Freckles in April: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's See Your 4th of July #SparklerStyle!

White Plum Scarf, Joules coverup c/o

I was SO excited to take pictures with sparklers because 4th of July! Red, white and blue scarf! It goes with my hashtag (more about that below)! So fun, right? And then they burned me. Repeatedly! THAT is what I get for A. trying to get creative and B. buying cheap sparklers on the side of the road. Most shots involve me looking nervously at the sparkler while making sure my hair didn't catch fire. PSA: buy sparklers with loooong sticks. You're welcome for that bit of common sense.

Moving on....

White Plum gave these scarves out at Alt and I was kind of dying- who DOES that?? Awesome companies, that's who.

I'm also totally smitten with this cover-up that Joules sent me. It's pleasantly nautical with those classic Breton-style stripes but add a dash of red? Totally 4th of July appropriate! Plus, it's loose and comfy around my still-sensitive tummy (bless them for that). I've been wearing it around the house a lot even when swimming isn't on the agenda.



I mostly have to include this picture because my husband GOT INTO THE POOL to take it. That's love, my friends.


Since one of my takeaways from Alt is to do more collaborative type stuff I decided to do a last-minute style link-up in honor of the 4th of July, but with a little shake up- I'm doing it on Instagram!

As a super fun bonus, White Plum is throwing in something SPARKLY for two lucky participants- the gorgeous Charleston Necklace!

Want to participate?

1. Follow @frecklesinapril and @whiteplum_ on Instagram

2. Some time this week wear your July 4th finest...red, white and blue, stars and stripes, whatever strikes your fancy!

3. Snap a selfie and share it on Instagram tagging #sparklerstyle, @frecklesinapril and @whiteplum_ in the description.

Easy! I'll pick winners on July 5th so make sure you get your pic up before then.

Red, white and blue is one of my absolute favorite color combos so I'll be sharing a few pictures from the hashtag here on the blog. It's been so long since I've done one of these...I can't wait!!

I'll see you on Instagram!


Friday, June 27, 2014

From Babble This Month!

It was a short month at Babble- only 6 posts!- but here's everything I wrote, just in case you missed one!

My beach essentials, 10 super cute flip flops, and a round-up of all kinds of awesome DIYs you can do with sunglasses


3 ways to use your pre-pregnancy button downs while sporting a bump, 4 tips for HIDING a bump, and building a basic maternity wardrobe on a budget

Tonight we're going out for our favorite pizza (YAY!) and then I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend deep cleaning our disgusting house (seriously, don't come over until Monday at the earliest). And then next week I'm hoping to FINALLY paint the nursery. We'll see. I'm notorious for putting off house projects! They're just so much work, you know?

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alt Style

Alt was really only 2 1/2 days long but I wore 6 outfits. You may think that's crazy town but let me assure you that I wasn't the only one. Most people wore one outfit for the daytime panels and roundtables and another for the parties in the evening. My photos are pretty junky but I wanted to share. I was pretty proud that I found this many outfits that fit me right now!

Tuesday:

Panels-

leather sleeved blazer from H&M, DIY maternity dress, black belt and booties

Party-

DIY t-shirt dress (tutorial forthcoming!), Target belt and scarf, neon pink Gap flats

Wednesday:

Panels-

ASOS dress, cropped jacket and belt (ooold), nude flats from Payless
Party-

Old Gap moto jacket that I wear with everything, Headline tee, Agnes & Dora leggings, neon pink Gap flats

Thursday:

Panels-

I don't even have a phone pic of this one! ASOS dress, black belt and booties, Gap moto jacket


Party-

DIY dress, thrifted belt, Target sandals, necklace borrowed from Reachel

I really did have grand plans for taking photos of my outfits but it just didn't happen- there was too much other stuff going on!

Except for the black booties (ugh) I was super comfortable all through Alt and was pretty happy with my outfit choices. The first couple days were WAY colder than I was expecting (it was 55 and rainy on Tuesday!) so it was awfully nice to get a pair of buttery soft Agnes & Dora leggings in a swag bag at the early-bird session. They saved my poor thin-blooded behind on Wednesday night when the party was outside on a chilly evening!

I'll be honest- if I ever go to Alt again it will be REALLY nice not to have to dress a mid-pregnant body!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bump Style




At Alt Summit most people change clothes between the daytime stuff and the themed parties at night. The first day I changed in my car and it was super awkward (hello, security cameras!). After that, Camille very kindly offered up the room she was staying in with Reachel and Emily. If you don't already read Reachel's blog Cardigan Empire then you should really add it to your reader. She's a stylist and she knows her stuff.

Alt SLC Summer Wednesday Afternoon
My pretend roomies at their panel (taken by Brooke Dennis)
 It was super fun getting ready in their room because each person would come out in their party outfit and Reachel would immediately go to work rolling sleeves just so, adding a necklace from her own collection, helping pin wayward dresses into place. It was awesome watching her work and trying to absorb some of her stylist knowledge!

