Bright on a Budget: April 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bloggers' Row + Derby Fashion with Belle Badgley Mischka

Today I attended the Bloggers' Row event hosted by Belle Badgley Mischka at the Dillard's Fayette Mall location.  It was a fun networking event with other local fashion bloggers that featured mock mint juleps (surprisingly delicious), blogging conversation, and a stylish Derby-wear selection.  I came away from the event with some new ideas and new blogging buddies.

  Lexington bloggers: Sarah from Space, Place and Southern Grace, Alexis from Alexis Littlefoot,
Courtney from Rage Luvr, and Jess from Teeny Avocado.
Being from Kentucky, I love the fashion surrounding the Derby.  Dillard's has been my go-to for formal fashion since my 1st law school prom/Barristers Ball (yes, that's a thing). I find their selection to usually be of great quality but also reasonably priced, especially when they're having a sale, like this weekend! While I'll be attending a party on Derby Day and won't get to experience the race firsthand, here's some outfits I would totally rock for Derby!!!

OUTFIT 1: Pop of Pink

Black and white is a timeless color combination.  You can make the classy colors very springy by adding in pops of color.  Here, I accented the dress with a black and pink Derby hat, pink necklace, and pink shoes.  The dress is more of a fitted sheath dress, and while cap sleeves are usually a no-no for me, these worked perfectly!
























I also picked up this black + white hat on the way back to the dressing room and I like it just as well as the pink + black hat.  Changing up the hat and shoes really gives the dress a different feel.  Since the entire outfit is mostly black and white, I added pops of 2 different colors to give the outfit a more fun vibe!


OUTFIT 2: Periwinkle + Pink

Ladies, I just don't think you can go wrong with pink for Derby!  Periwinkle and bright pink is probably my other favorite color combination, and the pink accents really help the periwinkle to shine and make a statement.  This dress was very stretchy and comfortable.  I also really liked the sleeve length. I felt very Princess Kate in this dress--I should have tried a fascinator on with it!!!



The pink shoes are the same for both outfits. One of the fabulous ladies at Dillard's had actually already purchased these shoes and had them in her office.  She and her co-worker insisted that these were a must to go with either hat, and I truly agree with them.  Aren't they fabulous?!  You may notice that both pairs of heels I'm wearing are the same style--open-toe pumps with a solid heel.  I find it much easier to walk in this style of heels easier to walk in and more comfortable when I know I'm going to have to walk alot.

Black and white dress: Belle Badgley Mischka via Dillard's
Periwinkle lace dress: Belle Badgley Mischka via Dillard's
Pink shoes: Jessica Simpson via Dillard's
Turquoise shoes: Maurices (old--they were only $10 though)
Necklace: Purple Peridot (only $14.99!!!)
Hats: Dillard's, in-store only
I would like to say thank you to Dillard's and Badgley Mischka for inviting me to this event.  The staff at Dillard's were a joy to chat with and they played photographers for my dress up session--thanks, ladies!!!


Which outfit would you choose?

NOTE: I was not asked to blog about the event or share anything on social media.  I truly just had a wonderful time and fell in love with these outfits, so I wanted to share the experience with you all. I didn't make any purchase because I've put myself on a spending freeze, but I would happily buy everything I tried on In a heartbeat! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

High Five for Friday 04.24.15

TGIF, H54F-ers!!! Caitlin at Coffee with Caitlin, Della at Della Devoted, Katie at Cup of Tea, and myself want to welcome you to the link-up and the weekend.  We made it!!!  


This week's featured blogger is Anne from In Residence.  Anne works from home as an editor and is married to a doctor who is finishing up his residency.  Anne blogs about a little bit of everything, including style and life, especially being a mommy (she has an adorable little guy!).  She just posted this incredibly easy chalkboard paint coffee table that would be so much fun, whether you have a little one or want a fun conversation piece!


Now, let's recap my favorite moments of the week:

1. I survived Lilly for Target. Seriously, is there a t-shirt for that yet?  You can read my recap here, and don't forget to enter the giveaway that ends at midnight tonight!


