July 30, 2013

The Grab a Friend Blog Hop!

Hey there!  So glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll link up to our Grab a Friend Blog Hop!  Before you do, though, let me fill you in on some things that have been going on over here! If you like jewelry you may want to check out, Tarnished Royalty: Jewelry to Cherish!  Ann hand crafts one of kind statement pieces that you really must check out! 
Additionally, if you haven’t entered my July Sponsor Giveaway for a chance to win some amazing prizes including FREE ad space, design services, and a gift card, there is still time to enter!  And if you haven’t linked up to The Happy Aloha Friday Blog Hop, feel free to check that out as well!  So much to do; so little time! 
And just in case that’s not enough for you, I thought I’d remind you of my fabulous 30% off promotion on any size ad spot on Cropped Stories when you use the code CELEBRATING (in all CAPS) at checkout!  Feel free to visit my ADVERTISE page for more information! 

July 29, 2013

Tarnished Royalty: Jewelry to Cherish

If you like jewelry (or perhaps are a jewelry addict like myself),  I have a special treat for you today!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t go anywhere without jewelry and when it comes to choosing a piece, I’m all about making a statement!  If you like unique pieces that make a statement, I have a feeling you are going to love the one of kind hand crafted pieces that Ann over at Tarnished Royalty designs herself from bits of old hardware, lace, broken jewelry, and other found objects.  Ann loves to reclaim weathered objects and transform them into original pieces of art.  Each and every product that Ann designs has a little part of her and lots of love poured into it!   

If you missed my previous introductory post on Ann, feel free to catch up HERE.  She is one of my July sponsors!  Even more important, she just happens to be one of my first sponsors ever so I’m extremely excited to be sharing some additional tidbits about Ann with you today!

July 26, 2013

The Happy Aloha Friday Blog Hop is Live!

First and foremost, HAPPY FRIDAY! 

Before I can let you go off and party, have you entered my July Sponsor Giveaway?  It just went live yesterday!  I’d hate for you to miss out on the chance to win some amazing prizes such as FREE ad space, gift cards, and more! 

And if you like to win free stuff (who doesn’t right), you can also head over to Aree with Umbrella where I’m offering a FREE medium size ad spot on my website!

Interested in advertising on Cropped Stories, feel free to check out my ADVERTISE page for details.  I hope you’ll take advantage and use the 30% of promo code CELEBRATING (in all CAPS)!  It’s good for any size ad space!

If you missed my previous posts from the past several days, here’s a little recap of what I’ve been blogging about over here:

- Vacationing in Cape Cod, MA (includes a FREE photography checklist printable)
- 7 Educational Mobile Applications for Kids
- Blog tools you should definitely consider

July 24, 2013

Do you miss them being babies & my July sponsor giveaway!

When Alivia was born, I asked my sister who has two children (one was 15 at the time and other was 13) if she missed them being babies.  She answered without hesitance “no”.  In disbelief I asked “really”?  I was both surprised and enlightened by her answer!  After briefly explaining the things she was enjoying about my niece and nephew’s current ages, she went on to say that she thought of childhood as a temporary place for the child to become their true selves, the adult person they always had been just hadn’t grown into yet.  I had to think about it for a few minutes to really grasp the concept, but I was intrigued by the idea.  Could it possibly be true? 

July 23, 2013

7 Educational Mobile Applications for Kids

Since it’s been rainy lately, Alivia and I have been forced to spend time indoors.  So today, while I was on my computer, I gave Alivia her Nexus to play with.  It wasn’t long before I dropped what I was doing to join her.  In no time at all, we were engulfed in some educational and fun applications!   It was then it dawned on me that I haven’t written a post on mobile applications for quite some time.  What a shame too because I had quite a few to recommend!  With that said, I have 7 of them to share with you today!

