Friday, February 29, 2008

Serenity Now Project Gallery

I've rounded up the best projects that I've shared here at Serenity Now. (You'll have to click over if you're viewing this in a reader)
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Monday, February 25, 2008

Must-Read Blogs

These are my go-to blogs when I need a good read:

Big Mama

Centsational Girl

Domestic Fashionista


Honey We're Home

Hooked on Houses

Imparting Grace

Infarrantly Creative

Nesting Place

Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM

Sweet Pea

Tatertots and Jello

The Blessed Nest

This is the Year

Thrifty Decor Chick

320 Sycamore

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Featured On

Thank you to the sites who have so kindly featured me! 

I am open to writing guest posts, interviews, and more, schedule permitting!

Popular Posts

Crafts, Decor, and Tutorials:

Blogging Tips:

In the Kitchen:

On Fashion, Friends, and More:

Home Life:

Blog Parties I Like to Host:

Every Friday-Link up your best post of the week!

Monthly- Any projects, tips, or tricks related to your "Crafty Cutter" (ie. Cricut, Silhouette, Sizzix, etc.)

Monthly- Share your own story and meet some new bloggers.

Tell us about your biggest Decorating Dilemma and get feedback from other party participants.

Share the Progress you've made on those dilemmas---or in any other aspect of your life!

Advertising with Serenity Now

Thank you for your interest in advertising here on Serenity Now. Keep reading for rates and to see what my Sponsors have to say!

I focused my attention on blogging in early 2009, and I now blog consistently, six to seven days a week. My blog has grown steadily in readership and subscribers, and I've been Featured on several popular blogs and websites.

I love to partner with businesses and other bloggers to share products that are interesting to myself and, more importantly, to my readers. My readers love to see posts, reviews, and Giveaways about home improvement and home decor, crafting supplies, jewelry, gifts, hair accessories for women, children's clothes and accessories, craft items, and photography.

Some of the larger companies and sites I've successfully partnered with are Elmer'sSilhouettePlaidDannon, KrylonKraftRubbermaidHGTVLender's Bagels, and Duncan Hines.

What do sponsors receive at a competitive rate?
  • I offer several 125px x 125px ads in a prominent spot next to the most recent post on my blog. (You must have your own static 125 x 125 button.) I do also feature a limited number of premium 261 x 125 ads from time to time.
  • New sponsors will receive an introduction post dedicated to promoting their business.
  • I always encourage a small giveaway from a sponsor to generate interest in the introduction post.
  • I'd also like to set aside one weekend post per month to feature my sponsors and any specials, new products, or Giveaways that they have. I link to Twitter and Facebook.
I occasionally do reviews and giveaways for products or services that might appeal to my readers.

If you think we'd be a good match, please contact me at for current rates.

Need a referral? Here's what some of my Sponsors have to say:

"Amanda is great to work with. She does a great job making sure her Followers are aware of her sponsors, and I feel you are getting a good "deal" and bang for your buck when sponsoring her blog. You're not just one sponsor among many that simply get lost in the sauce; but again, she does a great job of promoting and highlighting you. Thanks,  Amanda!" -Sarah, Mississippi Mud

"Advertising on Serenity Now has definitely produced a bump in visits to my shop, and of course sales! Working with Amanda has been wonderful ~ she goes above and beyond for her sponsors and I will definitely be advertising with her again." -RJ, RJ Charms

"Amanda...goes above and beyond what most bloggers are willing to do for an affordable advertising price. When she posted about my shop, the number of views sky rocketed and I believe sales down the line were a result as well." -Anna, Crafty Girls Workshop

"Working with Amanda is a delight. She is always keeping me in the loop with what is going on with her blog that I may want to be involved in, and is always offering suggestions on ways to get my name out there. I thoroughly enjoy associating with her as a sponsor, and as a blog friend!" -Xazmin, Ribbon Blossoms Chic Boutique

This policy is valid from 31 January 2012

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content will always be identified.

To get your own policy, go to

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Thank you for your interest in advertising here on Serenity Now.

I focused my attention on blogging in early 2009, and I now blog consistently, five or more days a week. My blog has grown steadily in readership and subscribers, and I've been featured on several popular blogs.

