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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Couples Halloween Costume - Part 4

Happy Halloween! Hope you enjoy these super attractive photos of me all hit up from a lightning strike. I'll be going trick or treating tonight with little Bella (you might remember her from this video). If you go out tonight, have fun, be safe, eat candy nomnoms! xo JA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lately in Instagrams

It has been busy over here at JAA! Show season has begun and a lot of time is being spent printing, folding, and stuffing cards to build up a good amount of stock. (The majority of this was done while watching my Detroit Tigers play in the World Series so life's not that bad...even though they lost.) This weekend I did the Queen Bee Market (where I met Tara!) and next up is Patchwork this weekend.
And let's not forget Halloween! Did you celebrate this weekend? Saturday we went out in a couples costume for the fourth year in a row! It was pretty fun, can't wait to share photos tomorrow! ;]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Crouton Recipe

I love to get the fresh baked bread from the local grocery store, but it starts to get stale so quickly. Instead of letting the stale bread go to waste, I've started using it to make homemade croutons for our dinner salads. It's really easy!
What you'll need:

Sliced Bread
Melted Butter or Olive Oil
(I used Olive Oil)
Garlic Salt (optional)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Cut the crust off the bread slices.
Cut the bread slices into cubes.
Evenly coat the bread cubes with the butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt, parmesan cheese, or really any seasoning you would like!
Lay out the cubes on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned.
Let them cool and store them in an air tight container. Add them to your soup or salad for an extra burst of crunchy flavor! Nomnom!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Caramel Apple Milkshake Recipe by AcuteDesigns

Hi!  I'm Gina of {Acute Designs} and I am so excited to be here today to share with you guys a tasty little recipe I created.

Fall is in full swing and everyone seems to be apple picking and posting their favorite fall recipe {myself included :)}.  Nine months out of the year, I am not a big fan of apples....but come September, they are in my shopping cart every week.  I decided to do something a little different with a few apples this year and I created a caramel apple milkshake / cocktail.

Apples + ice cream + caramel + whipped cream vodka = a very happy me!

Caramel Apple Milkshake / Cocktail 
-1 1/2 cup of ice cream {I used low fat vanilla but a dulce de leche variety would be amazing}
-3/4 cup apple cider
-2 medium apples, peeled and diced
-2 heaping tablespoons + a little extra for drizzling of caramel sauce {usually found near the ice cream...this brand is my favorite}
-3 tablespoons of apple butter {store bought or make your own using my simple crock pot recipe}
-a handful of ice
-optional - 4 ounces of whipped cream vodka {this brand is uh-mazing....you can thank me later :)}
Put everything in a blender and whirl away.  If your blender struggles to get going, add an extra splash of apple cider.   Once well blended, pour into glasses and drizzle a little caramel sauce around the top.
This recipe will make about three 8oz milkshakes or decadent cocktails.  Feel free to double it if you have a thirsty crowd.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sponsor Call for November

I can't believe it's time to call for November sponsors already! October flew by. I think I said that about September too though, didn't I? What can I say? Time flies when you're having fun!
If you're looking to advertise your blog or shop, I'm now calling for November sponsors! Let's work together!

In the past month, JAA has had 94,000+ unique visitors and 165,000+ pageviews!

Ad spots start as low as $15 for the month. And don't forget, past sponsors get a 20% discount! Just e-mail me for the coupon code.

Medium ads will go live as soon as today. Large ads will go live at the end of the month, but don't delay because there is only one left for the month of November!

The latest sponsor feedback: "I loved sponsoring with Julie! Not only did my giveaway get a ton of traffic, but the discount code I shared even resulted in a sale. She's great to work with and I loved all the extra social media love she gave me. Thanks Julie!" - Rouge & Whimsy

If you're interested in advertising on JAA, you can find more information here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A New Video from Etch

I wanted to share the latest wedding video I had the pleasure of shooting with Etch Films. Jordan and I traveled down to San Diego for a beautiful day spent at the Andaz hotel. The wedding was amazing and so was the couple! Christine and Rich were so fun to work with, I could totally see us hanging out if we lived closer to each other.
So whatcha think? This is probably my new favorite out of all the weddings I have shot with Etch. In case you missed them, you can see the first wedding we shot here, the video we shot in Hawaii here, and the wedding we shot in Australia here. (Those videos look so small now that I have this new layout with bigger content!) Which one is your favorite?

