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MomForce Podcast Episode 7: Mom-hacks for Your Smartphone

July 16, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 7: Listen Here As moms, wives, and working women there is a certain expectation that we’re always reachable. Having a phone is not only important, it’s almost required! But that doesn’t mean we have to be addicted to our phones. The trick is getting them to work for us in a way that allows us to be more productive, less stressed, and happier!  In today’s episode Vanessa visits with her sister Leah, who shares all the brilliant ways she uses apps to maximize her phone’s potential. Setting alarms (to wake up in the morning or remember to get your kid from school), using reminders to create checklists (so satisfying!) and shopping lists that automatically pop up when you arrive at the store, adding images to your calendars and record keeping right in the app, shared notes and keeping important information handy - Vanessa and Leah have hacks for each of your native apps that will blow your mind (we’re talking way more than the basic functions here!).  Your phone can be a tool to make you more cheerful, you just have to know how to use it! Our goal is to always be present. Using technology to organize our lives gives us the opportunity to enjoy the good stuff. Thank you to our friend Jordan Page for sharing her story of how her son almost drowned while she was distracted on her phone at the pool. Such a great reminder of when it is important to put our phones down! Vanessa’s most used 3rd party apps: Evernote: I’ve been using this for years to save and organize all my logins and passwords and other important info like SS#s, frequent flier #s, copies of passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates. But now that I know about “locked” Notes, I may start using that more! Telegram: My husband and I use this app to have “private” conversations. 😉 Great Clips: We have a Great Clips around the corner from us where my kids get their hair cut. No more waiting in lines with this app! Audible: I love books but fall asleep if I sit down to read! So I listen to all of my books and always have a couple of good ones cued up in my account. Amazon    Target Asos Nordstrom: I HATE going shopping so I do almost all of it online. And through the app is even easier for quick purchases! Delta: We mostly fly Delta here out of SLC, but whatever airline you fly, you should try their app. It makes the whole trip smoother! Nest: I love our doorbell camera and automated thermostats. Remote: We use AppleTV but can never find the remote. This app saves the day!  Breathe (no link for this one)--This is actually an Apple Watch app, but I have to include it here. I have it set to remind me 3x a day to mindfully breathe. It leads me through 6 deep breaths and It helps me so much! Chatbooks: Every mom needs this app! Chatbooks is the absolute easiest and most affordable to get your photos off of your phone and into the hands of your family. And with the code POD20 all podcast listeners get 20% off their purchase.  Connect with us: Vanessa @vanessaquigely Leah Ward @leahrward And use code POD20 to get 20% off your Chatbooks order! Get more tips and tricks about allowance on our #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page.

MomForce Podcast Episode 6: Allowance?..."You get to live here!"

July 9, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 6: Listen Here It’s a Privilege to be My Kid… But You May Need a Few Bucks, Too…  Managing Allowance and Teaching Kids the Value of a Dollar With 11 siblings and 7 children of her own, it’s safe to say Vanessa has experimented with a range of possibilities when it comes to allowance. Whether it’s getting paid for simple household chores, getting a job, or being paid for good grades, teaching kids the value of a dollar is hard!  Let’s face it… we may feel like it’s privilege enough to live in our homes, but kids need money - especially as they get older! In a follow up last week’s Chores episode, Vanessa and her sister, Erika, sit down to discuss the challenge of wanting their kids to have fun without handing out money for nothing.   In our allowance episode, Vanessa and Erika chat about the different allowances (and reasons for them) they received as kids, and how they’ve used money to reward (and sometimes penalize) their children as they’ve grown up. From splitting the costs of non-essentials, to emphasizing the importance of money making skills, we’ll cover what’s worked, what hasn’t, and all the reality checks along the way (you’ll want to hear about the time Erika’s son, Jett, hit the jackpot with his Lemonade Stand).  There’s always more conversation on the MomForce Facebook Group Page. Follow us there as we continue the discussion by talking about ways to teach value to younger children and those not motivated by money. Read more about Richard and Linda Eyre’s “Family Economy” here and in their book The Entitlement Trap Before her kids are 13 and can get their own bank account, Vanessa uses First Kids Bank to manage her kids allowance.  Jett and his \u0024100 undefined A “Summer Job List” from Vanessa’s childhood: undefined Notice the white stickers on this chore chart from Vanessa’s childhood? There may not have been regular allowance, but her mom rewarded good behavior with money. undefined The Bank of Quigland, designed and painted by the Quigley family. undefined Vanessa’s Penalty Chart from 2007 undefined Connect with us: Vanessa @vanessaquigely Erika Anderson @rikkianderson And use code POD20 to get 20% off your Chatbooks order! Get more tips and tricks about allowance on our #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page.

