5 reasons why going to Coachella would (probably) drive me nuts


Lulu*s dress and necklace; Target sandals, old (similar); Ray ban sunglasses; Forever 21 kimono.

 I love Coachella. (We know this, right?) The problem is, I like it for the reasons you may not know. I adore how my Instagram feed blows up with the cutest looks all weekend long. I like scouring Pinterest for new and interesting ways to style myself in a way that would fit right into Coachella. YET, I probably wouldn't want to go. (I mean, unless someone wants to send me there and I can wear all the pretty clothes, then just disregard the following…;) I guess I like the idea of it more than I would like going.

One of my dear readers Linda commented on my post the other day that she enjoyed that I dress like I'm going to Coachella all the time, and don't do it just when Coachella is going on. Which I don't! (Not that I knock the themed dressing either, that's equally as fun.) I REALLY DO dress like this almost all of the time. Whether I am going to playgroup with my son, grocery shopping, or volunteering in my daughter's classroom, I dress like I'm heading to a music festival. This look feels like me and I enjoy it. We should all have "permission to play" when getting dressed in the morning, and I like to take this to the extreme from time to time. Ha!

I digress.

Since I so love the IDEA of Coachella and all the other boho/hipster/cool kids type of events, I wanted to switch it up and go into why I would most likely HATE going to one. Let's do this!

5 reasons why going to Coachella would (probably) drive me nuts:

1) There are a ton of sloppy drunk (among other things, ahem) people at music festivals, and they annoy me. I mean, I get it! I have been that person, and when you are in that mode you don't see how gross you look and how crazy you are. I like to have fun (says the old person), but I don't enjoy getting beer spilled on me by a drunk 19 year old and her seven best friends.

2) Porta potties. In the heat. Enough said.

3) I love music, I play it constantly, and it really makes me happy. But going to an outdoor concert with too many people, and not even being able to see the bands play (unless you get there early, just NO), sucks. I don't get to a lot of concerts lately, but I prefer the ones that I have a seat I paid for, I can see the person singing, and I'm not sweating in a crown of a zillion.

4) Palm Springs at this time of year is ridiculously hot, and I hate being hot. Baking in the sun while wearing a polyester kimono sounds gross to me, and I would be the person that wore all the wrong things in the name of fashion and lived to regret it.

Now I get why all those models wear nothing but bikini tops and cutoff shorts (not happening.)

5) Finally, I think that if I ever show up at the same place that Kendall and Kylie Jenner, (and Justin Bieber) all hang out, I would die. They are all 12 and need to go home.

Tell me, would you enjoy Coachella? 

how to use social media to grow your blog


This post first appeared on Because of Jackie in September, 2014. It has been updated and revised. #tbt…;)

I was reading blogs the other day and came across one where, on their contact page, stated that they didn't have time for social media and therefore did not have any accounts for their blog. Now I'm not one to pick apart blog strategy, I made a zillion and one mistakes myself and still learn something every single day when it comes to blogging. However, I DO think social media is one of the most important things to have when marketing your blog. It is free and all it takes is a little bit of time each day to keep it active and useful. Having a social media account that matches your blog name for ease of use is easy and fun, and also is a great place to get to know your readers outside of your blog. I use my various social media accounts for different things, I'll outline them below!

Twitter (@becauseofjackie):

I'll admit, Twitter took me awhile to figure out. I was used to Facebook and never even knew what on earth a hashtag was for until about a year ago. I like Twitter because I can put some pretty funny and random one liners about myself and they fit there. I like to read through my feed a couple of times a day and respond to things that strike me as fun and unique, and I also use Twitter to share blog posts I love (in a  non sponsored way.) I think sharing things for free is a great way to share the love so to speak, and to create good Karma. Often times folks reciprocate back and I have done a lot of collaborations through Twitter and blog post sharing. I do find that Twitter is one of my lower priority places to post content to, though. I prefer Instagram and Facebook for when I need to get the most impact out of my posts and time.
I also share my daily blog posts twice daily through Twitter via bit.ly.

