Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I {heart} my husband

I saw this post over at Alexandra Rose and I just had to participate.  I don't talk a lot about my husband, but he deserves it.  He is my best friend and my number one fan.  And I haven't seen him in almost a month and I am kinda missin' him...

Now marriage is hard to begin with.  Now add another race.  How about another culture?  Yep, tougher.  Now add a third country that belongs to neither of us.  hmmmm... Now add another language and tons and tons of rain.  And then, just for good measure, throw in a 5 month old baby.  Now that is tough.

This was mine and Lavar's first year of marriage.  But we stuck it out and we are still hanging in there.  I wanted to dedicate a post to him today.  Because I miss him!  And he never reads this blog, so I can be extra sappy.  :)

This is my husband:
Dear Lavar,
You are the most awesome man I know.

I know that you don't beleive in soul mates and that is fine.  We will just stick with the 'no one else could handle you' theory.

You make me laugh like I never thought I could.  I always have the time of my life when I am with you.  I wish you would let other people see the funny side.  They all think I am crazy when I say 'no really, he is funny!'
ps. I was 15 weeks pregnant in the costume picture!
We haven't had anything easy.  Nothing handed to us.  That is how we know it is real.  We worked our butts off to stay in it.  No turning back now!

But I have never felt more secure in your love.  Thank you for never giving me a doubt.  

You might not always say the words 'I love you' or 'You're beautiful' but I know you believe them.  And because I know you, I don't need to hear them all the time.

Your theory: "I told you I loved you when I married you.  I will let you know if it changes!"  
(He is not that harsh, it is kinda a joke/kinda true!)

(Your son can give you a few pointers on the beautiful comments, FYI) 
You are an excellent father.  We didn't expect it when it came, and we had adjustments to make, but we did.  And I know you would lay down your life for your boys. 
 You work you little pa-tootie off for us.  Yes, you are living the dream, playing your favorite sport for a job, but I know it is hard work.  And you still find energy to come home and be a 'family man.'  Who woudda thunk, huh?
You clean up nice too...
Not to mention, we look good together...
No one said you were perfect, I married you eyes wide open.  But you work every day to be a better man, a better husband, and a better father.  I really couldn't ask for more!

And to top it all off, we created these little monsters.
Well done Simmonses!  Well done!

And just because I can...
They would both kill me, but neither of them read my blog. Their loss! LOL  At at 80's party a few years back.

Blog Tip Tuesdays ~ Guest Posting

Good morning everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful 3 day weekend!  We went to Santa Monica with family which was fun, but now my boys are sick.  And that is so not fun.  Looks like movies, naps, relaxing, and more movies for us for the next few days!

Well it is time for another Blog Tip Tuesday!  I hope that you all know that I don't at all assume that I am some kind of professional blogger.  I just happen to enjoy it and find that I learn new things every day.  So as I am learning these new things, I would love to try to share them with all of you.  And if you have thoughts or insights into what I post about on a particular day, I would love to hear those too! That is why I started Blog Tip Tuesdays.

So the other day I was thinking about how to market my blog and more specifically my sponsors and I thought about guest posting.  I am not sure there is any specific right or wrong way, I just thought I would share some pointers from my experiences.

We all love to have traffic to our blogs.  Some of us write for personal reasons, business reasons, or just for an outlet,  but most of us write to be read.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  So we, as fellow bloggers, need to think about proper 'etiquette' if you will, when giving and receiving guest posts. 

When Submitting:

~ Think about how your post will relate to the readers of the blog you are writing for.  If you are writing for a craft blog, you might want to think up your craftiest moment and throw it out there.  If you don't know how to work a glue gun, you might want to stick to submitting posts for blogs within your niche.
~  After you post, make sure on that day you are able to mention it on your blog, tweet or Facebook about the post.  You want to help draw readers to the post and to the host blogger, and therefore to yours as well.  Everyone wins!  The better you become at this, the more people will want you to post for them.
~ Do your best to read the comments and reply.  You can reply in the comments section on the host's blog or actually find their blog and answer it there.  This is a great way to meet new people as well. 

