Blog Book | Rwanda

*This post is NOT sponsored. I paid full price for this book. While I wouldn’t turn down a free one, I’m simply sharing because I enjoyed the company! 

Cory and I have made very few purchases in 2015 {as in three or four} in anticipation of our kitchen renovation, but after working on this little project for weeks, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get my Rwanda blog book in my hands. Every day, I checked the mail in anticipation that it had arrived early. I just love every single one of these faces, pictures and stories and couldn’t wait to have them printed forever.

Blog book

A few months ago, I started looking into a way to print my post about our trip to Rwanda. While I’d love to have my whole blog printed by year, I really wanted to do a book for just our trip.

At first, I thought about just doing a picture book but so many of the pictures only tell half the story. Plus, Cory and I worked so hard on those recaps!

Blog Book 3

After trying out a couple services that pulled directly from my website, I realized that, due to copyright laws, they weren’t going to be able to provide me with the customization I needed like being able to leave off the signature or change the layout of the pictures. So I did a little research to see if there was anything that would fit my needs and what I came across was this post and decided to give a try.

blog print

Lulu differs from other services in that it’s an actual book publisher and doesn’t just replicate your blog post. They have a formatted Word document that you download and then copy and paste your blog post in to. For me, this seems very tedious to do a full year’s worth of posts, but I didn’t mind it for the dozen or so about Rwanda. We’ll be using this book to share with future team members, sponsors, churches, etc. so I wanted it to look more like a book rather than my blog.

printing your blog

Rather than selecting a date range and then taking out posts I didn’t want in the book, I was able to copy and paste the individual posts I did want.

blog printing

I chose to do a 8.25 x 10.75 casewrap hardcover in full color. It is cheaper to do black and white and if I wasn’t printing this for presentation purposes, I might have opted for that route.


What I liked most about Lulu was the customization it offers. I knew I wanted to keep my page numbers as low as possible {because 300 pages is a little intimidating} and I really liked the fact that I could rearrange and re-size different pictures and save on the pages. I also changed the font and the font size as well as going for full pictures on both covers. I wasn’t able to do any of this on the other services I tried.

Even though the customization was one of my favorite parts, it was also the most difficult part of the whole process. BUT it really wasn’t that difficult! Really, it was more time consuming than difficult. I wanted to make sure that every post started on a new page and there wouldn’t be just a few lines on the last page of each post. It took me a couple of weeks to get everything right but I would just work on it every now and again, when I had to time to fool with it.

book blogs

I was worried about the quality of the pictures since I was copying and pasting from my blog but I was really impressed with how well they look. It does help that my blog pictures, especially for those recaps, are pretty large.

publishing a book

The quality of the book was also really impressive. It reminds me of a small yearbook with a sturdy binding and thick pages. It’s just the right size to hold its place on one of our end tables, (if we ever finish this kitchen renovation) but light enough to take with us when we share about our trip.

blog printing

But, my favorite part about using, is the price! With Blog2Print, the total rang up at $126.57. Ouch! While I easily would have paid that much to have these memories printed forever, I was hoping to find something better. After I finished the customization, I was a little worried that I had just spent weeks working on it and it would be way over my budget but when the total popped up, I was shocked.


That’s a 66% savings from Blog2Print, y’all! It totally made the extra time spent customizing it worth it to save that much money and get what I wanted.

blog to print

Of course, no post is complete without a puppy bomb.

print blog

I’m so glad that I went through with this purchase and will definitely be using again for future books. How cool will it be in 10 years to be able to look back each year and see all the different trips we’ve been on and memories made. Makes my heart happy!

Have you ever had your blog printed? Which service did you like the most?

Plum Paper Planner Review

Plum Paper Planner Review

I was so lost without my planner, ya’ll! My last one ended in December and in my slackness, I didn’t even start to look at a new one until well into January. So by the time my planner showed up at my door step in early February, I felt like it was a gift from God to cure my forgetful mind.