Alt SLC Summer Wednesday Afternoon
Reachel (again, by Brooke Dennis)

I borrowed necklaces from her on both Wednesday and Thursday night. I'm an unintentional collector of delicate jewelry and don't really own anything chunky or statement-making. Reachel added a big, blingy rhinestone necklace to my Wednesday night look and a huge bubbly one to my Thursday night dress. They weren't at all what I would have picked for myself but I LOVED them!

Wearing a big chunky chain I hope Reachel would approve of!


On the Saturday after Alt Summit I ended up going on a little shopping trip with my sister (and her husband and alllll the kids) and ended up buying 4 new necklaces I thought Reachel might approve of. Every time I've worn one since then (regardless of what I'm wearing) my husband says, "Whoa, you look fancy!"

The power of a necklace. It's very real, my friends.



Want to see some more bump style (including 3 of my new necklaces)? Check out my recent Babble post Get Cute Maternity Style Using Your Pre-pregnancy Button Downs!

I also rounded up 8 DIY Sunglasses to Up Your Cool Factor This Summer. I'm dying to make myself some glittered sunglasses now!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Alt Summit Takeaways

Oh mercy, I have SO many thoughts about Alt Summit rolling around in my brain. I'll spare you most of them but I wanted to do a quick recap with my big takeaways for the people who were interested.

The Silhouette booth


Heads up, most of these pictures were taken in the Smilebooth or by Brooke Dennis or Justin Hackworth who, as it turns out, is just as incredibly nice as he is talented. I took a handful of iPhone photos and that was it, really. I was pretty focused on other stuff so it was nice to hop on the Flickr feed and find some pictures to share!

There are pictures of me taking notes in almost every panel I went to. I am a VERY SERIOUS note taker, apparently. One who is worth photographing.


1. Opportunities come when YOU reach out.

The keynote on Wednesday came from Joy of Oh Joy. She was wonderful to listen to- smart and well-spoken. Over and over she talked about fantastic opportunities that came to her because SHE worked hard to get those opportunities. SHE asked, sent a resume, made a contact, followed up. I'm very much the type of person who likes to sit back and let the emails come to me, but that's not going to get me where I want to be. I heard this in a couple panels- it's up to me to be proactive and make stuff happen.

In a group of 500+ women I somehow managed to be pretty close to first in line for food every single time. Hashtag pregnant.


2. It's who you know

I already sort of knew this but the chance to really network at Alt drove it home. I got my Babble gig through Janssen. Some of the sponsors I've worked with through my blog have come through blog friends. Connections and contacts are how you hear about opportunities, connect with people who can help you, and meet your goals. Which brings me to....

Reachel, Kaylynn, Camille and me at the Garden Party


3. Collaborate

A while back my blog grew really fast in a short period of time. Then I started dealing with my thyroid stuff and stopped blogging quite so regularly and my numbers crashed. Since I've been wading back into blogging I've been racking my brain trying to figure out WHAT helped my blog do so well back before all my health crap started. I was honestly stumped. Finally, I was sitting in a panel about growing a small blog and they started talking about collaboration. And I realized I used to be really good about that and THAT is what helped me grow. I LOVE working with others...I'm not sure why I've stopped. A lot of the goals I've set for the next few months involve working on series and projects with other people (have an idea for collaborating with me? I'd love to hear it! Kayla@frecklesinapril.com).

ASOS dress alert! At the design camp for photo styling.


4. Know your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly

Reachel, Camille and Emily put on a panel called MBAs turned Bloggers: the Business of Blogging. It was at the same time as Janssen's panel and so they invited me to the dry-run on Saturday night. About 3 minutes in I kicked myself for not bringing my notebook and started typing notes into my phone as fast as I could (whenever their slideshow is available I will share it!). There was SO much good stuff in there! They talked about the SWOT formula- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It was interesting to think of me and my blog in those terms and I quickly narrowed down what I consider my strengths that I need to be better about incorporating and also picked out a few big old weaknesses that I need to spend some time on.

Baby bumps of Alt Summit

AZ bloggers!

 5. Focus.

I mean this in several different ways.

A. Figure out your blog's focus. Mine has been a little all over the place and a quick brainstorming session with my sister on Friday morning helped put me back on track. I had an interesting conversation with a sponsor on Thursday when I gave him my tagline ("Food, fashion and anything else I feel like"). He said, "Oh good, so many people come to our booth and say theirs is a 'lifestyle' blog. I don't really know how to respond to that. Is it something I can work with? I have no idea." If you want to work with brands then you need to know your focus and if/how it can help them reach their goals.

