Category Archives: Review

Bridget’s Birthday Bash {Gadanke Journal Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: This post is part of my week of giveaways.
I did not receive any compensation for this post.
The opinions below are all mine & I am excited to share about the unique Gadanke journals.
Thanks to Katie, the owner of Gadanke, for providing a journal to the winner of this contest.

I was sitting at lunch with a few friends and a few people I didn’t know at Blissdom this past year. We did a business card swap and one of the ladies passed out tiny little handmade journals for each of us. It was full of thought provoking prompts and pretty paper. (I’m a sucker for pretty paper, you know). When I got home, I checked out the website for the little journal and found that she had a wide variety of options. These journals aren’t bound like most of the ones I use, but held together with rings so that you can pop it open and add anything you like. I had a drawing from Lydia that fit one of the prompts perfectly so I took a quick shot of it with my iPhone, sized it down a little, printed it out, and added it right in. That was really nice. No glue. No tape. Just pop it right in.

Although I love the paper and the way you can add things, my favorite thing was the prompts. Katie has written prompts on many pages of the journal that can help get you rolling. Sometimes a blank sheet of paper is so intimidating! But to complete a sentence or answer a question seems much less daunting. Many of the prompts in the Become journal were about asking yourself what you really want and how to get that, how to unlock your dreams and begin making them a reality. I was surprised at some of the things that came from my pen.

And you’ll note that I got the white one especially because I wanted to doodle the whole cover. Doodling isn’t just mindless drawing for me(more on that tomorrow), so I really enjoyed the time I spent coloring the front. There’s just something almost magical about allowing yourself to swish and swirl all over the page.

I loved mine so much, I asked if I could give one to one of you! Don’t turn away just because you aren’t a woman or because you’re already livin’ the dream. Gadanke really does have something for everyone: women, kids, mother & daughter, baby books, and more ! So go take a few minutes to look around and see which one is a good fit for you! You’ll have 5 possible ways to enter, but you must do the first one for the others to count. Each entry must be in a separate comment. The giveaway will run until 11:59pm EST on June 30th.

Mandatory Entry:

  • To enter you must leave one comment (not on Facebook but in the comment section below) letting me know which journal you like most from Gadanke.

Additional Entries (must be entered separately to count):

Winner will be chosen using and will be notified by email. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Bridget’s Birthday Bash { review and giveaway}

Disclosure: This post is part of my week of giveaways.
I did not receive any compensation for this post.
The opinions below are pure Bridget and I am happy to have the chance to introduce you to one of my favorite companies,
photo (19)

I take lots of pictures. Lots of them. Sometimes I use my ‘big girl’ camera to take nice pictures, and when I do I use a professional printer. But I sometimes still just take snapshots of my kids and I like to print those at They have reasonable prices (not much  more than the big box store near you) and the quality is noticeably better. Sharper, cleaner, brighter, and not green-tinted. (Why are the ones from big box stores always greenish, anyway)? But even just taking snapshots with my ‘big girl’ camera can be impractical, and for the day-to-day operations of our house I find myself relying a lot on my iPhone. Imagine how excited I was to find out that mpix had a new TapToPrint app that would allow me to order photos right from my phone! The app is super easy to use. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but I think that’s a good thing! Upload your image and zoom in if you need to, choose what size,  and decide if you want color or black and white. Then you’re ready to go! The only downside I’ve found to the app is that you can’t use discount codes yet. I’m hopeful that they’ll make that available in upcoming updates, because then this app would be perfect!

Before I found the square prints at mpix, I had to go to a lot of trouble to print my Instagram pictures. I had to either put several on one 8×10 sheet in photoshop and print those full sheets or move the images over individually to 4×6 or 5×7 and leave a white space to the side that I had to trim off by hand once they were printed. I rarely went to that trouble, so I rarely bothered to print any of my square iPhone photos. And often when I did print them, I’d be disappointed in the quality after all that work. But with mpix, I’ve been very pleased with both the easy of ordering and the quality of the prints. A few of them are grainy, but that’s because they were grainy when I took them. For most of them, you can’t even tell if they were taken with a phone or a point & shoot camera.

The last time I ordered, I decided to test the limits of iPhone prints. I ordered a few larger sized prints (8×8, 10×10, 12×12, and 20×20) and I was thrilled with the results. Can I tell that they weren’t high-resolution images? Yes. But is the quality still outstanding? Very much so. It’s hard to really tell here, but look at how these turned out. That bottom image is a 20×20 print. (I did not lay all the prints out on top of my sleeping baby for a size comparison like Marshall thought I did when he first saw the picture on the left. Haha!)

mpix square

That’s what a 20×20 iphone print looks like hanging above a little kid bed. I’m still trying to decide what to put around it. I’m thinking an oversized frame with a little space around it like my friend Kat did at her house. But that’s beside the point. Look at how clear that is. And I took it with an iPhone!.