When Hosting:

~  Try to find or only accept submissions that are revelvant to the topics that you write about.  The people that come to read your blog are coming for a reason and if the content isn't what is interesting to them, they won't read it.  Simple enough!  
~  Make sure you are able to tweet or facebook the post as well.  Sometimes this just isn't possible if the whole reason you have a guest poster is because you are on vacation, then you can't.  But if at all possible, get it out there.  You will also have more people wanting to do posts if it benefits them somehow.
~  It is considerate to put the post up at the beginning of the day, midnight or 1 in the morning wherever you are and let it be there throughout the day.  If the poster doesn't even get a full 12 hours or so, it might not be that interesting to post for you.

And now just a basic how-to.  Go to your New Post page and write the post just like you were writing for your own blog.  Add links and pictures to the post the same way you would normally.  After you have finished editing your post (make sure you proof read!) You click the Edit HTML tab right next to the compose tab at the top of your post.  
Look, I spelled actually wrong! LOL
Then you click Control+A or Command+A depending if you have a Mac or a PC and then copy it.  Control or Command+C.  You then paste the entire HTML code in the e-mail.  When writing a message to the host, write it above your pasted HTML text.  If it is written after, the host might not see it.  Also make sure that it is clear which text is included in the HTML.

There you have it ladies!!  That is what I have learned so far on writing a guest post.  I hope you all enjoy.

Could you take a second to vote for me on Circle of Moms?  I am looking pretty pathetic there, people who signed up after me are beating me.  And since my husband just won his championship (whooooo hooooo!) I thought I would want to win something as well.  That way he won't be the only champion this summer!

Just click below and click the thumbs up.  Thanks!

Monday, May 30, 2011

L.A. Story ~ Santa Monica

***All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard ***
Some of the famous streets heading down there. Sunset, Wilshire, The Getty Center, PCH Highway
 Yesterday I took a little trip down to the Santa Monica Pier.  Honestly, the weather could have been a little better, we almost blew away, but the sun was out and it was full of people! 

We have family from Colorado in town and I thought 'what a perfect way to add to my LA Story!  We'll take them somehwere!'  (always thinking for the blog!) We had originally planned to got o The Grove and visit the firestation where my dad works. But then my dad had to change stations and the kids wouldn't have enjoyed The Grove, not much to do with kids.   So the beach, perfect!
 Luckily, (maybe not for you guys) the weirdos weren't out today.  That is mostly Venice Beach, I can't wait to take you guys there!  Let's just say... interesting.  People are... how do I put this?  creative.  The Santa Monica Pier is a bit more family friendly.  The kids loved playing in the sand next to the pier. 
 Oh and who knew?  There is a trapeze school right there on the pier!  I guess if you are training to be a trapeze artist you need to be able to perform infront of people.  So, smart, I guess.
 My little man clearly enjoying himself.
For Memorial Day someone put all these crosses out in the sand and some coffins covered with an American Flag.  It was a cool way to explain to the little guys why we celebrate this holiday.
And what a better way to end the perfect day, ice cream on the pier.  Yes, please. 

"Here. Tae, let me help you with that."  *lick all around the edges*  "Mom!!  Give me my icecream!!!"

If you get a chance, I would love love love if you voted for me in Circle of Moms Top Expat Blogs.  I don't have a fighting chance, but I thought I would throw it out there anyway.  Thanks!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top 25 Expat Blogs!

Have you heard of the Top 25 lists on Circle of Moms?  Ya, I have seen it around a bit too.  Well, did you know that there is a Top 25 list for Expat Mom Bloggers??  Well, there is!  (You might have guessed, since there seems like there is a list for everything!)  One of my bloggy friends informed me about this list and told me I should give it a shot!  So I am!  (She is running for Top 25 Fitness Blogs, you should check her out!)  

So today I am asking for your vote!  It is super easy, you click the link below or in my sidebar and it takes you to my page.  Then from there you just click the thumbs up!  Easy peezy!!  I would love to have your support!  You can vote once every 24 hours from each computer. 

  Thanks a TON!  And if I get in the TOP TEN I will have an awesome giveaway!!  So click away peeps!  Thank you so much, you are all suuuuper awesome!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Our LIfe in France ~ The Travels {Paris Baby!}

A little perk of living in France, or Europe in general, is that there is so much right there at your fingertips!  I am so blessed not only be living in France, such a beautiful country, but also to have a husband who understands my need to see and conquer the world.  Even though he will never understand it, he tries to oblige.  What more can you ask for?

I posted this post over at Suitcase and Stilettos a couple weeks ago and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you all as well.  I have had a few people ask for pointers on traveling to Paris and I think this might be helpful!  I love this fabulous city and would love to show some of it to you! 

