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Growing up, I was incredibly shy. When I was 12, I was moved from private to public school and for the first time, since I was a toddler, had to make new friends. #ad While 8th grade prepared me a bit, high school was even harder since I only knew a handful of people there. I realized that in order to gain the confidence I was seriously lacking, I needed to become a part of something bigger than me. I tried out and made our high school’s dance team, the Titanaires, in 9th grade. Suddenly, that shy girl found herself. I continued to dance throughout high school and discovered the power of teamwork.  We all walked out onto that field the same, no matter how skilled we were, what we looked like or what our home life was like. We came together as a family and put on a show that always had the fans in the bleachers cheering. Being a Titanaire changed me. 20+ years later, I’m still really good friends with a number of my teammates. Now, as the Mother of three girls, I always encourage them to find something they love, practice and become a part of something that will change their lives as it did mine. Whether it’s volleyball, gymnastics, dance or soccer, I watch my girls transform each and every time they practice, perform or play. Did you know that between the ages of 12 and 13, the number of girls who say they’re afraid to fail increases by 150%? By age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. That’s why @Athleta is committed to helping keep girls in the game. That’s the #PowerofShe.  #AthletaGirl #girlempowerment #girlsquad #girlsrock #womenathletes #womenempowered #womenempowerment #girlmama #girlmom #gymnastics #gymnasticslife #handstand #handstandpractice #novahighschool #novatitans #novatitanalumni #titanaire #letsgotitans

Growing up, I was incredibly...

Yesterday, I posted my deepest, darkest secret on my blog. It look me 24 hours to get the nerve to share it on here. I’ve been writing that post for a while. It probably didn’t go live the day I intended it to and it might disappear at some point. But enough is enough. Time for me to put my big girl panties on and stop lying to myself and everyone else. I hope you won’t think any different of me or judge me in any way. I’m still the same person, I’m just not pretending anymore. .
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Art: @kobrastreetart 
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Yesterday, I posted my deepest,...

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#ad Falynn has a very short list when it comes to her favorite snacks. You might be surprised what's at the very top of that list. #ad It's not cookies. It's not chips. It's actually tomatoes! And her absolute favorite tomatoes, are Cherubs® by @NSTomatoes. Whether I fill a snack baggie up with them or create little cars out of them, with carrots and cucumbers and a toothpick, she can't get enough. They are Bright. Juicy. Irresistible. NatureSweet Tomatoes are giving their followers a chance to win weekly #NatureSweetSnackHack prizes ($150 weekly Middle School Snack Hack Prize Pack) and the Grand Prize, a #SnackHack Survival Kit which includes a year’s supply of NatureSweet tomatoes, a backpack, electronic tablet/computer to save all your snack hack ideas, and other great gifts to make on-the-go snacking easy! Hurry and enter! The sweepstakes ends September 23, 2019. https://izea.it/amKBCzG

#ad Falynn has a very...