B. Be productive in focused stretches then give yourself time to go live life. Blogging can be a HUGE time suck (especially when you're posting in multiple places) and I always do better when I block out chunks of time to sit and be productive and then release myself to go do other stuff away from my computer.

C. Where do you want to be? Goals give you focus and keep you motivated! I haven't had any goals in a while and I was feeling really uninspired by my blog. Alt helped me rediscover WHY I love blogging and gave me some things to reach for.

That's me, Camille and Emily at the very back. Janssen talking to Meg. Miranda on the right talking to someone whose name I didn't catch (BAD networker!)


And, just for kicks, here are some of my iPhone snaps:

The Bing sponsor party was catered by the Chow food struck and it was the best food I had during the conference (by far)

Janssen presenting! It was so good.

Camille is awesome.

The Grand America!

I met Gabby!

The Garden Party!

Martha Stewart!
 If you want to see more pictures, check out the Alt Flickr stream! Especially from the Thursday night garden party- it was so pretty!

Overall I am SO glad I went. Alt gave me so much to think about and work on that it's borderline overwhelming. But it's also exciting and I feel like I've got my mojo back.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Super Easy Sunglasses Makeover



My sister and I are the products of a very crafty mother. We grew up surrounded by hot glue, acrylic paint and shrinky dink and we inherited her love of making stuff.



When we ran across these sunglasses in the $1 bin at Target we knew we had to pick them up for my niece and nephew. We didn't love the plastic bow detail on the girly set, though. Fortunately, Nikki's Target shares a parking lot with Hobby Lobby so we quickly found some embellishments for BOTH sets of glasses.

It took only a few minutes and a couple dollars to get these sunglasses looking fancy and ready to take outside to play!

The gemstones above and studs below were both from the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.


Start by using some sand paper to rough up the surface of the sunglasses just a little bit wherever you want to add embellishments.




Figure out how you want to place the embellishments then use a smidge of E6000 (hands-down my favorite glue for crafts like this) to attach.



Some pliers or tweezers can really come in handy when it comes to placing smaller pieces!

Let dry for a few minutes and then...


...channel your inner super-model! Miss E loved her glasses. She bawled when they were temporarily lost before she went to bed (we found them and she happily wore them up to brush her teeth).


She also got to wear one of auntie Kayla's necklaces- she felt all kinds of fancy!


A few weeks ago Aaron turned to me and said, "What if our baby isn't as cute as E??" And I was like, I KNOW. She is seriously too darling for words. I have 30+ more beautiful pictures of her and her sunglasses. It was really hard to narrow down which ones to include in this post.



Her big brother J may have felt too cool to smile in his glasses but I promise he loved them! He's a tough nut to crack sometimes when a camera is involved...especially since my boys were running around in the field behind the house and he just wanted to get back to playing with his cousins!



I love that he always poses with his hands in his pockets. Such a handsome dude.

This was the perfect quick and fun craft to end our whirlwind trip to Utah! We drove home yesterday and I'm already missing these sweet faces!






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Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipe: Maple Snickerdoodles


Today was almost tragic. I carried my (Aaron's) SLR camera to Alt Summit with me. I mostly left it in my car wrapped in a sweatshirt and only took it out when I needed it for practice during a design camp. I was so. freaking. careful.

I got home late last night and stuck the camera in my suitcase on top of my clothes. Today I moved it to my air mattress so I could change. I somehow managed to bump the mattress and the camera fell on to the concrete floor and...


I almost cried. I sent a panicked text with the above picture to Aaron and he asked if it was the actual lens or the UV filter. I did a little investigating and thought it was probably the UV filter but handed it directly over to my brother-in-law when he got home from work (he knows WAY more about cameras than I do). He confirmed that it WAS the UV filter (proof that God loves me) and that the actual lens seemed like it might be fine. It refused to come off though...it seemed to be dented in place. So Sam did some surgery.


He busted all the old glass pieces out and, miracle of miracles...it's fine.

While I was freaking out and Sam was carefully pulling out glass pieces, Nikki calmly baked in the background. I took a few pics with the smashed up lens (wanted to make sure the camera itself still worked) and the results were kind of cool.



I mean, not cool enough to keep a cracked UV filter on the lens, but it was fun for a minute while we waited to Sam to come home and save my behind.

A batch of cookies was just cooling to the point of edibility when Sam handed my salvaged lens back to me. I JUST took a food styling and photography class at Alt Summit, so I got back to taking pictures.


My lens is fine AND I got cookies afterward. This is why I like Nikki and Sam, people.

Maple Snickerdoodles

slightly adapted from All Recipes

For the cookies
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter, softened
1 sugar
3 T real maple syrup
1 egg

For rolling
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and maple syrup. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients until just mixed. In a small dish, mix together about 1/2 c white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and roll the balls in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. 

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies will be crackly on top and look wet in the middle. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.





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