By the way, when did I start losing my memory??? It used to be so on point but now, if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen! Like the time I let my car go 6,000 miles past the recommended mileage for an oil change. Yikes! That could have been bad.

Anyway…back to what’s important. My Plum Paper Planner. That’s what’s important.

Last year, I used the Erin Condren planner, which was a gift and I loved it. But when I went to order one for 2015, I realized how quickly all the cute add-ons jacked up the price of the planner. Plus, the weekly breakdown didn’t really work for me because I’m at work, morning and afternoon, most days. I’m a list maker- I need lots of lines! While I did love my EC planner, I couldn’t make myself pull the trigger on it.

Plum Paper Planner 4

So I turned to my favorite bloggers, of course, and heard about Plum Paper. After reading a couple good reviews, I quickly found one I liked and placed my order. And waited anxiously for it it arrive.

Plum Paper Planner 2

As soon as it showed up safely at my door, packaged in a nice box, and I saw the wonderful gold and pink on the front, I knew I was gonna love it!

Plum Paper Planner 22

It’s much lighter than my Erin Condren planner, which I like but the coil is just as durable.

Plum Paper Planner 5Plum Paper Planner 9

I use the monthly layout to plan out my blog post. Obviously, February wasn’t very productive but you already know that.

Plum Paper Planner 10 Plum Paper Planner 11Plum Paper Planner 7

Before and after each monthly spread is a lined page for notes or plenty of to-do lists!

Plum Paper Planner 8Plum Paper Planner 12

My favorite part of the whole planner? The horizontal layout. Lines for days, y’all. It makes my listmaking heart happy.

Plum Paper Planner 14Plum Paper Planner 13Plum Paper Planner 16Plum Paper Planner 18Plum Paper Planner 20

I was a little disappointed that the front and back cover wasn’t laminated because I’m pretty rough on my planners- they often get thrown into my purse or work bag. But for the lower price point, it’s worth it.

Plum Paper Planner 21

So far, I’ve absolutely loved my planner. It’s a much more reasonable price for me, ringing up at $30! If you are looking for a new planner, I can’t recommend Plum Paper Planner enough!

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for the planner 100% with my own money. 

eShakti Review

* This is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% my own.


Let me start off by saying that I am by no means a fashion blogger but when Jane from eShakti contacted me about reviewing a dress, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Actually, I think I squealed like a pig from the excitement of my first product review and then decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. #bloggerperks


I’ve seen eShakti all over blog land recently and really loved the fact that they’re so customizable. However, I didn’t realize just how customizable they were until I was picking out which item I wanted to review.  Many of their items can be customized by the sleeve type, length and neck line. Trust me, the possibilities are endless!


When I realized that not only do they customize your size and style but also your height, I was in heaven! You see, I’m almost 5’9 and adore maxi dresses. Do you know how hard it is to find a maxi dress that doesn’t hit me above my ankles???


I actually saw this dress on a blog a few weeks ago and adored it from the moment I laid my eyes on it. How fun are the birds and the embroidery details? I just love it and I knew this type of dress was right up Cory’s alley and little bit out of my box. {I was right, by the way. He loves it, too!}


And you just can’t go wrong with tassels.


I had the option to change the straps to either halter or spaghetti but decided to keep the cross-over straps in the back.


I was a little hesitant on ordering the correct size because I never buy clothes without trying them on first. My size varies so much with different brands and often times I will go into a store, try something on and go home and order it in the correct color or length. This dress was spot on to my normal dress size, though, and fit like a glove.

I did have a moment of panic when I couldn’t get it over my shoulders until I realized there was a partial zipper in the side.


And the best part of all???

It was long enough! Halleluiah!