2. Sometimes, you just need a night out with the girls.  I'm very fortunate that my hubby's work family is fun (which is an understatement), so I headed out with some of them last night.  We tried out Newk's Eatery and then headed to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert.  I got the red velvet one--simply divine!!!

3. Kane said "Love you!" to me for the 1st time last Friday. My mom was babysitting him and he wanted to talk on the phone.  It absolutely melted my heart.

How sweet is this? Sox is slowly coming around. . .haha
4. If Lilly for Target wasn't enough on Sunday morning, I headed out shopping on Sunday night.  I hit up the Clothes Mentor shopping event and scored some awesome Michael Kors flats for $35, then swung by TJ Maxx where I picked up a Kate Spade Saturday wallet I'd had my eye on for a while.   The Kate Spade Saturday website recently shut down and all of the stores were closed.  I looked for the wallet online on eBay, but it was not to be found. The wallet had some minor cosmetic issues, so I asked if they could adjust the price.  25% price adjustment? Yes, please!  Moral of the story: don't be afraid to ask for a discount if an item is flawed!

The wallet with my new favorite snacks!
5. I also had dinner with one of my best friends, who's like a sister to me, and her daughter on Friday night at my favorite restaurant back home.  Our kids were a little rambunctious, but what else do you expect?!haha  It was nice to catch-up over good food.  We live 2.5 hours apart, so it doesn't happen very often.

Also, I'm back to my regularly blogging schedule, meaning I post three times a week--2 regular posts and my H54F post. It's nice to be back to it! Anyways, here's a post featuring this sweet Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac bag I won from awesome bloggers.  There's also a link to score the same bag for 30% off!  So if you've had your eye on one, they have several different colors on sale right now!!!!

1st photoshoot back home in eastern Kentucky:)
Thanks for joining us for H54F!  Be sure to link-up below and/or let us know how your week's been in the comments!  

Follow along on GFC (click link or click button sidebar), Bloglovin' (click link or click button on sidebar), or email (click here).  Also, tweet us or use #H54F and we'll retweet your post!


BLOGGERS: Fellow bloggers--ready to join in the link-up?  Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week! Add your link to your blog post down below.  We ask that you follow each co-host on social media and link back to the link-up.  You can even grab the H54F button to add to your post!

Don't forget to visit your fellow linkers and say hi!  We recommend visiting the featured blogger + 3 others.  Drop 'em a comment to let them know that you're visiting from H54F so that they can visit you back:)

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Bag + a Mix of Color

As many of you know, March was not an easy month for me.  So it made my day when my inbox dinged with an email from Darcy over at A Memory of Us to let me know I won this Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac bag!  I may or may not have done the Snoopy happy dance while riding the elevator up to my office:)  


This bag is a favorite of many of the IG fashionistas. I love, and am very happy to have gotten my hands on one! Not only is it stylish and a great little pop of color, but it's great for anyone who has their hands full on the go (#toddlermomlife).  It's truly effortless and convenient.  (This bag, along with quite a few other Rebecca Minoff items, is 30% off on the website right now as part of the Semi-Annual Sale--link belowbin outfit details.)


One of my new favorite color combos is neon yellow/green + light blue.  I also threw on some pink because, well, why not?  The color of this bag is called Watermelon, and it's actually more neon than shows up in the pictures.



The sun was shining in right in my face, and of course I couldn't find my sunglasses anywhere.  But I braved the weather conditions and pressed on.haha


These pants are amazing.  If you're looking for a skinny pant to wear to work, these are what you need.  They're the Pixie Pant from Old Navy.  I resisted them for a long time because I tried on a pair when they first came out and I just didn't feel like they worked for me.  Emily over at Martinis and Bikinis is a huge fan of these pants, and her posts finally convinced me to give the pants another shot. I'm so glad that I did, and this light blue color is on trend for spring!

Oh, and these shoes?  They were a $41 find from the Coach Factory (thanks, Mom).  They've been on heavy rotation lately, especially with all of the rain we've been having.