I love to partner with other bloggers, Etsy shops, online stores, and home businesses that are interesting to myself and, more importantly, to my readers. Some of my personal favorite products are jewelry, home decor items, gifts, hair accessories for women, children's clothes and accessories, craft items, and photography.

What do sponsors receive at a competitive rate?

  • I offer several 125px x 125px ads in a prominent spot next to the most recent post on my blog. (You must have your own 125x125 button. I prefer static images.) I do also feature a limited number of premium 261x125 ads from time to time.
  • New sponsors will receive an introduction post dedicated to promoting their business. 
  • I always encourage a small giveaway from a sponsor to generate interest. 
  • I'd also like to set aside one weekend post per month to feature my sponsors and any specials, new products, or Giveaways that they have. I link to Twitter and Facebook.

I occasionally do reviews and giveaways for books, magazines, products, or services that might appeal to my readers.

If you think we'd be a good match, please contact me at for current rates. 

About Me


I'm Amanda.

Twenty-faux, stay-at-home mom of two sweet little girls, wife to T, shoe connoisseur. We live in Virginia, but I spend a lot of time in Target. I'd be super-happy if a Starbucks wanted to open in my own backyard.

I guess you clicked over to read a little bit more about me.

I stay home with my kids, but in a not so distant former life I once wrote long papers for college professors about things like "Herosim in The Aeneid vs. Troilus and Criseyde."

Sounds riveting, huh? Maybe not. But the point is, I loved reading and I loved writing. And for awhile, I stopped expressing myself creatively. Starting this blog up and beginning to consistently post was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

My goal for this blog is to create a fun little nook that I can retreat to when I have some thoughts that I want to share. I hope it brings you a smile and some "Serenity Now" too!

Things I Love:
  • Jesus
  • Pink
  • Target
  • New York City
  • Christmas
  • Non-fat, Light Whip Mochas
  • Travel
  • Going to the movies with my Chick Flick Club
  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • My DVR (which thoughtfully captures Glee, So You Think You Can Dance?, Project Runway, and Grey's Anatomy for me)
  • Glenn Beck
  • Good manners
Things I'm Not a Fan Of:
  • Mean Kids
  • Men Who Don't Open Doors for Ladies
  • Squash
  • Rude People
  • Sweating
  • When People Mix Up "Your" and "You're"
  • Spam Comments
That about does it. If you want to know more, just ask!

Thanks for stopping by!
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A Blog "About Nothing"

Serenity Through Creativity

Why am I Blogging?
This blog is my happy place. Staying home all day with two kids is enough to up anyone's crazy quota. Blogging is my attempt to branch out a little before insanity takes over. I started writing again to exercise my rusty skills; and even though I might not be examining the works of Milton or Dickens, I'm having fun sharing my experiences with everyone who is so kind to stop by and read. As Frank Costanza would say, "Serenity Now!"

What Do I Write About?
On my blog you'll see my thrifty finds, recipes, attempts at crafty things, musings on everything from fashion to TV, and stories of the slightly organized chaos that is my life. 

What I read:
Aside from finding a spare moment to escape with some great Fluffy Books, I love to read decor blogs and creative crafty blogs (you'll see a bunch of great ones on my Blog Roll!). I adore the community that blogging provides me! When I first became a mom, I gave up on my creative side for awhile, but reading about other bloggers' artistic adventures inspired me to make the most of the home the T family lives in. My latest mission is to take my home from "Blah" to Beautiful, one room at a time!

These are the people I blog most about:

The hubs, known here as "T." I wrote all about why I love him here.

Natalie is my oldest. A bright, funny, budding Fashion Diva.

Michaela Byrd is my little one. A tiny sweetheart with a mischevious side.

Hope you'll stop back by my little blog about nothing!
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mind Your Manners at Chic-fil-a

There is a horrible strain of the flu going around in my area of Virginia. It's hitting schools, churches, daycares, and even my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. So you know I had to be stir-crazy to haul two kids out on a play-date at a local Chic-fil-a when there is such nastiness going around. I figured that Purell and Wet Ones would keep illness at bay. Who would have thought that it isn't the flu I should be worried about, but a couple of kids whose oblivious mothers use the play area in the restaurant as their own personal babysitter? I never expected peril on the playground...just a nice lunch with my friend and her three daughters.