Facebook (Because of Jackie):

I have two Facebook accounts, my blog page and my personal page. My personal one is for friends and family only, it's my one social media account not attached to my blog and I like that separation if you will. My blog Facebook page is a lot of fun! I post my daily blog posts there, but also a lot of daily bits and pieces that don't make it into Instagram. You'll see a lot of behind the scenes stuff from my life that I don't post anywhere else, as well as promo codes and such for my sponsor program. I really like interacting with my readers here. I think a lot of folks think Facebook is "dead", yet most of us check ours multiple times a day. I've also learned that paying to boost your post is pretty useful as well, sometimes as many as 4,000 people can see a particular post you've written that you wish to share, which costs as little as $5. I used to sponsor other blogs as a way to get my blog out there, now I just boost my posts on my Facebook page for maximum exposure. You can target a certain demographic with key words for different posts, and I get a lot of pageviews and clicks doing this.

Instagram (@becauseofjackie):

Instagram is my favorite to look through daily, but the hardest for me to personally post. I say this because in the last six months or so Instagram has become very curated and commercial. If you look at popular blog accounts you will see that each photo is staged and professional looking. Rarely do you see a blurry, candid moment on there anymore. I find I am a lot more choosy about the photos and moments I share via Instagram because I want my account to radiate a certain message, so my account can be a lot slower there than say, on my Facebook page. That being said, I like pushing myself to create beautiful photos and moments there that show bits and pieces of my life. I find that posting regularly to Instagram is a priority of mine, and is where I will work to post most often. You do need to have a strategy when using Instagram. Look at what is popular (creating scenes on a  white board, etc), while also offering original content. Unfortunately, when it comes to Instagram you need to go with what works. For me, that means colorful and bright images that are most often staged and set up. Instagram takes a certain aesthetic that includes a learning curve to conquer. I love Gal Meets Glam, Dean Street Society, Dallas Shaw, Peubird, and The Daybook on Insta…(to name a few;)

Pinterest (meagan_rigney):

It just dawned on me that this account is in my personal name, so there goes my theory on keeping things in blog name only! I do think Pinterest is pretty personal though, and find folks can find me by my name or blog name anyway. I LOVE Pinterest! I get inspiration daily via my style board, and look on it multiple times a day. I post my blog photos on there daily as well, in several different place, and create tags and key words to help folks find the photos easily. I get a lot of hits from Pinterest, too! Folks are pretty visually oriented nowadays, which is why Instagram and Pinterest are so popular. We like quick little bites that intrigue us, but we don't want to spend a lot of time on it. I think creating photos with labels is a great way to drive traffic to your site (like this!), and anything that does that for free is amazing.

In the end, I really can't stress enough how important social media can be when it comes to growing your blog organically. It doesn't take that much time per day to share yourself via social media, I typically do it while my kids are getting dressed in the morning, and then update during various moments in the day. I don't do any of it in a calculated way, either. If I have something to share I will, and if I don't, I just don't. I think folks can tell if you only put up sponsored stuff, too, it's really important to be natural and be yourself. Creating a conversation between yourself and your readers takes time, and is built one follower at a time. Before you know it you will have created an audience that is there for YOU, and that is the fun of social media.

Tell me, how do YOU use social media for your blog? (and yourself!)

The memory keeper


One of the things my kids love best is to ask me stories about when they were babies. Which in my mind is NOW (because they are always my babies), but they mean real little babies, so, HA. I tell them about the first second I held her, how her nose was slightly crooked and she had straight, dark hair. I say how he was the most snuggly little boy ever, and how he loved to be in my arms or lap, always. How her first word was "more", learned while I was teaching her the sign for "more" (because baby sign language is a THING, people), and she bi-passed it and just said it out loud.  She's always been a little feisty and ready for more, come to think of it. 

Which got me thinking. 