Let me take you on a tour of the City of Light

We are going to hop on the subway and head to the Eiffel Tower to start. Subway stop Bir-Hakeim. Little walk past a few street vendors and you are at probably the most popular attraction in Paris! And there is a reason. It is beautiful. And the view from the top is incredible. If you only have one chance to visit this wonderful city, pay to go to the top. It is worth it! Since you are touring with me, enjoy the view!

Let's take a little walk, shall we?  I have only done this once, but I was so glad I did.  You can easily take the subway but if you walk, you will end up on George V, one of the richest areas of Paris.   While we are walking down George V definitely take time to marvel at the beautiful houses and apartments that probably cost more than I am worth. (I know mom, I am priceless)   This will bring us to the Arc de Triomphe. It is at the end of Champs Elysées and is in the middle of the biggest roundabout in Paris.  Maybe in France.  It's huge.  And if you are driving in Paris, which I wouldn't suggest, do not get stuck in the middle.  Just a little word of advice!
From the Arc de Triomphe we are going to turn around and walk down the Champs Elysées.  The Champs Elysées is the richest district in Paris. Home to chains like Louis Vuitton and Cartier.  Even the McDonald's on the Champs Elysées is high end.  This picture is views looking each direction.
A little more walking down this grand rue and we will come to The Louvre.  Obviously, the Mona Lisa is housed here (La Joconde in French) but you should see it for many other reasons.  Actually, when I saw the Mona Lisa I thought 'it just looks like every other picture you have ever seen of the Mona Lisa.'  But the museum itself is amazing.  Beautiful outside and in and if you are a museum buff, you could literally spend your whole vacation here.  And, duh, the DaVinci Code!
Just down the street from The Louvre, walking distance again, across Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, on a little island in the Seine, is the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Always surrounded by tons of tourists, watch your wallets!  Inside the Cathedral it has a small replica of how the cathedral was built.  It is incredible to see what they did with what they had. 
Now we are going to cross another bridge over to the Left Bank to one of my favorite places in the city, Shakespeare and Company.  I have a little story here.  When my mom was traveling through Europe just after high school, she stopped at this little English book store in Paris.  The gentlemen who owned the store allowed her and her friend to stay overnight if they would write in his travelers log.  Well, 25 years or so later, I was traveling through Paris with a friend.  My mom had told me to find this store, but didn't tell me the story.  I called her that night to tell her I had found it and to tell her that there was this little bed in the midst of all these books, floor to ceiling!  She then told me, she slept there!  That very bed!  How bizarre that so many years later I would be seeing it.  I, however, did not sleep there.  Awesome little book store, definitely a must see.  Oh and it is in the movie Julie and Julia!
Well, I am going to let you take a breather because we have been walking a lot! After we have gotten some rest, I suggest a night's rest, we can start on a different section of Paris, Versailles.  Actually, Versailles is about a 30 minute train ride outside of Paris, but if you have at least two days, go.  It is where French royalty lived and where Marie Antoinette had her house and garden.  If you are a history buff like me, it is so fun to see.  And before you go, watch the movie, Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst.  Not really a great movie at all, but it was filmed on location at Versailles and it makes it so neat that you will be able to see the places that were in the movie. 

Did you have a nice trip?  Have you enjoyed the tourist attractions we got to see today?  I hope so!  Below is a subway map of Paris.  The subway is super easy to use, and that is coming from someone from Southern California (there are no subways, really) and when I first used it, I didn't speak French. So anyone can use it!  But it should give you an idea of how far we walked :) and where everything is. 

And if you are wondering where to say, here is a little guide to help you.  Paris is divided into arrondissements, 1 being mostly center and moving out in a spiral.  As you probably guessed, it is cheaper to stay on the outside of the city.  If money is not an issue here, then shoot, stay smack dab in the middle.  And make sure to let me know how it goes!  But for the rest of us, check into the outer areas, there is always a subway or a train to take into the center.  There are always good prices too.  One time I stayed in the business center, not even on the map, and it was fine. 

The last time I was in Paris, I stayed in something called a Peniche, which is a houseboat right on the Seine River!  If you have been a reader for a while, you might have seen the post.  It was really great and an awesome experience, but I would suggest for a first time Paris trip to get a hotel and see all the attractions up close and personal.  I hope you enjoyed our journey!  And if you make it out there, I would love to see your pictures!!