Vacationing in Cape Cod, MA

It’s nice to be home from vacation but only for dependable and fast internet access so I am able to do what I love: BLOG.  Otherwise, I rather be basking in the sun under a clear blue sky with nothing to worry about other than sun protection.  Alivia and I had such a wonderful 3 day vacation in West Yarmouth.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  And unlike previous years, the ocean was exceptionally warm and inviting.  Even better than warm ocean water and sunshine was Alivia accomplishing some HUGE milestones!  After struggling with her for 2 Summers, I finally got her to walk on the sand!  It took some serious persistence and a thick skin when she began to melt down, but I stayed strong and was relieved to have it pay off!  Of course, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get her to do it  with bare feet so I came prepared with water shoes.  And when her shoes filled up with sand, I was pleasantly surprised it only took a little distraction and some mild coaxing to keep her from obsessing over it.  In no time at all my baby was playing in the sand comfortably!  She even, for the first time, played in the ocean water (something else I had been struggling with getting her to do)!  It was amazing watching her enjoy activities that once had her running for dry land, a shower, or my arms.  And if that’s not enough, on the very last day of our vacation, my sister handed her a water bottle and she drank out of it like a PRO!   What?!  It was as if the milestones kept being thrown at my baby but she continued to hit them right out of the park!  I was so proud of her!

July 19, 2013

The Happy Aloha Friday Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Today I’m writing to you from Cape Cod, MA.  I’m outside on a picnic table looking out onto the gorgeous ocean!  Alivia and my sister are playing frisbee to my right.  There are some gorgeous sailboats to my left that I’ve been trying hard not to hijack.  The seagulls are flying over head and the breeze is just what the doctor ordered! Have I painted you a picture or what? I could go on forever about my fabulous 3 day vacation but there will be plenty of time next week for me to fill you in and share some great pictures.  With that said, what I really want to know is: Are you guys ready?  It’s that time again.  Time to P A R T A Y and, this week, enter your chance to WIN some amazing things! 

Before I leave you to the party, however, this is just a reminder there is still time to sign up for the Pinterest Incentive Program!  Spots are going fast and I only have room for a few more people!  I hope you’ll consider joining us!

July 18, 2013

Blog tools you should definitely consider

I know in blogging, taking programs, applications, widgets, etc. for granted is easy to do.  I know with me, my main focus is getting the task at hand completed.  Whether it be wrapping up a post, running an analytical report, rolling out a blog hop, setting up ad spots, creating a giveaway, updating my blog design, etc., the most important thing is to get it done in a timely fashion ‘cause, let’s face it, there’s always more to do!  Today, I’d like to take a step back, take a breather, and remember the tools I currently use that help me tremendously with the various aspects of blogging.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that these tools are what makes it all come together; what makes me be able to present to you Cropped Stories!

Just when I think I don’t have a topic to blog about, it hits me like a ton of bricks.  Just because I know of the existence of these blogging tools doesn’t mean everyone does.  And why shouldn’t you know about them?  If it’s going to make your life easier, than I’m going to share them with you!

July 17, 2013

A sponsor spotlight and the dog days of Summer giveaway!

I have some exciting things for you today including a sponsor spotlight and giveaway!  First, I’ve got a serious question for you.  Have you guys met Ann and LaShawn?  If not, here’s your chance to meet two lovely ladies who just happen to be my July sponsors!  And not just any sponsors, but my first ever!  That’s right!  With the publish of this post, Ad space finally available, Ann and LaShawn were quick to jump on board and I couldn’t have been more thrilled!  These two ladies really put a smile on my face and helped me to achieve a HUGE blog milestone!  So for that, I am extremely grateful!  Now, before I go getting all emotional on you, I’m going to stop right here and start with the introductions already.

July 16, 2013

And the blogger award goes to…

Yes, you guessed it, ME!  I’m so excited an honored to have been nominated by the lovely Lanaya over Raising Reagan for this Blogger Award!  Apparently, there are a couple of rules once you’ve been awarded including: you must display the award button on your website, state 7 things about yourself, and nominate 15 bloggers and include links back to them!  Easy enough right?  I thought so until it was time for me to nominate people.  I wish I could have nominated just about everyone.  There are too many great bloggers out there that deserve this award!