MomForce Podcast Episode 5: When Your Chore Chart Bombs...

July 2, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. When Your Chore Chart Bombs... Making the Chore Chart Doesn’t Mean the Work Will Get Done  Listen Here Sisters Vanessa and Erika discuss tactics to get kids involved in household chores.  Let’s face it, your house isn’t going to clean itself. As families grow, so do their messes. If you want to keep your home from looking like a tornado struck, you’re going to need everyone to do their part. But that is easier said than done.  When it comes to kids and chores, we all get “the WHY,” but “the HOW” is another story. In today’s episode, Host Vanessa Quigley sits down with her sister Erika (aka Rikki), to discuss how kids can help with household chores. Between the two of them they’re raising 14 children and have tried lots of different things--from chore charts and assigned zones, to party style family clean ups--they dish on what has worked and what has failed miserably and share some hacks from members of the MomForce that are worth giving a go.  The bottom line is that these are important life skills to teach (sometimes for the sake of their future roommates and partners) and it’s not a one size fits all plan. Your 5 year old may love being rewarded with high-fives, but that may not work in their teenage years… trust us! But in the end, a job done by a kid is better than a job not done at all. We continue the conversation about never ending laundry over in a Facebook live in the MomForce Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288060834871331/ Vanessa’s Childhood Chore Charts: undefined undefined Some of Vanessa’s different chore charts through the years: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yzdg9y9ur1kbkfr/AAA8UzvU6OG2O9b84GxR6thGa?dl=0 Print this quick and easy Chore Chart here: undefined Many of Vanessa’s ideas about kid chores came from parenting gurus Linda and Richard Eyre https://valuesparenting.com/  Join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. We'd love to connect with you: Vanessa @vanessaquigley Erika @rikkianderson And use code POD20 for 20% off your Chatbooks order!

MomForce Podcast Episode 4: Meal Planning... or Not!

June 25, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 4: Listen Here Meal Planning...or Not! Everyone seems hungrier in summer, and the hectic schedule certainly throws new challenges into meal planning. A little preparation can go a long way!  There’s something about summer that seems to make kids hungrier. And with kids home all day, there’s an added challenge when it comes to meal planning. Gone are the days where you can send the kids off to school with a slice of toast in their hand then swing by the store to grab groceries for that night’s dinner. Now you’re responsible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (not to mention the snacks in between) all while juggling a hectic summer schedule.  In today’s episode, Vanessa and her sister Shelly discuss little steps you can take to make summer meal planning easier. Summer is a wonderful time of year, but brings added obstacles when it comes to the daily routine. Sometimes simply getting (and keeping!) food in the house is half the battle!  You don’t always have to prepare a big, fancy dinner. You know what your people like! Use these tips to be ready on the go, learn to cut corners, and use your resources. Make summer meal planning easy on yourself!  Quick and easy ways to cut a watermelon: Vanessa's Watermelon Hack Video Shelly's Watermelon Hack Video Vanessa and Shelly both just bought a summertime healthy meal plan guide from Clean Simple Eats Vanessa's favorite meal delivery service (with limited delivery in Utah) The Family Chef Shelly's baby is taking mealtime matters into his own hands! undefined undefined Share your recipes and pick up some new ones on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. We'd love to hear from you: Vanessa at @vanessaquigley Shelly at @shellyhyde And use code POD20 for 20% off your Chatbooks order! Print this simple Weekly Meal Planner here: undefined Taco Soup Printable here: undefined Creamy Chicken on Rice Printable here: undefined

