Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yes, I Am Alive But Now We're Going Camping

Yes, I am still alive; even though that chest cold gave it's best effort. I've basically accomplished nothing this week other than going to bed earlier than I have in a long time, pushing through 4 work days, and packing for this weekend's festivities.

But now we're going camping. Last night was the last night we will sleep in a real bed until Tuesday. I'm not much of a camper so I'm really praying for dry weather, nice campsite bathrooms, and no nighttime visitors from the wild. 

Last night we drove the first few hours and spent the night at my brother's and his wife's new place. This morning, 6 of us head out early to drive about 4 more hours to get to the Boundary Waters. Apparently we have to leave early so we can still get base camp set-up before lunchtime and have the rest of the day to enjoy - how hard can it be? :)

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You can follow along with me on instagram! See you back here for some much more regularly-scheduled posting next Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Day My Brother Got Married | 8.16.14

Well it's about time I get these pictures up on the blog! I am still playing catch-up from my 12 days away from home and work is always crazy-busy at the end of the month and I'm fighting off a cold that seems to be trying to settle into my chest to make me want to die. So yes, basically I'm just one big mess. 

I tried to weed through the pictures a little bit before posting them so that it wasn't just one big photo dump. But my brother married an awesome girl, Parker and I were both in the wedding, and my family is just great so I wasn't very successful at trying to pick which ones aren't cute because I just think they're all cute!

I can't wait until they get back their disc of all the professional photos - keep in mind all of these were just taken with my iPhone. Aaaand.... here we go:

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At the groom's dinner - isn't that bridal maxi dress beautiful? I included our photo for the sake of showing you that I went with the coral dress and got lots of compliments - thanks for your input :)

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Here we've got Parker with his 2 sisters, us with his entire family (that I'm sure will be this year's Christmas card), and my mom with her best friends. 

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Jeanne sang at the wedding and happens to be my best friend so she stood right next to me almost 4 years ago when we got married.

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Following the ceremony our "party bus" was a quick pontoon ride around the lake to celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs. All in all, it was a beautiful night. The weather was beautiful (read: hottttt) during the ceremony and dinner and then it basically down-poured for the rest of the night. Which turned out ok - we just moved the dance and DJ from the yard into the decorated garage.

We really couldn't have asked for anything better. And I really couldn't have asked for anyone better to marry my brother. We are all so lucky. And I just love weddings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Drink: Red's Moscow Mule


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**This is a guest post written by Laura @ The Suzie Lou Blog**

Greetings Everyone! My name is Laura and I blog over at The Suzie Lou Blog! Which is dedicated to the many creations and quarks in my journey in life, love, food, friends, family, and most importantly God! When I am not working on my blog I can be found living my dream as an actress on the stage of my local community theatre or in a local coffee hangout planning my next greatest adventure. Grab a cup of joe and come along for the ride!

Today I am so thrilled to be guest posting here at The Samantha Life! We have both jumped on the Orange is the New Black bandwagon and we both love our fun cocktails. So what better way to merge the two together than to have a fabulous themed cocktail!




One of my favorite ways to relax after a hard day is with some Netflix and a yummy beverage! My new current favorite Netflix binge is Orange is the New Black. In honor of their 12 emmy nominations, including my favorite character, Red, played by the amazing Kate Mulgrew. I decided to create a twist on a traditional Moscow Mule. I am calling it Red's Moscow Mule! Here is what you need:

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Ingredients
Vodka- 1 to 1 and 1/2 shots
Ginger Ale
Orange Crush Flavor Powder
Ice
Fun glass to drink from

Instructions
(I find that this drink comes together if you create it all while speaking in your best Russian accent)

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Start by adding lots of ice to you glass of choice.

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Add your vodka.

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Keeping with the Orange is the New Black theme, add your orange crush powder.

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Mix it all up!

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Fill the glass to the top with Ginger Ale.

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Stir and Enjoy!

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For those of you who don't like orange: never fear, you can still have a Red themed drink. Just use the Strawberry Crush flavoring instead. Your drink will just match Red's fierce Magenta locks.

