Happy Tuesday and welcome to this edition of blogging where I talk all about the importance of oil changes and why we use Shell Rotella Gas Truck Oil. We’re honestly so excited to be a part of the #RotellaGasTruckRollback campaign and to have my handsome hubs in this post along with me! I mean, how cute is he? A man who looks good changing the oil, how lucky am I?!
For as long as I can remember, Shell has been a trusted product for servicing our families vehicles. The Rotella Gas Truck Oil is on rollback right now, is FTC compliant, one of the most effective in protecting your engine and allows you to go a little bit longer between changes. It’s a sustainable product for those heavy loads, treacherous driving conditions, extreme temperatures, and even frequent short trips. It also protects horsepower and prevents sludge and all the icky stuff that can corrode your engine.
Speaking of frequent short trips, I am always on the go. Between school, baseball, photo shoots, and all that is mom life, it’s important to keep my car in tip top shape and ensure the safety of my family in the meantime. Conrad is constantly asking if everything is working like it should and to make sure I am servicing the engine as often as necessary. I have a GMC Yukon and so the Rotella Gas Truck Oil is perfect for keeping us safe on the road. For me, it’s an easy stop at the #walmart AutoCare Center and 20 minutes to get my oil changed efficiently and affordably. We’ve even bought the oil at our local Walmart and Conrad’s changed it a handful of times in the driveway for me.
Being a daughter, grand-daughter and now wife of generations of oil and gas, its imperative to use the best. Which is why my family relies on Shell products and trusts the Rotella Gas Truck Oil to get us where we need to go. So excited to have been a part of this campaign and to have been able to share more about what this product actually does. The next time you’re at your local Walmart, let them change your oil, and be sure to tell them you want the Shell Rotella Gas Truck Oil especially if you have a truck or SUV to keep your engine free from wear and tear and running clean. Let them know we sent you and enjoy the ride!
It’s the middle of spring break in Texas, what are your plans? Are you on a beach trip, skiing with your favorites, or enjoying your break simply by staycation at a local hotel or resort?
Our little fam is taking a trip to DFW for a little getaway in the next couple of weeks, so we’re keeping it low key this spring break. We actually just got back from a ski trip and tend to travel relatively often so it feels pretty nice just to have a week home, playing at the park and over indulging on ice cream with our little man. Speaking of indulging, some authentic Mexican food is in my near future, as New Mexico is also part of this spring break week for me. Board meetings do have an upside! Therefore, looks like I’ll be packing an overnight bag after all! 🙂
Today, I wanted to share some tips on how we pack when we travel to make it easier for everyone. Including littles. I’ve been asked about what I take when we travel pretty often, even before blogging so what a better time to share than now, Amiright?
First, let me start by saying, I am NOT a light packer. I like to think I’ve gotten better over the years, but just when I thought I had it down, along came Mr. Corbin! One thing I do is, I always start by making a list. The number of days/nights we’ll be away. What toiletries we’ll need (baby shampoo, razors, toothbrush ect.), how many dressy nights vs. casual, and basically just organizing each day of our trip to ensure we have enough of what we’ll need while away. I usually try to put all of mine and Corbin’s clothes, and accessories in one large bag, and usually roll most of Corbin’s clothes and my t-shirts/pajamas to save room. I also try to pack the lighter items on the bottom and the heavier on top. This is also a good trick for back packs as this tends to carry the illusion that the bag is lighter and less weight is carried on your back. Conrad generally has a carry-on or much smaller suitcase. He’s the smart packer in the family, if you will, or maybe it’s because he knows he’ll be dragging ALL the things down the terminal, as this comes as no surprise to him. 😉 Bless those muscles!
When packing us, especially when Corbin was younger and even now, a total LIFESAVER was mail. People, utilize the mail service if you have a long trip planned and have the ability to get your luggage to your destination before you get there. It saves the headache and is probably much less expensive than the second baggage charge on American (insert eye roll here). We have done this for cruises and it is a game changer and are planning on doing this again for a 10 day cruise this summer. Secondly, if you have little ones still in diapers or think you may forget something in the chaos of traveling, Amazon is amazing at delivering those items to your hotel or resort in a timely manner. Generally, the front desk can have your items delivered to your room upon arrival so you won’t be scouring the area looking for a Walgreens or CVS when you run out of diapers, wipes, ect. in a place you’re not familiar with in the middle of the night. Been there, done that! This also makes for more room in your suitcase and ensures for a restful, worry free and “dry” night!