MomForce Podcast Bonus Episode: Who & Why

June 19, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Bonus Episode: Who & Why Bringing Moms Together to Help Strengthen Families  Listen Here If you just discovered our podcast, you might be asking yourself, “Who are these people and why another mom podcast?” Well, let us tell you!  In this episode, we introduce Vanessa Quigley, entrepreneur and mom of 7 kids ranging from ages 24-11 (plus a new daughter-in-law!). Along with her sisters (and co-hosts) they have 30 kids… YES! 30! That’s a lot of mommin’!  Together with her husband, Nate, Vanessa runs a company called Chatbooks. In the early days of their business, Nate and Vanessa would work late into the night personally responding to customer emails. As the company grew, so did their need for helping hands. They hired remote, part-time employees to jump in and help with the workload, all of whom just happened to be moms! And with this, the MomForce was born! A group was created, and friends and family were invited to join. What started as a team of women using Facebook as valuable parenting tool became a growing community where moms could find advice on everything from getting their kids to sleep in their own beds to sneaking veggies into the dinner menu. Today, The MomForce Facebook Group is a sisterhood of over 6,000 women sharing their best parenting hacks.  There was just too much good stuff to keep trapped on Facebook. So, with the goal of strengthening families, we introduce to you the MomForce Podcast! Quickie 15 minute episodes that cover all the crazy ins-and-outs of mom life and get you on your way!  Print your Summer Bucket List here: undefined Stay on the same page with a Calendar Printable here: undefined Join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. As always would love to hear from you: Vanessa at @vanessaquigley And use code POD20 for 20% off your Chatbooks order!

MomForce Podcast Episode 2: Babysitting: Part II

June 17, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page! Episode 2: Listen Here! All Things Babysitters: Part II Part II: Setting realistic expectations and what to do when things don’t go as planned Babysitters are the lifeline of a Mother’s sanity. But let’s be honest, there are several tiers of babysitters. In the first part of this two-part episode, we discussed the many roles a babysitter can fill. In today’s episode, Vanessa and Leah break down what happens when things don’t go quite as planned, how to get past the awkwardness of the pay conversation, and what you can realistically expect when you invite someone into your home. Hiring babysitters is all about allowing yourself to be a better mother! Whether you returned to a tornado of a house or your (likely well paid) sitter made it possible for you to come home and slip straight into bed, you’ve got to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is everyone alive and happy 2. Was it worth it. We’re continuing the conversation on our #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page, where we’ll be chatting about older sibling babysitters! Listen to the episode, and join us there! You can also connect with us here: Vanessa @vanessaquigley Leah @leahrward Download the printable here. undefined

MomForce Podcast Episode 3: Camping with Kids

June 17, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 3: Listen Here Camping with Kids Whether you’re looking for a true outdoor survivalist experience or your idea of roughing it involves piling the family into a single hotel room, these tips will strengthen relationships and leave you with fond family memories. Our MomForce has spoken and one thing on many summer bucket lists is camping! Whether your idea of camping involves being deserted in the wilderness or you consider a hotel room full of kids roughing it, family camp-outs are a great way to foster memories. In this episode, host Vanessa Quigley is joined by her sister, Kara, co-founder of Raising Wild Swimwear and mother of 4, to discuss the highs and lows of braving the great outdoors. While they agree that camping may not be for everyone, there are ways to recreate the experiences they so fondly remember without requiring expert survivalist skills. And hey, everything tastes better by a campfire, right? Vanessa and Kara discuss tips for the hotel camper and the nature lover alike. One thing holds true: when it comes to camping with family, compromise is key. While it may not be the most relaxing or rejuvenating trip, that’s not why you do it. Just remember… one night won’t kill you. Happy Camping!   Awesome blog post about camping with littles by one of our MomForce moms,Tiffany Delangie Camping with Toddlers Kara and Shelly's swimsuit company Raising Wild Our family's airboat and gator park in Orlando, FL Wild Florida Pictures of Kara's family on their beloved "Campfire Island" undefined undefined Get more tips and tricks about camping on our #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. We'd love to connect with you: Vanessa @vanessaquigely Kara @karahaught And use code POD20 to get 20% off your Chatbooks order! Print your packing list here: undefined Click here for your camping list printable!