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And there ya go! I hope you enjoy this drink as much as I had creating it. Happy Netflix binging to you all! Thanks again Samantha for allowing me to guest post!

Nostrovia! (Cheers!)
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Monday, August 25, 2014

15 Reasons Why I Love To Come Home

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Last night I got home after a full 12 days away and it felt oh-so-good. Sure, vacation is fun and that's what my first 6 days away consisted of. Then traveling for work can be kind of fun, too. You know, the whole eating out and staying in a hotel for a night or two can feel pretty relaxing. 

But I'm not going to lie, I loved getting home last night and winding down with Netflix. And I'm looking forward to unpacking and going to bed early again tonight. 

I'd have to say, these are my favorite parts about coming home:

1 || My own bed and pillows.

2 || Home-cooked meals.

3 || Kissing my husband good night.

4 || A routine.

5 || Catching up on my tv shows.

6 || Early-morning coffee to enjoy while sitting on my couch in the peace + quiet.

7 || A fully charged iPhone.

8 || Blogging :: I can't wait to get caught up and back into my routine.

9 || Clean clothes.

10 || Early bedtimes.

11 || A glass of wine that doesn't cost $7.25.

12 || Picking clothes out of a closet, instead of a suitcase.

13 || Familiar surroundings.

14 || The ceiling fan above my bed.

15 || My closet full of shoes.

What can I say, I'm a home-body. What are your favorite parts about getting home after some time away?

Friday, August 22, 2014

It's Already Friday And I Don't Hate It

OK, I promise I will share wedding pictures at the beginning of next week. I know... I know... I really should have this week but I just didn't have time to get around to it. Again, this week was crazy and flew by and I know that every single one of you can probably relate to that so you'll understand :) It seems like next thing I know I'll be decorating for fall, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, and wondering where in the heck August and September went.

We were on vacation from last Wednesday through Monday which was basically spent helping with last-minute wedding projects and being out on the water. We had some family in town from Vermont and Colorado that left on Tuesday so it was nice to have the extra Monday off after the wedding to hang with them. The kids are my only cousins on my dad's side - actually, they're my only real biological cousins so it's always hard to say goodbye them.


Wednesday and Thursday I was actually out of town for work visiting another lumberyard that has the same computer system we'll be implementing. I don't think I would ever want to be required to travel a ton for work, but I think I could handle one night at the Hilton with maid service, continental breakfast, and a coffee bar every so often.


Now it's already Friday, which I don't hate, and we're only one 8-hour work day away from the weekend. The last summer weekend before Labor Day Weekend - can you even believe that? Do you feel like your summer flew by, too? Oh, and did I mention it's my last summer weekend at the lake because I'm going camping Labor Day Weekend? More on that next week (I don't really camp...)

I hope you all had a great week and I'm really looking forward to getting caught up this weekend and back into the swing of things on Monday. Do you have any last-minute summer bucket list things you have planned for this weekend?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW {What's Been Going On}

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Co - Maids of Honor.

+ I have a sister-in-law! Officially. Although, I think that I will just refer to her as my sista. Because she feels like just a normal sister, minus the whole in-law part. This is her and my brother pictured on the day that she officially became mine, I mean his. Whatever. I'm not good at sharing.

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+ I have missed blogging! Seriously, so much. You know, sometimes life gets in the way of your lifestyle blog. And that entire sentence is basically a big oxymoron; but with all the wedding and family festivities lately, I really have missed blogging.

+ Sometimes a bloody mary and chips+salsa do more than a good nap and 2 ibuprofen after a late night spent watching your brother tie the knot. This one was absolutely delish in the late-morning after the wedding.

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+ I have officially been away from home for 7 days now and will still not be home for another 5 days! We had some vacation time for the wedding and to spend time with our family visiting from out-of-town and now I'm away from home this entire week for work. Technically I'm away from home and yet I'm in my hometown for this entire week. (Read: maybe I'm not in the apartment where you can find my pillow and 12-piece set of Fiestaware, but my heart still feels at home.)

+ I can't remember the last time I took an actual shower. You gotta love showering in the lake. Yes, we do actually do that.

