you’ll have to keep up with the […]

The Shadow Magic Series Review From a Tween

The Shadow Magic Series Review From a Tween

Our family has a deep and abiding love of all things Fantasy. My kids, especially, caught the bug. My one true genre love has always been Historical Fiction. Amber, however, somehow inherited her aunt’s passion for all-things-fantasy. As a result, I have been scrambling to […]

How To Give Yourself a Makeover This Spring for $50

How To Give Yourself a Makeover This Spring for $50

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf. #FashionColorExpert #sponsored

*Dramatic Announcers Voice*

It’s time to play everyone’s favorite game….Guess What Color Nicole’s Hair is Now!!!

A few years ago when hubby was still in school, one of his favorite professors was switching to a new school. The electrical engineering program at UT Tyler was small and had a very family type atmosphere. Because of that, the professor invited his students to his house for a farewell shindig. At the party we ran into one of hubby’s fellow students. I’d met him just twice before, about a year earlier. We’d gone out to eat together, and once he came over to our place for a BBQ.  At the party, though, he didn’t even say hello. Then as the night went on he started acting rather cold towards me, which I thought was very strange.

Towards the end of the evening, all of a sudden he bursts out laughing and comes over dying. “Oh, my…..” He gasps. “You’re NICOLE!!!”

“Ummm….yes????” I, Nicole, am very confused.

He continues, “You look NOTHING like yourself. The last time I saw you, you had short black hair. When I saw Bob walk in with a long haired blonde and start flirting with her I was so upset. I didn’t know if he was cheating on his wife or if you had split up. I was thinking that no one had told me anything, and you guys had seemed so happy together.”

We all died laughing!! I continue to joke with Bob about “cheating on me, with me” every time I make a radical change to my hair.

After that point I decided one of my life motto’s must be “Life is Short, Have Fun Hair”

Spring is the *perfect* time to give yourself a makeover! This is usually a crazy time of year for everyone, and freshening up and looking beautiful is a great way to reset and refocus! This week I gave myself a makeover for $50! Here’s what I got (prepare to be impressed!)

Hair Color: $18.58 (my hair is so long and thick I had to purchase 2 boxes–if you only need one you’ll save even more!)

Hair Cut: $20

New Dress: $9.99

Total: $49.57

Here’s the breakdown of what I got, and how you can re-create it in your own style!

You can find all the Schwarzkopf color ULTÎME® colors in the Hair Color aisle of Walmart. While I was in the store, I also browsed the clothing section and found a gorgeous and oh-so-comfy sundress for $9.97 for my photo shoot!! You wouldn’t believe how many cute clothes I’ve purchased for me and the kiddos at Walmart over the years.

You’ll remember that last fall I dyed my hair a beautiful purpley black using the Schwarzkopf brand. In between then and now I decided my next fun color was going to be RED! So I picked up the box mix to make that happen. Recently, my roots were growing out and the shade I picked last time was more orangey than I wanted this time, so it was time to refresh and tweak slightly!

This time I picked up Schwarzkopf color ULTÎME® in Ruby Red. The Schwarzkopf color ULTÎME® is the most fashionable & vibrant hair color that defies fading for up to 9 weeks of color shine. (Vibrant, long-lasting color is a must for a busy gal like me!) It also delivers a “True to box” color result which is always great. Another bonus is the shine and feel of the hair after coloring even after weeks! My hair is thick, on the coarse side, and since I change it out so often and style it with #alltheheat it goes through a lot! I love using dyes that help repair my hair instead of hurting it more!

In my last hair blog post I walked you step-by-step through how to dye your hair at home. This time I thought it would be fun to do a time-lapse instead! Watch my 40 minutes of work in 40 seconds!

Ta-Da!

I also desperately needed a new cut! It had been almost a year since I’d cut my hair, and my poor scraggly ends were begging to be cut off. I found a local place that accepted walk-ins that had excellent reviews and photos and went in! When you do the color at home you can get a nice salon cut for around $20-$30 depending on where you live. If you want to save even more or are in a pinch for time, just have them do the cut and not the shampoo/style.

I absolutely love my new look! It was just the makeover I needed. My hair feels silkier, softer, lighter, and it has such a pretty color and shine!

The after conditioning treatment in the Schwarzkopf color ULTÎME® is wonderful and really made my hair feel and look amazing. I’m in love with the color too. As you can see in these photos it looks one way in the shade/inside….

And then it takes on fun new dimensions and tones in the sunlight/outside.

There you go! For under $50 you can give yourself a fun makeover this spring that’s as unique and fashionable as you are!

Want even more Beautiful Hair Inspiration? Check out all the great posts here!

Tricks For Training Your New Puppy

Tricks For Training Your New Puppy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutrishRealMeatTreats #NutrishPets #CollectiveBias The title of this blog post should be “That One Time We Went To Rent a Movie….and Ended Up with a Puppy” A few weekends […]