I am the last person to judge other people's kids. My older daughter has thrown enough hissy fits in Panera and Chic-fil-a that I am surprised they don't have a "wanted" poster with her photo posted near the entrances. The little one is only seven weeks old and seems more mild-mannered than her sibling...I am hoping it stays this way. Natalie can sure get out of control, like most two year olds I know, but a bully she is not. She's also only two years old, unlike the little trolls we ran into on Friday. The youngest of the bunch was probably six or so.

I'm also the last person to judge another mom's parenting skills. I've had my fair share of screw-ups, but I do try to be considerate of other families. When we met up with our playmates for lunch, my friend "LM" had to contort her body in order to even get our kids into their seats at the table. She had to twist in ways that could have earned her a spot in the Barnum & Bailey line-up, all because the group of moms at the table behind ours were taking up enough space for a HUMMER to park in. Except the one mom wasn't parking her HUMMER...she brought in her enormous travel system stroller and parked it right up against the seat of LM's middle child. Why is a travel system necessary in Chic-fil-a? I could have understood if she was actually using the stroller to say, walk her baby around the restaurant for some fresh air or something, but the baby was sitting in her lap, as happy as a clam. The woman didn't blink an eye as LM struggled to wedge "H" into her seat.

Sitting directly next to the glass that looks into the play area, the moms were so engrossed in their Bible study that the second mom didn't notice that her little Ghengis Khan was terrorizing the playland on which our children had now migrated to. (Why is the lure of the play area so strong that only ice cream can break its hold on our kids?) Little Ghengis, with her pretty blonde curls, made sure she was partially hidden behind the climbing tower before she started in on LM's oldest girls, H and J. It looked like everybody was kung-foo fighting in there, because poor H and J were doing their best to steer clear of Ghengis and keep an eye on their younger sister, L, and Natalie. L and Natalie had their own problems- they were being stalked by "Nero" and his sister, "Caligula," who belonged to a haggard-looking woman sitting on the other side of us. I should mention that Caligula far exceeded the size requirements for the play area. I notice more and more often that moms "forget" to follow restaurant guidelines, allowing their older kids to run ammuck at the expense of the little ones who just want to play.

Apparently, there was some sort of power struggle going on on the other side of the glass partition, because Caligula turned on Nero so quickly that he hardly saw it coming. After he climbed and jumped over every surface, shoved Natalie and L out of the way a couple times, and kept the other kids from going down the slide, Caligula made a power play and shoved him backwards so hard that he fell and almost slammed his head into the climbing tower. I am sure the poor 15 year old that cleans the play area at the end of the day would have loved mopping up all of the blood from that accident waiting to happen. Thankfully, LM ran in and sternly told the kids to cut it out, which they did. For about five seconds. When their mom finally got a clue and wised up to what was going on in there, she had a nice screaming match with Nero in front of the entire dining area. LM and I averted our eyes.

By this time, Ghengis Khan had been rewarded for her poor behavior with an ice cream cone, which she ate while hanging over the back of the booth behind my head, saying "hi" loudly into my ear over and over. I considered head butting her, but settled for rolling my eyes at LM as we attempted to continue our conversation. Ghengis' mom eventually paused her Bible study long enough to politely ask Ghengis to "leave those ladies alone [because] they are trying to talk." Isn't there a Bible verse that says to "spare the rod and spoil the child"?

In short, if you don't have kids, enjoy your meal on the other side of the restaurant, far away from the war zone. If you do have kids, think about the other diners next time you go out. Don't leave it up to other moms to police your kids while you enjoy a leisurely lunch and study time. We gave up leisurely lunches and study times the second our (your) little warmongers arrived. So be considerate and bring a straight-jacket or some form of restraining device. Mind your manners. Pretty please?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Clothes Make the Mom

Call the Fashion Police! As I type this, I am wearing grey sweat pants, a cream colored shirt, a long brown sweater, and purple slippers. My hair is pulled up into a scrunchie (didn't scrunchies go out of style in the 90s?) Hideous. I'll admit it. In my defense, the cream shirt and brown pants were paired with jeans earlier in the day, and I changed into the sweat pants when I got home with the kids. The crime is that I wore this outfit longer than 3 seconds...I have in fact been wearing it all afternoon and into this evening.