+ I promise that I will share wedding pictures soon. Here's one more for a bridesmaid sneak peek.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

15 Tips For A Successful Marriage

You guys are in for a treat today! I am probably helping my mom prep for the Groom's Dinner tomorrow and helping the Bridezilla (I'm just kidding, Alyssa :) ) prep for Saturday's wedding day so today Charlene is here. And I love her. She's young, somewhat-newly married, and just an all-around great girl. I hope you enjoy her post and go check her out -- she's one of my favorites!

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Hey readers of The Samantha Life! I wanted to share some tips for a successful marriage with you guys. Because I'm an expert after being married for a little over 2 years, right? Not really, but I have some experience and I can share what I've learned.

So, here goes.

1. Don't stop dating after you get married. Just because you're married now doesn't mean you can stop trying to impress your spouse. Even though you spend a lot of time together now that you are married and you live together, you still need to set aside special time to spend together. Get dressed up and feel pretty. Do things you don't normally do. Spend quality time and conversation together away from the TV. My husband and I try to make sure we go on at least one date per week, and watching TV at home doesn't count.

2. Try to have dinner as a family every night. This is in addition to a weekly date night. We try to have dinner together whenever possible. If my husband comes home after work in time for dinner, but he still has a lot of homework to do, we at least make time for dinner at the table before he gets started.

3. Put away technology as much as possible. When I am spending time with my husband, I try to not even have my phone on me, but it's tough. I know some people have "no technology in the bedroom" rules. I at least don't have it with me at the dinner table.

4. Don't stop flirting after you get married. Both you and your spouse still need to feel loved, wanted, and attractive. Be the type of parents that make your kids sick. Kiss goodbye in the morning, greet each other with a kiss and hug at the end of the day. Send texts in the middle of the day just to say you're thinking about them.



5. Go to bed angry. If you are having an argument, sometimes you need sleep on it and you will be more rational in the morning.

6. When you argue, don't bring up past arguments. Pearson and I attended a weekend marriage seminar when we were engaged and this was one of the big points. The couple presenting this point said that after they have a fight, they flush the argument down the toilet. Literally. They write the problem down on a piece of paper throw it in the toilet and flush. This somewhat ridiculous gesture helps them remember that the issue is over and will not affect future conflicts. You see, when you unnecessarily bring up old arguments, it only fuels the fire and doesn't help anything. Everybody makes mistakes, but we learn from them and move on.

7. Don't try to change your spouse. If you don't like something, try to change your own perspective and your attitude and see where that gets you. You didn't get married to change your spouse, you got married because you love the person he is!

8. Hold hands everywhere you go.

9. Listen to each other. Sometimes your spouse isn't looking for a solution. They just want you to listen and sympathize. 

10. Tell each other how you feel. Even if it seems trivial. Your spouse wants (or should want) to know about you. I learned this one from reading The 5 Love Languages. Sharing is as much a part of quality conversation as listening is. If your spouse's primary love language is Quality Time/Conversation like my husband, then their love tank will never be full if you don't share what you are feeling.


11. Never stop "studying" your spouse. Get that PhD in your wife or husband. A lot of people told us this before we got married. It goes along with some things I said earlier. Don't stop paying attention to your spouse after you get married. You do NOT know everything there is to know about them. And besides, people change as they get older so there is always something new to learn.

12. Be intentional about loving your spouse. Once you are out of the "in love" and "infatuation" stage and reality sets it, it might not be so easy to love your spouse on a daily basis. If you choose to love them no matter what, it will eventually become a habit again.

13. Encourage your spouse with your words. This means to speak kindly even if something negative needs to be said. It means to encourage him or her to do things that they want to do (not that you want them to do). And it means making requests of them as an equal, not demands as an authority. This one is hard for me because it is my natural tendency to nag, but there is always a way to get across what needs to be said in a kind way.

14. Don't compare your marriage to other people's marriages. You are two individual and unique people so your marriage is unique as well. What works for other people might not work for you and vice versa. Comparing only brings negative things to light and nothing good can come of it.