MomForce Podcast Episode 1: Babysitting: Part I

June 17, 2019

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page! Episode 1: Listen Here! All Things Babysitters: Part I Part I: Finding the perfect style sitter to fit your everyday needs There’s no one size fits all when it comes to babysitters. Whether you’re looking for a mini camp director or are simply in need of a warm body that can dial 911 in case of emergency, babysitters are a crucial tool for remaining a sane mother. In Part 1 of this 2 part episode, host Vanessa Quigley is joined by her sister, Leah, as they discuss the different (and creative) roles a babysitter can fill. From the Mother’s Helper who is in charge of cleaning up the Slime mess and touching the yucky stuff at the aquarium to the sitter who can handle “witching hour” while you enjoy a much needed Early Date with your spouse, the right babysitter will keep you from losing your mother-loving mind this summer. Join us as we discuss tips and tricks for keeping the “television babysitter” at bay and answer all of your babysitting questions on our #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Download the printable here. undefined

7 Tips to Getting Amazing Vacation Photos This Summer

June 12, 2019

Summer vacation is the time to relax, explore the world and create memories together as a family – it’s also the perfect opportunity to capture some epic photos of the kids! We’ve rounded up the best tips from professional photographers around the globe on getting the most amazing vacation photos with your family. undefined 1. Get down to their level “It’s important to get on the kids’ level so that you aren’t shooting down at them.” – Dana in Budapest Shooting from a lower angle is less intimidating for little ones, and also allows you to capture more of the scenery behind them! 2. Keep it candid and capture the fun “Encourage the kids to be kids! Let them run, jump, get dirty, and have fun.” – Nicky in Lake Tahoe “Always have them doing something. If they just have to stand still they will get bored. My favorite: let’s see who can jump the highest!” – Nadine in Amsterdam 3. Avoid the crowds (or at least make it look that way!) “A way to making a crowded place look like you are there alone is to change the point of view. Try to shoot from above or below, and move around until your subject will hide the other people around. You could also use a monument or wall to cover what you don’t want in your frame.” – Roberta in Rome 4. Take advantage of jet lag “When you’re dealing with jet lag and can’t sleep, getting up extra early and catching the sunrise at major tourist spots will help you get photos with gorgeous light and fewer people around.” – Tanja in Vancouver 5. Avoid harsh light Midday sun can cause some serious squinting, shadows, and frowning faces – not fun! Try to find a spot in the shade that will allow you to capture your kid’s smiling face without the distraction of harsh light in their eyes. 6. Let go of perfection The aim of vacation photos isn’t to get the most perfect shot – it’s to capture the moment. What may seem like a less-than-stellar snap at the time can turn out to be a family favourite years down the road. 7. Make sure to get yourself in the picture! Pass the camera over to someone else to make sure that there are plenty of photos with you actually in them. Down the road, you’ll be glad you took them! undefined

How to Create Back-To-School Traditions

September 5, 2018

There’s a tradition in Germany, and several neighboring countries called the “Schultute” in which children are given a cone-shaped package full of sweets and gifts upon returning to (or starting) school on the first day of a new year. It’s intended to make a day that may cause anxiety or dread a little sweeter. Adults enjoy a festive celebration at the end of the calendar year on New Year’s Eve, but for children, the year really ends and begins with the school calendar. Transitioning from one classroom, grade, or school, to another is one of the more momentous events in our kids’ lives and deserves special attention. Make a meal to remember. The end of summer can be capped off with a special dinner the night before school starts. Several of our #Momforce readers allow their children to pick a favorite meal for the family to enjoy either the evening before or the first day of the school year. The conversation always flows more easily from children who are enjoying their food, and this is a great opportunity to get your kids to share their excitement, fear, or curiosity as the new year begins.   Make shopping a special time. School requires supplies, which require shopping and hunting for new clothes, backpacks, notebooks, and/or sports equipment a great way to bring fun into what could be an otherwise tedious activity.  With each purchase lies the opportunity to discuss goals, hopes, and apprehensions. The trip to the mall, or even just sitting together to scroll through Amazon, gives parents the chance to share their excitement for their children’s work and hobbies. Shift the idea of back-to-school shopping to a treasure hunt done together, instead of an expensive chore for Mom or Dad, and you can make it a fun ritual to look forward to. Make it special. Of course, small gifts, treats, or fun extras for their desk, locker, or backpack are always welcomed by kids as a fun tradition. One #Momforce member shared that a new cookie shop had opened locally in her neighborhood, owned by a former teacher. She offers specially personalized cookies at the start and finish of each school year that can be handed out to teachers and snuck into kids’ lunch boxes as a wonderful treat to say, “Hooray for school,” in a fun and delicious way. Many of our moms reminisced about a special set of fun shaped erasers, an extra sparkly pencil, and those unique and fun additions to their crayons and rulers that made the start of their own childhood school year feel even more exciting. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big to be special for a child. The first day of school deserves celebration, and however you choose to carve out a little extra time or enthusiasm for your child, it will be appreciated and remembered. From a special breakfast to a ride to the bus stop when they normally have to walk, every gesture that shows your kids you’re excited and proud will help to get them off on the right foot to a successful academic year. You’ve got this, mama! ______ And check out these apps we found for you to make back to school a little easier this time around:   Kango – this California-based family rideshare and childcare app has been rated the best “Uber For Kids” two years in a row by SF Magazine. Have the background checked and trustline certified driver/sitter pick the kids up from school or practice, and babysit them at home while you’re at work or running errands! Habyts – Habyts is a free family habit-building app that regulates screen time, eliminates homework distraction, and motivates your kids without the nagging. Cozi – This app is designed to make it easier to manage everything we have to do. It coordinates and communicates everyone’s schedules and activities, tracks grocery lists, manages to-do lists, plans ahead for dinner, and keeps the whole family on the same page.