I say all that to say this: I love mpix and I want you to love them, too!  I have two $25 gift codes for a couple of my readers and a 25% off (prints only) discount code for everyone! There are several ways to enter and you can see that below. If you want to go ahead and get 25% of your prints just use the code IVEY2513 between now and June 26th!

You’ll have 5 possible ways to enter, but you must do the first one for the others to count. Each entry must be in a separate comment. The giveaway will run until 11:59pm EST on June 30th.

Mandatory Entry:

  • To enter you must leave one comment (not on Facebook but in the comment section below) letting me know which camera you use most often: a real camera or your phone.

Additional Entries (must be entered separately to count):

Winners will be chosen using and will be notified by email. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

To Be Loved {music review}

Before we had kids, I spent a lot of time going to movies. Marshall was at school or studying all.the.time. and I found out that I could go to the movies on Tuesdays for $5 including a giant drink and popcorn. For $7.50, I could see two movies. (They don’t offer that any more, by the way. How sad.) And once I’d seen everything at the regular theater, I’d hit up the cheap theater for movies I’d missed or wanted to see again.  Despite how much I love Debra Messing, I’d somehow missed “The Wedding Date” (which is a cheesy but adorable movie, by the way) and I vividly remember sitting in the cheap theater, grinning like a fool at the final scenes when “Save the Last Dance for Me” started playing. I immediately fell in love with that smooth, cool voice. I just had to find out who was singing that song! This was before I had a smart phone, but I rushed home and searched. It was also before I bought music online, and the next morning I went to the store and bought my first Bublé album. I was hooked.

It didn’t take long for me to get Marshall’s toes tapping along to the album, and we’ve been big fans since. This past Christmas we DVRed the Bublé Christmas special on TV and all six of us sat down and watched it together. A few weeks later we were on vacation in a mountain chalet. They had a handful of CDs available and one of them was Bublé’s 2009 album. While we were cooking dinner one night, Marshall started dancing with the baby and singing along. (If you know Marsh, that’s not his usual style). Marshall’s a good singer, but I didn’t expect him to hit that high note in “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”. And then a few weeks ago I shared this video on Facebook and all my Bublé-fan friends fell even more in love with Michael Bublé than they already were. I mean, how could you not? (Okay, so his good looks don’t hurt either).


So when the opportunity came to review his new album, I was the first to sign up! I downloaded it immediately and we hopped in the car on the way to the beach. Here’s the thing. I’m a car singer. Like a really loud and active car singer. And listening to a new CD is usually hard for me because I’m loving it, but I don’t know the words yet! But this album? It’s got some really great songs you probably already know sprinkled throughout: “You Make Me Feel So Young”, “To Love Somebody”, “Come Dance With Me”, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” (which is different, but good), and even the title track “To Be Loved”.

I loved all the songs, but the overwhelming favorite from the 8 & under crowd was “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”. I think we can attribute that to Toy Story!  The song that surprised me the most is the duet with Reece Witherspoon. She’s adorable and her sweet voice complements Michael’s so well! It quickly became one of my personal favorites. But I think my absolute favorite is “Close Your Eyes” (because I’m a giant cheeseball).

You just can’t go wrong with this album.
I dare you to listen to it and not smile and maybe even dance a little.
You can download Michael’s album “To Be Loved” on iTunes or Amazon.

Disclaimer: I participated in this campaign for One2One Network.
I received a free copy of the album to review.
By posting, I am eligible for incentives.
All opinions are, as always, 100% my very own.

Paper Addict for Life {Minted Review and Giveaway}

When I got married 12 years ago I remember making a special trip to the wedding and stationary store. The girl working the counter asked me a few questions about what I liked and then said, “I think you’d probably like this company. Or maybe this one. Or this one.” And with each one she mentioned, she handed me another ginormous binder of options. I could hardly see her over the stack of books but she helped me find a spot and my mom and I started looking. I’m a picky person, but I’m not a very patient one. After a few minutes of searching I was over the whole process. My mom saw one that was white with silver embossed daisies. I liked daisies. I liked silver. SOLD! Now let’s go eat lunch. Compare that to my friend who got married a few months ago. She sat wearing pjs in the comfort of her house at midnight when she ordered her invitations. She could easily click back and forth between her favorites and email her husband-to-be with options. She proofed it right then and there and it was at her house the next week. Mine took something like 6 weeks to get to me. Did you know that with Minted, you can get your invitations in 5-7 days?