15. And last but not least, keep God first. What does this look like? Pray with your spouse. Pray for your spouse. Study the Bible with your spouse. Go to God with conflicts in your marriage. Make church and the Bible a priority. Find other Christian couple friends to fellowship with.

This certainly is not an exhaustive list, and I know I have a lot more to learn but I hope this post has been an inspiration to you. What would you add to my list?

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my monthly marriage goals, my post about The 5 Love Languages, and my tips for arguing with your spouse.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

12 Reasons Why You Might Be From North Dakota If...

I am lucky enough to have met Samantha, who blogs at Busy Sweet Life, through this crazy blogging world. Plus, I even get to meet her in person at a meet-up in September so you could say I'm pretty excited about that. She's a fellow North Dakota blogger and so we thought it would be fun to share with you some normal North Dakota happenings. 


1. You have had an Oofda Taco.

2. You call that thing you push around the grocery store a "cart".

3. You have a million weddings between June and September.

4. Your town has an equal number of  bars and churches.

5. You see beautiful sunsets nearly every night and could name at least 5 different colors that appear.

6. You know what a "car-starter" is.

7. You tell people you're going to "the cities" for the weekend and they obviously know that you mean the Minneapolis-St.Paul/all surrounding suburbs area.

8. You leave your keys in the car if you park in the driveway or run into the store quick. 

9. Your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March.

10. It is shorts weather when above 40 degrees.

11. You call a soda pop "pop" and address a group of people as "guys" (no y'all around these parts).

12. You know the meaning of North-Dakota-Nice. And Minnesota-Nice. Basically, it should just be Midwest-Nice.

That last one, totally true. People are just freaking nice around here. 

You want to come visit me, don't you?

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Result of "Trying To Kill Some Time"

I'm the type of person that basically has a never-ending to-do list and is always trying to do way too much. If I have a day off I cram it full of errands, cleaning, filing pictures, or other ridiculous and time-consuming tasks. It's hard for me to let myself have some time off from getting a bunch of stuff done so the way my Saturday went was completely out of the ordinary for me.

Parker was gone for hockey this weekend (yes ... again) and we'll be heading to the lake Tuesday since we have a few days off before MY BROTHER GETS MARRIED ON SATURDAY! I'm kind of excited. Anywho, so I decided not to go to the lake this weekend. I stayed home with, of course, a to-do list that I barely had enough room for in my planner. 

And then on Saturday, I did nothing.

Nothing.

Like I don't know if a person could get much more lazy or unproductive than I was. Unless you measure productivity by progress made on your latest Netflix season.

But then Sunday I kicked butt - at cleaning, running errands, and getting organized for the week. I still didn't finish all the ridiculous things I had on that to-do list but that happens, like, never so I still consider myself pretty productive. And happy. Because I am a freak and having a cleaning, dust-free, no-hair-in-the-bathroom apartment makes me so happy.

And to prove myself:


one & two | For me, cleaning the apartment also means tweaking a few minor decor arrangements.

three | Saturday night I made up a bit for the complete pile I was all day long and got some blog work done, alongside my friends caribbean escape candles and sleepytime tea.

four | What I have to show for my trip to Kohl's on Sunday. The mission was finding a dress for the Groom's Dinner. I'd say, mission accomplished. Which one is your vote? (The last one is a maxi.)

This post was supposed to be sharing my hopes and plans for the week and instead I just talked about my weekend. Oh well, I guess I run this little ol' thang so that's just the way it's going to be. Plus, it's more like a recap of the weekend's hopes and plans...?

By the way, I'm writing this ahead of time on Sunday night because I still need to kill another hour before I can go pick Parker up from the airport. Don't get my wrong, I'm glad he'll be home. I'm not glad about the fact that it'll be after midnight by the time I get to bed on a Sunday night.

And on that note, I hope you have a fantastic Monday. And I hope you feel a little more well-rested than I probably do right now. And seriously though, what's your vote on the groom's dinner dress??

Friday, August 8, 2014

Watching Vlogs + Job-Searching + Tequila

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I really do not know where the summer is going. I know time flies when you're having fun or whatever but I wish it would just slow down. I feel like I sound like a new mom who's telling their kid to not grow up so fast.