Personalize Your Father’s Day Chatbook with Dadlibs!

May 23, 2018

Your dad’s not a regular dad, he’s a cool dad, so make your Father’s Day Chatbook extra special with personalized Dadlibs! Add these to your Chatbook, fill in the blanks, and tell Dad what makes him the greatest. How to add your Dadlibs: 1. Save the Dadlib you want to add to your Chatbook: You can save Dadlibs to your phone by holding down on the image below and choosing Save Image, or you can right click on the image from your computer and choose Save Image As. 2. After you create your Chatbook, find the Dadlibs in your images and add it just as you would add photos to your book. undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined

How to Make Spring Cleaning a Success

May 15, 2018

With spring in full swing, it’s time to start cleaning out those wintry cobwebs and funk from last year. Who doesn’t love to start the new season with a home that’s deep cleaned from top to bottom? Our #Momforce Facebook group has some tips that might just make all of your spring cleaning dreams a reality! Take it step by step. The biggest and best tip we have is to tackle just one room or project at a time. It can be so easy to get sidetracked by something else that before you know it, you have half a dozen rooms or projects that are just half clean. Stay focused. Finish the one thing you set out to do before moving onto something else, and each time you feast your eyes on that perfectly polished room, it’ll inspire you to keep going! Declutter, declutter, declutter! Cleaning is the name of the game, but if you declutter, you’ll have less stuff to clean. Most of us don’t clear out the clutter until we’re moving, which means stuff can pile up if you’ve been in the same home for a while. Decluttering is so liberating and it can also help you realize the things you don’t need, which can also help control your spending a little better when you think about bringing home extra knick-knacks, kitchen items, or other non-necessities. Grab an empty box and pile it as you go with books, toys, knick-knacks, and anything else you never wish to dust again. Drop it at your local Goodwill and be sure to pick up a donation receipt for filing next year’s taxes. Beauty is surface deep. Do surface cleaning on a regular basis. Things like sweeping, mopping, wiping down counters, etc. are for everyday cleanliness. Keeping up with these easy chores can help you focus on bigger tasks such as cleaning the oven, washing the walls and windows, cleaning behind the fridge, etc. Getting in the habit of surface cleaning will make it feel like part of your day, and those bigger cleaning projects will feel easier to tackle. Practice patience with yourself and home.  Remember that a true deep cleaning takes time. Give yourself several days to really clean and declutter everything. Maybe drop a donation box each day on your way to pick up the kiddos at school. You don’t need to do it all at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your home won’t be deep cleaned in one either! Be realistic about your goals and your approach, and remember to stay focused on one project at a time. Before you know it, your friends and family will be asking for your housekeeper’s info.  You’ve got this, mama!  Happy spring cleaning! ___ The #Momforce by Chatbooks Facebook group is a community and support group for women hosted by Chatbooks. Join us here for tips, tricks, and mom relief efforts.