Shirt: Old Navy (currently $9.06 w/ code ENJOY--online only)
Pants: Old Navy (currently $24.49 w/ code ENJOY--online only)
Necklace: Origami Owl
Shoes: Coach (old)
Purse: Rebecca Minkoff (currently on sale for $130, reg. $195)
A huge thank you to all of the bloggers who co-hosted this giveaway, as listed below.  You'll notice M + B from the Sequin Notebook (H54F regulars) were in on the giveaway!  I highly recommend checking out these blogs.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lilly for Target Haul

Guys, I survived Pink Sunday!  And not only did I survive, but I was able to grab some goodies for a giveway or two (hint: check Instagram!) from myself, Katie at Cup of Tea, and Della at Della Devoted.  First, let's do a recap.  And if you're too impatient to wait for the giveaway, go ahead and scroll on down to enter--then you can read:)



I ended up shopping online and in stores.  Luckily, I was following the #LillyforTarget hashtag on Twitter and got a heads-up when the mobile links started going live around 12:30 a.m. eastern time.  Things got crazy quick.  You could also Google "Target+Lilly+name of item" to find links to specific items even though the actual desktop website wasn't shoppable yet.  I scored most of the items I wanted before Target shut down the ordering until 3 a.m. eastern time.  I missed out on the Shift Dress in My Fans--if anyone has a 10 or a 12 they'd like to get rid of, please let me know--but scored my other online-only items.

When the website went live at 3 a.m., it crashed (of course--what Lilly sale doesn't crash a website?) so I went to bed and woke up at 6 a.m. to hit the store.  I arrived shortly after 7 a.m. and a line was wrapped halfway around the building at the Hamburg parking lot.  I stood in line with 2 friends and snacked on Starbucks muffins while we waited. Everyone seemed to have fun chatting about Lilly and anticipating what they could get their hands on. . .which wasn't much.  It was like a madhouse once those doors opened.  I was told that one woman swiped a whole rack of clothes into her cart.  The rack was seriously picked clean in like 5 minutes.



I was one of the first ones in the fitting room, and was lucky enough to score the Boom Boom Palazzo Pants I was couldn't find on the rack from someone who needed a different size.  After that, I met up with my friends to sort through what we had gotten our hands on.  Then I took what we didn't want over by the dressing room to shamelessly barter for what we did want.  What can I say? I'm good at it! All in all, we left pretty happy!  And although I got a See Ya Later Shift, it was too big, but a sweet new IG friend is shipping me a smaller size tomorrow--yay!!!


Verdict: Overall, I was impressed by the collection!  While some items were not as good of quality as others, I thought they did a great job for the price point.



Surprise Favorite Pattern: You can never truly get a feel for the patterns until you see them in person.  Happy Place was my favorite print once I saw them in store.  It's really vibrant in person.  I also liked Fan Dance much better in person than in the pictures.

Least Favorite Pattern: Giraffeeey.  I just couldn't get behind this print personally, but it's cute in person!  The issue is that they were all pretty in person, so there wasn't a terrible one at all!
The best part of it all is that with the help of my friends, we were able to grab goodies for a giveaway!!!  For this giveaway, we have the Scarf with Sequins in Giraffeeey, the Wristlet in Nosie Posey, and the Valet in My Fans.  Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.  GOOD LUCK!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 17, 2015

High Five for Friday 04.17.15

HEADS UP: Due to a coding issue, 2 linkups were posted this week.  On the 1st link-up below, links 1-62 were from the previous week, with links 63+ BEING NEW LINKS.  Please scroll down to the second link-up as well, which contains ALL NEW NEW LINKS!!!

TGIF, H54F-ers!!! Caitlin at Coffee with Caitlin, Della at Della Devoted, Katie at Cup of Tea, and myself want to welcome you to the link-up and the weekend.  We made it!!!  


This week's featured blogger is Andrea from the Pineapple Cake.  The tagline for the blog is "a recipe blog with a side of fashion, travel, and life down under."  Andrea is from Florida but lives in Australia now.  She refers to her recipes as "experiments" (although these cookies look quite tasty) and credits her fashion to an epiphany in 2012 (we've all had some of those!).  This week, she has a great round-up of favorites on her H54F post, so be sure to check her out:)

Now, let's recap my favorite moments of the week:

1. I SURVIVED TAX DAY! Seriously.  I dread it every year.  I used to love it.  Then I graduated law school and expected a nice refund. . . I got a nice little tax bill instead.haha Now I'm happy to break even and absolutely ecstatic when we get a little money back, which we did this year.  So long as I don't have to pay extra, I don't care.