And they don’t stop there. Minted has something for every stage and age. After you get married, you may need baby announcements. Minted has some lovely clean and simple options and this telegram one? LOVE! And get this? They offer FREE recipient address printing so tired moms and dads don’t have to worry about writing 400 addresses!

They have birthday party invitations and decor. They have art prints for your walls. They have stationary for all ages and styles. They have graduation announcements and moving announcements. They really are a one stop shop for all your stationary needs plus they have tons of pretty things for your house. Just look at these super cool family tree prints.

family tree rings

But the thing I love the most? The journals! I’m a journal girl. (You’re shocked, right?) And they have a huge assortment.

Wedding journals. I really wish I’d had one of these. Think of all I’ve forgotten since then!

minted_wedding2 minted_wedding1

Baby journals. To jot down all those sweet little moments.
(You think you’ll remember them, but you won’t).
minted_the story of you minted_baby2

Kid journals. For you to write down all the funny things your kids say or for your kid to start his or her own journal.
minted_quotes and notes minted_charlotte
That’d be perfect for keeping those writing skills sharp over the summer!
minted_vintage charm minted_kid1

When I was 16, my grandmother took me on a trip to Europe – just the two of us. She loved to travel and always bought a new travel journal for each trip. She made me keep one the whole time we were gone and I thought it was ridiculous back then, but I am certainly glad to have it now. Look at these cool travel-inspired journals.

minted_travel4 minted_travel1

They even have the option for lined, plain, or graph paper.
I’m a lined paper girl for writing, but I love plain paper for doodles. And I do love to doodle.

minted_life with doodle minted_to color

Okay, so who wants to buy me one of each?

minted_inspiration minted_thoughts of a major
minted_cerulean blooms minted_blue bird

It’d be easy for one of you because I’m giving away a $50 credit to Minted! 🙂
Entry is easy. Leave one comment here about your favorite Minted product.
One entry per person. Entries accepted until 11:59 EST on May 15th.
The winner – who will be picked at random – will be notified by email, so make sure you leave a correct address!

**COMMENTS NOW CLOSED. Winner has been chosen and notified.**



In blogging years, I sometimes feel like a dinosaur.
I’ll occasionally look back at my archives and realize that when I started blogging, Carter was a baby.
When I moved from my old space to this one, Lydia was a baby.
And I get sucked into reading old post after old post, most of them dreadfully detailed and poorly written.
I’ll read something and it won’t seem like that long ago, but I do the math and realize it was 3 or 4 or even 5 years ago.
I’ve logged a lot of miles on this crazy internet adventure.
Anyway, in one of my recent nostalgia/read-old-posts moments, I stumbled upon this post.  (Go read it. Really.)
Even though I’m pretty embarrassed by that whole post, I want to point out that I told you then he‘d be big.
One listen to his golden voice and I just knew it.
See? My eyes say it all in this picture taken at a party in Chicago back in 2009.

And now? He’s all famous and stuff.
No, really! You may recognize him as one of the Warblers on Glee or, more likely, from The Voice.
He wowed the entire country with a new and different sound, and I am so excited for all of his recent success.

I was thrilled to see Chris face-to-face again this past February at Blissdom in Nashville.
The Voice producers were kind enough to let him slip away long enough to serenade a room full of his biggest fans.

Since finishing The Voice, Chris has been hard at work creating two new albums: “Home for Christmas” and “Roads”.
The new album “Roads” (which debuted yesterday) is a unique, beautiful assortment of songs.

“Roads”, the single, is a gorgeous song with words that will resonate with anyone who has taken the long way to get to where you are today. You can hear it in the background of this video as Chris talks. He is indeed bringing classy back.

When his EP came out several years ago I was sad that “On A Night Like This” wasn’t included, so I was especially glad to see it included on this one! This album really does have a taste of everything: fun songs, sweet melodies, classical refrains, standard classics, and more.

You can find “Roads” on iTunes or Amazon right now, and I promise you it’ll stay in your favorites rotation for a while!

I’d say these nice things even if I weren’t in his first music video(*snort*) and even if I hadn’t been provided a free copy of his album through the One2One Network.


Bows and Tutus and Rompers, Oh My! {Review and Giveaway}

Until Alden got old enough to express her opinion on clothing and accessories, I thought that Lydia was a girly-girl.
Oh, but no…Miss A is somethin’ else!
She even has teeny tiny “high” heel sandals (which she wears like a boss, I might add).
So when Girls Crochet Headbands contacted me about reviewing their products, I turned my priss on and took a look.
And y’all? This is some cute stuff at great prices.