Thank you so much for reading along with me!  I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!

Don't forget the {French} giveaway is still open!  I would love to have you enter!  And remember, you leave a comment for every entry.  I will choose from the comments!

I also still have some sponsor spots available, click here for more details and please contact me if you are interested!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

June Sponsor Opportunities at Ma Nouvelle Mode!

Interesting in promoting your shop, buisness, or blog??  Come sponsor Ma Nouvelle Mode for June!  Now you might be asking, why should I sponsor your little ole blog?  Well here are some reasons...

1.) It has grown relatively quickly in my little blog's life (kinda like my own kids) which means it will continue to grow quickly, because I don't plan on slowin' down!
2.) I am very active in the Twitter community (117 followers amd growing daily) and Facebook (38 'likes' I'm working on it!)
3.) I travel the world, therefore your blog/shop/business travels the world with me!
4.) 5,000 views this last month.  200-300 daily views.  209 followers as we speak but also growing daily!
5.) Super great rates
6.) I would love to have ya!

Here are the deets:
Large Ad ~ $5 a month ($12 for 3 months)
360x150 ~
~ An individual feature post showcasing your blog, shop or business during a peak time of the week.
~ Tweets and facebook mentioning your blog and posts throughout the month.
~ If you have a giveaway you would like to offer, you will get a separate post for more exposure.
~ Your button will be proudly displayed at the top right of the blog, rotated each week.

Medium ad ~ $4 a month ($10 for 3 months)
~ Group feature post showcasing your blog at peak time of the week.
~ Tweets and facebook mentions throughout the month.
~ If you have a giveaway you would like to offer, it can be done with the feature post.
~ Ads will be rotated mid-month for maximum exposure.

Small Ad ~ $3 a month
~ Your cute little button on my sidebar all month for everyone to see.
~ Buttons rotated mid-month for maximum exposure.

I am also reserving some spots for ad swaps.  Feel free to e-mail me with any questions manouvellemode{at}gmail{dot}com.  I love hearing from you all anyway!

If you haven't already entered my {French themed} giveaway, you can do so here!!  I hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

200 Celebration and {French} Giveaway!!

Today is the day!!  I have hit over 10,000 views, I have over 200 followers, and I am right at 100 posts!  Today I am getting to say thank you to all my readers.  Today (and the rest of the week, of course) you have a chance to win some really cute items from France!!  Why today, you might ask?  Well first, I wanted to make sure I actually stayed at 200 followers.  I posted a pretty risque strawberry pie recipe that might have offended a few people.  And second, I am super lazy and slow with getting everything together!  Alas, I have prepared and am ready to present my French items I lugged all the way home from little l'Etrat to give to one of you lovely readers!  Check 'em out!

First up, chocolate!  A French giveaway wouldn't be complete without chocolate.  Need I say more?
I have these beautiful vintage coasters from Paris.  Gotta love it, typical Parisian! 
 French coffee.  My favorite brand.  Yes, I know it says Colombia on it, but hey, it is a French brand.
 Beautiful French scarf!  It is actually lightweight, so depending on your weather, you might be able to wear it for a bit before it gets too hot. 

Don't you want to know how to enter?  Okay, settle down, I will tell you!  :)

 {1} Entry: Be a follower of me and leave a comment letting me know you are.  If you already are, you know how awesome you are, and leave a comment letting me know!

{1} Entry: Follow me on Twitter
{1} Entry: Follow me on Facebook
{1} Entry each: Tweet, Facebook, or blog about this giveaway!  I am even going to supply you with a simple little tweet to use, if you so desire!  (making it easy for ya!)

I have entered to win a French themed giveaway at @NataliaLSimmons blog, Ma Nouvelle Mode Check it out! http://bit.ly/ifKgf7

I hope you win!  :)  And feel free to spread the word!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blog Tip Tuesdays ~ Keep the Convo Going!

Good Morning everyone! Hope you are having a good week. I have another Blog Tip Tuesday for ya today! First off, I need to ask you all a question. Are you a no-reply comment blogger? If you are, you might not even know it. But ya need to fix it!

I love getting comments. I am sure you all do too. It shows that people actually attempted to read the post you spend some time in front of the TV creating. And that is one of the best parts of blogging, connecting with people who might be in the same boat as you. Or have been, or just a little ego boost.  (we all need it every once in a while!)