2. I needed to shoot an outfit for this month's How I Style It link-up, so we went to one of the local parks.  Kane had a blast playing. . .until it was time to take the outfit pictures. Total meltdown. But we still had an awesome time beforehand!  He's such a little daredevil.  He loves going down the slide on his belly and all that.


3.  We also had a family dinner date at Roosters, where Chauncey was letting Kane take selfies.  In the past few weeks, he's starting saying "CCCHHHHHEEEESSSEEE!!!!" and smiling anytime he sees a camera.  I was uploading pics from my camera the other night and he wanted some pictures taken then.  SO CUTE!



4.  The Lilly for Target collection releases on Sunday, so I've spent the week plotting with my partners-in-crime.  Katie and I have been scoping the selection and talking with Della about the giveaway we're planning. . .what will it be?  Well, it all depends on what we can get our hands on, but the plan is for a giveaway on the blogs and on IG.  Tune in next week for more info.  In the meantime, you can check out mine and Katie's picks for the release!

Everything in this pic is $38 or less!  Click the link above to get the details.
5. Chauncey and I watched the series finale of Justified.  While I'm so sad to see the show end, it was a very fitting ending that we enjoyed watching.  Classic Raylan and classic Boyd right to the very end!

Thanks for joining us for H54F!  Be sure to link-up below and/or let us know how your week's been in the comments!  

Follow along on GFC (click link or click button sidebar), Bloglovin' (click link or click button on sidebar), or email (click here).


BLOGGERS: Fellow bloggers--ready to join in the link-up?  Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week! Add your link to your blog post down below.  We ask that you follow each co-host on social media and link back to the link-up.  You can even grab the H54F button to add to your post!

Don't forget to visit your fellow linkers and say hi!  We recommend visiting the featured blogger + 3 others.  Drop 'em a comment to let them know that you're visiting from H54F so that they can visit you back:)

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As always, I'm also linking up with The Diary of a Real HousewifeMeet at the Barre, A. Liz Adventures, and The Farmer's Wife.  And Erica at Looking to the Stars is doing a Friday linkup called Friday Feelings if you'd like to join in!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How I Style It: Colored Pants

HAPPY TAX DAY!  Today I'm linking up with 5 of my blogging buddies for the very 1st "How I Style It" link-up!  This is a new monthly linkup where we all get together to show you how we style our favorite fashion trends, and invite you to join us in showing off your passion for fashion as well!  
Bloggers: scroll to the end to get the details and link-up:)

This month, we're having a Colored Pants Party!!!  Guys, this is probably my #1 fashion trend that I hope never goes out of style.  And if it does, I'll probably still carry on the colored pants torch. There's just soooo many ways to style them!

You may remember me talking about my 2-year hunt for a pair of mint skinnies (if not, read here). I found these earlier this year at Old Navy and luckily they had my size in.  I felt like I'd hit the jackpot!  Yes, the saleslady probably thought I was nuts, but my excitement couldn't be contained.haha  

I've always loved mint + periwinkle together, so I pulled this shirt out from my closet.  It's an H&M find from last summer, but the scallop details are very on for this season's trends.  Since I paired two pastels together, I went with very neutral accessories.  For all that I love bright colors, I love taupe too!  This necklace is my new favorite accessory, and it was a steal for only $7 at Walmart (I got 2 colors in it)!!!




OUTFIT DETAILS
Shirt: H&M, $12 (old, similar)
Pants: Old Navy (sold out online)
Purse: Kate Spade, old (pretty, pretty)
Necklace: Walmart, $7 (in store)
Watch: Coach (old, similar)
Shoes: Target, $6 (sold out, similar, similar)
Sunglasses: Target, $16.99 (similar, similar)
Also, because I keep it real around here, let's be honest about these pictures.  I'm lucky I got any because we were at the park on a beautiful day with Kane.  Kane could care less about mommy's blog pictures, and wanted to play instead.  So these were snapped quickly as we tried to chase him down and keep him in one spot long enough to click the button:)

Stayed tuned to the blog for the announcement of next month's linkup!