Next, another big uh-oh we learned the hard way, is just take your “good” stroller. Even if it’s an umbrella stroller. We love this one! The first time we took a big trip, we bought a cheap umbrella stroller that didn’t recline at all, thinking it would save space and time. And it was miserable. Not only for Corbin, but for anyone pushing him around, as it was so incredibly short and impossible to collapse. Stroller nightmare! So long story short, consider taking a stroller that is easily collapsable but one that both you and you little one are most comfortable with, especially for nap times if you aren’t immediately able to return to your hotel. A couple of options for umbrella strollers are here,here, and here. When flying, you can literally roll your stroller to the bottom of the jet bridge and the valet will put it on the plane for take off and when you arrive, it is more easily accessible vs. checking the stroller and having to cart around the baby, plus baggage. Hint: your stroller also makes for a great luggage rack when strolling through the airport terminal between security and your gate.
When I am traveling short term, or even long term, another bag I love to carry is my American Warrior Ultimate Toiletry Bag. I’ve shared this bag before, but y’all, it’s literally the best! I can’t emphasize this enough! It’s perfect as a carry on or can be checked easily, as it’s durable and won’t smash down. There is a compartment for everything you may need while away. From cosmetics, to hair products, and everything in between, it’s sure to make traveling easier for you and in reaching your destination, not only will you have all of your favorites, but they will be safe from spilling and leaking onto your valuables since the compartments seal tightly and the smaller bags keep liquids separate.
One thing I tell my friends, and something that may be common sense to most, is if you take any jewelry of value, DO NOT pack it in your checked luggage. I have heard SO many horror stories of how jewelry and personal/sentimental pieces have vanished because of mistakingly placing these items in checked luggage. I love people and always try to see the best and believe most people are good and honest, but just for peace of mind, keep that in your carry-on or handbag, so you know it’s never out of your reach. This goes for more than jewelry. Passports, I.D.’s and anything else to identify you, should remain as close to you as possible.
Snacks. So important! Whether its crackers, peanuts, or apple sauce pouches, make sure you have these readily available for you and your kiddos. You never know if you’ll have a lay-over or how long you could be waiting to depart, so it’s always good to pack these in your carry-on, or in our case, back packs, Corbin’s rolling bag. They go through security and no questions are asked, in most cases. Put any liquids you may have in small plastic bags when going through security and ensure your liquid amount is that of or less than the regulated amount given on the TSA indicators located in security. I’ve done this every time and I’ve never had to throw away our snacks. Just don’t take a thermos of sweet tea or coffee, although in some cases, a gallon of caffeine could be vital in maintaining your sanity in an airport. And the iPad. It drives me crazy most days, but when it comes to car rides, airplane terminals and dinner, it’s acceptable in my book. I’ll take Daniel Tiger ALL DAY on these occasions.
If Corbin isn’t riding on my bag through the terminal, he has his own bag on wheels or back pack. We started this little tradition when he was a wee one and it makes him feel part of the process in getting to where we’re going. He loves having his bag with his stuff, and so we try to stock it with his own snacks, crayons and a couple of his favorite tractors to keep him occupied during the duration of our flight. Make it fun for them! TSA gives away badges at our airport for kids, so if you don’t see them, maybe ask one of the officers and I know if will make you child’s day! Corbin loves those little badges!
Lastly, don’t stress. Half the fun is getting there, so enjoy the process! These are just a few useful tips I’ve learned over the course of travel, especially now as a mama. It’s better to be comfortable and ensure your loved ones are too so you can soak up every minute of your trip together! Send me any questions you may have in the comments or on my last Instagram post and have a great rest of your spring break, wherever you are!
I’m happy to report I’m finally back after a much needed break to regain my thoughts, perspective, and honestly, just have a little downtime with my family. After many changes, I needed a moment to process and refocus so in the future, I can be a much better resource and guide for you all.
In the meantime of this refocus and collecting new material and content, my sweet step-sister, Mamie reached out to me about a workshop she had been eying for quite some time. She mentioned it was in Phoenix, which frankly is amazing because my grandmother lives there and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to gain knowledge in blogging, as I am still so new to this industry, as well as spend a couple of days with my grandma in the beautiful Arizona sunshine. Also, love on my new NEPHEW and bond with my sister! 😉 Not to mention, the weather there is seriously the best this time of year and the perfect time to visit if you haven’t had a chance to. It didn’t take much convincing for me to jump on the bandwagon!!
So with that, we bought our tickets, scheduled our flights, and prepared our parents that they would be joining forces to babysit while we went on a fun-filled two day conference with the Bloguettes. Who, by the way if you aren’t familiar or following, you MUST! Especially if you’re interested in a career in blogging, branding, or marketing on some level. They have such incredible style, are very skilled in anything related to social media, creating and implementing the perfect brand to give you the tools you need to be successful in your business. They know how its done, folks!