Next up, we are heading to Palm Springs in a couple weeks to shoot the wedding of Tina and John. And you know what is extra awesome? Tina works for PostalPix! That's how I worked out this giveaway with them last month. Did you enter? Didn't win? Well guess what! I have an extra little something for you from PostalPix today. You can use the code JAAPIX25 to get 25% off your entire PostalPix order, until Friday at 11:59 PM EST! If you're not yet familiar with PostalPix, it's an app that alows you to easily and conveniently order your Instagram photos directly from your iPhone. Takes two seconds and it is so nice to have those photos displayed around the house! :] Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The 2012 Holiday Line is Here!

I spent most of yesterday taking product photos and drafting listings and I'm so happy to say that my 2012 holiday line of greeting cards is now available in the shop! This was such a fun and new experience for me. Before I quit my day job I never really had the opportunity to build up an entire collection for a holiday release date. I just designed a card whenever I got a chance and immediately added it to my shop.

Seeing this collection start from a brainstorming list on my iPhone, to a 10-itemed cohesive, yet unique, line, was so fun. I put a lot of time into selecting which ideas to pursue, and went through 2 printed revision sessions before I felt 100% sure of what I was producing. I put a lot of effort into making this holiday line exactly what I had envisioned and I hope you get a laugh or two out of it!

For *today only* you can get 10% off your holiday card order with the coupon code HOLIDAY12. The 10 new cards above are available individually, and I am now offering the brand new option of discounted packs of 10. Take your pick! xo JA

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: Rouge & Whimsy

Have you met Erika from Rouge & Whimsy yet? If not, you pretty much need to. I have had the pleasure of meeting Erika in person twice, mostly recently just a couple weeks ago in San Diego! She is as adorable in "real life" as she appears to me on the interweb and I've very thankful to have her as a friend. I am a huge fan of her adorable bags and use one of her clutches all the time (You may have caught it on my wrist during my trip to the pumpkin patch)!
When I asked Erika to write me a short paragraph about herself she said:

I'm Erika, of rouge & whimsy. I'm a blogger, creative lady and owner of a handmade shop where I sell modern, colorful totes. I love living in Seattle, thrifting and my funny little corgi dog.

Today Erika is offering one lucky reader $25 shop credit to her amazing shop! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Can't wait? Right now you can get 15% off anything from Erika's shop with the coupon code customerlove.

The winner will be chosen in one week and notified by e-mail. Good luck! xo JA

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Recipes

It has been a busy few days as I prepare for the release of my holiday line next week (here's hoping!). It's hard to think about Christmas, or even Fall for that matter, when it's 90 degrees outside. But I'm still determined to enjoy a few Fall staples this time of year. I attempted a new apple recipe this morning, it's actually in the oven right now. That was supposed to be my recipe post today but I'm honestly not sure how it will turn out. I'll have to get back to you on that. ;] For now I wanted to share some of my favorite Fall-inspired recipes I've seen on some of my favorite blogs lately. They have left me feeling inspired and I hope they do the same for you.

1. Best Pumpkin Bread ever. Complete with cream cheese frosting!

2. Three coffee creamer recipes, including salted caramel flavored.

3. Pumpkin cookies using only two ingredients.

5. Homemade cinnamon rolls, yum!

6. Pumpkin hot chocolate!? Say what??

Hungry yet? ;] xo JA

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY Faux Vintage Pull Down Map by JessicaNDesigns

Hi! I'm Jessica, owner + designer of jessicaNdesigns.  When I'm not loving every minute of being an indie business owner, you can find me bloggingabout my life and my love of handmade + diy.  I am thrilled to be here sharing one of my favorite, and most popular DIY projects with you today! 
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I have a total crush on vintage pull down maps! I can remember being in grade school & sitting there pulling them down and letting them fly shut. I can still remember the sound + smell they made! I would love to own an authentic one, but they are so expensive! So I opted for a cheaper alternative! Make my own faux version! 
I started with these super cute & cheap prints from On Paper, an incredibly cute store I found on a recent trip to Columbus.  They were $5 each & I got a few different ones! LOVE! You can also purchase them on their website!

I glued the edges of the paper to dowel rods I cut to size. 
I used a tab from the back of an old photo frame I don't use to create the faux pull down look. Simply screw it in the center of the dowel rod!
I put nails in each side of the dowel rod & twisted wire around them to hang the map. 
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This project was easy & really created a great look!  I'm still holding out for the day I find an authentic vintage pull down map for a steal...but until then, this one creates the look I wanted!  
Thank you so much for having me Julie!


**Don't forget!, Jessica is offering one lucky JAA reader $30 credit to her shop of hand-stamped goodies! You can enter over here!**

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall. Sort of.