Beauty and the Binky
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin’
Glitter+Ruffles
Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Instagram | Bloglovin’
Bright on a Budget
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter
Doused in Pink
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter
Garay Treasures
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter

How do YOU style your colored pants?
READY TO JOIN IN??? Now for the #coloredpantsparty! Link up a recent fashion post of yours featuring your favorite colored pants! Please limit yourself to three links. Be sure to hop around some of the other posts that have been linked up and spread the love in the blog world! Share your posts on social media and use the #coloredpantsparty hashtag! This link party will go live Wednesday, April 15th, at 5 a.m. CST and will end Thursday, April 23rd, at 5 a.m. CST.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lilly for Target Wish List

Okay, fashionistas. . . we're less than 1 week away from the Lilly for Target launch!!!  I know I'm not the only one getting excited, so I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces that I'm hoping to get my hands on.  I'm really excited for this collaboration because it gives us Lilly Lovers a chance to score some great pieces at unheard of prices, and it also introduces new people to the Lilly Pulitzer brand.

Lilly for Target Wish List

The shift dress is only $38, which I just couldn't believe when I saw the price!  It's seriously the most expensive item on my wish list.  The dress is so affordable, as is everything else in this collection. I've shown 4 pieces above that are only $20, and everything else shown above is $30 or less!

If you, like me, are looking to add a kimono to my wardrobe, then this white one is a versatile and neutral option.  It would look wonderful paired with a tank and either pair of shorts shown, or over top a cute swimsuit.  Either look could be finished off with the espadrilles and the gold beachy bangle.

And I can't forget the accessories.  Lilly scarves are very pricey items, so these for Target are a steal! I also love the pop of color that the raffia tote adds--it comes in several different colors.  The pouch with tassle can double as a clutch or be tossed into the tote to keep your items organized at the beach. Finally, I'm really bad to carry my makeup with me, so I'd like one of the makeup bags with a handle to take on the go.

I apologize for the lack of links, but you can't shop the collection just yet.  The collection will go live this Sunday, April 19.  You can, however, browse the lookbook here so that you can plan your shopping trip.  My friend Katie over at Cup of Tea has shared some of her picks too, so be sure to check those out for a different take on the collection.  Also, The Key to Chic has shared 14 Tips for How to Shop Lilly for Target.  I found her advice to be very helpful!

Will you be shopping Lilly for Target?  If so, what do you have you eye on?

Today I'm linking up with the girls at Tuesday Talk.

Friday, April 10, 2015

High Five for Friday 04.10.15

TGIF, H54F-ers!!! Caitlin at Coffee with Caitlin, Della at Della Devoted, Katie at Cup of Tea, and myself want to welcome you to the link-up and the weekend.  We made it!!!



This week's featured blogger is Erin from Sometimes Homemade.  Erin is a working mom and wife. She's striving to find a balance between work and life, which I know can be hard.  The blog is her happy place and outlet for her creativity.  She just posted about this cute DIY monogram succulent garden for the office.  And as a mom whose little one loves bubbles, I'm going to have to try the homemade bubble solution she talked about.


Let's recap the good stuff about my week:

1. My little family had a wonderful Easter.  Kane was big enough this year to hunt eggs.  I took him to a local church's egg hunt on Saturday and he really enjoyed it.  He hunted until his basket was full. On Sunday, we hunted eggs again and he made his daddy carry around his basket for him.haha  He's at such a fun age right now, and I love seeing him discovery new things.


2. We got together with some friends to have dinner on Wednesday night.  They have a little boy who is about a year younger than Kane.  It was so nice to see them, as it had been a while since we had gotten together, but it was also hectic with 2 boys in tow. . .not that we would change any of it:)

3. I've been planning a link-up party with some bloggers friends and would like to invite you to join. Next Wednesday, April 15 (I know, Tax Day), we're having a How I Style It #coloredpantsparty linkup.  Come join in on all the fun--you can see how we style our colored pants, and you can show us how you style yours!!!  You will be able to link-up from my blog, as well as my co-hosts' blogs. I hope you join in.