I mean just LOOK at this sweet baby all dressed up.


This is the first headband she’s ever kept on. Ever.
It’s really stretchy, but holds on to the hair.
And? Best part? Only $0.50!
The flower clip? $2.55!
(That’s cheaper than the ones that I saw at a big box store last week!)

The bows and clips are top quality and you can wear it as is or pair it with one of their four types of headbands.

And even though the romper was sized for 18mo-4T,
we made it work for a little bitty baby that I did pictures of last week and Alden and even Lydia!


When I was ordering, I let Lydia help me pick a tutu and matching flower clip for her.
At first we planned on letting her wear just a little white tee with the tutu…


…but then we realized that she would fit in the romper for Alden!  She was thrilled!


Lydia’s already asked if we could get a few more things.
I’m hoping to get a few cute things for Christmas pictures, and I don’t have to feel bad about spending lots of moolah!

What about you?  Take a look at the GCH website and see which things your little girly girl would love.
And then come back here and enter to win a $30 gift certificate from Girls Crochet Headbands!

So how can you enter to win the $30 gift certificate to GCH?

  • Mandatory: Head over to the Girls Crochet Headbands website and look around.
    Then come back here and leave a comment telling me what your favorite GCH item is.
Once you’ve let me know what products you love from GCH, you can enter three different other ways, too!
  • “Like” GCH on Facebook, then leave a separate comment letting me know you did.
  • Follow GCH on Pinterest and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did.
  • Follow GCH on Twitter and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did.

Entries accepted until midnight(EST) this Friday, October 12th.

And if you don’t win the $30 gift certificate to Girls Crochet Headbands or just can’t wait, you can use the code iveyleague to save 10%. The code is only good for 30 days, so go ahead and order clips and other adorableness for fall, football, Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas. At these prices, you can get a few for each occasion!

Sn(app) Happy

I have published (in one way or another) over 1500 pictures from my phone since early 2011.
I’ve probably taken 5 times that.  (Here are some of my favorites!)
When I first fell in love with phone photography, I had a Droid and major iPhone app envy.
Mostly, I.wanted.Instagram.*
The first day I was eligible, I high-tailed it to the  store to get my brand-new iPhone.
The very first app I uploaded was Instagram and it was love at first sight.

Almost every image that I post has been processed in one way or another.
I will occasionally use the Instagram filters, but often I want a more specific look from my pictures.
Luckily, there are tons of great (and usually easy) ways to do that!

In this eBook by Alli Worthington, you will find a wide variety of information about apps and ideas and how-tos.
(I talk about my go-to app, Magic Hour, in chapter 3, and my pictures are scattered all throughout the book!)

But the best part? It’s only $5!

Want to make your pictures pop?  Want to turn good photos into great ones?  Just want to know which apps are for you?
This book is great for newbies and established (iPhone) photographers.
She touches on basic photography guidelines, but also shares tips you won’t see anywhere else online.

Oh!  And one more thing!  (Or maybe two more things.) (Ok, maybe three.)
1. I am a featured photographer in this book!  How cool is that?

2. Because Alli is all about sharing the love, for each copy of this book that is purchased from my affiliate link, I will get $3.75!

3. And I can’t wait to tell you more about ways another one of Alli’s (and friends) photography projects can help you earn money!  Click here to learn more about Picha Global, which will be making it’s debut soon!


*Instagram is now available for iPhone as well as for Droid (via Google Play).

A Mama’s HeART

I am a crafter.  I like to doodle and draw and create.
Sometimes the crafts turn out well and other times they don’t.
But for this Mother’s Day, I found a fail-proof craft gift.
Hallmark’s Recordable Artwork.

For Mother’s Day, the children and I made a framed canvas for my mom and Marshall’s mom.
Since I didn’t want to do four paintings per grandmother, we did some fingerprint art.
I used some black contact paper I had left over from another project and cut out simple shapes.
(You most certainly don’t have to use black.  The color doesn’t matter.)
Then I covered the entire canvas with the contact paper, essentially creating a stencil.

Each child picked a paint color and dotted all over.
(For the heart, we used the provided colors.  For the birdie, we used some paint I already had.)

At the very bottom, I cut off some of the contact paper and let each child put one print at the bottom.
Later, I labelled each print so the grandmothers would know which color belonged to which child.
After we’d finished ‘polka-dotting’ (as Lydia called it), I let it dry completely.
Then I slipped it back into the frame and let them record a message.