How would you like to win FREE glasses for your entire family?* #sponsored We recently went to our local For Eyes for our annual vision exams and had the best experience. Dr. Hanna and the opticians really made us feel comfortable and at home, especially Falynn, who had never had an eye exam before. They helped us to find our new prescription and choose the frames that looked best on us. We also sat down with Dr. Hanna to learn more about the importance of annual eye exams and the dangers of blue light. Stay tuned for our IGTV interview later this week! Also, swipe to see the first photo that Falynn ever took by herself, with my camera. Great, right?  We’ve partnered with For Eyes to give you the opportunity to win up to 6 FREE eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses valued at up to $250 each. 
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As someone that has suffered with both anxiety and depression for many years, I can tell you that there are signs that your loved one is suffering. While not everyone who exhibits these characteristics is having mental health issues, it's quite possible that those who are, exhibit many symptoms as a result of their anxiety and/or depression. Today on the blog, I’m discussing those symptoms and what to look for if you suspect you or your loved one is suffering with anxiety and/or depression. .
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#ad Let’s get real for a moment. While they play a large part in us becoming Mothers, periods are no fun. They also weren’t something that I knew a whole lot about up until a couple of months ago, if I’m being honest. But results from a recent survey got my attention.  3 in 5 women surveyed reported at least one symptom of heavy periods – and among those respondents, over half had not discussed them with a doctor (57%) Why? Most women have resigned to heavy periods as their reality, with 43% saying “it’s just normal for me” and 36% saying “I’ve just learned to live with it.” Sound familiar? I must have said those exact statements plenty of times over the last 30 years. 
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In just about a month or so, we will start to look for our dream home. #ad I’m excited at the opportunities and better rates we can get because of the bump in my credit score. I’m so grateful for the @lendingtree app, which has helped me to monitor my credit score closely, so I know what needed to be improved. The LendingTree app provides all the tools you need for a better financial health. No matter where you are in your life or what big milestone is coming up, your credit is important and should always be a priority. The LendingTree app is free and signing up doesn’t affect your credit score. You can download it in the App Store (click on the #linkinbio and then on “LendingTree”). Why is your credit score important to you? .
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In just about a month...

Thinking back to last month and our stay in that cute little airbnb, it makes me so grateful for the opportunity to blog full-time. Not only do I get to work closely with companies that I love, but occasionally I get the opportunity to take our family on a little, but much needed vacation. It really is the best job I’ve ever had. Today on the blog, I’m continuing my series for bloggers and influencers and discussing what might be the scariest part of this job… pitching companies and applying to campaigns. Head over and check out my suggestions to nail those pitches. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! .
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Thinking back to last month...

The One Thing I Never Thought I’d Get Out of Brand Repping

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Quality time with my girls? Check. Great handmade clothing, accessories and shoes? Check. New love of photography? Check. I just never imagined there would also be something so invaluable and special headed my way…

Since I started on our brand repping journey, I’ve realized that it’s something that I just can’t talk to my “real life” friends about. They don’t get it.  Most of them think that I’m just getting free stuff because Falynn is cute.  Others think I have an unhealthy obsession with taking pictures of her and have no idea why I do it daily. Many think I’m a stage Mom, living vicariously through her.  Others think I’m doing this to get her “discovered” or think I’m trying to make my kids into the next Kardashians.  Way too many have even asked me how they can get free stuff for their kids.  And as much as I try to explain the amount of work and dedication that brand repping requires, they just don’t understand.  So when such a large part of your life revolves around brand repping, what can you talk to them about, that they can relate to?!

When my real life friends love something that Falynn is wearing and I send them the link, they tell me how crazy it is to spend that kind of money on a child’s wardrobe, yet they will spend $100 on new sneakers that they will outgrow in a matter of months, lining the pockets of already rich CEO’s with even more money, while small shop owners count their pennies, hoping they can pay their rent.  When Falynn gets chosen to work with unicorn shops, I can’t tell any of them because, well, they have no idea what a unicorn shop is.  Plus, they’ve probably never heard of that shop because they only shop at stores like Old Navy or Justice.  And while I do occasionally shop at big box stores, the majority of our clothing budget is spent in small shops, even though we get less, the reward is so much greater.

So, I’ve realized that as much as I love my real life friends, I NEED brand rep Mama friends.  They get me.  I can tell them about my photoshoot and how she couldn’t keep her finger out of her nose, couldn’t stop pretending to be a chicken and fell asleep minutes before we arrived at the photoshoot location. I can tell them about the shop that shipped out my order 3 weeks late and expected me to take pictures the day I received my package.  I can share my frustrations, my triumphs and my accomplishments and THEY TOTALLY GET IT!  They applaud me for my photography and encourage me to learn new things to make it even better.  They share new small shops with me and give me their share codes so that I’m saving money while supporting.  They listen to me vent when I’ve had an awful experience and remind me that the good always outweighs the bad.  They understand why I spent $22 on a t-shirt when I could have gone to Ross and spent $5 for a mass produced tee.