4. We had sunshine yesterday!  It was nice to get out and play with Kane after I got off work.  I pushed him around the neighborhood in his little push car and he loved it!  That said, my backyard looks like an overgrown chia pet and really needs cut.  (We purchased a lawn mower this week to remedy the situation--it's just not really been nice enough to mow.)  I hoping the severe weather they're giving for this morning passes us by.

5. I've finally gotten back to a somewhat-normal blogging schedule this week and it has felt fabulous to be getting back in the groove.  Thanks for sticking around through everything.  One post I did this week was the 1st in a short series of Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers called How to Start a Blog.  I've gotten a lot of questions about this lately so I wanted to put all of my advice in one place.  I highly recommend reading this if you're considering starting a blog or if you're a beginning blogger.


Thanks for joining us for H54F!  Be sure to link-up below and/or let us know how your week's been in the comments!  

Follow along on GFC (click link or click button sidebar), Bloglovin' (click link or click button on sidebar), or email (click here).


BLOGGERS: Fellow bloggers--ready to join in the link-up?  Just write a blog post about 5 things that made this week! Add your link to your blog post down below.  We ask that you follow each co-host on social media and link back to the link-up.  You can even grab the H54F button to add to your post!

Don't forget to visit your fellow linkers and say hi!  We recommend visiting the featured blogger + 3 others.  Drop 'em a comment to let them know that you're visiting from H54F so that they can visit you back:)


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As always, I'm also linking up with The Diary of a Real HousewifeMeet at the Barre, A. Liz Adventures, and The Farmer's Wife.  And Erica at Looking to the Stars is doing a Friday linkup called Friday Feelings if you'd like to join in!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers: How to Start a Blog



Let me just say that blogging has truly been a wonderful experience for me.  I love being able to share my passion for affordable beauty and style with you guys, while being able to make connections with other bloggers and wonderful readers.  While I am nowhere near being a blogging expert, I've started getting some questions about blogging.  Let's be honest--I'm still figuring out all of the blogging stuff as I go along.  I'm learning and growing as a blogger everyday, but I'm happy to share what advice I can for those of you who are considering starting a blog or are beginning bloggers.

The question I get the most is "How do I start a blog?"  PersonallyI really wanted to start one for a long time but was too afraid to do it.  I started reading The Small Things Blog back in 2012 when I stumbled across some of Kate's pins. Then I stumbled onto her sister's blog, The Lauren Elizabeth, back when it was still From My Grey Desk.  Lauren hosted this awesome link-up called High Five for Friday (sound familiar?), and even though I wasn't a blogger, I still visited bloggers who linked up with her, and found some pretty awesome blogs to follow, like Martinis & BikinisMiss in the Midwest, and a couple of my H54F co-hosts.  I really admired these girls who were putting themselves out there and being creative.  But could I do that?  I went back and forth over whether I should start a blog--would I be able to keep it up? Would anyone read it?  Would I just be a failure? Finally, after about a year of wrestling with the decision, I decided to just do it, and Bright on a Budget was born.

So if you're looking to start a blog, here's my roadmap for doing so:

1. Determine what your content will be.  Your blog should have a direction/focus.  Do a little soul-searching.  What are you going to blog about?  What's your passion?  What do you like talking about or educating others about?  I really liked fashion and beauty, so I started there.  And I love getting a good deal.  I absolutely refuse to pay full-price.  I wanted to combine everything and not be locked into one niche.  I settled on blogging about beauty, style, and life on a budget.  I think it helps in this step if you sit down and brainstorm post ideas to get an idea of what's coming to mind. . .and that same list will help you once you sit down to write your 1st post.

2. Name your blog.  Naming your blog is like naming a baby.  Trust me, it's just as agonizing.  You want something that's catchy and something that is memorable.  This was one of the most difficult decisions for me because nothing seemed to fit.  I rolled names around in my head for weeks.  And then one night, as I was laying in bed, Bright on a Budget came to me and I knew that was it.