About how us mamas are really the memory keepers of our children's lives. I may not remember all the little bits, or have updated their baby books past year one, but the feelings are there. All five of my senses that have taken in the moments and held them in a memory box held only in my mind. I hold the pieces of their lives in my heart, and having that knowledge is my favorite. The first flutter of a kick (felt in my night class while getting my Master's degree), the exact look of my son as the doctor lifted him up and put him on my belly, the smell of their little baby heads, the moment my daughter's hair started to curl (at nine months old, a little wave above her forehead that foretold a riot of curls to come.) Some things are so crystal clear for me, and often I think that when I am no longer here that these memories may not exist anymore. 

I think about the fact that I am no longer a child, but pieces of me are still at home with my mom. Yearbooks, photos, clippings from newspapers, my bridal bouquet, and notes from friends. My life may seem rooted in being a mother to my children, but I know it is the same for my mom and dad as it is for me. Our lives are held in the hearts of those that have loved us. And I think for moms especially, we become the keepers of all the memories. The ones that will always remember the second we held our child in our arms, heard them laugh for the first time, or watched their faces as we dropped them off for the first day of school.

I'm proud of the wealth of moments I hold in my head, and share it whenever I can when they ask for all the tiny details that make up their life. Maybe by sharing I can show a tiny sliver of how much raising them and being their mom has made my life. I'm proud to be their memory keeper.

The best job I ever had


℅ Lulu*s top, kimono (similar), and floral crown; Forever 21 pants ($15 option), American Eagle fringe bag, old (option) and necklace; Bauble moon phase bracelets; Target boots

(Loving this Festival look from Lulu*s! Please check out #LulusatCoachella15 for more fun looks!)

When I think back to the time when I was at my happiest and the most free (besides college, because that's another post for another day..,), I think of my childhood growing up at the beach. My grandparents inherited a deep sea fishing company from my Great Grandmother and ran that for many years. Which means some of my earliest memories are that of a diesel engine starting up at 7am, waves lapping softly at the shore, sheer curtains billowing in the ocean breeze, and a sandy beach trail that led from their home on a little peninsula, to the pier, where the business was. This path, worn between beach grass and sand dunes, was traveled multiple times a day by my hardworking grandparents. If I close my eyes I can feel the pebbles beneath my bare feet, smell the scent of marshy grass and wet sand, and see the brilliant blue of a summer sky in July in New Hampshire. We also had a modest strip of beach that was just for the four or five house that sat on this strip of private road made entirely of crushed beach shells, our own private oasis. I took me a along time to figure out that not a lot of people had the luxury of a shingled beach house ten steps from the sand, with beach roses rioting outside.

My grandparents worked at the pier seven days a week, all Spring and Summer long, for my entire childhood until they retired. There was an office cottage at the top of the street to steer traffic to the business, and a pier and tackle shop down the hill, right by the water. I sat with my Grandma in this office at the top of the hill a lot. It had a back room that I could play "office in, with a space heater that kept the early Spring chill out. This office has stood there forever. I have a picture of my mother at 14, standing in the same place I used to stand, looking very similar to me in my bathroom right now. It makes me smile every time I see it.
Once I tuned 14, I was entrusted to work this office by myself, flagging down cars with brochures and sending them down to the pier to buy tickets. I was paid in cash and my grandmother saved half of it for me for college, presenting me with a semester's worth of money the summer before I went to college. She was a smart cookie.

Before long I worked at the pier, selling fishing and whale watching tickets, bait, and tackle. It was in a room at the base of the pier, with a long counter that a local parasailing and jet ski company operated off of the same pier, too. And for a short time, we ran a restaurant in the same building, which is awesome if you love free food;) I was always surrounded by family and people. The same group of guys worked the boats, and they were my friends. (They were cute, too. Ha!) Before long I worked my morning shift at our Deep Sea Fishing office, then changed my shirt and slid down the counter so I could work the Parasailing desk in the afternoons. I got to Parasail and jet ski for free on slow days, have fun summer romances with the cute guys that worked there, and work with people I loved. It was a time that I was living in one of my most favorite places on earth, a happy place for me that still makes me homesick.