So when those lovely bloggers leave me a comment, I want them to know that I appreciate it! I want you to know that I read that little comment that you so preciously took time to write. Sure I could go check your blog, and often I do, but if at that moment I didn't have time or availability, you will never know that I care.  And that makes me sad!  So if you are a no-reply comment blogger, keep reading. And if you aren't sure, keep reading, you just might be. And if you are sure, just keep reading, cuz, you know, I like it and all.

Here is how easy it is. Log into Blogger and go to the settings tab, then the comments tab. Scroll down to the bottom. On the way down, you can change some things like word verification #justsayin, you can also personalize you comment message. The last one on there 'comment modification e-mail', just put your e-mail there. Yep, that's it. Now when you leave a comment on someone's blog they can respond in an e-mail! I hate when I go to reply and the e-mail is no-reply comment blogger! ugh! I want to tell you guys thanks!!

Here it is in pictures for all you visual learners.

From blogger home to settings

Then to the comments tab

Did I have word verification on?? Yikes, how embarrassing.  Enter e-mail and save!  Super easy!
And yes, mom, I already changed it for you.  You're welcome.

I hope this is a helpful tip!  Make sure to stay tuned, tomorrow is going to be my giveaway!!  Can't wait!

Have a good day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

L.A. Story ~ Downtown

Well, I guess my strawberry pie recipe was a super offensive one.  I lost 2 followers yesterday.  Oh well, that isn't the entire reason why I write! Moving on!

I have decided that it would be fun to rediscover the beautiful city of L.A. and share it with all of you.  And yes, I do think it is beautiful!  Introducing my new feature,  L.A. Story!  I am going to take field trips to all the places I love in L.A. and document it by taking pictures!  I know, I know, such a sacrifice.  And it is all in the name of blogging!  You're welcome.

* Just a FYI ~ These features might not be weekly, they will be when I actually have time to go. So sorry! *

My first adventure was heading to downtown L.A. to the shopping district.  I love it here. Why, you might ask? Well because you can buy jewelry and fabric to your hearts content for cheaper prices than retail!!  And it is all bunched in the same area for your convenience.  Thank you, Los Angeles.  

So Friday my mom, sister-in-law, and I loaded up our kiddos and headed downtown.  We figured an adult for each kid, we will be okay.  We didn't really account for the fact that my youngest takes two adults, as evidenced by the picture below, but it worked out.  Here are some pics of the gang.
Did you check out his face? Priceless.  

We live about 30 to 45 minutes outside of LA.  For those of you who don't live in LA that might not seem so bad.  For those of you who do live here or have been here, you understand.  And traffic wasn't bad this last Friday.  Yes, these pictures are of traffic when it wasn't so bad. 
First, we found a bathroom.  I had a Starbucks before we left, whoops!  Then we hit up the jewelry store.  Love it!  And since I gave these blogging tips last Tuesday, I thought I would show you what we did with pictures. 
 And, of course, a little commentary.  Remember that cute headband my niece was wearing?  My sister-in-law bought about 9 yards for 3 dollars.  Yep.  Love it.  Oh and that wall?  That is just a section of the choices.
 Beautiful, isn't it?  What could I do with all of this??  Make an Indian wedding dress, maybe?
 The jewelry section.  Look at the choices!  This is me trying to tell my sister-in-law what I was thinking about for necklaces so she could help me organize.  She is an excellent organizer and I, well, I am not.  And this is my son probably saying 'I'm hungry!!' for the billionth time.
 Rows and rows!!
 All the chains to choose from. 
And then the fabric section of downtown.  There is just loads.  If you are ever here, go to Michael Levine.  That is this store and it is fantastic and has a ton of great stuff to choose from.  

Well that is it for the downtown shopping district of LA.  I got some fun stuff to create a necklace for a potential Etsy shop!!  Oh and I would love love love if any of your would give me some suggestions of what you might like to see in an Etsy jewelry shop.  You know, just throwing it out there.  No reason... :)

And I haven't forgotten about that giveaway!! Stay tuned, for sure.  Unless, of course, I keep moving backwards and go back under 200.  Then I guess you'll have to wait!  :)

What do you love about LA?  Any places you would like to see?  I will make a sacrifice and go see if for you!  I know, I am so nice! :)  Hope you are all having a great Monday!


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