3. Check the availability of your name across social media.  Social media is a huge part of advertising and growing your blog, as well as interacting with your followers.  It is important for those followers to be able to find you across all social media platforms.  I checked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to make sure brightonabudget was available, and I snapped those accounts up immediately so that the name couldn't be snatched away.  If your name isn't available, you may want to consider stepping back to the drawing board in Step 2.  Once the accounts are created, you can go ahead and started interacting with people on social media to gain followers.

4. Check the availability of the domain name for your blog.  I decided if I was going to do blogging, then I was going all out.  I think that having your own domain name (as opposed to a blogspot.com or wordpress.com address) is great because it is easier to rattle off when you're telling people about your blog, and it's easier for people to remember so that they can visit it. Also, I recommend purchasing your domain name from the get-go, because sometimes domain names are purchased by companies that simply hold them until someone pays them for the domain name, which will cost you much more money than if you'd purchased directly from GoDaddy.com.  It's a relatively cheap step, and there's always coupon codes available.

5. Decide between Blogger and Wordpress.  Blogger and Wordpress are probably the two most popular blogging sites.  If you google Blogger vs. Wordpress, you will find a wealth of information to help you make your decision.  I went with Blogger due to the ease of use.  It's also easier to host linkups and giveaways on Blogger (based on personal experience from myself and my H54F co-hosts).  Once you decide, set up your account, and make sure your custom domain name routes to your homepage.  Google has instructions here for how to do that for Blogger.

6. Invest in a layout.  From the get-go, I knew I wanted a layout that was professionally done without spending a lot of money.  I found a layout I liked on Etsy and had the creator make a few tweaks.  Gradually, as I blogged for a while, I discovered that there were some things I'd like to change about how my page was laid out.  While browsing Etsy, I discovered Kreated by Kelsey. I chose one of her pre-made blog templates and then worked to semi-customize it for what I was looking for.  Kelsey is a joy to work with and has a super-quick turn-around.  I highly recommend seeking her services. I also recommend choosing a design with lots of white space--make sure your layout is easy on reader's eyes.  Kelsey also installs her work, so your blog will be all ready to go when she's finished.  This can cost anywhere from $10 to $60 (or more based on the designer and what you select) but it's really worth the expense.

The more thought you put in on the front in, the more satisfied you will be with your overall effort. Your readers will take notice of your effort as well.

For those of you considering starting a blog, I hope this helps as you begin your journey.  I'll have a few more posts over the next several weeks containing other tips.  You can always comment below or email me at brightonabudget@gmail.com if you have any other questions:)



Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Easter Dress that Was. . .

HAPPY EASTER!  I hope that everyone has had a wonderful day!  I'm so thankfully that Christ rose from the grave to give us all hope of an everlasting life.  Kane and I went to church this morning, and then we headed home to hunt eggs and open his Easter basket with his daddy and grammy.

I actually remembered to take home my Easter dress this year (hence the title--you can read the backstory here).  My hair, however, is totally flat from lack of volumizing products.  I grabbed this dress for $10 last summer at Maurice's end of season clearance sale.  I love the shape of the dress, and the peach accents are perfect for the neutral taupe of the dress.  I paired it with this white cardigan for an easy Easter look!  In my book, nothing says Easter outfit like a white cardigan!!!

Dress: Maurices ($10 off last summer's clearance rack; pretty option here)
Cardigan: Old Navy
Necklace: Origami Owl
Watch: Coach
Shoes: Target (Less than $6 on clearance--no longer available; similar)

How cute is Kane?  I had my eye on a bowtie in this print from another Etsy shop, and it thankfully sold out.  Why?  Because I found this bowtie for only $5 ($10 cheaper than the other one) and it was wonderfully made!  I highly recommend the LittleMeBling Etsy shop if you're in the market for toddler bowties!!!


Pants: Little Maven from JCP (similar)

He liked the pinecones too!haha
It's hard to get a family picture at this point.

How was your Easter???