August is my favorite month and I think it will be over before you know it - this week went surprisingly fast; next week we only work Monday and Tuesday because my brother gets MARRIED ON SATURDAY; then the next week I'm out of town for work. Before I know it it'll be Labor Day weekend with Halloween right around the corner! I'm sorry, end rant.

01 | I think I spent a good 45 minutes last night watching vlogs from the Accent Vlog Link-Up. I didn't do one myself. I have vlogged before but it's just so.awkward. So props to any of you who got up the courage and did it. I have truly enjoyed watching them. It's funny how I read some people's blogs, send e-mails to them, tweet them nearly everyday and yet I've never seen them in person or even heard their voice. How weird is this?! So it was fun to hear their voice and actually feel like they're a real person. Plus it's always reassuring to find out your blog crushes really are real people and not some computer alien or creep hiding behind a computer screen.

02 | Well Parker didn't get the job he interviewed for last Friday. We found out Wednesday early afternoon and were pretty bummed. Job searching is such a not-fun process - I feel bad for people who have to do it for months without success. It's like you do all this work, put in a ton of time searching and prepping, and even sweat your butt off in a hot suit and tie on the first day of August, only to find out you're just not the right fit. Bum city. On a happier note, he does have another interview this coming Monday. Fingers-crossed.


03 | Do you think it's weird to sponsor another blogger, pay for the highest spot, and not get an e-mail from them at all regarding your sponsorship now being live including information about your guest post date and all that other jazz? Am I supposed to send an e-mail asking information about my current sponsorship? Maybe I'm being too needy here but I think this is weird. And I would love to know any thoughts you have...

04 | Parker is gone for his last hockey weekend of the summer and since we'll be heading to the lake already next Tuesday for wedding festivities I'll just be sticking around here this weekend. I have a mental to-do list including clean our apartment, go to the farmer's market, exercise, and a few other things that might take a backseat to blogging or watching Revenge. We'll see.


05 | If you do one thing this weekend you need to make this drink that I shared yesterday. I don't care if you don't like tequila, you'll like this. If anything, drinking a bevvy with a bobber floating in it is something everyone should do at least once in their life.

I feel like this post was kind of ranty and I'm sorry about that. I guess this is why we blog, right? Because we can write what we're thinking and share what we're feeling and sometimes, afterwards we feel just a little bit better. If you made it to the end, thanks for putting up with me today. And I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Blue Bobbin' Margarita

It's about time...

I have been sharing photos and sneak-peeks for weeks. It's finally time that I share with you one of my all-time favorite margarita recipes:

#margarita #bluemargarita #drinkrecipe #bluebobbinmargarita

I have shared photographs of this margarita on many occasions and I feel like it's time you let you in on this marvelous little secret. You see, the first time I ever tasted the Blue Bobbin' Patron Poppin' Margarita was at Zorbaz, the Mexican/Pizza Joint that we frequent on our lake. But then we decided we should try to make our own version - 1) Because it's delicious and should be consumed often, and 2) Because my brother's fiancee wants it to be the Signature Drink at their wedding (next week!).

Below is the recipe we came up with. Side note: You definitely want to use Silver Patron because it is clear and does not distort the color of the margarita. Also, we always make them ahead of time in a jar that we put in the freezer and then we serve the margarita on the rocks -- there's nothing better than an ice cold margarita!

Either way, the way I see it: the more you practice, the better it gets. Drink up the tequila, my friends!

Ingredients:
2 oz. Silver Patron Tequila
1-1/4 oz. Blue Curacao
1-1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. lemon juice

Directions:
Combine in shaker with ice, shake, and serve. 
Or, mix in a jar ahead of time, freeze, and serve on the rocks
Salt the rim, garnish, and enjoy!

#margarita #bluemargarita #drinkrecipe #bluebobbinmargarita#margarita #bluemargarita #drinkrecipe #bluebobbinmargarita

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How-To Resize a Button

I read once that if every single photo, button, or widget in your sidebar is the same width it is much more appealing and increases the professionalism of your blog. Side note: The same is true for the photos in your posts, too. It seemed like as soon as I read this that was all I was noticing on other blogs and I went to work on my own sidebar (at the time I only had one). 