06222017_2
Pictured: @madison.mackenzie.twins and @ashleypease 
Shops: Pie pop ears: @pixiedustpretties, Yellow Ears: @thebowmama, Gray Tee: @nbtthreads, Blue Tee: @queenofheartsco, Buttons: @caseyandthebear, Leggings: @trendytwinscompany

Believe it or not, even though I have never and may probably never meet these Mamas in person, there are so many that I’ve become closer to than some of my real life friends. They have become people I can text, call or message when I’m having a bad day.  They understand my struggles in life and care enough to listen and share their best advice.  We watch each other’s kids grow up through pictures and feel a connection that is so much stronger than I could have ever imagined.  We have become more like family than internet strangers.  It’s become the best perk of being a part of the brand rep community.  And for the ones that I have met in person, it was probably the most comfortable blind Mama play dates I’ve ever had.  We had been communicating through social media and had seen so many pictures of each other and our kids, that it was almost as though we already knew each other.  We were able to strike up a conversation immediately and we really never ran out of things to talk about.

I think my favorite part of these relationships is that we are able to meet people that we may not have ever crossed paths with in real life.  And part of that is totally because most people, in our everyday life, judge each other based on looks (I’ve been guilty of that myself).  I would probably never approach the girl with the pink hair because she’s WAY too cool to be my friend.  She’s got confidence and style and isn’t afraid to be herself.  My first thought would probably be… why would she want to be friends with me? I’m the shy, awkward wallflower that makes way too many jokes because I’m so uncomfortable.  Yet… in the brand rep world, that girl with the pink hair is the friend I’ve always needed.  We became friends for the right reasons… because of the people we are on the inside.  She sends me messages of encouragement on days she knows I need it. She encourages me to try new things and she helps me to work on my confidence.  She tells me that she also struggles with being shy and suffers from anxiety just like me.  We don’t have to pretend to be other people in front of each other because surprisingly, we are so alike.

And there is no one like a Brand Rep Mama to have your back.  When you feel cyber bullied, they are the first to step up and defend you.  Even if they have never chatted with you before.  They are passionate, strong and no-nonsense women who will do anything to prove a point.  They don’t back down for anyone.  Who wouldn’t want someone like that in their lives?  I’m not sure what I did before I met them all and I will be forever grateful for them.

So, to all of my brand reppin Mamas, thank you. Thank you for understanding me. Thank you for giving me inspiration. Thank you for sharing your lives with me.  Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for your honesty.  Thank you for your encouragement.  But most of all, thank you for being you and allowing me to be me.

Who have you met, thanks to Brand Repping? Comment below and share their IG and tell me how you met and why you are glad you did.  Let’s show some love!  Have a topic you want me to talk about? Email us! Make sure to follow our daily small shop fashion on Instagram @thesmallfashionista and on our new Facebook page.

Special thanks to these awesome Mamas for allowing us to share their Mama Rep meet up pics:

FEATURED IMAGE: 
@thedisplacedyankees @liamfishburne and @karringtonmarie.memphisgrey
Tees: @teaandhoneyco
Bow: @sparkles.n.studs
Denim Shorts: @env_denim
Baby Shoes: @toe.jammz

DISNEY IMAGE:
@madison.mackenzie.twins and @ashleypease
Make sure to check out these shops!
Pie pop ears: @pixiedustpretties
Yellow Ears: @thebowmama
Gray Tee: @nbtthreads
Blue Tee: @queenofheartsco
Buttons: @caseyandthebear
Leggings: @trendytwinscompany

XOXO
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1 Comment
  • Tracy Shane
    June 24, 2017

    Awe! I love this and your willingness to be vulnerable and exposed to allow others to get to know you in a way that would be hard “in real life. There are so many women I’ve met through brand repping that I feel the EXACT same way about. #sisterhood #womemsupportingwomen #strongwomen #brandreppinmamas

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