Wedding 101: How to Start Planning Your Wedding

January 19, 2018

Getting engaged to be married is one of the most exciting events that any couple can experience! However, when the initial excitement and engagement celebrations are over, it can be a bit daunting trying to establish where to begin with wedding planning. Lucky for you, Wedding Planner is here to share Wedding 101s of where to start when planning your big day. undefined First thing’s first: when it comes to planning your wedding, organization is vital. Organizing a wedding is like putting all the pieces of a puzzle together; you’ve got so many vital components, whether it’s the venue, food, dress, guest list, etc.! This is when being organized is key. Before you start the planning process, make sure you’ve got an organization system in place whether that’s a wedding folder, spreadsheet, or list. Fortunately, Wedding Planner has already thought about this and offers free online planning tools to help keep you in check! Staying organized will allow planning to go much more smoothly by helping you keep track of what’s been done and what’s still to do! Money management is important when it comes to planning your wedding. Before you start to explore venues, dress options, and caterers, it’s a good idea to choose a wedding budget that works for you and then plan around it! Doing so will make planning so much easier as you know what you’re working with and which prices work within your budget. Get the fun started by choosing your wedding party! This early step in wedding planning is fun and exciting for everyone involved.Choosing the wedding party early on will be a major help with the wedding process, as wedding planning responsibilities can be delegated to group members to ease some of the stress for the couple. Once the wedding party has been selected, it’s time to plan the guest list! Knowing how many people are likely to attend can be a huge help in picking a venue and organizing caterers that may be sensitive regarding their capacity limits. If you get a rough idea of how many guests will attend, it will make organizing the big day much easier. The next step on the list is choosing your venue and saving the date. Again, the earlier you do this the better! Organizing the venue in advance will help guarantee your first choice of where to get married. And by saving the date in advance, you can give your guests enough time to make sure they’ll definitely be there. Getting the venue sorted out leads you to the next task: turning it into the wedding of your dreams! There are quite a few things that go into transforming any space into a wedding venue. You need to organize and book caterers and suppliers for the food, cake, flowers, music, photography, and décor. Make sure to use your wedding planning organizational system here to keep track of all the suppliers and what they are doing. Once the guest list has been made, date picked, and venue booked, it’s time to send the invitations! The rule of thumb is to send them between 2-3 months in advance to give your guests plenty of time to get days off, transportation sorted, and organize any other issues that stand in their way of getting to your wedding. Up next is bridal style, beauty, and glam! It’s no secret that everyone’s eyes will be on the bride, so feeling and looking your best is a priority! Choosing your dress early on will help take some of the stress out of the wedding planning process and give you plenty of time in case alterations need to be made (they can sometimes take a few months, so don’t leave it until the last minute). Additionally, once you know what bridal style you want, you can plan your bridal hair and beauty around it. Typically, a bride will have a hair and makeup trial before the big day to make sure she loves her look. This means you’ll need to not only book your hair stylist and make-up artist in advance, but you’ll also need to book your trial too. Another must-have is purchasing your rings! Some tips for ring shopping include deciding on a style that both the bride and groom love and that’s within your price range. Like the wedding dress, rings may need to be resized or slightly altered, so make sure you allow a little bit of time for this so you can have your dream rings on the big day! Wedding accommodation and transportation definitely needs to be organized early on. Whether, you’re staying home, getting ready at a hotel, or you need accommodation after the reception, you’ll want to get it booked early to guarantee your rooms. Likewise, don’t leave transportation until the last minute. Organize it in advance so you’re sure to get to the venue on time and, if you choose so, in style. Some of the most fun parts of the wedding experience are the bachelor and bachelorette parties! Although these big send-offs are usually arranged by the Maid of Honor and Best Man, it’s always good to discuss details in advance so everyone can agree on a budget and date to make sure the entire wedding party can be in attendance. Last but not least, remind your marriage officiant to organize the registration of your marriage license. You’ll need to give notice at least 28 days in advance, in which you will provide details of the wedding. In addition, you will need two witnesses to sign the marriage register alongside you and your new spouse. There you have it, the Wedding 101s when it comes to planning your big day! All weddings are different and everyone will have their own traditions and preferences, but we hope you find these starting points useful when organizing the most phenomenal day of your life!

Easy Halloween Treat Ideas

October 17, 2017

Do you see all the Halloween treats coming up on your feed this time of year? I know we do and we decided to gather a list of easy to make, delicious snacks and treats for you to make with your little ones. These tangerine pumpkins from Brendid wins for adorable, healthy, and super easy! undefined Speaking of pumpkins, if you love Rice Krispies and are looking for a fun twist… these Rice Krispie pumpkins from One Little Project are perfect for you! undefined Everybody needs a chocolate fix! Make your brownies come alive by just drizzling some frosting (or white chocolate) to make spooooooky mummies from Pretty Providence! undefined Not in the baking mood? These four-ingredient bats from Chelsea’s Messy Apron are so easy for your little ones to assemble too! undefined Try these easy spider cupcakes from Texanerin! They will be the hit of any party! undefined And….. if you need a no-bake dessert, try this Monster Munch from A Dish of Daily Life. To make this recipe even simpler, add pecans or candied pecans instead of pumpkin pecans. Also, instead of making kettle corn buy microwavable kettle corn. undefined