We arrived in Phoenix, settled in and decided we should attend the first event planned, which was a cocktail hour at the lovely Palomar Hotel in downtown Phoenix. After a few outfit changes (me) we were on our way! We just figured we’d check in early to save us time, especially since this newbie had no idea what to expect on the first day of the workshop! We arrived and the cutest girl with the GREATEST hair who we quickly became friends with, joined us in the elevator to the party on the roof. We checked in, grabbed our badges, fabulous swag bags, some drinks (obvi) to break the ice and began mingling with the all the #bossbabes in the crowd. We met some amazing women, all with different stories, backgrounds and start ups. It was fascinating, encouraging, and a small preview of what the next couple of days would look like. We were SO excited for day one!!
Day One: So first, COFFEE! I am not a fully functioning, pleasant adult in the morning without it. The Gypsy Cup hooked a sister up and they did NOT disappoint. I was ready to coffee & conquer the day after just one cup of that goodness! If you’re ever in the Gilbert, AZ area you should definitely look them up. Or check out the link above because they have a blog and a wide variety of products and services. Did I mention, they pull up in the CUTEST trailer EVER to the site of your event? This aspect alone is worth it all!
After Mamie and I scoped out the parking lot, which was recreated into a bloggers paradise, (I mean, you know we took a million photos since they had the perfect backdrops and all the cactus a girl could need), we went into our first course of the day. It was on how to plan your content! Hello, genius!! If you aren’t familiar with Planoly, you need to get on board. This is a feature, I am so happy to finally say I use. It allows me to plan my content ahead of time. So whether on Instagram, Facebook, or on your blog/website, this tool allows you to map out your exact posts on the days you want them to go live and schedules them accordingly. So if you like to procrastinate (me again) then this may be useful for you in managing your aesthetic and which posts you want to feature on certain days of the week/month.
Next, was a course on video. You may realize this, but video is becoming more and more appealing to followers and readers and in 2018 is quickly becoming all the rage. I want to eventually start vlogging and sharing our experiences in travel, tutorials and so forth, so this was super helpful as I look to implementing this in the near future.
One of my all times favorite courses was the entrepreneurship course given by the founder of the jewelry line, Origami Owl. Chrissy Weems and her daughter spoke about starting their business and how they turned it into a hugely successful endeavor. Her words were beyond inspiring and made me feel as though nothing is too small or big to conquer. There is room for everyone and YES, we are all in fact enough. Don’t we all need to hear that sometimes? That we are indeed where we are supposed to be. God doesn’t bring us to it without leading us through it. I totally believe this and how we can allow fear to talk us out of our destiny. Needless to say, after listening to her speak, “Step Your Game Up” became my mission in making this come back. She was motivating and kind of gave me a kick in the pants to get moving again. Check out their jewelry line here.
Day one left me feeling empowered, excited and so happy to be going through the process with Mamie by my side. Super thankful to have had the opportunity to learn, network and and grow together. We also couldn’t wait to get back to our babies for snuggles and an early bedtime! How old am I? Ha!
Day Two: Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
Let’s just dive right in to my two favorites of the day! Julie Soloman, blogger, New York Times best selling publicist, and she also has a highly successful podcast. She was so relatable, super sweet and gave great insight on effective online marketing. You can listen to her podcast here.
Meanwhile, Corbin is having a blast with Nonno, Lulu, Grandma, and baby Summit. Pretty sure, he didn’t miss me at all! He went on walks, hung out in his pj’s, ate all the candy in Grandma’s “secret drawer” and dug out every toy he could find to drag to the backyard. Successful time at Camp Grandma’s.
My final course was with Lorena who is a Bloguette and shared the effectiveness of a media kit and press kit. Why bloggers need them and how they can help in any advertising opportunity presented. I am currently working on a media kit for my blog and hope to share it in the next couple of weeks on my home page.
In concluding, my main takeaway, besides the knowledge, cute atmosphere and amazing braids, was the new found friendships I made. I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly fortunate I feel to have connected with this group of beautiful, insightful, and strong women. They each have so much to give to this world and I can’t wait to see their dreams flourish into reality. Big things are ahead and I am thankful God aligned our paths. If you ever have a chance to attend a workshop hosted by the Bloguettes, I would highly recommend going and just take in everything you possibly can. You get out what you put in and if you allow yourself to soak up all of the details, you will come out with so much more than with what you started. I am so glad I went and am so grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!! If you have any questions about my experience at the workshop, please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.