The problem is I had some buttons in my sidebar that I had "grabbed" from other blogs or websites. If you don't know what I mean, scroll down the the bottom of my left sidebar - do you see my button with a little box underneath? If you copy that code and paste the html into an html widget in your sidebar, my pretty face will show up on your sidebar. Feel free to do so :) 

So anyway, I had some images in my sidebar that I had grabbed from other blogs - they were already sized and I could not figure out how I was supposed to make those the same width as everything else in my sidebar. I also had some that I had created myself but didn't save the "raw" file so if I wanted to change the size I would have had to start all over. That's where this post comes in: today I'm going to tell you 3 different ways that you can resize a button (without starting all over), whether it's one you created yourself or grabbed from someone else. 

#blogger #bloggingtips #buttons #resizeabutton #bloggertips #html

First things first:

+I run a Blogger blog so any of these tips are blogger-related and I am willing to admit that I know absolutely nothing about Wordpress.

+ You can resize any widget in your sidebar. (When I say "widget" I mean any of the images, tools, or links that appear in a sidebar.) Although the tips below are mostly applicable for resizing buttons or images.

+ In order to edit a widget in your sidebar, you need to click on the edit button for the widget you want to change -- this is the little toolbox image that shows up in the bottom-right of every widget. This pulls up the edit window and shows you the html code for that widget.

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01 || Rich Text: This one is definitely the easiest one I think. The problem is, I've been able to make it work on a Windows computer but it will not work on my Mac. View your blog and click on the edit button for the widget you want to change. In the edit window, click on Rich Text in the upper-right. It shows you the actual images, rather than the html, but you can still make changes to them. 
Click on the image and you can use the arrows in the corner to make them smaller or larger. If you have more than one image you can change the size of any of them and you can move them around or delete spaces between them. When you edit in this mode, it automatically changes the html to reflect your changes. Sometimes I figure the less I have to do with html, the better :)

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02 || Edit the HTML: If you are not able to use the method above you can always edit the html code to resize. View your blog and click on the edit button for the widget you want to change. This time, in the edit window we are going to stay in html mode. In the example below I took a button that was created to be 300px x 300 px and changed it to be 250x250 so it would fit in my sidebar.
If this is a widget with an image or a button your code should look something like this:
<a href="http://www.thesamanthalife.com/p/north-dakota-bloggers-network.html" title="ND Bloggers Network"><img src="http://i1075.photobucket.com/albums/user/BUTTON300x300.jpg" alt="ND Bloggers" style="border:none;" /></a>

Change the code to this, inserting a pixel value for your desired height and width:
The changes appear in purple.

<a href="http://www.thesamanthalife.com/p/north-dakota-bloggers-network.html" title="ND Bloggers Network"><img src="http://i1075.photobucket.com/albums/user/BUTTON300x300.jpg" alt="ND Bloggers" style="border:none;" width ="250" height="250" /></a>

It's as easy as that! Html sounds confusing and can be frustrating at times, but I am honest when I say I use this method often and it's easy. 

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03 || PicMonkey: When in doubt use PicMonkey, right? In order to resize an image you can always do the following to edit the html in the widget's edit window:
  • Save the image to your computer.
  • Upload the image to PicMonkey, resize to be your desired height and width, and save to your computer again.
  • Upload the resized image to any image-hosting site (i.e. photobucket, tinypic, etc.)
  • Copy the Direct URL for the resized image from your image-hosting site and paste into the img src field in the html.
Although I truly think PicMonkey rocks, in this case it is definitely not the easiest method.

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You can find other blog-related posts here:



Monday, August 4, 2014

A Day In The Life [Summer Weekend Edition]

I'm thinking instead of doing the typical weekend recap post this Monday, let's take this one step further. I'm not just going to flood my blog with pictures of the lake, adult beverages, or flowers this Monday (which is basically what I usually do) #sorrynotsorry. 