Happy and Sane: Beauty Tips

September 26, 2017

We sat down with Summer Bellessa—one of the most fashionable women we know (she can even makes the scrubbiest of T-shirt and sweatpants ensemble look good). So we had to get her secrets to share with all of you.  She’s a model, fashionista, and co-creator of The Girls With Glasses so she knows her stuff. undefined (Photo courtesy of @annmarieloves) Turns out, makeup and beauty can be as easy or as time consuming as you’d like them to be. (We tend to fall more on the easier scale of things so this was a giant W of validation for us!!) Summer recommends three things to make your beauty routine easy and effortless. Spend time on skincare. “If you have great skin, you won’t have to wear as much makeup.” Summer suggests drinking enough water, getting a facial, moisturizing, and washing your face every night so you can spend less time applying makeup in the morning. Add a hat to polish any outfit. “I think hats are a real big style booster. If you’re just wearing jeans and a T-shirt but you want to feel like you look pulled together, throw a hat on and it really ups your style quota,” Summer says. (Check out her favorite hats here.) Earrings take an outfit to the next level. Summer says, “Even if you slick your hair back with a middle part, you can throw on some big earrings it just looks really fun and stylish.” undefined (Photo courtesy of @ Casey Brodley ) When you’re on the go and have only a few minutes to get ready, Summer recommends bringing your makeup bag with you in the car. That way, you can get ready in the few minutes before going into a meeting in your car. As a mom of three, that’s how she usually gets ready anyways, she jokes. Plus, her everyday makeup routine is perfect for the busy mom: Armani foundation used as coverup. (It has great coverage so no need to use a lot) Blush (her favorite is a Revlon one that she’s used since middle school!) Mascara Lip gloss undefined (Photo courtesy @ Meg Ruth) At the end of the day, how you look is such a small portion of what makes up who you are, Summer emphasizes, so do whatever makes you feel best.

Easy Kid Gardening Tips with Live Free Miranda

July 25, 2017

Gardening with kids is the perfect activity to help bond and bring in something a little extra fresh to any meal. We got some great, kid friendly gardening tips from Live Free Miranda. Miranda says one key to success is: Low Maintenance Once planted in good soil, the herbs only need sunlight, water, and an occasional sprinkling of fertilizer to grow happily. I can send the kids outside with a watering bucket and they love the job of dumping it in the garden. Because of our mild winter weather, my herbs last year after year, sometimes growing all the way through the colder weather. The plants easily grow up, stretch out, and offer piles of fragrant leaves for us to use in our kitchen. Ours get almost full sun, and seem thrilled about it. We make sure to water a little more in the hot weather, and luckily they are happy as can be. Get all of Mirandas tips here! undefined

Using the Web App for Custom Books

June 18, 2017

If you A. have hoards of photos on your hard drive, B. prefer working on your computer, or C. honestly, are just simply reluctant to download a mobile app, Chatbooks is still for you. With our simple, easy-to-use web app, you can create photo books from any computer. So don’t wait a minute longer and get your photos into a book you can treasure! Get started on a Custom Chatbook today using these easy steps! 1. Go to chatbooks.com and then click, ‘Get Started’ undefined 2. Select ‘Custom Books’ undefined 3. Select either ‘8×8’ or ‘6×6’ undefined 4. Click ‘Add Photos’ undefined 5. Select how you would like to upload your photos, whether from social media or from your computer undefined *For 8×8 books only:* If you would like to create full-page photos, follow these steps: 1. Select a particular image you would like to make as a full page photo undefined 2. Then select, ‘Full-Page Photo’ undefined 3. Finally, position your photo how you would like it to appear in your book by selecting ‘Crop’ and then ‘Done’ at the bottom of the screen undefined