Done!  Super easy!  And adorable!  And the sweetest sounding little voices ever.

For less than $15 you can give a really great keepsake that will bring back memories for years to come.
(There’s a lock button behind a screwed on panel so that you can’t accidentally erase the message.)

For those of you who live close to me and don’t have time to make it to the Hallmark Gold Crown store,
I did see several of these still at Walgreen’s.  🙂

Want to hear more on how it works?


I had the pleasure of working with Hallmark again to bring you this review.  But I know that you know that the opinions stated above are 100% Bridget.  I absolutely love the fun products that Hallmark has and hope that you do, too.  

Story Buddies

We really love books at our house.
The big kids read alone and aloud.
The little kids ‘read’ out LOUD.

Actually as I type, Lydia is reading “Miss Nelson is Missing” to Alden.
(I could listen to her sweet voice reading forever, I think.)

Typically my girls are story buddies and my boys are story buddies.
But we recently had a chance to invite Cooper, one of Hallmark’s Story Buddies, to our house.

We all absolutely love Cooper.
We’ve been reading with him for a few weeks and the kids all still giggle when he responds.
The only downside is that sometimes Cooper has a hard time understanding Lydia.
Her reading voice is so small that I think he just can’t hear her all the time.
(The packaging does tell you that

Listen to this adorableness.
(Theirs, not mine.)
(And ignore the snapping.)
(And the disinterested toddler.)
(And the less-than-stellar videography.)

And as I was writing this, I discovered that there was a Cooper iPhone app!
We just uploaded it and WOW!
You can have the book read aloud by the pre-recorded voice and Cooper talks back to it
OR you can record your own voice (or maybe even a grand parent’s voice) and have it read the story!

Check it out:

Lydia’s already asked if we could get more books in the series!
Off to Hallmark!

I was once again able to work with Hallmark and they did send Cooper and his first book to our house for us to enjoy and review.  However, the opinions above are 100% mine (well…ours).  We super-duper love him and I know you’ll have fun with the whole line of their Interactive Story Buddies.

Nutrition Possible {GiveAway and Coupon Opportunity} **Updated to add winner info**

Until I had children, I was never really a vitamin taker.  But when we decided to start trying to have kids, I started taking prenatal vitamins.  During each of my pregnancies, I took my vitamins daily and rarely forgot.  But when that newborn got home and I was so tired that sometimes I forgot to even brush my teeth?  Well, vitamins didn’t even cross my mind.  Occasionally I’d remember and take them a day or two but when the bottle ran out, I never got more.  That happened with every pregnancy.

At my last checkup, my lovely nurse practitioner (Hi, KW!) reminded me that I needed to be taking a daily vitamin and I had really great intentions of doing so!  But each time I’d go to the store, I’d forget to buy any.  So, here I am one year postpartum and still no vitamins.  Oops.

So when I got an email about partnering with Centrum’s Nutrition Possible website, I figured it was just the kick in the pants I needed.

But I’ll be honest, one of the things I hate most about getting anything over-the-counter is the 50 million choices.  Do I need calcium or Vitamin D or both?  What about iron?  What are probiotics, anyway?  I don’t eat fish, so do I need fish oil?  Or omega-3 fatty acids?  Aaaahhhh!  My brain just short circuits.  So when I heard that Nutrition Possible had an assessment quiz that could help you figure out which supplements best fits your needs, I clicked on over.  In less than 5 minutes, I not only knew what kind of vitamins I needed but I also had a chance to create a personalized health and nutrition plan that includes setting up personal goals and tips on how to achieve them.  AND when I completed the assessment, I was able to get a $10 off coupon!  I’m not a couponer, but even I know that’s a spectacular deal!    I really am excited about this and you should be, too!  Click on over to get your own assessment and big ol’ coupon!

So every one can get the $10 coupon, but I also have a nice little giveaway!  One lucky person will get a $25 AMEX gift card!  Who wouldn’t love an extra $25?  All you’ll need to do is go take the assessment on and come back over here and leave me a comment about what you learned, what you didn’t know you were missing.    All comments posted before 11:59pm(EST) on Sunday, February 12 will be eligible and a winner will be chosen using

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by One2One Network. I received incentives and am eligible for prizing. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about as a product or its effectiveness.

See giveaway rules here.  (Sorry, Canadians.  US only.)

Pssst…There are several bloggers working with One2One and for this project.  The blogger with the most comments will win up to $500 in cash and prizes.  And *ahem* that would be super-duper nice to have.

Forty entries came in before the deadline.  I used to determine the winner.  Congrats to number 28, Amedeo Tritto!