So, since it's mid-October and Halloween is approaching, I really wanted to do something "Fall-ish" this weekend. OC has a lack of apple orchards, so getting my fill of apple cider and donuts was not an option. I decided to go to the local pumpkin patch for a pumpkin or two.
(Follow me on Instagram! Username: julieannart)
Pumpkins, hay, wagon rides, corn maze....this pumpkin patch was trying to scream "IT'S FALL!" at me. But of course, being a mid-western girl, I could not get over the effin heat. Who picks pumpkins in a dress? And is STILL sweating, no less! Sigh. I tried. I got my pumpkin. I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last night (SO yummy) and I'll be making pumpkin seeds tonight. It's Fall. Sort of.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: JessicaNDesigns

It has been a complete pleasure working with Jessica this month! She's so funny and I love her products! Please be sure to show her some love!
Hey! I'm Jessica. Wife, Mommy, Romantic, Dreamer, Indie Biz Owner. Lover of Jesus + the family He blessed me with. Coffee addict, vintage lover, small town girl, forever in search of the perfect book, pair of jeans, lip gloss & caramel latte.
I blog about my life, my love of handmade + all the inspiration I gather. I love DIY + sharing the lovely people behind this handmade community! I create Hand Stamped, custom keepsakes from vintage silverware for your Wedding, your Home, your Garden & Your Coffee! I also design hand stamped, unique jewelry including my favorite: silk wrap bracelets! I LOVE what I do! Wanna know more?

Today Jessica is offering one lucky reader $30 shop credit to her amazing shop! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Can't wait? Right now you can get 15% off anything from Jessica's shop with the coupon code JULIEANNART.
The winner will be chosen in one week and notified by e-mail. Good luck! xo JA

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3 Tips for Sponsoring Blogs

So you have a blog or shop. You love it. You want to spread the word by advertising on other blogs (which I totally recommend because getting involved in the blogging community genuinely helped my business). While I've been advertising on fellow blogs for a while now, I have started paying closer attention to my views and traffic sources since quitting my day job. Gotta know where my money is going and if it's worth it, you know what I mean? And sometimes, what I find, is not what I expect. So I wanted to share a few things I've learned about sponsoring blogs. (Disclaimer: these tips are my own opinions, they don't have to be yours!)
1. Look beyond the followers count - While having a large following can be a big factor when choosing which blog to sponsor, I have learned to pay more attention to a blog's unique visitors, or daily page views. Just because a blog has a high number of followers does not mean those readers are clicking on that site every day. So many readers (myself included) use Google Reader or the like to follow blogs, rather than going directly to the blog site. Those readers don't see a blog's ads. Knowing the amount of actual visitors a site gets per month will give you a better idea of how many people could see your ad.

2. Go big or go home - I know we are all on a budget and it's really easy to go for the cheaper option these days, but if I'm paying for ad space, I want to be seen! ALthough large space is more expensive, it is usually placed above the smaller ads and comes with some kind of feature post. Think about how likely (or unlikely?) you are to click on an ad on a sidebar, and how likely you are to click on a shop link after seeing it within the content of the blog. And again, remember that ads don't show up in readers, so unless you snag a feature post, guest post, etc, some people may not even get the chance to find you!

3. Take advantage - Bloggers who offer sponsorships are offering you a service, but it is really up to you to make it the best experience it can be. I try to take advantage of every opportunity the blog I'm sponsoring offers. And even if I'm not sure if something in included  in my sponsor package (ex: guest posts), I'll ask. A lot of times sponsors want to help you in any way I can. Another important thing is the ad image. The blog you sponsor could be getting pageviews like crazy but if your ad is not eye-catching you will not get clicks (little tough love for ya friends). If you are unsure, ask for help. Most bloggers have a distinct style and know what their readers will be drawn to.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? More tips to add?

Sponsoring blogs is a learning experience but once you find out what works for you, versus what doesn't, it could greatly impact your business! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Holiday Card Sneak Peeks

Well, it's definitely getting to be Fall isn't it? At least in other parts of the country. I know this because I've been seeing Instagrams of cozy fires, outfit posts with boots and sweaters, and an increase in popularity in my Halloween and Thanksgiving cards.
Yet, here I sit in sunny California, outside in a dress, frickin hot. I miss Fall. I've been doodling a lot lately. I am planning (hoping!) to debut my holiday card line by the end of this month. But the clock sure is ticking and with the way things have been going lately (stress-case) that goal is becoming more daunting.
Here's a few sneak peeks of what has been in the works lately. I have a lot of card ideas written down, now I'm just trying to sort through and find the best ones to make come to life.

I usually don't think about Christmas until around Thanksgiving, but having a card shop forces me to think ahead of seasons. I am brainstorming Christmas cards and Halloween costumes at the same time! Are you thinking about Christmas yet? 
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