The 8×8 Photo Book for Big Memories

May 21, 2017

What better way to celebrate all of life’s biggest moments, than with BIG photo books?! Just when you didn’t think there could be anything better than our original Chatbooks, we are unveiling a new BIG Chatbook with an option for full-bleed photos. Perfect for weddings, vacations or other special occasions, these larger books create a timeless look. undefined Here’s how to get started: 1. On your Chatbooks account, click the blue plus icon undefined 2. Select, ‘Custom Books’ undefined  3. Select, ‘8×8’ undefined 4. Click “Add Photos” undefined 5. Add photos from any source undefined 6. You will now be able to see your book labelled ‘8×8’ undefined In order to make images full-page, follow these instructions: 1. Click on the album to edit the book undefined 2. Select a certain image undefined 3.  Make sure you are in the ‘Preview’ tab, and then select, ‘Full Page Photo’ in the bottom right corner undefined 4. Position your image the way you would like it to be displayed on the page and then select ‘Done’ undefined 5. Now, when you go back and preview your original album, you will see the images you have selected as full-page images *You can select as many images to be full-page as you would like, at no additional cost* undefined FAQ: Can I use any of the new discover covers in 8×8? Can I upgrade to hardcover in an 8×8? How many photos can I include in an 8×8? How do captions work for full-page images? How much does the 8×8 cost? Can I take one of my current 6×6 books and upgrade it to 8×8? Is there a way to full-bleed all of the photos at once? Can I print an 8×8 as a series book?

Tips and Hacks for Making an Amazing Vacation Photo Book

May 3, 2017

If you’re like most people, you clear out some memory on your phone before taking a big vacation so that you can pack it full of new pictures. Sure, sharing those images on social media is fun, but once you’ve made it back to your hometown, wouldn’t you—and all your travel buddies—like a tangible photo book to help you relive the fun? Follow these tips to take (and beg, borrow, and steal!) incredible photos from your group trip, then use Chatbooks to create an inexpensive, high-quality photo book you can send directly to each lucky attendee—so he or she will never forget how much fun you had! undefined PACK A SELFIE STICK… Here us out: The admittedly ridiculous-looking contraption isn’t just for group selfies (although it’s great for that, too). The stick also serves as kind of a crane, helping you snake your camera out to a vantage point you yourself might not be able to get. If you’re trying to snap a great high-above shot of something in the distance (like a heron on the other side of the river, when a bunch of brush is blocking your view), the selfie stick is your friend. …AND A TRIPOD, AND MAYBE A WATERPROOF CASE. Other great packables, if you can fit ‘em in your luggage: a small tripod for taking non-blurry nighttime shots and great group photos with the timer, and a waterproof phone case for cool underwater pictures. The flexible Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand is a favorite for a reason. SHARE THE LOVE. So you all spot the very same mariachi band/incredible sunset/school of dolphins at the same moment. You know what happens next: A silence descends as everyone desperately reaches for their phones and begins lunging around one another to try to get their own version of the exact same photo. Guess what: It doesn’t have to be this way! By installing an app like PhotoCircle, or setting up a shared Dropbox folder, you can all upload and exchange your pictures whenever you have wifi—so that you don’t have to stress about getting a better photo than your talented travel buddy could. MAKE YOUR LOVED ONES THE STARS. Most vacation photos fall into one of two categories: There’s a beautiful landscape or scene without anyone, or there’s your friend smiling directly at the camera. But some of the most interesting photos fall somewhere in between the two: You include a travel buddy in the picture (otherwise, why not just buy the postcard?), but he’s not always centered in the frame, saying cheese. Instead, your friend call run ahead and climb a few steps to give those ancient ruins some perspective (now you can tell they’re hundreds of feet tall!), or your husband can stand near the edge of the cliff, looking out, to capture the whole magnificent feel of the place. One photographer who’s known for making his wife the star of his travel photos (well, her hand, anyway), is Murad Osmann—check out his Instagram for inspiration! ENJOY THE MOMENT! You might not capture every single special scene, but that’s OK! You can add captions to your Chatbook, describing the hilarious few seconds before or after the shutter clicked—the story that everyone will remember, but your camera didn’t quite catch. In a survey from Intrepid Travel , 31 percent of people admitted they’d been so concerned with getting a good photo that they’d missed out on experiencing the moment. Much better to be concerned with having a blast! undefined

Meet Andy J. Pizza

April 24, 2017

Illustrator, father, and big-time-dreamer Andy J. Pizza has created illustrations just for you. For Father’s Day only, we’re offering Custom photo books, featuring his exclusive illustrations to include alongside your photos. Start your Father's Day book! undefined

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