As soon as I got home and saw my eShakti package on the table, I tore into it and held the dress up to my body and thought “no way is this going to be long enough” but as you can tell, it’s actually long enough for me to wear heels with {which I doubt I will ever do since I own exactly one pair of heels}. My biggest pet peeve, though, is having skirts, dresses, jeans, or whatever else I put on my legs be too short so it was a huge plus that this dress is long enough.


The only negative about this dress is the bottom part is a little sheer. Maybe I just worry excessively about this but I’m always scared I’m going to get in the sun light and everyone is gonna be able to see my underwear. I wore this dress Saturday evening to Daniel and Tiffany’s reveal party and threw on a slip {yes, like an old granny slip} underneath it and had no issues!


As you can probably tell, I’m officially in love with this dress and will definitely be shopping with eShakti in the future. Make sure you head on over to eShakti and start shopping- don’t forget to sign up today and receive $25 gift card!

Gotta brag just a little…

A few weeks ago, after months of research, I finally pulled the trigger on a new camera.

Canon Rebel T3i

Remember? If not, you can read about it here. When I bought the camera I bought three lenses, one of which was the Canon EF 50mm f1/8 II. I read a lot of great reviews about this lens and I was not disappointed.

Canon EF 50mm f1/8

When I bought the camera, Best Buy tried to get me to buy the extended warranties because {these were the salesman’s exact words} “If you drop your camera, it won’t be covered under the manufacturer warranty and you will most definitely drop it.”

Being the tightwad that I am, I politely turned down the extended warranty and promised myself I would be extra careful with my new camera.

And that lasted all of about two weeks.

I was getting out of the car one evening and was on the phone with Jessica and went to the back of my SUV, popped the hatch and snatched up my camera bag. I had my camera in my hand and thought the bag was zipped until my brand new 50mm lens went flying across my driveway.

I picked it up, checked it out, and it looked okay but the next day I put it on my camera to try it out and the lens wouldn’t focus. Upon further investigation, I noticed the very end {front} of the lens was sticking out and there was a metal ring showing. I was able to push it back in and the lens focused but the picture looked really grainy.

So of course, I immediately googled it and read a couple different reviews that said the Canon Service Center was the way to go. I could ship it to them, they would assess the lens and let me know how much it would be to fix it. One review I read said that the basic charge for a similar repair was $100 but the lens was better than new when he got it back.

Now, don’t think that I was trying to pull one over on Canon and get my lens fixed under the manufacturer’s warranty. I explained to them that I dropped the lens and that the impact of the lens hitting the ground was what caused the problem.

Last week while I was sick, Cory packed up the lens and shipped it to Canon. Within a few days, I got an email saying they had received my lens and would let me know what they found. Two days later, I got another email saying what was wrong, the part they would use to fix it and an invoice. I scrolled down to the invoice to see what the damage was when I found the total to be $0!

A day or two later, I got one last email with the shipping information for my lens. When I got home today, it was sitting at my door. The repair ticket in the box says “the AF assembly had been impacted causing the focus to operate improperly. The AF assembly was replaced.” Again, the balance for the repair was $0.

Being the daughter of a small business owner, let me just say how important customer service is to me. I was raised in my Dad’s grocery store and he prides himself on customer satisfaction. I understand that with such a large company like Canon, you can’t always get the customer service like you do in a small family business but I hold businesses up to a higher standard because I understand how important the customers are to a successful business. I wasn’t expecting the repair to be covered under the warranty, which was such a nice surprise but on top of that, the process was so easy and painless. Canon continuously communicated with me through the week they had my lens. Um, hello. A week? I shipped it, they repaired it and shipped it back to me within a week. I barely had time to miss the lens before it was back on my camera. You can’t beat that kind of service.

Hopefully I won’t have another reason to use the Canon Service Center but they made the experience so very pleasant, I wouldn’t mind if I had to. I can’t speak for any other person or company but in my personal opinion the Canon Service Center made it worth buying the Canon brand.

*I am in no way affiliated with Canon or the Canon Service Center. Just a happy customer over here.