I've seen these A Day In The Life posts floating around blogland every so often and let's face it, my weekend days are much more exciting than my weekdays. Not only that, but the summer weekends are typically even more exciting than the weekends at any other time of year. So let's just jump right in, shall we?

Let me also point out that when I say they're more exciting I just mean that the few things I do are more appealing than working, watching a movie, or paying bills. I most definitely do not mean that they are action-packed or event-filled. Because sometimes the most that I accomplish is brushing my teeth, putting on my swimsuit, and walking down the stairs to the dock. Just didn't want you to get the wrong idea.

#minnesota #minnesotalakelife #lakelife #adayinthelife

So my day normally starts around 7:30ish when I roll out of bed, kiss Parks good morning, grab my phone, and head upstairs to the coffee pot. I pour a cup of coffee, walk over to the windows facing the lake to survey what the weather is looking like, and usually ask my parents if it's going to be nice today. Then I sit on the couch, drink a few cups of coffee, and flip through the paper and scroll through every single form of social media on my iPhone. 


We normally decide the night before if we are going to go out and do some cuts in the morning - at the lake that means go out for some wakeboard and ski runs semi-early in the morning while other people are still sleeping or having their coffee. We went out this past Saturday morning around 8:30 and it.was.beautiful. I did 2 ski runs and, like usual, ask myself why I don't do this more often because it's so fun and feels so good. 


Actually it didn't feel so good yesterday when my arms were so sore I couldn't raise them up to put a t-shirt on but it was worth it.

Sometimes we'll go back and have a cold beer on the deck after cuts because my dad says if you work hard you play hard. It's kind of a tradition. Then we'll take out some lunch or, like last Saturday, we'll take the pontoon to Zorbaz for lunch. Zorbaz is a Mexican/Pizza joint that is on the lake - it's kind of famous in Minnesota Lakes Country.

Basically we spend the afternoon either laying in the sunshine (and maybe enjoying a nap or two) on the deck - it's hard to stay awake when the breeze is blowing and you can hear the hum of the motors of all the boats passing by. Or else we head out on the water and take the boat to some of the sandy hang-out places on the lake where we do the same thing - lay in the sunshine and maybe take a nap - but the change of scenery is nice. Oh and sometimes we play catch or stand in the water so that makes me feel a little more active.


4:00 in the afternoon is pontoon hour. Instead of the usual cocktail hour we pack a beverage in the cooler and head out on the pontoon for a cruise around the lake. When we get back we jump in the lake to wash our hair - yes, we shower in the lake and I love it. Then we clean up, put some veggies out, get dinner ready, and typically socialize at the table for much longer than is actually necessary but my family just really is awesome.

We don't do anything exciting at night. Sometimes we have a bonfire, play a game, watch a movie, or go out on a late-night pontoon cruise. No matter what we do we don't make it super late because, hello, did you see how busy our day was?


It's nothing too exciting but you can come over if you want :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dear Parker: Happy Birthday!

Dear Parker,

Happy happy happy birthday! I know that birthdays aren't a huge deal to you but they are to me because I am so glad you came into this world 25 years ago. I bet you were a pretty cute baby but you have turned into a pretty good-looking young man, too. 


I feel so proud to be your wife. You've done so much in the past 25 years already - graduated from high school and college, worked hard to provide for us, made family your priority, and (the most important one) married me :) I can't even imagine what the next 25 years have in store for you.

I'm so glad your 25 years of life have taught you how to make a good pot of coffee and the tricks to get the garbage bag in that fricken stainless steel can that I don't know if I'll ever figure out. I'm so glad you've learned the best ways to navigate a grocery store for meal-planning and that a smile can change someone's day. I really don't know what I'd do without you in this world.

Let's be honest, we both know I'd probably starve and have caffeine withdrawals.


You are a person who wears his heart on his sleeve and dreams bigger than anybody else I know. You are a compassionate and motivated man who can make me belly-laugh in the kitchen. This world is so lucky to have you and I can't wait to see what the next 25 years bring. Happy Birthday, babe!

Love, Sammy

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