I look back now and see that it was the end of an era for my family and myself. The business caught fire the next year and burned to the ground (we rebuilt, but still), my family moved away from our beach house, and my grandparents retired. A lot of us still live in that same town, but its different now, as things generally are after you grow up and move away. I see how magical that time of my life was, and how it has formed me to be the person I am today. I learned work ethic from my grandparent, and how to save money and be smart about it, and to savor family and the good times while we have them.

Life is so good for me, now, with my kids and husband. Yet, I look at that time, at the memories I have from the beach and the pier, and I wish sometimes that it could all come back again. Because it was pure magic. 

5 reasons why it's awesome to have kids close together



My two little pirates up above are 17 months apart, which often makes people ask if this was intentional or not. The answer is,  it was...and wasn't. Our first took me about six months to get pregnant with, so I assumed it would take the same amount of time to get pregnant the second time. (Best laid plans, right?) I wanted to start early because I knew I wanted kids fairly close together, and then got pregnant right away. Ha! I've only ever had these kids at this age distance apart, so I don't really know what it would be like to have it any other way. Right now, at this age and time, with the diapers and such behind me? I love it!

Here are the top 5 reasons why I LOVE having kids close in age:

1) My two kids are the same distance apart in age as my brother and I are, and he is one of my best friends. Being in the military and all the moving we do, I love that my kids have a built in friend in each other. They play together really well (for the most part!), and have a lot of the same interests. They will also be able to be in the same schools as we move, guaranteeing a person to sit next to on the bus, or in the cafeteria. They will always have each other, and I work really hard to make sure they are friends, and always have each others' backs. 

2) Before kids, my husband and I knew we wanted two-ish kids, pretty close together, and that I would stay at home until our youngest went to school. If there had been a huge age gap in there I would have to stay home longer than if we just had them close. Luckily the timetable worked out well (a little TOO well... ha.) Even with holding my son back a year for Kindergarten, I've been home 7 years, and I couldn't have asked for a better reality for my kids and I. 

Another thing I liked was that I was pregnant for about two years in a row, with 8 months in between my first and second pregnancy. It's hard as a woman to let everything go and surrender to gaining weight and nursing and all that comes with little babies. I like that I did it all at once, so then I could get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my body, and raise my babes at the same time. I'm one of those, "Let's do it all now at once so I can get it all back'" kinda girls, so having kids back to back was ideal for me.

3) My daughter was 17 months old when we brought my son home, and there was zero sibling rivalry with her and him. She was, in essence, still a baby when he came home, so she didn't even have the mindset to care that there was another baby at home. This has been true the entire time, too. She has no memory of NOT having a sibling, so it has never occurred to her to care about sharing her parents. She DOES sort of think he is hers, though, and bosses him around like she is his mama!

4) I often have people ask me if my children are twins (they are the same size, essentially), and I often feel like they are. Once they got past the baby stages, they evened up in height and weight and began to like the same things. I used to have to buy toys and other things in the same colors (or they would fight over them), and still buy them the same items for holidays. They wear the same size clothes and enjoy the same activities, and I find this really easy. In my mind, they come in a pair, and I love that. 

5) Having kids close together means you don't really have the chance to see the light at the end of the tunnel (typically four years old and up, where they use the bathroom and dress themselves!), so you don't miss anything by having another baby. When my son was born we were still in the thick of it. I was already changing one kid's diapers, so what was one more? I had the strollers and toys and baby gates all up, and didn't have to change much. I can see how hard this would have been now as my kids are far more independent and able to do a lot without me. If I had a baby now my life would change drastically. I love that I got to this place at about the same time, give or take a year, and didn't have to go back to diapers and bottles after leaving them behind.

Tell me, are you close in age to your siblings? How has this been good (or bad?)
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