July 15, 2013

The Pinterest Incentive Program: a HUGE Opportunity for Bloggers!

Are you guys ready for this?  I’ve been working on this idea for over a couple weeks now.  And from doing research online, I have yet to find a similar program in place which makes it a HUGE opportunity for those that choose to participate!  I am calling it The Pinterest Incentive Program.  If you are interested in driving more traffic to your blog and improving your page rank, I recommend reading on.


Figuring out how I would present it was the most challenging part.  I wanted to make certain I was describing it the best I could without losing my audience to confusion, redundancy, and excessiveness.  In other words, I didn’t want to leave you face down on your keyboard dizzy from information overload.  So from a bunch of chicken scratch (isn’t that where all the good ideas stem from), I picked and pulled the key points of my idea and compiled it in the form of a flyer which you can review below.  If it’s easier, you can also download an 8.5 x 11 copy to print. 

July 11, 2013

The Happy Aloha Friday Blog Hop is LIVE!

Hey there! So glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll link up and party with us!  Before you do, I’d like you to know I’m now offering Button Swaps on my Advertise page!  This means you can advertise with me for free in exchange for putting my ad on your website as well.  I call it my Scratching Backs Ad!  If you are interested, I currently have 8 small ad spots available (120 x 120 px wide).  All you have to do is click the buy now button under Scratching Backs: Button Swap (Small) and enter the promo code FREEBIE (in all CAPS) to receive 100% off!  If you need a button designed, look no further, I’d be more than happy to help you with that as well!  I have training in graphic design and am experienced in Photoshop.

Speaking of graphic design, I wanted to give a little shout out to Areeba over at Areeba’s Designs for creating my lovely customized pin it hover button.  I couldn’t be happier and the code was super easy to install.  Thanks Areeba!

Additionally, on Monday I’ll be posting a HUGE opportunity for the first 33 bloggers that choose to participate in a program I created.  If I were you, I’d stop by to check it out.  I have a fabulous incentive for joining!  Trust me, you won’t want to miss this!

A Lovely Blog Hop; Come Party with Us!

Welcome to A Lovely Blog Hop, where each Thursday we have the grand opportunity to meet and connect with lovely new bloggers, such as myself! Now you have something to do and somewhere to go on Thursdays!

July 10, 2013

J9 Designs and My Eclectic Loft (have you met Janine and Nancy)?

When I published my post, Ad space finally available, I was beside myself with how quickly these two gals took advantage of my promotion and made a purchase!  I was so excited to have my very first Sponsors!  It has been such a huge milestone for this little ol’ blog o’ mine and I have a feeling it will be  a tough one to top!  Of course, that will not keep me from trying.  I see great things in the near future for Cropped Stories so I hope you’ll stay tuned!  In the meantime, I’m relishing in my most current accomplishments and am especially excited today for you to meet my featured Sponsors!

July 8, 2013

Dayz of Summer Photography Checklist (will you take the challenge)?

Yesterday as I was riding in the car with my hubby we drove past a couple of farms.  I was practically kicking myself for not having my camera with me to catch the cows grazing and the horses galloping.   I don’t know what it is about the Summer months that makes me want to pick up my camera and take pictures of, well, almost everything.  With my country music playing in the background and the air from the window blowing through my hair, I thought what better time to start compiling a list of the things I’d like to capture on camera this Summer.  While some things I wanted to take pictures of came incredibly easy to me (like a hammock, horses, a canoe, the lake, etc.), I had to put in some effort to remember the small but wonderful things about Summer that are often taken for granted.  Stuff like iced coffee, fruit salad, a grilled hot dog, the ice cream truck, a tire swing, etc.  Once I started thinking smaller, it was hard to stop.  The ideas kept coming and I realized that my once modest checklist was quickly becoming endless.  Isn’t Summer the best?