The truth is that I stopped caring what I look like when I am at home. I do still make an effort (usually) when we leave the house, but for the most part, when I am home I look like I should be living under a bridge somewhere. I think when I had my first C-section two years ago, the doctor also removed my Fashion sense. My body is definitely different these days, and the same clothes that used to look cute on me (and fit!), just don't anymore. The worst part is, my two year old seems to have picked up in the Fashion department where I left off. As I was feeding the baby the other day, I asked Natalie to grab my tennis shoes for me. She gave me a look of pure disgust and picked up a pair of hot pink heels. "Mama wear these?" she asked hopefully. Sigh. Even my two year old is tired of my boring ensembles. This from a child whose idea of high fashion is pairing pink plastic shoes from the Target $1 section with a pink felt least it's all pink.

I've noticed that a lot of moms (myself included!) make sure their kids are dressed to the nines, while they get by with some old yoga pants and a college tee-shirt (mine says "I Bleed Beer" and was a gag gift from my sister. Blush.). Unless I know we are staying at home all day, Natalie usually sports something cute with a matching hairbow. Michaela doesn't have enough hair for bows yet, but her rompers are always adorable. Why do we settle for so little?

I don't watch a lot of Oprah anymore unless she is doing a fun show (read: NOT the in-your-face not-so-subtle political stuff she tries to pass off as afternoon entertainment). She was recently interviewing Lloyd Boston, who created some amazing new looks for a group of suburban moms. They were, in Oprah's words, real "Shlumpadinkas." Ratty old jeans, worn track suits, ugly sweaters...I could be the leader of the Shlumpadinkas. I watched in envy as Lloyd transformed each woman from a Shlumpadinka to a really fab-looking mom. Well, sure, I thought, When you have a bazillion dollar budget from Oprah to spend it's easy to do a fashion transformation.

It turned out that Lloyd didn't just run out and buy a bunch of Manolos and drape the girls in Dolce...he took them to "real" stores like Penney's, Sears, Old Navy, and The Gap to find affordable and updated looks. I don't know about you, but when I think of Penney's and Sears, I most often picture ladies in their 70s, combing through racks of matching sweater sets. Shockingly enough, some of the cutest outfits came from Penney's! My favorite was a pair of red pants and a black top paired with a sweet little 3/4 length sleeved white jacket. What's even cuter is that Lloyd showed the audience that you can dress stylishly and not go broke.

Sitting there in my family room, wearing my Shlumpadinka clothes and holding a gassy 6 week old, I realized that all is not lost. Maybe my fashionista-wannabe days are not so far gone. I'm only 27, for Pete's sake. With minimal effort and working to save a little moola here and there, I could leave the house (and stay home!) and not be worried that Stacy and Clinton from TLC's What Not to Wear are going to accost me in the aisles of Target. I need to remember that while being a great mom is important, I shouldn't lose touch with myself: my dreams, my hopes, and my sense of Fashion! I want to be a fun, together mom-I just need to look the part!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Look, Ma...I'm Bloggin'!

My very first entry. Maybe you're wondering why a stay-at-home mom with a two year old and a newborn would take the time to post on a blog. When you stay at home all day with two little ones, it's hard to find an audience to discuss your ideas on politics, literature (yes, I am counting chick-lit and Cottage Living because that is all I have time to read these days!), current events, home life, and more!

It seems like most of my discussions involve a two year old and include stimulating topics such as Elmo, crackers, baby dolls, Elmo, doggies, juice, and did I say Elmo? My husband, bless his heart, isn't much of a conversationalist. I like to talk. Period. Although we share the same religious and political views, most of his free time is spent with his butt plastered to our leather couch and his eyes glued to the TV, so having a meaningful conversation when he is just off of work is sort of a lost cause. I've learned to wait until after he has finished watching The History Channel or Fox News before I make an effort to engage him. This blog is my attempt to branch out a little before insanity takes over. As Frank Costanza would say, "Serenity Now."
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