July 5, 2013

Happy Aloha Friday Blog Hop!

Happy Aloha Friday!
Hey there people and a very Happy Aloha Friday to you all! Welcome to the most hoppingest of all hops - The Aloha Friday Hop :)
We have a great team for July - I know you're going to love them! Just don't forget to head down to the linky to click and follow them when you link up your own lovely blogs :) Our hosts and co-hosts links are always the first you will see, so it's easy for you to click and follow.Aloha Hoapili

Grab a button and link up below! If you'd like a different sized button click here. 

Don't worry if you already have Jean's lovely Aloha buttons on your blogs - switch if you'd like to. Or choose one of Jean's buttons here.
The rules are the same as before and are posted below. The Aloha Hop is one of the most hoppingest hops of the week, attracting over 400 linkups on the regular. Let's keep that blogging tradition going people!
If you'd like to host future Aloha Hops with us then please get in touch at our swanky new email address alohahop@gmail.com. I believe we're all set for August with lots of lovely co-hosts but feel free to get in touch about September onwards.
The rules
If you'd like to spread the love even more, why not tweet and twitter all about it? Just click the pic below :)
Tweet this Hop
Here's the extra special addition to our lovely hop. It's an oh-so-easy opportunity for you lovely participants of the Aloha Friday Blog hop to get some exposure to your blogs!!  What do  you have to do to enter?  Just link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop Below!! It's that easy!!  No extra forms or hassle, just link up!  Each week we will pick a linker to featured at random and invite you all to say...
Aloha Hoapili
Grab a button if you were featured this week! 
Aloha Hoapili translates as Hello Close Friend. So, without further ado let me introduce you to this week's featured friend ...
Nancy blogs all about nutrition, families and life in general. Want a little taste of her blog? Check out these posts to find out what you've been missing:
Wordless about NutritionCooler Totes, and Chinese New Year.
Now let's start hoppin'! Click on the links in the linky to visit some lovely bloggers and make new friends. Oh, and don't forget to link up yourselves!
Aloha and have a great day people!

If you missed my previous post, Ad space finally available, feel free to check it!  There’s still time left to snag a spot!  Just don’t forget to use the promotion code CELEBRATING (in all CAPS) to receive 30% off!  For more information you can visit my Advertise page!

Featured Sponsors



July 3, 2013

Ad space finally available!

It’s official, Ad space on Cropped Stories is finally available!  And I’m super EXCITED to be able to offer them to you today!  I have a total of 13 spots available!  Since I’m so happy, I felt the need to do a little celebrating.  With that said, I’m running a 30% off promotion when you use the word CELEBRATING (in all CAPS) to the first 13 people who purchase ad space!  So go ahead and take advantage!  For more information, feel free to check out my Advertise page.

July 2, 2013

Easy to make Candied Teriyaki Chicken Wings!

Do you guys like chicken wings?  I sure hope so because I’ve got the best chicken wing recipe for you today!  And although it’s a cavity waiting to happen (you’ll see why), on the flip side it’s easy, quick, and finger lickin’ good!  These wings have always been a BIG hit at any event!  The trick, of course, is to cook them long enough so that the meat falls off the bone.  My hand written recipe is titled “Mom’s Chicken Wings” so I’m assuming it is in fact my moms, but I swear the first time I tried these was at my brother’s house when his ex wife made them years and years ago.  I actually mentioned this to my mom and it seemed like she wasn’t sure herself that’s why I don’t feel bad telling you all.  Of course, whatever the case may be, one thing I know for sure is that they are in a word “AWESOME”!  Oh, and addicting too!  Definitely addicting!

If you can believe it, we’ve gone through the years calling them “Mom’s Chicken Wings” but if you ask me, that doesn’t really describe them very well!  So today I name them!

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